05 August 2010

Is just equality in school...

I know that most of you know both how awesome homeschooling is and how much we love it, but allow me to count the ways that I have fallen in deep, earth shattering love with this way of learning. Actually, I can't count them, but I have thought of 10 reasons.

1..I am a teacher by heart and by nature. I have been able this year to share learning with my children. I have had the privilege that I am so afraid another adult would take for granted to watch my children learn, grow, and explore. I have been able to give them time to speak and to listen and figure things out. And, it has been magical.

2..I have met the most amazing women. My faith in humanity and in myself has been restored this year. I have found kindred spirits and formed friendships that I hope are long lasting. Homeschool moms rock my world. They do so much weighing what in life really IS important. Smart, funny, loving, and kind. I never really liked girls too much until I met them. Now I know, they are out there, and I don't feel so alone or unique.

3..The kids got to do so many fun things, so many field trips and co-ops. I have documented them all here, just click on homeschooling. We had a year 100 times better than making my inquisitive child learn how to stand in a straight line and identify the abcs, only because that's what you do in kindergarten..

4..We owned our experience. We owned our day.. No one else.. Now that is freedom. No bells or punch cards, but rather a natural ebb and flow of our own chosen activities. Our year was ours, and we had what we made..

5..Our home was our responsibility, and learning was up to us. We learned that to eat, we had to cook, and grow food, and plan. We found out how to make learning happen. The way we experienced life and learned was our job.

6..We got to demonstrate to our kids that family and home were of utmost importance instead of just paying lip service to our principals and core beliefs. Evan and I got to be THE examples for our children. We got to choose our acquaintances based on folks who saw things pretty close to the way we did.

7.. My kids got to learn at their own pace. We based our lessons and field trips on things they thought were interesting and cool. And, then, they didn't have to learn something by a certain time and date or else. Ollie didn't have to color, unless he wanted to. Eli got to act silly without a parent teacher conference about said silliness. Self-paced, individualized learning is a buzz word in education right now, but that is much easier to do with two kids that you know extremely well.

8...We got to be flexible. We got to travel without "missing" school. We got to sleep late and read on the floor in our pajamas. We got to change plans, get lost driving, or be bummed because something didn't play out as planned. All, very, very important lessons and experiences for adults, too..

9..I had time to be a homemaker. I had time to cook, and clean, and garden, and hang laundry out, and wear my apron. I loved it.

10..(Last one..) We got to buck the system. We got to question the why behind our public education system both in practice and philosophy. We began to ponder the importance of methods and curriculum. We began to evaluate our own lives in light of this discovery that life doesn't have to be a hamster wheel of work, buy, sleep, work, buy, sleep. We can teach our children so much more about life than a school that is preparing them to join the workforce and be a productive citizen. Our goal contridicted school districts that are forced to try to get every kid know the exact same thing and demonstrate that in the exact same way. Our kids didn't have to think about or know the "standard". We can teach them about learning for learning, to pursue dreams and inquisitions, and to ask questions.


Shug said...

Just seeing you go through this transition is so sad. You have exceeded all of my expectations with homeschooling and certainly shot down all of my pre-conceived notions of what homeschooling actually is. I know that Ollie is going to love first grade, but the first time I hear of his creativity being stifled or of his imagination being squashed or he is forced into the "proverbial box", I WILL come out with the gloves on. No one better mess with my boy! Hell hath no fury like a grandmother/public school teacher when the grandson is involved. I love all of you.

Ethan and Danielle said...

A good public school teacher will undoubtedly allow your children to speak, learn, and listen at their own pace as well. It is my sincere hope that Ollie gets to have one of these "good" teachers. A good teacher knows how to teach the standards in ways that are creative, fun, and interesting. Teachers who can't or won't do this, in my opinion, should have chosen a career other than education. I have no doubt that Ollie will thrive in first grade and will love it. Too bad Aunt Danielle can't be his first grade public school teacher! :)