Thursday, May 27, 2010

It started with a writing assignment...

I'm a Writing & Publication major, so I have to find inspiration for the endless papers I must produce.  When I am given each writing assignment I try to choose a topic that I've been thinking about so I can enjoy the effort.  For my last paper, I decided to look into the pros and cons of homeschool education versus public school education.

The more I read, researched, and asked questions, the more homeschooling appealed to me. 

I was already concerned with how much time public school sucked away from our family and how it drained my daughter's spirit.  When, in first grade, she began getting STRESSED about a test (CRCT, Georgia's state standardized test) and worrying about not being able to contain all the information being thrown at her, I got frustrated with her learning environment.  Shouldn't the first few years of education be an introduction to a lifelong habit of learning?  And if she's burning out now, how will she approach learning in the future?  Will she give up and resist?

My daughter is also very energetic and easily distracted.  It occurred to me while sorting through old school papers, that her teachers' comments haven't changed much since preschool.  She is still one of the last to finish her classwork, not because she can't do it, but because there is too much else going on around her, demanding her attention.  Sitting still seems utterly impossible for my 6-year-old.  Good manners, aside, she is a fidgety wiggler!  A lifetime of dwelling in rows of desks must seem daunting for my Bella.  A 20 minute recess on the playground is hardly enough time to expend all that pent up electricity.

If Bella's disposition wasn't enough reason to consider an alternative form of education, her spiritual and character development ranks high on the list as well.  With so much time (10 hours/day) devoted to getting ready for school, riding the bus to school, attending school, and doing homework for school, there's little daylight or receptivness left for me to teach my daughter other very important life lessons.  I have applauded other moms who do such a great job of making the most of those moments in the afternoon when they receive their children home from school.  For my 1st grader, it doesn't seem enough. 

Maybe I am just discovering my personal parenting philosophy, which involves more influential times with my kids until I can see that they are ready to make right choices and deflect the negativity that exists outside, away from our family.

For all these reasons, I decided to embrace my parental right to look for new ways to educate my child.  Homeschooling provides a less expensive opportunity, comparing to the private school option.  There are so many great resources out there!  We're sure to find the right fit for Bella along the way.  We tried public school for 2 years.  Now we'll give homeschooling a chance.  As we discover what works best for our family and each child individually, I suspect we'll find different methods and systems as we go.

Isn't parenting all about trial and error anyway?  We do our research, pray, and hope for the best.

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