Thursday, January 21, 2010

Everything has a reason...and these are mine

Whenever I mention that I homeschool, there is an immediate white elephant that shows up in the room. And his name is "What's wrong with institutional or public education."
Well...if I started this post on that vein of thought, I wouldn't get around to talking about my real passion: why I homeschool.
But not to leave you empty-handed or dodge the issue, I will provide an alternative. If you enjoy reading then I highly recommend reading the book written by award winning teacher Dumbing Us Down: the Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Education by John Taylor Gatto. Here is a link outlining his main arguments. Find it here. It does a better job of verbalizing my thoughts about the current approach to education in the school systems.

Why I homeschool

1. Looking out at the World- First and most important to my husband and I is developing a Christian world-view. It is of the utmost importance to us that our children are rooted and grounded in the truth of God's Word--the Bible. It's also extremely important to us that they are taught through the lens of a creation. There is so much proof for Intelligent Design. (If I kept in this vein of thought I would veer off topic. So, I will refer you to this link as well as recommend you watch the DVD Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed to get you started.) Education has to be based and rooted in Truth.

2. And I don't mean the goofy kind- Character. If my children go through the education years learning facts and information but miss learning how to be integral, truthful, persistent, orderly, etc. I will have failed them as a parent. Homeschooling provides so many opportunities to instill value and meaning into your child's life through teachable moments that are constantly presenting themselves--whether academic or practical.

3. Practicality-Homeschooling gives me a chance to connect or bridge everything we're learning to daily life. Math takes on new meaning when it's applied at the grocery store, grammar is infused with meaning when writing a thank you card, reading becomes important when you want to make cookies. Everything we learn has meaning and rarely is heard, "Why do I have to learn this?" If it is asked, it's immediately applied to a daily real-life situation so it is relatable and can be understood as improtant.

4.Delight-Led- This is so huge for my family. Our children are varied in their interests and it's great that we can tailor-make school towards their interests. For example, dinosaurs are all the rage at my house this year. We learn math using dinosaur figurines to add and subtract, we write stories about dinosaurs, we do science based around dinosaurs, we have discussions about dinosaurs, etc. My child is fully engaged in the learning process becomes the medium in which the information is being learned is of high interest to my child.

5.Learning Style- There are multiple intelligences. I love that homeschooling allows me to adapt to each of the ways my child learns. I have one daughter who is extremely kinesthetic in her learning style. Concepts that are explained verbally are understood if she can do something physical as a way to retain the information. Imparting information and facts can take on new meaning for a child when they are represented in the best way that they learn.

6. Socrates is not just an old Greek guy- I love the Socratic method of teaching. What is it? Asking questions. Traditional school is usually someone telling you information. Socratic teaching or mediated learning is all about asking questions and requiring your child to think. And to think all the way to the full end of an idea. (ie. What do you think will happen if we put the vinegar in the baking soda? Why do you think that will happen?What happened when we did that? Why did it happen? Where can we find the information to get the reason why? How does this information change what you thought before?)

Homeschooling is a perfect fit for our family.
The reasons are obvious aren't they--the reason I homeschool is because I want my child to have the best education possible.

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