Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Classy Homeschooling

 

The more I look into homeschooling my child, the more I realize that I want to do what I call "classy homeschooling." When I say classy, I don't mean my kid needs to wear Abercrombie and be dressed in the latest styles and hang out with children who come from the best families. No, that's not it. I mean that I want to have my child to be well rounded and be able to fit in anywhere, anytime, with any culture, and with any "class."  I want my child to be able to take care of himself well, dress well, and know how to present himself and his beliefs in an appropriate yet meaningful manner.  Do I know how to best do this? Not yet. But I refuse to be remiss and allow him to not fit in anywhere, to not be able to communicate fully, and not know how to dress appropriately, speak appropriately, and have full confidence due to a full education.  I feel that classy homeschooling must an intentional education decision.

Neon Fanny Pack via TheForgotten
Culottes via EqpStyles
Mom Jeans via Fashion Binge
Why Might I Consider Some Homeschooling "Not Classy"

Oh come on!  Anyone with eyes knows that stereotypes exist for homeschoolers.  I was the stereotype in the 90's.  I wore culottes (otherwise known as a hideous skort), had a bright odd colored fanny pack, wore "mom jeans" (at age 8 - 15), and to top it all off I was shy, very shy.  Refer to the Why I Was a Geek graphic to the left in case you are unaware of these references.  It was a hard phase for me.  Some stereotypes are true, just not all the time.

More importantly than not fitting in with fashion, I did not fit in socially.  I had to catch up when I went back to school in 8th grade.  I am sure my classmates can attest to my awkard behavior as I learned how to dress like others of my age, communicate well, and even how to implement good study habits.  I hadn't needed to take notes, write down assignments, or study for tests while homeschooling.  I simply learned, read, and did school at home.  However, it isn't classy to get to school and not be able to relate to your peers.  It isn't classy to have no idea how to adapt to a different culture.  Fundamentally, I found that homeschooling, the way I did it as a child, was a challenge for me as I moved forward with my life.

Now, many things are different.  The awkard parts of the eighties (that I was cool enough to bring into the 90's) are finally gone, but still homeschooling and homeschool families have a stereotype.  Some do not fit in, not because the families do it contentiously, but many just don't think it matters.  After hearing my story, let's consider that it does matter if homeschooled children have the ability to fit in to society.  No clones, no lessening of creativity, but rather children need knowledge of fashion, communication, study skills, and other skills that are often considered outside of the realm of basic homeschool studies.  From this, you may agree that some methods of homeschooling are not classy.

So Other Schools Have Class?


Let me be clear.  The public school system is not teaching children to be classy either.  Many private schools want to teach children to be classy, but pump out brat after stuck up brat.  While some may think I am picking on homeschool families, I'm not.  Very few school systems, either home, private, or public, are adequately preparing kids to expect the best of others and of themselves.  Teaching kids to thrive in any environment has become somewhat of a lost art.  Children are told to either focus too much on academics, too much on home life, or too much on being cool.  Where is the balance?

Does Classy Curriculum Exist?

I have been searching online for Pre-K materials for homeschooling as well as browsing the various blogger's sites who homeschool their children.  Our homeschooling materials need to be well presented, interesting, and hold to some standard to be worthy of being integrated into our curriculum.  I have seen so many materials that do not serve a direct purpose or materials that suggest some of the most boring projects I have ever seen in my life.  While I don't want to teach my child to be picky, I also don't want to teach him that everything has equal value.  Classy curriculum can be found, but it is necessary to say no to the materials that are of little value.

My idea of classy homeschooling means taking the basic suggested list of subjects and bumping it up a notch.  We shouldn't try to meet the expectations of a school system that creates adequately educated individuals, instead we want to use our minds to take the adequate and create the best.  The best is different for every family and every child.

Here is a basic list of subjects, what would you add on to this list for "classy homeschooling?"  Now that I've presented what I consider to be classy homeschooling, what materials have you found that fit in this category?  Are you implementing classy homeschooling?


Art
Religion
Computers
English:
Vocabulary
Reading
Writing
Communication
Geography
Health and Safety
Hygiene
Manners
Mathematics
Science
Social Studies

Note:  If you have been in any way offended by my focusing on  some of the faults of homeschooling, please be aware that I am fully considering homeschooling my family.  With all of the shortcomings that can be found within the general homeschool community, the benefits FAR outweigh the disadvantages.  Also, my explanation of the faults come from my personal experience of being homeschooled in 1st grade and 4th through 7th grade.  With my challenges, I find that it was a beneficial time in my life that taught me many things.


 

4 comments:

  1. Have you read The Well-Trained Mind?

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  2. No, but it is on my to buy list. I've heard only good things about it.

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  3. I would possibly suggest that you would prefer the phrase Classic to Classy. The connotations are better. I was slightly offended that the only reference to public schools was "Let me be clear. The public school system is not classy either."

    There are many poor and many quality homeschoolers. There are many poor and many quality private schools. And, there are many poor and many quality public schools. Findind them is not always easy, but it is worth it in the long run because you can get the best of all worlds. Socialization, diversity and quality education.

    I know that you will be a wonderful homeschool mom, because you are bright, enthusiastic and caring. Josiah could not be in better hands!

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    Replies
    1. I've definitely heard the term classic applied to homeschool done like the classical education. I guess I'm trying to differentiate between all the junk out there and all the helpful curriculum. I've seen worksheets, projects, and lifestyles that are beneficial, then I've seen ones that are just thrown together. I think in the South classy means more than it does in Virginia, so I'm sorry if it's more insulting when I call the public schools not classy. It's more like saying they don't teach you a thing about being a person, that's still the parent's job. You are an amazing parent and you do teach your children how to have class and to respect other people and to enrich others lives.

      I really do have a hard time being positive about public education when so many schools are ridding themselves of anything that might be offensive to anyone. I think that before long, history won't be history because history is offensive. Though I do know that there are still schools that educate children well, I just feel that leaving my beliefs out of education is not something I ever wish to do.

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