On schooling, learning, immersion learning, and life.
Here’s a surprising item: I don’t write much about homeschooling on my blog. I skirt around this subject, though basically, it’s my life. I live and breathe raising my children ever since I became a mama 29 years ago, and teaching my children goes hand in hand (as it will) with raising them.
So why don’t I share much about homeschooling on my blog? One might wonder about this. I’ve wondered about it, too. I think it’s because . . . I’m a full-fledged chicken. School is an emotional issue. If I share with you, for example, how I think my children learn best, and you happen to teach your children in a different way, you may feel a strong emotional reaction. You may be defensive or offended. You may assume (wrongly) that I am implying that you, also, need to homeschool your children and raise chickens and have a huge garden and go around with scratches on your arms and legs from foraging in the woods.
However. Emotional reactions aside, we know that everybody’s lives are different, and what works really well for me may not work so well for you. What’s good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander, to twist a country cliché. Raising your children the best way you can may mean homeschooling, or it may mean sending your children to public or private school. And all of that is your business. And the way I teach my children, I contend, is quite my business. Teaching my children = my business. (You know, as long as the obvious isn’t happening, obvious meaning some sort of neglect or abuse, but of course we don’t even have to mention that here. Right?)
I have many close friends who teach at public schools, and I don’t doubt for a minute that they are blessing their students and other teachers every single day. I admire them. I live in a very public school-focused town, and I follow the local sport teams and other events in the local paper. Our local public school seems to do a fine job of educating kids. The fact that I chose to teach my children at home, however, was a personal, heartfelt decision and I don’t regret it for a minute. We have fashioned a singular, unique and thoughtfully developed (by us) learning experience for our children at home, with God’s help. It has worked very well for us.
Since the term “schooling” seems to be an emotional issue that I prefer not to get entangled in very often, maybe we should simply change the word to “learning.” I think we can all agree that learning is a good thing. Learning should never stop. I actually really like the term “immersion learning” rather than homeschooling, because that is basically how we live our lives. We keep our minds and schedules open as much as possible to learning. Kids are just great at learning, if you stay out of their way.
My friend Robin asked me to write a guest post on homeschooling for her blog, since it is something that she has long been interested in, though she didn’t homeschool her children. She apparently didn’t know about my dragging-my-feetedness about writing on homeschooling. I ignored my discomfort and agreed to write for her, but I put it off as long as possible. Heck, I even broke the internet at our house for several months (just kidding) so I didn’t have to face this task. But finally I sat down and started to write, and it didn’t take me long to warm to the topic. I mean, really. I’ve been teaching my children at home for nearly 25 years now. I probably have something to share, right?
I’m proud (in a humble way, mind) of the smart, principled, independent children that Bryan and I have raised. They are so much braver than I would have been at their age. They think outside the box. Bryan and I were both raised in the typical small town (inside the box) public school environment, so some of the choices our kids have made have caused us to catch our breath . . . and we’ve had to remind ourselves that there are more ways of thinking than the way we grew up thinking.
So if you want to see what I shared on Robin’s blog, skedaddle on over there right now and take a gander (as it were). She has split the (rahther long, now there’s a surprise, eh?) post “25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years of Homeschooling” between two days, today and tomorrow.
And by the way, Robin’s blog is one of my very favorites and I have learned a lot from her. She’s a great writer, a huntress (who regularly hunts for bear), an avid outdoorswoman and a kindred spirit. You’ll enjoy clicking around on her blog, too.
Take it away, Robin!
More from my site
- Icelandic chickens at our place, part 1: Chicks in the mail!
- Two Things: Guest Post on homeschooling & DIY Paper Dungeon Kickstarter
Learning and schooling are indeed very different from one another! Unfortunately, schooling often sours learning (and reading) for a lot of kids. Great article, I look forward to the next one!
Thanks Andrew. 🙂
I am excited to read your guest post. We are considering and praying about potentially homeschooling. Our motivations are NOT to shelter our children, rather nurture faith and learning in the home in authentic and creative ways. I think it affords some unique opportunities. That being said, my husband and I were both public school products and had mostly positive experiences.
Faith and learning are a lot of what I want to talk about on my blog. I don’t personally know you, but my husband and I know many of your children (We were at Andrew and Sonia’s wedding, so we have at least been in the same space. 😉 Also, Mitch roomed with Andrew at York) and they are some of the most intelligent, talented, and creative people we met at York. So kudos! 🙂
That is so sweet of you to say, Nathana. God has blessed us, that much is true, and I’m very proud of all my kiddos.
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