Sometimes it ain’t easy–but it’s worth it!

This moment July 2013There are those days when homeschooling feels incredibly more difficult than sending my child to public school. Often, well-meaning neighbors, friends, and even family question our reasons for homeschooling. “Isn’t he missing out?” they ask. My reply comes across with a tone of slight defiance, “Missing out on what? School food, bullying, fifteen hours a week on the bus or a standardized education system developed to ignore creativity and individuality?” He’s not missing much.

It’s true, he might be missing daily interaction with peers, but let’s be honest. Not all of that interaction is positive. “But wait,” you’re thinking “the world isn’t perfect, and our children need to learn how to get along with others!” Yes, I agree. But I also think that learning to get along with others can be facilitated at the grocery store, the playground, church, vacation bible school and most of all in the home.

It would, indeed, be easier to send him off at 6:20 am when the bus swings around and picks him up and then drops him in the late afternoon around 4:20 pm. That’s a long day for a young child. What is that teaching them? How much actual instruction time is my child gleaning from this day?

Eight years ago it never crossed my mind that I might be teaching my child math, language, science, art and real-life skills from my dining room table. It seemed perfectly normal that I should send my child to school. Everyone else is doing it, right?

Consider this quote:

The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.― H.L. Mencken

Wait, what is this? Is this saying that public education exists only to make “drones” out of our children? I’m not sure. I know it might be difficult, but I encourage each of us to respectfully question all we have been taught.

It might seem counterproductive to question long-held beliefs – as it might seem rebellious or defiant – but if we approach this questioning with authentic curiosity and genuine care we might create thinkers in our children as opposed to followers. Of course, some might argue that not all are leaders: that is true. But I do strongly believe it is our duty to install in to our children the ability to make decisions on their own eventually and in order to do that they must be able to weigh the pros and cons.

Homeschooling gives us the freedom to research different curricula, styles and levels of academic study. It also gives us the enormous responsibility of instilling so much more than academics in our children.

Where are you at in your homeschooling journey?

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4 thoughts on “Sometimes it ain’t easy–but it’s worth it!”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes I get worn out and think how much easier it would be just to drop them off at the school down the street, but then I think about the things you mentioned. Mom’s temporary frustration is not a bigger deal than what we’d lose if we stopped homeschooling.

  2. I agree with you; the investment is worth it. My husband and I wanted to raise thinking and productive individuals, not children who simply follow the crowd. What many don’t realize about the whole socialization myth is that real life includes interaction with all ages, not just our peers. Our children have graduated from homeschooling, and are living proof that homeschooling works. 🙂

  3. We aren’t at the point of homeschooling but that is the goal. My oldest is 3 and he can be very headstrong and difficult. I think at times… do I want to homeschool this? Isn’t it just better to send him off. Then I remember that is exactly WHY I want to homeschool. My child isn’t someone else’s responsibility. It isn’t to make my life easier or to have more time or to return to work. It is to make sure my child can develop fully to his abilities and can have talent and not lose who he is.

    I definitely think homeschooling will be a major challenge but there is so much that I missed out on in life because of public school. I want better for my children. Just like every other parent does.

    Great post.

  4. My daughter home schools her girls, ages 8 and 12. It is hard for her to get everything ready and prepare for 2 totally different age groups, but she does. She has joined a couple of groups and although sometimes it has been hard and sometimes the kids aren’t nice it would be no different if they were in public school. But the best part is that 95% of the time the other parents want to know what their children have done and they take care of the situation, just like it was in my day. These parents have all come together with one purpose in mind. Their children.They also have outings. Outings and gatherings that would not be possible if they were in public school. They socialize and come together and have fun. We will be teaching our grandchildren music theory, sewing, baking, gardening and whatever else comes up during their time with us during the week. And maybe, sometimes, they will just relax. Then their minds will grow. That is the time when they can soar to the unknown. And as we all know, imagination leads us to the most awesome places..

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