Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thoughts on Homeschooling

Jason and I have decided to homeschool our kids. Originally, I was on board and he wasn't. My mom had been working on me, trying to convince me that homeschooling was the best option for our kids. I was convinced but he wasn't. Then HE started working on me about sending Hunter to school for the 'socializing' aspect. As I started to get more convinced his direction, he started leaning more towards homeschooling.

Several factors came into consideration:

First of all, the thing that is on everyone's mind in light of the recent shootings at Virginia Tech is safety. Granted, school shootings are few and far between and I'm sure if you take a look at statistics many more children die in car crashes than school shootings.

Then there is the issue of different learning styles. Take my ridiculously intelligent brother David for instance, couldn't hardly pass a class in school to save his life. So they administer standardized tests and he tests on a near genius level. He takes the ASVAB (Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery) and scores a 99, the highest you can score! To look at his grades you would think he should have been in special education. The fact is he's a hands-on learner who soaks up knowledge like a sponge but given homework and worksheets he gets bored and therefore fails. Classrooms, textbooks and flashcards aren't necessarily the answer for all kids. I want my kids to be able to learn by doing, to be able to explore where their interests lie, not by what 'unit' their teachers curriculum dictates.

Another issue is time. Kids are only kids once. They need a chance to be KIDS. When a child spends 6-7 hours a day at school, 2-3 hours commuting to and from school and then hours upon hours of homework each night, where is the time for play? Where is the time for the REAL learning that comes natural to children? Kids LOVE to learn, thats their full time job. How much more will they actually learn if instead of spending their day regurgitating curriculum they spend the day playing at the Science Museum, then come home and read books about Einstein, because they WANTED to?

More importantly is the INNOCENCE of our children that is lost in public school. We take great care to ensure that our children don't witness violence on TV, don't hear curse words and are surrounded by loving parents. I am saddened by knowing that there are parents out there who don't treat their children the way we do, who allow them to watch whatever they want on TV, play violent video games, curse and argue in front of their children and create kids that mimic themselves. When my 5 year old child is exposed to other kids who have had an upbringing so very different from their own, he isn't old enough to discern right from wrong. The 'foreign' words he hears from other children are easily incorporated into his developing vocabulary. The violent acts other kids act out on the playground are permanently emblazoned in his mind. His innocence is lost!

Some will argue that we are planning to shelter our children. You're damn right.

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