I know some people prefer the phrase, "Home Education." And I get why too. It looks more professional. But I like the rustic, DYI ring of the former. It suits us, as a family, as it does a lot of other families I have met.
Now staying home with your kids is a major adjustment. It's not necessarily easy, it can, especially in the beginning give you some anxiety. It means lots of reading on the parents' part, and planning. You can spend a fair amount of money on it too. And the people in your life, or those you encounter out in the world, might feel compelled to give you some trouble, for daring to break out of the paradigm regarding the traditional education of children, and how you cannot possibly accomplish that as a parent. That last one has been beaten like a dead horse.
Now that I have been living this dream for several years, I have had ample opportunity to make some observations, and most of them are positive. Though one was unexpected. And I perceive this one to be the coolest observation at all.
When a family becomes a home school family, it can lift an entire family out of educational poverty. The parents learn along with the children. I know this, it cannot be helped. You, as the parent, have to prepare the lessons, you have readings to do as well, in order to be an instructor. And you revisit every basic concept you might have been vaguely exposed to, but perhaps forgot when you exited primary school as a child yourself.
I know that people sometimes imagine that only the wealthy and college educated undertake this sort of task. But that is not true. Many families who do not have a degree between them, who are not wealthy at all, also home-educate their children, and by accident, to some degree, re-educate themselves.
Or the family could be continuing their own tradition as autodidacts.
Either way, I think it's wonderful.
When you as a parent, become passionate about education, about reading or a specific academic topic, it has a direct effect on the child. But in no small part, it has a direct effect on you. The child's wonder allows you to see an old topic through new eyes. And with that fresh perspective, you too, become ensnared and enchanted and before you know it, both parent and child come away with new understanding, with an enriched mind.
What new things will your child teach you? What new things will you learn with your child?
I love talking to other parents, when they become excited about something they read in their child's textbooks. Perhaps it was something they had forgotten, or it might be a topic that they were never exposed to. But it caught their eye, it fired their imagination, it got them excited, perhaps even inspired them to do more research on said topic, just for the hell of it.
What a fantastic notion!
I want you to reflect for a moment, what would happen, if a large portion of our adult population, suddenly became more educated about our own political process, our own history? I bring this up, because when you understand how something works, even on a most basic level, I offer, that it is easier for an individual to care, and to become involved.
And what happens when a large portion of our adult population is exposed to a basic understanding of Science, such as the concept of the Water Cycle, or Biomes, or Genetic Diversity?
I know where your mind went just now. You are thinking that a whole lot of home-schooling parents get their material from religious conservatives. I offer that if you learn the basics, that it becomes more and more difficult for those with a corporate agenda to bullshit an adult or child on the processes they observe and understand.
The lies will eventually break down, because those lies cannot be supported by the truth, reflected in the basic rules of the processes at hand.
I believe, I observe, that this movement will lift many families out of educational poverty. And it will empower those families for generations, and allow each as individuals to accomplish many things:
1. Give them the knowledge and confidence to challenge broken systems often reflected in a dysfunctional status quo. I am not just speaking of school systems here. I am speaking of any system.
2. Break out of the Cycle of Poverty. Educated people, even self-educated people are harder to intimidate, more difficult to lie to, and therefore, no longer easy marks. They are transformed from intimidated masses, to pillars of their community.
3. Empower them as citizens, by allowing them to pursue a deeper understanding of our political process.
4. Empower them as citizens to challenge our collective Time-Poverty and workplace abuses. Children conditioned to be cubicle drones, do not fight for the *good life, because they cannot miss, what they have never known.
And *this is multi-generational in 2 directions. That is astounding to me. That is amazing, and I believe in a couple of generations it will have a profound effect on our entire country in a multitude of positive outcomes. The parents become autodidacts, and so do the children, but more than likely this love of learning, and this notion of being a self-starter will also be passed on to the next generations as well.
How many parents, who didn't possess a degree before, might be inspired to pursue college after their child has grown and gone on to college themselves? Not just because the parent now has the time, but also feels empowered to do so? Or maybe they won't, but that parent can, as an individual adult, contribute wonderful things to their community, via their self education. Autodidacts are valuable citizens, they are subversive in a most wonderful manner.
Now that higher education, or even a good, primary education has been [financially] placed out of reach for so many families, I suspect that it will be the autodidacts that reset the system.