Still do, in fact. Does it ever go away?
So, now that we're homeschooling I thought it might be good to come up with our own family teaching philosophy, ya know, something that outlines what we're doing, and why. I imagine it'll change over time...as we slowly evolve and morph into, well, whatever we're evolving and morphing into.
The Well Trained Mind, Jesse Wise talks about seeing life in chapters: "Personally, I decided to put on hold some of my goals. I wanted to write. I wanted to make hand braided rugs. [But] I held on to the wise council given me when my children were toddlers: "Live your life in chapters. You don't have to do everything you want to do in life during this chapter of rearing children."
So, here are the top
2. I'm not a morning person. There, I've said it. I dropped so many college classes that started at 8am it's not even funny. Oh, I've had lots of jobs that required me to get up early. When I was in nursing school I had to be downtown in the Houston medical center on the floor ready for rounds by 6:30am. But by golly when I got my license and was given a choice, you can bet I chose the 11-3, 3-11 shifts, and even the nite shifts on occasion. Most of my post college jobs required me to be at work at 9am. I opened my children's store at 10am. I feel those times are a fair compromise. But getting squirmy little kids to school by 7:30am (which means they have to be fed and dressed before then?)...forget it! We lived a 1/4 mile from school and yet our tardy slips continuosly piled up. At some point you just have to accept defeat.
5. Homework. In particular, math homework. I've come to believe homework isn't good for the soul.
6. And on that end, neither are tests and grading. Yes, testing gives you an idea where kids are at, which areas need more work, etc. But to (even inadvertently) teach a child that the purpose of learning is to get high scores ensures that the child is learning that thinking isn't valued as much as getting the right answer. And standardized tests narrow the curriculum to what is being tested. I watched my daughter go from a confident, intelligent, eager kindergartener, to a crying, stressed out, anxious 4th grader scolding herself constantly for not getting good grades in math, stressing over the standardized tests, and endlessly frustrated for not being on the same level as her friends. And they can't escape the labeling...they're either slow, gifted...or average. Gimme a break. How many of us really believe that a child's intelligence, achievement, and competence can be represented adequately by standardized tests or grades?
And don't get me started on the award ceremonies at the end of every school year. I actually heard a teacher announce once who she thought should win 'cutest dress' award in front of the entire 3rd grade class. Really? Cutest Dress?
"Dumbing us down..." -John Taylor Gatto
7. Those words solidified my decision to homeschool. I don't know about you, but oh, the flashbacks that brought up from my years in the public school system. If you read the history of how public school came about it's rather interesting, particularly the part about Americans rebelling and refusing to send their kids. We basically started as a nation who fought to keep our kids out of public school. I also like this quote from a fellow blogger (and homeschool mom) over at Beauty that Moves:
"seeing as we are the richest nation in the world, and not one industrialized society is impressed or inspired by our educational system... I don't know... isn't it possible that a system carefully crafted to produce poor results and undereducated people could ensure a corporate government's need for an oppressed society? Can you imagine the threat of an ultra intelligent, free thinking nation? Yowza.
I just can't wrap my brain around sending kids away for the better part of the day to be raised/taught by an institution that seems hell-bent on keeping us under thumb.
8. Socialization. The family kind. The natural kind. The kind that involves a variety of ages, including adults and grandparents, rather than just same-aged peers. As Jesse Wise explains,
"Our culture seems to be obsessed with same age socialization, and that is because the majority of children spend the majority of their time in institutional schooling. They are forced to be with their own age group. This socialization is unnatural and never occurs again for the rest of a person’s life."
9. So we can work at our own pace (and in a less stimulating environment), choose our own field trips, study history in chronological order, and design our own science labs.
10. To be able to travel at times other than just summer or winter break.
11. To be able to move to the country, or to a new city, and not have to worry about schools or districts or bus routes.
12. To not have to pack lunches every morning. Or worry about what the kids are (or are not) eating at school. Not to mention the noisy cafeteria.
13. To be free from school-related bullying or teasing, and to remove the pressure to rely on potentially unstable peer groups for feedback and guidance.
14. So we can take our books and a picnic lunch on a hike thru a gypsy meadow on a pretty spring day, and sit under a tree and study any topic we want for as long as we want...on a school day...in our pajamas...if we so desire.
15. In short...to be free.
*you can find more of our homeschooling adventures here!