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Homeschooling: Don’t Divide Life into So Many Boxes

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Homeschooling: Don’t Divide Life into So Many Boxes

By Linda Dobson

homeschoolingOne reason parents place so much trust in the education we see in traditional schools is because we have inherited the view that life can be divided into subjects, good and bad, or black and white. If we continue to hold onto this view, we find ourselves frustrated and confused, because those divisions don’t hold true beyond the schoolhouse doors.

Homeschooling Is Holistic Learning

“Entering college was a shock for most of my friends and me,” homeschooling dad Lester McCarthy recalls. “Education became, I don’t know, ‘bigger’ in the sense that suddenly no one put limits on how you connected the dots, on what your mind could consider. The only thing I can compare it to is how I think newborn babies must feel when removed from the womb, then from swaddling. They’re physically startled when they get out of their ‘compartment’ and feel their place ‘in the whole’ for the first itme. It was mentally startling at first to live without intellectual compartments and to experience it all as a whole.”

Lester and his wife, Cathy, chose homeschooling with the hope this won’t happen to their two boys when they head away from their Rhode Island home toward college. “We want them to grow up knowing there aren’t any compartments out there,” says Cathy, “because it’s never too early to connect the dots – that’s what real learning is all about.”

Homeschooling Reveals the Illusion of Boxes

Here’s a most interesting and valuable lesson homeschooling has taught people. When you think outside the box, you see there really isn’t any box at all! It’s much like the enlightening moment Dorothy and her friends experience in The Wizard of Oz when Toto pulls back the curtain and reveals “the powerful Oz” to be a mere mortal who can’t really grant their hearts’ desires at all.

In the story a wonderful transition occurs. Dorothy and her friends realize the power necessary to make the changes they want resides within them. They need only to believe, and they can accomplish their goals.

So how do homeschooling families learn to believe in themselves enough to rediscover their own power, let go of life’s illusionary boxes, and see learning weaving in and our of the “whole” that is life?

See also Doctor Suggests Medical Education Should Learn from Homeschooling

“Parental learning guides reintegrate the world and find their places in it,” explains Elizabeth McCullough. “For starters, make a list of everything you’re not good at but always want to try. By the way, very young children do this naturally; they haven’t yet learned that not being good at something is an acceptable reason to not try – they don’t know that failure is bad. Have your child try this exercise with you, or at least share your list with your child.”

You’re not getting off that easy. There’s more, says Elizabeth. “Pick something from your list and try it. It can be anything, maybe something peaceful and soothing like gardening or energetic like karate. Assume from the start that you will fail, perhaps several times. Cultivate the attitude that learning is a process, not an outcome (i.e., getting there is half — all — the journey). If the thought of trying something new scares you, great!”

Behave and think as if there are no boxes, and they will slowly disappear. Be your child’s role model. Allow your homeschooling child as much time for real-world observation, experience, and wide-ranging reading on topics that interest her, and, like Dorothy, she will realize, “There’s no place like home.”


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