Person: What school do your children attend?
Me: Oh, I actually teach my children at home.
Person: What do you mean?
Me: They are homeschooled. They do school at home.
Person: So how do they learn?
Me: I teach them...and they also learn on their own.
Person: (Gasps, opens eyes widely in shock) Really? Is that legal?
Me: (Straight face) Nope! I'm a real bad ass (kk,that's how I wish I responded..lol)
What I actually say is: Yes it is legal. As parents we have the right to provide our children with the education that we believe is best.
The parental choice in education as promoted by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26(3):
In my experience many people have never entertained the thought of homeschooling their children. When I say that people are shocked at the idea, I am not over exaggerating at all. For the majority of people who I speak to, I am the first "real life" home schooling parent that they have ever met. The point that I would like to make is that people shouldn't have to meet me or some other homeschooling family to know that it is not illegal to homeschool. Why isn't the parent's right to homeschool common knowledge for all? When a parent enquires about education for their child, homeschooling should be included as an option, along with private, public and religious schools.
Before taking my oldest son out of the public school system 6 years ago, I spoke to his principal and teacher at the time . I had done a bunch of research and had made up my mind to homeschool. I knew my rights and was ready for whatever guilt trip they were going to send my way. I spoke to the principal first and I was totally shocked by his reply. He told me that he had family members and a neighbour who homeschooled their children. "In my honest opinion, if homeschooling is something that you could successfully do, you would be giving the best gift to your son." He said.
Instead of opposing my decision, he praised my bravery and desire to bond and be responsible for my son's learning. My son's teacher was an older woman and she too encouraged me to start homeschooling as soon as I could. After speaking with both the principal and the teacher, I realized that they were both losing heart in what the school system was becoming. I knew then that educating my children was to great of a responsibility to entrust to anyone else.
I am not saying that all families should homeschool, only that all families should be aware that it is an option. Having homeschooled my children for 6 years now, I know that it can be challenging and a financial strain at times. Some parents feel that they are not equip to handle their own children, and actually many just don't want to have the added responsibility. It is not my intention to offend anyone, this is what I have been told. I have met several stay at home moms who still send their children out to school. Upon finding out that I taught my children at home they responded with comments like these: "Are you crazy?" "How do you handle them(children)?" " I would go mad!" " No way! I need a break from them(children)." "I am so happy when they're gone." "My children don't listen to me, so I wouldn't be able to teach them anything." "My hat is off to you!"
Teachers, on the other hand have said to me "Good for you!" "I wouldn't put my children in a public school" "We have our children in a private school" "All teachers know that they are really just underpaid babysitters" "When we have children I plan on homeschooling them." "it's hard to actually help all the children, someone always gets missed."
So there are some parents who feel that they need the school system in order to get a "break" from their children and some teachers who dislike the system but are still a part of it because they need the pay cheque. Sure, it may be great for the children but at who's expense? Exactly whose responsibility is it to educate our children? Unfortunately, not every country supports the parent's natural right to teach their children as they see fit. This is a freedom that we should never take for granted.
I am Thankful that although homeschooling is not the popular choice among parents in North America, those of us choosing to go that route can do so without fear of criminal charges, fines or imprisonment.
I am sure that there is much more to this topic than I have mentioned here, but I can only write on what I have personally encountered. I encourage all parents who are able to homeschool their children to do research for themselves in order to make the best decision for their children.
The Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents
What does it mean to Educate?
The "S" word - Socialization
Getting Started? Is homeschooling for you?