Thursday, December 31, 2009

School vs. Homeschool

One of the questions I get asked the most and see frequently other people wrestle with is how much to compare homeschooling with out of the home schooling. Or institutional schooling as I see a lot of homeschoolers call it.
How much do you hold yourself to the standards, scope and sequences, and expectations of a group school experience?

It's hard to answer, and even harder if you are trying to answer it in a situation where homeschooling is in question or outside the norm.
I don't follow the plan of our local school district at all. I look at state standards loosely because my state requires standardized testing, but otherwise I'd disregard that, as well.
If I wanted my kids to learn what the schools taught I'd have them in school.
This doesn't mean that there isn't a lot of crossover and relevant education happening in the classrooms, it just means that our goals and expectations are different. And so are the time lines.

We're year 'round schoolers which muddies things to begin with. When does one grade start and one end? By age? By ability?
Sweet Pea chronologically is a kindergartner this year. Academically she's working in 1st and 2nd grade materials. Emotionally and socially she's completely 5. So what should I call her? What standards should I seek to meet?

I think the easiest way to do this and what most homeschoolers default to is the end goal- where does a child need to be to be finished with pre-collegiate studies? What do they need to know to be a functioning, productive adult? What values and virtues does someone need to grow out from needing parental guidance for most decisions?

Schooling isn't just about reading, writing, math, and all of the other skills and knowledge groups that we seek to teach our kids. It's also about forming an adult- someone who hopefully is capable, balanced, and content.

That's why I'm vaguely interested in what Sweet Pea's schooled peers are up to, but totally unconcerned. I know that she's academically thriving, and I think that the whole picture is bright and just where it should be.

At least for today. :)

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