Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 11- More Time to Pursue Interests

time to pursue interests
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Well, here we are at the second-last post in this seriesTo be honest, I had so many reasons listed that I thought I’d be writing these until Christmas. 🙂 I can only pray that they have helped you to solidify your decision and have been an encouragement to you.

As I’ve stated in many previous posts, children learn best when they have an interest in what they are doing. While we can certainly take that statement to mean we should get their input on what subjects they will be taking, we can also take it one step further.

Kids who have time to learn about themselves and what they like often find that they have developed a consuming passion for one area or another. Whether it is trains, snakes, karate, or dance, in the right environment, children can take these ‘hobbies’ and turn them into so much more.

Does this mean that your budding ballerina will be the next Anna Pavlova? Maybe…maybe not. While there are a great many people who have pursued careers borne of childhood delights, there are just as many who have not.

Does this mean that the time invested in these pasttimes were a waste? Certainly not. In fact, the more time children are able to spend on those things they love, the more they will learn. These passions that your children have discovered are often the gateway to learning about oodles and oodles of other things.

I wrote in the past about my daughter’s obsession with anime and my son’s love for wildlife photography. These interests have led to so many amazing rabbit trails that, frankly, I would never have even thought of introducing them on my own.

Who would have thought that anime would lead to a determination to master not only the Japanese language, but also the Japanese writing characters? 

Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that my son taking pictures at the creek would inspire him to become an authority on identifying the wildlife in our area.

Those two examples are just a tiny synopsis of the type of learning that occurred while my children were simply doing what they loved to do.

But what about children in school? Although they, like all children, will find hobbies that pique their interest, just how much time do they get to spend doing them?

Admittedly, when I was in school, I was still able to go to dance class 3-4 times a week and participate in a dance company, but times have changed. I graduated in the nineties- before the incessant after-school programs and the introduction of social media. Kids in ‘those days’ (boy, I feel old) were actually able to be kids in the after-school hours.

It just isn’t so anymore.

Between the after-school programs, social media, overscheduling, and- let’s face it- the endless drilling and testing in institutionalized education, kids today are just too tired to do anything worthwhile in their spare time anymorea truth disclosed to me by my daughter recently.

What we, as parents, need to think about is what will be the ultimate repercussions of this?

One consequence is pretty clear from the get-go…children who have no interests will usually end up settling for a job they’d rather not have but have been ‘bred’ to do.

Instead of this nation being filled to the brim with ardent artists, impassioned musicians, and inspiring entrepreneurs, we’ve raised a population of mediocre ‘factory employees’ who do what they have to do to pay their bills and put food on the table, but have no zest for life and certainly no incentive to ever try to better themselves because this is what school has taught them to do.

What would happen if we would give our children the time they need to pursue the dreams they so desire? In truth, the answer to that isn’t a given.

But would it hurt to try?