A rant from a home educator (and trained HS teacher, ESOL tutor, and counsellor)
I’m not judging anyone, just outlining how I see home education ::
Why do we need programs for this and that? curriculum / curricula for our 6 year old?
Did we not choose to leave institutional schooling to have a life of freedom? a life where children can enjoy the discovery of learning, instead of offering them preprocessed sausage meat?!
Our children love to learn, have a curiosity for the world around them – especially when we get them away from workbooks and in to the real world around them. This is the great benefit of homeschooling, home education, natural learning, worldschooling (call it what you will).
Parks, libraries, other families are the wonderful assets in your education journey. Don’t fret about public schoolers’ comments or expectations of whanau.
Set your sights on the character and attitudes of your children for when they are 16-18 years old. Train them, guide them, love them, have fun with them.
Don’t waste childhood on workbooks and dreary stuff. Watch a ‘Magic Schoolbus’ video, climb on the playground at your local park, or go to the confidence/ adventure course nearby, check out the egyptian mummy/ dinosaur exhibition at your local museum. Or take a week or so to go to Te Papa. Have adventures.
Do the stuff that lights their/your fire and passion. Ease up. Your children can’t help but to learn – your job is to strew interesting things around the house, provide a creative environment, and widen your children’s world.
NCEA is not really your primary goal – raising creative adventurous young people who are equipped to face a changing world would be better. Young people who will contribute to society in a positive way. People don’t tend to gain or lose jobs on the strengths of their qualifications, rather their positive attitude and emotional health. Someone who is punctual, trustworthy, polite, follows instructions, uses initiative, honest.
Let’s maximise the benefits of home education – not just replicate schools.
Coming from a family of teachers, I internally fought/worried especially for the first year over ‘are my kids doing enough’ and then realised I had to trust my children and relax a whole lot. It was a huge struggle for me to let go of my schooly preconceptions – and let the children make a few more choices. Yes, HS and the style we choose is family choice, but we can (are able to) change/evolve our approach/es along the way.
When you feel down or stressed as home educator, maybe that is the time to mix things up a bit.
People learn best when relaxed and enjoying the process.
As a species we are NOT created to function alone. We are made for community. We need each other to support, build up, correct, give hope. And God IS with us.
Mothers, Home educators – I pray that each of you are released from the burden of thinking that you have to homeschool and train up your children alone.
You are not alone.
“You don’t have cos you don’t ask”
Draw people in to your family life/school/work :
Pray in or seek for pretend-grandparents, if yours aren’t in town.
Pray in a ‘big sister’ for yourself, someone about 15 years older who is at a different stage in life to you.
Get your child/ren surrounded with aunties (real or adopted) and other homeschooled families.
Organise low-key outings/events for the purpose of engaging, inspiring, and encouraging each other.
Homeschooling is nothing mystical or special – it’s just enjoying running in the park, turning over leaves, window-shopping, engaging with the world around you like a happy (I’d like to say, normal) family. Books and desks are not the only way to learn reading and writing (that’s what schools do and it kills the pleasure of learning often) – enjoy life around you doing ordinary everyday life stuff.
Lego, cars, blocks, balls, boxes, being mother’s little helper are excellent imagination starters for 2-3 year olds. Remember you are the mother and if you want them to sit and ‘read’ a book with you for a few minutes, then that is what you work towards.
Choose what is really important to you and your family in life (your priorities), then pursue those. You are answerable to God, your husband and child/ren, and yourself for the choices you make. If your child isn’t speaking and reading by the time he’s 10-11 yo, then come and see me. (But you probably won’t need to) 🙂
Don’t buy in to others’ comments. Comparison is a killer – it leads to pride or shame/ rejection/ depression. None of that stuff you need on top of the responsibility of being the fantastic mum + helpmeet that you are.
The best thing for your child’s mind is you smiling, chatting, touching, engaging – even for short bursts throughout the day.
It was never difficult to get our children to eat vegetables.
We taught them the colours of the rainbow (ROYGBIV) by what’s on the plate (good thing we had a blue tablecloth).
Meals are habitually at the dinner table.
:: Also if they weren’t keen on first taste: “That’s OK, we’ll try again another time.”
No stress attitude; add in the fun of trying new things … no problem.
:: No menu was offered. Eat what’s on the plate, one reheat, and, if not finished within two minutes of the last adult, finished! and what’s left on the plate is the first thing you eat next meal. Not surprisingly, I think that only happened twice.