The purpose of homeschooling

The purpose of homeschooling

Some people are upset that the Quebec government is trying to impose the same curriculum as everyone else to homeschooled kids. Me, I’m surprised there are so many homeschooled kids in Quebec.

I often get asked by friends or acquaintances and even by acquaintances of friends about how one goes about homeschooling children. That’s because I’ve homeschooled all three of mine, from birth until the eldest was 11. A solid decade.

I chose to homeschool because 1) I hated school as a kid; was always bored and 2) I wanted the flexibility of taking the kids on trips whenever, or play outside when it was nice while working on books when it felt like the right time. That’s because although I’m terribly OCD when it comes to living in a clean and tidy space, I’m thoroughly chaotic when it comes to time management. That’s a nice way of saying I hate schedules.

But that’s just me. Other people homeschool because they child is on the autism spectrum or having trouble learning or what have you. Some religious families don’t like a secular curriculum. There are as many reasons to homeschool as there are homeschooling parents. I know people who’ve been back-and-forth several times; kids home, kids in school, kids back home, kids to a different school, etc. It’s all good, provided the children are progressing well.

Yes, obviously, kids need to learn the basics. Personally I used the Ontario curriculum as a loose guideline, to make sure I wasn’t somehow forgetting anything important. I wasn’t. The Ontario curriculum isn’t particularly rigorous, at least not in the early grades. I don’t expect the Quebec curriculum is a struggle to keep up with either.

I also used a classical liberal curriculum. Highly recommend it. I put huge emphasis on reading, writing, imagination, proper expression, ability to do research independently (“no, I don’t know why the sky is blue, why don’t you google it and explain it to me because I’d like to know, too”), and also math and stuff. We read stories. They wrote stories. We talked about everything.

When they went into the public school system, they fit in pretty easily. They had to learn how to line up properly and remember to raise their hand before speaking, but other than that things were smooth.

I never made my kids take a formal test. I assessed their competencies myself. That’s one big advantage of homeschooling: You know your kids so well you can tell what they know and what they need to work on.

What bothers me about the Quebec plan to force everyone into the same funnel is that it assumes homeschooling parents can’t do a decent job without being checked constantly. I’ll tell you this about homeschooling: It’s a shitload of work. It’s intense, unending, and extraordinarily time-consuming. Not only are you spending time teaching and assessing, but your mind is constantly thinking about what to teach them next and how, or how to improve things that need improvement.

You don’t homeschool because you like to take it easy. It’s a sacrifice some parents make because they think it’s the best thing they can do for their kids. It’s not too much to ask not to treat them like lazy bums.

The avocado principle

The avocado principle

Out of green field

Out of green field

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