Homeschooling: Theories on Thursday

An educational blog that doesn't discuss homeschooling is just not an educational blog, in my book.  With over 1.5 million students homeschooled each year according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, how can we not discuss our homeschool brethren?  By the way, did you know in less than a ten year period, homeschooling increased by 74%?  Something magical is happening.

(House Heart Stamp from Romazone)

I've only dreamt of homeschooling little O; mainly because I love my position teaching teachers, but also when I dream of homeschooling, my little family and I are in my-soul-country-favorite-state-in-the-union, Colorado. Or we are traveling around the world on a life sabbatical.

I would take a life sabbatical with little O and P in a heartbeat.  I would world school little O.  Don't worry students.  I promise to return refreshed and energized.  Pinky swear.

Since I have not homeschooled myself, I thought I would bring in an expert.  Please welcome my dear friend and a homeschool parent, Mariah.

Take it away, Mariah....


"Our world is our classroom."

I did not plan to homeschool my children. Homeschooling was for really religious people. The socially awkward. Just the term suggested exclusion from society. A rejection of the mainstream. Those misfits.

I sit here this morning and look out at the impossibly blue sky. The trees have a fuzzy red aura as their spring buds swell. The grassy field is soft green and beckoning. My daughter is sleeping late after a family movie night. This day belongs to us.

I homeschool because it makes sense. When the weather is nice we stay outside. When it’s rainy we splash in puddles. We picnic and play in the creek. We get really muddy. Our activities include reading, writing, crafting, playing games, cooking, gardening, visiting friends, watching movies. Our world is our classroom. The learning part is easy. It doesn’t take long to learn something when you’re interested and ready.


"This day belongs to us."
I homeschool because I want to spend my days with my children, and I want to be the one with whom they’ve shared their days. I carried and snuggled them through babyhood and now I wish to cherish every moment of this magical childhood. I homeschool because I want to follow the natural rhythm of my family, and teach my children the value of finding and following their own rhythm. Homeschooling feels like a natural extension of parenting. I know my children intimately. I know when they need pushed and when they need to stand back.

I enjoy the freedom of not being part of the ‘system.’ This life we lead encourages questioning – a lot of questions arise when you don’t go with the flow. We don’t have to do things the way ‘everyone else does’ and are free to explore what’s truly best for us. We are not bound by many rules that are not directly relevant.
It’s hard sometimes. The ‘pressure’ of knowing that my children’s entire well being lies upon my shoulders can be heavy. I have no one else to blame if they don’t turn out right. But I think we’re doing okay together. It is intense at times, but I feel that it’s a worthwhile investment. Soon they will be grown and I will miss these days. I am the sculptor, molding the environment in which my children will roam, explore, play. They will succeed and they will fail. I want to be a part of it.

"...roam, explore, play."

Here are some details about homeschooling:
  • Homeschooling parents in most states are held accountable by the State.  In our county, someone from the Department of Education reviews my child’s portfolio each year. The portfolio should demonstrate the child has worked in each of the seven main subject areas – Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Health, Art and PE. There are also private homeschooling groups authorized by the State to oversee home instruction. If you would like to see an example of state mandates in relation to homeschooling, click here.
  • Scared of being the physics teacher?  (Me too.) Homeschooling your kids doesn’t mean you personally have to do it all. Your homeschooler can seek outside help for the advanced courses. Community college classes would be a great option. Or find a local expert willing to offer an apprenticeship or be a mentor. People love to share their expertise. It’s amazing to watch how easily and quickly kids will learn something (even on their own) when they are motivated by interest and curiosity.
  • There are countless resources available to homeschooling families. Curricula of every style. Classes through private groups – guitar, woodworking, chess, and knitting. Classes in art, ballet, and gymnastics. Community college classes are available. There are social groups, study groups, book clubs, drama clubs, and field trips. If you'd like to see a digital resource for homeschoolers and "unschooling," click here.  For two other examples of homeschool resources, click here and here.
  • Think homeschooled kids are socially doomed? There is a big difference between social skills and socializing. Homeschooling offers many opportunities for valuable, authentic social experiences. Homeschooled kids are socializing all day. With family, with friends, and with people in the community. If an individual child does not have great social skills (or art skills, math skills, athletic ability, etc.), homeschooling is no more to blame than school would be.
Homeschooling is invigorating and exhausting, a relief and a burden. It is full of emotion and passion. With community support for inspiration and cozy nooks for recharging, I follow my heart and the excitement of my children.

"...easily and quickly kids will learn something...when they are motivated by interest or curiosity."

Thank you, Mariah, for sharing your homeschool perspective with Upcycled Education. 

If you have questions about homeschooling or would like to leave a comment, please use the comment link below.

I so adore choice in education.
Jen




9 comments:

  1. i think homeschooling is great for children and for the parent (teacher). It seems to follow Piagets' theory about needing some prior knowledge in order to complete a more difficult task. With homeschooling, the parent can, in a way, control the intake of knowledge the child needs to learn as well as opening the world to them in comparing to a school where they're ploped in a chair
    Gyler T

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  2. I just can't wrap my head around homeschooling. It sounds so fabulous and autonomous, being able to do what you want when you want, and have mini adventures. Not having the chance to let a child be away from their parent for part of the day seems a little selfish. During the younger years I loved being with my mom and dad, but it was nice leaving for a couple hours to have the social experience. It's a different situation when you don't have your parent their when you reach disequilibrium. It helps the student leave their comfort zone, and prepare for the real world when you don't have your parent by your side.
    Lucy A.

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    1. I homeschool my children. My kids leave me all the time and have experiences. One has art class weekly, two have a personal finance class, we all do 4H together, two have choir, all 3 go to youth group sans parents, one has piano, plus they have two sets of friends that we visit with weekly, and church. On top of that, there are tons of other activities available that sometimes we participate in. My children have plenty of social experiences, excellent social skills, and they are quite ready for the "real" world. Why? Because they are living in the real world! Not some artificial environment where they are segregated by age- which will never happen again in their life, and doesn't even remotely resemble the real world.

      Am I selfish in keeping my kids home? Yes absolutely. Just as others are selfish for sending their kids to school so that they can save their sanity or earn some money for that manicure. Almost everything people do has selfish motivations, including sending your kids off to school or keeping them home.

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  3. I agree to a point about the social part of homeschooling however I think it goes a little further than that. I had to homeschool my son for a semester. He had started getting into trouble in school and just wasn't motivated at all and we were going through the process of hetting him tested for ADHD. Eventually he was diagnosed but that was a lengthy process. I tried to make sure he had as much exposure as possible to the outside world and experienced new things. I even involved him in a homeschooling support group and other community activities. Despite this, he became depressed. He uas used to his close-knit "community" of friends and family that he saw throughout every day. He lost the group he studied and did homework with. Even though he still had contact with them after school hours, to him it wasn't the same and he was even less motivated to be home schooled than he was in the public school setting. That was one challenging home school experience. During the summer he was finally diagnosed and got the support he needed. I had never seen a child so happy to return to school for a new school year. I didn't have those problems out of him again. His grades were better than they had ever been before. If I had to do it all over again, I would work with the school to come up with other options besides homeschooling. That social connection is so powerful.

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  4. Thank you to tell us so much useful information. So nice sharing. I’m glad to read it.

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  5. I went to public school for kindergarten through fifth and then I was homeschooled for sixth through twelfth. Many of the things that Mariah shared were things that I had the chance to do. I was able to visit museums in DC and learn on my own time and in my own way. I was also apart of a tutorial twice a week that had tutors who helped with subjects that I struggled with. I think homeschooling is good for some but not all. Homeschooling a child with a disability may be a good thing because it would give the parents and outside help the opportunity to work one on one with the student and provide them with the individual attention that they need. If they were in a school, they may not be able to have that. However, if the student with the disability was in a school then the school may be able to provide them with technology that would help them learn better. Whereas in a home environment, they may not have that because it could be too expensive or just doesn't work in their house. Some students may also want the interaction with other students and teachers on a daily basis but just as Mariah said, you also have that when you are homeschooled. You are around parents, neighbors, and the community everyday.

    Joy W.

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  6. I always believe that homeschooling was a good idea for certain children who might learn better when they are at home focused. The children can go on mini trips with their parents based on what they are studying in History. The one thing that I cannot see myself being home-schooled is not being able to social with kids that are my age. Sometimes I would like to have some space away from my parents. I just think that Public/Private schools and Home-school have their both positive and negative effects. I think its might be better to home-school children when they are younger since most of us always wanted to be by our parents. I just think when we get to the certain age point where we need to be expose around the environment, students, etc.

    -Stephanie K.

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  7. Every child is different and no person put in the same situation as someone else will have the same results. I believe homeschooling can be wonderful for some kids and not so wonderful for others. My main concern is the possibility of that child not having the same social advantages as others kids his or her age. However I feel that your home could easily be your least restrictive learning environment and that is very important to success in school.

    Laura R.

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  8. I really like the blog on homeschooling because it gives parents a different perspective on education. Some children with special needs who may need around the clock care may require homeschooling. I honestly believe that homeschooling works better for some people for religious reasons or personal beliefs. If a child thrives at homeschooling and if the child will reach their full potential by being homeschooled then that will a better choice for the child.

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