I hope it is okay to me start this discussion even though I am not a home schooling parent. I was, however, a home schooled child, and have been processing the experience lately.
LizD started a thread about how to encourage home-schooled children to cooperate when they don’t feel like it. She made it clear she was not looking for a philosophical discussion, so instead of replying I decided to start a new thread. What I heard her saying was that children feel comfortable enough with their parents to drag their feet in situations where they are more likely to be cooperative with an outsider – I.e. – a teacher. And that education is SO important that it becomes worrisome and frustrating when familiar interpersonal factors impede the learning process - thus the development of a “dual role” where one has to play the role of both teacher and parent. (Liz, my apologies if I’m misrepresenting you.)
Home schooling was not a positive experience for me, and I always attributed the problem to this “dual role” that my mother tried to play in my life. It was unfortunate for me that failure to cooperate in school could result in spanking, grounding, yelling, demeaning put downs, cold-shouldering, and general 24 hour tension between her and me. I decided not to home school my own kids, thinking very simply that if other people were teaching my own children, we wouldn’t have these problems in our relationship and that my children would be more likely to learn.
But what I’ve actually discovered as a parent is that there is no “dual role!” A parent IS a teacher, in every sense of the word, whether they home school or not, because every aspect of childhood represents the process of learning. Discipline, for example, is a learning process, and I am my child’s teacher (though I prefer to think of myself as a facilitator.) I believe that our style of discipline is an outgrowth of my attachment to my children – no one else’s style will look exactly like mine, because it is based on my deep knowledge and connection to my children.
To my pleasant surprise, I am discovering home schooling parents who take this same view of academic learning. They hold a belief that their approach to “teaching” is an outgrowth of their attachment to their children. In other words – they believe their child will learn better BECAUSE of their close relationship, and their approach to learning closely follows their approach to parenting in general.
This strikes me as much more fundamental than other secondary reasons for home schooling – such as disappointment with the school system, or differing religious beliefs. I am impressed and pleased to see parents who approach home schooling with a conscious recognition of how their parenting style plays into the situation. And it somewhat reassuring to realize that the problems I experienced as a child were a result of my parents approach to PARENTING, and not because home schooling itself was destructive.
Anyway, for whatever they are worth – those are my thoughts. Sorry for rambling on and on, and thanks for listening!