We are on our 5th year of homeschooling and it's the bee knees. It fits so well with our lifestyle. And we know it is God's calling on our lives. Let me be clear that in the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I were on totally opposite ends of the spectrum of homeschooling. I was all for it and he was completely against it. Through the years, God has aligned our hearts in the matter and it's been a wonderful process. (And this is from a man who is a private school assistant principal!)
And through this journey in the past 5 years, we have learned so much (and I know we have so much more to learn and grow in.) We initially decided that we would take it year by year and kid by kid. If at one point, we saw that one of our kids was needing something different, we would accommodate to that and make adjustments. And not to say we won't still fulfill the needs of each of our children but, God has revealed to us that this isn't a "fly by the seat of your pants" assignment. This was a calling on our lives. To steward and raise and educate our children at home.
It was freeing to hear this purpose from God on our lives and not waiver in it. And our next step has been to be able to teach the kids together, as husband and wife. To partner together in not only the parental responsibilities but in the educational field of our kids growing as well. And it's been an exciting concept to lead a life we love with our kids, while they are still young.
Especially within this 2017-2018 homeschool year, I've been feeling some strange things. Okay, not strange things, but my eyes have been opened to other ways of life. Other opportunities. Other methods of learning. And I've been trying to soak in these concepts, open my mind and heart to new possibilities that break the mold of the normal. They go against the systems of society and some of you may think I am downright crazy and weird. Some of you might highly disagree with me and text your friend like, "Dang girl, you see what Meghan posted today? Girl is nuts!"
So... let me explain. (And it's totally okay if you still don't agree with me. Let me also preface with saying that this is not a knock on traditional schooling and everyone who adheres to the guidelines of it. This isn't a downplay of teachers or educators because I believe they are so valuable to our society + I have tons of friends and family who work in education. I am simply sharing our own personal journey and viewpoint for what we envision for our family. So, don't get your panties in a bunch.)
Let us proceed.
Sometimes, when I’m teaching homeschool, I’m thinking to myself , “Why the heck do my kids need to know this information? It’s pointless.”
I’d rather be spending our time playing, imagining, creating, and enjoying learning.
There are so many times through life that I think of all the hours wasted on memorizing facts to get a good grade on a test, only to forget (and NEVER even use) any of the information I was forced to learn and “get a good grade on.” I mean, I got dang good at studying. I could memorize exactly the information I needed to know to get a good grade on the test and then promptly released it from my brain database (because I had much more important things to retain like how to get a boost at the beginning of a N64 Mario Kart game.)
And while I believe there are many valuable subjects and concepts to learn (Example: reading + multiplication + typing, to name a few), there are so many other things that are unnecessary. There are so many things in life I wish I would have spent time learning instead of the square root of an isosceles triangle. (and yah... I have no clue if that’s even a real thing.) I know there are electives in school where you can learn more hands-on life lessons like changing the oil in a car, or plumbing and cooking. But those REAL LIFE classes aren't the core, they are electives. And, they are still functioning in a "get a good grade on it" way. It is taught in a format of study + test + pass.
And you know what, learning how to BRAID has saved me THOUSANDS of dollars in my life thus far. I'm not saying everyone needs to learn how to braid, but that has been a very instrumental skill for me to learn for my life circumstances. What else could I have missed out on? I mean, it's never too late. I can still learn and grow more as an adult.
Instead of going through the motions of a one-size-fits-all curriculum I am going to ask my children this question...
“What do you want to learn today?”
And you know what? We are going to learn about it and have a dang good time doing it. This is just a little taste of the UNSCHOOLING life.
And through prayer and research and listening to the Lords guidance (and obviously with my counter-cultural viewpoint), God has continued to align my husband and I's hearts in this matter of "unschooling" as well.
One day, Seborn asked me, "Are the kids learning what they are supposed to? Is Makkedah going to be up to the same level as her other 3rd grade level peers?" And my answer.... No.
No, because while it is beneficial for her to learn basic math skills, I don’t understand the necessity of spending time learn complex math concepts at 8 years old for 8 hours a day. She’s passionate about so many other things and has natural giftings in so many other areas that I want to spend our time cultivating that.
So, no. She’s not going to know all the things other kids her age know because I don’t find them to be beneficial to the human and woman of God she will grow to be. I want to foster an environment of creativity and freedom and learning through living actual life. I want to practice patience, grace, confidence, generosity, kindness and so many other beautiful character traits throughout our day. I want to welcome her into my space of entrepreneurship and let her see a glimpse of that world. I want her to know her possibilities are endless.
I don't want her to rummage through a curriculum book of useless information that someone deemed as necessary to learn 50 years ago JUST BECAUSE.
Life isn’t about spending 8-10 hours a day in a building being drilled with unnecessary knowledge for 180 days out of the year from ages 4-18. That’s not LIVING to me. I don’t want only nights and weekends and summers with my kids. I want so much more. So, the system that is set in place in this society, just doesn’t sit right with my own heart.
I want to live life for every beautiful crevice of secret spaces and locked away gifts that are just waiting to be explored. I want my kids to have their childhood. Filled with playtime, downtime and adventure. And in that... natural learning.