Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Think Outside The Box: My thoughts on homeschooling.

Throughout my homeschooling research, something has occurred to me on several occasions.
The concept of homeschooling really takes an unconventional method of thinking when it comes to education.

My generation was raised in a society of public schools, sitting at desks, turning in homework, taking tests, and getting "good' or "bad" grades.  Does that make up a good education? Maybe for some.  But honestly, in my own experience, it was generally a waste of time.  With the exception of math and science, I felt I reached a plateau of learning very early (around age 12).  Everything beyond that was time fillers, learning to write lengthy essays that regurgitate the opinions of individual teachers, and studying to pass pointless tests that did not actually measure any acquired knowledge.  I most often observed peers who were quite intelligent, struggle through school because they did not have good memorization skills.  "School" as we know it, is a funnel that gives good memories an edge. Those intelligent kids who struggled were not given opportunities to explore their own talents and skills or to progress academically at their own pace.  They were mainly broken down by the common standards of school and came out of it feeling exhausted and mediocre.  I think that is pretty sad.

I have come to believe that the vast majority of us are geniuses, but we aren't provided the opportunities or circumstances to reach our full potential.

Clues to identifying the 8 intelligences currently observed. (I believe there are many more, but they have not been pinpointed yet.)

I have met and read about many happy and successful people who were homeschooled.  All of them say they loved being homeschooled and that it offered them ample opportunities and flexibility.  One of the main things I hear is that they are grateful for the sacrifices their parents made in order to homeschool.  Seems to me that homeschooled children are rarely lacking in a loving supportive home, or confidence.  But what kind of grades did these kids get? How would they have measured up to the class average? Did they get their college degrees?...

When it comes down to it, I think to myself: I don't care. I don't care about grades or awards or even degrees.  Sounds crazy, right?  But what is most important to me is to raise my children in a loving home that supports them in their individual dreams.  I want my children to be able to make goals and find their own way of achieving those goals.  ACCOUNTABILITY, CONFIDENCE, CREATIVITY, LOVE, SUPPORT, and INDEPENDENCE.  In my opinion, these are the keys to success.  And I hardly think there are tests that measure any of those things.

And "homeschooling" provides a way for parents to assess each child's needs and to take control of their educational path, rather than leave it up to the system.  So, maybe public school is the best option for a child.  Maybe that environment will allow certain children to thrive.  I know a few homeschoolers that homeschool one child, while a sibling attends public school, and another sibling experiences a hybrid education.  I have great admiration for those parents.  They are truly making the greatest effort to provide the best for each of their children.

I have realized there is no need to be offended when someone expresses they would never homeschool because of X,Y, Z. They are just not able to think outside the box of conventional school.  To them, the idea is completely foreign and strange and crazy.  It's okay.  Because it is not important to please others or to assure them of our decisions.  It is important to make our own paths and to provide for our children as our instinct/spirit guides.  Trust and press forward.