It’s all about the kids
Whenever we talk about homeschooling the first thing we think of is our children. We all ask different questions. At what age can they start? Is it better for them? How will they make friends? Can they go to college? We think of our children first and rightly so, because they are the center of our world. However, is it really just about them?
While homeschooling my children there have been some unintended consequences that I have had to cope with. These unintended consequences are that I am learning as much as I am teaching, if not more, and I am certain that I am not alone. Often times we focus upon the advantages homeschooling has for our children and forget about the teacher within the homeschooling equation, and the benefits that come out of it. It has been said that we retain only a certain percentage of information through reading, listening, and experiencing something, but that we retain the greatest amount of information through teaching. This is probably because in order to teach something you have to understand it. Sometimes just through trying to teach a subject to your child, you fortify information that may otherwise have been forgotten, misunderstood, or less coherent.
Many a time I have been looking though my son’s curriculums and realized that there are major gaps in my knowledge, things that I need to relearn. Personally I have found this realization has served as a driving force for me to push myself in my educational development, to learn new things and even to go back and relearn those things which I never had a handle on in the first place. It is a humbling experience. I want to remember how to do algebraic equations, understand the periodic table, do chemistry experiments by watching vinegar and baking soda react. Some of it is remembering childhood, but a lot of it has to do with that thirst for knowledge that seems to have been lost while “growing up” and moving into “the real world”.
Homeschooling isn’t just for kids
I must confess I’m not just homeschooling my kids, I am homeschooling myself in the process as well. I don’t believe education ends with a piece of paper, be it from a high school, or a university. I define homeschooling in a much broader sense than just teaching my children the equivalent of a public education, but rather I see it as a love for knowledge that transcends age levels and carries on throughout life. I love to study alternative medicine, agriculture, and the social sciences like history and political science. A lot of times in my own studies I develop a love for a subject or find something really cool that makes me say to myself “Hey this would be really great to teach the kids”, and then it becomes a lesson or even a completely new subject in our curriculum.
For me learning is a life process and I hope this is how my children will view it too. I want to be an example for them. I am always searching for new beneficial things to learn. As they see dad also in the books every day reading and learning I pray it has an effect on them. As they see me involved in their education I pray that they too are involved in my grandchildren’s education. I pray it is something that my children will pass onto theirs throughout the generations, and as I homeschool myself. I hope that they will too.
-Nick is a Muslim father of two boys and has been married for the past five years. He is currently homeschooling his children with his wife, while managing work and being a fulltime student. He maintains a blog about his experiences, curriculum ideas, and advice at www.abihomeschoolstoo.blogspot.com