In the homeschooling world, from time to time, you’ll come across people who have ‘dropped’ this or that subject in the elementary years, and loudly advocate it to be a workable option for others too.
They justify their decision in all manner of ways:
My kids don’t need it for their career
My kids (and/or I) hate it
I don’t have time to teach everything to all my kids
We just weren’t getting to it
We’re just going to focus on the 3Rs
Can parents do such a thing?
Well sure. You are your child’s parent. You can teach them whatever you want, however you want.
Is it allowed?
Well, technically, no. According to most Australian homeschooling laws, we can’t just drop subjects according to our whims. There are key subjects that have to be taught to all children.
Is ‘dropping’ subjects the best thing, educationally, for our children?
No. I don’t agree that it is.
Perhaps your child doesn’t need that subject for their career.
Perhaps neither of you like the subject.
Perhaps you struggle to find time because you are dealing for a large multi-age family and the housework that come with that.
Perhaps it is the subject that is often forgotten.
Perhaps it would be more time efficient to just focus on the 3Rs.
But I can never agree that dropping whole subjects is the best thing for your children’s education.
Homeschooling is about education, not vocation. Its focus is lifelong and not just career focused. There are a lot of things we learn, that we won’t use in our careers, that still have value in our lives.
There are lots of things that we don’t like that have value and should still be learned. Perseverance and joyfulness in all things can be learned when we endured and don’t give up.
Homeschooling is hard work. We have to make school a priority and learn to be organised enough to make it happen. Time management can help families with two children or twenty.
Planning is vital to ensure things aren’t forgotten or constantly skipped. You can’t ‘wing’ homeschooling and do it justice.
And focusing on the 3Rs is very limiting. The 3Rs provide the skills but no content. And without content, you have no use for the 3Rs. It’s like a cart with no horse. (“The Knowledge Deficit” is a great book to read about this.)
I think where people stumble is in incorrectly lining their decisions up with their educational goal. We need to be honest with ourselves. Can we, in all honestly, say, that dropping whole subjects is beneficial to a child’s education?
If our goal was to limit our focus solely to ‘getting a job’, then dropping a subject may work
If our goal was to remove discomfort from our school day, then dropping a subject may work
If our goal was to gain more time, then dropping a subject may work
If our goal was to end our guilt over neglected areas, then dropping a subject may work
If our goal was to simply teach the skeleton skills of reading, writing and arithmetic, then dropping a subject may work.
However, if our goal is to provide our child with a great education, then dropping a subject just won’t work!!
It may certainly seem easier.
But if our goal is a great education, then we need to look at other alternatives.
Remember, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.