It may or may not come as a surprise to most who know our family, but we are in fact, a home school family. Gasp! Yes, you read correctly. We endorse home education and believe it works for us. While this choice is a no-brainer for us, it doesn’t make sense to a lot of people, even people in our lives. Our family is split smack down the middle with one half being supportive and the other half, well, not so much.
My husband and I both attended college for teaching. I went the bachelor degree route and he went the masters. After having spent time in endless education classes and doing my own evaluations of career choices, I decided against teaching. My decision against teaching was later solidified as a correct one while substitute teaching during a job layoff. My husband also decided against finishing his master’s in education because he simply, “didn’t like the bureaucracy of it all.”
Fast forward to 2010, the year Jack was born. It was during this time our conversation on education got real. We talked endlessly about the local school systems and poured over alternate educational options, like Montessori and private schools. We knew immediately we could not afford to send our children to private school, so we scratched it off the list. We held Montessori education close but alas, it too had a major cost factor. We scratched our heads and resigned ourselves to the public sector.
It was less than a year later we met a family, now very best friends of ours, who home educate their children. While it was never immediately clear to my husband and I that we would or could home school, it was to our friends. During a dinner conversation one night the topic of education came up. Our friend is a former public school teacher and we somehow got on the topic. I started to tell my friend that we just don’t feel comfortable with public school but financially, we don’t have any options. My husband chimed in with a resounding, “Jack cannot go to public school.” My friend said, “well, you could home school, you know?” I looked at my husband and back at my friend, “I can’t home school. I know nothing about it.” She simply looked back at me and said, “you’re already homeschooling.” She was right. We had already started with the necessary foundation and didn’t even realize. We were fostering a love of learning and building a learning environment right in our very own home. My husband looked at me and said, “We’re homeschooling!”
So, now the million dollar question, why home school?
- HOW – We want our children to know how to learn. Simple. We want to build the necessary foundation and supply the necessary tools to engage them in understanding how to learn. We want our children to have the skill set to set out on a learning mission without having to be told every.single.step.
- QUALITY vs. QUANTITY – It isn’t how much one knows but how well they know it. In public schools students are taught multiple subjects each day for the entire year. They are conditioned with a bell when it is time to stop and move on to the next subject or activity. In our home, we believe focusing on each subject for an undetermined amount of time based on our child’s desire to know that subject will enrich them.
- FREEDOM – This one is simply the freedom to pick a subject of interest and freedom to explore the world. Right now our son Jack is only three; however, he loves bugs. He may still have an interest in entomology when he reaches middle school; however, he most likely would not have the time or want to study entomology along with all the subjects designated by his grade level. With the freedom to choose his own subjects along with the basics, he could really delve into the world of entomology by getting out into the back yard or the woods. The freedom to learn what one loves opens up an entire world of learning. One educational exploration leads to another and can easily be tied into other subjects. A day in the woods may lead to a math lesson or a journal writing.
- NO TESTING – http://fairtest.org/facts/howharm.htm Enough said here. Testing is nothing more than a means to an end and it doesn’t fit into the educational map we have outlined for our children. They will have to take the SAT for college admittance and tests in college; however, children test themselves every day in their other work. The greatest test is whether they know how to learn and love what they do.
- LACK OF DISTRACTIONS – Phones, texting, sexting, social media, bullying, pressures such as premarital sex, drugs, gambling, violence, etc. OK, I can almost see the rolling eyes but let’s face it, we all went through public school and each of the above distractions were in my school everyday. Did I choose to engage in those practices? No. But they were distractions and when I think back on some of these distractions, I think back to the time in third grade I was sexually bullied on the school bus for the entire year. The driver did nothing to stop the boy and trust me, the entire bus could hear him yelling swears and sexual comments to me. Thankfully, the boy was nowhere near me since we had assigned setting areas on the bus. I also think back to school in general and I remember the above distractions being very blatant. I simply do not want these distractions in the educational life of my children.
- BECAUSE WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN – WHOA! HANG ON A MINUTE! DON’T SLAM DOWN THAT SCREEN YET! This in no way implies parents who use the public school system love their children any less. NO WAY! I know many amazing, loving, “would trust my children with them,” parents who send their kids to public schools and love them with every fiber of their being. We believe for us that spending each day educating our own children is the most important thing we can do for them because we love them with everything we have.
So there you have it. The reasons we educate at home. We love our children and wish for them to have a quality education in a distraction free environment. In our home environment they can build a quality vs. quantity education by embracing the freedom they have and ultimately know how to learn.
The Joyful Homemaker