We are a goal oriented, time driven society – “we” meaning North Americans. I don’t know about other 1st world countries, there are probably others, but it seems that other societies have a more laid back, ‘enjoy life’ mentality. Of course those societies are not usually the driving force of our global world. The U.S., China, and Japan spring to mind as driving forces. I know there are others, those are just the three that immediately pop up in my head. We are always racing to the next thing: be it the next thing in technology, education, entertainment, or any other industry for that matter. On a personal level we race to the next appointment, practice, audition, class or gathering. It seems to me, with the anecdotal evidence to which I’ve been exposed, homeschoolers are always racing too. We are racing to keep our kids on grade level, caught up to grade level, or surpassing grade level. We are racing to the next curriculum fair, home school symposium, or other new resource. We race to Park Days, Co-Op, and other opportunities so that our children ‘don’t miss out’.
I know I did. Yes, did. I no longer do. We miss out on a lot now. We don’t go on every field trip, attend Co-Op, or make every Park Day. I’ve never been a big fan of boxed curriculum, so while on one hand I wasn’t racing to the next available curriculum resource, I *did* constantly keep my eyes open, and my fingers surfing, for ideas and resources to use while we were ‘doing our own thing’. And what happened? I was left with an accumulation of cool ideas and resources pinned to my Pinterest boards, saved under my favorites, or printed and piled up on my desk and in folders. Resources and ideas that we not only didn’t get to, but which seemed to taunt me with my own failure to be the most awesome home school parent ever. And I wondered why I lived in a state of constant stress?
The history of our home schooling experience goes a little something like this. We pulled Punky out of PS in October of her 2nd grade year. That year, mostly out of fear (which is never the best reason) we ‘schooled at home’. I didn’t buy boxed curriculum, but I bought workbooks, workbooks, and more workbooks! I also bought teacher resources so I would know exactly what to teach a 2nd grader. We also joined a Co-Op, a home schooling group, and attended every field trip and park day offered. Second grade rolled along fine. Neither Punky nor I knew what it should be, so what it was seemed fine. Third grade began. I had bought everything for 3rd grade the same as I had for 2nd grade. We barely made it to the end of September (after starting the beginning of August) before home schooling blew up in our faces. Punky became unenamored with, well ...... everything. Third grade sucked, for her and me. We limped, and I do mean limped, to the finish line. To this day I say it was her ‘least learning year yet’. Not one to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result (I’m not that kind of crazy), I spent the summer before 4th grade researching and researching and researching. You name it, I researched it - learning styles, modes of learning, various curriculum sources, home schooling methods and on and on! I think I was like the proverbial monkey around the mulberry bush –chasing the weasel!
By summer’s end I *thought* I had it figured out! I was wrong. In a nutshell, we ended up unschooling for 4th grade. I’m not sure I felt comfortable enough to put that label on it until now, but it is what we did. Life happened. Some days were structured with reading, math lessons, learning games and some days were not. I have to admit I took a few hits, a few times, for this. That surprised me. I was even ‘subtly’ accused of being negligent. Do you have any idea how angry that made me? Oh my gosh, I was spitting nails….for a long time. I struggle, worry, research, make attempts constantly in an effort to provide my daughter with the best education FOR HER. And to be treated as if I’m a failing parent for my approaches was just beyond the pale to me. I remember how horrible that felt. I remember very well.
The other day I wrote a post on why home schooling was an appropriate answer to children being bullied at public school. I received mostly positive comments for that blog post. But, there was one comment, I don’t recall where exactly but definitely on facebook, that came in from a HOME SCHOOLING MOM that said choosing to home school because of bullying was not a good reason. I’ll admit it: that flipped my bitch switch. Who the hell has the right to tell anyone that their reason for home schooling is not a good reason?? The answer to that question is absolutely NO ONE. I don’t give a good damn what a family’s reason for home schooling is, if it the right choice for your family than your reasons are good ones!! Let’s run through a few possible reasons to home school:
Child is ahead of grade level/peers
Child is behind grade level/peers
Child has special needs
Child doesn’t have special needs
Child has needs that can’t be met at public school
Child doesn’t like public school
Child wants to be home schooled
Child was bullied at public school
Child didn’t like peers at public school
Child has a particular interest they want time to pursue
Child hasn’t found particular interest to pursue
Parents believe that Public Schools are failing
Better quality of education in home school
Mom still wants to be the one to be home with her children, teaching and guiding them
and one of my favorites…..
I’ve seen the village and I don’t want it raising my children
ALL of these reasons, and *any* others, a family may have for choosing to home school are good, valid reasons. And, least you think I’m wrong, let me point out that whatever reason(s) you and your family have for home schooling; somewhere, someone, thinks that is a bad reason to be home schooling. So come on folks, let’s show some unity and solidarity in the homeschooling community! No matter the reason we home school, no matter the manner in which we home school, we are all in this together and what we send out we will get back……threefold. So basically, watch your home schooling karma and if you don’t have anything nice or supportive to say just shut up!