The Worth of a Challenge

If you give a child a fish, you feed him for a day.
If you teach a child to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.
But if you teach a child to learn, you feed him for a lifetime
and he doesn't have to just eat fish.


We love homeschool, but I didn't always feel that way. 
When I first had kids, I thought homeschool was for bohemian hippies who let their kids roam the house in their jammies and just watch cartoons all day while they "just learn on the fly". I honestly thought I couldn't and shouldn't homeschool my kids. 

Mythes I had were:

  •  my kids won't be "social" (whatever that means?!)
  •   my kids won't receive all that a "formal" education has to offer
  • I am not educated to be a teacher and therefore can not teach
  • my kids won't listen to me
  • my kids won't have structure
With these myths secured into my mommy utility belt, I took my child to yonder kinder school and enrolled. It was a horrible experience. They had an orientation for which the teacher had less than two seconds to speak to us because she was up to her eyeballs in other kids and parents. Within the first couple of weeks Jacob would come home crying because he just didn't fit in. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if the other kids were circles, than we must be octagons. Our philosophies had some similarities, but on the edges we were just different. The school felt, at five years old, kids should be able to sit very still for long lengths of time and to work very independently. I thought this was a tall order for a child who can't even cross the street. The more time we spent there the more I watched a child who was once excited about learning just crumble. It left me with more questions than ever:

  • why is it ok to let the child take the lead when it came to eating, crawling, walking and talking but not learning?
  • why is it unacceptable to compare kids..... except at school?
  • why is it so important my child be "glued" to the desk?
  • why are tests and statewide standards more important to the school than my kid as an individual?
What I learned: I learned that if your child isn't a cut above the rest, your child will be labeled as needing remediation or filtered out of the mainstream classroom. It made me really sad. I know how smart my child is, and that he just isn't afforded the time to show it in his own time. I just want to make mention, that it isn't because of the teachers, but the fact that they have a certain amount of time to cover certain things and if they don't get the kids testing above average, their job and the money for the school is at stake. It is an awful lot to hang over the head of a teacher let alone the heads of five and six year olds. It was too much pressure for me and way to much for a young child

Shopping around....
When I knew we were taking Jacob out of public school, I knew we needed a plan B. I just didn't know what it was going to be. I looked at other public schools but it was just more of the same stuff. I looked at private schools and just cried over the sticker shock of how much it cost and how we would never be able to afford it. I then found a charter that would allow us to do independent study with support. I thought this was wonderful. I had already been doing most of the study at home and felt this was a great option because I could still call upon the experts if I needed them. We were homeschooling with just one day of traditional school to deal with. We finished out the kinder year and prepared to continue learning during the summer. I didn't have the experts all summer and dreamed up fun things to learn and do. My kids were really learning and put all those myths I had previously thought of to shame. We weren't hippies and my kids did learn and have structure. Oh and if you met either of my kids you would see how much they love being around others as opposed to just being tossed into a schoolyard. I knew my kids could learn this way and I knew I could help them do it. We stayed with the charter for the first half of the following school year and then when we moved I felt ready to "fly solo" and we have been ever since. 

One overwhelming moment for me when we started to homeschool, was when another mom asked me what curriculum my kids would use. I didn't know. The mom asked me why I hadn't done my research since there are over 400 types of curriculum out there. It left me stunned and stammering, but I picked my self up and talked to other home educators and hopped onto the world wide web. This is what we picked and feel are the right fit for us now. It may not always be the books listed above, but I know that where the Lord guides, He provides and it is up to me to trust in that. My decision to homeschool was guided not just by feelings and research, but also by prayer.