Part of the reason we want to embark on this crazy adventure is because we see so many homeschool benefits compared to mainstream education. The ability to balance teaching across a wide variety of topics including art and music in addition to math and language arts is a big one. We will be traveling, so we will be able to make learning fun by experiencing so many things first hand. Check out my work in progress step-by-step plan to roadschool my two boys.
I also think that my husband and I are great teachers. I think that the main element many parents lack is confidence in their ability to teach their kids. Parents are equally, if not more capable of teaching their children, especially during elementary years because parents know which topics peak their children’s interest and can cater a curriculum to highlight those interests.
The ability to offer one-on-one guidance is a huge homeschooling benefit. I often volunteered in my son’s kindergarten classroom and as much as I absolutely loved his teacher, I saw the impossibility of teaching to the masses. Some kids did not speak English, some could not add 2+2, others were assisting me with checking math problems. That’s just on an academic level. On a social level – arguably what should be the main focus of learning for five and six-year-olds – some kids could not sit still, some had behavior problems, some were shy and overlooked.
We had issues with bullying the first week. My son came home telling me about another kid who was pushing him around. I saw the same kid hold another kid up against the play structure with his arms behind his back. This school is rated a nine. People move to our town for the amazing schools. This happens everywhere.
Teachers aren’t ignoring this, they just can’t see everything. There are so many children and so much going on. The truth is that nobody cares about your child as much as you do.
Fostering independent thinking
Teaching my children to think critically and make informed decisions is possibly the biggest benefit I see in homeschooling – although this certainly can, and should, be taught to all children whether homeschooled or not.
My son’s school has a morning meeting each day and, to me, it felt like a herd of sheep standing by while principal listening to herself ramble on. When I asked, at orientation, what the school did to foster social skills, the principal talked about morning meeting. To me, it felt like the morning meeting was an opportunity for the school to push their agenda and a universal way of thinking. It just didn’t sit well with me. Possibly because it often ended with a request for parents to donate to the school.
Every morning my son told me how much he hated morning meeting. My response was that I hated it too. Almost as much as I hate homework.
Lastly, school oversight is completely out of hand. Since when do they need my child’s dental records? Since when can they perform an eye exam without consent? It’s crazy that the school sends out a note about sending children to school, even when they are sick, as long as there fever isn’t over 100. I’m sorry, last time I checked, I get to decide whether or not my child is well enough to attend school.
Schools aren’t about education. They’re about fundraising. A good principal knows how to get the most money out each child, everyday. They know how to accelerate those standardized test scores. They don’t know my child’s name. They don’t know that he loves art and trucks and Hardy Boys books. They just don’t know how to foster his love of learning like I do.