Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why did we choose to pursue home learning?

I read a blog recently that suggested any family embarking on a "homeschooling" journey should write down what influenced their decision - why they decided to homeschool. It then suggested that they look back every year and read those reasons.

Back in April of 2010 I wrote about why we decided to homeschool. I didn't re-read my post, which can be found here, until today. I didn't.. I've been busy. Ok, whatever. The point is I went back today after reading the other blog and realized I'd done exactly what she suggested over a year ago.

Looking back now I see that very little could be added to my list of why's. However I could add more personal observation about how LD would cope in a classroom of 30 or so other children of his age. On one hand I know he'd love the interaction. There are times when I can see that we need to take a trip to a park or other place where there'll be other kids for him to interact with. However, those times are few and far between. For the most part we meet this need rather well.

What I do see is that the pros of not shipping him off every day to essentially a stranger far outweigh the cons of having to remember to make time for him to interact with other kids... which is so very difficult to remember to do (NOT).

I don't have to wake him up each morning before he's ready. Some would say that this is not going to make it easy for him later in life when he has to get up to go to work. Well I say, why does he have to work somewhere that makes him get up at an hour that is contrary to his nature? Why can't he do something that allows him to sleep in? Or, perhaps his sleeping habits will change as time passes.... Lord knows mine did! Why would I send him to school, into forced learning before he's awake? Why not allow him to learn when his brain is ready, vs when a system says he should be ready?

There is never a set time for any subject. If he's not interested in math at 10am then we do something else. Perhaps someone would argue that this does not teach him to stick to schedules imposed by others (IE to be a good employee and do what you're told to do when you're told to do it). I would suggest that he may be his own boss. That the only routine he would have to abide by would be one he would set for himself. Why would I want to put him in a position that could ultimately end up creating in him a dislike of learning rather than the opposite which should be the goal?

We don't have to worry about medicating him because he's got ADD or ADHD. Believe me, I've been in enough classrooms and around enough kids now to know that there's a difference between a child who is legitimately suffering from this disorder and one who is not. Of the children who are not, many of them end up being labeled as such by our public school systems simply because they won't focus on someone else's schedule. The true test of ADD/ADHD is if the child can focus on a task when it interests them, not just when it suits others. Based on this, LD does not have ADD or ADHD. He's active for sure. He's willful and headstrong. Sometimes he can get distracted. But, if you give him something he's interested in, he'll spend hours doing it. Why label him something he's not, for the sake of making him fit into a mold?

LD can be very sensitive at times. A short while ago he wasn't invited to a friend's birthday party. It hurt him deeply. But, I was able to spend the necessary time with him to talk about it, to help him work through it. To learn the lesson that it wasn't the end of the world. Some might say that I should let him get hurt so he learns to be tough, so that people don't hurt him later in life. I say strongly that, no, that will not do. Why would I allow my child to be hurt? Why wouldn't I use it as an opportunity to help him understand rather than just telling him to get over it. Why not take off as much time from learning the three R's as it takes to learn this valuable lesson rather than pushing his feelings aside for the sake of the lessons to be learned?

When it comes down to it, I think I can sum up our decision in one word: Freedom. One word with so much implication. Now I'd ask, why wouldn't I want to offer him freedom over the other choices? Freedom to be his own person, freedom to do what he loves, freedom to follow the path less traveled, freedom to be something unexpected?

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