And now a few words from my mother, homeschooling survivor Claudia Whitaker. In case you're wondering, she successfully raised two children to adulthood. Neither are living under bridges in cardboard boxes, and both have had some of the "extreme confidence" that they obtained as the result of their "superior education" kicked out of them through living everyday life since homeschool. =) Here's Claudia...
"Having homeschooled my two children for 14 years, I can sympathize with the ever present worry and the nagging question, 'Am I doing enough?' My answer to today's homeschooling moms is: Forget that question. Ask yourself, 'Am I moving toward accomplishing the goal of raising lifelong learners?' Note that I did not say accomplishing, but moving toward accomplishing the goal. This movement toward your goal will encompass all the years you spend educating them. Did you expect this to be quick??? =)
I consider the grandparents of home education in the United States to be Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, both credentialed in various facets of education, from college to special education. Their philosophy is a relaxed approach to treating the child as a whole person, not a little learning factory. Education is realized through living a life of learning, work, and service, all of which build the individual in wonderful and varied ways. You will pick up tidbits of knowledge in many likely and unlikely places that you will file away for use just when you need them. Sounds rather holistic, huh? (Editor's note: I don't think my mother ever used the word 'holistic' the entire time I was growing up. She may be eating too much soy and wheat germ. Continuing on...)
Rather than cramming their specific prescription for formal education down the reader's throat, the Moores wrote books that described how different families homeschool. How refreshing!! They didn't know it all, but gently offered the experiences of others so that you may choose the aspects of others' methods that will work for your children and your family. Some of their books include HOME-SPUN SCHOOLS, SCHOOL CAN WAIT, AND HOMESCHOOLING FOR EXCELLENCE, later renamed THE SUCCESSFUL HOMESCHOOLERS HANDBOOK.
One of the unique facets of the Moores' philosophy was that children are often pushed into formal education before they are developmentally ready, which can cause learning disabilities and eye problems, a result of focusing their young eyes on close work for long periods. You don't hear this today over coffee :) Education is like a banquet. It is served regularly, but the child chooses what he is ready to eat at his present level. He returns again and again as he matures and chooses something different each time. Doesn't that ease the pressure? It did for this mom.
Life is full of learning opportunities, and children are constantly being stretched through the normal activities in your home. One of my favorite quotes for living during my homeschooling years was one from Lubbock: "It is not so much that a child be taught, but that he is given the wish to learn." I believe the date is 1887. This is probably not quoted just right, but you get the gist of it.
If there is one thing I learned from being a homeschooling mom and would like to pass on to others, it's RELAX AND ENJOY YOUR CHILDREN! Don't let your quest for excellence in education become a god. Model your love for learning, and they will catch it. I was a constant embarrassment to my kiddies, but they now love learning :) "