It’s not just for conservative Christian families any longer.
That’s a stereotype. One which I used to believe myself. Simply because those were the only people I knew who did so. I’ve learned my lesson.
I now know several families who have chosen to teach their children at home, with a traditional homeschool method, or via cyber school. And for several, their decision to do so is not solely based on religious convictions.
I am a product of public school. As is my family. My husband. His family. My children have been in public school since pre-school. The snapshot memories I have of school are positive ones. For some odd reason I remember most vividly a report I wrote about Monticello in 4th grade, ending my essay with a very dramatic, “And then, it burnt to a crisp!” It would seem that I began my habit for adding literary “jazz hands” to my pieces at a very young age.
While I do harbor some concerns about public school education, I am not researching the homeschooling option out of anger or elitism. When someone asks me “Why”, my answer, albeit perhaps naive or juvenile, is “Because I think my kid needs more.”
Zane is an independent learner. A reader. Starts and finishes homework without prodding. Enjoys projects. And is VERY inquisitive. The questions he asks me on a Sunday drive to church are philosophical in nature, and, at times, over my head. (Wait? So how could I teach him??? Oh no . . .) Am I saying he’s a genius?
Um, heck no.
But, lately, he has begun communicating boredom. In his gentle, old-soul way, he has shared that at times, it’s hard to complete work with a partner in class because the talking is distracting. I know for a FACT that he is not innocent of being a distraction himself . . . it’s not as if I’m saying my precious snowflake (thanks, Alyssa) can do no wrong. He mentioned this week that he needed to position himself at a table by himself so he could finish his Haiku and Sanguine poems away from other kids who were talking. Again, no dramatic emotions infused into these statements. But they do give me pause. See, he really enjoys learning. And while this may sound horribly judgmental, here it is:
Public school DOES come with sooooooooooo much other stuff. (Ok, life does, too. I hear you. But, this is MY story, yo.) And as I watch my 8-year-old crave information (he keeps a question notebook) I am concerned that this hunger he has is at risk of flat-lining.
There. I said it. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.
Amidst social pressures, and hours of homework (worksheet, after worksheet, after worksheet), and the fatigue of an 8-4 day (our bus takes 30 minutes to get to school and 30 minutes home), I foresee a “dulling down” effect – that’s what my “mother gut” is telling me. It makes me want to initiate educational CPR. Yet, there is an alternative. He could be learning MORE information in HALF that time, as well as choose some elective classes in areas of interest – like photography and art, etc. via the homeschool or cyber route.
The majority of learning would happen with me, but my research has shown that there are several options for group connection with other homeschooled children in the area. The beauty of what I do for a living is that I can work virtually anywhere. Literally, virtually: from laptop, smart phone, tablet. So, while I would have to now establish concrete “store hours”, which I’ve been needing to do anyway, I am not tied down by having to run to/from a “brick and mortar” location every day.
As for Harper? We are exploring a performing arts charter school for her (in graphic art) which, while public, operates on block scheduling (better for the way she thinks/organizes) and would give her the opportunity to explore her interests as part of the daily curriculum. If she is not accepted to the school, I’m not sure what we will do . . .
So, is this post about the public school? No.
Is this post about YOU choosing public school? No.
Have I made any disparaging comments about the state of public education? No.
Is it sad that I have to explain myself? Yes.
Do I think my son would excel in a homeschooling model? Yes.
The thought of homeschooling has been lingering with me for years. I never researched it thoroughly because 1) I didn’t think I had the brains to do it, 2) Upon moving to Beaver we had some big time adjusting to do as a family, 3) I started a new business 3 years ago for which I needed the time to build while the kids were in school, 4) I had this misunderstanding that if one homeschooled, they did so for life – now I realize we can reevaluate from year to year, and 4) I didn’t know where to start.
Reasons why I now think I’m ready?
Because I think my son needs it and would benefit from it.
And if that’s the case? I accept.