In the dead of winter, when too many indoor days string together and our creativity begins to wane, homeschooling can feel a bit daunting. It can feel so much easier to have the kids join our neighbors on the yellow school bus rather than muster the energy and drive to spend another day inside or wade through snow drifts to another homeschool activity. That's when I think of the truth in Cevin Soling's quote from the recent, Alternatives to Compulsory Education Conference: "We are incarcerating children for our own convenience." (The videos from the conference are now available on the conference website and are definitely worth watching.)
But then spring comes. The days flip from inside to outside and I feel grateful that my children have the freedom to explore empty beaches on bright, warm May mornings; to spend most of their days in the sunshine exploring their world, discovering on their own terms, revealing their true passions without coercion or predetermined agendas; to enjoy their wide open time with other children who learn and explore in similar ways, guided by their powerful curiosity instincts.
This is freedom to learn. It's not always easy, it's not always simple and straightforward--especially in the middle of a New England winter--but it always feels right. It always feels right that children should be granted freedom over coercion, autonomy over control. It feels right that under these conditions of freedom and autonomy children--indeed all of us--learn best. It feels right that we grown-ups should sacrifice some of our own freedom and autonomy for the benefit of our children, and not the other way around.
Homeschooling is not always convenient. Sometimes it's downright tough. Just like parenting. But the good days always outweigh the bad, and I always choose education freedom over coercive schooling for my children. Always. But especially in May.