It has been months since I wrote but you know how it is when life keeps you busy. We have made it past the half way mark of the yr and as usual this is when most homeschoolers start to think about next yrs curriculum. As I spent the last month combing through all the books and all the e-book curriculum I have attempting to decide what would be best to use next year for each of my children I had this pulling feeling that still something on our journey was missing.
I spent the next few days going over with myself all the reasons I made this choice to homeschool. Of course I want my kids to have a superior education than what I felt they would get in public school. Of course I wanted them to be in the most loving safe environment possible. Of course I wanted to actually experience my children growing and learning for more than 4 hrs a day. But why else did I choose this path? What else inspired me to make that leap.I realized it was freedom and liberty I really wanted for my children. Liberty is the quality an individual has to control their own actions. I wanted my children to know they are the masters of their own destiny, that they are the ones who will actually manifest the life they live. I wanted them to have the freedom to truly explore all the possibilities that run through their imaginations of what could be. I didn't want them to be just another number or test score. I wanted to give them a real true since of being a free human not one that society has placed inside a box.
It truly is a balancing act this experience we call parenting. Most parents want the best for their children. They want to give them the opportunity to have more than they did. Yet, I wondered to myself where do we parents draw the line between what we want for them and what our children as a free human being want for themselves. Being a part of multiple homeschooling communities both online and in person I have see the parents that say my kids has to go to college. That statement has for my entire life made my skin crawl. It really bothers me when we define a persons self worth by a degree that hangs on the wall. The true facts are sure your kid could go to college earn a degree and go on to obtain a very well paying job. Also the fact is your child could go to college earn a degree, rack up thousands of dollars in college loans and end up working for next to nothing because well look out the state of the world today. 50% of college graduates can't even find a job. So who I'm I to say that is the path they must take. My number one hope for my kids is not a high paying job but a life that they truly enjoy, a job that brings them a sense of meaning. I want them to wake up at 25 years old head of to work happy because they enjoy what they do.
So I ask myself if a college degree is not my goal and a life that is truly happy is then how do I as a parent make sure that is the path we take? How do I find that happy medium between what I hope for my children and what they want in life? What changes should I make as a homeschooling parent to help facilitate this goal? I realized that what I needed to do was not teach my children but to show my children how to learn on their own and to help them truly experience the world around them. That a true education is not so much the act of learning those academic subjects like math, reading, writing but it is the act of knowing how to learn anything that you as a free person desire to know. I thought back on my own years in school and how much of that I did and did not retain. Then I thought about the years outside of school and all I have learned. I know hands down I have learned and retained 100 fold outside of school than I ever did in. I thought about how we really do live in the information age and how easy it is to learn just about anything on any subject from the internet. Not only do you have access to countless books but there are videos and websites. Just do a simple google search on any topic will give you thousands of options to learn from.
Let me say here this is not a post about unschooling, at least not in the way any unschooler would most likely describe unschooling.As much as I love and truly respect the philosophy that unschoolers go by I know it is not completely how I see our journey going. I think a real foundation in math and reading or highly important in a child becoming a self learner. I say that because I feel it makes those topics of interest easier to learn if they already have this foundation. All the other subjects like grammar, writing, history, science ect ect. can in my opinion 100% be learned by a child with a good foundation in math and reading. As much as I agree with the unschoolers on the freedom to learn and the true connection to family and the world I still can not get past the since I feel they need a true foundation in these two subject areas. Let me also be clear that I in no way think that my thoughts on parenting or education is better than or less than any others. I think that is a decision that each individual family has to make on their own. What is the right path for one may not be the right path for the other and all forms of education should be honored. We all have to trust in our own intuition on what we as parents feel is the right journey to take. Remember parenting doesn't come with a handbook.
This journey and the conclusions I have made has lead me to what I call relaxed homeschooling. My new goal is to give my children a strong foundation in math and reading, to facilitate helping them to learn what interest them, to engage them in the world around them, and to give them a since that everything in life is a learning experience. I won't be throwing out the books because I feel that make for good resource but I will be attempting to engage my children's learning through a more hands on real life since of experiencing the topic. I will be paying closer attention to what they want to learn not what society expects them to learn. I will be doing everything in my power to show them that they have the ability to learn anything with or without me. To instill in them a love for learning and adventure. Most of all I will continue to feel blessed to be on this journey along side my children, to enjoy all the wonderful memories we are making, and to remember that they are the masters of their own destiny. Until then much love and light to all of you and may you be blessed on your journey as well.