Monday, March 12, 2012

Why we are Homeschooling

Public Schools teach to the average child and they teach to the test. Eli isn't average. If he were to go to public school, he would be bored. He doesn't do nothing well. It wouldn't be good for anyone involved! I am in no way bashing teachers. I think they do an amazing job with what they're given. I really wish they were allowed to just teach.

I find it sad that children in Kindergarten have to stand in a straight line and are expected to sit, quietly at their desks, which are all in rows. They also learn they must color inside the lines, both literally and metaphorically... conform. He has his whole life to learn this and actually I want him to always feel comfortable thinking outside of the box. It is a skill which will serve him well.

I want Eli to feel free to express himself, to be creative, to explore and learn about his world, to be who and what he needs to be with the support of the adults around him, gently guiding him. Once again, creativity is a great skill to cultivate.

We also don't use the reward/punishment system of discipline, which the school seems to only be able to exist on. He is learning to do what is right, because it is the right thing to do and not because someone is watching over him.

I don't want to protect him from the world (as some homeschoolers do), but rather to give him the confidence- and skills- he will need to navigate the world. I want to nurture the skills we value in adults but so many times discipline out of children. It is my job to raise a contributing citizen of society.

I want to teach him HOW to think, not WHAT to think. This goes back to being creative and being able to apply what he learns. Right now, Eli is really into Math. He loves patterns and shapes. Not only has he learned his shapes, but now, he sees shapes in everything! He is applying what he has learned.

We are teaching using the Montessori philosophy with some Reggio sprinkled in. Both of the philosophy's are not just for teaching, but are LIFE philosophies. One of my favorite Maria Montessori quote is from a student speaking with her who said "teach me so I can do it for myself." That sums it up! We are teaching him to be independent and confident, giving him the skills and tools he needs to navigate his world. The Reggio sprinkling is based on the awesome, awesome blog of Play At Home Moms. LOTS of hands on activities and supplies which the children has access to at all times. In Montessori, they recommend a specific place and specific time for learning. Eli has access to all of his activities at all times, including art supplies. Because he has been shown the proper way to use everything, other than a short coloring on everything in the house phase, he is very respectful of his things. Which leads me to the final point~ Montessori also includes the phrase "quiet and respectful". I don't expect Eli to be a quiet little mouse- that would be impractical for an active 3 yr old boy! But, he isn't a crazy disrespectful preschooler either. He doesn't destroy things. He is very respectful, not only knowing the proper use of things, but he also does it. 

We have an awesome Montessori school in town which is always a consideration. But for now, I am very happy homeschooling him. He is learning and is a happy, outgoing preschooler. It's working for us!

Filling the bird feeder

watching for birds

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