I mentioned in my post on what homeschooled kids think about being homeschooled that homeschooling is an entirely different culture. However, you have to embrace that culture fully before you will see the true benefits of homeschooling.
Sure, you’ll get some of the benefits if you simply school at home, but you will never see the wonderfully rich family life that comes when you quit doing school and start living school.
I had a reader ask me to elaborate on what I meant by embracing this kind of homeschooling culture, but frankly, this isn’t an easy task. I’m going to do my best knowing I will fall miserably short trying to explain this. If you really want an in-depth look at this model of education, I highly suggest these books:
OK, so what does a rich homeschool family life look like?
1. It doesn’t run about.
Sure, there are a few extracurricular activities, but they are well-thought out and strategically placed so as to minimize any disruption to the family unit. (You can read about our guidelines for choosing extracurricular activities by clicking on the link.)
2. It isn’t busy for the sake of being busy.
While this can definitely include running about, it also relates to school work itself. A family-oriented homeschool culture doesn’t rely on a multitude of workbooks and subjects to keep the members of the household busy.
3. It tailors each child’s education to their needs/interests.
A beneficial education is one that recognizes each child is unique and does not offer a one-size-fits-all curriculum. For instance, it doesn’t teach spelling to a child who is a natural speller and it doesn’t require Calculus of a child who isn’t naturally bent toward numbers. There is no “just because” because everything should have reason and purpose.
4. It integrates life with academics.
Kevin Swanson likens much of the public school experience to taking Bike for 12 years and never getting on one. John Taylor Gatto left the system for this very reason. A homeschool that tries to mimic the very thing the public schools are failing miserably at will miss out on the very essence of what an education ought to be. Give your child opportunities to DO the very things they are learning about. In fact, give them MORE chances to do than chances to simply read about it. Let them LIVE it!
5. It does not rely on age, grades, tests and other external methods of measurement.
A rich homeschooling life full of opportunities to truly learn and glean wisdom cannot be measured by such things. Do not get caught up in what grade your child should be in or how slowly (or quickly) they are working through their studies. Do not fret over keeping grades or administering tests, but seek mastery and again, be aware of your child’s unique gifts, talents, and even shortcomings.
6. It sees the family as a whole made up of individual parts.
We are a family. We live, work, play as a family. Yet, we are unique. My 14 year old is a natural leader, my 11 year old is the family photographer, my 7 year old was born to cook, my 6 year old is a theologian, my 3 year old pushes limits (I’m sure this will some day be a good thing) and my 1 year old pulls heartstrings. Daddy is the outgoing people person and Mommy is the contemplative writer. We each have our place and we recognize our gifts and how those gifts can be used within the family unit until the time when each child sets up their own household. (One book that really helped us to see the need to recognize each child’s place in the family unit is Jumping Ship.)
6. It recognizes and honors in all it does the Truth that God owns it all.
We don’t own our child’s education. God does. We must consciously choose to homeschool for Him. Every subject we teach, every word we speak, every moment we spend training either guides our child toward Christ or toward the world. None of it is neutral. (Read the book Assumptions That Affect Our Lives for more on this important worldview paradigm shift.)
Oh, there is so much more I could say on this topic! I continue to tweak and learn every single school year. I know very few homeschooling families who started out embracing this type of homeschooling, but the ones I know who have come this far will never look back! May you be encouraged to take this journey!
You can read much more about the way we homeschool on The Homeschooling Mother page here at Raising Arrows.
(this post does contain affiliate links)