Listen up homeschoolers, I wish to pour some encouragement and praise over you, to reassure some parents really, to lift you up and fill you with confidence.
I myself was totally homeschooled, actually not schooled at all, and while I may be slightly insane, I do not lack of education. I read, I studied, I am self-taught. So was Abraham Lincoln. As a matter of fact, there are a great many well-educated people all through history that did not attend public school because there was no such thing at the time.
In truth, learning is our natural state of being and most children have a natural curiosity that drives them. Those kids who try to pry the safety caps off the electrical outlet with a butter knife? That’s bad, but it is also the seeds of science beginning to take root. We all just pray they survive their early experiments…
People, human beings, are not these vessels we can pour knowledge into, like one might fill up a gas tank. You can pour it all in and it will just go in one ear and out the other anyway. I went to 5th grade, 7th grade, and 11th grade in public school, then I had a few years of college. That’s the extent of my “formal” education. It’s somewhat amusing to me, two things I was really, really taught, two things I applied myself diligently to, got straight A’s in….are the two things I have completely forgotten. French and the metric system. I have a piece of paper, a “credential” that speaks to both of them, but trust me, you don’t want me going anywhere near something metric without a handy chart at my disposal.
French is another one, today I know perhaps 6 words. It was once useful giving directions to some Cajun army guys whose English completely eluded me. I was actually able to discern about every 5th word of their heavily accented French slang, far easier than their English. They were very sweet and charming, accused me of having a heavy North American accent and failing to enunciate my words and much hilarity ensued.
I was blessed to have gotten to homeschool all four of our kids for at least a few years each. I worried about all the things parents worry about, what if my kid is behind all the other 4th graders in this area? What if there are big gaps? What if they grow up and we discover I’ve overlooked something, like an entire subject?
In truth, most kids who are homeschooled or even not schooled at all, turn out very well, often even better than their public school counter parts. Stephan King, the writer, once spoke of his mother, of one of the most influentential things she ever did for him. She would allow him to stay home from school and let him run wild, led only by is imagination. Now true, I’m not sure Stephan King’s imgination is really quite the future world we want our own kids embracing, but I thought it was a rather sweet commentary on the value to be found in allowing kids the freedom to simply learn what they need to know. Stephan Kings’s current success was actually born not of school time, but on those days he spent being un-taught.