There Is A Reason for Good Packaging
Cyndy always says that there are as many ways to home school as there are children and parents and that they are all better than public education. I smile every time I think about that. I am sure some don't see what we mean. The system damages our kids in so many ways beyond fear of violence, attacks on values and lack of flexibility. Some see the damage, but because it happens so slowly, so imperceptibly, we don't get it, until we find ourselves dealing with the consequences and wondering why.
The conversation is further muddled, because home education from 0-12 (approx.) is different from home education after that point. We talk on this blog about the benefits of letting children play and learn experientially. We talk a lot about trusting your children to "get it" even if all you do is identify and follow their interests as defined by what they are curious about. The thing is that while this can be the main course in the early years, practicality dictates that it becomes more of a side dish in the later years, say 12-18.
The key for us is preserving curiosity at all costs, through all the years. You are dead without it.
Still, for me, packaging this approach up in a box called "Unschooling" or "Unstructured" doesn't sell very well. It scares people off. So I am determined to come up with a new label. "Elementary Experiential Model" or "The Think System" (from Music Man fame) or "Structured Associative Approach" are my front runners. Same idea, new package.
When asked, "How are you going to educate at home? Respond with, "Of all the approaches I have studied in depth I have settled on a very sophisticated approach. I am convinced I can do it, and that my children will benefit." "Oh really? Which approach is that?" "The Advanced Experiential Model." It focusses on using an advanced curriculum developed by young but bright minds in collabberation with older and more mature minds and is flexible to meet all the needs of my children at a low cost." They will of course ask, "Oh really? How much is it?" "Well it varies with each child, but let me just say it is affordable."
At that point, quickly change the subject and pray that the subject doesn't come up again until your kids are Rhodes Scholars.