Childrearing

There’s Nothing Weird About Homeschooling If It’s The Right Choice For Your Family

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homeschooling-mom-sonThere are a few things in life one can be certain of—gravity, the sun will always rise, Angelina Jolie was made by a beautiful alien race—and then there is everything else. But if you know yourself well enough, while not certain, you can predict at least what you will do and what you definitely will not. For me, I always knew that I would love more candy than stupid food and that I would write. The one thing that I absolutely knew I would never do? Homeschool.

I guess that’s not entirely true. The truth is I never thought enough about homeschooling to rule it out. But that’s like having to rule out putting your body in a snake tank or watching Two and a Half Men.  Some things you just know are not for you or anyone you know. Homeschooling is for weirdos. You may like Two and a Half Men but we can all agree that homeschoolers are weird, right? Homeschooling is for religious zealots. Hippies. Kids with problems. Kids who don’t fit in. Parents with problems. Parents who don’t fit in. Except that none of that is me. (I fit in, right? You like me, right?)

Okay well I’m definitely sure none of that applies to my husband, so let’s go with that. And yet here we are, homeschooling our 8-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. What in God’s name compelled us? Spoiler alert: it wasn’t God.

What happened was a combination of things. First of all I don’t know if you all know this, but school isn’t like it was when we were kids. Remember kindergarten? Playing in the sand? Blocks? Nap time? Or even first or second grade where you learned to read and write and also had recess, P.E. every day and did art and music? Yeah, well that doesn’t happen anymore in some public schools. Somewhere along the way someone decided that we weren’t performing well in schools so the best way to achieve success would be to take away what our greatest thinkers from Einstein to Mr. Rogers say is the the most important thing kids can do—play. Instead we are now putting 5-year-old children behind desks for six hours with a 20 MINUTE break for recess and another half hour so they can eat lunch. They are now making all children test to make sure that they know things the average kid is not developmentally ready to learn and learn it THE BEST. The ones that are falling behind? In many schools they take away their recess so they can study more. You know that feeling when you are struggling with a problem and you go for a run, or take a walk, and suddenly the answer appears to you? Kids don’t get that freedom in public school.

In my state, budget cuts mean that unless the parents raise the money, schools often don’t have music or art. Those things are frivolous and extra. Plato said, “ The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future in life.” He also said, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm and gaeity to life and to everything.” He said it better than I could so I thought I’d throw that in there.

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