By Kija Gray
Making the move to homeschooling was not a choice that we took lightly. Truth be told, neither my husband or I graduated from high school. We had the knowledge and skill to do it, but we got bored with school, fell behind, and could not get back on track. The system failed us. It wasn’t a fit for us. Ironically. we still believed what had been drilled into us by parents, teachers, and society: A good education is the only way to a successful life. We didn’t want to fail our own children.
Do we still believe that education and learning are important? Absolutely! But now we know that learning happens everywhere, all the time.
What we learned on our journey to homeschooling was that there are many issues with modern schooling as we know it. Here are just six reasons why homeschooling can provide yet another valuable option in the landscape of educational options for families. (Source: Great Big Minds-6 Problems With Modern Schooling System.)
Industrial Age Values
Traditional schools haven’t changed much since the 19th century. Students are still expected to sit quietly in chairs that are arranged in rows, respond to bells and chimes at designated times during the day, and ask for permission to move freely. Schools still mimic the model of industrial factory life.
Lack of Autonomy
Every moment of a child’s day is scheduled in schools. Children are made to walk in line, eat when told, and talk when told to talk. They are never given the opportunity to structure how the day goes and or how they see a need for their education to look.
Much of what children learn in schools relies on memorization and rote learning. Curriculums are primarily designed to teach things that can be measured on a standardized test. When students have the chance to learn authentically, they learn to develop inquiry and thinking skills that lead to solving real-world problems. They become self-directed learners
No Room for Passion
So much talent goes unrecognized when we do not honor the passion a child has for their own interests. In the school system’s desire to “standardize” learning, a child rarely gets the opportunity to be self-reflective and ask “What am I good at?” “How can my passion help me change the world?” If each child is born with unique gifts and talents then we must be willing to honor those and find ways to support that child in finding fulfillment
Differences in How We Learn
Some student need more time to work. This does not negate their learning ability. It’s about their ability to learn different subjects. These types of abilities are not measured on standardized testing but may be what a child needs to help them learn better. Many times parents need to learn to frame what our children learn. Ultimately children should have a say in what and how learning is going for them.
Lecturing is a dehumanizing, one-way form of education. Student abilities are determined by their teachers and how students respond to them. Most of the students are required to sit and listen. Learning is basically driven by a teacher’s need to teach 30-40 students who all may be different types of learners. When I am an educator and I hold all the power, then children are excluded. We should be moving towards self-advocacy and this is not the way we will get it.
Kija Gray’s decision to homeschool has brought attention to this option and the overall issue of choice in education for other Detroit families.
Kija now offers services to families to help them navigate the process of transitioning from traditional school to home school. Many parents are hesitant to homeschool because they don’t know that homeschooling offers:
- Flexibility in the times of day in which students are able to learn.
- Opportunities for parents to create hybrids of homeschooling and traditional schooling.
- A chance to learn with your child, which will help him or her learn better.
- A chance to adapt education that does not have to look how it has always looked.
- Rewards when your children sees their own gifts, and how they learn is an intricate part of that.
- A new chance to advocate for your choice, even if past choices weren’t the best ones.
For more information on homeschooling and what Kija has to offer families, check her out.