One of the most important choices you make in life is how you choose to school your child. For many of us, choosing the fastest growing (by far) option of homeschooling can be a daunting task. But, like anything that is great and has a long lasting positive impact, it can be difficult.
Not only is it difficult to be with your children all day with little to no break, but it is compounded by the pressures of the “world’s” expectations. “Should I be doing more?” “Is my child ‘keeping up’ with other children their age?” “Am I qualified to teach?” “Can my child learn from me?” Sound familiar?
Let’s begin with a quick history lesson. For thousands of years, parents have schooled their own children. And for thousands of years parents never once asked themselves these questions. Not until the age of modern education have these questions come up. Horace Mann is known as the Father of American Public Education. His focus, was not to educate each unique child and meet their unique needs (that cannot possibly be done in classes of well over 15 children and many times up to 30), but to bring them under the control of a centralized authority and make education more uniform (his words not mine).
I continue to be surprised by the amount of trust we put in our government to decide what’s best for our kids. I mostly hear about how people don’t trust the government in every other way. After all, when you ask yourself, “Are my kids testing well?” or “Are they keeping up?”, you are measuring them against the government’s standards. We don’t trust the government to spend our money properly and know most politicians have hidden motives, so why do we trust them with something as precious as our children?
Let me ask you, “What is your biggest goal in life for your child?” I would imagine it is the same answer many of our ancestors would have given. Personally, my measure of success is not how many standards my children have mastered or how they perform on standardized tests, but what kind of children I am raising. In other words, what values do they live their lives with and how do they view our world? (Quick note just so you know: academically speaking, homeschooled children outperform public school students on standardized test by between 15-30% and graduate college at a 10% greater rate as well*).
I also find it very interesting that schools for the last 10-15 years have been dedicating more time pushing social and emotional health on to the students. Time is increasingly being shifted from academics to teaching students how to behave and think properly about their world. Who is creating this content you ask? Not you is the best answer. And, I thought only homeschooled children needed to be socialized and learn social skills because public school children just picked it up automatically. Apparently not.
Choosing homeschooling means choosing to be the biggest influence in your child’s life. It is hard to accomplish that when they are apart from you for far more time than they are with you. This is not a dig at parents who send their children to public school, but an encouragement to those who choose to homeschool. Remember your WHY! Remember that parents for thousands of years have done this! Remember you are not alone in this noble undertaking! Remember there is no more sacred task than raising your children under your love, care, and protection!
* Data provided by the National Home Education Research Institute and Michael Cogan at the University of St. Thomas.
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