Teachers are funny creatures (no offence to any teachers out there, I still claim to be one myself). They kind of look "teachery" (yes, I am aware I am making up new words). Most of the teachers are retired and are doing the marking to go on a holiday. There are a few casual teachers who are after a solid few weeks work. And there's me. The ex-science/maths teacher who now homeschools her children. Cue crickets.
As a consequence, I've spent a large amount of my time during morning teas and lunchtimes explaining the why's and how's of home education to a bunch of people who are very much entrenched in the "system". It's been a bit tedious, but it clarifies things for me. I LOVE homeschooling. I love it for a lot of reasons:
- I am responsible for my children's education. I decide what, when and how we will do things (with the kid's input, which is even cooler). Sure, I have to match that up with state curriculum, and sure, I do things that if I truly had my way, I wouldn't bother with, but by and large, I decide.
- Real life learning! So much comes up in everyday life and we can discuss it. Add in wide reading and we already have a fabulous education, before you even get to worksheets, textbooks or curriculum materials.
- Opportunity to discuss things as they come up. You can't do that with 30 kids in your class, but with one or two - oh, the conversations we can have!!
- Correction, explanation, encouragement can occur when the kids need it most - as we go. They don't have to sit with their hand up, waiting for the teacher to notice them (well, not very often!). We do our work together and the feedback is instantaneous, constructive and done with love, not red pen.
- Truly individualised curriculum. Important for all kids, but especially for gifted kids. Compaction, grade-skipping, subject acceleration, telescoping, mentoring, extension, enrichment, early admission to tertiary studies and concurrent enrolment are all very easy to achieve, and I don't have negotiate any of it with anyone.
- Learning way cool stuff (like grammar!) - literature studies, quantum mechanics, Fibonacci numbers, computer programming - so much stuff to learn, so little time!
- Few behaviour issues. There are no "naughty" kids in our class and I don't spend most of my day doing behaviour management (well, not all of it, anyway!). Instead we can concentrate on learning and living.
- Better family relationships. I get to spend time with my kids. We honestly have a good time together and enjoy each other's company. If I find myself nagging them too much, then I know we need to find a better way.
- Stuff I don't miss - early mornings, bells, homework, sick notes, late notes, excursion notes, ironing uniforms, Easter hat parades, parent-teacher nights, reports, and sad, tired children. We are still able to access things like swimming carnivals, academic testing and competitions, drama, music, sport, chess and debating, when and if we need to through the local community and/or homeschool groups (who'da thunk it?).
I know not everyone can homeschool. But when you look at that (incomplete) list, I have to wonder why everyone else isn't doing it yet...
What else do you love about homeschooling?