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Falling Back Into the School Trap

"Keeping Up" with Everyone Else

By Chautona

I was thinking this evening, about how we are so proud of our home schooling "freedoms". We stand tall and support one another in not succumbing to the pressures of the governmental educational system.

However, as home schoolers, we have fallen into the trap of trying to keep up with someone else's idea of how we MUST school.
You HAVE to use the teacher's manual, or, you CAN'T use the teacher's manual.
You MUST do unit studies, or you MUST not do them.
You MUST do EVERY problem in the book, and every experiment, extra work, etc or you are WRONG to make your child do each and everything that the book even hints as a good possibility.
You MUST choose to utilize all extra classes offered by your home school class or you CAN'T or that isn't "home schooling".
Your children MUST go to college after home school or they CAN'T go to college but MUST apprentice.
You MUST have academically superior children or you are somehow a lesser home schooler.

AHEM! The only thing we MUST know about home schooling is that it is NOT a cookie cutter school. EVERY home is different. Some families are night owls, while others are early birds. Some families are BIG huge sports families, though other families are movie buffs. NONE of these are definitely superior to the others. And, none of the home schooling methods are 100% full proof either. There are too many variables.

I personally don't do much actual "teaching" at all. Some families will look down on me for that. That is their prerogative. BUT, the minute that they tell me that I am WRONG to do it my way they are encroaching on my right to school in a manner that works for my family. They are trying to take away some of MY schooling freedoms!

I don't HAVE to buy the teachers manuals. I don't HAVE to do all the extra credit work. I don't HAVE to do the experiments the way that the science book says to, and I don't HAVE to make my kids write an entire novel before they are 16 because some curriculum SAID so.

I have to do whatever WE choose to do to give our children the education that WE choose to give them. My children won't be given condom training in our home. Sorry, that lovely class is banned from my school. We won't be doing elaborate chemistry experiments either. WE live in the desert and FRANKLY most of that stuff is a hazard to this very dry town! We won't be dissecting animals here, but they may watch a video of others doing it. That doesn't make me a BAD home schooler, it makes me a DIFFERENT one from those who choose to do that.

Please let's not let anyone's methods or guilt trips make us feel superior, or inferior to the ones we have decided on for our families. Lets learn from one another, use the curriculum we have as tools, but not be tossed about by every "educational doctrine" that is out there. Let's let others have the freedom to be as different from us, as we want to be allowed to be ourselves.

So, I guess what I am saying here is, let's give others AND ourselves the freedom to give our children the BEST education that we can. We don't want to be a slave to the government model of school, and we certainly don't want to be a slave to each other's model, or our own assumptions of what a "good home schooling mother" would teach and how she would teach it.

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