A Passion for Education
Published: 02/25/2015 by Jacqueline Hinz
I have always been a voyageur, a pioneer. I tend to like to do things my way, on my terms, and I am at my best when I follow my intuition. I rarely read books telling me how to be a parent, or how to teach my kids. Currently, I’m reading Richard Bransons book: The Virgin Way and the tag line is, “This is a book on leadership from someone who admits he has never read a book on leadership in his life.” I believe this independent attitude is what drew me to homeschooling.
My first memory of homeschooling is from when I was 16. I grew up in a small town and someone was ridiculing a family that homeschooled. “Why would anyone do that? Why don’t they think school is good enough for them?” The town took it personally.
Listening to this critique had me questioning homeschooling. Why would anyone homeschool? And then it dawned on me; they think homeschooling is the best form of education for their children. This was a whole new reality for me.
My second encounter is what truly drew me in. I was in the wedding party of a friend and over the course of a weekend I observed a family of four children. They had a relationship with their parents unlike anything I had ever experienced before, (and possibly still haven’t) such love, kindness and respect for each other. I discovered the family homeschooled and I felt this is what held them together.
And so, before I even gave birth to my first child, I knew I would school them at home, and in the car, and in the museum, the ice rink, the mountains...
Becoming a Teacher
I thought education was unimportant but that’s because I didn’t understand what “education” really meant. When I was in school I had statistics thrown at me and facts to memorize, but these were not necessarily subjects that I really wanted to delve into. I did have a few good teachers when I was in school, but in general, I had poor quality teaching. There were very few subjects I was interested in. I discovered correspondence classes, and independent study and this is where I excelled.
One of the greatest gifts I was given through homeschooling was the realization that I do love education, and I love learning. Homeschooling taught me to discover more and more. The more I discovered the more my children learned from, and in turn discovered as well. In truth, we are all teachers, and if I chose to find learning experience in everyday life, then every experience does provide learning.
Homeschooling has provided my children and I with so many incredible learning experiences! Chess club, field trips, science club, Lego club, drama productions, piano, drums, and guitar lessons, art classes at the Glenbow, ski/ snowboard club at LAke Louise and so much more!
I am very grateful for the spontaneity homeschooling gave our family, especially on good snow days when we could drive to the mountains at a moments notice. Even better, was our month long vacations to Mexico because we brought our school with us and the kids weren't behind when we returned home.
Those are some of my favourite memories; going to the beach for themorning, surfing, fishing, swimming, then heading back for lunch and pool breaks between lessons. This was our routine every other day, with the in-between days being our adventure days; discovering new towns snorkel trips, visiting turtle sanctuaries and playing with the local children. Life long lessons.
However, this was just a small part of it; the community of moms and families that I connected with gave me so much more than any classroom volunteering ever could. The hours discussing what type of curriculum we each used, which school board offered what, which classes were available were all the beginning of friendships that are still dear to me.
Most importantly, homeschooling afforded me many hours with my children. The hours, days, and weeks we spent reading books, playing Lego, snowboarding and learning together are priceless.
Transition to Traditional
My children did go to public school for high school, and their integration did not go without some bumps. I think my children experienced what many kids do upon entering public school for the first time; a month or so of adjustment, and then a settling in.
Adjusting to hour-long lectures, taking notes at a speed they weren't accustomed to, and a whirlwind of people, activities and stimulation all around them. One of my sons loved the new social environment and made many friends and tried new clubs and sports. While my other son chose to eat lunch alone, yet the competition of the classroom environment drove him to study harder and set goals (and achieve them) for the honour role. As with everything in life, it provided good dinnertime conversations, and growth in new areas
All Grown Up
After completing high school, both of my sons have entered apprenticeship programs. Jonah had always dreamed of being a mechanic, however, as his school didn’t have a mechanics program, he decided to take welding as an elective. Jonah is gifted in this area and recently competed in the Alberta SKILLS competition after placing first in Calgary.
Niklas has chosen to enter a carpentry apprenticeship. He has completed his schooling and his apprenticeship hours. He is on a framing crew in new construction and has now moved onto high-end renovations of heritage homes. Yesterday he received his second scholarship for his studies, wonderful rewards of his long hours of studying.
One of my sons loved the new social environment and made many friends and tried new clubs and sports. While my other son found the competition of the classroom environment drove him to study harder and set goals (and achieve them) for the honour roll. As with everything in life, it provided good dinnertime conversations, and growth in new areas.
I am persistently taking continuing education classes, seminars and courses, and I’m considering going back to university.
I believe that life long learning is crucial. Every day is an adventure with new discoveries. I love questions, observing others and how we all grow to become better and wiser people through our simple everyday experiences.
I thought homeschooling was only about educating my children, but it was an opportunity for me to continue learning and growing as well.