Tuesday, February 7, 2012

my perspective

there have been so many factors into our decision to home educate our son the remainder of this year... and why we will continue next year with our son and our youngest daughter. the funny thing is, when it was first mentioned to me in face of all my sons trials and tribulations within the public system...i laughed. yup laughed at the person who suggested it. me?? homeschool?? are you kidding?? i have no patience, i hated school...i am so scatterbrained and so not geared to teach or attempt to teach math and science...i am a right brainer ALL the way!!

it was from researching and reading what home education really is today that i realized i already am a home educator...and considering what we have dealt with within the public school system, my kids are learning more at home then school anyway. however after pulling my son in june of last year because we were fed up, fully committing to home educating come september, registering with a home ed board...we still gave school a go this year. 2 days before school started dakota mentioned wanting to try it...it was middle school not elementary and a new teacher...maybe it would be better? and i caved...completely chickened out of the home education choice and jumped on my son's request.

my reason? we are so geared to think that school is the only place a child can receive their education. so geared to think that a teacher with a diploma is the only person effective enough to deliver that education and while i do believe there are some truly amazing teachers out there....there are more not so great. and it occurred to me that anyone can get a teaching diploma...what's stopping me from doing so?? but we don't need a diploma to teach. we have been teaching our children for centuries without them. even today we are responsible for teaching our children...we teach our children to speak, to walk, to potty train, say please and thank you, be respectful, to ride a bike, be responsible, the list goes on...but wait!! we don't teach, we guide. when our children are ready to learn these things we help them. we guide them and show them. and that, essentially, is all that teaching is...or should be.

why should school be different? why are we forcing our children to learn things they aren't ready to learn? when if we are patient and guide them, they will get there...without the labels of gifted, average, or below average. i remember when i was potty training my first child and had a moment of frustration, i phoned my mom and asked what i was doing wrong...her words to me were "just settle, it will come when he's ready, it's not like he's going to be wearing diapers when's he 18" huh. it was so easy to get caught up in what "should" happen at certain ages and by certain times. children are not robots. my son was potty trained by 20 months. my middle daughter was potty trained by 30 months and my youngest girl was potty trained by 18 months. all my children also spoke at different ages and learned to walk at different ages.

i, also, am not a fan of telling children they are gifted, or average, or below average and need assisted learning. gifted really these days just means your child is geared to learn the way schools are set up to teach...they are academic. and that is a great thing...but there are very few children in these groups who are actually truly gifted...einstein was gifted. and we all would like to believe we have the next little einstein on our hands, but we don't. average means you are in a group that just gets it, sits at the established grade level and can move on...yay!! and below average means you are not learning at the determined grade level....and the schools want to improve this by giving your child assisted learning, which makes them look good. but in the meantime is saying to this child, you are dumb and are never going to excel academically...so what?? so their brains aren't geared to think that way. what's wrong with taking on a trade? why are we so focused that academic post secondary education is our only option for children?? i know soooooo many people who have created successful lives and have never gone to post secondary. they have used skills that schools don't acknowledge and have created amazing lives and are not living in a cardboard box somewhere.

my son is below average according to the academic system...he requires assisted learning. pulling him out of class to drill into him essential and determined academic lessons he should already have by now. but if you ever talk to my son, you find an incredibly intelligent little boy who thinks like an engineer. the stuff he builds in his head blows my mind away. and no, i am not saying he is gifted, i am saying that he thinks differently and his strong points and talents lay in areas the public school systems don't acknowledge. so i get the privilege of home educating him and guiding him thru tough subjects for him like language arts but i get the joy of seeing it click when he's ready to get it. i get the honour of developing his interests like mechanics and science and math...and i get to be a part of watching him go deep and love what he is learning.

who said education needed to be boring? that our children needed to be zoned out to learn? who decided that kids only needed to learn academically and all the other stuff be delivered in little pieces at short intervals throughout their school careers? why shouldn't education be trade driven as much as academic driven? so yes, for all of these reasons and more we made the choice to home educate. to inspire our children by life. my children won't be 18 and not able to read, write or do math. they will be able to take on in life anything they choose to based on their interests, and if that means post secondary education...then they will be able to do that too. so while i still have moments of "oh my gosh! what am i doing??" and i am still the most scatterbrained, unorganized, and unscheduled person i know...we are managing. and quite well...this is teaching me to be a lot more patient and a little more structured. but the beauty of home ed is that it doesn't need that classroom structure to learn. the beauty is that he gets to learn his way. and the real beauty is seeing his smile again.

"education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire" ~yeats

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