It isn't until you withdrawal completely from traditional schooling that you will begin to understand the depths to which you have been indoctrinated. Now, now, I don't mean indoctrinated in the worst possible sense of the word so don't get twitchy.
What I mean is, in it's most most basic definition - what you know, what you think, what you believe about education, the way you have seen it, experienced it, and been taught is the ONLY means that exists.
Not so. Thus, de-schooling is required if you are to open your mind up, question the status quo, question norms, and chart a course that is as individual as you and your children, for your homeschool to be successful.
For every homeschooler I have known over the years, the ones who struggle the most are the ones who can't get this idea of schooling out of their head. So, if you are about to begin, and you would like to spare yourself years of frustration, agonizing, feeling like a failure, and tons of tearful days, consider what I'm saying. If you find it useful great, if not, move on, won't hurt my feelings.
Stop thinking that learning happens in school. It really doesn't. Not at all. Squeezed in to a busy and a busywork kind of day at school your kiddo is going to be presented with information. Information which YOU will sit with them to review, study, and practice for hours at home. I've got some news for you. You are already homeschooling.
School is a building. That's it. The learning, your child does on their own, mostly with your help, sometimes with the help of the teacher. Children learn all by themselves. If you think you are going to be the teacher, you might find yourself disappointed. Their brains do the work. Your only work is to inspire, direct, provide opportunities, assist and discipline. You will help them find mastery, you will help them discover. But the learning, is all their credit.
No human being wants to be dumb. No human being is born without curiosity about their world. Children want to learn. Think about it. Don't your young children bombard you with questions? Don't they crave to know everything about everything? When they are young they want to help you do the chores, they long to push past their limitations and do more.
People wonder why that seems to change. It's my firm belief and experience that it is this idea of school. School takes what is wonderful and vibrant and makes it dry and boring. It takes what is fun and makes it work. It takes the simple elements of living life and caring for oneself and turns it into drudgery from which you need a recess, a winter break, a summer break, a spring break. no!!
Those are some thoughts to get you questioning this school thing. How about this?
When you think about homeschooling are your first thoughts? When will we school? How long will we school? Where in the house will we school? Will we have desks? A classroom? Will I sit up front? What time will we start? What will the schedule look like? What curriculum will I use? How will I figure grades? What about graduation? Transcripts? College!!!?? (and your kid is 6, I know been there done that :)
When you are fully de-schooled you will not really think about most of these things. What?! It's true.
You will realize that learning happens everyday, all day, all year. You will embrace that idea and then the most spectacular things begin to occur. You will find a million curious things about your world too. You and your kids will start diving into things, stumbling over them, digging into them. You'll start seeing your whole life as a classroom.
Now lest this whole thing make you a Nervous Nelly, I'm not even talking about un-schooling. I'm not, I promise. I will say this about un-schooling. I have seen it go beautifully, okay, and not too well - depends on the people.
Instead of those School questions, ask these of your child:
What are your favorite things?
What do you wonder about?
What is confusing?
What is cool?
What is scary?
What would you do if you could do anything in the whole world?
Ask your spouse these questions:
If we had to choose, would we want a saint or a scholar?
Do we want them to do what God calls them to do?
Do we want them to find their gifts?
Do we care what people think?
Do we parent, with how others will view us, in mind?
What do we want them to have the chance to love? Music, Art, Mechanics, Sports, etc.
What are their natural inclinations, we can already identify?
Are we still learning and growing?
Are we modeling love of learning?
Are we modeling that our work is drudgery?
What atmosphere do we want in our home?
What are the priorities based on how we spend our time, money and energy?
Gosh there is SOOOO much more, but this is a start. This is much less fun than buying colorful posters for the wall and playing school in the dining room. I know. But it's the real heart of homeschooling.
If you have any other questions please just shoot them to me. I'm happy to offer whatever I am able.