Sunday, September 25, 2005
What Do You Mean PART-TIME Homeschooler?
The idea of homeschooling is not new, but there are as many different approaches and reasons for homeschooling as there are families that engage in the practice. One of my personal favorite approaches is John Holt's idea of "Growing Without Schooling." He is regarded as the father of the 'unschooling' movement (a child-centered learning style of homeschooling your child). I also like the classical educational approach. (I know they seem like opposites, but I DO use both - I'm a radical.) And why do folks homeschool you ask? There are the families that live so far away from schools that it just doesn't seem practical. There are also a growing number of families that don't think traditional schooling and its environment is the best way to LEARN. Margaret Mead once said," My grandmother wanted me to have an education, so she kept me out of school."
I realize that most define homeschoolers as families that physically take their children out of school. I did too, until I went to my first homeschooling conference, and my first homeschooling group. What I have said before, I will say again here. If you want to see some dynamic, in charge, empowered women, go to a homeschooling conference. Those women OWN their children's education and they DON'T PLAY! What I found out was that what distinguished these women from other parents who supplement their child's education is that homeschooling moms take 100% responsibility for their child's education. And, by the way, I noticed they defined this broadly, to include being able to look things up in the yellow pages, wash clothes, use a map to get where the family needs to go and so on. I remember a mother talking about her two teenagers that she homeschooled. One was a pilot, the other was about to go to school for art and art history - she had spent hours and hours drawing and reading about art every day because she could.
In many ways, this is the sort of model I am following. Sure, my son goes to preschool, but I take 100% responsibility for his education and learning. I won't rely on his traditional schooling for a solid foundation in reading, sciences and math. He will get that from me through literature, natural sciences and math concepts. At the same time, I will continue to follow and encourage his interests (with some guidance) like dinosaurs and take that as far as he wants. As you may have seen in past posts, LO has learned more and more easily through his interest in dinosaurs than through school drills and worksheets. My latest focus is to get him more involved in chores and all kinds of planning of family activities.
Now you may say, "it's too much." Children will just get burned out this way. I disagree. My son is not just developing his interests, he is learning how to develop himself. And incidentally, it's a great source of pride for him and for inventive play. So I'll continue on my journey until sometime when it doesn't seem to work for us anymore. So far, so good.
to look out for his interest before he is capable. There should be more families like yours.
Another way parents supplement their children's education (or homeschool) is guide them to additional resources to complete projects or answer questions vs telling them the answers. The internet, public library and dictionary are wonderful tools. So are friends and family members who have direct knowledge of the task at hand.
Many parents do not have the time or the means/resources to truly homeschool their children. But many more parents have the time and the means to supplement their child's education. Some do this and some do not.
I agree with the first person's comments -- "...everyone can take deliberate actions to ensure that their child becomes educated and enchanted with the world around them - and responsible for this 100%". I wonder what would happen in our schools if more parents did this?
Keep up the great work!!