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Reflections From the Front Line of Homeschooling: Rules Are Meant to Be Broken

April 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 100

When I chose to homeschool I did so knowing I was breaking some rules. Maybe not ones written in a law book, or decreed by a judge, but rules and notions all parents have. Children should be in school. Children should learn what everyone else is learning. Children should sit still. There is one right way to hold a pencil. Art is not as important as math.

As a parent I enjoy rules. I love to make them, follow them, enforce them and then I like to change them, amend them and finally, break them. As a homeschool parent, however, I find myself at a loss when it comes to my own standards and the rules that keep them towering upward. There have been times when I had to throw all that I thought I knew right out the window, and continue on without a script.

I want the very best for my children. Don't we all? I want them to succeed and thrive and find their source of contentment. This is why I wake each morning in the trenches and keep pushing forward even if it is through the fallout of math problems and puberty. I want all of this, but not at the expense of creativity, fun, and the wonder of exploration. More often than not rules snuff the spark that ignites the fire within each of us to find the boundaries and then push on past.

5 Rules worth Breaking:

1. No video games in the classroom

I once believed this and enforced it. Then, I watched a game my 13 year old son was playing and realized something; he was LEARNING skills, using skills and building skills all the while having too much fun to realize it.

2. Use textbooks to teach

Nonsense. Have all day read-a-thons. Watch a mini- series on the civil war and save the text book for another day. Play math games on the computer. Have a board game marathon. Put together puzzles. Bake bread. Talk to your grandmother.

3. Use lots of direction and instruction when teaching

Children need inspiration, a little trust, good examples and sometimes a gentle push. Adults tend to get in the way and supplement natural learning with contrived bits of information. Teach and learn together and then step aside and let the continued education take place.

4. The government should choose what our children learn

Trust that you can do better. Ask you children what they would like to learn and then let them learn it. With the exception of Math, everything is negotiable and flexible.

5. You need to teach spelling and grammar and vocabulary

Nope. Children need to learn to read and write. That is very important, but all the bells and whistles that go with it can be learned over time through great books. Read, read, read. Play word games, dictionary games, Scrabble-write fun stories and poetry. Read.

My children do not fit in the molds I have carefully constructed for them. They have pushed, and struggled and morphed so out of shape I had to build boxes instead. Nice boxes, furnished ones with hi-def toys to keep them happy. They didn't last long before either. Now my children are free, but for a threadbare tether strategically placed where it cannot be seen, and only felt when someone pushes at a new boundary. Together we embrace the chaos.

Karen Pasqualucci is a passionate, lifelong learner. She is an author, artist, entrepreneur, internationally accomplished speaker/trainer, a third degree black belt in Taijitsu and a homeschool mom of three. She shares her newest insights on her blog at and gives away a three FREE chapters of her book - Secrets of Homeschool Success!

Come and get it!

Source: EzineArticles
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