Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"We're the product of public schoolers gone rogue."

How could you not laugh at such a description?

"If we turned out so well, just imagine how much smarter our kids will be."

These statements were made by Ri in objection to criticism about the adequacy of former homeschoolers with regard to teaching any children they may have. It seems there are some who have voiced the opinion that the only reason we, as homeschool parents, have been able to successfully teach our children is because, by and large, we received our own educations through the public school system.


The only people asinine enough to make such a statement are those who've never homeschooled.

I can certainly attest to the fact that absolutely nothing in my public school education prepared me for homeschooling. Not any part of it. Not the actual subjects (you can't imagine how much I had to re-learn, or learn for the first time). Not how to approach teaching. Not about the different ways children learn and the best method of teaching to that way of learning. And certainly nothing about how to teach the older kid(s), keep up with the toddler(s), stay on top of the laundry, feed everyone (at least) three times a day, find time to do all the shopping, bill paying and other errands, all while having to stop every 2-3 hours to nurse the baby. Nope, not one subject on that. Not even part of one. Not even a hint of any of it in the child development course I took as an elective in high school.

At the very least, my girls will be better prepared for the day to day workings of a homeschool family, and for me, learning to manage it all was more than half the battle. They have already experienced needing to work school in around nap time. They understand the necessity of multiple 10 min. tidy times during the course of the day in order to stay on top of the chaos. They know how to do school with a baby sitting on the table, and that clothes must be washed everyday if you want to keep the mountain of laundry reasonably tame. They've sat through unit studies that taught everyone, kindergartener to high school level, and negotiated grocery stores with three carts full of kids and food, all the while keeping little hands away from the calculator because we can't go over budget. And they completely comprehend the pricelessness of the buddy system - pairing up older kids with younger ones in order to get things accomplished within a reasonable time frame. As far as all that goes, they are also better prepared for teaching because they've already had expirence teaching. I've often asked the older girls to teach something to the younger girls. It helps me evaluate the older child's comprehension of the subject, as well as their ability to effectively communicate information. They've given tests, and in some cases, have even been allowed to plan the curriculum for a subject.

No-one, except maybe those with photographic memories, remembers everything they are taught. I didn't, and I'm sure my children won't, but I hope I've instilled in them the skills and initiative necessary to teach their own children.
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