Sometimes I still find myself struggling with exactly what we are doing with regards to our homeschooling, with the definition of education, and with our expectations for homeschooling children in this family.
On one hand we tend to be something of an unschooling family. Moving through life brings so many full and important lessons. On the other hand, I believe in reading the classics, in being able to write a decent essay, in being familiar with history and geography and science and math. These subjects don't just cover themselves when one unschools, so we do have lessons. Um, a bit of dissonance happening, do you reckon?
Maybe, but it works for us. The kids do move back and forth with me as I move between these two poles of unschool and Classical homeschool. I still have a problem with forcing kids to learn unnecessary things, memorize stuff, and meet standardized testing goals. In my book, that is not learning, that is having kids meet adult needs for believing we are teaching something. I am aware of my own needs and expectations and goals enough to limit how often I make the kids to work simply to comfort my fears and uneasiness. And the truth is, getting my kids to meet my Classical Homeschooling goals is something of a joke.
It's tough right about now. I see friends attending graduation of their own kids from academically rigorous high schools and I have to honestly confess that I'm feeling the doubt. The prom pictures, the cap and gowns, the valedictorians, the SATS... Elizabeth and I are both feeling the pull of these cultural milestones. We are very proud of the experiences of our friends and thrilled to see the excitement of their accomplishments! But that promise of a prom has always been a bit of a sticking point for my daughter... We aren't seeing any of this happening down here in Australia, so we are hoping the homeschool proms offered back home will be fun for her next year...
I find myself having to think through my personal education philosophy frequently these days. It's me. I want to raise my kids right and, sometimes it's not so easy knowing what to do...
But when you get down to it, just because I'm struggling right now doesn't mean I think the school system is the answer.
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