OK, I'll admit it. When Karen first mentioned the idea of homeschooling our children I was, in a word,
I grew up in a christian family and had always believed in God and enjoyed my time in church. I even went so far as to tour local churches as part of a Teenage Christian choir. I had even broached the idea of homeschooling with my mother because one of my friends in that very group was home schooled. My dear sweet mother looked at me like a cow looks at an oncoming train and she said...
There was no discussion. No give and take. no way. no chance of parole even with good behavior. She absolutely would hear nothing about it. Then she spouted off all the tired cliches about home schooled kids "you won't learn how to interact with other people." "It'll damage your social skills" "You won't get a real education" and, just to add insult to injury "You won't be able to do all the things you enjoy in school"
Let's look at these individually, shall we?
"You won't learn how to interact with other people"? "It'll damage your social skills"? Right, because getting pinched, kicked and spit on by my fellow classmates was such great interaction. I'd hate to miss it. Oh, and let's not forget hiding my clothes in a running shower while I was in gym so I had nothing to change into. Wow the great memories keep flooding back as I write this post. I'm sorry to have ever thought about being home schooled.
OK, truthfully, Interacting with other people is an important Social skill that everyone needs to learn. But the thing is, schools can't teach that nearly as well as your average homeschool. Our girls all belong to a co-op which allows them the opportunity to interact with children around their own age. It's also among a smaller group then your average public school classroom.
My class had 28 kids in it when I graduated. The co-op has 11. A lot of time in public school is spent on "crowd control" issues and learning to conform so as not to disturb the group as a whole. In co-op. Time is spent on actual learning as well as proper interaction with peers. Surely even the biggest skeptic can see how much better that is.
" You won't get a real education" This myth hearkens back to the olden days (you know, way back in the 90's) when people would "homeschool" their children so they could make them work ridiculously long hours on the family farm. This practice is, of course, now illegal everywhere but china. There has also been a tremendous growth in the amount of curriculum available to assist in planning out lessons and making it easier to ensure all important topics are covered thoroughly. My friend that I mentioned earlier actually had to take her GED test after graduating because her diploma from homeschooling wasn't considered a "real" diploma. fortunately, this perception has changed over the years.
"You won't be able to do all the things you enjoy in school" My schedule my senior year of high school consisted of sitting in study hall for the first two hours of the day, going to band practice, then going to lunch. Doesn't that sound enjoyable? Wouldn't it have made more sense to come in to school at the start of band and do things I enjoyed at home??? Oh wait. The state needed me to be there at the start of the day as part of their attendance requirement which is how school funding is calculated.True, I would miss the music (both band and chorus) but man, I sure wouldn't miss sitting in a hard plastic chair at a table with three of my "closest friends" for the first two hours (and, ironically enough, the last hour) of my state mandated school day. It got to where I knew the flight pattern on every single fly in the room before the year was done. BOOOORINGGGGGG!!
So, after sitting down and writing this post seven years before it was needed, I looked at my darling wife and said "I want to help" Because no child of mine will go through what I had to endure. No child of mine will spend most of there time learning to conform and not be a "distraction" instead of real, honest-to-goodness learning. No child of mine will be bullied. It's really that simple.
I work nights so, unfortunately, I'm usually asleep while the kids are having school but it does have it's advantages. The grocery store is open when I get out of work so it's a simple matter to stop in and get anything we may discover that we need for our lessons that day. I'm also near the library so dropping books off in the morning is quite easy.And of course, there's the fact that I try to make sure we have all the supplies we need and, on occasion will even help with the housework (only if Armageddon is upon us. I don't want the 4 horsemen to see a dirty house after all )
But there's something much more important. The best support I can give is encouragement. I love having the kids run up to me and shout "Daddy! Look what we learned about today!!" when I get up in the afternoon. I love playing educational games with them and listening to them read to me, or each other. I also like to read to them. When the kids get frustrated, I do my best to help them feel better.
I also encourage Karen whenever I can. When she is trying to get 4 kids out the door to co-op in record time because they wouldn't get up, I'm there. When she's ready to give up and send the kids to public school, I'm there to remind her of why we chose to make this journey. When my two year old is pulling my seven year old's hair during the pledge of allegiance while the five your old is yelling at the three year old for laughing about it....She's on her own. Nah. I'm just kidding. I'm there for that too. As often as I can be.She does a great job with the kids and has even taught me a thing or two bout how much young children can do if given the freedom to try.
I'm truly grateful that I've been given the opportunity to become a home school parent. I'm also truly grateful to be married to such a wonderful home school mom.