Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Intoxicated by the Freedom to Choose

We attended a homeschool conference this past week in Greenville, SC.  I still had a feeling of "shock and awe" to see the vast numbers of people who homeschool.  I guess we are still new enough to homeschooling that I feel a bit dumbfounded by seeing so many different people "bucking the system."  But unlike last year, we didn't attend seminar after seminar.  This year, we went to browse, peruse and explore all the different curricula choices from the plethora of vendors.

Like any good homeschool mom, I did a lot of research prior to going to the conference.  I had a four page Google document of different programs that I wanted to examine.  I don't use a set curriculum.  I hand tailor the best I can, to each child, their learning styles and strengths.  I would put them back into school if I wanted the "one size fits all approach."  There is such a thrill from choosing what your child will learn.

Who ever heard a teacher say, "I looked through the book.  It seems boring.  We're not going to use that."?  It is not something that occurs often in a traditional school.  It isn't that teachers don't care or like the dull and unimaginative text books.  (Yes, I know that there are some bad, nightmare teachers that don't care and do like dull.  But I believe that they are in the minority.) Traditional teachers are constrained by a system within which they must work.  I'm not.

It is intoxicating to look at a perfectly functional grammar program that is about as thrilling as watching paint dry and having the power to say, "No way!  Not for my kid!"  I want something that will keep my children (and me) awake and not bore us all to tears.  So like Dory the fish in Finding Nemo, "Just keep swimming."  Keep looking until you do find something that fits your family.  What a novel thought!  Demand more and keep looking until you find it.

So that is exactly what we did.  We brought home a trunk load of books that we felt fit our kids and covered what we decided they should learn this upcoming year.  It makes me giddy with anticipation.  I am eagerly awaiting the rest of our books to come from Amazon.  (Yes, they will take over the world because they have everything!)

It is intoxicating the control and the freedom.  Just as alcohol could be dangerous and lead to abuse if not handled responsibly, the control and freedom to choose what your child learns needs to be handled responsibly.  It is not a perfect world, I am sure that there are a few crazies out there who want their children to study "The Fascinating World of Navel Lint" or "Competitive Underwater Basket-Weaving for Elementary Students." However, my children won't be joining them.

I have tried to design a rigorous, challenging curriculum that will still be (INSERT "gasp" here) fun.  Hopefully I will have succeeded.  If not, I also have the intoxicating freedom to toss something that is not working for us into the trash and try something brand new.


  1. I felt the same exact way when I first went to the GHC in Cincinnati. It was inspiring to see so many people who cared about giving their children the best education they could possibly get- whatever that means to the parents. The energy generated by all those parents was incredible.

    I also try to create a rigorous and challenging, yet fun homeschooling environment for my kids. I like the sentiments you express.

    1. Thanks! The beloved UPS man has brought us big curricula boxes three days in a row. Of course the kids weren't as giddy as I was when one box contained nothing but math books. I have already integrated two programs that I bought in Greenville into our daily schedule. Not only have they joined the "repertoire" seamlessly, the kids LOVE them! Phew! It is nice when you have judged what you think will work well for your kids correctly.

  2. Hello there (Dustybug from the Hive) This post is so very true. We do use a boxed curriculum for now, but it is highly flexible and I still have the freedom to tailor things the way I want them. I was supposed to go to the Greenville convention, but I wasn't able to make it. I felt overwhelmed just thinking about going beforehand though! lol.