Generation Cedar

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It’s not just homeschooling advocates who recognize the plight of government education and desperately desire to make the public aware of the disadvantages it gives to our children. Especially now with common core standards. Besides veteran voices like John Taylor Gatto, Peter Gray and Roger Schank, who have been pleading for a de-centralization of government schooling for a long time, a recent retiring school teacher has joined them with his retirement letter-gone-viral, though now removed from the Washington Post.

“My profession is being demeaned by a pervasive atmosphere of distrust, dictating that teachers cannot be permitted to develop and administer their own quizzes and tests (now titled as generic “assessments”) or grade their own students’ examinations. The development of plans, choice of lessons and the materials to be employed are increasingly expected to be common to all teachers in a given subject. This approach not only strangles creativity, it smothers the development of critical thinking in our students and assumes a one-size-fits-all mentality more appropriate to the assembly line than to the classroom. (emphasis mine) Teacher planning time has also now been so greatly eroded by a constant need to “prove up” our worth to the tyranny of APPR (through the submission of plans, materials and “artifacts” from our teaching) that there is little time for us to carefully critique student work, engage in informal intellectual discussions with our students and colleagues, or conduct research and seek personal improvement through independent study. We have become increasingly evaluation and not knowledge driven. Process has become our most important product, to twist a phrase from corporate America, which seems doubly appropriate to this case.

After writing all of this I realize that I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists.” -Gerald J. Conti, Washington Post

Slowly, and thankfully, many parents want their kids out. But some feel that homeschooling isn’t an option. What then?

My first suggestion is that homeschooling may very well be an option. Before other alternatives are even discussed, I want to knock down some common assumptions about “why I can’t homeschool.”

Myth 1: “We can’t afford it.”

While it may be true, in some cases, that without two incomes, or without a second parent in the home, the basic bills (food, shelter, utilities, clothing) simply won’t get paid, this is hardly ever the reality. The real reality is that major sacrifices may have to be made to cut back to one income (in the case of a mother and father). I am speaking from experience, that when your belief in the enormous advantages of homeschooling (as opposed to the alternatives) is strong enough, you will do drastic things to make it happen.

It might mean cutting things you’ve been accustomed to, eating differently, shopping differently or living differently. It might even mean moving to a more affordable house/area. It might mean exploring work-from-home options. But there’s never been a truer statement: “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Additionally, due to our presuppositions about schooling, homeschooling can be done in the evenings, as well as in the absence of parents, if children are old enough to stay by themselves.

Homeschooling can also be done virtually for free.

When I first quit my job to come home and begin homeschooling, we had a yearly income of about $15,000 and I was expecting our third child. It can be done. 

Myth #2: “I’m not qualified to homeschool my kids.”

You don’t have to be. Because education isn’t dependent on your knowledge (contrary to what you may have been conditioned to think). Education is helping a child learn what he needs to learn through experiences, books, tutors, videos, projects, conversations–through life and the human experience. Just like a young child learns what he needs to learn with adult guidance, he continues to learn the same way when given the freedom and opportunity to explore and find answers to his questions. (Read more: Help! I’m Considering Homeschooling & I Don’t Know Where to Start)

Myth: 3: My Kids Won’t be Socialized

One of the very reasons we homeschool is precisely because we don’t desire the socialization that comes with a peer-driven culture. As Christian parents, we should consider strongly the Bible’s admonition that “he who walks with the wise will become wise; but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Children learn best how to do life by the experience of being closely associated with those older and wiser than himself, especially as he learns proper social behavior. Besides that, homeschooled children have enormous opportunities to spend with peers, if that’s your desire. (Read more: What About Socialization?)

Bottom line?  YOU CAN DO IT!!! Take the plunge and see.

Are there other myths? I’d love to answer them!

Want to read more about how homeschooling isn’t as hard as you think? Check out Think Outside the Classroom: A Practical Approach to Relaxed Homeschooling

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