Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Where we're going, and why

Melanie B asked in a comment how it was that I came to the decision to homeschool my own children when I had such an uninspiring homeschooling experience myself.

I do believe that the concept of homeschooling is sound. The fact that my own experience left something to be desired doesn't taint the whole venture, because I also know many people who had positive homeschooling experiences. (Of course, we all know that the plural of anecdote is not data...) Chief among these influences is Darwin, whose own homeschooling was quite successful. It's probable that I would have considered homeschooling if I had married someone who had never even heard of the concept, but Darwin had practical experience, and ideas of his own based on his family's methods.

We both think we're pretty smart, and we're determined to be the primary influences on our children in terms of religion, attitudes, and modes of thought. We also both remember our early regular school years as having a lot of wasted time, rules designed for crowd-control, and unedifying playground antics. School wasn't all drudgery, but sheesh! For all the time we spent waiting for the bus (or riding it -- ugh) or standing in the lunch line or in assemblies, we could have been running around outside or reading a book or doing something real. And that, I believe, is the essence of homeschooling -- learning through real interaction, real experiences, and with real disciplinary incentives to behave. ("Wait until your father comes home" carries a lot more weight than staying in at recess.)

Between us, we have plenty of theories about education for the upper grades, for which we were both homeschooled. We don't know so much about education for younger children, and wouldn't you know, that's where we have to start. Which is why two homeschool graduates have to seek so much advice on starting out...


Anonymous said...

How great, two homeschool graduates homeschooling their own children! I'm sure you'll do amazing.

Anonymous said...

It struck me as kind of odd to question why someone who wasn't all that satisfied with being homeschooled themself would want to homeschool their own children. I mean there must be hundreds of thousands of folks out there who hated school or at best found it a real drag, but send their children off to it every day.

I think you make the decision based on what you think is best for your family, be it homeschooling or standard schooling.

mrsdarwin said...


I think the question was posed because homeschooling isn't the default option for education these days. "Going to school" is the norm, and (as you say) even people with lousy school experiences pack their kids off to the local public because that's what you do. Homeschooling is much more deliberate. I think that those who have been less than impressed with it in the past do put a good deal of thought into whether or not it's right for them. I suppose there's a parellel with parents, having been dissatified with their own education, choosing private or charter schools over public schools for their children.

Sarah Reinhard said...

Mrs Darwin, this series of posts is really helpful to me, a mom of a 2yo who can't get away from homeschooling (and I find myself struggling with some of the same things you're pointing out - I've just been catching up on blog reading and so I'm reading the whole homeschooling series together). Thanks for this.