A school for monkeys

Home schooling and raising monkeys

In Our Defense… August 16, 2011

Yes, I know. ANOTHER blog entry discussing WHY we home school, and defending our choice to do so. I’d normally just say F ’em to all the naysayers, but I don’t think that is going to work in our favor with this :P.

1. Socialization.

I can’t address this to satisfy everyone, because I am sure, my views on public school systems and the type of socialization that goes on there is skewed. I honestly don’t believe that the public school system helps us to learn how to socialize. How many people leave high school with the ability to make friends and keep up friendships outside of school and/or work? I don’t know many. Home schoolers are not thrown in a room with their “peers” and told to socialize. They are not split up by age, sex, financial class, or race. They go to a park or a museum, or an activity, and they find kids that they like, that share interests with them. They make friends through having discussions, being out going, and being KIND.  Yes, it takes work, but as an adult, friendships take work as well. We also go to karate class, where they have many friends (one of which has a HUGE crush on Lyla, and she has a crush on him, too). They have neighborhood children that they play with on a regular basis, and they have each other. They will also be able to make friends online via their school, and in real life via school activities. They are plenty socialized. They are very good at socializing. Connor’s style of socializing is different from Lyla’s. He tends to favor observing and playing with other kids quietly. If he doesn’t like the games they are playing, he doesn’t argue or try to get them to do it his way, he just goes off and does his own thing. He reminds me of Carl!  🙂

2. How can someone who is not a teacher, teach?

Um. Well,  in my opinion anyone can teach. IF they know the material (I am pretty sure I have, at the very least, k- 9th down. I am confident that I can learn anything I don’t have a firm grasp of) IF they can present the material in a way that the student can learn it, and IF they are receptive to feedback, either via questions, grades, or actual feedback. I know there are teachers that can’t do this, but remember they are teaching the masses. Home school parents, are not.

I tutored college students in how to write essays. I got paid to do it. I got offered a college TEACHING job, because someone in the room heard me tutoring and assumed I had my BS in English. I know how to teach.

Even if I didn’t know how to teach, there is NO ONE that knows my children better than me. I can read material and know exactly HOW I need to present it to my children for their individual learning styles. For example: Lyla loves a challenge, and is a kinetic learner. Connor shies away from a challenge, but he can’t resist a puzzle. He learns best through play, and visual aids. I taught Lyla to count to 10 by repetition and rhythm. She got it down in a day. I taught Connor how to count to 10 by giving him a dinosaur mask, and putting numbered dinosaur feet on the floor and letting him “dino stomp” to each number as he said it out loud. He got it down in a day. Two kids, two distinct learning styles. Two different lesson plans. I can do that, because I am their parent and I know them better than a teacher does. I also have the time and resources to do so. Teachers can’t do this. It isn’t their fault, it is the way the system is designed. 25 distinct learning styles, and 25 distinct lesson plans are NOT feasible for one person to do.

Let me get one thing straight. I love most teachers. I had fantastic teachers growing up. I was very lucky in the teachers that I had, and I am grateful to them. The ones I am talking about did the best they could while operating in the oppressing system they were forced to operate in. Yep. My problem with public schools? 95% of it is the system. NOT THE TEACHERS. So, teachers and people who love/work with/know teachers? My beef is not with you. I love my teachers. I miss some of my teachers, and I have NOTHING but the utmost respect for teachers.

As a home schooling parent:

  • I have a curriculum. I can either buy one already made, or I can make one. I chose to make one the first year, and I am using one already made and provided by a charter school this year.
  • I have a lesson plan
  • I have a gradebook
  • I have teaching aids
  • I have a caring and nurturing community that I can look to for help

I am well prepared for my duties as a parent AND a teacher. I am not unsure about that in any way. As their parent I want them to learn EVERYTHING that they need to know in order to be well-functioning people in our society. I take my job of providing them with this information seriously.

3. Home school kids are sheltered

Hahahahaha… hold on… really? hahahahahaha. Okay.

Um, yeah, SOME home school children might be sheltered, but those are the same kids that would’ve been sheltered in public school as well.

In our house we have a policy of:  “ask a question, get an answer”. This pertains to EVERYTHING and ANYTHING they ask. I will answer. I’d rather them get an honest opinion/correct answer from me, then possibly not get an honest/incorrect answer from another source.  Also, since our curriculum doesn’t have to pass through censors, parent groups, advocates, politicians etc. we can have a more rounded discussion of things like literature, sex ed, science, religion… etc etc. Learning is much more powerful when the information is 100% complete and from all sides. Being the person that I am, I embrace knowledge and think that having open discussions that aren’t hindered by what you might get in trouble for saying is VERY important.  I know very many parents that feel this way.

And for the reasons we choose to home school? Well, they are numerous. Flexibility is a big one. Not pushing a kid ahead in all things, when they excell in one and not holding them back in all things because they are struggling with one. Obviously, the ability to have the kids at a grade level that is appropriate to them is important to us.  Also, not having to deal with a BUSINESS and a bureaucracy that cares very little for the individual child and is more concerned with the bottom line and how the scores look. And most of all: These are MY children. There is not one person in this whole entire world that cares for them more than I do. I know what they need, and I will do anything it takes to get it for them. I can’t say that of a collection of strangers that see thousands of kids every year. It is my job to do whatever it takes to take care of them. If that means that it becomes my job to be their teacher?  Bring it on.