My daughter is approaching school age and so comes the question about going to school. If we are presented with this question while we are out and don’t have time to talk, we will just say ‘yes she is’ and go on our way (as we know that the alternative can result in a lengthy conversation on homeschooling and our reasons for it!)
I know I don’t need to justify our family decisions to anyone, just like you don’t need to justify why your kids are having ice cream
for dessert! It’s nobody else’s business.
But I’m a teacher, so cannot pass up the opportunity to
educate people. So, if you are wondering
why we or anyone else for that matter would choose the homeschooling path,
then this post is for you. If you are considering homeschooling but are on the
fence, this may push you either way!
So, why are we choosing to educate our children at home?
Firstly, homeschool doesn’t equal school at home. I’m not tying my two kids to a desk for 6 hours a day and feeding them endless schoolwork!! As we all know, we can learn so much from being out and about in the real world. For this reason I prefer to call it life schooling or world schooling (but that’s a separate post for another time!)
Being an experienced teacher, I know that kids learn best when learning is related to their lives, but it is difficult to execute this ideal when you have 20-30 children to educate. Logistically it’s just not possible. What is relatable to one child, won’t be to another. With only two children to educate, I can achieve this quite easily. It’s a simple formula:
We go out into the world + we have an experience = we learn
Now some of these lessons will be predetermined (based on their needs, interests, etc) and others will be completely spontaneous and natural, the best kind of learning.
So, what happens when they get older?
Well the same formula will apply, but of course they will be interested in different things, be more independent learners and will require more complex explanations. If we don’t know the answer to something then we will find out together, because believe it or not, teachers (and adults in general) don’t have an answer to every single question!!!
The role of a teacher is to facilitate learning. To inspire
and enable children to be lifelong learners. Gone were the days when the teacher
knew all and was there purely to impart their knowledge onto the next
Another concern of anyone who comes across a homeschooled child is socialisation. It’s difficult not to laugh at this comment given the age that we live in. Forty years ago this would have been a legitimate concern but we are more connected globally than ever before. We have the opportunity to connect to like-minded people across the world through email, social media, video chat, blogs and websites. And homeschooling is on the rise so it is more likely that you will come across homeschooling groups in your local area. Thankfully we live in an area with a thriving homeschool community.
I see the socialisation that homeschooled children experience as being a lot more supportive, having adults nearby if an issue arises to model appropriate behaviour and assist in working through problems. Too many times I saw issues arise in the playground at school where no adult was present, and it became a ‘his word against hers’ scenario where nothing was resolved. Plus, teachers rarely have the time or energy to go deep into playground politics!
I hope this gives you a small insight into why we choose to educate our children at home. I know that this path has it’s challenges and is not for everyone. I am in no way judging other peoples decisions, as each person does what is right for their child and their family. This is purely my thoughts based on my experience as a student, teacher, art therapist and mum. I welcome any comments or questions. We are all here to learn from each other!