Saturday, March 14, 2009

Joining Michele's Discussion: What is Education? (Part 2)

Part 1 is here.
Today, I'm going to combine a couple of Michele's discussion starters:

What’s your experience?
Why did you choose to homeschool?

Of course, these are huge questions. I don't intend a comprehensive answer fully detailing our nearly-nine years of homeschooling. But, in general, I'll try to sum up our experience:

We've loved it.

We started homeschooling for a few different reasons:

1. I wanted to make the choices that were right for my children.

Anne-with-an-e was a bright, precocious little girl. She went to preschool and Kindergarten, and though neither one was a horrid experience, I saw so much room for improvement. I saw the beginning signs of discouragement and a lack of interest in learning, based on the ways certain things and ideas were required in a school environment. Homeschooling would allow me to choose the books, activities and methods that would work best for Anne and keep her excited about learning new things.

That was a huge reason, and it has remained true and relevant to our experience. Tailoring methods and materials for each child is still a great reason for homeschooling. Each of my children learns differently, and not having to plug them into a one-size-fits-all style of education has worked beautifully for us.

2. Homeschooling would allow us to pursue our children's faith formation and development in the way we wanted to pursue it.

Not that families who send their children to school can't cultivate family prayer and family faith formation, but we've found that we just love what homeschooling does for the atmosphere of and approach to our Catholic faith.

Our days can start with prayer, and our "school" atmosphere can revolve around the liturgical year.

3. Homeschooling would allow the flexibility and freedom to do things we couldn't do if the kids were in school.

We can arrange activities with out-of-town homeschooling friends any day of the week, we can "do school" in the morning, afternoon, or evening, as it suits us. We can read books at the lake or the park. And we can schedule things (such as job-shadowing a veterinarian) any time in our school year, rather than waiting for a limited, crowded summertime opportunity to crop up.


Those are the main reasons we started homeschooling. I continue to cherish the ways in which home education allows us choices, freedom, flexibility, and faith. Those have been the things that allow us to say of our experience, "We've loved it."

Is it perfect? No.
Have we made mistakes? Yes.
Have I had doubts? Yes.

But they always pass, and we have always been grateful that we stuck with it.

Most importantly, our experience has been that homeschooling is not just a method of education, but a way of life that has brought our family closer than I could have imagined or predicted.

More on that in the next post ....


Upcoming questions:

How have your ideas about education evolved and changed over time (if they have).

What’s working? What’s not working?

What are you aiming for?


sarah said...

this is so interesting. I'm going to do this question today as well. My reasons are less noble than yours!

Sarah Reinhard said...

Karen, I'm really enjoying this series. (Not that I don't just enjoy your blog all-around, mind you!) I think it's likely my Elizabeth will go to another year of preschool and also kindergarten, and your reasoning about the "so much more" is, I think, at the heart of the call I feel to homeschool (though the "how" of it is still in God's hands -- what do I mean "still"? It's ALWAYS in God's hands!)