August 27, 2011

Homeschooling?! Wait. What?

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I am incredibly fortunate. I have readers involved in all aspects of the schooling spectrum, and I want to hear from each and every one of them on this topic.

I have never, ever considered the possibility of homeschooling my child. Why? Four very solid reasons:

1) I want my children to have lifelong exposure to many opinions other than my own;

2) I believe the classroom setting prepares children to cope in the real world. I'm not talking about socialization, I'm talking about learning responsibility and respect for authority (even if you don't like the authority figure very much);

3) Teachers spend years in college learning how to educate children. That's why school is *there*, for heaven's sake; and

4) Teachers are specialized. I guarantee that any history teacher - at any school - knows more about history than I do. Even the creepy one who picks his nose while the kids are taking a test.

But...

My daughter is, like, crazy smart.

And we're starting to get the comments. You know the ones. "You do realize she's going to have to skip a grade, don't you?" "She's going to be bored." "You might have to put her in private school."

Dude - I've totally tried everything! We watch hours of TV, I buy her video games, give her coloring books instead of blank paper. Nothing helps. She just keeps getting smarter and smarter, and I'm all, STOP! Be stupid like everyone else, Jesus.

"I want to watch PBS Kids!"

"NO! You are going to sit there and watch Tom & Jerry and you are going to LIKE IT."

"What's this word, mommy? C says 'kuh,' A says 'aa,' T says 'tuh: 'kuh' 'aa' 'tuh' ... does it say 'CAT'?"

"No, GAWD, shut up and eat your Froot Loops. And make sure to spell 'fruit' like that."

Okay, I'm done.

But seriously. She's ridiculous. She turned three in June and she does addition and subtraction, simple phonics, she's starting to tell time (she can handle hours but she's not quite there with the minutes), the list just goes on and on.

I was a "gifted" student. The biggest lesson I've learned regarding IQ is that it is not, by any means, the most important factor in living a successful life. Let's take a moment to discuss it with Albert Einstein:

"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales."
"Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school."
"The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking."
"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."
That last one is my favorite. Any measure of IQ is going to be biased. But, really, that's a different post altogether.

The point is that, in the interest of keeping an open mind, I've been reading about homeschooling. Part of me is horrified. Part of me is intrigued. Part of me is wondering when Rules of Engagement will be back on.

Horrified: Anyone can homeschool. There is no certification process. There is no mandatory curriculum or testing standard. Legally you can never leave the house, watch Dr. Phil all day, and teach your children to wait patiently for the Sacred Toast Goat that will be appearing in the bathtub to take them away to Planet Xerox.

Intrigued: Should the government have a right to mandate what the nation's children are being taught? If children can't be required to learn about evolution or sex then why should they be required to learn about algebra or phonics? Where is the line?

In a more focused, less hypothetical vein - would this be a better option for my child(ren... who knows about the baby, he's probably a total moron. Seriously, he can't even crawl yet.)? At least for a while, until she is old enough to decide what she wants to do.

But then again... I was bullied in school. Might I inadvertently bias her against it?

I feel like my whole paradigm has shifted in one afternoon of Googling. I hate that. Stupid technology.

Wondering when Rules of Engagement will be back on: What the hell?! Why does TV just totally disappear in the summer? Repo Games and Tosh.0 were new for a while, now they're gone. Doesn't TV understand that some of us aren't playing at water parks and camping and flying to Orlando? ENTERTAIN ME, TV!

All hail the Sacred Toast Goat, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and TV. Oh yeah. Education. All hail education.     
-Kim

3 comments:

  1. Great Blog as usual Kim!

    While it is true that ANYONE can homeschool legally, not everyone should. My decision to homeschool comes with great responsibility. I have been researching curriculum for months and now that it has started to arrive I spend a great deal of time reviewing it and making lesson plans just as any other teacher would do. (I do have a double BA in Psych and Child Development though . . . . .)

    I feel that the United States educational system is currently a mess! I feel I received a stellar education growing up and that our nation's youth are not receiving the same caliber of education I received and that saddens me. Currently we don't even have an agreement from state to state on what children should learn at each grade level. Massachusetts and Vermont have some of the highest ranks for education in the country and their kindergartners will finish the year exposed to far more than Idaho's kindergartners will . . . . don't believe me, look up the DOE website for different states . . . . you'll be shocked at the disparity.

    Some purist home schoolers balk when I say we're homeschooling because technically, Annabelle is enrolled in a public charter school . . . . they provide the curriculum and I touch bases with a teacher on a regular basis to ensure that Annabelle is always AT LEAST where she should be (which is important to me so that if I ever do choose to put her in regular school she won't be behind)

    I feel like I'm rambling . . . . .

    Oh yeah, and I hate that everyone thinks I'm a tea party-ist because I homeschool LOL

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  2. I almost forgot . . . . co-ops and home school groups have been a great resource for me . . . . just because it's home school does not mean that everything needs to be taught by me. If there is a subject I'm not comfortable teaching, I am still free to find a resource elsewhere to tackle it. Homeschool provides a lot of flexibility in that regard . . . .

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  3. As Fall 2012 looms and Natalie's K enrollment is on my mind, I have one question ... "Can we afford Challenger?"

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