Pros And Cons of Homeschooling When You Feel Like A Dummy
I could see the pros and cons of homeschooling right from the start. I was excited to co learn with my child (a pro) but nervous that my lack of knowledge would hinder them (a con).
When I first embarked on this journey of homeschooling I knew there was a lot I didn’t know. I skimmed through school very middle of the road. School was a good opportunity to socialise. I was a reader but the quality of the books I read were pretty trashy. I went on to university and a career and became much more studious because it mattered but my general knowledge was pretty dodgy.
My geography understanding was poor, my spelling needed work, times tables definitely needed a brush up and my teacher qualifications zilch.
However I started homeschooling with the attitude I should be able to manage kindergarten, and after a year of kindergarten I thought, “I can do first class”.
And then as the years marched on I realised that I could co learn with my kids. My satisfaction in re-learning things I thought I should already know was making home education a bonus for me as well as the kids. The pros and cons of homeschooling where actually mostly cons.
Today Karen Andreola has coined the phrase Mother Culture to reflect this idea. But it was actually one of the principles in Charlotte Mason‘s PNEU. She wanted teachers to make sure that they were as interested in learning as they expected their students to be.
Pros and Cons of Homeschooling – Getting To Choose What To Learn
One of the pros and cons of homeschooling is that you don’t know what you don’t know. We can live in a bubble of ignorance (a con). However you don’t need to (a pro).
One of the best ways to co learn with your kids is to read aloud together. As a child I grew up on Enid Blyton and progressed to romance novels. I hadn’t been introduced to the classics. In my first years of homeschooling I devoured many of these children’s books with my kids. Winnie the Poo, Beatrix Potter, Snuggle Pot and Snuggle Pie, Blinky Bill, Little House on the Prairie, Black Beauty were all on my reading list and as my children enjoyed these for the first time so did I.
Whilst I don’t use a lot of textbooks for teaching sometimes I need them if I’m clueless about a topic. Using a teacher’s manual in these circumstances is also a great way to learn as you teach your lessons. We are using a grammar resource at the moment that helps me brush up on my grammar. I’m only a little ahead of the kids in this one.
I love an excursion. Museums, art galleries, expos and fairs are all wonderful places to take the kids for a fun day. They are also a great place to learn. Attending these places with a curious attitude spurs the kids and you to make the most of the adventure.
Researching a topic of interest is also an opportunity to learn with your kids. As I’ve helped my kids write-up a narration, or find out how to use software I learn as well. My history knowledge was abysmal before I began homeschooling and now it is greatly improved. It’s also become a favourite topic for me.
Co learning has also made me more aware of the importance of choosing resources that are interesting. And if I think if resources are dead boring then I shouldn’t be surprised that my kids do also. It’s made me thoughtful in what I choose for my kids lessons. This is one of the pros and cons of homeschooling. You get to make choices.
Co Learning With Your Kids Is Enriching – A Pro
Since I have been homeschooling I have been able to enjoy some wonderful co learning experiences with my children. I’ve also been able to refresh my education and I’ve been stretched to learn more. My love for learning and for learning along side my children has meant that I have seen the benefits for me as well as the benefits for my children.
My kids love me being involved in what they are doing and I feel like I’m learning along with them.
Again the pros and cons of homeschooling are that this is enriching but it does take time.
If you haven’t tried it – I encourage you to do so!
Mother’s Are Born Persons Too!
Charlotte talks about children being ‘born persons’ and that we need to respect that individuality and provide our children with a rich feast in their education. Well let’s look at the flip-side of that…you are a born person as well. And you need to have stimulation and richness in your life as well.
Does this sound familiar?
“Is there not some need for “mother culture”? But how is the state of things to be altered? So many mothers say, “I simply have no time for myself!” “I never read a book!” Or else, “I don’t think it is right to think of myself!” They not only starve their minds, but they do it deliberately, and with a sense of self-sacrifice which seems to supply ample justification.” Parent’s Review 1892 edited by Charlotte Mason.
I realised that one of the things that is helping me transition to an empty nest is mother culture.
So what is mother culture?
Well Karen Andreola has written a whole book on the topic but here is my summarised definition.
Mother culture for many homeschoolers has come to mean the continued education of the mother (especially through reading). And when you homeschool the Charlotte Mason way you discover that reading widely is one of the delights and the secret weapons of satisfying home education.
Charlotte Mason in her book Formation of Character talks about this idea. She wrote, “What nothing has, can nothing give”. p.122
That for me sums up the ideas behind developing a mother culture for yourself. If I have no stimulating ideas coming to me, then I have no stimulating ideas to give to my children. I become boring and bored. Today we might call it continued education. You are learning and teaching yourself new things. It is self-care of your own mind.
So the pros and cons of homeschooling are that we need to find the time (a con) but the benefits far outstrip the disadvantages.
Let’s find the time to keep on learning for ourselves.