Friday, February 25, 2011

More Thoughts about School: The Positives

Mrs. Rivero’s book laid out a lot of basic information on homeschool, which I found to be very helpful. After going through a lot of the different information on how and why one might consider homeschooling, she then had a chapter on how to determine if it is right for your family. One of her first points in this chapter was to lay out all the reasons that you want to homeschool.

Gary strongly feels that I can give child a better education at home, at least the first two or three years. He says no one knows our kids like I do, since I’m home with them more or less 24/7. I know what motivates them, I know where they struggle and I know their strengths. I have the education background, and he thinks I should be able to handle teaching basic math and reading skills. He thinks with co-ops and our ability to take more trips to reinforce learning that it might even be a good option in later grades.

One of my concerns with the Florida school district is what I perceive to be a poor learning environment at school. Gary graduated in a class of over 500, in a school that size I find it hard to believe that students can get the adequate attention that they need from a teacher. Not to mention the drugs, alcohol, and other problems that seem to run rampant down here. The other alternatives to public schools aren't options that we like. We don’t have the finances to consider a private school or sending a child out of district. I’m not in favor of the principle of charter schools. Finally, I’m not interested in sending my child to a church school to be indoctrinated in things that are contrary to our faith and practice as Primitive Baptist.

Next, we both have an interest in homeschooling due to religious or family reasons. I’m not against evolution and big bang being taught, after all they are scientific theories, and I don’t believe that interacting with those ideas runs a child’s spiritual foundation. However, I like the idea of being able to have more time and more opportunities to teach our children sound biblical doctrine and develop good moral character. One of my fondest memories from elementary school, was the time that I spent with Daddy in the car my 6th grade year, shortly after I joined the Church. I copied out by hand our articles of faith and all the supporting scriptures and we talked about them and what they meant, and I also wrote in my own words what it meant. Gary and I like the idea of being able to pick up and go to Church meetings or visit family and take school with us, rather than being tied down in one place from 7:30 to 3, Mon-Fri, August-May.

Many homeschooling families have talked about the real advantages they see in their high school aged children. Without the continuous peer pressure to drink, smoke and have premarital sex; their children don’t struggle as strongly with these issues. Having the opportunity to grow up in a home environment where they have more one on one time with a parent and less pressure to conform a child grows up knowing who they are and what they want out of life to a certain extent. They are comfortable in their own skin, something I’ll confess I wasn’t from sometime in highschool until well into college. They talk about having a stronger closer relationship with their parents, something I wish I had developed sooner. Additionally, because they aren’t surrounded all day, every day by their same age peers, they have the ability to socialize with children and adults of all ages, and tend to be more mature and more social adept than their peers.

I also admit that I wonder if school will be a challenge to our children. With the exception of Mrs. Reich the best history teacher ever, and Mr. Henderson’s math and physic classes, I never really felt challenged in school. The flip side of that is if any of our children have special needs or disabilities, I’m not sure that the school system has the best answers to those problems. Gary likes to say that they all knew about what those kids did. Testing meant they got to sit in a smaller classroom, play more games, do less work, and automatically pass to the next grade. I don’t know about that, but I do know that it is difficult to control some students in the classroom. Perhaps being able to work one on one at their own speed at home with a competent parent would lead them to learn more and be better prepared to enter the world and workforce.

I have also recently read, "Real-Life Homeschooling: The Stories of 21 Families Who Teach Their Children at Home" by Mrs. Rhonda Barfield. It has been a really interesting read. It would appear that there are as many approaches to homeschooling as there are different methods of teaching and reaching children in a classroom, and then some additional flexibility. You truly can reach kids all sorts of ways on all sorts of levels.

Would anyone like to share why they choose to homeschool? Or their thoughts about what I've written?

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