I can imagine that to outsiders looking in, my Instagram feed looks strange. What we consider homeschooling doesn’t look like schooling at all. Where are the text books? Where are the worksheets? And how is going to the gun range “schooling” at all?
The whole gun range rant is for another post.
But in essence, the truth is: If I wanted to recreate “school” at home I may as well send them to school and save me the trouble.
If “school” was producing such great results, with amazing prodigies in science, sports, and art, our education would rank higher than that of other countries, and our college graduates a much more formidable force in the competitive labor market across the world. But it doesn’t.
I’m not saying that there aren’t children who do absolutely amazing in public school – because there are. However, I would argue that succeeding at Public School is not necessarily equivalent with being a successful individual.
So in my personal experience, I need to determine what would my child look like as a successful individual, and work my way backwards from there. And here is my flow chart:
- Being uninhibited in kindness and compassion is a big priority for my children. They are very tenderhearted, and I don’t want them to be “toughened up” by bullying. I don’t want them to learn through peer influence and unsupervised socialization to be callous, or rude. As a result, at this time public school is not the best choice for them.
- My kids are argumentative and struggle with submitting to authority. There is (believe it or not) a benefit to this: they don’t accept any information at face value. Everything is questioned, researched, debated… from a history lesson to the chore of washing dishes. If I want the learning to be meaningful, they would benefit best from a Socratic approach to learning. And that’s just not a style of learning in most public or private schools.
- Creativity helps my children de-stress. It’s also how they express themselves. I’m sure there may be a charter school that would allow them to turn in their report in Manga form *somewhere*, but I haven’t found it.
- There are learning disabilities to consider! My kids aren’t behind as a result of ADHD but I also know that the way I work with them at home has helped them to not be handicapped by this condition. They can stand on their heads, pace back and forth, bounce a ball, and overall wiggle their way through all their learning assignments without being reprimanded for the inconvenience it would cause to the class. Homeschooling for the win!
- A strong family unit is by far the most influential and beneficial factor I could give my children. I don’t know whether they’ll be doctors or game programmers, but I know that they will grow up and be in relationships, get married and have children of their own (possibly). And regardless of what they do as a profession, they need to learn how to love their children and their spouses. Research shows they learn that from experiencing it at home, and I don’t think a few hours around the dinner table is enough.
Am I a helicopter parent? A little bit. But there is science to back up that a happy heart leads to a smarter mind. Looking at each child as a unique individual and helping them feel joyful means that they will retain more of what they learn and *gasp* develop a LOVE for learning. Not learning for passing the test sake. Not learning for passing the class sake. Learning because knowledge is worth acquiring.
This is why homeschooling looks different in every home, and it varies within the home from school year to school year. It’s fluid and organic as the students themselves. And it will provide very different results from what you might have experienced in other children. That’s the point.