Monday, July 2, 2007

Why We Chose to Homeschool

Why would someone choose to homeschool their children? Why would a child want to homeschool? For our family, the decision to homeschool came from knowing that it was the best way for our children to learn.

Homeschooling...the images that this one word evokes in different people is amazing. Tell a family member or co-worker that you are going to homeschool your child and the eyebrows go up and endless advice and cautionary tales of socially incompetent homeschoolers are given.

Although, if you look into the subject, there are findings that say otherwise. Consider ERIC, the Education Resources Information Center of the U.S. government, which has published multiple articles on homeschooling. Here's an excerpt from one which examined several studies on homeschool socialization: "According to the findings, children who were schooled at home 'gained the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed to function in a rate similar to that of conventionally schooled children.'" The researcher found no difference in the self concept of children in the two groups. Stough maintains that 'insofar as self concept is a reflector of socialization, it would appear that few home-schooled children are socially deprived, and that there may be sufficient evidence to indicate that some home-schooled children have a higher self concept than conventionally schooled children.'"

Now consider the fact that I am a licensed teacher who decided to quit her teaching job at a private school in order to homeschool her own children...hmmm. Looking back I'd have to say it was a long time coming. Many of the courses taken in college had us look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in the American education system. Deep down I knew that this system was not the very best that I could offer my children, even in a private school setting.

It is interesting to look at the history of compulsory education and the rise of homeschooling. "In 1964 John Caldwell Holt published his first work, How Children Fail. A teacher, and an observer of children and education, Holt asserted that the academic failure of schoolchildren was not in spite of the efforts of the schools, but actually because of the schools." Making the decision to homeschool is probably one of the most important decisions you can make for your child.

I believe attitudes are changing. Homeschooling is gradually being viewed in a more positive light as homeschoolers continue to outperform their peers in a variety of venues, however, the stigma of being a social incompetent is one area that is more difficult to overcome, despite the research. Public schools, however, are having to acknowledge the existence of homeschoolers as seen in their establishing "learning centers" as a way to connect with homeschoolers and provide learning opportunities. Yet there remains the mentality of traditional schooling "what was good for me is good for you" and this continues to dictate over common sense.

From the experiences we've had in a traditional school setting and making the conscious decision to put our kids first, our family has decided to homeschool.

To make this whole thing official we decided that every school needs a name and ours was no exception. The boys and I considered various names for our school such as, Unique Horizons, Mt. Views Learning Center, and The Learning Connection. Tim and Nathan, however, were very thoughtful in considering a number of factors and finally decided on Spring Meadows Academy.

Their teacher is their mom, who has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Western Washington University with an endorsement in reading. Although Tim and Nathan are "just kids" they are incredibly bright, talented, and opinionated and Spring Meadows Academy is a place where they can blossom!

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Nathan's Native American Button Blanket

Nathan's Native American Button Blanket
Eagle patterned button blanket designed for beauty and warmth. To see more pictures of how he made this click on the picture above.

Rick Miller - Bohemian Rhapsody