Thursday, August 27, 2015

All Children are Homeschooled

During my big angsty time spent reading everything I could find about schooling ( at home or otherwise) I read a book called "Going Public"  by David and Kelli Pritchard.  Its a fantastic book if you are thinking about where to send your kids for school ( or not) and provides an example of a large Christian family who wanted to disciple their kids in the Christian faith but also chose for their kids to attend public school.

One quote of theirs when asked why they didn't homeschool their children ( i.e weren't they worried their kids would pick up all sorts of bad behaviors or be disadvantaged academically), they answered "we do! everyone does!" "Some just do it more than others".

I somewhat agree with this statement, and of course if it is said as a defence for not homeschooling its not something I am going to press home. No one can parent your kids for you, if your child struggles with a subject, your intervention and help is more important than the teacher's, even if it is the teacher who helps them grasp even numbers, your attitude, encouragement and cooperation is essential.

However, I also find myself squirm a bit when I hear this statement, because although all parents teach their children more than any other person at most stages of their life, homeschooling... I have to tell you, is different.

Now, I am not a teacher or school basher, or a 'homeschooling is everything' person, but I chose to do it for distinct reasons, some of them are because I think it is better for my family.  Now, this is not the place where you need to convince me that school is good.  I'm sure its fine, just not for us.  Just like you may choose not to do zumba, but you like crossfit, or you hate eggs but love chicken.  Its not about a personal attack on you, which is what often these discussions can turn into when we say it is just...different.

When you homeschool, there is no-one to give you a report of how your child behaved at school, you observe it in all its horrendous glory at a local park, when they push a child off the swing or shout at them with the volume and intensity of a wind tunnel.  There is no-one to tell you your kid is dyslexic,  gifted, aggressive, or struggling with a concept, you are there *dealing with ALL of it, ALL the time*.

 Its painfully true when you have a streaming cold but your five year has decided they want to tackle a reader aimed two years older than they are and doggedly pushes through learning to sound out and read words like "en-vi-ous" and "scam-per-ing". Its exhaustingly true when the science area out the back needs cleaning, and you have no lab assistant.  Its disappointingly true when you are not only the mum, but the chef, shopper, acting coach, an extra in every play, the designer of building projects, reading teacher, science teacher, phys ed coach and nutritionist.

Its also wonderfully true when you get to see your children master a new skill in your very presence, or your child automatically starts craft time and create something with some straws, an egg carton and rubber bands and its still true when you are the one who gets asked the tricky questions and you find them out, together.

So yes, there is no one right way to educate your kids.  But we aren't *really* all homeschooling.  I'm not saying homeschooling is the only way or even the best way, but it is a different way and it has different stresses.  There is no school run or lunchboxes ( well only sometimes) and there are no uniforms to iron, projects to complete the night before, costumes to make, forms to sign, school is also a challenge but they are different challenges.  The real commonality between it all is that we are ALL parents and all want the best for our kids, we just choose different ways to do that.

So, still friends?? :)