Monday, March 18, 2013

Advantages of Home Education


I wanted to do some posts this week exploring our choices for home education. I'd love to talk about the advantages in some detail first. After that, I may do another post that explores the wherefores a little more deeply to reinforce what I mention here.

Apparently, I have a lot to say about it, so let's get started!

This list is not numerically ordered by importance but simply by the points I want to make about home education.

1. It's affordable.

Exploring our different schooling options, this one made the most sense financially. Like it or not, income influences our decisions, for better or worse. (I do love the Montessori model, but even with financial aid it is not within our one-income budget to consider it right now.)

There are a lot of free resources for every elementary subject, both online and at the library. One of our favorite websites for activities is Education.com which is used by teachers and home educators alike.

2. It's flexible.

Our family can create learning environments year-round and are not tied down to a rigid schedule.

3. It's portable.

We are free to choose where and when we pursue our adventures. The technology of our age allows us to access our resources from almost any location, if we so choose. (Right now our very fancy portable gadget is a clunky laptop that isn't exactly convenient to lug around while looking after three small people, but it is there if we need it.) While our limited transportation and the young ages of our children make these kinds of adventures few and far between, it is nice to plan for more frequent educational excursions in the not too distant future.

4. It encourages innovation and exploration.

If we subject a child to daily rigorous studies even at a young age, we often squelch their creativity. Where daydreaming is prohibited, the dreamers lose their vision. Big ideas are sacrificed on the altar of conformity. Invention becomes the realm of a few geniuses rather than a possibility for anyone with an imagination. When children are given avenues for creativity, it can be a big surprise what they are capable of. It is our (Josh's and my) privilege to be able to encourage this in these amazing people whose well-being we are entrusted with.

5. It provides physical and emotional stability.

Home education creates a safe environment for our children where they can learn at ease and at their own pace in this age of high stress and multimedia stimulation. They do not have to be exposed to the stomach-knotting competition of an age-segregated, graded classroom. They have immediate and tailor-fit teacher assistance for any problems, questions, or needs. Their health is protected during the early years of immune system development. They are fed nourishing diets and not rushed through mealtimes in order to meet class deadlines.

A few critics have suggested that this "special" treatment can lead to entitlement. I have not found this to be the case either in my experience being home-schooled, my interaction with other home-schooled peers over the course of time, currently home-schooled children, or in my children's present behavior. So naturally, I'm a skeptic.

Entitlement is a product of focusing and centering on one person's needs to the exclusion of others' needs. This can happen in any educational environment. So while it is not an issue for us it is definitely something to be aware of in order to prevent.

In this house, we look out for each other. Every day. All the time.

Love is the focus and the most important lesson to be learned.

Ok. I've said my piece for today. Please know that I respect all parents for their convictions even when they differ from my own. We all care about our kids and want what's best for them. Feel free to share in the comments what is working for your family and what you consider the advantages to be.

4 comments:

  1. Great post, Jamie! All the points are good, but I esp. like the last two. We gave you girls plenty of time to be creative rather than spend all day with rigorous studies and I believe it really encouraged your creativity. You didn't get "burned out" in your early education.
    The emotional and physical stability goes hand in hand with the security you felt in your home. Because of that you each were able to branch out into other areas knowing you had a secure base to work from. That goes contrary to the thinking that children need to get out away from their parents as soon as possible to preschool, nursery, etc., so they can "learn independence". I'm convinced that the more secure a child feels in his home, the better able to go out on his own when he is ready rather than being pushed out at a young age.
    Keep up the good work, Jamie! I love you!

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    1. Thanks, Momsy. Your example and encouragement help me keep going, even on the toughest schooling days. (There's a lot of those right now.)

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  2. Childhood is so short, I just don't want to miss a minute of it. And seeing each and every discovery, the lights going on inside, and the blossoming of their gifts....but then I also see the benefit of having other teachers and teaching other children. I would love to see public school/home school/ freeschool hybrids where interested pupils of all ages could form groups and learn from experts of all fields in a non compulsory, self directed way. Public, because everyone contributes, as with libraries and parks, and they are available to everyone, even lazy good-for-nothings who don't contribute. Because they are the ones missing out. And because there is no lack, no limit to what you can invent when you need to. The satisfaction of eating the cornbread is nothing to the satisfaction of using one's own creativity to grow it playfully. I've done it. I've grown corn and made it into cornbread and shared it freely, which was far more satisfying than eating it all myself. The day when there is no difference between work and play, when everyone gets to fuse their productive work with the creativity that makes them feel alive, is the day the image of God is finally recognized in every person. But yes, having the security of parental love and encouragement is central to healthy education, whether home or public schooled. When children are ready to branch out away from being with Mama all the time, they will be the ones to indicate it.

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    1. I love your vision and I agree with it. I just don't know how or have the energy to implement it. For now, we do what we can in the circumstances we find ourselves in.
      I desire to be hospitable, but very few in my locale seem to even have time for it or want it. Most are just too tired from all the crazy running around that is called life in the city. So I think it takes more than just a vision; it takes community cooperation. And that's probably going to have to start at home and ripple out from there. How that will be made to happen is something I haven't worked out a plan for yet. I welcome your insight on this matter.

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