Monday, October 14, 2013

Homeschoolers Teaching to the Test (Virtual School Ramblings)

I took my oldest son to the orthodontist to get his braces off recently (round one of braces, mind you). I ran into a woman who said she homeschooled, so I was excited to meet someone like me, a minority member ;-)

Let me tell you we are not all alike, though, so don't think for a second that you know all homeschoolers.

It was like I was in a movie as she went on and on about virtual school*** even though I expressed a few times that we were happy doing things the way we were, which was more laid back. She was like, “We homeschool 5-8 hours a day and we are all about the TEST TEST TEST. I am teaching for the test because they have to know how to TEST.” I'm not kidding you ... I think she was on a LOT of caffeine. Her daughter looked mortified, as my kids probably look when I'm touting laid-back homeschooling! 

I’m not homeschooling for Harvard, people. I mean, if they go, great! But I want them to love to sit around reading a book not because they have to write a book report on it or be tested on the contents of it. I don't remember 90% of what I learned in school. Make sure they know English and Math and send 'em out with their wings. Read history if they love history, do science experiments if they love it. That's how we homeschool.

I mean, some of them are not happy with the virtual school system's rigidity. Some love it AND then their kids also get to go to enrichment activities like book clubs and American Girl doll clubs and gymnastics. It's what works for you, but don't shove it down my throat, please!

I want them to sit and create art and engineering stuff out of Legos and whatever materials they can find. 

Eight hours of homeschool a day plus activities and sleep and other kids’ needs doesn’t leave a lot of time for exploring in a forest, picking up trash along a stream, volunteering at a food bank and so much more!

And this ends another episode of "We All Homeschool Differently" ... join us next week for another episode of this dramatic series!

Oh, and next time I run into someone like that, I'm going to start shoving Natural Family Planning down her throat. Because we all love having our reproductive goodies questioned, don't we?

***We did go on to try out virtual school for 2 years but it was nothing like what this woman's experience was. We had a review in December to see how we were doing then in May we had the final testing stuff. I didn't drill my kids all year to know every single answer. I just told them to do their best ... the results were better than I thought they would be from kids who are homeschooled by a mama who just likes to have a lot of fun with them and keep it non-boring. Our virtual school was not done 5-8 hours a day, by the way, but some are. Choose wisely and ask a lot of questions.

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