This picture was taken a couple of years ago, in an effort to highlight a phase Son #5 was going through, where he was working on trying to practice better self-government; rather than attempting to manage 75 of his closest friends and 4 older brothers. But, it was the only one I had in my files with a clipboard!
Yesterday marked the first day of school for millions of American children. While I am aware that many districts across our nation already started one, two or even three weeks ago, yesterday marked the “final call” for what we define as a school year in our country.
This time of year, I am often asked a lot of questions about our choice to home educate our children. You’ll be relieved to know that I don’t go around offering this topic of conversation to random strangers or as party-going fare. In fact, I rarely discuss it unless I’m asked. I also don’t find our family to be anything extraordinary above many great and wonderful family units I’ve had the pleasure of meeting!
In fact, I want you to know from me to you, how humbled and grateful I have been in seeing how you warmly welcomed two of my boys here as they guest posted on the blog. Your support, encouragement and feedback have been a real blessing to them, and I thank you. They are a hoot, and I look forward to having them back!
I do want to take a few moments today and Friday, to share with you why we chose home education for our family. I started this blog nearly 4 years ago, to share with family and friends, our comings and goings; while home educating rather than choosing what is for most “normal school.”
I come from a family of educators, and was a National Honor Society Member. Why, oh why, would I subject my children to being confined to home?
Here are just a few reasons. I share them in the spirit of understanding others and their choices, while realizing that diversity of thoughts and ideas can be a very good thing.
1. Relationship~ for us, it is the most important piece of what we do. We strive to have deep, intimate relationships with each of our boys. For us, spending the largest chunk of each day away from family and the inner workings of all that entails, wouldn’t achieve that as effectively as learning and being together.
2. Critical Thinking and Owning One’s Own Education~ these are huge. I can’t educate anyone but myself. I merely provide an environment in which to be inspired. True education is the ownership of thoughts, ideas and concepts; while being able to practice them. Knowing the reason why and being able to connect concepts, ideas, thoughts, and patterns in order to gain a clear perspective of the whole, is vital to being both a good and effective leader.
I think teachers in America are over-worked, under-paid, and expected in this day and age on many fronts to raise youth. There are also many who are phenomenal at what they teach, and who excel in a classroom setting. Many students don’t. I have 3 of them. Again, for our family, it is easier to address those different modalities and ways of learning at home.
3. Life is the Classroom~ While I desire for my children to execute skills and tasks well, I am most concerned about their character, integrity, and core values. I think being able to explain the quadratic equation is a great skill, but respecting elders, understanding people with different ideas and cultures, and how you treat your fellow man, and navigate your faith and personal beliefs, are things that make or break the quality of your life.
These are but three of our “reasons.” Because of number 3, we don’t really have a “Back to School” routine around here. It’s more like “Carry On as Usual.”
It is my hope, that regardless of the methodology you have chosen, this year will reward you with the absolute best in all of your educational pursuits!
See you Friday, when I will attempt to navigate some of the “tougher issues.” (She says, tongue in cheek.)