We Make Our Own!
One of the joys we have in being human is in exercising our freedom to choose and to take each case as it comes to us. We are not robots who are forced into behaviors by their programming. We see things; we think about things; and we choose our course of action or beliefs appropriately. And as long as that remains true of us, we will live every day of our lives on one slippery slope or another. There is not reason to fear this.~Real Live Preacher
No Child Left Behind regulations are tied to federal funding. The federal government requires accountability for the money that they allocate to public schools. Therefore, schools receive funding from the federal government based on test scores that their children produce.
Homeschoolers are not required to participate in the NCLB program, nor do we want to. We are not federally regulated nor do we receive federal or state money. We have chosen to opt out of the public school system. We value our freedom to meet the needs of our individual children where they are by being flexible and open to opportunities that specific subject and time-framed skills testing limit. We value our freedom to teach our children and not teach to a test.
This page is about leaving children behind. These stories & vignettes offer a view into how and why we live life without school. We homeschool and we define our own lives! Some of us, many of us, do not think in terms of "standards," though. We see our children as individual lives who defy a set of standards. But most all of us have ideals and goals for our children. We may define those from a different angle and a different point of view than might be expected!
These stories, commentary & vignettes offer a view into how and why we live life without school.
A few Questions we hope to address:
- What does accountability prove?
- What do our children learn from testing?
- Are there side effects to standardized testing?
- Should we hold children accountable?
- What is our responsibility to our children?
- What does it really mean to leave a child behind?
- What do children really need from us?
- How do children learn and who decides what is best for each and every individual child?
Stories & Commentary
Posts by Guest Authors
About four years ago my older daughter was in public school, my son was in day care, and the little one was not even a glimmer in her daddy’s eye. I was working full time with a community mental health agency, doing consulting & counseling in the schools and community....
Posts by Featured Authors
NCLB and Me, by Marsha
I just spent some time perusing a website (1.) all about No Child Left Behind. I haven’t paid a lot of attention to this issue prior to now, because our children have all been homeschooled for the past sixteen years. Homeschoolers are exempt from NCLB. However, I do remember hearing President Bush’s inaugural speech when he became president for the first time, and I also remember shaking my head and saying out loud, “More testing is not what this country needs.” ....
Deschooling Our Lives, by Alicia
At the end of the exhibits all the adults were given handouts describing the exact SOLs that were covered by the exhibits. Naturally I took these sheets home to file for when our formal homeschooling took place so I could craft a lesson plan or a unit study that would cover these SOLS....
I intend to leave no child of mine behind. I intend to address my children as individual people. I will not leave their individuality behind. I intend to address my children as human beings who have a right to choose what they want to learn however much is within the realm of possibility. I intend to address my children as natural born learners who do not need to be coerced, punished or rewarded to perform for me or anyone else, especially a stranger. I intend to address my children as the rational dreamers that they are today and provide the protection as well as the information and means to independence that they need as they move into their own adulthood. I intend to allow my children a childhood while they are still children. I intend not to hold my children accountable to me or a stranger in any way that disconnects them from the authenticity of who they are and the authenticity of life. I intend to be accountable to my children and to hold the weight of that accountability on my back and not place that burden upon them.
My Standards of Learning:
Learn to know yourself
Learn to know yourself in the world
Learn the world, how you can serve it and how it can serve you
Learn the people of the world; know them as they truly are
Learn to identify what you need and how to take care of your needs
Learn your passions, learn your mind, and trust in who you are
What were my goals for my kids, the ones that I think are more realistic, and which I know are much cheaper, and more meaningful than NCLB? I wanted to provide them the opportunity to learn to think, to love to learn for the sake of learning, and to have values about God, family, and community. I wanted to educate them in such a way that they would have their own opinions and be able to defend them articulately, to provide for themselves and their families, and to give back. They have exceeded my expectations. That’s more than you can say for educational reform. While the politicians and the educators wrangle over NCLB, may homeschoolers continue to live and learn. Homeschooling allows each family unit to initiate learning in the way that suits them best. They can take into consideration every facet of their life, and how each piece fits together to form the whole. They can flex and bend as children grow, and interests and needs change. When disasters and emergencies happen, when a parent is deployed, or ill, or a family member needs special help, the homeschool simply reconfigures and the learning continues. There is no need for the time-consuming flux of legislation, and trickle-down theory, or any of the unwieldiness of a “system”. Families and homeschools are more flexible and more personal, more attuned and aware, than a public school could ever be. While we don’t need written policies and we certainly don’t want to get involved in mandating what another homeschooling family “should be” doing, it is lovely to be able to look back and see where we’ve come from, and how our expectations have borne fruit. And the fruit is sweet.
We have only one NCLB standard in our lives: Love. Love drives us to recognize and celebrate the divinity in each of our three children, and to evoke in them a similar compassionate recognition of the inherent worth and value of others.
Love inspires us to find what inspires our children, to recognize that while they are part and parcel of their father and I, and integrally bound with one another, they are also unique individuals, as completely different from us and each other as they are similar.
Love reminds us that discipline ultimately means teaching -- and that our children discipline us as readily as we discipline them. Love helps us find ways to reach each of our children, to support their different needs and interests, to respect who they are, to guide them as each one needs to be guided, to find, celebrate and nurture the gifts in each of them.
Love is the reflection we see in the mirror of our children's faces. Love is the standard that kept us home; created three phenomenal, self-assured, self-disciplined, talented, intelligent and loving teenagers strengthened our family and taught us to live intentionally, deliberately, thoughtfully and with full appreciation of the short gift of time we're given with one another.
Help us create this page!
Back to REAL STORIES: REAL LIVES