Why homeschooling wasn’t fair to the girls
First and foremost, while we’ve talked about the girls’ kindergarten experience on other platforms, please know that none of our content is ever repeated, regurgitated or repackaged! That’s cheap and it’s not how we do business…or family. We do fresh and unique around here, not same ol’ same ol’.
In this blog, we’re going to share why we ended up deciding against homeschooling like we had originally planned on — check out the video here! Compare that to this week’s podcast (of which you can listen via iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify and through the web, just to name a few options.).
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN!
It would be ideal if you would catch up on those two conversations first and meeting us back here after — THAT SAID — you’ll still enjoy this post if you don’t. That’s why this blog is a don’t miss platform.
A Quick Kindergarten Update:
A lot has happened since Alexis had us all believing that she didn’t make one “ingle, single friend” on their first day of kindergarten! (Btw, Ami and I discussed our reasons for separating the girls here, and the girls planned a little twin “switcheroo” here). It feels so long ago, yet really it’s only been FOUR WEEKS. They’ve grown so much since then. Recently, many of you — and us too — notice that the girls are starting to lose their baby faces. We’re so not ready!
We’re really proud of the girls and how they’ve developed and adjusted to school and we — like any parent out there — love talking about them. And for us, it’s really special to have a whole community of people like YOU who are connected to our family and celebrating alongside us in our/their successes. We don’t take that for granted, not one moment of it.
WE NOW INTERRUPT OUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING
TO SHOW YOU HOW FAST THE GIRLS ARE GROWING!
Comparing their first day of Preschool
and their first day of Kindergarten!
- How We Feel About Going to Preschool Twin Talk
- First Day of Preschool!
- Our Very First Day of Kindergarten
Anyways, we are so proud to see all of the girls growth and development this year! This is one of the very reasons we are so happy with the educational decision we made for them to attend school, rather than homeschool like we had initially thought we would do.
While we were initially VERY reticent, we decided that the benefits of traditional school surpassed the benefits of homeschooling. As long as the channels of communication were open, we would all be okay. While some of the same fears and reasoned points of view are still there — we felt good about enrolling them in a small Montessori program.
In conversations after the one we filmed above, we realized that for them to miss out on all of what traditional schooling provides would not be fair. These little feisty, sweet-natured, joyful girls needed an environment to THRIVE! Keeping them home would be a detriment to all the possibilities and opportunities that await them.
Here are a few of the reasons we decided against it for kindergarten:
Homeschooling suggested that other safe adults are unworthy of being paid attention to.
After our initial video, we realized that a lot of our fears were based on exactly that, fear. Homeschooling is traditionally used as an escape, a way to control our parenting fears. As scary as it was for us to think about entrusting another person to have influence over our children, we can see why our initial thoughts were based in fear rather than possibility. Before the comments come pouring in, we aren’t saying that parents don’t have the responsibility to educate. Education starts at home and just as much so when your children are in traditional schooling settings.
We’re so glad we faced these fears. We’re not saying we’re going to send them to the mall alone, but it’s important for them to learn to form attachments with safe adults and mentors. It’s part of the necessary development for them to learn to bond with more than just us. We WANT our girls to find that one teacher that changes their worldview. That person that is another voice encouraging them to go to college. Of course, we will always be their primary influence, and we’ll make sure of it, but that’s another blog for another day.
Homeschooling suggests that we know way more than you.
Can we really agree with the narrative that we are more equipped than trained, passionate educators — to teach our kindergartners to not only learn but love learning? It’s a skill set 90% of parents think they have but probably don’t. For starters, it wouldn’t allow us to maximize what our true giftedness is in. Pulled in too many directions and ineffective at all of them. Looking beyond our own ability to transmit knowledge and putting our own ego aside, Justin said:
“An adult will usually look at a book and say ‘we’re doing pages 4-6’ — that’s what the adult wants to do and how they want to teach it, not the way kids want to learn (differently). As an adult, speaking for myself, we have an agenda like ‘this is how I want to do this and how I want to achieve it’ and you might go through the curriculum and think that you’re teaching them well but they’re not receiving it well.”
It’s a bit presumptuous to think that we are best equipped to cut their hair, give them flu shots or other things that we may have a baseline knowledge of but no critical expertise. Not only because it’s really, really hard to remain patient, even-tempered, motivational and objective with your kids, Ami said on this week’s podcast:
“You think as a parent you’re smart enough to teach them, especially at least kindergarten, first grade, second grade, to homeschool them but besides just the education part, you realize as a parent you always push your goal like ‘you have to learn this now!’ and you have to have way more patience than you may realize.”
We can do a ton of things adequately, many things well, a handful of things excellently, and even less BEST. Don’t our kids deserve the best — especially in something as important as education? To think we are the BEST is a bit high on the ego-centricism chain, even when it’s unintentional.
Homeschooling, by nature, doesn’t provide opportunities for children to develop cultural competence.
Yes, we can drag them around to museums and enforce celebrating Chinese New Year, but they won’t truly learn cultural competence at home without being exposed to a diverse group of people. And not just exposed, looking at people as the “other,” but really enmeshed in their daily lives. A true, diverse community. The communication has to be transparent and collaborative between school administrators, teachers and ourselves, but we want the girls to learn, with our help, to be social justice minded, compassionate, inclusive and able to collaborate with a wide variety of people. As Ami said:
“A lot of people can memorize data, but it is far more important to have those social and cultural skills…”
The world is getting smaller and none of us exist in a vacuum, even if we’d like to. A huge part of traditional schooling is about the larger group, the whole, symbiotic experience. Sitting at home or even in a little homeschooling co-op does not truly encourage a child’s leadership or entrepreneurial skills. Our girls are extroverted with a lot of leadership potential. How do they flex these muscles and develop them further without whole group opportunities to do so?
Ava and Alexis also need to continue to learn to follow the rules, even when we’re not there to enforce them. Micro-managing them and only giving them opportunities to do so under our watchful eye isn’t really teaching them to incorporate these values into their everyday lives. We don’t want them only following the rules to appease or impress us, but to do so because they truly know it’s the right way to live. This does not negate the importance of setting these boundaries at home but it does mean that they need opportunities to continue to be well-behaved without us looking.
In the end, homeschooling just wasn’t be fair to our girls.
If true intelligence is more than just book smarts — like we said — and it’s also defined by the ability to be collaborative, culturally competent, to live harmoniously with others, to be kind, compassionate and inclusive, to have a high emotional IQ, they need to be able to strengthen these developmental tasks in the world as well. We want the girls to be socially skilled, to learn to operate under structure, and homeschooling co-ops were still basically babysitters and micromanagement. In the end, being homeschooled just didn’t feel fair to our girls — we want to give them every opportunity to THRIVE. There is a lot to be learned from others — and as long as we’re plugged in, deeply invested and their biggest advocate, teammate, and challenger, we think we’ve found the best educational model.
Favorite Back to School Picks:
Here are a few of Ava & Alexis’ favorite school-related toys that they enjoy! If you’re looking for quality toys and books that encourage imagination and role play, these are a few of the ones that the girls are loving right now! This type of pretend play helped them to anticipate school would be like and work out some of their butterflies — and they’re still enjoying them today!