Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Momversation Monday: Homeschooling

Whats that? Its not Monday? Yeah you are right, but we had movie night last night and my brain wasn't in the right place. So, homeschooling.. I have to start out by saying I have a bias. We homeschool our kiddos and I was homeschooled in middle school back in the eighties, when no one even knew what it was. I was homeschool, when homeschool wasn't cool. (yeah sorry, had to go all Barbara Mandrell).

I knew all about the flaws of homeschooling when we began thinking about it. I hadn't kept up with the movement and so I expected it to be the way it was for me. Pretty dry textbooks, no social life, sitting at home with mom at the kitchen table. Imagine my surprise, now its all modern and high tech. When I was being homeschooled most people had chosen it for religious reasons, not educational reasons. It always felt like the goal was to separate your children from the big, bad world and not expose them to the evils of society. I understand that impulse, I tend to want to shelter my kids. But at the same time I think it would be a mistake. I see my role as preparing them to live, and to succeed in society as a whole. So that isn't why we homeschool.

We homeschool for many very interconnected reasons. And most people these days do. First, because it fits well into our family schedule. When Emma was attending Public Kindergarten, she rarely got to see her daddy. Both of them were miserable. Homeschooling lets us be flexible, when Brian is off during the week he usually helps out with school, or hangs about during school. The kids love it.

An even bigger part of our reasoning was our opinion of public education. We think public schools have been forced (by legislation, not that they are monsters) to remove all the creative learning from their curriculum and teach for standardized testing. I am not interested in having a child who can take a test well, but I am interested in having a well educated child. Bigger classes means less individual learning and usually material is presented with only one type of learner in mind.

Your child doesn't catch onto her multiplication facts? well, so sorry but we can't hold up the whole class for just one child. Luckily with homeschooling we can zoom past what they easily learn and work on what they struggle with until its mastered. For us, it has fit easily into our lives for now. it could change. We try not to make sweeping statements about what we will be doing "forever". We know for now this is right for us.

I am not of the opinion that everyone should homeschool. I'm not a homeschool snob. I don't even think it is for everyone. I really love it, I always loved teaching, I have degrees and training that made it a tiny bit easier for me maybe and I think I am a pretty patient woman with my kids, I have a husband who is totally on board and supportive of the decision..... all that, and I have to tell you, Its freaking hard. It takes much of my time and I don't just mean the actual teaching, but the lesson planning, the advance reading I do on what we are studying, the prep for the next day. It doesn't leave me much time for myself. I also have to squeeze in all those wifey and household chores during the day too. If I didn't love it, I would start to resent it. If Brian wasn't as on board with this, he would resent me doing it. If I didn't have the ability to be patient with the kids, they would start to resent me a little and I don't think it would be a positive experience for them or much fun.


Rob said...

I heart this post a lot.

Heather and I started our homeschooling adventure honestly (and mainly) for religious reasons in addition to some others you mentioned too. Over the years I feel it's morphed and settled down into more of the mainstream reasons most people have now.

Matters of faith aside, homeschooling is just a good fit for our little corner of the world just like you pointed out. Its great to have that flexibility to teach "according the kid" instead of "according to a test".

I also agree with you that its not for everyone. Not to say that homeschoolers are cool and all others drool, either. Far from it. It just basically comes down to what a person's family needs, imo.

I'm glad we live in a place where it's accepted. Also it's very cool to have friends like you to talk with about it. :)

Carrie Thompson said...

I love this post... I love the mom video thing, I watched about 4 of them. I love to hear about peoples reason for home schooling! I know we have already talked about it a little but this was on paper, thought out reasons! I loved it.

I do have a problem that I am not patient enough with my kids and I resent myself at this point!!! It is something I am really, really, really working on!

Jennifer said...

I see a tshirt in my future that says homeschool rules, public school drools..... :)

Jennifer said...


yeah, Im a little hooked on them now. I like how they have more than one opinion.