After you make your first batch of laundry detergent, grab a cuppa something and read the following article by Kendra Fletcher of Preschoolers and Peace. She answers a question that we often get asked. Many thanks for her permitting this to be copied here.
"Remember way back before our enterovirus experience with Mighty Joe? I asked for and received dozens of questions in hopes that I could answer in some helpful way. Some of you asked funny questions, and for that I am grateful. Less pressure :) Many of you wrote very serious questions and I do hope that I can do them justice. Before Mighty Joe nearly lost his tiny life, I had more confidence than I do now. Not sure why.
Vicki asked me a series of questions both funny and serious. This one is common amongst home educators:
Do you have homeschool fears that you’re not measuring up? (I get that all the time. Afraid I will never teach my children anything.)
Well, yes and no. Seems to me that many of us are concerned about the “holes”. You know, all those things we think we’re responsible to teach our children but will somehow miss in the scope of things? I do every once in awhile think, “Oh yipes! This child knows nothing about World War II” (or whatever) and wonder if they’ll live without that knowledge. But then I remember why we chose to educate using a classical model:
The classical model aims, ultimately, to teach the child to think. The current government school (and sadly, the majority of private schools which choose to emulate the failing government institutions) model is to tell kids what to believe, cram it down their throats, and then test them on whether or not they memorized the “correct” answers. The result is a dearth of “educated” people in our nation who cannot think through anything more difficult than 6th grade math and who ultimately take their cues from television.
Honestly, I was appalled by the work many of my fellow college graduates put forth. And when I began homeschooling my own children, I was further appalled by how poorly educated I was. If you think I came from some backwoods school, ’tisn’t so. I was in GATE classes from kindergarten through 12th grade. I attended what was supposedly the most academic high school in our county and walked into college with six AP units. I graduated from California’s oldest chartered university. And yet, I know the truth: I was robbed.
I have hugely digressed. The classical model (not exclusively- other methods do as well) also teaches the child to teach himself. And not that I hold actor Will Smith to be the spokesperson for the homeschooling movement, but I must agree with him when he said:
“I know how to learn anything I want to learn. I absolutely know that I could learn how to fly the space shuttle because someone else knows how to fly it, and they put it in a book. Give me the book, and I do not need somebody to stand up in front of the class.”
When I see gaps in my children’s knowledge, I don’t worry about it. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when they want to learn something not only will they have the desire, ability, and resources, they’ll be able to think through the subject and formulate a well-educated opinion.
Be careful to whom you desire to “measure up”. Results are consistently showing, year after year, that home educated students are better educated than their public and private school counterparts. It’s no secret why; one-on-one tutoring is unanimously the better option, and no one is more concerned about the child’s education than that child’s parent. Particularly those who give up everything else to commit to homeschooling."