I don’t see homeschooling as some kind of answer to badness of schools. I think that the home is the proper base for the exploration of the world which we call learning or education. Home would be the best base no matter how good the schools were.
It’s August, back to school time. The back to school supplies (which I love) are as ubiquitous as Christmas decorations in December (or October it seems lately). Also cropping up all over the place are the inevitable questions of people asking my kids when they’ll go back to school. And then the questions when they find out we homeschool. Most people are genuinely curious and I do my best to answer them. Others are openly hostile and judgmental and I do my best to avoid them.
The question I’m asked most often is why I choose to homeschool. A few times I’ve responded to that by asking people why they choose a brick and mortar school. I was usually met with a look of confusion and people misinterpreted the question as me being defensive. That was not my intent; I was simply trying to point out that we all have a choice and just because someone chose the societal default doesn’t mean that they didn’t choose. However, I realized pretty quickly from people’s reactions that I wasn’t helping them to think it over, I was only putting them on the defensive, so I stopped. But I still get asked the question quite a bit. So, here it is, the reason I homeschool:
I believe this is the best way for children to grow up. They are not stressed by the artifices of an institution that purports to be there to serve their needs but consistently ignores the fundamental needs of a developing brain and psyche. They have time to pursue their interests and see if they will become passions. They are encouraged to be problem solvers and to think critically and logically in their daily life instead of simply memorizing facts (most of which will be forgotten later) and attempting to apply that data to artificial situations. They sleep and wake on their body’s cues, not the clock (especially important for growing brains). They also eat according to their bodily cues, not the clock. The wonder and excitement that we see in five-year-olds looking forward to school does not disappear, they remain excited about learning new things, on their own terms, in ways that are relevant to them. They are not learning the hidden curriculum of the hierarchy inherent in schools- that the biggest, oldest, most authoritative person is the source of knowledge and should always be obeyed without question. They are learning how to answer their own questions. They are learning what types of questions to ask.
They are learning to be themselves.