As I have mentioned before, apart from God's calling in our lives, it was highly UNLIKELY that the Hubs and I would ever choose to homeschool. In fact, I actually recall a conversation in which I snickered and defiantly said, "I would NEVER homeschool!!!" Never, say never...life lesson learned!
Now, with six years of homeschooling behind me, I can see how God has clearly used the unconventional idea of teaching children at home to teach ME more than I ever would have learned otherwise. Here are just 10 of the many things I was UNLIKELY to learn without homeschooling...
A piece of paper does not prove you can teach.
As a classroom teacher with black and white credentials, I balked at the idea of an "ordinary mom or dad" being able to do the job of someone with a degree in education. But the fact of the matter is, I now know dozens of moms who are doing an exceptional job of educating children and just as many licensed teachers who are NOT. While my studies certainly prepared me to manage a "herd", my training did very little to teach me how to reach the heart of a child, a task that God specifically assigned to parents...not "professionals".
A passion for a topic trumps a lesson plan...every time!
While in the classroom, I had to keep moving forward with my pre-determined lesson plan, even if that meant leaving the learners behind. Now as a homeschool mom, I don't have to be chained to someone else's script. I can encourage my children to explore topics they are interested in and gently guide them towards new ones.
|A homespun scuba outfit made after exploring oceanography.|
A test is 2-dimensional.
While it is wonderful for my son to know that 1/2 of 6 equals 3, if he is only memorizing that fact in order to regurgitate it on a test, he has gained nothing but a red letter on the top of a page that will eventually be thrown away. The real test comes when he is attempting to make half of a recipe and he has to evenly divide all of the ingredients.
"Bright" comes in many forms.
Although I have two children who, by the world's standards, are naturally academic, I have two that struggle at times with traditional textbook topics. A traditional classroom teacher might very well look at my two out-of-the-box learners and dismiss them as slow, but I know better. I have seen just how bright they are because I'm willing to throw out the "box".
"Normal" doesn't have to be the norm.
The world would like you to believe that sexual promiscuity is to be expected, that every tween girl will suffer with food-related self-image issues, that siblings can not possibly get along. But the truth is, that just simply is not TRUE. So many of these peer-related, American-angst issues can be avoided by providing the green-house of homeschooling. My children are safe to grow and mature physically, emotionally, spiritually without the threat of negative peer pressure to stunt them.
Every school choice brings both struggles and strengths.
I attended public school for most of my formative years, I taught private school for seven years, and have homeschooled my children for six years. I think it is safe to say that I have experienced every major schooling option there is and can conclude with much conviction that there is no PERFECT school choice. As much as I love homeschooling it is far from perfect...because it is comprised of imperfect people. The struggles and strengths of homeschooling just happen to be the ones God has ordained in His perfect plan for both me and my children.
Real-life skills can't be learned in a desk.
While math facts and parts of speech are helpful bits of knowledge, sitting in a desk memorizing lengthy lists and trivial facts does not equip a child for REAL adult life. Too often, eighteen-year-olds are launched into the world with very little ability to manage themselves or their homes. They have never learned basic life skills like doing laundry, cooking a homemade meal, or writing a budget because their overcrowded school schedules have made it impossible to find the time. On the contrary, homeschooling affords my children the benefits of having a classroom within a HOME...a real-life internship for them to practice home management before it really counts.
|Doing laundry is a family-affair. Even my 3-year-old can help sort and fold.|
Learning is a lifestyle.
My children do not have to compartmentalize their education and "schedule" it in between 9 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. Because LEARNING happens in the same place that LIFE happens, the two are synonymous.
Most people have no idea what ACTUALLY goes on in a traditional classroom.
A counter-cultural schooling choice like homeschooling has a tendency to bring about unsolicited advice. The mere mention of homeschooling in the average social circle will elicit a surplus of opinions on everything from socialization to standardized test scores. At the risk of sounding quite harsh, I can assure you that most of these opinions are tainted with ignorance and are given by people who have not set foot inside a classroom for more than a few minutes to drop their children off at the door.
The word "bald" when referring to an eagle is an Old English term which means "white".
As trivial as this little known fact might seem, it is just one of the thousands of fascinating things I have learned while homeschooling. If truth be told, I have learned more head-knowledge in the last six years than I ever learned in the previous twenty-seven.
*For the next 10 weeks I will be joining with the lovely ladies of iHomeschool Network for a 10 in 10 series. Please join me each Tuesday for a look at my Top 10s. A special thanks to Angie of Many Little Blessings for hosting this fun hop!