Learning at a Heart's Pace

Homeschooling is something.

Teaching your kids at home is a pretty crazy idea to most people.  Having your kid learn from you under your own roof or in a plane, on a train, walking in the way, well, that’s nuts to most.  Teaching abc’s and 123’s to your own kids is crazy, especially when both parents want to or have to work and most sensible people realize that a lot of people for one reason or another cannot or would not even attempt this crazy idea of our kids learning under their own guidance.  And even if they don’t have to work, people look at me  funny when I suggest homeschooling to them, just as a passing thought.  Who, me, their parent teach them the stuff I learned at school myself, are you kidding?  Are you crazy?  Yeah, I am a little crazy, always was.  Homeschooling is a pretty daring idea even for me. 

I am a homeschooling mama of five uniquely different children and it’s rather overwhelming to me even after five years of doing this.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this process, this painful process of trying to figure this out for myself.  I hear all about curriculums and books and stuff and manipulatives and more stuff to help me teach and to help my kids to learn.  I have grand ideas about what’s going to happen every year and then, well, life takes over.  People die and funerals are held or family members self destruct and life and you don’t feel like getting out of bed sometimes.  We learn stuff every year, you bet, but not in the way I planned.  It gets a little hairy sometimes. 

And then you have curriculum fairs and conferences just for homeschoolers and co-ops and meetings and clubs and more things to keep me busy forever and ever.  And I feel the wind get knocked right out of me.  The hits just keep on coming from all directions, hits meant to be something good for me when well, it’s overwhelming.  There are leagues and self-help books all just for homeschooling.  It’s quite amazing to me how big the community really is.  There is dual-enrollment with local colleges and virtual schools online for your kiddies.  And I say, stop the bus or train, rather, I want to get off.  I’m dizzy and fizzy and a little high and delusional with all this constant information at the homeschooling station.  I want to get off the bus, sit down on the bench that holds the people waiting for the next one to come, the bus to come.  I need a breath, a break, a thought, a hope that, well, I’ll really know my kids.  I want to know them.  Really.  For real. 

I gotta’ say none of this good stuff is really going to teach the most important thing…knowing how to teach and guide and lead and help your own uniquely made child.  No, there is not another child like yours.  Like a snowflake or a fingerprint…this soul was created and it’s one of a kind.  There’s not a book out there that can teach you about your child,  their specific needs, desires, and skills, talents, loves, hopes and dreams.  You go crazy trying to become better teachers or buy the hottest curriculum or fad product on the market to help our kids excel and we get upset when it doesn’t work.  Well, I am here to say there’s no “your child 101” course.  It’s a process that defies any book or curriculum or plan for the year.  He or she, your child will move forward and learn and love and grow in their own time and way.  Nothing can prepare you for that I have found.  God pity the kids made to be in a factory driven schools or homeschool plans or private school fantasy playgrounds where they just take a number and the one in charge must know twenty to thirty souls by heart or at home there’s just five or one or ten or twelve.

Know their everything for the time they are in charge.  You the mom or dad or you, the teacher.  Take your pick.  It is your choice.  I am biased, but that’s just my holey opinion.  Holey, not holy.  Moms sigh at the thought of teaching two or three of their own, but then expect one teacher, just one, to know the heart of their child and know them inside and out…their kid and twenty others.  Is that even possible?   Nobody knows a child more than the parents or the care giver.  Or wait, maybe they can, I don’t really know.  The heart of the kid that’s what matters.  What they like, what their weaknesses are, where they are at in their own mind emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally.  A parent or a care giver knows how to get their own child to learn to the best of their own ability and at their own pace.  Don’t they?  It seems like they would. 

And grades are a figment of our imagination…our imagination.  Our American imagination…compulsory schooling in factory style, age segregated grades is made up social engineering fairly new to the free world.  Up until the last 80 or so years there was absolutely little to no compulsory schooling anywhere on the planet.  If people wanted to learn, like Fredrick Douglas, they just did.  They had and all children, babies have a thirst for learning on all levels.  Socrates didn’t go to the type of school we purport today, nor did he “go” to school.  The wide world was much wider than it is today even with all of our technological advancements we have become as narrow minded as ever when it comes to this all encompassing thing called learning.  I say free your  mind because your are free to think. 

I must say, too, I like my kids and for me, I want them to stick around a little while they are young because I know one day I’ll be completely out of a job and I hope they, my kiddos, like me enough to come home.

Then and only then will I know without a doubt that I took the time to know them, really know them and love them.  Love them into learning, now that’s something.  Not sure what they would get out there.  Maybe something good and maybe just that, don’t know.  I just know what I want, and I’ll stop at nothing to get  it, whatever “it” may be on this journey of gaining the heart of each of my kids enough for them to learn on their own and to learn from me.  Hmmm, yeah.   


Heather said...

Love them into learning. That's a nice thought.

We love homeschooling. The face of our homschooling changes every year, as I change, as the kids change, as our family's needs change. Not every good thing is a good thing for us at the particular time we see it. Some things work, some things don't.

What I like best about homeschooling, other than the loving...the loving I see my kids develop for me, for each other, for others, is the freedom to choose what is best for them. To choose that because it is 80 degrees outside today, we can go play instead of "do school." To choose to learn by going on a nature hunt and pretending we are explorers, to choose to go to a Civil War reenactment on a Saturday, and that is learning, AND fun. To choose to just read all day, because we LOVE to read.

I think homeschooling is great because it puts me in the best position to keep my kids' hearts close to home. To love them into learning. I like that.

Bless you, Deb.

Katy-Anne said...

I really have to wonder why so many who were spiritually abused STILL home school their kids. To me it's a form of spiritual abuse. It's done so you CAN'T have contact with anyone your parents don't want you to so they can reign you in and not let you learn how to think for yourself.

So, I'm curious. How do you as a spiritually abused person ever really justify home schooling your children?

Question Everything, Find the Truth and Prove It said...

Wow, Katy-Anne. I gotta' say I have been thinking about your comment all day. And truly those are pretty damning thoughts. Should I even try to answer your already preconceived question that seems to me to already have a never ending preconceived thought process behind it? I am a little scared and feel just the way I did as a child being spiritually abused by reading your question that to me is set up to simply start an argument that never ends rather than being truly curious of someone you really do not know at all whatsoever other than reading her blog posts. I would love to answer you, but I don't have time for what I feel will ensue as a result of dealing with someone who, to me, seems to have their own "religious", "self-righteous" judgments of another person's expression homeschooling. There are a million ways to "homeschool" which would include being very much involved with all sorts of people in the world around us at all age levels and being put in so many situations it is not even funny. In fact, so much so, my kids really may have a jump on those who are attending an "official" school. I'm not sure where you are getting your thoughts on homeschooling and what it's all about (and I am sure there are some wackos out there, yes, indeed), but I don't intend to be one of them. I gotta' say, I have gotten a whole lot of slack for daring to teach my own kids, but never have I been asked the question you asked me here. Katy-Anne, step outside the box of prepackaged education because you are truly free to think and think for yourself, because dare I say most of what you been taught about how to learn, and when to learn, and who to learn with are all theories, my friend. And theories are just opinions. And you you know what they say about opinions, don't you? Everyone has one and you certainly have yours. Do your research and use your brain and don't ever put every single homeschooler you have heard of or know or don't know(clearly here you are not in the know) in a little, preconceived box. Yes, there are some crazy homeschoolers who obviously want their kids to be afraid of the wide world, but... You wouldn't believe how many public school teachers in this country have had sex with the teenagers they teach. Because of that I wouldn't say, wow, American people, how in the heck do you justify sending your kids to a place where they could possibly be put in a sexually compromising position with their own teacher?! Nope wouldn't do it. So please give me at least that much credit, will you? Cut me some slack and then I may answer another one of your much less non-judgmental questions and gladly.

Katy-Anne said...

My husband and I are both from spiritually abusive families, both who home schooled. I know plenty of home schoolers and most of them spirtually abused. I know all about home schooling. That's why I use my brain and refuse to do it for my kids. Take offense at my comment if you want, but I've left several nice ones in support of you, but I don't support any kind of abuse including home schooling. It was really just a question. I am curious about how people justify it, especially those who have been abused. It seems some want to pass the cycle on to their kids, but with some, they just don't know anything else because they've been preconditioned that public school or private school are "wrong" and that the kids supposedly don't learn anything.

Do you know how many home schooling parents have had sex with the kids they teach? I reckon it's probably about even with the number of public or private school teachers that have sex with the kids they teach.

Question Everything, Find the Truth and Prove It said...

It sounds like you and your husband endured some really abusive stuff in your parents homeschool. And I know we draw from our experiences and try to do things as opposite as we knew them to be in our home because of how horrible it was. I can totally relate to what you are saying and also how you feel. I grew up with an extremely abusive Pastor father with spiritual, physical, mental and emotional abuse, but I was never homeschooled. In fact, my parents would have looked at you funny if you ever mentioned the word to them, they wouldn't know what you were talking about. I spent most of my schooling in a public school where I was constantly bullied and harassed and had no friends. I was a Christian nerd to these kids. The kids at school also got me hooked on pornography as a young kid and were the first to introduce me to vodka. I had a neighborhood kid from my school showing me her dad's porno tapes...those images, horrible images are forever etched in my brain. And then when my dad put me in private, Christian school in 7th grade I wanted to kill myself because at first my experience there was also horrible and I didn't win friends easily. The rejection from family and school was more than I could bare. I hated going there at first and when I blended in things did get better...it's all I could do.

Question Everything, Find the Truth and Prove It said...

It's all I knew to do at the time. So, our experiences with school are so very different. It was a pretty good school, but def. some off teaching. And it's funny, my main reason for homeschooling is really because I want my kids to get a customized education which would include being taught by me, but also going to school and taking part in everything the community has to offer to give my kids an absolutely excellent education. I never completely know what we will do from year to year, but this process will include all four of my school age children will be doing a mix of school(MWF 8-1), homeschool and community classes, clubs, camps, co-ops, museums, outreach, and also getting to vacation whenever mom and dad want to take them on vacation to see family or visit some cool museum or shoot just drive up to D.C. and have a live history lesson. The possibilities with homeschooling your kids are endless and I have no desire to keep my kids back or keep them away from "the world" in an attempt to shelter them. What's funny is that most people think that their kid going to a peer segregated class(when does that ever happen in the real world?!) and sitting at a desk for 8 hours and taught only by one person and made to sit and shut up all day and listen is partaking in "the world". How is it socialization when most of the time is spent sitting on yer bottom and listening all day? My kids are socialized in a much broader manner, with kids and adults of all ages being in contact with them weekly and they are taught by a broad range of people. My kids are so close and I love them and want them in the world as much as they want to be at these tender ages. My son is ten and I realize already for his need to branch out and do his thing and that is exactly what he does and is allowed to do. I totally get that you went through some sort of hell when your parents homeschooled you. I do declare, not all homeschooling is like the one you were exposed to...certainly not. I know atheists who homeschool their kids...and they just want their kids to be smart, some of these kids even attended college at a young age because they got such a jump start in life by their atheist parents. Homeschooling is widely popular and gains status yearly and by a broad range of free thinking people and not just a bunch of religious nuts. And yes, I realize that they definitely give homeschooling a bad name. Just like a lot of Christians give God a bad name. I wouldn't chuck God out because of that because I know better now. But I tell you back in the day when I was little...I thought I want to have absolutely nothing to do with God because what was happening to me at the time as a child. And I made the point about the public school teachers in my other comment only to prove that you don't chuck homeschooling or label it spiritually abusive across the board just because of your bad experience with it. It's all the motive of it and it's the heart behind the homeschooling parents...what is their agenda? Only God knows that. I can totally relate to your knee jerk reaction in response to your upbringing. My husband and I pretty much shudder at the thought of being in a church anymore these days and it's been that way for the last four years.

What we have experienced in "church" has forever tainted the way we think about any church...and maybe that ought not to be so, I don't know. I was taken aback at first by what you said, but now I see how it has come to be thought of in you and your husband's mind and I don't blame you one bit. I don't know, you may want to judge things more on a case by case scenario when it comes to homeschooling, though...just my opinion. No hard feelings I hope, Katy-Anne.