Monday, April 2, 2012

Thoughts on Homeschooling

I finally joined the world of pinterest. I kept finding educational and spiritual blogs I loved, but I never bookmarked them. My bookmark tabs are so outdated, and I'm too lazy to fix them. Saddened that I had no way of remembering these sites, I finally caved. I joined pinterest just so I could have a place to keep these mommy blogs that I imagine will be so helpful one day. Naturally, this introduced me to all the mommy blogs so many of my LDS friends are "pinning."  And I was struck by their commonalities.  So many of these mom bloggers home school.

My initial reaction was not to pin any of them, because yes, I'm that judgmental. Obviously, these moms are much more talented and hard working than I will ever be, but I just have trouble "supporting" the home school cause.

These thoughts consumed my whole weekend. I went all over the place. As mentioned, my first reaction was judgment, but then the Holy Ghost got a hold of me and reminded me to be charitable.  This: "Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings." -- Marvin J Ashton, 1992. is my new favorite quote.  Hopefully, my new motto.

To be charitable I had to stop all judgment. I had to be nice. That part was easy. Like I said, I admire the dedication of these mothers. Not only do they home school, which is a difficult task I've watched friends struggle through, they also share all their curriculum for the benefit of others! What wonderfully amazing women. And the plethora of spiritual curriculum really could cover my FHE lessons from this very moment to Reid's graduation. And the best part, they give all these amazing materials to the public for free. Clearly, they have the charity I seek already planted in their hearts.

The next charitable step I wanted to take was to try and understand our differences. This required some research on my end. I looked up studies on home schooling and found both positive and negative results.  I found home school blogs, linked together one after another, and I read anything blog author's posted about "why" and "how." I even found some non-LDS home schooling blogs, just so I could really understand the phenomenon. And it is a phenomenon. The rate at which children in the US are being home schooled has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 10 years. Lastly, I took some deep reflections on the experiences of home schooling I've witnessed first hand. A (formerly) home schooled child in our Primary knows all her Book of Mormon stories inside and out. She has all the Articles of Faith memorized, and sings the Primary Songs with a full heart -- clearly, there are advantages to home schooling.

All this pondering didn't change my mind. In fact, it reaffirmed some of my already held assumptions about home schooling (like that it isn't rigorous enough and that the home school day is too short and most importantly, that the option of home schooling can make some parents less responsible and accountable). But overall my initial distain for the practice has dwindled.

I am eager to share some of my findings. So stay tuned throughout this week, I'll probably do two more posts. One where I discuss the advantages of home schooling, and even some of the reasons I would want to do it myself. And then another post (where I will try very delicately) to explain why I still stand firm against the movement. Bare with me, I'm still an educator at heart.


Jodi said...

I never really used to think about homeschooling until I moved to Texas. There are atleast 4 families in our ward who homeschool, maybe even more. I see pros and cons from both sides, but have decided that I will never homeschool. I didn't send my 4-year-old to preschool this last year, mainly because of the cost, but it has been really fun. I would even consider homeschooling Kindergarten, but would go no further. I have enjoyed doing preschool from home mainly because it is what we would do anyway! Make a craft, sing a song, go to the library, play with friends, bake cookies, etc. It is the hands on experiences that little ones need to have. Anyway, I am excited to hear your view on homeschooling. I would really appreciate to understand it from an educators point of view. All I know for sure is that it's not for me :).

Troy and Lisa said...

LOVE....I have strong opinions on it too. In my school, if parents didn't like how we did things, they'd threaten to home school, finally do it, and the kid would be back in 3 months, much worse off than he started. There are some families in my ward who home school too. I had 1 as a beehive and she could barely read. Made me sad. Another in my Mia Maid class now is brilliant. Anyway...I've read some interesting blogs about people who homeschool and model their lives after Little House on the Prairie and teach their kids the way Jefferson was taught. Weird. (yes, I'm judgemental too) I'll send you the links. Just interesting.

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