There always seems to be controversy in just about every nook and cranny of the world, especially when it involves education. There’s always someone who is ready to disagree whether it be how many hours a day a child needs to sit at a desk to how many minutes is sufficient for recess. They’ll disagree on whether they should have music in school or sex ed. People will bicker about whether the world was created by intelligent design or by some other mystical theory involving a loud noise that no one can testify of hearing. For me, I like the mystery in learning. That’s what makes me curious to try and figure it all out. It’s what whets my appetite to be inquisitive about the world around me. The mystery ignites my passion to learn.
If an educator had all the answers to everything in life, all I would have to do is memorize the answers and never have to think about a thing. I would never have to figure things out. I would be programmed.
This is just one, of many, reasons why we homeschool. We don’t want our children to be programmed. We want them to love learning and to think for themselves.
There are plenty of pros and cons to public vs. private (or home) education.
I’m not one to paint education styles with a broad brush, because education involves human lives with different personalities and learning styles. Some children require vigorous and strict teaching while others lean more into the creative, free spirited style requiring a lot of experience and discovery through hands on learning.
If you had approached me 10 years ago about the idea of homeschooling, I would have laughed. There’s no way I would have wanted to spend all day, every day with our children. It wasn’t that I didn’t love them, I just wasn’t prepared.
I wasn’t prepared to spend all day, every day with children.
You see, I grew up in a public school. I sat in classrooms with up to 29 other kids my own age. I sat at my desk from 8 am to 3 pm with a few recess breaks in between and a 45 minute lunch recess. Add to that a physical education class where we learned how to play kick ball, hand ball, and then tested on how many jumping jacks and sit ups we could do.
None of that prepared me to be with my own children all day, every day.
In high school, we had the option of taking child development classes. It was an option, not a requirement.
We sat at a desk and read a book and heard lectures on simple child psychology (none of which I can remember). Not one time were we given the opportunity to be with small children.
When I finally had our first baby, I didn’t even know how to change a diaper.
Public school didn’t prepare me for being a mother, let alone a wife.
You see, in public school they don’t teach you how to be a wife.
One argument we often hear against homeschooling is that our children won’t be prepared for the ‘real world’ nor do we have adequate opportunities for our kids to learn how to have social skills.
Yet in public school we were never taught how to interact with one another other than “don’t push, yell, etc”. Other than that we had to figure things out on our own.
Often times we end up being bullied and don’t know how to problem solve so we end up becoming enablers.
In today’s culture, marriage is quite controversial so we don’t hear much about how to be married either.
Public school didn’t prepare me for having a family.
On the flip side, homeschooling might not teach children how to be a family either.
It all depends on the parents, or whoever is raising them.
If a family is dysfunctional, then homeschooling could still be challenging. Dysfunction in a family tends to continue on until someone decides they want to work on breaking the cycle.
There’s just no sure-fire formula to being 100% prepared for adult life.
Eventually, we’re all tossed into it and learn how to swim, run, and fly through life as an adult.
We’ll stub a toe, skin a knee, and fall flat on our faces from time to time.
What matters is that we learn to get back up and become stronger along the way.
“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
Sitting at a desk for several hours a day only prepares you to sit at a desk for several hours a day.
You can learn from textbooks all day long, memorize facts and historical data, but until you have hands-on experience (such as an apprenticeship) then all you have is head knowledge.
Head knowledge can only go so far.
A classic, and yet humorous, example of this dilemma is from television show, The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon Cooper is highly intelligent and able to recite a startling amount of facts, but is socially inept. His female neighbor from across the hall, Penny, has a very limited academic education yet is able to hold down a job as a waitress for the Cheesecake Factory. She knows how to pick up on social cues and get along with people. Over the years of Penny living across the hall from University professors, she learns a lot more about Science while Sheldon and his group of friends learn more about people skills.
Every person has a role in society.
So whether a person is raised in the public school or in a homeschool, we each have a place in this world.
We can disagree on how to educate, how many hours to educate, or what materials to educate children with, but since people are so unique there’s just no way to state that one way works better than another in all instances.
We’ll homeschool our children and you can public school your children. Someday they might cross paths and be able to teach each other something they didn’t previously know.
Our parents make the decisions for us when we’re children and that is the lot we’re given in life.
When you become a parent, you’ll make the decisions for your children.
My husband and I will make the decisions for our children.
And all of our children will grow up to make decisions for their children.
This is the freedom we all have and I support this freedom. I hope you will too.
“Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won’t have as much censorship because we won’t have as much fear.” ― Judy Blume