Monday, April 1, 2013

Homeschooling Musings

I have been thinking a lot about homeschooling.

Actually, I have just been thinking a lot.  I have been reading a book on parenting, so I have been reflecting on parenting.  I have been reading a book about marriage, so I have been reflecting on marriage.  I have been working on photo books for my children, so I have been reminiscing about them and about how fast life moves. I have been reading a book about finances, so I have been thinking about money.  I am reading a book about organizing, so I was thinking about organizing (that is until the woman told me that I shouldn't have a junk drawer, at which point I decided that she was no longer of any use to me).

But I also have been homeschooling, and so I constantly think about it.  I have a good friend, one of those friendships that you fall into because of your kids- but then it turns into to an actual friendship instead of just chit chat during playdates.  I have a lot of friends that are very guarded, very introverted and secretive.  And I have no problem with that at all, but I am a pretty open person (at least to a point) and it is fun to have someone to talk to about all kinds of stuff.

Stuff that I casually reference to Noah only to have him say, "you actually talked about that?!"

Wow, I am getting off track here.  My friend and I both homeschool and we talk a lot about strategies and pros and cons.  Most recently we were talking about the merits of not homeschooling your children, and getting to spend your stay-at-home mom days working out, drinking lattes with friends, making dinner, going grocery shopping, and cleaning your house so that when the kids get home from school you can just focus on them.
Sometimes that sounds really nice.  The day after our conversation I read this article about homeschooling.
 Reading it solidified what I already know, but sometimes question.  This is what is best for us.

Today, when the beautiful spring sun was finally shining, the kids got to go out after they finished their school and bask in the sun.  Earlier they got to have swimming lessons, and play wiffle ball at homeschool gym.  Soon it will be warm enough to have school on the deck, and to go see if we can spot bird nests in the woods.

We worked hard all fall and winter, and now we get to reap the benefits and enjoy the spring.

A couple of weeks ago we did standardized testing.  Oh what a stressful thing that is.  For me more than them.  I want them to do well, because I feel that it reflects on me and on my teaching.  And it does, at least in part.

But this is what has been on my mind the most: yes, it is important for them to be learning, and growing and getting smarter.  Yes, I want them to do well on their standardized testing but I need to let go of  some of that "do they measure up to the kids in school"? anxiety .

Why?  Because the reason that we are homeschooling is because we don't buy into the educational system in our country.  We don't believe it is turning out the thinkers, the questioners, the well rounded individuals that we want our kids to be.  Quite frankly, I don't want my kids to be "as smart" or "as talented" or "as academic" as the kids "at school".  That is not the measuring stick that I want to use.

Instead I want to be asking these questions: Are they daily, weekly, monthly making progress academically?  Are they curious and always learning about the world around them?  Do they have a variety of skills and interests?  Are they growing spiritually?  Are they growing in character?  Do they have a good work ethic?  Can they finish what they start?  Do they make goals and meet them?  Can they follow instructions?  Do they know how to obey? Are they well rested?  Do they have free time to pursue their own interests? 

We are not the public school.  We are not the private school.

We are OUR school.

And because of that, our goals will be different.  They will be tailored to each kid, they will be chosen for our situation.

And I am going to try to stop trying to be a mini "traditional school".

Because that is one thing that we are not.


Renae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renae said...

oops deleted my comment.
What I said was...
Both types of schooling has positive and negatives. Some public school students turn out as great thinkers and questioners - some homeschooled kids DO NOT! I have seen both! I teach college students - some were homeschooled, some were private schooled, some were public schooled -- It seems like it really just depends on the kid and on the family - more than on how they were schooled.

When I homeschooled (my teeny-tiny experience), we had a traditional mini-school. That just doesn't work - like you said. You have to make it YOUR school - and be ok with what YOU do. That's a constant challenge. You can do it though. Keep telling yourself that you are doing what is right for your family! You wouldn't have it any other way!

We homeschooling/public school sending parents say the same thing - we value faith and family above academics, sports, etc.

Same ends...different means.

The Three 22nds said...

Renae, I can see that in my own kids- all 5 of them are very different in the way they learn and process information. Definitely require different approaches!

Today's lessons included:

1. How to rescue a 3 year old who managed to squeeze herself between a bed and the wall.

2. How to put the mattress pad and sheets onto the top bunk of a bunkbed.

and the more traditional math facts, typing, history, science and reading - with plenty of time for outdoor play, co-op, cryptids and comic books!