Monday, October 14, 2013

Reasons I want to Homeschool

A question I often ask myself is, "What would be best for my children?"  One answer to this question is homeschooling.  I know some have negative feelings toward homeschooling while others like the idea.  I have thought about it and researched it a lot, even though my oldest just turned 2 a month ago.  I want to make sure I know everything about homeschooling and the different methods that exists before my children are school aged.  Here are some reasons I am heavily considering homeschooling as an option:

1.  Public schools require kids to all go at the same pace.  Often this results in some students falling behind while others are bored because they are moving to slow.  I know this is the way it has to be when you have such a high student to teacher ratio.  I just want to make sure my kids are moving at the pace that is right for them so they do not get bored or they do not feel stupid because they cannot keep up.

2.  Public schools hardly ever allow kids to explore their own interests.  I remember when I was in school I hated to read and write.  I read a lot at home when I could read books that interested me.  However, school required me to read books that I did not enjoy, and thus, did not usually understand enough so I could answer questions/write a paper about them.  Also, writing topics in school were usually picked for you, and because I had no interest in these pre-chosen topics I had a hard time writing. I want my kids to enjoy reading and writing, and that means they should be allowed to chose their own age-appropriate books to read and write about things that interest them.

3.  Young children are now required to learn too much too fast so that they are not allowed to just be kids.  I believe that playtime is vital to a child's learning and development, especially for young children.  Children are naturally curious, and will learn things by observing the world around them.  They need to spend time outside.  They need to be able to explore and ask questions when they have them.  I see this especially now with my 2 year old.  He is always asking "What's that?" and I know eventually he will probably go through a "Why?" stage.  I love this because that shows he wants to learn.  

4.  Just because students are not answering questions correctly does not mean they are not learning something.  Public schools require very strict testing that could be detrimental to a child's self-esteem.  I remember in school,  being tested over books we were forced to read.  I often did not answer questions correctly because what I learned from the book was not what they wanted me to learn.  I hated mulitple choice questions like "What is the main idea?" or "Give a Summary of the book?"  What I thought was the main idea was often not what those writing the test thought.  

I experienced this with my own child not too long ago.  I decided that I should start teaching Dawson his colors.  I thought I would start with the color blue because we have lots of it around our house.  So I spent a week really focusing on pointing out the color blue.  However, instead of learning the color blue, he learned green.  He still doesn't know the color blue.  However, not only has he learned green but he has learned the colors orange, purple, white, and brown without any focus on them.  

I want to be able to document what my kid's are learning, not necessarily everything they are not learning.

5.  Also, not necessarily the school's fault, but children learn way too much information from other children before they should.  Many parents today let their kid's do whatever they want.  Children are watching movies that are way too mature for them and they hear bad language whether on tv or from their parents.  Then they bring that information to school and tell other students about it.  I would like my children to be sheltered from some things until I think they are mature enough to handle the information. I know I cannot shelter them forever, and I do not plan to.  I just feel like this information is causing kids to "grow up" too quickly, and therefore they are more immature than ever.

These 5 points are my top reasons for wanting to homeschool.  So what will I teach my children?  I believe it is important that children learn the basics (reading, writing, and arithmetic), but they should be able to pick their own books to read and write about what they want (within reason).  They will also learn history and science, but these will be more interest-led.  For instance, if they are interested in sports they can learn the history behind a certain sport (which may require reading), learn the biology (the way we move)/physics (ex: calculate the curve of a ball)/statistics (ex:batting averages) involved in the sport and write a paper about it.

Now the question is, "What about their social lives?"  I do not have all the answers to this question yet, but I do know that my kids will be able to socialize at church.  Also, I do plan to allow them to be involved in sports, theater, or other extracurricular activities if they have the desire to do so.  I also know that some extracurricular options are only available at school, especially once they are in high school.  When I believe my children have reached a certain level of maturity, I will give them the chance to go to public school if they wish.

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