I am a Homeschooler. It is not what my youthful mind ever imagined myself doing but, many years later, here I am, homeschooling our children. Consistently I am asked, “Why?!”; oftentimes I am urged, in one way or another, to consider other options, if just for my own sake. And almost always I am asked, “What about socialization?” and “What about your own life?”. These are valid questions, for which I have, I hope, valid answers.
First, there are many reasons that have lead me to take this path. Most important among them is that I want to give our children a better education than our schools can currently offer. When I think of an education, I do not visualize a system whose end is to develop a worker whose end goal is a career. That is what vocational schools and apprenticeships are for, in other words, job training. A proper education should be something that helps individuals to understand humanity better, with the goal of making them good citizens who can think freely and with an open mind. A proper education not only gives students access to philosophies and ideas that have developed over the millennia and have greatly influenced our very own culture, but helps students to understand them, as well. It is achieved through much reading (of the fiction variety), much thought and reflection, and far less standardization.
Education, drawn from the latin educere, means “to lead out.” To lead out of what? Well, if we consider one who is not educated to be ignorant, then we will say that to educate one is to lead one out of ignorance. That is what I want to do.
Homeschooling, and all that it entails and affects, dominates my thoughts and my time these days. Of course there are questions, struggles, and doubts that I have. Many times, especially when I consider how society judges my success, I feel like throwing in the proverbial towel. When I have to convince a child that 3 hours of school is much better than 8, or fight the whining, or witness displays of lack of effort, well, it’s enough to drive this perfectionist and learning enthusiast mad. It is at those times I wonder what my life would be like otherwise.
Almost daily, though, I am confronted with a reminder of why I need to stick with it. When I see the jumps in the step-function of a child’s educational growth, it is inspiring and awesome. Witnessing an “a-ha!” moment a child has, watching him or her learn to read and get excited about it, and practically hearing the wheels turn in their heads – it’s all so incredible and heart-warming.
My hope is to write more about our homeschooling journey, why we do it and how it evolves. Maybe I can answer, over time, the questions people have about our choice to go this route. And perhaps writing about it will help remind me to better see the value in what I do, too. That would be a wholly different post!