Monday, February 13, 2012

Who are they to judge?

I regularly visit homeschool forums, ones that I'm not a member of, to read threads about curricula. I like to read other people's opinions of curricula & learn about what other's use. While at these forums, I often skim through other threads as well. I do that to try to get an idea of the kinds of people on the board, how they homeschool, their methods, views on education, etc. That way, I know how useful their opinions on curricula will be to me. Now, it's not unusual for me to come across threads that I find irritating. Recently, while looking into ideas for the up-coming year, before doing my last finalization, I came across some threads on forums & some posts on blogs judging anyone who uses a rigorous method or curriculum. Now, I know these people aren't talking about me, specifically, but I've had plenty of people make snide, rude, disrespectful comments about how we homeschool, because of our rigorous course of study. So, this resonates with me. I find it insulting to assume that anyone who uses a rigorous curriculum or method must be an overbearing control freak who is pushing their child, aiming for bragging rights, or taking away their childhood.

I would call our homeschool rigorous, yet relaxed. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but that's how I see it. I would say that our course of study is rigorous, yet our schedule is fairly relaxed. Ergo, rigorous, yet relaxed.

Yes, my kids learn foreign languages in elementary school. It's been scientifically proven that it is easier for a child to learn foreign languages prior to about age 12. If a child has been exposed to foreign languages at a young age, they will have an easier time learning languages throughout their life. I choose to take advantage of that and not make them wait until it is more difficult for them to learn languages.

Yes, my kids learn Latin. Just because it is considered a 'dead' language, that doesn't mean it is not useful. It helps with understanding English Grammar. It helps with vocabulary. It sets a foundation for the 'romance' languages. It is the language used for scientific names.

Yes, my kids are learning more than one language. Being multilingual can't do them any harm, but may open new opportunities down the road.

Yes, my kids are learning computer programming. They both requested it and look forward to it every week.

Yes, my kids are doing advanced work in many of their subjects. This is not because I push them. It is because I allow them to work at their own pace.

Yes, we spend more than 2 hours a day doing school. School usually runs from 4-6 hours a day. However, we never do more than they can handle and they both still have plenty of free time.

Yes, my daughter is likely going to graduate early. This is her goal.

Yes, my daughter is on the road to college. This is also her goal. I am simply making sure that she is prepared for whatever her future holds, be that community college, the ivy league, or straight to work.

I am homeschooling my children for educational reasons. I homeschool to give them the education they deserve. I do not homeschool for religious reasons, to shelter my kids, or to prevent bullying. I am homeschooling to give them a well-rounded, thorough education that will prepare them for adulthood. Given my reasons for homeschooling, I would be remiss if I didn't do my absolute best to provide them with an excellent education.

My kids have a lot of input in their schooling - materials, topics, types of work, and schedule. They work at their own pace. Their goals and future plans are regularly re-examined and incorporated into our schooling plans. They are working toward what they want out of their lives.

This is not a case of a control freak mom pushing her kids beyond what they can realistically handle. I make no apologies for the level of rigor in our studies. I feel no shame or grief about the amount of work they do or the difficulty of the work.They're exceptional kids. I'm simply supporting them - their needs, abilities, and interests - as best I can. I'm sure we aren't the only 'rigorous' homeschoolers in this position, either.

I'm so damn tired of people passing judgment on us for having a rigorous course of study. I'm tired of people thinking that they know what motivates us to do things the way we do. Very few people truly know, I mean really know, me. So, who are they to judge? The same goes for all these forum threads & blog posts trashing rigorous homeschoolers. If you don't truly know a person, know their mind, know their motivations, your judgments are shallow & uninformed.

Also, unless you personally know the family, you can't really determine just how rigorous their homeschooling is. I've seen some people who post about the 10+ subjects their kids are doing, and many people then think they are quite rigorous. When they gave more detail, though, some of those subjects were only focused on sporadically, and only 2 or 3 were daily subjects. They also said they only spent 15-20 minutes per subject per day. That isn't near as rigorous as it originally sounded. I've also seen others post that they only focus on 4-5 subjects per year, which many view as being quite relaxed. However, when they went into more detail, they said they spent 1-2 hours per day on each subject, and all subjects were daily. That sounds more rigorous to me than the first one.

So, before assuming that someone is controlling, overbearing, pushing their kids, taking away their kid's childhood, etc., please remember that every family's situation is different. Just because their course of study, curriculum, or schedule wouldn't work for your kids, it doesn't mean that it isn't what's best for their kids.