Even before our children were school aged, my wife and I wanted to educate our children through the transfer of knowledge and by example. We consider this part of our high calling as being parents.
All parents (my wife and I included - you too, by the way) have been and always will be "teachers" (even when we don't feel comfortable with the title).
Our role as educators is not dependent on the degree (or lack therefore) that we earned or the age of our children. We are educators/teachers/mentors/guides because we are Mom or Dad.
A Diverse Community
I have really appreciated members of the @homeedders community engaging with me on my recent #homeschooling posts. This is a passionate community who believes in the right to home educate and supports others who feel the same way.
For all that we have in common, we are very diverse group of people. We are not all from one country, but many. As parents, we each bring unique life experiences and knowledge to the table, which definitely impacts our teaching styles. And as we look at the specific needs of each of our kiddos, yet again we can see how diverse we truly are.
Our Homeschooling Philosophies Are Equally Diverse - And That's OK!
I wonder now if this is what is referred to as school at home, rather than homeschooling towards the unschooling side.
Can I be honest? My gut reaction was, "You don't understand. We are a real homeschooling family!" In the moment, my heart was defensive, but my head totally understood the point.
What I am reminded of is that we all have chosen homeschooling for different reasons. My family chose to homeschool because we lived in another country and did not have access to English speaking schools where we lived. We have continued to homeschool because we believe in our responsibility to be the primary educators for our kiddos.
Here are a few more reasons why families homeschool:
- The child's educational needs were not being met in a large classroom setting.
- The family wanted the freedom to travel and explore - and learn in the process.
- The parents were concerned about the underlying world-views and philosophies being taught in the traditional school system.
Our WHY shapes HOW we homeschool. WHO we are also shapes HOW we homeschool.
And thank goodness for freedom many of us enjoy. We have made the decisions we have made because we believed the alternatives were not ideal for our families.
More Than A Location Change
Schooling at home (virtual schooling) holds on to the basic values of traditional school but reorients a student's location from a traditional building to the child's home.
With the global pandemic looming, teachers from traditional schools have had to find creative ways to connect with their students, but the fundamental principles of the traditional system have not changed.
- Teachers are still responsible for a large number of students.
- Students might not get enough one-on-one attention due to class size.
- Testing is still a priority.
- Teachers are influenced by district guidelines and governments regulations
Schooling at home can also occur when a parent removes their child from a traditional school and simply recreate a traditional system at home at a smaller scale.
What My Family Strives For
My wife and I don't want the traditional system any longer. We want our family to find the best "system" that empowers my children to be great human beings and grow in knowledge.
Having said that, I understand why many families believe the traditional system is best, and I equally understand that your unique homeschooling philosophy may not look like ours.
This is what we strive for as a homeschooling family:
- Customized Formal Learning
We have tried using an all-in-one curriculum in the past. It was great for my wife as she started her journey with homeschooling. But as the years have passed by and more kids have been added to our little academy, we have realized that a single curriculum does not meet the needs of our entire family. We are too diverse!
We find what works or move to something else if it is better.
- Active Informal Learning
My wife and I desire to take advantage of any life lesson that presents itself. I like to think of informal opportunities as spontaneous teaching moments.
Sometimes these lessons correlate with the core subjects that are being taught, but many times they focus on like skills, social engagement, and other topics that make our kiddos well-rounded humans.
Did someone say games? Oh, that was me. Games are a great way to have fun and learn at the same time.
- A Dash Of Unschooling
Although we do care about core subject (reading, writing, math, science, history, etc) , we want our children to have freedom to learn topics that most interest them and with methods that will be most beneficial for their learning. Experience is a great teacher!
- Autonomous Learning
One of our goals as parents is to help our children "learn how to learn" not just "what to learn." This means that we try to find ways to encourage self-learning or autonomous-learning, especially as our children grow older.
- Mastery Is The Goal
We are more interested in our children mastering a topic than testing well. Cramming for a test produces a very different result than true knowledge. We appreciate the freedom to go back over topics that our kiddos are struggling with and accelerating topics that are children pick up quickly.
- We Invite Other People In
We want to do life well, and we believe that life is best lived in community with others. That means that as parents we are still learning. That means that other families have the opportunity to speak into our lives, and we are able to do the same. That means that our children can socialize and interact normally with others "even though we homeschool."
What I choose for my family may not be best for your and your family. I hope you are in a place in life where you can make importance decisions about life and your children's education.
A special thanks to @minismallholding. You said something that took me off guard in the moment, made me ponder, but in the end reminded me of why we have chosen the path we have chosen.
Thank for stopping by! I would enjoy hearing from you in the comments section.