Tuesday, May 1, 2012

So Why Homeschool?

This is a question I am getting a lot. There are many options for educating our kids. Homeschooling seems extreme to some. Especially since my district FINALLY passed full day kindergarten. My youngest would be eligible for that if I send her. I could get my FREEDOM back. Actually full day kindergarten was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I think we live in a society where children are losing more and more of their childhood everyday. No I am not worried about the social pressures of school or the negative things they will learn. Actually I disagree with homeschooling for this reason (obviously not in extreme circumstances). I think learning social pressures a little bit each year from a young age, is a good thing. I feel that by sheltering our kids from the social negatives only hurts them in the long run. It would be like keeping a newborn in a bubble (excuse the bubble boy reference), letting that child grow unexposed to germs for her entire life, and then letting her out in high school. She will be decimated by the illnesses she has never been exposed to. She will have no immune system, that should have been built up over time, to help protect her from these germs. The germs will knock her on her (you know what) and she won't know what hit her. Therefore I plan to keep my kids as involved in school activities as possible. Keep them with their school friends, have them participate in clubs at the school, and have them attend school activities.

When I say children are losing more and more of their childhood, I am referring to the basic, daily experiences we all had as children: playing outside, learning through exploration, learning by doing, real socialization (not 15 minutes at a lunch table with kids you do not get to choose). Even when we went to public school, we had longer recess, we learned through hands-on experiences, we went on field tripS (I bold the S because they are lucky to get 1 trip these days). This is not what is happening in our public schools anymore. Even the best teachers are saddled with curriculum that is too rigorous and developmentally inappropriate for our children. In the name of state test scores, students are chained to their desks, pumping out worksheets and rote memorization of facts. That's not real learning.

If I have an opportunity to give my girls a childhood, I have to take it. We are in a place that financially we can handle it. We both have flexible jobs that will allow for this and lots of travel. I am mentally in a place that I can do this (this was a biggie). They get ONE childhood. They have the rest of their lives to sit at a desk and push papers. I want them to love learning, to be excited by learning, to WANT to learn. I see this dying in my 7 year old and it is very sad. A child who is curious, loves researching new things, is a sponge for knowledge is slowly losing the light in her eyes. She has lived in a home that has allowed her to be curious about her environment, to learn with no boundaries, to explore her world on her terms, to ask questions based on interest, not grade level. School is the antithesis of this. What I have realized is this:  we have been homeschooling all along! It's just time to stop letting school get in the way.

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