Shouldn’t we ALL be home schooling?

As I was walking my son to school this morning I found myself chatting to one of his young classmates about how excellent their reading is and how they are coming on in leaps and bounds now they are in Year 1.

My son loves reading. It makes me so proud when he asks if he can read his latest school book to me and puts so much effort into making the spoken word come to life, adding emphasis on sentences with exclamation marks at the end.
Just adorable.

It must be so liberating when you learn how to read. That explosion of suddenly being able to understand the world around you, of being able to read signs, billboards (not always a good thing) and sit and take in a book all on your own.

So I’m chatting away to this bright little 6-year-old and he says “but Charlie isn’t doing so well. He’s only on yellow” (their reading books are split in to colours and they progress up the colour chart).
“Oh dear,” I say, “well maybe he’s just taking a bit longer to take it all in,” I offer.
“No,” he announces all matter of fact, “Charlie says it’s because his mummy won’t read with him at night.”

I don’t know why, but it really upset me and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it ever since.

I know there are hot debates over whether to send your child to school or to dive into homeschooling.
I have read some bloggers who do an amazing job of giving their charges a well rounded education from home. Amazing stuff.
School is exactly the right place for my son. He is very sociable and thrives in a group environment. And he has positively blossomed in the classroom.

However, that doesn’t mean his schooling ends when the school day finishes.
I want him to grow up in an environment where learning is seen as fun.
Grubbing around in the back garden can be a lesson in maths, or biology or just the wonder of discovering new things.
Baking cakes teaches weights and measurements, how to measure time, how to read recipes.
Even collecting football cards can offer valuable lessons in life.

I hold my hands up and admit I don’t always do near enough with my two. Or nearly enough as I would like to.
But at the bare minimum, I try to teach them that the world is a wonderful, wondrous place if they just take the time to learn about it.

Our big thing is reading. We read a lot. We read stories old and new, we read Atlases, picture dictionaries, children’s Bible, fabulous books which show how the human body works, books about sharks, books about dinosaurs, magazines.

I loved school when I was growing up. I loved maths, I love physics (it’s all right, I can hear you groaning there in the background), I adored English literature lessons and I found learning, well, a gas.
And now my son is all wide-eyed and amazed at things like how our heart works, how caterpillars transform into butterflies, how the planets are configured.
And it actually makes me feel young again. Like I’m learning it all again through young eyes.

The wife of one of my favourite American bloggers, Writer Dad, has launched a new site devoted to just that.
Cindy Platt has been a teacher for years and is passionate about it. I’ll say that again because it’s important: She is passionate about it.
She aims to help all parents: “You do not need a teaching credential to enrich your child’s life” she says and I couldn’t agree more.
And she ends her ‘about’ page with the words: ‘Our children will write the future, I want the confidence mine will do it well’.

Me too Cindy, me too.

This entry was posted in Blogging, Books, School. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Shouldn’t we ALL be home schooling?

  1. ChurchPunkMom says:

    Loved your post!We are a home schooling family, and it makes me so sad to see so many kids who are only 'learning' when they are in the class room! There's no reason for parents of public/private schooled children to not take an active roll in their child's education, learning, and schooling.

  2. Single Parent Dad says:

    Cool post, and as always spot on.I think children, especially boys, need to be engaged outside the class room. Like you I want my son's learning to be fun, and I want him to enjoy school, not just for the community but for what he can glean.And I am loving revisiting things with my son, learning them again, and learning with him.How anyone can not want to read to, or with, their children does amaze me. It is brilliant.

  3. Kool Aid says:

    You are so absolutely right! I decided to home school Monkey starting this fall and I'm actually quite excited about it. Learning should be fun and exciting and when they are at the age our children are, everything is new and exciting. And thanks for the gentle reminder we all should be reading to our children; even when they can read for themselves.

  4. Coding Mamma (Tasha) says:

    I find it very sad when I hear about children who are not read to at home, or engaged with in that way. Children have such a naturally inquisitive nature that it shocks me that any parent, or anyone, could not feel enthused by it and join in. I still love learning new things. If I won the lottery, I would probably go back to uni – or just do some more Open University courses. I love it when I have a new project that means I have to find out how to do something. If I had my way, I would be 5 new books for every new thing I need to learn (used to do that, but it didn't do the bank account much good). And Chris has an equally rich thirst for knowledge. Hopefully our children will both inherit that genetically, and also pick it up from us. (I was actually home-schooled for a couple of years because the school couldn't keep up with my thirst for knowledge. I think they do much better these days, but if the parents can add to what they do it the benefits increase so much.)Great post!

  5. Nicola says:

    loved this post. my ex mil is a head teacher in a deprived london area and she says that by the age of 7 many of her kids are out-reading their parents and it is hard to get them to progress to their ability because there is only so much you can do at school – so much learning and acquiring that thirst for and love of knowledge is gleaned from home. i love to read to the boys. and helping them to understand the world around them has really given me an opportunity to appreciate the simple things – and just how wonderful and complex and intriguing the world is.

  6. Patricia says:

    Teaching kinds to wonder is such an important task and I think best taught at home. Very good post and I appreciated your telling your story.

  7. Vered - MomGrind says:

    Cindy is great, isn't she? Reading to your kids is magical. They now read all by themselves and refuse to let me read to them. I miss it!

  8. The Dotterel says:

    Out of the hours and hours spent reading dull as ditchwater academic research into educational effectiveness (in a former life) one thing stands out – the single most important factor in a child's educational success is parental interest and involvement. And that's borne out by studies all over the world! You see – you were right all along.

  9. Liz@Violet Posy says:

    Love this post. I very occasionally think of homeschooling but as an only child my daughter really needs the social side of school.That said despite her school being excellent, I still don't always think they do such a brilliant job at installing a love of reading, so we're doing it at home. I'm trying to wean her off of books with pictures at the moment and slowly we're getting there. But as she's only 6 maybe I need to ease up a bit.

  10. Littlemummy says:

    Couldn't agree more, too many parents think that education begins and ends at the schoolgate, it's such a shame, because as you say the opportunity to learn is everywhere.

  11. Linda says:

    Hello, old boot here.My girls also love reading – and so do I. For me, the number one thing is to remember that education is not a competition, we read together when we can, same as we watch telly, go shopping or whatever. They are doing okay at school and this week have been doing their sats, as someone who went to a grammar school and still wakes up thinking she has just taken her last paper in a languages degree, I don't want that for my children, I want them to be happy and relax and not compete with other children to be top of the tree in test results, reading ability or whatever. What's important to me is their happiness, that they work hard enough to have choices, that they are compassionate and sociable and know right from wrong. I'd like to say that this attitude will prevail until they are old enough to leave and choose their career, but I know it won't. Give it a couple of years and because of the way I have grown up, I fear I will be pushing them.

  12. Experimental Mum says:

    Wow, loved your post, even though it made me feel sad too. My youngest is also 6 years and so has recently got into her reading in a big way. My heart smiles ever morning when I make her bed and have to firstly remove the ton of books at the end of the bed….

  13. Writer Dad says:

    Cindy is awesome!!!Yeah, that comment would've made me really sad as well. There is no excuse to not read to your children. They are hungry for knowledge and thirsty for attention. It's our responsibility and privilege to give them all they need. They only get one childhood, it's ours to design.

  14. Expat mum says:

    They have TV ads here saying that you should read to your kids for 15 minutes every day. I have always read to mine and the older two are now avid readers (one's even male!). However, they can very quickly tell if you're trying to "teach" them rather than just sharing your love of the written word so you have to be smart about it.

  15. Kelloggsville says:

    I agree absolutely with you and believe the importance of Life being a learning (including reading) experience whether that is at home, school, supermarket, travelling. Anywhere is an opportunity to open a childs mind and help them develop. But I wouldn't criticize another parents' way. Maybe they can't read, maybe they were pushed as a child, maybe they don't know how to engage in that way…maybe…maybe. I think all parents will fall down in some areas occassionally and will excel in others.

  16. A Lawyer Mom's says:

    I think reading aloud is so very important. We should read to our children, and they should read to us. It's the cornerstone of reading comprehension and a whole lot more. That said, I feel wholly inept as a homeschooling candidate because I'm clueless in science and math.

  17. notSupermum says:

    I work in a primary school, and it's fairly clear that children who read/are read to at home are much better readers than the (many) children who do not. Many children don't do their homework either because their parents tell them not to bother, or they are too busy to help (this is in a class of 6-7 year olds.) Very sad, but these children are often the ones who are struggling at school.Homeschooling isn't always an option (single parent – who is going to pay the bills?) but I have always tried to educate my own children in other ways. I started teaching them simple science experiments when they were very small. Of course, they didn't know they were doing science they were just having fun! My eldest daughter has gone on to be gifted and talented in science. I'd like to think the early years of having fun with it has helped her to enjoy it now.

  18. Maternal Tales says:

    Great post. I think school is a great place for children as long as they are also encouraged to learn outside of it as well – just as you say. If you send a child to school and see this as the only teaching they're going to get then of course they will suffer. The happiest and brightest children are always the ones who are encouraged at home.

  19. What a shame that boy's mum doesn't read to him at night. I just love doing that. I don't do enough with my daughter after school but that's improving now. I'd love her to sit and read with me every day but she seemed to be so well behaved at school all day that she turns into a monster when she gets home!!

  20. Working mum says:

    Great post. I had a similar conversation last week. Children thrive when school and home work in partnership. My daughter goes to a private school and I even know of one mother of a reception child who said she didn't do the reading book at home with her child because "that's what she pays the school for"! As if getting out your cheque book absolves you of all parental responsibility! Although I am a teacher in a school and you would expect me to think the opposite, I actually have great respect for home schooling and the quality of learning that a child receives in that situation. Those parents work incredibly hard to foster valuable educational values in their children. If only parents of children at school could have a fraction of that interest in their child's development. Luckily, in the same class as the cheque book mummy, another mummy, who knew I was a maths teacher, asked me for ideas to help her daughter to love maths – now there's an enlightened parent!

  21. Sparx says:

    I'd love to be able to homeschool Charlie – I was homeschooled for a year when we were moving about and it was a great experience. As a parent, surely a large part of our job is educating our kids – and reading with them is the least of it as you say. Great post.

  22. DCUrbanDad says:

    Brilliant post. So true. Although I cannot imagine homeschooling and teaching my little bean. I am amazed by those who can. Still nothing is better than reading with her.

  23. Nota Bene says:

    I'm not a homeschooler…but it's just been a natural part of our life that reading and going to musuems and doing things that make education an intrinsic part of growing up.

  24. DM09 says:

    This is exactly why I'm looking into a Steiner school for Oscar. Depending on his learning style (which is very important – I didn't like or respond well to traditional schooling) I'd like him to get the absolute best out of his teaching environment. Steiner believe in maintaining a childs innocence for as long as possible, learning by nature and the outdoors and treating each child as an individual. I think I would have been much more confident as a child if I had had access to such possibilities. You are right though, everyone should be passionate about the subject!

  25. Sue says:

    Sue Atkins said… I really enjoyed reading your blog as it was so full of enthusiasm and genuine joy for learning – that's what inspires children to become inquisitive and curious about spiders to space – the attitude, mindset and approach of their parents and teachers. As a former Deputy Head and teacher for 22 years it was all about encouraging, nurturing and watering a child's natural curiosity to help them fulfill their true potential in all areas.We never stop learning – and I hope I inspire my two teenage kids with a love of life, a love of learning and the confidence to give things a go!25 May 2009 12:21

  26. Kelloggsville says:

    I left you an award on my site.Hope you don't mind, the theme of gratitude seemed to fit you very well. Please don't feel obliged to continue any chain.

  27. Katherine says:

    The problem with teaching is that we a so tied to assessment; SAT's; strategies; targets…The National Curriculum is dull; creativity is stifled if you haven't the confidence in your ability as a teacher to find a way around it Experts go on and on about recognising different learning styles but don't facilitate ways to accommodate them; BUT the one thing that stands out is the children who are talked to, engaged with, taken out (and not all places cost, I forget the amount of times parents complained about not be able to afford it – I can't afford soft play centres but museums are free!). I have to say I tend to bend the rules a little where the National Curriculum is concerned; I'd be bored otherwise!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge