Why I Homeschool
I’m ready to come back from my blogging vacation, at least for an excursion into the blogosphere from time to time. Thank you to everyone that has kept me on your blogrolls or in your readers. I have really enjoyed my time away from blogging, but I am finding that I am frustrated that I have no real outlet for my thoughts any more. I have imagined writing dozens of posts since I’ve been gone, but blown off actually writing them. It’s a lot of work to try to compose my thoughts in print, but it’s even more work to keep them bottled up in my brain where they keep rattling around and never seem to find any escape.
I am a part-time seminary student whose passion is theology and biblical studies, so for the most part that is what I have posted on (and will continue to post on). But on the days I am not at school I homeschool my five children. Really its just babysitting for the youngest one. The next two are learning their letters but aren’t officially school age. So it’s really mainly the two oldest kids. Of course we focus on the basics (reading, writing, arithmetic), by my favorite subject to do with the kids is world history. We are following a classical model for education that places a high value on history and literature. While most first graders are focused on finding their desks on a map of their classroom, we are looking up Athens, Rome, and London.
We have two history texts that we are reading concurently, supplemented by a children’s encyclopedia, historical fiction, and other resources. The first is The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer. Bauer was homeschooled herself. With her mother, Jessie Wise, she has written one of the best surveys of the hows and whys of homeschooling. In general she is a lot of fun to read. The other book, A Child’s History of the World by V.M. Hillyer, is a reprint from 1924, when educators still thought children should be given a classical education. The difference bewteen the two books in enormous. Hillyer’s book routinely betrays its alligence to the Enlightenment project and its modern biases. It was written before WWII and has a very optimistic view of humanity in general and Western culture in particular. By contrast, Bauer is much more post-modern in her outlook. Not to say that she has bought the entire post-modern package, but she is aware that Western culture is not the ruler by which we must measure every other culture. In general, Hillyer gives a quick-and-dirty overview of a time period whild Bauer fills in the gaps and brings a correction to Hillyer’s positivism.
I can’t tell you how much fun it is to talk through this stuff with my kids. And they eat it all up. I am not among those who have chosen to homeschool because I think it provides kids with a better education. I am more concerned with the ethical vaccuum that is imparted to kids (whether intentionally or accidentally) through the public school. But after making the choice to homeschool, wow, there sure are a lot of great educational opportunities for kids.