Everyone has their own unique view of what homeschooling is about and how it’s done. Some homeschools are public school (PS) classes at home while others are at the other end of the spectrum and do what they call unschooling where they don’t force study but allow the child(ren) to learn what they want to and when they want to. I personally do not like, nor do, the PS thing at home. Unschooling is a little closer to my way of homeschooling, though I do use guiding principles taught in my core books (aka Scriptures) and Thomas Jefferson Education. This works for our family, but I know it doesn’t work for every family. I wouldn’t presume to say what other families should be doing in regards to their children’s education. I wouldn’t want others to project their views in that regard on me.
I’ve tried in our home school to instill a love for learning in my children. I’ve been amazed at what they learn when they choose to seek the knowledge instead of me forcing it on them. I have friends that have had conversations with family or friends over whether or not their child knows this or that compared to another child who attends a PS or even a charter school. Personally, I generally don’t care if my children are up to par with their PS counterparts. I want them to have a love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, their family, their fellowmen, and lifelong learning. I may have learned some basics in school (I was public schooled), but for a long time I didn’t feel confident in my knowledge because most of what I learned was memorized and then forgotten. I still struggle in my own education at times, and I know that the process I went through in PS is not for my children.
I have felt guided by the Spirit to home school my children and in the specific way we do it. I have said many prayers in this regard. There is room for improvement, as with anything, but I know that my children are learning and generally enjoying the process. It’s when they compare themselves (or sometimes it’s me, not recognizing I’m doing it), that they become miserable and sad that they aren’t on the same path as some of their peers. I believe strongly that my children will likely not follow the same path the majority of American children will. It’s okay to be different and choose differently than others. It is sometimes a hard road, but I know in the end it will all be worth it.
This year I’ve had more challenges with homeschooling than I ever have before. It’s not that I don’t want to or can’t, it’s the fear that I won’t be able to continue due to circumstances. That has made me push some things on the children (some like to call it “conveyor belt thinking”) that have made them less happy about doing some of their school work. I’ve tried really hard to not force or push things on my kids just to “know” what everyone else knows, but I’ve made the mistake of doing that the past few months and mostly just to show they’ve done “something”. It’s not the best approach and everything I abhorred about the PS system. I have not been inspired to use this approach at all. For me, that approach has been all fear-based and the worst way to go about doing anything.
I admire the parents that do lots of planning and instruction, but I realize now that for me and my family, the simplistic approach is best. We don’t have to have the latest curriculum. I have a lot of resources without spending lots of money, and I can teach what I know for free! I choose the classes and participate in them so that I not only help my children, but I learn from other mentoring parents as well. I’m learning right along with my children, and that’s the beautiful thing about having a love for learning and schooling at home.
My PS at home attempt was a good lesson. I’ve seen how and what my children have learned from this experience compared with what they learned with little formal instruction most of the their life. Their confidence has wavered with this experience instead of staying strong; however, I’m now very confident with more inspiring than requiring they will be much better off than they have been the past few months. I can get rid of the doubt and fear and go forward with faith and inspiration to do what Heavenly Father wants me to do.
I know each of my children have a unique mission, and it’s my job to encourage them in finding it and gaining the education they need to fulfill that mission. They definitely have a better footing than I ever did at their ages. I’m so grateful that the Spirit leads me to the things that benefit my family the most (and sometimes it’s guidance to just get out of my children’s way).
If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to pray about what the Lord wants you to do for your child(ren)’s education. Seek His help and be open to following the promptings the Spirit gives you. It is eye-opening, and it may lead you in a direction that you didn’t realized you should go. It’s a scary step sometimes, but with faith in the Lord and His help-all things are possible!