We are homeschoolers.
Last year was our first *official* year of registering with a school board with the intent to homeschool. Before that my son went to kindergarten in a regular public school and before that I “home schooled” preschool (but I also owned a preschool at the time so it wasn’t too much of a stretch).
Of course when we decided to homeschool we came across many different opinions of why we should not. Allowing him to be behind in academics was one concern, another was not being able to be on the sports teams within his school, or not having access to IP programs and aides for his ADHD. The biggest concern that friends and family had (and perfect strangers for that matter), was socialization.
Socialization is such a funny concept though, because if you look at our society as a whole, the schools idea of socialization and putting children into little boxes that are all the same age group isn’t really how the real world works. We mix together with children of different ages, ethnicity and backgrounds (both educational and economic). So to say that one has to go to their neighbourhood public school to be socialized is erroneous at best.
Another common misconception is the “what exactly do you teach him?” What don’t I teach him? If you go to your local provinces guidelines for education outcomes you can see that the ones for elementary school are really quite basic. Some of the learning outcomes kids already know before they go into the system and others can be taught by a variety of methods outside the traditional classroom.
“But you are not a teacher!” That is right. I am not trained as a professional teacher, and I don’t pretend to be. I am one of those homeschooling parents who contracts out for my kids education. I look at their strengths and weaknesses and my strengths and weaknesses and I find the ones that mesh and the ones that don’t.
My son goes to a particular program that is really well suited for children with ADHD in my city, and we are so lucky that it is available. He goes to classes two days a week where the professional teachers teach math, science, social and English in a thematic based approach. (Thematics means all of the subjects together, and project based). This is a wonderful approach for a child with a short attention span who can’t be bothered, or gets bored, doing worksheets. The rest of the week we have other classes. Swimming lessons for gym, piano lessons for music, and an incredible City Ecosystems class for getting outside and learning about habitats every single week. (which also means me living in my car for hours on end…)
We do have days where all we do is science experiments with kits that we have bought at Scholars Choice or from The Magic School Bus. We do math games, games for learning, games for writing, and games for reading all just for fun. Not scheduled, just thrown in whenever we have a spare time to learn. We also have days when we do nothing but play and read and learn just by living. It’s this balance that is so wonderful for our family, and why I choose to continue the path that we are on.
Learning is all around you. It doesn’t have to be so rigid and doing what works best for your family and your child is really all that matters in the end. So if you are thinking that homeschooling needs to look like something in order for it to work, re-evaluate and see that parenting doesn’t have to look like something for it to work as each and every parent will do it differently…and that is okay too.
My Vlog about Car-schooling. 😛