It’s going to be a long and rambling post, so fasten your seatbelts. My friend Nicole at Tired, Need Sleep wrote a very interesting and thoughtful post trying to decide whether to homeschool her children going forward. I suppose that many parents who can afford to stay home with their children weigh this decision at some point of time trying to decide what’s best for their family and their children. My opinion of homeschooling changed significantly since I started writing my blog and interacting with many creative and intelligent homeschooling moms who had different reasons for choosing the path they are on. I used to view homeschooling parents more as ultra-religious control freaks trying to shield their kids from secular influences. But still, I personally don’t plan to homeschool my daughter and let me share the reasons for my current point of view:
I loved school. Let’s be honest – a lot of what we do is influenced by our own experiences, especially early experiences. I always loved going to school, I don’t remember being bored even when I knew the material. I liked “being a smart one”, and I had good relationship with practically every child in my class. I didn’t go to school here in the States, so my memories might be irrelevant, but I still feel it would be wrong to deprive Smarty of the fun to be on her own with her peers.
I have faith in and respect for teachers. I read this comment on one of the blogs I read: My daughter left me to be with a bunch of strangers. They tell me that these strangers are better equipped to teach her all that she will need to know to get a job and be a productive citizen. It rubbed me the wrong way. It’s not how I feel about Smarty's current and future teachers. They are not strangers, they are my partners in educating my child. Hopefully, they chose teaching because they had passion for it, and they were trained for this. They also see hundreds of other children and hopefully will be able to recognize my child’s strengths and weaknesses as well, if not better, than I do. I hope that both me and my husband will be actively engaged in school activities and volunteer if we can.
I have seen the village, and I do want it to (help) raise my child. I saw the opposite of this phrase on some homeschooling blogs, and it also rubs me the wrong way. I wish I were so convinced that I can give my daughter everything she will ever need. I don’t believe that she will be surrounded by drug addicts, gang members, cultists and atheists the moment she leaves her sheltered home. She will be living “in the village” one day, and maybe it’s better if she learns to appreciate and respect her wider community when she is a young child.
I am not religious. I recognize the fact that some homeschoolers might decide against public schools for religious reasons. I don’t have the same reservations, and therefore I hope that my daughter will do just fine in a public school.
I believe in my child and in myself. I believe in my ability to teach my child family values. so she is able to distinguish between right and wrong, to stand up for her ideals and to resist peer pressure. I did this, my husband did this, and I want my daughter to learn how to do this. I believe in my ability to move from control to influence, to support her choices, to step in when needed and enforce the rules. I never want to abdicate the role of the teacher, but at some point the teacher should become a mentor, stand back and watch her child fly by herself.