Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wish List Item #7

7 We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

I have said before, and I will say it again, I am certain there are some wonderful public schools in the country. Clearly there are people who have completed 12 years of public school education and gone on to succeed in whatever it is they chose to pursue. That being said, the former President's of Princeton, Stanford and Columbia were all homeschooled. The man who invented the Stanford-Binet IQ Test homeschooled his son, and he himself was a principal! What does that say?

Some currently well known homeschoolers and homeschooling parents include: Dakota Fanning, Sandra Day O'Conner, Will Smith, Kelly Preston & John Travolta, Venus & Serena Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Love Hewitt... and the list of famous names from history is not only long, but impressive. Many of the most well known inventors were homeschooled.

Homeschooling allows individuals to pursue a subject until they are done. There is no reason to stop learning if there is still interest. I was listening to a talk radio "news" blurb a few weeks back. Something about millions of balls being dumped out onto the steps of some significant building somewhere in Italy in protest of something. After the short "story" my 6 year old asked me what that was about, and I had no answer. Are our attention spans so short that we can't even listen to an actual news story? That same night Larry King spent 15 minutes talking about the poor Marine found in a hole in her rapist's back yard and 45 minutes talking about Britney Spears being taken to a hospital. C'mon people, in what twisted realm is Britney Spears news? And why is Larry King reducing himself to spending the majority of his NEWS hour discussing her?

My children are learning. They are avid readers, they are creative, they are social, they are civic minded and they are thriving. They can hold a conversation, they can listen to me for more than 5 minutes and they can (nearly) sit through a whole sermon at church. They know who is running for President and why, they know how our Town government is run and how our Town differs from surrounding villages and/or boroughs. They know Bible stories, fables, fairy tales and key pieces of literature. They color, paint, sculpt and fashion art from scrap. They recycle, care for pets, grow vegetables and flowers, identify trees, birds and various bugs. They can count, add, subtract, multiply and divide (as is age appropriate of course). They can halve or double a recipe, they can set a proper place setting and they know how to fold cloth napkins. They can sew, crochet, swim, play various sports, recognize multiple ballets and pieces of music.

Lest you think me immodest, I cannot take the credit for a good half of what my children know. They are curious, and I direct them to the source most likely to satisfy their curiosity. Learning is not a 9-3 endeavor, teaching moments are all around you if you are quiet enough to see them.


j-m said...

Very nicely put.

And, may I add, every parent is a homeschool parent, in one fashion or another...we teach them to use a toilet, tie their shoes, bathe themselves, get dressed, eat politely, and a host of other things. We need to pass on our values, our ideas of politics, civic responsibility, how to take care of the planet in general. Even if my 4-year-old ends up going to a formal "school", I will still take advantage of those teachable moments that happen outside of school hours, reallly answering his questions, teaching him where to find those answers himself. This is what a good teacher does, and every parent should be a good teacher.

Why anyone should grill your kids is beyond me. I never do that to children when I discover they're going to a private school, a charter school, are privately tutored because of an illness/injury, etc. Some people...

Nan Patience said...

This is your most compelling homeschooling post so far. I for one, give you a lot of credit for the way you're going about things. Rock on, girl!

Mom of 3 said...

I believe every concerned parent is a homeschooler as well. Some families also choose to supplement with more traditional methods of education... I knew I liked you!

Thanks for the encouragement, it really is heart warming.

MamaCole said...

Not only do our children learn so much from sources outside of school, sometimes the school environment can even squash some of their natural curiosity. I found that out the hard way just this past week with my 11 year-old. I'm trying to help him recover, but I am really mad at this teacher.

More later - maybe even in my own post!