Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Homeschooling Epiphany

Like most people, when first faced with homeschooling I thought eek! Why would you want to do that!? But after a few more years parenting and a lot of reading i'm sold on the idea.

The biggest thing so far has been the mindshift needed-and I think even a lot of homeschoolers don't make that mindshift. Namely, homeschool doesn't have to be anything like school, and that's the beauty of it. I like to be prepared, so even when my eldest was three I was looking around, trying to work out what people were doing with their kids, what curriculum to use, what they 'had' to learn by each age by going to the state education websites.

And one day it clicked-I want to homeschool to provide my children with a different education. I think most schools fall far short of what they could achieve in terms of depth and breadth of education, simply because they are limited by how they are set up. We don't have those limits, so why impose them on ourselves? Why give ourselves the same goals of say, Australian history in Grade 4? Homeschooling allows us the total freedom to introduce whatever concepts and areas we and the kids want at the time we want in the way we want. We don't have to work to a strict schedule, we can take advantage of times of interest and teachable moments and build on it. I can introduce things that schools just don't really-good quality literature is the best example.

We're not restricted to skimming over piles of subjects to give children a 'taste' of everything, with no time to stop and explore more-if they like it, they can immerse themselves in it. If they're loving something, they don't have to stop just because the bell rings, and if they're really hating something, we can put it aside for another day when the mood is better. On a larger scale, they're not limited to a few weeks of one area, the same as they're not forced to do anything they're not ready for. I do think this will avoid the typical 'hates'-'I hate maths' usually translates to 'I had a lot of trouble/needed more help/was behind so i've learnt maths is nothing but a chore'. And education isn't something that you just do at school-it's lifelong and fun.

It's working beautifully so far-we don't push anything but they have such a thirst for knowledge that we don't have to. They want to learn about everything, even at their young ages. Even after only about a year of making a conscious effort to provide a rich environment for them and put lots of educational things in their path for them to take up if they like, ignore if they like, they have learnt so much.

I'm convinced!

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