Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Feel Like Thowing in the Towel?

Having a desire to do what we do "right" or "best" or with a feeling of being "accepted" or "approved" we all suffer from those quitting moments. One homeschooling Mom in Idaho addressed her ideas on how to deal with the 'quitting' moment which all home schooling parents go through from time to time.

Mid-year, by February we're feeling "cabin fever" in the middle of winter too. Remember, we ALL have those moments! Enjoy her fresh perspective:


I have been homeschooling for over ten years now. I have had four children since then, and that brings the total to nine. At various times I have felt like throwing in the towel, here are the conclusions I have come to over the years and the reason why I don't throw in the towel, or at least not for very long.

1. Any part of homeschool, no matter what it looks like, is better than anything at public school. Aristotle said that education under force won't stick, and that is why people can't remember what they learned and what was on the test the day before. The whole system is a system of force. Homeschool develops the whole child, he learns service to his fellow men, he learns parenting skills, work skills and how to get along with others. Just to name a very few of the many things homeschoolers are learning when it doesn't look like they are learning anything.

2. I use the phrase hot house flowers to remind me what I don't want. Hot house flowers look just the same, but don't have the deep root system. We want something different. We assume that because the American school system is set up for early learning, that must be the best way, and I would submit that it definitely is not. That is why we have a nation of non readers and non writers, other than texting. They have all been pushed to young. There are other methods out there that don't start formal education for a child until around seven or eight. This is more appropriate and goes along with the development of the child. Yes, they CAN do it, but it is pushing them pretty hard to do, and if we wait, true love of learning can occur. If you notice every year the age for reading gets a little bit younger in the public school system. We now read in pre-school. Is this really best for the child?

3. Field trips are learning. This year we just spent the first part of the year doing field trips once a week, and that is learning. We also read out loud every day, for about an hour and we cleaned A LOT every day, and that was school. I really needed a break, and I found that when we did start school, my kids were really excited for school, and practically begging to do school. That attitude has carried through in their work this year. The older they are, the harder the work has been, and they have loved it. I would not have believed it if I hadn't done it myself. I also loved school more after the break.

So in conclusion, you are doing great just by homeschooling them, the true meaning of education is not job training, it is "what are you becoming?" that is what education is about. Right now you are strengthening the heart and the will to do good, and these are the most important lessons for core phase to learn. Don't worry about the "school work" you can catch up with lessons in a couple of weeks.

That is what getting off the conveyor belt is all about, IMO, learning to ask the really important questions of:
  • "why am I doing this" (spelling test, worksheet, anything you can think of)
  • "Why am I doing it this way?"
  • "Can of should it be done different, and if so, why?"

This is a life long process and I feel it should change as you learn and grow, and develop your idea of how to educate, when to educate, and why to educate.

Hope I didn't bore you to death with my long answer. Homeschooling makes people great, if the opportunities are there for learning greatness.

Tanya in Idaho