Saturday, August 28, 2010

Are you sure you are homeschooling your kids?
Or are you just schooling them at home?

"Since warehousing sounds so decidedly negative, it needs a positive spin, a justification. After all, many parents are annoyed, even threatened by the concept that if they have children, actually raising them, is part of the deal. So we assign the added purpose of 'education' to the warehouses.

Thus, not only are children being kept apart from community and family (real life), they are forced to participate in schooling - an entirely unnatural and synthetic activity - even though it is merely an excuse to keep them captive."

I was reading this portion of Smarting Us Up: The Un dumbing of America and it sickened and sobered me. I can't say I would go so far as to say that every parent sends their kids to school so they don't have to raise them (though some of them do) and that every public school is a warehouse (though we have to admit that some of them are not much more than that). I don't agree with everything these authors say, but this portion of the book did cause me to realize one thing:

Even at five years old, there is a lot more Norah could and should be learning from me at home than I have been taking the time to teach her.

"She is only five..." I'd tell myself and then pack her bag for our overnight trips instead of helping her pack her own bag and using it as an opportunity to begin teaching her another vital skill, another way of taking care of herself. I started rethinking everything she needs to learn to be ready for life, from washing dishes to opening soup cans, and I realized that I was letting this schooled culture dictate to me the "when" of these matters.

I don't let the public schools enforce their "standards" (that often turn into limits) on my five year old's potential in subjects like math and reading and handwriting, so why was I ever letting them define what was "normal" for her in other areas? Just because most every other five year old is helpless in the kitchen (because they are hardly ever home to be in the kitchen) and can't brown beef safely, doesn't mean Norah has to be helpless in the kitchen. And, just because most every other five year old is clueless about how to run a vacuum (because they are too busy with homework to be expected to do chores, too), doesn't mean that Norah has to remain clueless about this, either.

I have come to believe in home school because it allows children to spend their days doing things that matter in the real world (not just the artificial world of the classroom). Norah has had time to learn how to gather ripe vegetables from the garden and she has learned how to help me change her baby sister's clothes. While doing these things, she is fully engaged. And by doing them, she experiences what it is to do something truly worthwhile. I say a genuine "Thank you" and mean it for her help with the garden and Avril rewards Norah with a hug and a look of adoration when she helps take care of her baby sister. These things really contribute to the people she knows and loves. And, that only adds to Norah's confidence, self-worth and satisfaction.

Every kid is capable of more than what the system has room for. We all admit this. The beauty of homeschooling is that it can (if parents like me will wise up a little and let it) allow kids the room they need to reach their full potential in every area at every stage of their lives.

"Norah, Do you want to help me vacuum?!"

"I don't think I can..."

"Of course you can! I mean, you won't be as good at it as I am because you are only five, after all, but get over here!"

:)

2 comments:

Donnie Evans II said...

"Get in that kitchen, and cook me some pie, Woman!"

LOL, she's so cute! Veronica, that vacuum is twice her size... She looks like she's been cleaning up after her evil step-sisters ALL DAY! I can't stop laughing at that picture...

KApted said...

Came over from the WTM forum, and I love this post! You are so right. My boys often whine because they have SO many chores while most of their friends have NONE. I always tell them that their wives will be grateful one day that they can do things for themselves! I am bad about not letting them help in the kitchen. I need to change that. Thanks for the reminder!