Why We Homeschool
I have found that few homeschoolers answer this question honestly. Delving into the real ‘whys’ of why one might homeschool requires that the listener be able to hear what is being said without taking the explanation as a personal attack on them or their choices, which are usually wholly different. Though few homeschoolers are casting judgement simply by doing something different from you, letting one explain why they do what they do it gets into a more tetchy area, I think.
For me, homeschooling has to do with my philosophy and outlook as the person who bears primary responsibility for the education, socialization and upbringing of my contribution to the next generation. It has to do with how I perceive the best way to turn our productive members of and for the society we live in. I don’t want mere ‘members’, I want leaders. That doesn’t mean that I want my kids in to politics, or to be corporate fat cats – but I do want them to understand how society and civilization work and to be able to work within that system when feasible, but also to know when and how, and how to inspire others, to buck it when necessary.
I feel that homeschooling is the best way to accomplish that. Not the only way, certainly, and if our situation were different or changes in the future, it may not even be the only way for us, but I do think that homeschooling is the best way, the easiest way to accomplish those goals. Through homeschooling, I am teaching, allowing for and encouraging my children to think outside the box, to stick with something until they’ve mastered it, to explore and expand their interests and follow them until they’re satisfied. I encourage them to learn through all the senses, and to learn through non-traditional (or ultra-traditional if you’re talking about mentoring or apprenticeship) means.
Homeschooling allows my children the luxury of living in the real world versus the artificial world of a schoolroom, where they would be subject to forced segregation by age for most of their formative years. I prefer the real-world setting, where leadership and status symbols tend to be internal markers such as strength of character or higher intelligence instead of superficial ones like wealth or beauty*. My children get to see and hear and interact with people of all ages, lifestyles, income brackets, ethnicities and religious persuasions, learning that there is something to be experienced or gleaned from virtually everyone, and though we certainly could have and would have done that regardless of where they were being educated, homeschooling allows to live without needing to counter the effects of the classroom. Such interactions are the norm for them.
Homeschooling is also what is best for my children, both emotionally and academically. With one child who needs special attention, the only way to achieve that in the classroom is for him to sit with an aide. While that is what is best for him academically, the emotional toll of being ‘different’ in an environment where ‘different’ is generally cast in a negative light was quite high and starting to become apparent. Homeschooling allows for both factors to be taken into consideration. The environment is set up in such a way that his particular needs can be met without disrupting the classroom setting. Lessons can be tailored to his learning style – both learning styles – and individual needs instantly, rather than forcing them into a mold that does not fit.
There is also constancy in homeschooling that is not ensured in a public school setting. I used to work in childcare, and the turnover rate among childcare workers is staggering. Many children saw upwards of 5 ‘primary’ caregivers before they ever started school. Research has shown again and again that children both need and fare better when there is continuity of care. It makes me wonder how much of today’s social issues (like higher divorce rates) have come about with a decrease in continuity of care in young children; if we’re not training them to expect and survive on short-term relationships.
Our decision to homeschool encompasses all of this and more. What factors play a key role in our decision often depend on the day and activities that we’re currently doing. At this precise moment, the fact that I am awake and my children are still blissfully snoozing the morning away is a really important factor! Having time to myself without waking up before the sun comes up definitely has its perks. We’re eschewing ‘formal’ lessons today in favor of seeing the Momix Dance Company perform ‘Botanica‘. From the video, its breathtaking, and there is something to be learned from seeing such a thing that cannot be duplicated in the classroom. That’s yet another reason ‘why’ we homeschool.
There’s a whole wide world out there to be experienced, and I think that sitting in a classroom for 12 years teaches one to disregard much of it. While academic pursuits are a grand and wonderful thing, there is more to life than academia, and while we certainly put emphasis on learning, we also put emphasis on living. Homeschooling accomplishes that for us.
*yes, it could be argued that wealth and beauty are status symbols in the ‘real world’ as well, but that’s not true in our lives. I define ‘real world’ as the atmosphere and environment that my children live and grow up in. At school, the majority of their waking hours and thus their perceptions are formed by that cliquish environment, governed by children. At home, the power-structure and relationship dynamic is completely different; more natural and more representative of what life as an adult is like. As attachment style parents, our philosophy is governed by the desire to have an inter-dependent relationship with our children, not control their every move and thought. Homeschooling fits that ideal better than institutionalized schooling, in my opinion.
This entry was posted on October 26, 2010 by HT. It was filed under Attachment Parenting, FAQ, Lessons Learned, Parenting, Rambling Thoughts and was tagged with benefits of homeschooling, FAQ, homeschooling, raising responsible adults.