Learning Outside the Classroom

For those who aren’t aware, I have been helping my wife home school our children for over 15 years.  You likely know how I feel about the public education system but I am not sure that we ever actually talked about the underlying reasons.  So why do we teach our children at home?

First off, let me stop the teachers out there from reading right now.  I love teachers.  Teaching is one of the two things I love doing most in this world.  I do not however, agree with what our teachers teach or how they teach it in the public education system.  Many teachers I have met are simply doing the best that they can do with the tools they are given and would love the opportunity to change something about public education.  Some think they are doing the best job that can be done… and those teachers and I, do not get along very well.


Thankfully, homeschooling does not have the same restrictions so I can teach for different reasons and with different goals in mind:

  1. We ensure that our children learn what they need to live.  Understanding how credit card interest works is way more important than calculus in our family (or trigonometry or algebra for that matter).
  2. My kidlets learn what they want to learn, which means they love learning more.
  3. My kidlets don’t like being bullied and I don’t like dealing with my children being bullied (or turning into bullies).
  4. We get to travel when we want, not around crazy holidays or religious breaks.
  5. Nobody has to get dressed in the morning… I think better if I get to stay in pajamas for a few hours after waking up so it makes sense that kids would to.
  6. No tests… no cheating… no stress.
  7. Growing up without peer pressure and cliques.
  8. We like our kidlets more than any paid public employee can.
  9. Children should be able to follow their dreams and passions.  The school system rarely allows this.
  10. We teach passion and love of learning.  Schools teach memorization skills.


I admit that I learned a lot in school because I was a decent student.  I still love learning today and a lot of that credit goes to some great teachers I met along the way.  But a whole lot that I learned in public schools, had nothing to do with public education.


I learned so much through extra-curricular activities like debate, chess, and even tennis club.  Heck, some months I learned more in detention than I did in classes.

So when I saw that Wisdom Home School was hosting a two-day debate course I jumped at the opportunity and registered two of my boys.  It was a two-hour drive East of Edmonton but we were offered free beds for the night so we could be all bright eyed and bushy tailed early in the morning for day two.

For those who are home schooling and have never paid attention to the courses offered by your school, you might want to check out their website or Facebook page and see what they offer.  The debate course we all attended was amazing.  The instructor was amazing.  I feel like I got more out of the course than my kids did but they both gained valuable knowledge and life skills that will benefit them forever.


If you have youth in school, please take this opportunity to talk to your kids about joining extra-curricular activities and clubs.  I don’t know what else I could say to convince you how important this could be.  Hopefully you had some experiences in high school that you can tell them about.  If there was something that I could do to convince you then I would… but today my goal is to get a few people to follow in the footsteps that we just made… footsteps I never thought I would create while home schooling.


We have been home schooling for the past 15 years or so, and in that time I can count on one hand the number of school events we participated in.  I would love to say that this was because my wife is an introvert but the fact is that I honestly didn’t see a value in these activities until I saw the debate course and it got personal.  If the other courses offered are anything like the debate course I will be one happy home schooling father.  The debate course was a college-quality learning activity with more fun and practicality than I ever hoped for.


I think I might be writing more about our home schooling adventures now that over half the kidlets have escaped and our grocery bill is under $2000 a month.  Of course, this November, two days from now, I plan on writing a book, so there might not be a lot of blogging (and it took over a week to post this… surprise).


For those who follow NaNoWriMo every November, set your goals and have a great time writing.  For those who have no idea what I am talking about, NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth happens every November.  The adult side is pretty self explanatory… write 50,000 words.  On the youth side, there are a ton of work sheet s and supplements to help get young  minds into the writing process.


2 responses to “Learning Outside the Classroom

  1. Nice job with the memes! And I got the warm fuzzies reading this for all the reasons and more that I love homeschooling my rugrats.

    • I really try to end my posts with a funny picture or saying but this one hit very close to home so you get a Frank Zappa quote. I honestly feel bad for my first five kids who never had a father who knew that there were debate courses out there… I can’t wait to see what else I have been missing…

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