If you didn’t know already, our family consists of four children and the oldest little love is four. That big, little munchkin is going to a preschool program two days a week. I love watching the joy of learning through her perspective. She has cried many times on the days she doesn’t get to attend school with her teachers and friends. Everything she has learned so far, she has learned through play and some structured table work, but mostly play. I love, love, love this Early Childhood Education Center she attends, but I also have concerns lurking in the background.
How do we keep the desire to learn and go to school alive in this little girl? How did I become a young child that didn’t even want to get out of bed for school, tried pretending I was sick to get out of class, and all the usual burnout symptoms? What is the appropriate learning process for my children? What do I need to be doing for my children going forward?
I’m not sure how I stumbled along the though of home schooling my children, but I did. Maybe it was because I started to feel like I was throwing my child to the wolves to fend for herself (even though she was surviving just fine). Maybe it was because I question my husband’s drive for success in all areas of his life, and I’m not certain that path is right for our oldest child (though it may fit her in the long run). I’m not sure how, but something drew me to look into home education for our kiddos.
I read, and read, and read some more. I have plenty more to read on further, too, but I’m hooked. I want to offer this type of education for my baby hooligans, especially through the first few grades, and here’s why. Since my kids are so close in age, I’ve seen so many differences in a multitude of areas from child to child. I see different learning speeds already. Our three year old boy thrives in memorizing educational information and enjoys puzzles and STEM-like activities. Our four year old daughter could care less about letters, but she’s amazingly smart at remembering information about her family and friends. She loves doing chores and is so independent. Her life skills far exceed my expectations. In just discussing these two children for now, I can see sending them to the same style school would not be the right choice.
Before I go any further, I need to disclose some vital information. My husband is NOT on board with my desire. He doesn’t see it as being logical. If I’m being completely honest, I’ll wager to say he doesn’t think I’m smart enough to teach his children to be successful adults. I can’t blame him for thinking this way, because when my mom took out my little sister from school to home school her from fourth grade through sixth grade, I thought the very same thing.
From the information I’ve read (purely biased information by the way) the idea of home schools are to create a more rounded child. Teaching your child to work in the home, to provide service for others in society, guiding them towards interests you can’t always find in a school setting, to promote academic learning is essential. My husband, like many other human beings in the world, would argue you can do these things outside of school, but that just sounds like extra demands on the child. Which counteracts my thoughts on burnout for kids in school.
Here’s a thought for you. Your child goes to school all day long, then comes home with about an hour’s worth of homework. That is an added hour of structured time, and more often than not, undesired time away from relaxing family time. I don’t mind homework for kids because, obviously, I think there is value in learning in the home. I do mind wasted time. In school (any type of school) there is always wasted time. You’re sorely mistaken if you think your child is doing lessons for six hours each school day. Yes, there’s lunch and recess, but there’s also waiting in lines. Lots of waiting in lines. When I worked as a paraprofessional in a Kindergarten classroom, I couldn’t believe how little time these children had to eat lunch. Each class took turns being last in line, but when you were, the teachers were ushering out the first class that sat down while you were still getting your tray. All that time wasted in line, when lunch could have been eaten slowly and each kid could have actually enjoyed their food. My point is, there’s a lot of wasted time in schools in order to keep things running smoothly, it isn’t bad on the school’s part, it is necessary, but I don’t want that for my kids.
If you had a career and you were given the option to stay at home and get your work done, don’t you think you could finish faster than eight hours a day? Wouldn’t it be nice to have the flexibility to go run an errand whenever you needed and still get your tasks accomplished? Wouldn’t you feel more relaxed at getting to dress comfortably, maybe kick your shoes off, and get away from your desk more? Sometimes I wonder who we are training our kids to become. I don’t want my child to be an adult working in a cube farm.
I’m dreaming of giving my children the gift of knowledge through the desire to want to know. I want to give my kids time to be children instead of forcing them to grow into this molded student. Hopefully, I can offer my kids love and encouragement to seek out their own answers and give them the confidence to make mistakes. So many great people were home schooled, partly because of the times, but still they became great thinkers and members of society. George Washington, George Washington Carver, and my all time favorite Albert Einstein. Do you know his story?
Albert Einstein was considered unteachable, and the teacher said he would never amount to anything. He was thought to be intellectually disabled. This day in age that means Severe and Profound Special Education classes and probably not stepping foot in a typical classroom for any structured academics. His mom loved him and brought him home to teach him what she could. She knew she didn’t have much to offer, she didn’t consider herself educated. What would Albert Einstein be without his mother’s lessons?
Now, let’s be clear, I don’t plan on raising any Einstein’s, but I also don’t plan on stopping them from learning the things they long to know. As a former Special Education teacher, I know how hard it is to truly individualize each child’s education in the typical classroom. However I’m doing it everyday here at home with my kids now. It is a dream, that I’m preparing myself for (in case it becomes reality).
Love to all the moms out there who have hopes and dreams for their kids and have their own ideas of what best suits their family. It is hard to go against the grain, but when you know the outcome you want for your babies, it sheds a different light on the matter.