An interesting response by Rod Dreher to a reader who asks about beginning to think about homeschooling.
First he says:
It was disappointing to us to have to give up on homeschooling with Matthew, but Julie and I have always tried to keep squarely in front of us that we must do what’s best for our individual children, and not impose our own ideological convictions about education on them. With luck, Lucas, our No. 2 son, will thrive in homeschooling. But if not, we’ll deal with that when the time comes. The point I want to make about this is that not all kids are cut out for homeschooling, so you should prepare yourself for that possibility.
I think that’s great advice. I’m interested in homeschooling because I want to give Bella the best education possible. I am committed to making homescooling work for us; but I don’t want any commitment to hurt my family or hurt Bella. Although I can’t imagine how such a situation might arise, if somehow something happened such that her best interest involves her not being schooled at home, so be it.
Then he adds advice from his wife, Julie:
I’d tell him to avoid the mistake we made and don’t think about it for 2 years. OK, maybe think about it a little, but don’t worry about it. The things a little person needs are the same whether you plan to homeschool or not: lots and lots of reading aloud, talking to them constantly about anything and everything, lots of outings to interesting places, and all the little mommy things that teach them so much like identifying the numbers on the signs in the grocery store.
I’d agree with that too. Even though I’m currently enjoying reading about homeschooling, I can definitely see some drawbacks to my approach. Because it is easy to get excited about one method or another and begin building some pretty elaborate castles in the air. But the key to effective teaching is matching the method to the child’s learning style and special needs. So I could see doing too much too soon could be setting yourself up for disappointment or frustration.
At the same time, one of the commenters points out that by starting to think things through when her daughter was two, she was able to sift through what fit her family’s values and needs:
The best advice I could give would be to ask oneself, “What are the most important things for my children to know and understand?”, and “What values do I want to instill in them?”. Pray and and spend time with other homeschooling families you admire.
I am glad I’ve started thinking about this now while I have leisure to read and think. But I’ve always been very deliberative, gathering all the information I can and pondering long before making a decision. And I recognize that key parts of the equation are missing and while I can explore what appeals to me the actual decisions have to wait.
Meanwhile, I’ve discovered so much, met so many wonderful homeschooling bloggers. For me the journey itself is fun and though I don’t know where we’ll end up, I’m happy to be wandering through the highways and byways, getting lost and then found in the process.