this is the second in a series about mythbusting with my eldest, diana. she has agreed to my interviewing her to blog about her experience thus far as a homeschooler. for part one, please go here.
mom: "you've said that people ask you if you do the same amount of work as a homeschooler as would a public-schooler."
diana: "this is not just one occasion like some of the other questions (about homeschooling); i have this question asked of me a lot. it usually happens when when somebody asks what school i go to and i tell them that i'm homeschooled. they tell me, 'oh you are so lucky,' and i say, 'why?' they tell me, 'well, you don't have to do work if you're homeschooled.' and i say, 'no, i've got just as much work as anyone else does. homeschool doesn't change the amount of work that i have.'"
mom: "what do you tell people about what you do as a homeschooler?"
diana: "i do a lot of similar subjects (as public-schoolers): math, english/language arts, science sometimes, and i also do some other things.* i get plenty of exercise, i used to take lessons for playing piano, irish dance, and yoga. i work as owner of 'the yummy brownie,' i read all the time, i do chores, i play with legos, and i do a zillion other things. so nobody can really say i don't work because i'm homeschooled."
mom: "some people might think that all you are doing is fun stuff, like legos, or you get to just play and not work. how would you respond to that?"
diana: "you are right, some people might think that, because mostly it's true. i don't consider my work my work, i consider my work my play and i like doing school stuff, so someone can say that 'you just get to do the things you want all day' and i could say, 'yes, because that's what i want to do all day.' of course, there are some things that i don't really want to do, and then i figure out a way to make them fun."
mom: "can you give me an example?"
diana: "when i find something that i don't want to do, i make a game out of it. if i don't want to eat a certain food, then i pretend that it's a sort of test to make me stronger or i build a tiny machine and the tiny machine's job is to put food in my mouth. if i don't want to do something in my workbook, then i pretend that maybe i'm a scribe or a monk in the middle ages writing down a book, which is much more interesting than writing down in a workbook. then i turn something i don't like into something fun, because it's a game. if something is really slowing me down, then i stop and take a break and then come back to it a little bit later."
mom: "you mean you actually like to do do math and science and language arts? some kids complain about those subjects."
diana: "yes! math is interesting. science, if it involves experiments, i'm all over it, because experimenting is so much fun. language arts? it's good for me to know these because i can help improve my writing and i love my writing. also, i can read more because if i know about word roots, i can take apart a word, figure out what it means, and put it back together."
mom: "what are the main differences, in your opinion, between homeschool and public school in terms of work?"
diana: "i think there are different ways to measure work. if you are talking about how much time it takes to get through all of it, i'd say that for public-schoolers, it takes forever to get all the work done because, seriously, it's a 7 hour day of working, and then you go home and do your homework. i often wonder how public-schoolers get anything else done! however, if you are measuring work by the challenge, it really depends on each person. because different schools are different. if you are in advanced academics vs regular public school there's a difference, and just about every homeschooled person goes at a different pace, and the way to really learn things well is to have just the right amount of challenge. if you have just the right amount of challenge, the work would seem harder, right? and if you weren't challenged at all, you'd just whip through it and it would be super easy and you would also get bored.
"i also get to arrange my schedule myself in homeschooling,
and public-schoolers have their schedules made for them."
mom: "would you consider that an advantage or a disadvantage, arranging your work schedule for yourself while homeschooling?"
diana: "it depends on what kind of person you are. if you have trouble making a schedule yourself and filling your day as best you can, then a public-schooler's schedule would be useful. if you don't like having people telling you what you should do at certain times, it's nicer to have my kind of schedule."
mom: "another thing, though, is about the choice of work and your input into those choices. how much of a part do you play in determining what you will spend your time working on?"
diana: "well, there are some things that i've got to do during the day. i can't take them off my schedule but i can pick what time i want to have them done. there are some orther parts of my schedule that you (mom) don't tell me i have to do but i have a personal goal to do them. for example, writing letters to my friends. i feel guilty if i don't write them. so it makes me happier if i can put that on my schedule. mostly, my favorite part about my schedule is that i get to choose when i do things. most of the time, you (mom) set an end time (for example, get all my work done before dinner), but i get to choose what time in any other part of ther day i can do anything else.
"overall, i have most of the control over what and when i do things. somethings you (mom) or dad handles, but most things i do myself. i think that it is working out fine for right now."
*from dawn: i do look at the state standards for each grade level we cover, just for reference, so that we don't skip over a topic. we certainly are not limited to those, though. a smattering of subjects we've explored: biology, chemistry, geology, astronomy, cosmology, physics, engineering; grammar, homophones, word roots, spelling, editing; ancient history through the renaissance; government and political process; comparative religion, coding/programming, website design; economics and business management; cartography; geometry, pre-algebra, topology; music theory, notation, composition, and performance; conversational french; ceramics/sculpting, candle-making, drawing, painting, weaving; aikido, irish dance, and yoga; poetry, creative writing, blogging, journalism, publishing; and so on . . .