Thursday, August 23, 2007

Differences of Homeschool Opinion

Every few days I find an email in my inbox from a homeschooling resource that includes several short articles from different homeschool writers. I generally just delete them, but I had a few minutes and read through the beginnings of the articles and one of them just raised my hackles. The writer was saying that she can categorize all homeschoolers into two categories - those who stick to a traditional school model done at home and those who are more creative, expressive, hands-on, and teach more with life experiences. She said those in the first group need prayer and guidance from those in the second group, who should find every opportunity to offer commentary and resources on why the second way is the *only* way to homeschool successfully and happily.

As you can probably tell, I belong to the first group - those who use a more traditional school model at home. I supplement with lots of activities and can do far more one-on-one fun activities than a traditional school can accommodate, but it's still essentially school with textbooks, workbooks, curriculum guides, tests, and grades. And, whadaya know, it's been both successful and happy for us.

I have all respect for those homeschooling moms who thrive on researching different curriculums and choosing and implementing different unit studies, doing all kinds of activities and projects to broaden their kids' experience. They, no doubt, have lots of fun and get a great educational experience. I, however, have no desire of spending my every waking moment devising fun and creative schooling ideas when I can simply take advantage of the work already done by so many other very intelligent, experienced educators.

I also know that if I didn't have a set curriculum that tells me exactly what we need to get accomplished each day, I would never get us motivated to accomplish anything. That's just me. The other approach sounds like lots of fun and we'd probably enjoy it a whole lot more while we were doing it, but I know that my reality clashes with my idealism and I'd be overwhelmed in no time and then just...shut down. And I've seen that happen to other homeschoolers who should probably just get a full school-at-home curriculum and *do it*. Instead, they get very excited about the idealistic homeschool styles, get started with the best of intentions, then the efforts just slack off and school takes a backseat to life's daily demands. The sad thing is that the kids end up learning *nothing* and fail to get the foundation they need for all advanced learning.

So, my dear writer of the offending article, please don't pity those of use who choose to "school at home". By all means, sing the praises of your own homeschooling choices, but don't dismiss what works for the rest of us. After all, my daughter can score well on a standardized test *and* find solutions to challenges on her own.

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