Friday, May 30, 2008

Ramblings from a home schooling mom (part 2)

Another mom who is seeking what to do for school next year was asking questions that got me thinking along this line again. Sometimes it is hard to talk to others about "school." Every family, every person, every situation and personality, and mix of all those things, is so different, that it is hard to relate or compare from one house to another. What works one place may be a total disaster somewhere else. I have also found this to be a highly divisive subject - nearly everyone has a strong opinion about why one should or shouldn't home school, public school, private school, etc., and often, though not always, a tendency to judge those who are following different paths, usually without knowing their situation or where they are coming from (I confess to being guilty of this from time to time, especially in the past, though not so much anymore).

I realized after the conversation with her that there are also a lot of hopes and expectations that many of us tend to have before we venture out into homeschooling that are not likely to turn out the way we envision them, and maybe don't need to.

For example, "Homeschooling will need to be more 'fun' than going to school." She made the point that I don't have the "accountability" of my kids having been in school and having that to compare to their experience at home. Sometimes I wish they could go for about a month to just get a taste of how good (I perceive) that they have it at home! But her concern is that her kids love going to school, especially the social aspects of it, and that she has to replicate or improve upon that if she brings them home, and that they will need to get out of the house every day for social time because they are used to it.

This is where it is hard to compare. To start with, personalities are so different. I don't mind (and am finding that the kids prefer as well) if we don't go anywhere for days at a time, and at our house, "school" (I'm going to start using "HS" to refer to school at home and "school" to refer to school outside the home) goes better if we don't run around too much. Since most of our extracurricular activities have ended, other than church, we've only gone somewhere in the car about once every two weeks, and not one of them has asked to go more.

It seems like I've read some good threads with lots of input on this adjustment topic on the Sonlight forums. There are also lots of great discussions about various curriculum choices (something I am trying to finish sorting through right now for the coming school year - more on that soon).

As far as HS being more "fun" there are strong opinions about this as well. There are books and books about how school at home should not replicate school at school. That the kids shouldn't just be sitting and doing workbooks all day is more or less the point I believe, and that it should all be enjoyable - they will just love to learn. And for those parents who have the energy and gifting to make nearly all of their children's' academic learning a rich, highly involved, hands-on, interactive situation, it is a great idea - go for it. I do not fit in that category. And I think it is possible to still have a good learning experience following a set or standard curriculum of some sorts. I try to bring in some crafts and other experiences to enrich what we're studying, but I would be in the looney bin for certain if I tried this approach full-on, and there would be no systematic learning. But that is due to my inadequacy and not any fault of that approach to teaching.

There was more to this discussion and it sparked some other thoughts, but that garage sale (and the kids) is still needing my attention - 30 hours from now it should be all wrapped up!


  1. I loved reading your comments. Isn't it crazy how far we've come since we first started?

  2. I've come to accept that schooling choices are much like food choices; i.e. I love Chinese food but my husband does not. Neither of us are wrong. It's just a matter of what "tastes" good to each. I tend to only be bothered by those who will outright dismiss an option without ever having "tasted" it.... =D