Sunday, October 31, 2010

Advantages of Home-Schooling

Just to be sure you know where I am coming from, I really love public education.  I truly feel that it can do a better job at educating my kids than I can.  I never wanted to home-school my kids because teaching different kids different things all at the same time just stresses me out.  However, I always dreamed of coming up with really cool activities for my kids before the school years as well as for the summer.  I thought I'd be something like No Time for Flashcards.

Has it happened?  No, not nearly like I'd hoped, but I am getting better at it. 

During the summers, I volunteer with my kids at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City.  Many of the volunteer families there are home-schooled families.  When I first learned this, my (terribly rude and stereotypical) reaction was, will they be weird like the home-schooled kids I'd heard about growing up?  No.  They were wonderful!  I'd never met such confident and responsible teenagers!  Since then, I've met other home-schooled kids that I find amazing!

One time on LAF/Beautiful Womanhood, a link was posted to an article on the Duggar family. You know, the ones with the 19/20 kids.  (I have to be honest here, I used to think people with lots of kids were crazy.  I think I picked that attitude up when I was young and started hearing people make rude birth control comments toward others with large families.  After becoming a mother, though, I have a gained a HUGE amount of respect for families who do have lots of children.  I think our Heavenly Father wants to give us as many children as we are willing to take; so, more power to you if you have a quiverfull!)

Anyway, the article said,
While, admittedly, I admire the Duggars for much of what they do, I didn’t expect what I saw in these 3 girls.  The world has yet to beat them into submission.  They don’t watch the Disney Channel, so they’ve yet to learn that adults are buffoons and parents are embarrassing.  They don’t listen to the local rock station, so they’ve yet do discover life is supposed to be one promiscuous event followed by another.  They don’t attend public school, so they’ve yet to learn teenage girls are required to be filled with angst and riddled with insecurities.
As we spoke to the 3 of them, one word kept jumping out at me:  Freedom.  These girls were experiencing freedom teenagers rarely taste.  Completely free to be themselves.  The exact opposite of the words so often used by media folk to describe the 19 kids.
I realized that if these types of families can raise these children to be so exceptional, they must be doing something right.  I don't think I need to necessarily home-school my kids to teach these things, I just need to stress these attitudes and qualities in other ways.

On a side-note, I've learned, the reason we all thought home-schooled kids were weird growing up was because they were more mature, confident, and responsible.  They could talk to adults.  We were the dorky ones following the fads.

Are the schools doing too much?

I had a recent e-mail conversation with a friend.  We both felt that school was taking over our lives.  How is there any time to do anything as a family, any lessons, any sports, any church activities when the kids are in school all day, then they have homework in the evenings?  When do they have time to play?  I don't know how people have time to put their kids in extracurricular activities.

Then I start to think about it and get slightly lazy.  I realize my child gets extracurricular activities at school:  art, sports, music, recess, lunch, socializing, fieldtrips.  I don't have to provide it for him.  I don't have to pay extra for it, either -- I've already paid for it in my taxes. 

As for field-trips, I do get slightly annoyed with them.  My son has already gone to a play and will be going to the planetarium shortly.  I'd like to take him to the planetarium myself, but when would we go?  Why would I take him if he's just gone?  I'd also have to pay for it.

What an irony!  Is the school system replacing me as a parent?  Shouldn't I be doing these things?

I realize I can.  It's called volunteering.  When I am in the classroom, I can feel a part of my child's academic and social education!

(OK, this post is a little satirical, and there are additional worthwhile extra-curricular activities and things the schools can't/don't do, but I think I'll feel better about my kids' education when I am as involved as I can be.  You can bet I will work harder to be in the classroom/at the school even more now!  It's a lot easier than home-schooling them!)

Protecting Is a Part of Good Parenting

I enjoyed this article from Generation Cedar, Protecting is a Part of Good Parenting (link from LAF/Beautiful Womanhood).  A good summary of the article comes from one of the comments:
I think it’s silly that a lot of parents refuse to shelter their children from worldly ugly things only to shelter them from any amount of responsibility.

Who Am I Supposed to Be?

I ran across Who Am I Supposed to Be? through LAF/Beautiful Womanhood one time.  I loved how Jasmine at Joyfully at Home had such a positive attitude toward staying at home.  I wondered how to get that attitude.  I wished I'd had it with me all along.

I didn't realize at first that she is what is termed a stay-at-home-daughter.  I'm not sure I'm so keen on the concept, but her heart is in the right place for someday becoming a stay-at-home mom.

I guess the balancing question is, how do we teach our daughters to have the attitudes expressed in the article regarding staying home and caring for a family, yet still develop the qualities that help them become independent?  Is it possible to have both?  How?

The Word Feminism

The other night, Evan and I were on a date talking about this blog.  He said the only time he's heard the word feminism was in a negative light.  What!?  How could it be that I've never thought that?  Sure, modern feminists do some pretty crazy stuff, but historically, feminists have done so much good, too!

So, I thought I'd do an extremely well-thought out and accurate facebook survey (I jest).  I need to ask the question again to see if I get a few more responses, but generally speaking, most people who replied to my question do not like the word feminism and view it in a negative light or believe it is no longer an issue.

Now why would I not view it this way?  Is it because I've grown up in a society infiltrated with feminism that I haven't noticed it?  Is it because I took a woman's history class and became more familiar with the subject?  What would cause me to miss the hard-core dislike among the general population?  I figured most people I know would consider themselves feminists, but just don't really talk about it.

Because this blog was intended to be an uplift and a support of the women's issue: it's okay to stay home, I've made the blog private until I can figure this out.  I don't want to drive people away just because of the word feminism.

I consider any issue that women fight for as feminism:  modesty, staying at home, fighting pornography, equal pay, etc.

How do you feel about the word?

Could the negative connotation someday be removed?