What is so great for us about home education?
I get to teach my kids about character traits, all of the time. How many parents value this as a priority in this day and age? To me, this will impact my children's happiness and future growth as much, if not more than, academics. How happy can a person be if they are smart but not true to themselves or nice to live with? Wealthy but dishonest?
What better place to learn these valuable lessons than in the home, and who better to teach them than Mom and Dad? It starts and ends with us, and involves the people we invite into our lives at church, in the neighborhood, and beyond. It's best learned through real life, anyway. Home education offers us lots of time and plenty of experiences to accomplish this.
It may sound daunting as a task, but it is actually a really great opportunity for my husband and me to improve our own character, too. How can we teach something we don't live? Some of the traits we have learned about are honesty, work, compassion, and accountability, so far. My favorite tools to use for this are Brite Music's Standin' Tall series and the word of God found in the words of living prophets and the scriptures. The Duggar family has a chart with scripture references to teach this, too. It's awesome!!!
Where else can the curriculum be centered around the Gospel of Jesus Christ? For members of the LDS church, we have received counsel as parents as for how to do just this.
I get to have all the time I need to teach my kids something they need to know! No remedial classes needed. If they need extra time to learn a concept, no problem. And it doesn't set back any further learning. Less worry for Mom or Dad...we have had plenty of past experiences that support that when they have the time they need, they learn what they need to know. Home education is relationship-based education. It works because of our ability to trust one another, communicate, and find compromises. Education really can work for everyone, and home education provides the "space" for this to happen.
The kids have all the time they need to learn something without feeling pressure to perform or being constantly judged. They don't have to develop a self-concept about themselves that is incorrect based on someone else's interpretation of their educational progress. For instance, no math phobias here or "I'm bad at/hate math." They use it all the time without thinking twice.
This freedom also allows them to learn about who they are, what they like, and to become who they are meant to be, not who someone else says they should be.
Even if that means goofing around :-)
They have the privilege to do this, right from the start, without a school or "expert" dictating that what they are interested in is "not as important" as something else (ie: choose science over math, or reading over, say, balloon art). They don't have to experience mid-life crises because they never got to follow what they truly were interested in.
Another bonus of home ed? I don't have to find or invent ways to motivate my kids to learn. They are born learning; all people are. It's external things that kill curiosity and creativity that begins so naturally. Now, there are times when it is appropriate to motivate them to do something they may not feel like doing, like writing practice for 5 minutes a day....but that's another story!
Freedom FROM. We are free from the rat race of keeping up appearances, or dancing to the tune of someone else's constantly changing expectations from schools or other families. We are free from being consumed by that competitive, superficial lifestyle fostered by school life. I breathe a long sigh, ahhhhhhhh!, of relief. We enjoy living a life that feels good to us, with true principles that will lead us to God and to helping out other people, but we don't have to worry or spend a lot of time keeping up with the Joneses (or Smith's, or whoever). We invite others to join in our life, to enjoy and experience together. This gives us the opportunity to minister to others, build relationships, and be proactive in our social choices. (Did I mention...we love our friends ! ! !)
|Cousins make good friends.|
This leads to how we can spend time serving others! This not only feels great intrinsically, to fill a need that wasn't met before you met it, but also fulfills our responsibility to one another as brothers and sisters of a loving God. We can find ways to be a blessing and encouragement to others, as well as receive the encouragement that comes our way. That is a big part of character training, but also a lifestyle which allows plenty of room and time for reaching out to family and neighbors and others we meet in friendship, sharing our time and energy to give to them.
Another freedom my kids experience while living without school is the freedom from bells and external schedules (yes, they do still learn to wait in line and take turns and do hard things). Also: bullies and unkindness and coarse and vulgar ways of speech that come out of nowhere and hit you repeatedly out in the world at large, and even in schools, is absent at home. How can a young person sit and stew in that kind of environment for 12 years in school and NOT have it profoundly affect them for life?
FREEDOM TO. Our kiddos are growing up surrounded by love in our home and close network of friends, family, and neighbors and enjoy all the best things that the world has to offer right now. They will meet the coldness and unkindness that can exist in the world when they are grown and mature enough to face it. Not stunted in growth, but prepared for further growth. Think greenhouse, not "sheltered."
This means our family gets to grow our own culture of kindness, without having to accept or integrate the school's, or the world-at-large's, interpretation of polite interaction. Um, how many people do you meet who are polite these days? At businesses or other places? (Not very many, at least where we live) We get to create / maintain our own social dynamic and set of social mores, to some extent.
I would love to say that means our kids never tease each other, but they are kids, so they are learning to control their impulses and choose kindness over selfishness. I will say, compared to what my siblings and I were like as children, our kids do tease a lot less, and I do attribute that to the kind of lifestyle we live in our family now. There is more of a general concern for each other, and this doesn't "go away" as the kids age, as is common in most kids who attend school.
I appreciate the freedom of schedules to wake up when we need to, especially when someone needs extra sleep, whether that's Mom who has a new baby and needs a few more Zzzzzs or a child who stayed up later than the rest of the family. I love the freedom to go to the library or the museum in the middle of the day when it's all ours while the other kids are in school! We all like the freedom to have a day of doing-nothing, or a day at the park or hiking when we feel like doing that.
Then, there's the freedom to read the same books over and over with the kids, and no one to say, move on to the next one!
We have 100% freedom to base what we learn off of our own interests, to create our "curriculum" from life.
|Making Lego stop motion videos with Dad.|
They get to keep all that experience gained forever! It's their own. No need to teach to a test, memorize disconnected facts, only to watch them forget them instantly in preparation for the next fact-testing barrage.
|The boys designed our fort with Dad, and watched and helped a little with construction.|
Can you tell I am really pumped up about home education?!
I really could just go on and on.
Maybe in another post... :-)
If you liked this post, you may also like:
Linda Dobson talks about "Homeschooling Starts in Many Different Places" at her blog Parent at the Helm.
Montserrat shares in this post why they homeschool
at Chocolate on my Cranium.
If the topic of home ed. intrigues you, I will have a series of 3 posts soon about how we came to choose home education for our family. Most of it is my journey, but I do include a few details about my husband in this. It will be fun to share this for those who are curious about how a family comes to that decision point, as well as for my own records.
It's our own story; we each write our own!
You are welcome to comment here with your own story
or a link to a post about what inspires you about home education.
Sharing is fun!