I believe that the ideal model of education for early to middle childhood is homeschooling.
Does this mean that everyone should pull their kids out of school and homeschool them? No. There are many legitimate reasons for choosing to send a child to public or private school. But in my imagery of a perfect world where everyone was free, poverty non-existant, and everyone treated equally and fairly, there would be (if you'll bear with the cliche) a village supporting the family unit while parents acted as the filters and purveyors of knowledge for their young children.
It might seem strange that I'm such a proponent of homeschooling. My one school-aged child is currently enjoying the adventures of being a public school student and I am adapting to the parenting dynamics necessary for helping a child with that experience. I am also trying to adapt to the idea that all of my children may wish to try the public school paradigm at some point. It's not easy. We're all learning as we go. At this point, my oldest is in public school because I believe in the superiority of homeschooling.
I think the ultimate point of education is to give the person the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in whatever adventures they wish to pursue. When educating children, we also need to give them the opportunity for a broad variety of experiences and the necessary skills to be able to figure out what life offers them and make the choices that will invigorate them and bring them satisfaction.
A potential lack of exposure is probably the primary potential weakness of homeschooling, as I see it.
Therefore, when G announced that she wished to try "regular" school, I agreed to help her pursue that experience. While it seems to me that this choice has seriously slowed her general academic progress, I have to acknowledge that there's more to learning and growth than "the three R's" and perhaps this is a season of her life when she needs to have the time to pursue skills and knowedge that aren't as apparently intellectual.
Meanwhile, she is ever my teacher as well, as attempting to determine how to advocate for her best interest teaches me ideological and emotional flexibility. Not easy lessons, but certainly important ones.
So this entry and those that follow may ramble a bit as I attempt to eke out my thoughts on homeschooling... which may not be of interest to anyone else, but the analysis of such will hopefully help me in my own decisions as time goes by. I'll try to take on some of the obvious and/or popular arguments for and against homeschooling as well.
I think I'll break topics down into idividual entries, when possible, to make for easier reading as well as simplifying the process of finding specific information, later on.