Being a parent has been the most rewarding (and often frustrating) job I have ever taken on. When my firstborn was young, she was petite (read as euphemism for small.) She also seemed to have a strangely grown-up vocabulary using words like “oxymoron” and “inappropriate” before she was even tall enough to reach the kitchen counter.
At the time that she would have been entering Kindergarten, we lived in a city with eight or nine elementary schools in the district. The one that was two streets away from our home was the lowest ranking in the district. I hesitated to send this tiny creature to a school where she may be bullied for her size. I also wondered if she would be academically challenged with that vocabulary of hers and I knew she would dread being away from her little sister for so long each day.
My husband and I decided to homeschool her. How hard could Kindergarten be?
What a joy it was to hang out with my kids and watch them grow. We eventually moved to a small town with an excellent school district, but I was already knee-deep in glitter glue, workbooks, computer programs, and homeschool groups to want to send her. Also teaching her sister and baby brother by this time I realized that the whole parenting thing was happening way too fast. How do they keep growing and why so fast? What lessons were they teaching me? I swear on a stack of Holy Bibles that I was learning as much from them as they were from me.
Now as an old fart, I miss those days. But wait! I recently got the opportunity to be an instructor-teacher-playmate-friend to other children, and I just love it.
Once again I find myself researching what popular book series a fourth-grade girl might enjoy or what craft would be fun for a Kindergartener. But I really do not have to go far for research. I have a secret in my back pocket.
That secret? Teri Capshaw. Here is her link Teri Capshaw
Quite honestly, her book Dying to Win – How to Inspire and Ignite Your Child’s Love of Learning in an Overstressed World is the most comprehensive book on homeschooling I have read so far. With over 60 citations to other resources, she covers a multitude of fears parents may have deciding to make this journey.
Her own journey was that of being homeschooled when she was a child. As an adult, she had an opportunity to live in Taiwan when her husband’s job relocated him for over two years.
There she saw how rigorous and intense Chinese education is. It is set up for nothing shy of academic success, but at what cost? When she began to research the model they were using, she was stunned at the student suicide rate. These children are under so much pressure to perform academically.
When people at the park would come up and talk to her she received the dreaded side glance and stink eye when they found out that her three year old was not enrolled in the Chinese school and that Teri was the “teacher” of her own daughter.
She learned things like 80% of teens in Beijing were nearsighted and that one school had set up IV bags for the students so that they could get more amino acids and electrolytes as they studied for their version of the college entrance exams hour after hour. That is tragic!
Knowing in her heart and from her own experiences that children need to be children and that learning should have elements of student-led interest and plenty of playtime she began writing her book after returning to the states.
I find Teri’s book so relevant now. With the global pandemic and fear of schools opening during Covid-19, many parents are out there choosing to pull their children from the half on-line, half in-school programs that their districts are proposing. They are worried that if they homeschool perhaps their children will not keep up with their peers both in the states and at the global level.
Dying to Win covers various learning styles, types of curriculums, success stories from numerous people who have taught their children, and so much more.
One study she cited said that even the state-certified teachers who chose to homeschool their own children only had them scoring one percentage point above other homeschool children on standardized tests. If you are a parent thinking you are not skilled enough to do this, think again. Remember, you have always been your child’s first teacher. Why stop now?
Teri says “As a parent, homeschooling can seem so scary, but the truth is our kids are hardwired to learn—and when we discover how to unlock each child’s potential it’s incredibly simple. I honestly believe many parents, especially those who select their own curriculum, will find that homeschooling is less frustrating than helping their children complete homework at the end of a long traditional school day.” I could not agree more.
For a quick guide please check out my book Homeschooling During and Beyond Covid-19 and for a more comprehensive book filled with additional reading, I would be thrilled if you picked up Dying to Win – How to Inspire and Ignite Your Child’s Love of Learning in an Overstressed World
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“An inheritance is what you leave people. A legacy is what you leave in them.” Craig D. Lounsbrough