Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ten Reasons Why We Chose to Homeschool

I am once again happy to link up with Many Little Blessings and ihomeschoolnetwork for Ten on Tuesday :)

1.  To not be on anyone else's schedule.  One of the things I despised about my kids being in school was that our schedule was dictated by the teacher and school system.  We may have had plans to have dinner with family to celebrate a birthday...but the girls had a BIG test the next day.  I can't tell you how many times we would be looking forward to a long weekend, maybe planning a trip...and two days before the long weekend/school holiday the teacher would assign a BIG project due a few days after the long weekend/school holiday.

2.  We didn't agree with the focus on standardized tests.  Once our girls were in third grade all we heard about was "the test".  There were countdowns to the test.  Weekly emails about test prep.  Monthly barometers of your child's "test readiness".  Seminars for parents on helping your child get ready for the test.  Packets over holidays to brush up on test skills.  Workbooks that we were required to purchase for self-directed test prep.  My children's view of education was "I have to learn this because it's on the test"...not, this is interesting or this is cool or we are building on skills...nothing like that.  Just All Test All The Time.

3.  We didn't agree with/like some of the things being taught or the way things were being taught.  Our schools approached math from a spiral standpoint, not a mastery standpoint.  Rather than teach Latin and Greek roots for vocabulary there were extensive lists of really dumb words that my kids already knew the definition of.

4.  The instruction methods in school did not work with our children's learning style.  My girls need to learn for mastery.  Learning one thing makes them want to know more and more about it.  They grow anxious if they don't understand a concept fully.  To my personal way of thinking, this is a healthier style of learning than dabbling a little in a lot of things.

5.  To have more time to be creative.  My girls are both very creative, whether making things with Fimo clay, sewing, drawing, painting, knitting or making stop motion videos and American Girl doll furniture.  We can complete all of our lessons in 3-4 hours a day, thus giving the girls plenty of time to explore their creative side :-)

6.  To spend more time with our kids.  Childhood is fleeting.  We love our kids.  We know they won't be kids forever, one day they will grow up, move out, spread their wings...but for now, while they are in our care, we want to spend this priceless time with them.

7.  To not be SO influenced by peers.  I wrote a post Who Would Jump Off The Brooklyn Bridge?  When I was a kid, parents would ask their kids questions like that, if all your friends jumped off a bridge would you?  Nowadays, in our experience, many parents are wusses..."oh, all of your friends have 16 pairs of jeans and you only have 14...let's go out and buy you THREE more pairs!"  Parents are desperate for their kids to fit in at any and all costs.  Parents don't think about what is best for their kids, they even say, "Well, I didn't want them to have their own 52" TV, DVR, Wii, laptop, Kindle, Nook, ipad, iphone and XBox, but all of their friends have that stuff, how can you say no?"

8.  To go on more field trips and have more hands-on, real life learning.  In part this is because we value this kind of quality family time and in part it is because we believe that when you make REAL live, touchy-feely connections with what you are learning, you will retain it better.  We have toured Jamestown, Yorktown, Colonial Williamsburg...we have a membership to our local science museum...my girls have strapped on waders and gone out into the bay with naturalists...we value these experiences for what the girls learn.

9.  Because we think education and school are two different things.  This did not occur to us until we had removed our girls from school and saw how they made connections between things in a way that never happened in school.  We saw how our girls questioned things, how they wanted to dig in deeper.

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity." ~ Albert Einstein

10.  Because we think the best way to learn is to think for oneself.  We think the best way to learn is to think for yourself.  You may not have the same opinion as the guy next to you, but as long as you can both back up that opinion with facts...who is to say who is right and who is wrong?  My most rewarding educational experiences were when I was given freedom to form my own opinion or to support something that may have been untraditional, with facts and figures, those are times when I grew and learned more and I want that for my children.

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings