Homeschool freedom can mean various things. The underlying and most important characteristic is that the parents are the ones directing the schooling. Homeschool freedom should not be taken for granted. Parents must have the right to raise their children in the way that benefits them the most – according to the parents, not some standardization or broad rule.
Freedom in scheduling
Because we homeschool, we have freedom in scheduling. When my husband works night shifts, we are able to adjust our schedule to spend time together during his waking hours. When he is working out of town weeks at a time but is home for a long weekend, we can take those days to spend time together as a family. This also works well when we schedule dental appointments and all those mundane things in life. We are able to take appointments that those tied to school schedules cannot. Mid-week, mid-day appointments are great. We generally are alone in the waiting room and have a much more relaxed appointment – great for my child that can be anxious about dental cleanings.
Freedom in what is learned
Because we homeschool, we can teach what we feel is important and let our children have a say in what they study. We have freedom in what is learned. We do not have to teach sex education at an inappropriate age. We can let the horse-crazy daughter build her learning around her love of horses through themed math worksheets, literature selections and science topics, just as one example. We can also include our faith in every part of our day, it is not left out when we are “doing school”.
Freedom in how the learning takes place
Our house is pretty small. We do not have a school room where we can house all of our curricula, manipulatives and books and spend our “school time”. Because we homeschool, we have freedom in how the learning takes place. We may sit together at the dining room table, snuggle with a good book on the sofa or take a walk through our woods. One of my children assumes very awkward-looking positions while working on math (feet on the sofa, while writing on the floor) and that works well, for her. Another needs to be in near constant motion. We can work with that, too. We may be doing school in the barn, while doing chores, while cooking supper. There are no limits, learning can happen anytime, anywhere. Really, would you want to tell your child at 7 pm on a Saturday night, “No, we have to wait until Monday morning to discuss the fall of the Roman empire and how it affected Christianity”.
Freedom in curricula
Teaching our sixth child to read has shown me loud and clear that one size does not fit all when it comes to curricula. With homeschooling, we have much freedom in curricula. We can use something different for each child, using their strengths to their learning advantage. We can use the same science text for all of younger children and tailor the lessons to their individual abilities. We can put it back on the shelf and trying something else mid-year. This to me is one of the greatest freedoms homeschooling has given us – the education fits the child, every step of the way.
Because homeschool freedom matters so much, we like to keep up with what our legislators are doing that might affect our precious freedoms. Indiana is a wonderful state to homeschool in, and I’d like to keep it that way. We will be participating – for the first time – in the Home School Day at the State Capitol. There are many activities planned, so register soon. Not a Hoosier? Find out what you can do to gain or preserve homeschool freedoms within your state. Contact your statewide homeschool organization and find some way to get involved.
The IAHE Bloggers are sharing about Homeschool Freedom.