07 September 2010

Homeschooling - A Growing Subject

I have recently run across information about how many people are searching for homeschooling, and unschooling terms in the Google search engine. Normally this is just not something I look forward to seeing. After all, I have been homeschooling my daughter for 14 years now. (Yup, you read that right.) Back when we started homeschooling, most people thought I was doing something illegal. Back when we started homeschooling, most people assumed you must be a hard core Christian led to do so by God. Back when we started homeschooling, most people considered it the option used for children who were.. well, to put it nicely "not so bright". None of these were true for us. It was perfectly legal.. I had researched the laws of the state. While we were Christian, I can not say that God ever spoke to me about homeschooling my children. And my daughter easily impressed people with her knowledge and social skills from a very young age. (And I proudly say that it really was mostly her doing.. I just tried to keep up with her!)

Perhaps I should just take full credit for her education for all 17.5 years of her life. I did teach her to tie her shoes, tell her left from right, and how to put away her toys.. before that her education had consisted of learning to walk, learning to hold objects, and the hardest lesson of all.. learning to speak a language foreign to her at the time.. a language known as English.

Yes, I am proclaiming to have handled her education through various methods of homeschooling for her entire life, from the day she was born. When she was a toddler, learning was easy and free. I would say that it was the true essence of life learning at that point. As she grew to school age, we switched to a school at home method of homeschooling. We went from homeschooling workbooks, to searching through homeschooling curriculum.

There was something about becoming pregnant with my second child that changed everything. I dove into studying natural pregnancy, as that is not what my first pregnancy had been. I studied natural child birth, determined to be ready for it before it happened this time. I studied methods of raising children, determined to raise the healthiest, happiest, most well balanced children I could. As I devoted almost all of my time to learning, I left my daughter's education to her. I was always there to answer questions, help her find materials, help her with whatever she was doing. I read to her all the time, though usually of natural pregnancy, healthy diets, and child psychology. We still colored, and made meals together.

It was somewhere over that not quite 9 months, that we adopted a new style of homeschooling. It had grown into unschooling. I found that unschooling worked quite well with her, and we continued to unschool after her brother was born. When my third child came along, we were still unschooling and it was still working out fantastically. And now as my daughter quickly approaches the age of adulthood, I am grateful for every minute that I have had with her. I am grateful that I never sent her away to school. I am grateful for being so involved in her education. The relationship that I have with her is absolutely priceless. And I know how quickly she learns, and how capable she is of finding out what she wants to know. She is well equipped to build a happy successful life.. homeschooling has served her well.

Every once in a while, facts about how many homeschoolers there are in the country, and even in the world, come across my desk. When we started homeschooling, I vowed to stop looking at those numbers because they made me question my decision. If so few families were choosing to home school, was I making the right choice to do so?! I strengthened my resolve each time by looking to my daughter, watching what she could do, and watching her interact with other people. That was always enough to set my mind at ease for a time.. until the next time doubt came creeping in.

This time when the statistics about homeschoolers came through, I was pleasantly shocked to see how much more interest there is in it now! I am absolutely thrilled that so many people are searching for information on home school, on homeschool curriculum, and on unschooling! Even more surprising was the number of people looking for information about homeschooling in high school, homechooling programs, and even homeschooling online. Just think.. several thousand people a month go to Google and type in homeschooling pros and cons.

I think it is safe to say that the movement is growing.. that parents are finally starting to take charge of their childrens' education.. that people are finally seeing that education simply is NOT a one size fits all proposition!

Go Homeschoolers!

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