Friday, October 17, 2008

the terror and delight of homeschooling

"The terror of home-schooling is you have to be super on all the time, finding crafty things to do. - Joanne Rendell, homeschooling mother living in New York City
I just had to share this article published in The New York Times on Wednesday. It is an article on homeschooling, specifically unschooling and alternate methods of homeschooling, and I am just feeling so inspired after reading it.

Alright, so not everyone homeschools or even has an interest in homeschooling. In fact, the second most popular response from outsiders upon learning that our family homeschools is this phrase, almost verbatim, "I could never do it". The first response is the never-failing concern about socialization and the question about if my children have friends, leave the house or if my children would know how to function within a formal classroom if they had to. This article speaks to so many issues and desires concerning raising children that anyone interested in enriching their children's lives and exploring some new thoughts on education just has to read it.

The article really hits on some sensitive and possibly unspoken sentiments concerning families who choose to educate their children at home and brings up some really taboo issues concerning homeschooling like
culture clashing with mainstream American public schooled children,

possible jealousy by non-homeschooling parents who feels they are being "out-hipped or out-cooled" by mothers choosing to stay home with their kids and do all sorts of insanely fun/crafty/outdoorsy things with them

and how insane it is for the school system to be pushing academics so hard with such young children.
One of my favorite points is the redefining of the old label, stay-at-home mom into the newer, and perhaps more appropriate for some, credential of out-in-the-world mom. Any of us mothers who delight in seeing the world with our children and visiting new places can really appreciate this point.

Don't misunderstand me. I need my time at home. Days with no agenda. Days with no gas being used on errands or soccer practice or planned playtime with friends. I have realized that quiet, carefree, lazy days at home are a key component of my mental and emotional health. But the myth that we moms who are at home with our children are frittering our days away sitting on the sofa in our pajamas watching morning talk-shows and eating bon-bons just needed to be busted.

So, if you'd like, read it for yourself and share your thoughts with me about this terrifying and delightful thing called homeschooling!


Jill said...

Thank you for the link! It comes at such a perfect time. Yes, the creativity and thoughtfulness of the out-in-the-world mom is sorely overlooked. For me, having a two year old, it is a constant process of making choices and looking in the mirror to make sure they are reflective of our values and are nurturing her. Has she had good nourishing food to eat...has she gotten fresh air and time to run around...on and on, I am checking. I mean, even down to the play food in her little kitchen-(like nix the boxes of play junk food) because if she plays in her little kitchen with fruits and vegetables, it mirrors her experience more closely and sinks in on another level...reinforces I suppose is the right word...

can't wait to read this article.

J-momma said...

man! i wish my kid would sleep till 11am. i would love that!

Jackie said...

great article! i posted it on my faebook page (and gave you credit :)it's a curious phenomenon that non-homeschooling parents feel as if we are judging them simply by stating what we do. it is certainly not my intent or any other homeschooling mother's that i know of.

i like that new spin too--the 'out in the world mom' and i definitely experience that terror it spoke of but the rewards definitely outweigh that!

Amanda L. said...

You know I have said to you many times "I could never do it". I think you are amazing for your desire to nurture you kids' minds the way you do. I hope that in the time I spend with my kids I can do a bit of that too.

Your children are anything but social weirdos. In fact, they are more polite than my own.

Very interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

Blessed Nest said...

I love this article!! Today I woke up with my schedule in hand...wanting to work on the 3 R's - the girls and I looked outside at the beautiful sunny sky and Tabi said I want to play outside with my sister in the sunshine. Who could resist? Room for the 3 r's later today...I tend to lean towards un-schooling
( shhh don't tell) hehe
with a mix of Charlotte Mason and the Principled approach so call me eclectic
Oh and I love "out In the world mom" even in your own backyard talking with the neighbors or bugs

Your post is up over at the perch!!
xo D

Kristen Taylor said...

well i know that i've been inspired just by reading your blog and branching out & doing my 'homework' on homeschooling. i'm going to read that article today!

keep on bloggin! :)

Daniele said...

Superb article!, thank you for posting!! Yep, I love the 'out in the world mom' as I strongly believe that our whole community {including our backyard & our neighbors} is our classroom. While our family needs to stay home more often than not, when the inspiration strikes to venture out, we GO! To museums, libraries, visiting others, the park, the lake, etc. We take our 3R's with us at times or we just leave that for another day. I'm pretty eclectic, can you tell?--a mix of classical, unschooling & Charlotte Mason. It's a good life....terror & delight!

J-momma said...

interesting that i just saw this same article as a topic of conversation on another blog called "anti-racist parent". here's the link. interesting discussion on the website about it.