When thinking about an article for this month I thought about one of the questions I get asked a lot, “Did you have lots of support in your decision to homeschool?” My answer is YES. I am one of the lucky ones who have parents and inlaws who are supportive and understanding of our choice to home educate. I won’t say that they were all on board at first but for us we knew it was the right decision and in the end that was all that mattered. As time went on I noticed that our support from everyone grew and we even had friends who weren’t sure at first start asking me how they could get started! They saw the difference in my children and were having their own struggles with the learning environment their children were in. I asked my mom if she could write something about her thoughts on homeschooling and she kindly agreed. She did one of our blog posts at Homeschool Canada and it was one of our most popular ones. I think it’s important to know that not everyone will agree with your choice. DO NOT let that keep you from doing what you really believe in because you may regret it one day. Give them a chance to understand what homeschooling is and encourage them to get involved wherever possible. Invite them along on outings or spend a day with you “learning” in the real world. They may surprise themselves and you and become your biggest support.
A Grandmother’s View on Homeschooling
When you have only had positive experiences with the public education system in Canada it is hard to understand why your child, who was successful there, would decide to homeschool her own children.
When my daughter enrolled my eldest granddaughter in kindergarten I walked with them to her first day of school. Went the extra mile to watch her in school concerts and will never forget a tea I attended where I proudly saw her singing ‘Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’ with her class at that tea. It was fun! The sports day at her school that followed was fun and little did I know that would be this grandmother’s last opportunity to watch her interact with her peers in a public school system.
My daughter and her husband decided that summer they would homeschool their children. It was hard at first for me to understand the value in doing this but for once I knew enough to bite my tongue and let them find their own way as parents. They are excellent parents and who am I to question their decision making when it comes to their own children even if I do not agree with it? At what point in life do we as parents let them go and trust that we have raised children who will make good choices in life for themselves and those they love? It is all about letting go control of your own children when they become adults and respecting the decisions they will now make for their own families. It is a very hard thing to do and especially hard for this Irish outspoken grandmother of seventeen.
She started teaching her eldest daughter and son at home and now has the twins enrolled in the program. If I ever had doubts they were quickie squashed as I saw how the children have flourished under this home school system. Every single thing they do on a daily basis is a learning experience for them. As grandparents it has freed them up from the rigor of the controlled public school system so that we can actually play a part in their learning. Especially in the summer months where we spend our time with them at a lake that has become a family favourite. Lee’s children can be there for almost four months and watching them grow and learn in the outdoors is something to experience. She is always on the lookout for learning opportunities even if it is something as small as handing money to the store clerk and counting the change back or watching a mother goose tending her young chicks.
They are healthy, happy well-adjusted children and very close as a family. Lee has kept them involved in Sparks and Guides. Cameron plays hockey. They take swimming lessons and gymnastics. The girls are learning to play the piano and Cameron the drums. Every single day they have something on the schedule that is an adventure in learning and what I love the best about it is many times my husband and I can be involved with it. So we watch the kids learn and in many instances without even knowing it become the teachers ourselves.
She has a great network of homeschooling friends and they share ideas and outings that would never be made available to the children within the confines of the public school system. They do attend school one day a week and it is helpful in monitoring their progress which always has them at the head of the class.
This is something that has worked and worked well for Lee. My husband and I still get to attend school concerts and such because these are our only grandchildren being schooled this way. In fact we just took the twins to a Remembrance Day concert one of our granddaughters was singing at and they really enjoyed the experience! If you were to ask them however if they wanted to join the line of kids marching back and forth to their class rooms the answer would be a resounding ‘No!”
The world has become their classroom. The sky is the limit as to what they will learn and experience in their lives and I have to say this has opened up a whole new world to me. Life is a lesson as is often said and this Grandmother is very happy to say that the lessons I have learned from experiencing homeschooling have been nothing but positive.
I often think that we should have our own support group somewhere so that we can share our concerns and ideas for learning among us! Imagine the world we could bring to our grandchildren if we have the opportunity to do so!
If I could say one thing to a grandparent who has any reservations or concerns about this system of learning it would be let go of them and jump on board. We must support our children with the choices they make concerning their own lives and their own families. We must trust that we did a good enough job as parents ourselves to know that our own children only want the best for their children – as we did. Support them in this and a whole new world will be opened up for you. We truly get to see this happen on a daily basis through the eyes of our grandchildren. There is nothing better than being a witness to such miracles.
Lee Fisher and Linda Vallee
Lee Fisher is a married homeschooling mom from British Columbia to 4 amazing children and a caregiver to an adult with Special Needs. She is the co-founder of Homeschool Canada and also a partner with The Canadian Homeschooling Society. Lee will be a monthly writer on our website here and she will talk about homeschooling subjects like How to Get Started in Homeschooling, Socialization, Top 5 Questions asked to Homeschoolers, Where to find curriculum?, and much more! Linda Vallee is her supportive mom.