In conversation the other day, I mentioned to someone that one of the things I enjoy about homeschooling is the flexibility it provides us. We are free to take off when we want, I pointed out, allowing us to work around my husband’s schedule. Apparently, what makes perfect sense to me, raises concerns in others. This aspect of flexibility is of increasing concern for those who oppose homeschooling, or would like to see it more highly regulated. However, I believe that the ability to be flexible makes homeschooling better. After all, we’re talking about flexibility. . .not a free for all.
Being flexible meant that last year my kids got to go on the field trip of a life time with my in-laws to visit Sea World. We went during an ‘off’ season–while most other kids were in school. Being flexible means that when my husband is off from work we can spend time as a family. . .which often includes field trips.
Likewise, being flexible means that I can skip entire units if the subject matter is something my children already firmly grasp. Being flexible means that rather than taking the “one size fits all” approach to education, I can provide advanced instruction in reading to my daughter and advanced instruction in math to my son. It means that for science, Alex can make a diet coke and mentos powered car.
Flexibility does not mean that my children can sleep until noon at will, nor does it mean they can watch television all day. Flexibility doesn’t negate my responsibilities as a parent. It just means that I am free to exercise my own judgment rather than following the public school’s prescribed course.
The flexibility that homeschooling provides does not ensure a worse education but rather a better one. Children by their very nature are flexible. They love to learn and explore wherever their minds will take them. Likewise, they like to learn whenever there is the opportunity. Opportunities abound all day, not just between 8 and 3. Likewise, their minds think and question and explore anything they run into. . .not just the required subjects.