Monday, February 11, 2013

Why Does the Government Think They Know Best?

Our founding fathers designed a government with checks and balances.  They wanted to ensure we the people had the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.  Over the last two hundred years, the government has grown to invade our rights of life, liberty and happiness.  This has occurred not only at the Federal level, but the State level as well.

Do parents not have the right to rear a child in the way they see fit?  A parent should be able to decide how the child is educated, be it public school, private school, home school, etc.

A parent is the child's first teacher.  Some of us want to continue our role of teacher when the child is school age.  We want to fill our children with our beliefs, love of learning, and passions.  We want to keep them safe and innocent.  (This does not mean we don't socialize our children.  We just choose the settings of socialization.  A room full of 25 to 35 children of the same age with one adult is not socialization.)  We want to let them have a childhood.  (Hours of homework, that is mostly busy work, is in no way going make the child like school or learning.  Children need to be outside and play.)

The government continues to lower the age of schooling.  Prior to the 1970's kindergarten was an option and only half day.  Before this, children entered public schools around seven years of age.  Now, we have K3 and K4 programs for children in public schools.  We are duped that if our children are not reading by the time they are five, they will be behind.  We push academics down their little throats and have thrown out play.  Has that increased our national test scores?  Compare the level of education from the 1950s to that of today.

Homeschool parents know their child.  A 'new' educational strategy is to tailor make lessons for each individual child in the classroom.  Homeschooling parents have always done this for their children.  If one method doesn't work for our child, we will choose another.  So, what if it is mid-year and things aren't working?  We find something that works.

Just today, my son finally declared he does not like the computer curriculum we have used for the last year and a half.  I knew something was up when he didn't want to do school work the past few days.  We discussed what he would like to try instead.  Yes, he is only seven.  However, he knows what works for him and he knows he still must do school work.  I let him show me what he wanted to do and he spent twenty minutes writing words.  This is a child that hates to write!  Now what would have happened in a classroom, if he had refused to continue learning the same way as always?  I dread to think of it.

Homeschooling can be frightening at times when you must put your trust in your children to make educational decisions.  You second guess yourself many times, but somehow things work out.  Expectations are met and surpassed. 

My son is learning to read.  He reads more than he thinks and surprises me at times.  I have not pushed reading on him.  I am letting him take his time.  Yes, I worry what others may think, but I know what is best for my son.   (I have read countless books on how late readers are actually better readers and by the time late readers reach high school no one would know they were late readers.)

The school systems want early readers so that the child can work independently by second or third grade.  This is the time they cram more students in the class.  This also the time they begin testing.  We don't have to worry about this.  I can sit and read to him.  We can discuss what is read.  He remembers things much better than his sister, because he isn't able to just look up the information again.  He has to retain it in his little head.  I find it amazing at the amount of detail he can recall.

Who decided what to learn and when?  Why does history have to be taught in pieces here and there?  Must a seven year-old really solve for x?  Can't science for an eight year-old be exploring their world and asking questions of inquiry? 

Taking away a parents' right to educate their child, as they see fit, is a mistake.  The decisions made by homeschooling parents about their child's education are not done on a whim.  We seek what is best for our children and are willing to change course when needed.  We look for educational opportunities for our children where ever we may find ourselves.  Education for homeschooled children is not the regurgitation of trivial bits of information for a test.  It is the instillation of a learning experience that will last a life time.  What may work for my family, may not work for your family.  It is up to each of us to do what is best for our families.  So, why does the government think they know what is best for us?