Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Why Homeschool?

I can't remember a specific incident that made me rethink my views on homeschool. I have just become increasingly unhappy with Tania's school experience. There was the incident in which Tania's teacher threw her backpack in the trash can because she left it on the floor. There were the numerous notes home, key words capitalized, informing me that Tania MUST learn to sit STILL and that she MUST learn to be a better LISTENER. There were the report cards that indicated Tania to be a high achiever, but a disrupter of class. (Her crimes included talking to friends during "carpet time," playing with things in her desk, and leaning back in her chair.) There were the times I would go to have lunch with Tania, and witness the teachers and cafeteria workers running the lunch hour in a military-operation style, complete with screamed orders and threats of no recess. There was the time a teacher grabbed Tania by the arm and pulled her to her classroom because she reached into the boys' bathroom to turn the lights off. There were the many days Tania told me that the entire class had to stay in for recess because they were "naughty." There was P.E., in which the children had to run laps, and were given extra laps as punishment.

I could go on and on.

I mentioned before that these things made me change my views on homeschooling. What I mean is that I previously thought homeschooling was for Fundamentalist Christians who didn't want their kids to learn about evolution or condoms (as Grace Llewellyn has put it). I had no idea that so many different kinds of people have been converted to homeschooling in the past thirty years or so.

So I began my research. The next several blog entries will be discussions of different books I read and other resources that have helped me to make the decisions I have made.

When I first began my research, I knew several things that I didn't like about school. I didn't like the time commitment. I didn't like the institution-like setting. I didn't like the lining up, the sitting still, the being quiet. I didn't like the focus on testing, the lack of emphasis on art and music. I didn't like the hit-or-miss people experience with good and bad teachers.

And again, I could go on.

But as I researched, I began to discover what I DID want for Tania. I want her to enjoy learning, to be curious and inquisitive. I want her to have the opportunity to learn about anything her heart desires. I want her to be a world-citizen, conscious of the problems of others, and committed to righting those wrongs. I want her to be healthy and strong. I want her to live freely, without her educational experience clouded by self-doubt and fear of what others think of her. I want her to be compassionate, and I want her to be true to herself. I want her to be happy.

And so her father and I have decided that homeschooling is the route we will take to achieve these goals for Tania.

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