In my previous post I mentioned that we decided to homeschool J when she was around two years old as I simply could not see her thriving in a classroom environment. In fact, I was certain it would crush her spirit. And I so wanted her to remain the curious, passionate, intensely focused learner that she was becoming.
When J was three we discovered that she is profoundly gifted. And that was only because serendipitously Josie made close friends with another gifted child, and the gifted mother (who I became close friends with) suggested we get J tested. I had no idea about what gifted was or meant so I did some reading. Going through the characteristics of gifted children, I noticed J displayed almost all of them. So I thought well maybe we’ll see what the psychologist has to say. The actual testing process (Stanford Binet Intelligence Scales, 5th edition) was done over three separate sessions and for J it was really fun. She’d talk about the ‘brain games’ and even began testing me! I was unable to take J to the very first testing session as I had taken a sick T to the emergency department with bronchiolitis (he was ok). When Martin picked us up after the session he said to me “based on today’s tests, she’s not gifted” and I replied “oh, ok” thinking that’s what I was expecting to hear. But then Martin continued “she’s profoundly gifted”. I didn’t know what to say, it was a shock! My first thought was that it certainly explained a lot of her behaviour! J finished up the testing and obtained ceiling scores on all five verbal subtests and ceiling scores on four of the five non-verbal subtests hence her reported IQ “very significantly under-represent her actual levels of intellectual ability”. Overall she did not demonstrate any areas of weakness. Her psychologist suggested she be homeschooled, so there you go! I’ll talk more about giftedness another time.
So after getting the diagnosis and recommendation from the psychologist, we were sure that homeschooling would be the right choice for J. However it’s not just about J needing an accelerated learning program but more about her well-being. We are not concerned with academic achievement over emotional nurturing and development. It is not our goal to raise a child who fits in or who does what every other child her age is doing. We don’t see a child as someone who needs to be controlled or told what to learn, when to learn, or how to learn. Our children are people of value, with their own passions and they deserve to be listened to and treated with the same respect as any other adult. They deserve the freedom to discover and be their true selves without comparison or competition.
The reasons we homeschool are as follows:
- We want more for our children than an institution aimed at mass education can provide. We aim for a holistic, tailored, and interest-led education.
- We want to spend our children’s childhoods with them. Their secure attachment to us as their parents is of paramount importance. Having a strong family unit and adequate time for family bonding is a priority.
- Homeschooling allows our children to be out in the real world, encountering real problems and learning real life skills on a day to day basis instead of being enclosed by four walls.
- Our children will grow up having many interactions and relationships with people of all ages instead of being grouped artificially by age.
- Siblings will be able to spend so much more time together. The bonds they form will be an important constant in a family that moves every two to three years.
- Our children will be able to follow their interests to whatever detail they desire and to learn at a pace that suits them.
- Our children will be free to venture to libraries, museums, art galleries, and natural areas as they please and not be rushed along or made to listen to things of no interest to them in a large group.
- We can go on family holidays at any time of year – which means avoiding busy and more expensive school holidays.
- Our children can ask endless questions.
- Our children will be encouraged to be intrinsically motivated to try their best, rather than extrinsically motivated by reward charts etc. On the same note, they will be free from being shamed for not achieving.
- Our children will be free to be in control of their own appearance rather than conforming to a group standard.
- Homeschooling will allow our children to be free to be children – to engage in endless, messy, noisy, unstructured, play!
There are probably even more reasons that haven’t come to mind right at this moment! If you’re thinking of giving homeschooling a try, go for it!