It's been on my heart and mind a lot lately that as your children wrap up the school year, some of you may be contemplating educational choices. While I consider myself a complete novice at this, I thought I might share with you a few things I have learned about homeschooling, kids, and such. Help yourself to my opinions and do with them as you will. I'm just shooting from the hip.
1. Public school can sometimes be a good alternative to homeschooling. Does that sound backwards to you? It doesn't to me anymore. While I do not consider myself "hard core" about anything but Christ, I am pretty sold on homeschooling because I think that's how everything started. Yes, historically speaking and yes, at my house and yours. I taught Hannah and Mimi how to walk, talk, dress themselves, eat with utensils, love, share, etc. Homeschooling was a cycle I didn't want to interrupt when Hannah turned 5. Being her teacher was a privilege and blessing I didn't want delegate to anyone else just because she was getting older. I love public schools. I grew up in them and worked in one for four years. However, it's not about public schools. It's about Hannah and Mimi. And I really believe as long as they live in my house we are going to be doing some intentional homeschooling. If for some extreme reason like financial circumstances (though I believe we save a lot by not going to public school) or health I could not homeschool my kids, then I might use the option of public school.
2. You're completely capable of homeschooling. I don't care what level of education you have. You could do it. If you have a library card, you're set. If you have the internet, you probably have access to more curriculum than you could ever use. Sure, public school teachers are trained but you could learn as you do it. Half of what I learned in education classes focused on problems that aren't even a factor when you are at home (budgets, buildings, classroom managment, parent conferences, working with the administration, etc).
3. Socialization is not a problem. Seriously, now when I hear this argument I want to laugh. My kids socialize so much it's ridiculous. True, they do not spend 8 hours a day with same-aged, mixed gender peers in a small classroom with one adult. But they socialize with me, their father, and each other primarily and I like that. We typically eat three leisurely meals around our table every day. They wake up when they wake up (usually 7) and we learn. We are completely free to socialize whenever we want because we're not tied to school schedules. We're not taking the summer off because, well, the learning wouldn't stop even if we tried. They socialize with children, teenagers, adults well. They react differently to social situations but they always persevere, make friends, and learn.
4. We're learning the Bible. I mean Hannah is very solid in her knowledge for a 5 year old. She's getting the big picture and the stories are like treasures to her. She cried the last two nights because I would only read one chapter of Esther.
5. Emily is going on 2 years of school and she's 4. Woot.
6. When it doesn't work, I make changes. I can do that.
7. Today, my kids painted the fence with water, played alphabet bing and number bingo, played at the neighborhood playground, played on our playset, chased each other, made up a game about bees and pollenation completely unassisted, made homemade ice cream sandwiches (chocolate graham crackers and cool whip then freeze 'em), rode a rake and a broom like horses, watered the plants, read to me, were read to, watched tv, were tickled, picked dandelions, added to their rock collection, walked home and voluntarily made sketches about their nature discoveries, and more. And all of that before 2pm. And today I didn't actually use my curriculum or do formal homeschooling.
8. And don't be impressed. Or intimidated. Because it's not about me or you. It's about God and how gloriously he created human minds and the children he blessed us with. Given a nurturing environment, #7 is just what happens. Because I homeschool, I got to see it, taste it, and cherish it. And I like it. I'm just sayin.