Childrearing

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

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And don’t get me started on the daily homework packets for said five-year-olds. Now I know there are some children who thrive in this environment. Some kids love homework and worksheets and sitting still and listening. Most of those children are of the female variety. And that’s great for them. But that’s not my kids.

I’m not blaming the teachers. I have talked to many teachers who work with little kids who are as appalled by the changes as many parents are. I have talked to many teachers who have quit because they couldn’t stand watching kindergartners and first graders wring their hands as they try to get  answers to the tests right. Teachers who left because they felt like they were “breaking” these kids into behaving when their little bodies just wanted to move and play which at this age IS learning.  Teachers hands are tied.

Now listen, kids are resilient. They are going to be fine, I do believe that. But if you can do better than fine, wouldn’t you want to do that for your kid? So if you can’t afford private school, what do you do? You can search and find a charter school that does its best within these parameters. Or you can – gasp – homeschool.

If we didn’t live in a city that had a thriving homeschool community, I probably wouldn’t have done it. Because one fair question I always get is “Where does she make friends?” So, to give you an example of a week in the life of my 8-year-old daughter, these are some of the things she does with other kids: She is in Girl Scouts, on swim team, is taking a costume making class. She is taking Geography, a Writing and Spelling class, an art class, is in a book club and a group that meets monthly to all come together to share their research on a particular country. One day a week she goes to a farm for her Animal Science class. We also go outside on the trampoline whenever the f*ck we want to, go on nature walks, go to the library and research things that excite them, stay inside and watch a movie, paint, write plays, write and read books. In other words, make childhood last a little longer.

The absolute truth about why I chose to homeschool is that I felt a calling to do it. Yes, the state of the public school system gave me ample reasons to trust my instinct about following this calling. But my daughter was actually in a charter school that managed to address many of the issues I described above. Yet we still did it. I never could have predicted this about myself. This wasn’t me. Or so I thought. I had all the ideas of what homeschoolers look like that I described before. But I had to follow my heart. And I may change my mind at some point. I’m not saying there aren’t days where I crave more time to myself and dream that a schoolbus that would pick them up and take them away for the day. But for now, most days, I love having them here. I love knowing that if they have a interest (and at this age there are SO many interests) I can help them pursue it. I can help kindle the fire that burns inside them. So the thing I thought I’d never do, I am really loving.

But I will NEVER watch Two and a Half Men.

(Photo: Peter Fuchs/Shutterstock)

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