How many fun, learning opportunities have you and your kids missed out on due to work and school schedules? Are your children interested in things not commonly taught in a school curriculum? Do they want to do internships or apprenticeships to learn a trade? Homeschooling may be the answer for you.
The first step is to check your state’s regulations. If you like what you see, you can prepare yourself and your child(ren) to take the next step. You will face challenges and negativity along the way, so be armed with research to back up your position when you take your child(ren) out of school. Many well-meaning, intelligent people are not educated about the differences between socializing and socialization, just to name one issue. If you have done your research and feel confident homeschooling is the best option for your family, stand firm. Some will ask about “gaps” in your child’s education. One way to make a point is to ask the concerned questioner what s/he remembers from school. That should take care of that.
Children can learn anywhere. Sitting around a table or at a desk with peers does not guarantee learning. The first rule of learning is that the information must be meaningful to the student(s). Since I teach Spanish, let me use that as an example. Is it necessary for all students to speak Spanish? No. Do I think it is an important skill? Of course! Could it become meaningful to a student later? Absolutely. Many times schools set requirements that do not fit all students, but it’s done to make sure our students have a well-rounded education. Fair enough, but all students will not find the information I have to share as important as I do. They may not ever need to speak Spanish. According to school requirements, however, they must pass the class if they wish to graduate. What if a student wants to learn Arabic or French or any other language the school doesn’t offer? As a homeschooled student, any foreign language could count toward graduation. Schools are sometimes limited by funding and teachers, but a homeschooled student can find resources online or at a community college to fit interests and life goals. In Nebraska, there are Lakota-speaking people. It is even offered at the community college. For my daughter, this is a meaningful class. It will also be her third language! She is already fluent in English and Spanish. Using her as an example, would sitting in my Spanish class for a year be meaningful? I don’t think so!
Now picture her as a homeschooled student. She can learn a third language that is meaningful to her and relevant to where we live. Most parents and teachers will agree that we want well-rounded, life-long learners. Put that in plain language: we hope students will want to learn new things forever while having a broad base of information. If students feel “trapped” in a classroom with peers they do not like, how are we planning to accomplish that goal? Creativity doesn’t have to be sucked out of learning; it can still be fun. Some of us have forgotten what it’s like to be creative and have fun while still providing opportunities to learn. Homeschooling can do that!
Ideas for learning opportunities are everywhere. Surround yourself with intelligent professionals who can teach you and your child new skills. An internship of two weeks can teach more than a quarter in a class if the learner is motivated and the knowledge is meaningful. I have a friend who owns a bakery, another raises goats and chickens. Either friend could certainly impart information to my child. Will I give them a chance? You bet! If my child shows an interest in something, I will seek a way to provide information!
I am trying to pay attention to my daughter’s passions. She loves to sing and write songs. I support that, so I bought her a guitar. She was invited to a cosmetology school’s open house. She was interested, so I took a day off to get her there. Yesterday my daughter danced for an hour just because she wanted to. If she dances several times a week, that certainly could be called physical education! Good for her! That’s the beginning of her homeschool journey. I can’t wait to see how her passions develop now that she has the freedom to explore. She is no longer limited by a school schedule. Learning time for her is any time.