The Adventure of Homeschooling

I homeschooled my oldest until she was 12, my second child until he was 10. My five year old I am keeping out of kindergarten this year to have at least one more year with her. I have always loved learning and the greatest joy of parenting for me is being there when my kids follow their curious natures and end up in a place of wonder. This can apply to something as seemingly insignificant as “discovering” a new bug they’ve never seen before to something as necessary as a fundamental understanding of addition. To me it is all important and wonderful. Even though two of my kids are in traditional schools this year, I am still involved as much as I can by helping them study and giving whatever support I can.

My background in education is pretty varied. I have tutored numerous times, done an internship with a middle school Spanish teacher, spent two years as a French instructor at a major university, for three years volunteered many hours every week at an alternative “unschool,” developed curriculum for language education, plus many hours dreaming of the ideal learning environment and process, which to me is an infinite task since we all approach the world differently and thus need a slightly different presentation.

My major problem with traditional education is how much it limits the students through evaluation, literary canon, impersonal standards, just a general attitude of authoritarian implementation of limited subjects. Ideally I think that learning should be fueled by the natural enthusiasm and curiosity that children are born with and will retain if this spirit is not crushed early on. However, I am old enough to realize that my ideals must be tempered with realistic expectations so that they can best serve real needs in the real world.

The major obstacle I have encountered in my experience with homeschooling is that, at a certain age, a child’s natural need and desire to separate from their parents makes every lesson a torture. The kids want to explore further, they want to interact with adults that might be more compatible with their temperaments, they want to differentiate themselves to be their own individual. Their parents still have a lot to offer them, of course, they always will, but at a certain age they need other (safe) people to interact with and learn from/with. They just get too much direction and controlling oversight from their parents all day long, and it becomes too much. (I recognize that a lot of this may just be a result of my personality!)

In addition to other topics I explore, I will be writing essays reflecting on my experience with education, exploring various philosophies and ideas about learning, and also just dreaming about the possibilities for the future. I welcome questions, comments, ideas, and feedback.

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Filed under education, kids

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