The more people I tell that we are homeschooling, the more questions are raised as to why. I cannot begin to list all of the reasons, but I can attempt to share a little insight.
#1- I LOVE to teach!!!
period. that is it. I love to create lesson plans and every other part of the creativity of being a teacher. And to teach my kids. AWESOME!
Now onto the more “political” answers.
#2- The way we MUST teach today is not developmentally appropriate.
There are numerous studies out that suggest children reading at an early age has no benefit later on in school. (As I say that, someone will find a study that says just the opposite. I understand how research works.) The consensus seems to be that “formal schooling” start at age 6-7. I am going to stick with what feels right in my gut. Stacey entered Kindergarten just turning 5 and reading and bored out of her mind. Sydney struggled through Kindergarten reading barely keeping up with the level she was supposed to be on. EVERY child is different!
I was reading Writing with Ease by Susan Wise Bauer and an excerpt that really caught my eye was:
In years 1-4, it’s not necessary for the student to do original writing. In fact, original writing (which not only requires mastery of both steps of the writing process [articulate ideas–>ideas in words and then ideas into words–>words on paper], but the ability to find something original to say) is beyond the developmental capability of many students.
Yet in 4th grade in the state of Texas we expect our students to be able to come up with a creative, original piece of written work filled with voice. Bah humbug to that!
During the first four years, it is essential that students be allowed instead to concentrate on mastering the process: getting ideas into words, and getting those words down on paper.
Sydney loves to write…and will never be discouraged from doing so. Stacey hates to write and I see her needing this time to master the writing process.
#3- A few important things are being taken out of public school.
Handwriting. Syd’s is atrocious to say the least. Over the last 4 years in PS, she has spent little time mastering her letters and I just cringe when I read something she writes. It is not tested so why bother? They only need to know how to appropriately fill in bubbles for the state test.
Letter writing. How many children today know how to appropriately write a letter to someone, address it and put it in the mail? A dying art I know, but still, I know my grandparents are not on email and love to receive handwritten letters. (Again…the need for neat handwriting…)
There are so many more things that come to mind that I want my children to learn about…and we will…but those are for future posts.
#4- Unlimited electives.
I want my girls to be able to take Spanish or art everyday if it interests them. In public school, you are only limited to what is being offered unless you want to pay for outside activities after school. I now get to tailor a curriculum that I know they will enjoy and flourish with.
As a teacher with 22 students, on a variety of different levels, with many activities to get done during the day, there is wasted time. It is unavoidable. I know, I have been there. I expect that it will take a lot less time during the day to grasp the same content (if not more) working one-on-one with a teacher. Not to mention, how precious is it that I get to spend the most formative years with my children?!?!
I used to joke with people that I spent more awake time with my students then they did with their own parents. Now that I have children of my own…that thought makes me sad.
Their social lives? They have activities they are involved with now that will keep them with peers their own ages and those activities will only increase.
But how will they learn conflict and resolution? We have lots of conflict and resolution in our house. I am not worried.
Really…Would it do you any harm to remove the middle school years from your life? 🙂