"Why doesn't she have her math facts memorized?"
"He is still holding his pencil in a fist grip instead the pinch style."
"They prefer doing instead of sitting for book work."
These were some of my concerns as I spoke to the certified teacher whom we work with. In our state, if we are not dual-enrolled through a school we must work with a certified teacher and have eight contacts a year (four must be face to face).
Each time we have a meeting I come away refreshed and relieved. As parents, I think we can all admit that from time to time we question whether we are doing the right thing for our children. While I know homeschooling is right for us, sometimes I question whether I am doing a good enough job.
Then the certified teacher swoops in and assures me I am. When the kids fell behind with school last year the teacher assured me they would catch up later (they did). When Becca was struggling with math the teacher told me she wasn't ready to grasp those concepts and to work on reading instead (this year she has been sailing through her math).
I realized I am stuck on "rules". Someone, somewhere, sets rules for children at school and I blindly follow along. Back in the late 80's I learned reading in 2nd grade. Now schools are teaching reading in Kindergarten. I panicked when Becca finished Kindergarten without knowing how to read. Then I read study after study that shows the ideal age for learning to read is age 7. That is not to say that a child of four, five, or six can't or shouldn't learn to read, but rather that a child will learn at their own pace and at the right time when given that opportunity.
Albert Einstein was 4 before he spoke and 7 before he learned to read, causing his teachers and parents to think he was mentally handicapped. Thomas Edison was told by teachers in his early years that he was "too stupid to learn anything." Winston Churchill failed 6th grade. Monet was rejected and mocked by The Paris Salon. Beethoven's teachers thought he was hopeless in composing and would never learn to play the violin. Michael Jordan was cut from his High School basketball team.
These are some examples where a person did not follow a set of rules and was deemed stupid or worthless because of it. Children are now labeled because of their nature. I am not saying that there isn't such thing as ADD or ADHD but I do feel that there are many children misdiagnosed. For example, if my Joe were in school he would be labeled ADD for sure, but he just has a lot of energy and I am able to get him to sit still for worksheets, yet he does his best learning while being active. Jacob may be in a Special Ed program because of his speech issues, and yet he is such an intelligent little guy that something like that could hurt his ego greatly. He knows he can't speak well, but he also knows that he learns just like any other child.
The most common anti-homeschooling comments I hear are about socialization, the next complaint is often "A child needs to learn to follow rules, they need to learn that the world won't cater to them when they are adults." I think a child can learn rules just from living in society, not from being told to color within the lines. We learn to respect adults by being around adults, we learn to stand in line when at a store, we learn how to do a job by actually doing the job. These are life lessons but have nothing to do with the style of learning we each learn by.
I'm not saying public/private schools are bad, I'm saying that they aren't the only way to learn.
11 years out of high school and I'm still learning...learning not to live within one set of rules, learning more and more that the world is my classroom, learning that the ones who color outside of the lines are the ones who get noticed.