Homeschooling is based on trust. Trusting that your kids will learn what they need to know on their own timetable. They will read when they are ready. They are prepared for Algebra when they can wrap their minds around it. Being flexible with our expectations is a wonderful gift to offer our kids.
Most of us don’t realize that the government is more interested in making compliant global workers than caring what our kids’ gifts and challenges are. People who claim that school is the right answer are the ones that, more than likely, did well in school. Compliant and adaptable. I know this because I was both. I was well-liked by my teachers and I did fairly well in school. I adapted to the environment. I was very good at studying for a test then promptly forgetting it all. That may be the government’s idea of education but it’s definitely not real learning. My goal as a homeschooling parent is to instill in my kids a passion for learning that extends past their first 18 years. I’m not saying that all schooled kids don’t have passions. There are many parents who instill those values. As a general rule though, parents count on the schools to educate their children- my argument is the schools do not help kids value life-long learning that will help them adapt to this ever changing economy and world.
So many kids can’t wait for school to be done so they can live their life. These kids have lost the joy of learning. I see gifted kids in all the honors classes who do remarkably well in school and probably will be very successful in life. These kids know how to play the education game. I bet if you asked them if they really loved learning they would look at you with a blank stare. This is just the game they are winning right now. They have learned that being successful means they win and school is something to simply be managed. What if the kid on the science track in high school really wants to be a poet? Or, the kid who does terrible in school and is seen as below average ends up missing the chance to blossom later in life? Look at the college dropouts, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. They got tired of playing the education game that didn’t really utilize their gifts or passions and they both changed the world forever.
Education and true learning are not the same thing. Education is spending 12-15 years of your young life being told what to think and what to learn based on a bias set of adults setting the rules. Real learning is following your interests based on your gifts and abilities. I think math is important- we all need math to function most days. Saying that everyone needs 4 years of math in high school is unnecessary. I did well in most of my schooling except math. I barely passed Geometry- it’s not my gift (don’t even ask about Economics-ugh). I can function just fine with the math I do know. My husband, the engineer, needs to know much more complicated math than I do. He enjoys the challenge of math- that’s how he’s wired. I loved all my language arts and speech classes, language is where my gift is.
My daughter is much like me. At 13, she struggles with math. We have had many, many tears shed and have tried countless math programs. As soon as I stopped worrying about keeping her at grade level the fighting has stopped. She’s just not developmentally ready for Algebra. So, we plug away at a lower level and there is much more peace. She writes fan fiction on line and has quite a following. She stays up late at night to just finish one more chapter. Her creativity and writing flourish because this is how she is wired. This is what lights her up. She’s not sure writing is her passion or not but she’s enjoying having the freedom to explore it. She has learned more spelling and grammar over the last 6 months with her writing than she had in her previous 3 years of homeschooling. That is true learning, my friends.
Homeschooling is trusting your kids and yourself. It’s not always easy when you’ve been programmed to trust the experts and not your instincts. Your family will not look like any other family out there. Your curriculum, if you choose to use it, can be tweaked to fit your family- always. Don’t be a slave to a system- homeschooling or not. Be yourself and enjoy your kids. Encourage them to follow their dreams and change the world. That’s a gift we all have to offer.
Joining with Hip Homeschool Moms.