Tuesday, March 6, 2012

An open letter

From our homeschool family to the rest of the world.

Dear Friends,

We homeschool. We are proud of the fact that we homeschool. I know, for us, its best thing for our family at this point in our life. I have looked and researched home education and the pros and cons. We do not homeschool stupidly, but we also know that we have our child's best interests at heart.

 We have a very different idea of what education should be, especially at such a young age. I would describe our method/idea as more of a holistic or organic idea of education; thinking about the whole child and her abilities, strengths, and using those to direct our child’s learning path. We don't believe our child would benefit from being in a classroom six or more hours a day, five days a week doing work books, being told to color within the lines, and fitting into the nice little box where everyone is the same. For us, our daughter being stifled by a system which can't cater to her needs and learning style is unthinkable. For us, our ideas about education flow from a more natural place, more so then what has been taught in the last two decades in brick and mortar schools. It fits our family.

I do not expect everyone to pick homeschool; it takes commitment, sacrifice, a willingness to change if you need to. It’s not the choice of a weak or timid person. Though we are not stronger or less afraid than other parents, we are normal.  Most of the homeschool families I know and have known do not make this choice without thought and prayer, months or years of it. You have to be ok with everyone thinking you're an odd ball, different, scary, or crazy. I don't look at my child and think I need the break so I am sending her to school, though sometimes a break might be nice, I'm human. I look at her and think, "This is what we believe is best for us at this point in our lives.”

We love our child just as much as those parents that have chosen a brick and mortar building for their child’s education. We feel blessed to live in an age where we can make this choice publicly. It wasn’t so long ago that being homeschooled was something you didn’t share. You might even hide it from the neighbors.  Thankfully, we live in an age where we can homeschool.  We are not unsocialized, we are not deviants, we are not misfits; we just homeschool. One would think in today’s enlightened world that people wouldn’t still be in possession of such outdated, unfounded theories and thoughts. To this homeschool momma, it just shows how intolerant and backward thinking some are, I try to overcome my gut reaction and educate, but sadly, many still think I am raising an awkward child and belong in a hippie religious cult.  We don't, we just homeschool.

So allow us the freedom to be homeschoolers. Allow us to relish in taking on this task. We will have bad and good days, just like every other family. We don’t think we are better than anyone else, we just do things differently, and doing things differently is part of what makes the United States so great.

Thank you for listening gentle friends.

Some pictures of our past year.....

Making bird feeders

Beating drums in the park

Valentines Day Party

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