Thursday, January 11, 2007

No need to classify or define..A Rant

I have noticed in the homeschooling world that many people really feel the need to classify their style or their approach to homeschooling. Almost like without a label of some sort they lack definition. I understand this process in group settings when we are tryng to find the like-minded family; Are you an unschooler, a religious based homeschooler, waldorf, Enki, Eclectic????

I find it really hard to believe that any family could be completely one style. Isnt homeschooling about your family? Isnt it about finding your way and not just following the way of a group or a style? I know that with some religious based programs it is important to follow a set program, and I guess that is the exception. But I almost consider that a completely different type of homeschooling. It is more about choosing a different set path than it is about creating your own path. I could be wrong, and again there are exceptions. But overall I would say that this is what my experience has shown.

I have yet to meet anyone who is a complete unschooler. I know people who associate themselves with this style, but they still add in a little of this or that. I dont know anyone who is completely Enki, or completely Waldorf or any other thing for that matter.

Of course classifying has its uses, but here is my issue...

When you allow a title or a style to define you and your homeschooling, you can easily lose your way. When you try to follow any one style too closely you begin to view the success of the program and your adherence to it as the success instead of the growth of your child as the success. Does that make sense? When we make working a style or program the priority or our theories of education to blur our vision of what our child needs, we lose. Worse yet, our kids lose.

I have my thoughts, opinions and theories about how I want my kids to learn, what I want to use and how I want to go about it. However i also have three children. The ideal in my mind may not be the ideal for each of them. I have to be sure that I am not allowing my need to meet benchmarks or be Enki, or be this or that to cloud what matters. Am I meeting the needs of my child? That is the mantra, that is the goal. Not to be Enki, not to be an unschooler, not to be whatever. To be GM, GD and ME's mother and to try my darndest to help each of them grow to be happy, healthy, educated and inspired people.

So if that means that in October we had to unschool, and in January we are back to Enki, and we throw in some Saxon Math and a bit of reading what would be called literary trash by the Classical Ed folk, then so be it. I try to stay true to my vision, but I cant allow my vision to equally not meet my child in the way the school systems guidelines wouldnt. Sometimes our vision for our children can blind us to their actual needs.

Anyway, in writing this blog and thinking about things and how they are or are not working for us, I needed to get that off my chest. Yes, if you need to define us, we are an Enki family in that we really live a life inspired by the foundation guides. I love them and find them to be incredibly inspirational to me and my journey with my children. However, I doubt we really look like one. We dont make choices based on "is this or that Enki" I couldnt care less. However I believe that it needs to be "us". Is this or that a part of what we want or need for our family? Sometimes that falls into an Enki framework, and sometimes it doesnt. It is essential that it falls into our families framework, first and foremost.

After that, its all just names and ideas. The only benchmarks, activities, outlines etc that we need to follow are the ones that work for our families. Leave what doesnt work behind and face forward to finding and doing what works best for you.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

So very well said. Its just so much easier to go by what some expert (be it Enki or waldorf or...). Thinking and trying to figure out what your child needs is hard work! I did that when Lilly was in waldorf kinder/preschool/mom&baby/.... is this waldorf? Now that we're homeschooling using Enki, I have a tendency to think if something is Enki or not. Thank you so much for reminding me the reason why we are homeschooling. You are so right. The focus should be our own family, who we are and our values (even though Enki is such a good match for us).
-Angela in CA (www.xanga.com/blueskyama)

tracy said...

You always word things so well Kari. I love that you can blog more now. It is so inspiring.

tracy said...

You always are so inspiring in what you write Kari. I am glad to see you are able to blog more now.

HeyJulieMama said...

Its kind of like the "attachment parenting" word. That kind of drives me crazy... labels! Everywhere!

Laura said...

ITA!

I am so happy to find this blog. :) I've added you to my bloglines.