Blog posts are hard to write when you don’t have much content to work with, and this is one of them; however, I promised I’d share what I disliked about being homeschooled and what I would do differently with my own children as part of the series, Confessions Of A Homeschool Graduate, so here goes.
I’ve spent the last four weeks trying to think of what to say. The truth is, if I could give our children even half the experience I had, I would be delighted, and Lord willing, they would be too.
I can’t think of one thing I hated about my home education. We certainly had our difficult moments, but they were almost always caused by an issue of the heart that needed to be addressed (pride, self-pity, laziness, perfectionism, stubbornness, disobedience, deceitfulness), not by a flaw in homeschooling as an educational method itself. I loved the freedom, flexibility, security, and familial bonding that occurred as a result of being homeschooled, and I never once wanted to go to school. Getting into post-secondary school was no problem (more on that in a future post, DV), and I felt prepared for adult life, even though I’m greatly challenged by motherhood every day.
That said, we homeschool our children differently than how I was homeschooled. If we didn’t, we’d be missing the point.
The fundamentals of a Christian education are the same for our children as they were for us, namely that the foundation for all wisdom and understanding must be rooted in the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10), but the practical outworking of Christ-centered, parent-led, home-based, family discipleship looks different from family to family.
The dynamics of our family now are different than the family I grew up in, different than the family my husband grew up in, different than any other family in the world. Our children have a different birth order, different interests, ages, strengths, and weakness than we or any of our siblings had. They’re growing up in a different decade and in a different community than the one we grew up in. There are far more homeschooling curriculum publishers and distributors available to me than there was when my Mom began homeschooling 25 years ago, and far more technological tools and advancements to utilize if I so desire.
We wouldn’t try to recreate the classroom in our home because of all the limitations and challenges that come with standardized education, and it makes no sense to try and recreate another’s homeschool experience, either. Home education should be as unique as each family; with the Lord’s blessing, that’s historically how it has been so successful.
That’s why I hope you’ll never find me telling you what teaching method or curriculum to use. Every now and then, I might highlight or recommend something that’s working for us, but what works for us may not work for you – and that’s okay!
I was classically homeschooled; we tend to favor the Charlotte Mason approach, but our homeschooling style can be more accurately described as “Eclectic.” My education had a heavy emphasis on music; we have yet to get a piano. I partook in some optional standardized testing; unless it’s required by law, we don’t yet see the need to do the same with our children. As a child, I had the entire Summer off of any book-work and observed all the statutory holidays and school breaks; recently, our family decided to give year-round schooling ago (more thoughts on that another day).
Next week, my Mom and I are planning to spend the day at a curriculum sale together. We both have a child the same age (my youngest brother is four months younger than our oldest daughter), and we’re both busily putting together a list of book titles to shop for. I haven’t seen her list, but I have a sneaking suspicion that we’ll both leave the sale with a bag full of books, and no more than one or two titles the same. With the exception of Rod and Staff’s preschool curriculum and a Grade 1 math book, we have yet to choose alike – and we both love it that way because that’s what’s working for our individual families.
The freedom, flexibility, security, and adaptability to each unique situation are the very reasons I loved my home education – and the very reasons my husband and I are not homeschooling our children the way I was homeschooled.