Friday, August 15, 2014

No Parental Involvment Required

There are many beautiful things about homeschooling. One of those things is the independence that it fosters in our children as they learn to learn. But, I fear there is a movement within homeschooling that is making it too easy for parents to be lazy, the No Parental Involvement Required movement.

Ok, so there really is no official NPIR movement, but there is something going on within the homeschooling community that is alarming. When my family, and I believe most families, chose to keep their children out of the traditional school movement, a major part of that decision was the ability to be in control of what our children are learning. The increasing number of homeschoolers has given us access to numerous curriculum options. Having choices has meant that homeschooling parents are able to cater curriculum to their own families in a highly customizable way. But it has also bred a new type of curriculum, the no parental involvement required curriculum and I fear an increase in lazy hands-off homeschooling.

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As I have browsed the various social media sites that I am involved in, I have noticed a steady increase in the number of parents who are not only just looking for low involvement curriculum, but are also unafraid to admit that they simply do not wish to teach their children! No, there isn't anything inherently wrong with using some low parental involvement curricula. I quite enjoy the fact that I don't need to stand over my children through our entire school day, but I am afraid that there is an issue here that need to be addressed. If we are removing parents from the role of teachers are we really doing our kids justice? Where parents were once forced to be hands on with their children, they now have the option to step back completely. When a parent is not involved with their child's schooling it comes close to leaving them right back where they were before homeschooling. What benefit is it to our children when we remove ourselves from the roll of teacher?

I believe as die hard homeschooling families, we have a tendency to only show the happy part of homeschooling and as a result, give off the impression that homeschooling is easy. It isn't, at least not always. We have really great days where everything runs smoothly and the kids are having fun and learning, but most days are hard work, really hard work. We have created this illusion and curriculum companies have perpetuated the idea of a hands off education by producing NPIR curriculum. Sadly, there seems to be quite a market for these types of curricula as more and more become available each year.

There are some seasons in which a low parent involvement curriculum can be a great blessing. New babies, moves, extended illnesses all interfere in a way that make homeschooling all but impossible without them. Children get older and naturally need us less and less. However, these curricula should not be the norm. They should be the exception. Our children need us to be involved. The homeschooling movement needs parents to be involved. God requires us to be involved.

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