That mysterious word that incites anger in many and is generally just plain misunderstood.
For quite a few people, that word conjures up images of endlessly patient women dressed in long, denim skirts with voices as soft and smooth as honey. Families who whisk their kids away from the evils running rampant in public school and hide them away, fearing their children will be condemned to a life of darkness if these steps aren’t taken.
That picture I just painted up there? Totally true. For some. Honestly, though, I don’t think this is true for most. I’ve actually never met another homeschooling family like that (since I started homeschooling).
Take me, for example. I rarely have a voice as smooth as honey. Today I made up a nice little ditty for my middle child (oh, the middle child) to make him understand that if he did not focus on his work he would never have fun again in his life. Hey, it’s Friday. I’m over it.
And yeah, there are evils in the public schools, but I went to public school and think I’m pretty okay.
Here’s a normal day in my life:
I wake up and get ready for the day. Usually this involves skinny jeans and a sweater because I’m always cold (just kidding, it’s to cover up my tattoo. Everyone knows homeschoolers don’t have tattoos.) But sometimes I go with sweatpants. See, I rarely wear a dress!
We have breakfast and the kids do their chores.
Then it’s school time! We do all the stuff they do in school, plus my nine year old is dipping his toes into the world of computer programming this year. That’s a trip, right there. Good grief.
Ben: How do I install this program?
Me: Just keep clicking “next” and if it wants you to read something just click “I agree” and move on. You don’t have to read it.
Parenting of the year, right there.
Our days range in length between a couple hours to a full 6 hour day, depending on how many other things we have going on. If the kids are really interested in something we can dig deeper and camp out on that topic for as long as we want. In Alaska, we don’t have any real rules about what we have to teach them. That’s not true for all the states, though.
Most days, we also have extra-curricular activities like gymnastics, soccer, swimming lessons, and soon, rugby. So they definitely get that all-important “socialization”. Those quotation marks came with an eye roll, by the way.
Can we just speak the truth for a minute? Everyone is weird. I am, you are, your kids are, my kids are. It doesn’t matter if you went to public school, private school, boarding school or homeschool. We’re all weird and a little socially awkward at some point in our lives. So let’s not pretend that throwing a bunch of people the same age into a room for 6 hours a day is the key to a life of normalcy, mmkay?
Sorry, end rant.
Anyway, my point is, homeschooling is whatever you make it. It comes in all different shapes and sizes and maybe that’s what makes it a little scary. It is equally amazing and terrible at the same time. Well, maybe a little more amazing. I get to teach my daughter how to read and see the look on her face when she figures out a hard word. I get to snuggle up with my 8 year old and listen to him tell me the difference between a Quaker and a Puritan and explain how Georgia was different from all the other colonies. I get the challenge and new-found excitement of re-reading all my favorite books with my 9 year old.
And I know I could do all these things if they went to public school, but right now, for these years, I get to do this all the time. I think that’s pretty cool.
P.S. I honestly don’t know if “homeschool” is one word or two.