“Why do you homeschool?”

January 5, 2011 at 12:04 PM 2 comments

Ohh, the ever famous “Why do you homeschool?” question that I have heard for SO long.

 

Well, I never feel like I have enough time to answer this question, or any of the other multitude of sometimes highly personal questions, that people ask me on a fairly regular basis. I also feel like there are not enough words in the dictionary to answer these questions with the emotional feelings I have toward them. Many times, I just give the “speech” that I have developed over the years, and it goes something like this:

Well, I was in second grade when my mother gave me the choice to homeschool or go to “school school” (what we so lovingly called it, ha ha). What second-grader doesn’t want to stay with their mommy all day while they do school? My little brother also made the decision to homeschool. Mom has always worked really hard for us, we’ve gone to proms and homecomings and we have played sports, we always chose to homeschool at the end of every year when mom let us choose again, and basically we love it. It is just right for us.

Somehow, I don’t feel like this speech is really enough. It can’t possibly encompass all the arguments, all the bad days, all the nights where we’ve struggled to sleep, all the days I’ve felt “funny” for actually liking to learn. It also cannot come close to scratching the surface to all the nights my mother cried herself to sleep, while I sat and encouraged her that she was doing the right thing and the best she could for our family. The insecurities, the struggles, and the frustration of not having a “snow day” just can’t be expressed in that paragraph.

Other things that I feel are not adequately accounted for in that paragraph are the opportunities we have had. The bond our family has, the numerous activities we have been involved with, the otherwise impossible piano lessons that I took during school hours (the only time the instructor had available), the month-long road trip out west to really immerse ourself in the history of the western states while everyone else was in school, and the chance to grow and learn at our own pace. 

The joy I feel looking back at how my mother tried her best to make sure that we were never “sheltered” and that we were well socialized.

The anger and sadness I felt when I was in third grade and a boy in my second grade class thought I must be stupid and that I was held back because he didn’t see me in class anymore.

The satisfaction I felt when ten minutes later I had him begging his mom to homeschool him too.

I might not be perfect, and I might not be just like everyone else, but I believe that I wouldn’t be “just like everyone else” even if I did go to “school school”. Honestly, I have nothing wrong with public school, and I loved my time as a student at my local elementary. What I am not going to do is sit and compare my life to everyone else’s, I’m not going to sit and dwell on any regrets I may have, and I’m not going to fall prey to the belief that I am less than any other student in my age group simply because I was educated at home.

Making the choice to learn at home was my right, just as it is anyone else’s right to be able to go to any school of their choosing. It just takes work, and love, and determination.

Happy Adventures,
Burkie

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. starrlife  |  January 6, 2011 at 7:42 AM

    So people make a big deal of it? Huh? I have a sister who homeschooled her three kids. She is a teacher and her son had some learning issues so she just decided to do it. More than I could do I have to say since I truly enjoy my job and would miss it, plus I am too undisciplined to structure my own days 🙂
    I think that many people associate home schooling automatically with religious fringe groups and other idealogues who’s main agenda is to narrow the scope of wordly knowledge for their kids. This is an unfortunate association. Also, I know here is VT, there is only a small homeschooling community to socialize with whereas in upstate NY where my sister lives there is a HUGE network so that the kids can do things outside the family for social. Being that my child is an only I know that she LOVES going to school to see the other kids and I love the being part of that that brings her.
    Bah humbug on those who question your lifestyle!

    Reply
  • 2. Heather  |  January 6, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    Exactly, ha ha. People should be able to choose which form of education works for their family, even each individual child if necessary, as long as the children are learning and happy and growing. Some people really should not homeschool, and I will not stand and say that everyone should do it because it is very difficult and parents have to give a lot of themselves for it to be successful.

    I do not know if I will homeschool my future children one day, or send them to a public or private school, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it and do my best to make a decision that will affect my family for the better. And if I do not homeschool my children, I don’t want people to think it is because I hated my childhood. In fact, I have loved my childhood, and I feel like a competent, strong, and intelligent young woman.

    I feel that to an extent I will allow my children to have some say in the decision making process to the best of my ability, even if that puts more work on my shoulders, or if it dissappoints me a little bit, because the well-being and happiness of the children I someday have is the most important thing to me.

    Reply

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