It is that time of year again ….for the rest of the neighborhood that is, back to school. It is also on the agenda for those that home school. But as we have progressed over the years, I have found this self-imposed deadline to be ridiculous and painful, for both the kids and myself. Why go along with the pack? It’s insane. Pack mentality is usually wrong. So now we just learn at will.
John Holt said, to paraphrase, please do not just replace the school with your home. The same books, the same schedule, the same expectations. He is considered the father of the home school movement. I didn’t hear about him until my third child and we were well underway into our unschool adventure and yet we were using his same insights as our own. See, that’s the thing, we want the kids out of what we know is an artificial sterile environment that is lead by others with little to no consideration to child or family. So we bring them home only to try to recreate what we tried to avoid by bringing them home! This nonsense is furthered by mommy blogs and curriculum sellers for no other reason than to cash in on our misgivings that our babies aren’t thriving enough.
Children do not need things to live nor learn. The advancement of man should stand for that alone. Technology has advanced in leaps and bounds but do we as teachers and guides need it? What we can’t do without today was only a drawing a mere 15 years ago. We did just fine without it then. Can you imagine that we grew up with only one phone and that was in the houseHow did all our great writers, thinkers and artists ever manage to get their crowns without T.V. , computers, ipods, gadgets and whizbangs? I believe it had something to do with life and imagination. Can gadgets help? Sure, but it is a dependence on things rather than self and imagination that can be stifled. Since when does learning have to happen at a desk in a room away from the vicissitudes of life? Quiet, maybe but not isolation. Need physical education? don’t go buy a CD for virtual exercise, introduce the kids to the trees, grass and their bodies. Cart wheels, hand stands,spinning and climbing are all included.
The newest package , the newest curriculum are just there as more landfill fodder . The one thing that irks me the most are the mommy blogs that sell and talk up the newest MUST HAVE for the home school. It’s outrageously expensive but isn’t it cute? Then you see their kids with the item. For one thing, Mom only has two tikes that are no more than 2 and 5 years old, so we aren’t really seasoned keeping the little one home for learning, but the house is immaculate, the kids are spotless (even when painting!) and the blog is a full-time job! I’d like to know is this for real? And if so how? My kids aren’t spotless when they are clean! And my house..well let’s just say we can find most things when we need them. Children do not need the perfect classroom by Hello Home School in pink and green. They thrive on Mom and Pop and a way to explore the world. A world of nature that science comes from and mathematics can be seen in both nature and man’s creation. How far removed are we when we learn only from texts and observations of others!
Yes, I use books and pencils and paper. I even sit the kids down to focus on tasks. Dittos are always a easy way to get a bit of writing in, or math. I do not use texts for history and much of our science is from observing and referencing. We live in our classroom. We do not reserve learning for one place, one time and expect to be taught by someone else. We learn, always. Isn’t that the goal? To be always learning? And to become autodidacts? At least part of the time?
My daughter flat out refused to learn her letters like the others. She said”NO!” and she meant it. She was given a pocket size book on birds, she watched birds and had to know each name. It was through this that her first read words were ‘Bald Eagle’! From there she just took off and at age 10 she is at about a 10th grade reading level. This would not have been possible any where else. She was ready when she was ready.
So the next time you read a blog about how your home “school” should be or look, think back to your reasons that you have the kids with you. Remember you are not selling your kids anything but that blog, home school site, or forum probably is. Learning can be natural if you let it or you can stop it and make it a classroom only activity. Let others go to school to learn, teach your kids that learning is just a way of life!