Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why I Don't Worry About Other Homeschoolers


It's funny, how easy it is to think that once we've discovered the best way for us to do something that we've hit on the only way for everyone.

The other day I mentioned that relatively early in my homeschooling journey, I wound my way to a relaxed style. But I didn't start off with my "Planning Unschooler" philosophy firmly in place -- I dabbled in a few different approaches until I found what worked best for us.

Before we ever started homeschooling, I fell a little bit in love with a classical catalog. Then, I read all about Charlotte Mason, and swooned. Unschooling soon appeared on the radar: beep ... beep ... let's track this course for awhile.

And as I experimented (I'm sorry, Anne-with-an-e, my first guinea pig), I found that my relaxed, mish-mashy, part-planning, part unraveling-the-plan approach worked the best for my daughters. Huzzah!

And I thought, "Oh! This is lovely! We each pick and choose what works, and then we have fun sitting around discussing it over coffee."

But, that wasn't always the way it worked. Sometimes we homeschoolers can get a little dogmatic about our approaches. And every time dogmatism reared its head, I had the same reaction: "I don't get it! Going entirely ________________ (insert your method here: classical/Charlotte Mason/unschooling/school-at-home/structured/unstructured/child-directed/parent-led/all-Latin-all-the-time/no-Latin-ever/canned curriculum/no curriculum) doesn't work for my kid!"

That someone else could predict and dictate the best-and-only ways for my child to learn seemed as silly to me as the idea that someone could both predict and dictate how my marriage works. Since Atticus and I are the two key players in this dance, we're the best judges of what keeps it moving. Execution and maintenance include finding solutions that work with our strengths and weaknesses and take into account our tastes, opinions, personalities, and varying needs for chocolate or strong ale.

And that's why I don't worry, judge, care, debate, pontificate, argue, or seek to convince you that there is only one way to homeschool. I like to share what's worked for us, and if that helps anyone, I'm thrilled. But since I don't live in your house, don't know your strengths or weaknesses, and wouldn't presume to tell you how much chocolate or strong ale to consume, I'm leaving your homeschooling decisions to you. Just find what works and do it.

Then, please feel free to chat about your methods with me over a good, strong cup of coffee. I'll bring the chocolate.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Amen.