What Comes Out of Our Kids When No One is Looking?

This morning I was clacking away at a new post on the pros and cons of homeschooling when my 9th grader sat down next to me wanting to share something. Someone had reposted one of her Tumblr blogs and added a lively endorsement of it. Because of the repost, her traffic spiked, she added followers, got private messages and a bunch of new notes (Tumblr speak for comments). She was stoked and wanted to read me the post.

What great timing. Her blog was a good example of what I hope my kids will gain from their education. I decided to strike while the opportunity was hot and share her post here. Check back later this week for The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling. In the meantime, let’s talk for a minute about education.

As most of you know, we homeschool. I suppose if we had to categorize our primary homeschooling method, we’d call ourselves unschoolers. We’ll write more about that later this week. But in short, we don’t typically use text books. Our curriculum is often informal and comes from a wide range of places.

I guess today’s post proves that curriculum can come from just about anywhere. Even Disney movies!

My daughter Skyler is a musician, and she LOVES Disney movie music. I never thought of it as curriculum, but I guess everything is curriculum to some degree.

Jody and I always talk about parenting with the end result in mind. Shouldn’t we educate our kids with the end result in mind too?

So, here’s the big question: What is it that we want from our kids’ education (whether we homeschool or use a private or public school)?

I want my kids’ education to give them effective communication tools, the ability to reason and think critically, and the skills and knowledge they’ll need for their unique life.

As unschoolers, we don’t do a lot of formal testing, but things like Skyler’s blog post are good indicators that her education is meeting our goals. I didn’t assign this to her. I had no idea she even wrote it. There were no cross curriculum objectives or common core standards involved (not there’s anything wrong with objectives and standards — as people who strive for excellence, we know they have a place).

But as parents, we are all the directors of our kids’ education (even if we choose to partner with a school for it), and we need frequent evidence that their education is meeting our goals. As often as possible, the evidence should come from the things that they do of their own free will, and not only from the results they achieve on assigned tasks.

What comes out of them when no one is looking is the best indicator of who they are becoming, and at the end of the day, isn’t that what education is all about?

By the way…did you read Sky’s post? No? Go do it! Just click here.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

More Posts

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

One thought on “What Comes Out of Our Kids When No One is Looking?

Comments are closed.