Does homeschooling work? It depends who you ask.
How do you know public school works? Will it work for your kids? How do you know? How do you know that reading this blog will work? How do you know if anything will work?
I can’t predict if homeschooling will work for you any better than I can predict if public school will. But we know that for us, homeschooling works because:
1) Everyone’s happy. And by happy, I don’t mean indulged or spoiled or getting everything they want all the time. By happy I mean we are all excited to get up in the morning. We hug each other before going to bed at night. We work on projects that mean something to us. We are often inspired. We like each other and we like a lot people who are around us. We give to our community and feel a real connection to the world around us. We are happy to be alive and enjoy ourselves. We’re honest, we trust each other and we respect each other and our world. We aren’t stressed out. We don’t have much to complain about. We get enough sleep. We eat regular meals and we are able to balance work, school and fun just the way we want to. And, most importantly, we respect ourselves, and we all like ourselves.
2) The kids are always learning and they love to learn. It doesn’t matter to me so much how fast they learn, how well they learn or what they are working on, so long as they are learning. And, so long as they enjoy learning. So far, they do both. Their days are full of learning. They soak up new information without reserve and they ask lots of questions – most of them starting with “why”. They think deep and make unique, non-coached observations.
3) They know how to learn. They aren’t afraid to find information. They are confident that they can learn anything they want to.
So, to me, it looks like it’s working. And if they get to adulthood and they tell me, “Mom, you never taught me how to XYZ.” I’ll say, “Well, I taught you how to learn. So learn XYZ now. What’s stopping you?” However, I would be very surprised if they say something like that to me when they are adults. Because even now, as young children, they know their education belongs to them, and that they are responsible for their own learning. I’m here to help them, inspire them and give them ideas, but ultimately I can’t make them learn.
We all know how to learn. We all know who we are. The kids are happy. And they get along well with others. Wherever they end up as adults, if those four things stay a constant, I think we did a pretty good job. At least, if nothing else, we sure had a fulfilling journey.
What are your criteria to know if homeschooling is working? How do we know when any educational system is working for your children? And I mean your own children, not the masses. We’re not statistics, we’re people. How do you know if a system or process is working for one person, or one family?