Summer is here but I’m thinking about school
This was an unpublished draft from 2011 but I’m publishing it because even though it isn’t ‘finished’ I want to remember my thoughts on homeschooling from when Liam was just done kindergarten.
It’s funny back when last fall came and we were offically starting homeschooling, I thought I would write more often about it. After all it’s how we spend our days. But then I didn’t. Part of it is simply lack of time to blog and part of it is that being our first year my thoughts were still very much coming together. Right now I can’t seem to get homeschooling off my mind though and want to put some more of my thoughts down here. Please know this is not me saying that homeschooling is right for everyone, in fact I would be the first to say it isn’t. For some families I absolutely think that public/private school is the best choice for them. My mom is a teacher (the absolute best kind, that really loves her kids and is the kind of teacher you would want your child to have every year.) My dad also has his education degree and has worked in the past as a teacher at an elite academic private school (he is also an excellent, firm but kind teacher and as a male in his late 40’s teaching first graders won multiple teaching awards). My brother is educated as a teacher, although he went on to get his master’s degree in another field. One of my children’s surrogate aunties is an amazing teacher. I have several friends who prechildren worked as teachers. So yes, I know lots of amazing teachers who make school the best place possible for the kids they have in their care. I know many lovely children who attend school. This is more about my own thought process for our family.
Deciding to homeschool is a huge paradigm shift. I have been thinking about homeschooling for so long that sometimes I forget, sometimes I forget how hard of a decision it is to decide to homeschool. Homeschooling can still be very looked down upon, unsupported by family and friends and can feel overwhelming so I very much understand why it is a complex decision to come to. For our family it didn’t seem especially hard, I think because our journey towards homeschooling started before we even had our first baby.
Before Liam was born I worked with children with special needs. This took me into the school system (not as a school board employee) several times a week and it was at that time I started to really question schooling. I saw children all being told they needed to colour their bears brown (heaven forbid a purple bear), I saw kindergarten kids bullying special needs kids several years older than themselves, I saw cookie cutter ‘art’ and lots of wasted time. I saw the emphasis placed on completing a project, rather than really learning about the subject at hand. I could go on, but really these experiences very much discoloured my opinion of what goes on day to day in a school and first brought up homeschooling between myself and my husband.
Once Liam was born, we always just knew we would homeschool. And we have had a wonderful year this past year. This year coming up I have to register with a board for Liam’s first grade year and it is really restarting the thinking process about why we are homeschooling.
Family cohesivness: Liam knows his sisters so well. I know Liam so well. We get the best part of his day, every day. He is spending most of his time with those that love him. I know his strengths, I know his passions, I know his weaknesses.
Learning: Prekids this was my biggest reason for homeschooling. I hated seeing the love of learning squashed in so many kids at such a young age. Many authors have written about this better than I ever can, but it really is more important for me that my kids learn how to learn – not what they learn. If as a parent, I can facilitate so my kids have the skills to learn about whatever they want and need to and that they love to learn that is all I ask for. I long for them to be lifelong learners.