Friday, August 29, 2014

The Blog in Which I Talk About School

Last year, we began homeschooling our 2 older kids.  Friends have asked why and I haven't really gotten into the why primarily because the topic of school, regardless of which type you choose, is an emotionally loaded topic full of strong opinions.

Foremost, I am not anti-public school.  M went there for 2 years and had an amazing kindergarten year and an ok to good first grade year.  I know many phenomenal public school teachers who are doing an insane amount for their students with awesome results.  I am not anti private school either although right now our family budget is very anti private school.  There are pros and cons to every type of schooling.  One does not trump the others as "the best."  Lay that mommy guilt down and just educate your kids in some manner.

I am also not pro-homeschool.  If it was illegal, if I had to work, if it made me insane every day, or if it wasn't working for my child's best, I wouldn't do it or stress about it.  I am not your stereotypical homeschooler.  I have not even for one day worn a denim dress with appliques, done my hair in a long braid, or driven a 15 passenger van.  Not that there is anything wrong with that! We did not choose to take our kids out of public school to shield them from secularism or Evolution or to protect them from the world.   We chose to homeschool because we wanted a say in our children's education beyond dropping them off and signing some papers each evening.   We chose to homeschool them because we love hanging out with our kids and Hubs unusual work schedule allows us to spend more time as a family this way.  We homeschool because our 7 year olds love of learning grew dim after long days of getting on the bus at 7:20am and sitting in class till 3:15pm everyday with only one short recess each day.   No seven year old should be so disenchanted with learning.  We chose to homeschool because I got sick of being called up to the school at 10:01am to pick up my not even the slightest bit ill child because he now was qualified as there for the day (and therefore they got their $$) but then reprimanded when I kept him home because he was actually sick yet again with a germ going around his classroom.

I don't plan on being a homeschooler forever.  For these 2 kids, for this year, for this family, it's a good choice....most days. Next year, it might not be.  For now, our districted school is NOT an option for our family as it's in a state of chaos after losing dozens of teachers in the past 2 years, including the 2 teachers M had.  That school might get it's act together and be an option in the future. Other public schools could be/ will probably be in our future in the next couple years.

Homeschooling is not all sunshine and rainbows, folks.  I know many mamas who have visions of taking their youngs ones and jumping in an rv and traipsing across the country while homeschooling their perfectly behaved brood of children.  I have had exactly 1 day like that, maybe only a half day like that. There are moments of amazing discoveries and perfect harmony when everyone is doing their work and completely understanding it.  There are many more moments of sheer determination and some of wanting to slam your head repeatedly against a wall.  For example when your child slowly sounds out the exact same word wrong 100 times in a row.  The picture we imagine and the reality are often very different from each other, for better or worse.

I don't care if you agree with me or not on whether you think it's a good idea to home school or a bad idea. I also give you full permission to change your mind a dozen times with no I told you so.  I am open to always hearing others opinions on the topic.  Last year I had a friend say something about how all homeschool students out achieved public school kids and a public school teacher had the audacity to politely share his experience of home schooled kids and was promptly vilified by 2 dozen homeschool parents. My thoughts on education changed drastically once I had a child of school age and I enjoy hearing how other parents are dealing with the same challenges.  Choosing how to educate our kids is complex emotionally, practically, and fiscally.  It's a great privilege to have a choice in how we educate our kids when others have no school at all.   I"ll say it again, there are pros and cons to every type of schooling. One does not trump the others as "the best."





Dan Dible said...

As a retired 3rd generation teacher I think this is very fair, articulate and positive. The goal is educated, well rounded people.