Sunday, November 7, 2010

Time to Learn

My inspiration for today's entry is from Not Just Cute, and this entry on why "Age Does Matter". Read it. It is good.

We get questions all the time about why we homeschool/ how we homeschool/am I crazy to be homeschooling?

The reasons were many, but one of the biggest was the desire to let the Young Adult grow and develop at his own pace. The emphasis since the time the Young Adult was about to enter Kindergarten has shifted even more towards standardized testing, which is not a good way to teach. Well, it often does not allow a lot of teaching at all.

We talk about how bad we feel for the students in public schools these days, but I also feel bad for the teachers. So many of them have creative ideas that cannot be implemented because of the drive for testing (more often in the elementary level). I overheard a group of teaches discussing the upcoming school year one August. They were talking about how one of their favorite field trips got canceled. The destination - an recreated "old settlers" kind of place. They asked one of the women, who was on a committee concerning such things, and she replied, "Well, it doesn't meet the requirements for the standardized testing, so we had to drop it".
How sad! It was like saying there was nothing of real value the kids could get from that field trip. The teachers were all very dissapointed, but their hands were tied, too.

One of the bug-a-boos in homeschooling can be the fear of not accomplishing enough. Of looking like slackers who are bucking the system. But really, sometimes we have to reclaim the ability to not be scheduled every single part of the day. Back when I was a working mom, I oversaw the religious ed of elementary students for a large parish. One class had repeated trouble with one 5th grade boy. He was in my office a lot. One evening I talked to him about it. I asked him, "Do you want to be here?"?
"Why not," I prodded.
He shrugged. Then he burst out, "I'm just tired."
"What did you do today?"
"I went to school, then piano, then we went to McDonald's. Now I am here, but after this I have soccer practice."

I didn't have the heart to take him to task. It wasn't his fault, too much. Now, if I could have gotten the parents, they might have heard an earful.

ArtGuy and I have a policy that says the boys can do scouts, church group,  and one other activity. That is it. No more. Not only do we want to be running all over the place all the time (Too late for that!), we don't want them overscheduled. We sit and listen to the parents talk about the mutiple soccer teams, multiple sports teams their kids are on. We just can't do that to the boys. They need time to be creative. Our boys create their own card games, their own board games, art projects, and crafts.  If they were too scheduled, when would there be time for this?

One last story - at our First Lego League meeting last night, the 7 (homeschooled) boys got to talking. The Young Adult was illustrating his point with a story from Greek Mythology, and the tale of Odysseus. As he mentioned the story, almost all the other boys went, "ooooo, I love that story, too!" , and then launched into details. One other boy said, "I don't know that one. Can someone send it to me?"

 I laughed at them! Homeschoolers!!!!!

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