Friday, December 14, 2007

Why are there *frustrated homeschoolers*

I have thought of a few scenarios in my head and thought of things I've heard homeschoolers say and things they have written online.

When someone is frustrated because it's not going the way they envisioned, you know with children sitting at the table happily following the curriculum with smiles on their faces, oh please mom can we do more...

When reality sets in and the mom is forcing, bribing, coercing and punishing the child because the child does not want to sit there and fill out worksheets or write a report.

They want to PLAY PLAY PLAY, that's what kids do, that's how kids learn, they imagine, create, explore, build, research, draw, ask, tell, act, be, do, live, laugh,PLAY, did I say PLAY...

I realize that many people will never unschool, there is a broad range of methods between school at home and unschooling, I won't go into them all that is not my purpose. My purpose is to let people know that they don't have to follow a scope and sequence, what your child needs to know, or any curriculum made by people who don't really know how children learn.

My first question to you would be *WHY*, why are you forcing a situation, why do you homeschool in the first place. Do you want your child to be whining and balking and resisting you at every turn? Do you want to live like that? Do you want an adversarial relationship with your children or does partnership sound better?

Do you have some kind of notion that your child SHOULD know ____ at a certain age? Do you really think you are teaching your child to read?

Think back to when they were babies, they were born with an innate desire to learn, they are curious little people. Remember when they started to walk?

Do you really think you taught them?

You did not teach your child to walk, you provided an environment conducive to learning . You have furniture, they pull themselves up, they cruise and one day they keep going. Sure you might have facilitated, and encouraged and even held their hand but you did NOT teach them how to walk.

Follow that through every stage of their life, you were there lending a hand, offering advice, observing and facilitating until one day they turned 5 and you flipped out.

It's time for school, we must be doing this and that we can't just play and have fun like we used to. They have to learn how to read, write, add, subtract, times tables, write essays, read a map, know the states and capitals, write cursive, spell, diagram a sentence and all that other stuff that schools make kids do. Memorize and regurgitate, take a test and forget. Why do they have to review every year, why do they have to review every Monday?

Many of those kids are not really learning, they are just going through the motions and memorizing. I believe that homeschooling (school at home)can do the same thing, why copy a model that doesn't work? WHY?????? That is the million dollar question that only you can answer.

When people truly learn, they remember, it has a purpose, that is why they learned it in the first place. There has to be a want, need and desire to learn, it has to be intrinsically motivated, external motivation produces short term results but it's not authentic learning.

Some people want to show off what their kids know, that is sad but I've seen it, so they push them and expect them to demonstrate on demand. Like it's a contest to show others up or to show the school system that they can do it better all the while their kid is suffering inside.

Learning is not a race, it's not a contest, everyone learns at their own rate and in their own way. From birth there are *milestones* but there is an average due to the fact that not every baby peforms at the same rate.

For example, my son Brennan walked when he was 7 months and 3 weeks old. I know it sounds unbelievable but it's true and in the next week of his life he could walk all over the house batting a lego around with a rattle. He is very athletic and agile and he was ready to walk. People would say things like that's not good for his legs or something stupid. Um I didn't make him walk he had a need, he did it himself, I watched. This same child didn't talk until he was 2 and at age 9 has just started to read. That is his timetable and nobody has the right to stifle that or interefere with the learning process.

In my opinion, there is no reason to be frustrated, there is no reason to force learning. We all need to deschool, deprogram,detox from the very system that we are trying to get away from.

So many people quit homeschooling due to frustration because they can't teach their own kid so they send them away to be taught by someone else. What a waste of precious time with your child, what a waste of childhood to spend it in a classroom.

Relax, let go and really get to know how your kids learn, watch them, help them, facilitate and enjoy the process.


Sandra Dodd said...

I hope your post sooths (or disturbs) some frustrated homeschoolers! You made good points. Don't be too frustrated yourself, though, about the progress of others. You've done a good thing, leaving encouragement where it can be found easily! I'm glad you wrote that.

Sarah said...

I second that. People won't change until something drastic happens to them and/or their child(ren) no matter what we say. I felt overwhelmed and frustrated in early years trying to share our joys and experiences with friends and strangers. Nowaday, I will share more in depth only if people are interested further. They see how our children live happily and how relaxed we are as parents. I don't have to preach schooling. In fact, unschooling is about the way we live every day of our lives and not about reading, writing, doing math. People won't GET what we're talking about until they are READY for that input. Be who you are, be proud, be happy for your choices. Your inspiring LIGHT will spread and shine through. I have a friend who WATCHED us over the years eating organically. She asked questions but took no action. When I'm home alone, I would think about this friend and her ailing husband and kids and got very upset. Then, one day, I stopped preaching to her all the benefits of organic living. I would bring organic wholesome food to her when we visit. I would cook food for everyone during our stays. Slowly, I see more organical stuff in her pantry each time we visit her in California. I knew then people observe what we do, how we live, and internalize and mimick the parts they see would work for them.

I'm thankful to have you as a friend, Stephanie. You're the voice of reason. Have a beautiful day!

Anonymous said...

Very nicely said Stephanie...well done!

I often tell people "I'm homeschooling the non-stress way" peeks an interest in some, especially those who seem battered by the whole experience. I feel like it's one of my missions in life to let people know this is meant to be fun- life is meant to be lived and enjoyed...not suffered through!