I am an accidental homeschooler. I didn't plan on educating my children at home. I didn't plan on joining the ranks of parents who are sometimes viewed as insular and anti-social. Like many others, I thought that all homeschoolers purposely sheltered their kids from the real world. Seven years after my kids have dragged me into this lifestyle, I can wholeheartedly declare that I am more connected to the world than ever before.
Ten gifts that homeschooling has allowed us to experience...
1. Engagement with Learning. Someone once said, "Education is not the filling of a vessel, but the kindling of a flame." When kids take over the reigns of their learning, a sense of commitment and empowerment take hold. Enter purposeful learning and deep inquiry.
2. Connecting the dots. Every day, I witness my kids connecting a new vocabulary word with a scientific discovery to a scientist mentioned in a book they're reading for English. The epiphanies I witness -- and experience myself -- are innumerable.
3. Rabbit Trails. We start reading The Hobbit, but end up talking about philology, Anglo-Saxon Runes and cartography. The trails go on and on. And so does the desire to learn more.
4. Self-motivation. Self-direction. Homeschooling has created autodidacts in our household. Questions and discoveries abound.
5. One size does not fit all. Brick and mortar schools have one math program. One literature program. One science program. I get to choose from wonderful curricula or design my own -- we are not constrained to the textbook company stronghold.
6. Freedom to deeply explore passions. Rubik's Cube, Astrophysics, Evolution, Shakespeare, Tolkien, Women's Studies, Social Entrepreneurship, Ballet.
7. Individualization. Standardized Tests. Standardized curricula. Standardized system. Nothing is standardized here.
8. Moving at our own pace. Fast or slow. Gifted or special ed. Personal experience, with my children and through my public school teaching experience, has shown me that the school system is incapable of meeting the needs of many students.
9. Genuinely knowing my kids, through discussions and passions and time. Because of this, there is a deep understanding and respect that we have for each other.
10. Non-conformity rocks. I love going against the grain of society sometimes, don't you?