The last post in my “Why Homeschool” series is about the actual education my kids receive at home (and elsewhere as we don’t actually spend that much time sitting around the house!)
I honestly do feel we can provide a better education for our kids. In our experience, our kids are learning so much more at home than they ever could in a public school setting. My kids learn at their own pace. We move from topic to topic when they’ve mastered it. Not before or after.
We have a very eclectic, hands on, child influenced method of learning. Everything we do is an opportunity for learning. Our learning and our living are one in the same. The kids are very passionate about learning. I believe that passion and drive leads to real learning, not reciting information for a test. In fact, we are quite happy to avoid excessive testing and are quite opposed to the current state of standardized testing. Five hours of standardized testing for five year olds is developmentally inappropriate at best and morally questionable at worst. I won’t subject my kids to it.
My kids are working above the state standards in all areas of study. I could brag about their individual accomplishments, but I will spare you the gushing details. They learn because they want to do so, because it’s never been shoved down their throats. No one has ever made it a chore for them. It’s a lot easier to learn when you can do so in your own way, at your own pace, and in a comfortable, loving environment.
A few months back, Dancer Girl was complaining about her math curriculum. After talking with her and looking into other programs, we realized that there were a few issues with it. The first was that it was too easy for her. The second was that it did not suit her learning style. I was able to replace it with a more advanced, hands on program and she begs me to “do math” now. I love that we have the flexibility to make changes like that.
Because we have more freedom to learn what we want, my kids have had some really cool learning opportunities. All three kids are currently learning to speak German. Even Little Guy (2) is catching on and is able to say several words and phrases as well as count to 10. When Dancer Girl was really into geology we were able to make it the main focus of our studies. When Science kid was obsessed with Ancient Egypt we mummified apples and went to a museum to see mummies. I love being able to combine passion and learning.
A friend of mine recently made the move to homeschooling after three years of public school. Her little girl told her that “No one likes to learn. It’s boring.”
That’s not the idea I want my kids to have about learning.
Thankfully, because of their environment, they have only love for learning.
Something else that is really important to our family is playtime. There’s less and less time for playing and the arts in schools these days. As Fred Rogers said,
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”
I really think it’s a disservice to kids to take play out of schools. My kids are able to weave play into their days with ease. I love that they have so much free time to spend how they want. They come up with amazing ideas, create beautiful artwork, explore nature and just plain have fun when left to their own devices. This kind of time breeds creative thinking and has been shown to be good for cognitive and social development. And you know… happy kids.
My end goal for my kids isn’t that they learn “what they are supposed to learn.” My end goal for their education is to give them the skills to seek out the information they need and desire throughout their lives. My goal is to spark curiosity, to encourage creativity, to inspire innovation and to raise them to be confident, compassionate adults. Yes, when it is all said and done they’ll know who Columbus was and how to solve for X, but they’ll learn so much more than that. They’ll be able to delve into their passions and really learn about them. If I’ve done my job right, they’ll know who they are and they will be able to go into the world and accomplish whatever it is they desire.
Are you happy with the education your kids are getting? Why or why not? Do you think your kids get enough time to play, create and explore?