Home schoolers are an odd bunch. You have those that chose to home school so they can challenge their child more than in the school system, and those that chose to home school to reject curriculums and testing.
Some kids are at home because they have emotional or intellectual issues, and some are there because they are involved with music, sports or the arts and don’t have the time for school.
People choose to home school for so many different reasons that I have given up assuming that I will have anything in common with another home schooling parent.
In our family we are ‘unschoolers’ who do not follow a rigorous schedule but do follow grade level supplementary work books. I know home schoolers who do a lot more work than us, and those who do a lot less.
Ultimately, no matter how different the style of home schooling, the results are pretty similar. Home schoolers almost always decide to go to school at some point, they get along really well with their siblings and they are all as smart and capable as they ever were going to be.
Home schooling is actually just an extension of how you parent. In our case we like to give our children the ability to choose. If they don’t want to go to school, they don’t have to, and they can if they want.
Although you might think children would give you mixed messages on this, we have found that they are quite clear. It is either, I am ready, let’s go, or no, I want to be at home.
I have been asked numerous times, by those who are clearly critical of our style, whether going in and out of school is upsetting for the children. I can say unequivocally, it is fine. When our kids say, this year I’d like to go to school, off they go. They have not missed any important information, and they adjust to the schedule and the social scene right away.
The teachers love home schoolers, because they want to be there and they enjoy learning, and the other kids at school could care less whether a kids was home schooled.
How enlightening to discover that the all-important curriculum that drives the poor teacher’s every move is actually just a hodge podge of information that they can pick up in a week!
Our three children are, respectively, in the second year of college, in Grade 9, and the youngest, at home. The child at home loves every second of it, just as the others did.
My utopian vision would be to have a ‘free’ school in my community. The children could go to the school in a casual manner, without the ‘punctuality and attendance’ emphasis so important to the school system at present (and only created to train the next generation to work in factories).
My most severe criticism of the school system is that they treat children like animals or nascent criminals. I believe that if the schools treated children with more respect and dignity, the children would behave better. And if we gave the children more freedom, every single child would be more cooperative and get better results from their studying.
That is my opinion, what is yours?