Thursday, April 14, 2011

To Home School or Not to Home School?

My children go to an excellent school. Rated the best elementary in our area. The teachers are shining examples of patience, creativity and expertise. The Principal is delightful, committed and loved by all. We couldn't ask for a better public school.
And eldest is doing C level work...which is simply because his preference of learning is very creative...he love science and art and excels at systems and story boarding. The style of learning focused primarily on math and writing, he says, is the same thing over and over again. He enjoys school, he loves his friends and teacher, but he goes because we say so and he does Ok because he needs to.

My middle son is excelling in Kindergarten. He does all his work quickly, somewhat neatly and attacks new concepts with verocity. Everything is a challenge until he has conquered it and then it becomes the most uninteresting thing to endure ever. He has surpassed the standard levels and yet there is no bonus work for him at school, no carrot or opportunity to tutor others or activity to keep him from getting to trouble before his boredom sets in. He complains the homework is for babies and he often grabs his brother's previous first grade leftover math homework and fills it out himself. He loves his teacher and the social aspect of school but puts up with the learning style.

That's just what's so. There is nothing wrong with what their teachers are doing. I love them. I honor them for what they do. They are GREAT at what they do.

AND there is something missing for my sons, not wrong, just something not there that would make a difference for their education. Where I begin to look at what might be missing for my children is in the entire system. The system and structure for learning is in such large groups, 36 now, and focused so much on the material needed to pass the standardized tests for "No Child Left Behind" that the entire context is based on passing those tests. If your child can do that, then great, they are fine. If your child can just barely do that, then great, they are fine. If your child cannot then they might get some extra attention, just enough to get them to the place where they can just barely pass. There simply isn't time within the system as it is for anything else. As much love and care as the teachers give, this is it.
There isn't any extra attention or different teaching style for the kids who are excelling or just barely making it. They just need to do more and more of the same to drill it in. What might really be missing however, is ME. My involvement in their education. Personal care and one on one attention..a guide for their education.

As my husband and I consider moving to an area where we can get a larger yard for gardening and more space for our rapidly growing three boys, I begin to shift my entire perspective on what's important. Where we live is based on the rating of the school, usually....if we are sold on the public school system and committed to the education they will receive there, that is...

This has us ask the question...What kind of education are we committed to our children having? What is our context that we are creating for our children around learning?

Learning is....
Boring? Drudgery? Something to be survived or put up with? Something you rush through to get to the good stuff which is TV or video games? Something we parents put up with? Something we are glad for because it get's them out of our hair?

What if Learning was an Adventure?
What if Learning was an opportunity to connect, to have fun and to create?
Well then homeschooling would show up inside of that context. It just would. Like the context of LOVE creates hugs, smiles and affection....
Learning is an Adventure would look like homeschooling outside, in a back yard with a garden, reading about the history of an area we go on a hike to, math with sticks we broke from branches, art with leaves that we gathered on the hike, and science everyday in between and inspired by everything around us.
Learning as an adventure would be spontaneous, fun and challenging. It would be fast and efficient, scary at times and exhausting other times. It would be immensely rewarding and unforgettably inspiring!

It would require an entire lifestyle shift. It would mean taking on the unknown. It would mean being willing to make mistakes or be flexible and creative.
The voice in my head says..For God's sake Zen, just be normal for once! Send your kids to a good school and don't stress yourself out!!!

What if it wasn't stressful though???..(or I mean unbearingly so anyway, I am realistic)...what if it was fun, exciting and creating the kind of education that really works for my children?
What talents could explode from them? What creations?
I wonder what riches could unfold for me if I was plugged into my kids learning and creating it with them...what kind of relationship could we have and what adventures could we go on?? Stay tuned for further pondering on children's education and what's possible.
Either way, whether I homeschool or not, this inquiry to what we want education to be for our children has me being connected and creative in a way I never previously imagined...again coming from this year's context of Courage, Creativity and Contribution!

Zen Honeycutt


  1. Home school them! and take on what's of real importance in their lives. General consensus says keep them in school the regular way...good school, good grades, get into college, get job etc. etc. Give them the classical education. Watch this

  2. Hi Zen, let's talk when you get a chance. There's several programs that we've tried - and the tired old question of "what about sociability?" really puts a cap on what's possible for kids. I've met many children who have healthy social lives and who excel because of home schooling and independent study. Teachers are awesome and come in different forms, who can support any type of education you choose.