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“Would You Homeschool My Kids?”

“Would you homeschool my kids?”

I’ve been asked that a few times.  This weekend someone asked me again, and I’m glad she was joking.  At least I hope she was.

I’m not sure why people ask, but they do.  And my response is usually that it wouldn’t really work.  They can’t expect the results we get, because we ‘learn’ beyond normal school hours.

But there’s more than just that.  Our children have learned to learn.  We have a long history of reading aloud together, exploring the woods, narrating, discussing, working, memorizing, listening to classical music, looking things up, and seriously limiting non-productive media time.    Could a typical school child adapt to our heavy but non-traditional workload without our background?

Furthermore, I try to set up our homeschooling so that the children want to learn, following Charlotte Mason’s idea of spreading a feast for them.  My kids thrive on that.  On the other hand, apparently many school kids try to get by with the smallest possible amount of work because they find no joy in learning.  How long would it take to get over that attitude?  I’ve heard of parents who take their own children out of school and find it takes them as much as a year to regain their curiosity and fascination with learning.

Our methods are non-traditional.  When someone in my family tells me that they are bored, their attitude determines whether I assign chores or let them use their boredom to develop their own creativity.  How could I make someone else’s child scrub my walls to give them the time to contemplate the value of being interested in life and study?  How could I explain to a parent that their precious child did no worksheets and has no homework and was allowed to play in a sand pile all afternoon?  Or wander in the woods? Or explore a stack of library books after baking brownies?

But there’s even more.  I cannot really teach.  It’s not one of my gifts.  Ask my kids.  But I can choose curriculum that works for them, or tweak it to make it work.   How long would it take me to get to know someone else’s kids well enough to find the right curriculum for them and to know how to tweak it?

Our schooling is based on relationships.  We’re in this together, my kids and I.  I test to see what they know, not what they don’t, and often I don’t need to test.  However, when one of my children gets below 90% on a math, science, or foreign language test, I consider it a red flag.  Learning has not happened, and there will be trouble down the road.  A mark below 80% means we need to do the work over.  It’s hard for both of us, but it’s worth the effort. On the other hand, how could I fail someone else’s child for getting a 79%?  And would I be willing to deal with their tears and frustration as they struggle to master the material so that they will really be ready to learn the next chapter’s work?  It’s difficult enough with my own children.

I value our family dynamics, our own time, our freedom just to be.  We’ve done baby-sitting, and just one extra child for a few hours a day changed everything for some of my children.

It all comes down to this:  would I care enough to homeschool other people’s kids…and would the parents really trust me once they knew how we learned?   I am so thankful that I need not answer those questions.

Rather, I am called to homeschool my own children, and that is a joy and a privilege.

Yes, there are some moms who can homeschool other people’s kids and do a great job.  Some even go further and set up their own umbrella school, blessing dozens of families.  But that’s not for our family right now.

Has anyone ever asked you to homeschool their kids?  What did you say?  Did you do it?

5 Comments

  1. […] Tea Time with Annie Kate ::: Would You Homeschool My Kids? […]

  2. winn says:

    i’ve had friends joke about it before. my answer ranges from: your kids? no way to laughing to putting it to them straight —> you already homeschool your children. don’t you know that? you were and are your child’s first teacher. boom!

  3. Sarah says:

    Sounds great-I can see why people want you to home school their children. I guess we all have times when it seems that someone else would manage better but God has given our particular children to us as their individual mothers.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, God has given our kids the right moms. And he’ll give us the strength to care for them.

      It’s such a comfort to know that he’s got the whole world, including our families and homeschools, in his hands!

  4. JoAnn says:

    Yep, I agree. We’ve always tried to teach our children to learn how to learn. And I don’t think I could ever teach another persons child either, not with the way we work our school day. But I think it’s cute that you’ve been asked multiple times. 🙂

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