Take a moment and open up another tab on your web browser....now type in the search words "homeschool blogs", or even just "homeschooling"...and if you have the time (and stomach for it!) begin to scroll down the pages.
I assure you that you will find many interesting blogs written by homeschoolers from around the world...I also guarantee you that you will also notice MANY blogs and articles written denouncing its very right to exist!
Since the beginning of our family's journey, that eventually led us to homeschool, we have found it to be quite the adventure. I don't even have the time to relay to you HOW many homeschooling families I personally contacted before we finalized our decision. I even attended a homeschooling conference last year, when all of my children were in school full-time! I spent hours researching at the library, and even read through many books related to home education. I wanted to see for myself if this homeschool lifestyle was going to be something I could realistically commit to for at least one full school year (Note: my husband and I had previously decided that homeschooling would be a decision we would take year by year based on our family's needs).
...and I discovered that all parents that choose to homeschool do so for a WIDE variety of reasons, but here are some of the factors that led us to make our final decision:
-the desire for me to have an increase of one-on-one tutorial time with each child
-to hopefully encourage and facilitate a greater natural love for learning, and pursuing personal goals in life
-the flexibility to supplement with other subjects, in addition to the much-needed basics (NOTE: I blogged about pursuing extra-curricular activities at home in an earlier entry)
-the opportunity to implement 'hands-on' learning experiences; including an increase of educational field trips
-the ability to focus on character building (for example: integrity, honesty, hard-work ethics, kindness, compassion for others, etc) and include activities that demonstrate to our children, in a relevant way, the many needs right here in our local community (visit a food bank, bring food to an elderly shut-in, showcase a talent to bring encouragement to someone, etc.)
-to have the time in our schedule to develop any natural gifts and talents they have (i.e. music, art, drama, entrepreneurial endeavours, etc.)
-the freedom to learn necessary life skills naturally as we progress throughout our day (these can include but are not limited to their personal chores, help with meal prep and clean-up, etc.)
-the opportunity to open up our home for group activities: with friends, family, neighbours, and even other homeschooling families we've met along the way
-instead of sitting in the evening 'working on our homework' for hours, we are able to work on our academic work around the children's schedules, family's needs, and any inconviences of life that may arise (such as funerals, sicknesses or special excursions)
While I realize that no homeschooler should feel the need to defend him or herself in a country where the freedom to homeschool still remains, I do however believe that we should be able to articulate (should the need arise) WHY we do what we do, and the vast number of benefits for our children.
A number of growing public figures have been outcrying against the very right of homeschooling to continue...and while it seems to me this trend is more common in the U.S, I do feel as Canadians we should never take our freedoms for granted. Let's not allow other people's views on educational matters to rest solely on popular or inflated opinions (which have always been prone to sway one way or the other depending on the political and social climate) but instead we should seek to educate ourselves, our circle of influence, and anyone who asks the reasons why it can be beneficial to undertake for those who have the:
a) need to homeschool
b) the desire to
c) the time
d) the energy
e) the discipline to commit to adequately instructing their child(ren)
f) the support
g) the understanding that as stewards of our children's lives we would indeed be neglectful to do a 'poor' job of educating our children...however that being said, I have YET to meet one other homeschooling family that was not interested in investing the VERY best in their family, and subsequently each individual child.
While I am not against a child being educated in public, private, or home school settings as I realize many life situations are beyond our control (and thus can play out in less than an ideal manner), I am however 'pro' for each parent making an informed educated decision with their eyes 'wide open' to both the positives and negatives that could appear in each learning situation.
One of the main arguments I've read against homeschooling was that our children will be too protected from the 'real world'...I cannot speak to every family but from personal (albeit short) homeschooling experience I can say this:
Homeschooling, in less than six months, for our children has exposed them to more places, ideas and learning opportunities than they have had in the past number of years. Homeschooling has not only benefitted our children academically, but also our entire family dynamic. I have seen more positive relational interactions, not only amongst my four children, but also in their social interactions with friends, relatives, and even strangers.
I may be personally biased of course, but from what I've already experienced this year in the way of positive results (including academically) I'm signing my children up for homeschooling for at least another year :)
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