Homeschool: a Beginning
This is Part 1 of a 3 part series…you can also read Part 2 and Part 3! Imagine you have a young child in your charge. A child who is not yet school age, but who is getting closer by the day. As the days are getting shorter, talk on the playground (among the mothers at least) has turned to schooling. Where, oh where is this young one going to study? What are the options really? The wiles of public school? The expense of private school? The long, unknown road of homeschooling?
Our girl is not yet four. In our state compulsory schooling (eeek! the government demanding things of our children) doesn’t begin until the child is seven by September 1. For our family, that’s four more years down the line. So really it’s not much of a live question here. We are busy crafting a life, a family culture that supports all of us as we learn and investigate and create. We read lots of books–on tape, at storytime, on the computer, cuddled on the couch. We have adventures. We keep a garden and feed the birds and watch the sun set behind the West Hills. We sing and play music. And dance! We keep our eyes open.
So far, our girl is learning. And I can’t imagine that really changing anytime soon. But if I were just starting out, if I were just beginning to ask these questions, what resources might help?
- I might want to know some children typically learn in their first years of schooling. I could check World Book and look at their course of study notes.
- I might want to check on the public school in my area to see what they say about themselves.
Maybe that’s enough for now. Maybe just thinking about what exactly is supposed to be learned in kindergarten and thinking about how well public schools do their job is a big enough bite. Maybe stay tuned for part two!
The one thing that struck me most powerfully when we began to think about homeschooling our oldest when he was a toddler (he’s almost 18 now!) is that all children are home learners until they start going to school, and most children are happy, well-adjusted, curious, active learners during this period. As I began to research different approaches of education, I discovered that the very best ones actually try to simulate a natural home environment: Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, the old PNEU (Charlotte Mason approach) etc. I began to see that educating my child meant doing nothing more than what I was already doing with him: sharing stories, playing, enjoying nature and experimenting, going to interesting places, talking to lots of people, listening to music and sounds, cooking and baking together, painting, fixing things…LIVING. I think schools are a failed experiment. They cannot do ANY of these things especially well (and some of them they really can’t do at all). My own experience in school was kind of a numbing process….a simmering down of my enthusiasm and joy for the world around me. What school taught me well is that there are a lot of things that I can’t do. And, in that it was quite wrong!
yes, i love it when preschools use “home-like atmosphere” as a selling point.
why not just have home?
if it costs money and is done by experts, it must be better. keep me an amateur!
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