A couple of other golf parents I know have mentioned it. Some sang praises, others said it wasn’t for their child. One particular golf parent who’s daughter competed against Lexi Thompson years ago mentioned that Lexi was homeschooled. Seems like a great idea, after all we could schedule our practices early in the mornings when it’s still cool outside, then do our schoolwork when it’s hot. It’s expected to be a scorching 100+ today here in Southern California in the middle of September.
However, my biggest concern with the girls’ education was their ability to succeed through high school and into college. We had different struggles with our two older daughters who are now in college. I worked full time when they were younger and we had our fair share of educational woes.
Fast forward a decade and I am now repeating the cycle with my younger pair. I find it odd that Nalani would complete math homework but the answers were incorrect. She would then demonstrate how her teacher would want her to calculate the problem. I would look at her worksheet to see if there was an example (trying my best to stay devoted to her very patient teacher who manages a classroom of 33 students). But most of the time, I could not figure out what formula or method was being taught. So, I’d show her “my way” of doing it. One of Nalani’s responses to mommy’s method was, “Oh, that’s so much easier!” Then, something funny happened two weeks later, she came home elated to share that her teacher was jut now teaching “mommy’s method.”
Kayla on the other hand had a different challenge. After spending 7 hours in school she would come home and take 4-5 hours to finish her homework. That’s a lot of hours of schooling for a 5th grader! How could we even fit in running around, playing and especially golf?
There were also concerns with the implementation of Common Core. State and federal testing determines the funding given to our schools. So, Nalani would come home explaining that her teacher is having her practice for a big state test for the next two weeks. So, rather than teaching our children new things, they are just practicing for a state test?
I went to a small workshop last year with a guest speaker sharing the “Unschooling Method.” This was something new to me. But, after hearing her speak, it made so much sense. Granted, I don’t think I have the keen observational abilities to unschool. But, I loved the concept of allowing our children to learn what they want to learn and when they are ready so they actually enjoy learning. A point the speaker made that really stuck with me was how babies learn to walk. We do not provide a 6-week curriculum, teach them how to use their feet and their knees first. They simply choose to learn how to walk because they want to. My big question to the unschooling mom was, “What about math? It’s so important. Will they be prepared for college?” The speaker (who’s daughters both have Masters Degrees) shared how she would wait until the right time to teach math. Her daughter discussed a trip she was eager to take. So, her mother asked her how many days would it take for them to drive there. She then proceeded to look up miles and used addition to perform her calculation. After some time of letting her work out her problem, her mother asked if she’d like to learn a quicker way to figure it out. She then proceeded to teach her long division. Her daughter did something amazing, she was so excited to learn this she asked if she could also calculate another mathematical problem using this process… and another… and so on. It took this unschooling mother 15 minutes to teach something that a typical math curriculum would take weeks to introduce and instruct. But, what was most intriguing was that the unschooled child understood why long division was important, how she could use it in figuring out answers to many of her life experiences and she was actually enjoying math.
I spoke to many parents, posted on my Facebook wall and joined a handful of homeschool groups and forum discussions. I decided to homeschool. I felt it was that important to my children, to help them find ways to enjoy learning, want to learn but also help them learn study habits and discipline. How I would go about doing that, well that will have to be my next blog post!