Friday, August 26, 2016

Back to school?

Yesterday a reporter from a local TV station called to ask if I would do an interview about homeschooling for their series on Back to School.  I had been up most of the night before with a sick Ben, so I initially told her no & gave her someone else's phone number!  But then Josie asked who had called & got excited about being on TV & talking about home education - so we called her back & she came over - whee! We didn't do a lot of staging or even cleaning up because I wanted it to be real. The more minimalist I get though, the easier it is to keep things tidy ;0)

The reporter did a good job keeping the heart of what I wanted to say, despite editing 45 minutes of conversation for a 3 minute segment.  She wanted to know if homeschool students were more successful than public or private schooled children, & I told her it depended on what your definition of success is - is it bragging rights with your friends or grandparents? Is is an eventual PhD w/ tons of $ coming in (again, bragging rights)?  Those are not our goals or definitions for success today.  They may have been at one time, but I think life experience & a divine change of heart has altered the way we think about success.  We've always said that if our children love God & love others, then we as parents & they as our children, are successful, even if they are "just" selling fruit by the side of the road!  Well wouldn't you know it??  They are!!!  Zach now has a food truck & Abbie is a cheese monger in Chicago at the Farmer's Markets!  And they both have a deep love for our Father, his people, & his creation.

I also emphasized that education is not just the filling of a bucket; a child's whole self needs to be educated.  As in Waldorf education, I believe children's hands, hearts & heads (in that order) should be 'trained in the way they should go'.  Training their hands to work & experience creation comes first starting at birth.  Then you begin training & shaping their hearts to love God & others.  THEN you begin a formal education of the brain.  Of course I've just over simplified it, but any good child development guru will back me up - Steiner, Montessori, Piaget, etc. Yes, a 4 or 5 year old (or younger) can begin learning to read - but that shouldn't be the main focus for that age.  Reading aloud to children of every age & stage (even into high school!) has enormous benefits across the board - and while books on CD are awesome & we also love them - nothing replaces mom or dad or older siblings.  Why? Because the CD won't stop to define new vocabulary.  The CD (even if it's Jim Weiss or EB White) won't stop to discuss the moral issues at hand, or the the faith that could be built in a conversation about character & how to handle hardships or successes.  Read alouds build everything from family ties & common experiences to vocabulary & world view.  Sometime I'll start up book reviews again & list our favorites ;0) But even those littles can learn the rhythm & rhymes of language, begin to point out where the words are on a page, find the the periods, find the letters in their names, even memorize simple poems & nursery rhymes.  All the beginnings of learning to read & literacy.  These things are all organic in nature - not in a lesson plan or curriculum & it doesn't matter if you homeschool or not, if you are reading to your children every day you are helping them learn to read.  Again, a lifestyle.

Art & music education, while disappearing from many public schools, is still a huge daily part of our life.  Violin is 6 days/week, recorder coming in soon.  Art is built into as many subjects as we can & is integral to truly making material understandable, enjoyable, & their own.  We use art to narrate history read alouds, record science & nature concepts, & of course just for the sake of doing art!

Here's the link to the interview if you'd like to see it:

Feel free to leave a comment & let me know what you think!

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