Homeschooling

Homeschooling takes up so much of my life that it is difficult to write here without making a regular feature of it. As much fun as my goats and chickens are, the sad truth is that most of my everyday oatmeal existence is wrapped up in home educating my children and the kitchen life cycle of cleaning, cooking, eating, cleaning, cleaning, cooking, eating, cleaning.

Homeschooling is the most complex relationship in my life. It is a love/hate thing.

I love homeschooling for the time it gives me with my children; I hate homeschooling for the time it takes from me.

I love homeschooling for the childhood time it has given my children; I hate the way it prevents me from getting ahead with my projects.

I love homeschooling for the way it is organic and holistic; I hate the way it permeates my whole house.

I love it for the way my kids are engaging in real learning; I hate it for the way it is a consuming passion.

There are days when I long to be normal, and there are days when I wouldn’t trade homeschooling for the world. Ultimately, I won’t give it up, because I know it’s the best choice for my children, and because I would have a very difficult time fitting into the systems schedule after all these years. The teachers should be glad our kids are kept home. Years of making your own holidays would be hard habit to kick.

With such a complicated emotions on the subject, you may well wonder why I homeschool. Funny, but of all the questions I’ve fielded on the subject that is an unasked question. Perhaps, it is because people think they know why you homeschool. Perhaps it is because they fear an attack on their particular educational choice.  Most of the comments received are positive: “O, that’s great, my sister’s old roommate’s third cousin twice removed homeschools her kids, too.”  Some are slightly veiled expressions of disapproval: “Will you continue through high school?” “What about Algebra?” “What other activities do your kids do?” The first two are sometimes curiosity, but feel like mistrust in your academic ability. The latter is just another way of asking the socialization question. Rarely, one encounters clear hostility: “Well, I guess some people do that.”  I make a point of not being offended by anything less than point-blank attacks from strangers.  The one comment that puzzles me is: “I could never do that!”  Strangely, this comment sometimes comes from women working demanding jobs which require serious organization skills.

Homeschooling isn’t easy, nor is it mandatory for good parenting, nor is it the right fit for all families. But if it is a good fit for you and yours, or if  you had to homeschool, it would be doable.  This comment always has the unintended effect of making me feel like a disappointment to the homeschool mom race. Not only do I not even own a denim jumper, I do no impossible feats, I don’t grow every veggie we eat, and I don’t feed my family on $50 a month.

The short answer to why we  personally home educate is: because we like the lifestyle; because my philosophy of education is completely different from the system’s philosophy; because it is the most efficient way for my kids to get the whole education I feel responsible to give them.

I was homeschooled for nine years of my education, and I have homeschooled my children for nine years as well. Over the years I have discovered what works for us and what does not, and it still a learning process.  I would like to share some of that here, over time.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Homeschooling

  1. Thanks Shannon! I loved being homeschooled and am thankful for all the work and years my mom put into it. It was HARD work and it did take over the house and her life! I’m sure we didn’t receive a “perfect” education (does such a thing exist? I’m still being educated… it’s never done!) but even without a college degree (gasp!) she did a a really excellent job with all four of us. Our philosophy of education doesn’t line up at all with public school either, for many reasons, so we will homeschool ours (or if the Lord opens doors for a Sacred Road school, they will go to a very alternative-style Christian school with the other kids here on the reservation). Do you mind me asking whether there is a general philosophy “out there” that you do line up with for your kids’ education? The more we look at Charlotte Mason’s ideas, the more sold we are on them.

  2. “I”m still being educated…it’s never done.” I feel the same way, too. A sense of always learning is something I hope to foster in my girls. It shouldn’t ever be done.
    Charlotte Mason’s philosophy is super, it’s one of things I’d like to have time to write about. I used a lot of her ideas, especially when the girls were younger, and still find that her basic idea of “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline and a life” is very ingrained in how we do things now. We use more textbook type books now that the girls are older, but still try to make sure that they are “living.”
    You may have already read, “When Children Love to Learn” edited by Elaine Cooper, it is a great book about how CM ideas are used in a class room. Starting a CM style cottage school would be such an exciting venture!