Tuesday, May 16, 2006

So, Why Do You Do That, Anyway?

"But what about Socialization?"
"How will they learn to follow rules?
"Don't you get sick of your children all day long, every day?"
"How do you have time to do that?"
"Are you sure they're learning?"
"What are you, some kind of separatist?

These are some questions I get when people find out I am homeschooling my children. Add to these the fact that I have three devoted sister-in-laws who are all public school teachers (and one is a reading specialist) and you can see what I sometimes can face. Luckily, I have never felt the need to feel ashamed for the choices I make regarding my family's best interests. This is just one more subject to add to the long list of subjects where I differ from the status quo.

So, why am I homeschooling my children? First, I should probably make it clear the reasons why I am not homeschooling my children:

  • I am not homeschooling my children because I hate public school.
  • I don't believe that public school churns out automatons and needs to be abolished. I believe that for the most part, teachers are dedicated and like their jobs. They can be excited about children learning. For many children, public school (or private school) is a great place, and those children flourish under the attention and guidance of well-qualified educators.

    But I question the decisions made by administrators who aren't in classrooms. The administrators who decide what a Kindergartener will learn. The ones who made Kindergarten the New First Grade. These people, who should know better, don't seem to understand child development, or how a child learns. I question their methodology: If schools aren't making it, then add more information, at a younger age! Teachers are helpless under this onslaught;they must teach what is mandated. I am not sure this is the best approach.

  • I am not homeschooling my children because I am afraid of The World.
  • I am not a separatist. I don't agree with most of the Religious Right.the group that did the image above is an example of something I don't agree with..but I liked the image. Just wanted to put that disclaimer in, to me it is an example of what is wrong with modern religion. I am a Christian. Let's make no mistake about that. But I don't see eye-to-eye with those who want to weaken the Constitution, and forget the important things Jesus said to make room for the convenient words instead. I don't apologize for my faith. But I won't shove it in your face, either. My faith is in Jesus Christ, not in the church, if that makes sense. I am, however, very involved in a local church that I love.

    I recognize that churches are full of people, and people are fallible. My faith isn't based upon the church. I didn't check my brain at the door, and I do still engage in critical thinking. I am not afraid of "secular" resources. I am not from the school that if it didn't come from the Bible it is bad. I believe that God gave us all truth, including truth of the world. I am not afraid of Plato, or Aristotle, or Hemingway or Shakespeare. There is much to be learned from the Great Books, as well as the Good Book. I think the difference for me is that I see truth in many, many things. I believe that God can make truth out of anything and make it resonate when he is trying to reach someone. Look at all of the secular song lyrics that just "click" when you hear them.

  • I am not homeschooling to keep my children away from anyone else's children.
  • I think there is much to be learned from all kinds of kids. I don't fear diversity, in fact I embrace it. God made all people, and we are all different, and that is wonderful! My children get many opportunities to hang with kids in the community. Not all of their friends are Christian, nor do I think they should be! We are respectful of others' beliefs. I love having friends with different backgrounds!

  • I am not homeschooling my children in order to indoctrinate them.
  • Whether my children come to have a relationship with Jesus Christ is up to them. I do model my faith, and do teach them from the Bible. But I also teach them from other sources as well. I am well aware that there is Christian curricula out there that teaches every subject around the Bible. That may work for some families, and I have the utmost respect for that approach. It just isn't for us.

    I tend to have a wider view, I suppose. I pick and choose to meld a Christian worldview while still managing to apply Biblical truths to today's events, and see them in an open-minded way. This way, I can make both sides mad! How else would you explain that I am a Christian liberal? I teach my children to make up their own minds about culture and current events. After all, their relationship with God isn't about me.

  • I am not homeschooling my children in order to make wunderkinds.
  • I recognize that some can get really caught up in the race towards knowledge. I have met well-meaning homeschool moms who have nary a minute because she is ferrying the kids to ballet, and horseback-riding lessons, and music lessons, and logic and Latin, but first she has to test them on these concepts and they have to memorize these facts and and and. That isn't my approach. I don't live through my childrens' accomplishments, and I don't really want them to be super-competitive. I don't care so much about rote memorization, as much as whole understanding of the purpose. I will go into this more tomorrow.

    So, there you have some reasons I am not homeschooling my children. Tomorrow, we will get to the reasons why I am homeschooling them. I hope this has been eye-opening. I have always considered myself an open-minded person. I am certainly the most open-minded Christian in my circle. I have thought long and hard about this, I have prayed about it, and I find this to be the best decision for my family. Still, I wanted others to understand that you can be a Christian, homeschool, and not think the world is out to get you.

    So...what say you? Are there any questions you have wanted to ask a homeschooler but have refrained for fear of hurting feelings or sounding uninformed? Now is your chance!

    Part II to be continued tomorrow

    T, who believes you have to do what is right for your family

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    2 sent chocolate:

    Bar Bar A said...

    I am standing up applauding this excellent post!!! Thank you for shedding light on this subject, I know its your personal feelings on it, but so many people seem to have a sterotype of homeschooling (as that hysterical comic illustrates). I didn't homeschool but know lots of people who did/do. Good for you for doing what you believe is right for your family!!!!!

    blackbird said...

    you sound very well rounded.
    my Oldest would have done so well if I had homeschooled him.
    I didn't...
    and there are six and ten years between he and his brothers.
    bravo to you - these sound like good reasons.

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