Friday, April 22, 2011

Who is in Charge?

            One of the reasons I left my job to stay home and homeschool was that I looked at my life and time with my daughter.  I realized that I spent half an hour with her in the morning (mostly yelling at her to put her clothes and shoes on for school).  Then I would take her to daycare, where she would be picked up by a bus to go to school.  After school, she would go back to the babysitter, until my husband picked her up about four o’clock. I would come home somewhere between five and six o’clock, give her a quick hug, then I’d cook dinner.  We would have an hour or two together as a family (when we were all exhausted from our various schedules), and then I would put my daughter to bed at eight o’clock, when she could stay awake that long.  It hit me, as I reflected on my life, that someone else was raising my daughter.  I was thankful for the daycare and the school, but they were not my husband and me.  I looked through the scriptures and could not find anything recommending how to find someone else to train her.  Even with all of our personal flaws, I wanted my husband and me to raise our daughter. 
            Because I do not want others raising Babygirl, I have chosen not to use curriculum or other classes to teach my daughter.  Even though I know how to teach, I have never taught the primary grades (grades Kindergarten through third grade).  Okay, I spent one year teaching second grade, but it took me until December to lower my expectations enough that they could actually do the work!  I think that year doesn’t count.
            My lack of experience, however, did not stop me from wanting to make my plan and teach her.  I may eventually have Babygirl take a class in painting, pottery, gymnastics, or something that I just don’t have the skills to teach, but it will only be after I have tried to find the information online and only if my daughter still wants to learn it.  I want to be the one in charge of my daughter’s education, not a teacher of a year-long class, not the director of a learning coop, not the writer of a curriculum.  I suppose some people could say that we are “unschooling,” but we are doing it with a plan.   I will explain that process in another post in the future.
            Because of my belief that the parents should be in charge of the learning of their children, I am not eager to teach classes to homeschooled students.  I would much rather teach the parents how to teach, so that they can effectively teach their own children.  I have been shocked at how many homeschool parents say that is their own philosophy, but they have no interest in learning a different method to teach (unless it’s a fully prepared curriculum where they do not have to do anything except pick up the next lesson and read a script).  These same parents are also very eager to sign their children up for classes, many times which take up an entire day, where someone else is teaching their child or a coop where they have very little responsibility.  Many homeschool parents have no idea what their children are learning, and they seem very content with that, exactly the same as parents of children in public or private schools.  They have no idea what their child is learning, and that’s okay with them.  I have to say, I am very confused and, yes, I have to admit, I get irritated at times, too.  I gave up working so that I could know what was going on in Babygirl’s life and here are other parents who have no idea and really don’t care what their children are learning, as long as they are learning something and they (the parents) don’t have to do anything.
            If your child is in public school (and very possibly those in private school), your child’s teacher probably sees herself as being the one responsible for raising your child.  I know of many teachers, teaching children in many different socio-economic situations, many different cultural situations, who do not want the parent involved in the classroom, besides possibly acting as a secretary (copying paper, grading papers – which is actually illegal unless the parent is hired by the school district, monitoring students during lunch or recess).  There is a very strong feeling of teachers that the parents are not responsible for a child’s development, and most teachers think that is how it should be.  They get very irritated with parents who actually want to know what their child is learning and have some influence on that education.
            “But, Terri,” some have told me, “they’re just children.  They enjoy going to school/their coop/the class.”  If you do not know what is being taught, who is raising your child?  Read the following quote:
Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”
            The person who said the above quote was certain that four years was all he needed to change a child’s life.  He was right.  His name was Vladimir Lenin, the Russian communist leader and propagandist.  He led a “peaceful revolution” in October 1917 that changed Russia for the next seventy-five years.  I highly encourage you to research him.
            I’m not saying the person teaching your child is Vladimir Lenin.  However, if you are just blindly allowing anyone to teach your child, what are they teaching?  Education is more than just academics.  Your child is learning how to solve problems that come up daily by the way in which the teacher solves problems.  S/he is learning proper ways to speak, act at the dinner table, converse with superiors, peers, and those who are younger by watching this person.  If your child is in public school, even if the teacher is a Christian, s/he cannot quote scripture or explain why the way s/he acted was in line with the Bible.  Also, many teachers are overwhelmed to the point that they are only teaching what they are told, and even they do not know where these ideas are coming from.  Most teachers today are simply teaching what they are hired to teach, and they don’t usually ask where the information comes from.  If your homeschool coop is directed by a curriculum, then someone else who you do not know is picking and choosing what is important for your child will learn.
            Who is in charge?  Who is raising your child/ren?  I hope, for their sake, it is you.

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