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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Homeschool IS different...

     It is exhausting defending the right and preference for homeschooling sometimes.  In one of my many opportunities to "explain" it, I think I finally hit on the right combination of words.  To sum it up in one word, I would choose the word "different".  Home school is different than public school.  Home school is different than private school.  Home school is different than parochial school. 
     Now, to only speak for myself from this point on, I would say...we are not trying to recreate any school method at home.  We don't have to, we don't want to, we don't need to.  Those methods are in place because one teacher has a room full of same-age kids, doing the same thing at the same time.  I took "methods" classes in college, that is where you learn classroom management, discipline and behavior modification techniques, mostly. Teaching certain material to certain kids with different learning styles is talked about, but reality dictates that you would have to figure that out as you go, based on real kids and real curriculum.  Any logical person can surmise that one teacher is not going to be able to teach the same material in the same way to  all kids and have a 100% success rate.  They have to vary their methods, or develop a method that will  efficiently encompass MOST students.  Herein lies the frustration for classroom teachers...they are expected to reach all students sufficiently in each subject area during the allotted class time...with no child left behind.  In order not to leave anyone behind, they may teach geared toward the slowest learner, thus slowing down the whole class.  There are procedures followed in a public school because of school rules, government statutes, and requirements that fluctuate depending on who is the principal, superintendent, governor, etc.   God Bless those is challenging, I'm sure.
          That addresses merely Academic issues.  Then there is everything else.  How do you want your kids to dress: modestly. How do you want them to act: with character and integrity.  How do you want them to speak:  respectfully.  How do you want them to treat other people:  with kindness.  A public school is definitely a showcase for the gamut of ill-behavior...fighting, cursing, promiscuity, immodest dress.  I can honestly report great statistics for attendance and good behavior in our home school.  Before I go on a tangent here, I don't want to get into comparing. 
     Naturally there is going to be overlap among school methods and home school methods.  We do have curriculum, we do have goals, there are assignments and field trips.  Our pace, however, is not dictated by an outside entity, it is dictated by individual need.  I sometimes get caught up in the comparison game..."so and so" is in Kindergarten and she can read...your daughter is in first grade and she can't.  AAAAARRRRGGGHHH! That pierces my pride, because I know if I had sent my daughter to school, under the same circumstances day in and day out as "so and so", she would be able to read by now, too.
 So what. 
I have enjoyed her company at home, and her creativity has been stretched and utilized and provided many learning opportunities in the realm of problem solving.  Her many scenario's often include constructing a store, making paper money, labeling her toys for sale, writing invitations to the grand opening (spelled phonetically, not correctly, but that's OK), or she is the librarian and gathers a collection of books.  She likes to play outdoors with her siblings, imagination in full steam there, as well.  Freedom is priceless.
   To reword my point one else need worry that my kids are "behind" their public/private/parochial school peers...we are not on that track.  We are not in that race.  We are doing something different here, it is organic in nature, it is unfolding on its cannot predict it, judge it, evaluate it.  We have goals here, they are both spiritual and practical, and I don't expect everyone to agree with me, but I deserve the right to home school, just as much as others deserve the right to choose public or other schools for their kids.  This is America, people have fought and died for freedoms such as these...Indiana is a very "home school-friendly" state, and that is not lost on me.   I am grateful for this opportunity to educate my own children as I see fit, and I intend to revel in this particular freedom.