Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why I'm still homeschooling: 20 years and still going strong

Or, What Taekwondo has Taught Me about Homeschooling 

I read something the other day that really irked me. Got me fired up in a mama bear sort of way. A Catholic blogger who used to homeschool wrote, "Anyone who says they enjoy homeschooling is either a beginner or in denial."

Let me take a few moments to deny these charges.

I'm still homeschooling after beginning to homeschool twenty years ago. I'm still enjoying it. Yes, there are days of sheer frustration. My youngest is turning ten years old on Sunday and he's got loads of learning issues. We pulled him out of the state-sponsored special ed program after he languished there for three years. After only four months of working exclusively with Mom and having plenty of time for imaginative play, he's blooming. His progress is slow, but we see genuine progress. His reading ability has improved. His mathematical skills have improved. His handwriting has improved. Yes, I get frustrated when I have to show him twenty times how to do something. But guess what? It pays off after twenty times of showing him the same thing. Maybe the public school paid special ed teacher only had time to show him something nineteen times...or, more likely, two times. I keep working with him till he gets it and not until the bell rings to mark the end of our session.

All kids need attention from parents. Even the most aloof teenager craves parental attention. That's one of the biggest reasons homeschooling works even among families whose parents don't have advanced degrees. They know how to give their kids the attention they need to help them succeed.

I can't tell you how many times one of my high schoolers has asked for help on physics or calculus or some other difficult assignment and just about as soon as she explains the problem to me, she'll say, "Nevermind. I figured it out." The act of explaining the question teaches the mind to think through the solution. Homeschooling allows plenty of time for asking the questions and talking about the solutions.

What does this have to do with taekwondo?

In taekwondo, as in any sport, you have to keep reviewing the basics to stay at your peak. You also have to have the attitude of a white belt. That is, you have to have the mind of a beginner, always ready and willing to learn new things and learn from your mistakes. I'm a black belt in taekwondo, but that doesn't mean I stop learning. I'm still learning and improving even the basic techniques of the sport. In homeschooling, I still feel like I learn something new nearly every day. So I'm trying to keep the attitude of a white belt in my black beltness of a veteran homeschooling mom.

Last night I arrived home late from a workout. My teens had all stayed home because they were tired or not feeling well. I suggested they go to bed if they weren't feeling well. What I saw when I walked in the door wasn't three teenagers not feeling well. It was three teenagers just hanging out, laughing and talking and being silly together. Homeschooling gives family members the time and the space to just hang out and be silly. I couldn't very well be angry at kids for not going to bed when they were having such a great time hanging out together.

Call me a white belt homeschooler. Call me a denier. Call me what you will. I'm still homeschooling and I'm still having a ball.

By the way, if your homeschool needs a little boost from the winter doldrums, be sure to check out the link on my sidebar from Homeschool Connections. They're offering a great deal from now until the end of the month of December. You can log into one of their recorded American history courses and try it out FREE for the next two weeks.

My kids have taken several of their live courses and they have all been GREAT! The instructors they have are top notch. The lectures are interesting and engaging. And it might just give Mom a chance to take a break and finish some Christmas preparations while the kids are listening to the free history lecture.

If you decide to subscribe to their all-inclusive access to their archive of over 70 recorded courses, you can do that through my link for only $1 for the first 7 days and $30 per month after that. Or, you can pay a one-time fee of $330 and have access for an entire twelve months. (That's one month free!)


love2learnmom said...

Like! :)

Jamie said...

Hee hee look at those Catholic Ninjas!! I am so interested in homeschooling but I really don't think I'm going to be able to convince my husband. :-/

I'm a new follower and fellow Catholic Mother Online. Please feel free to stop by my blog! :o)

For Love of Cupcakes

Neen said...

Catholic Mom online visitor. I live in Houston with our 9 kids and pregnant with twins. Our kids have never gone to traditional school. Our life is not perfect or easy but I love it. It breaks my heart when people give up after a year or two and don't find their groove. I feel it is the best for the kids, no matter the style of teaching you do. Happy new Year.