“Why did you decide to homeschool?”
I’m not defensive anymore when people ask. For one thing, it’s not nearly as weird now as it was when we started. At the beginning, folks would say “Oh, that’s interesting. My cousin does that…” and then they would make up an excuse to end the conversation. “I suddenly have diarrhea.” or “Anyhow, I better go pack, as I am flying to Chicago this afternoon and never coming back to visit my twin sister. Who you shouldn’t speak to if you see her around. She doesn’t know much English.”
But more and more, we meet parents who are excited and curious rather than critical. More people know someone whose kids aren’t in school so they’ve enjoyed the flexibility and time. a
Ad I’m happy to talk about education, dream schools, how to help kids feel confident.
As for WHY, I have three different answers; which you get depends on how nice you are and how candid I’m feeling.
Answer #1: Oh you know… schools today are so… testing focused. Back to basics. Economy. Buzzwords!
Then you tell me all the awful things about schools nowadays and I can nod yep, that’s it.
Answer #2 : I have issues. Emotional baggage, man. PSCS (Post Schooling Crankiness Syndrome). I feel queasy in public school hallways and front offices. It’s not rational, it’s not fair. But it feels very gut-level scary and wrong to send my kids to a place that makes me want to throw up.
Answer #3: I’m GREEDY. Listening to my kids banter, watching their faces when something finally clicks, seeing them explore and ask questions and all of it — it’s just awesome. And frankly, they are awesome and hilarious to spend time with. I don’t want to miss it.
Answer 1 is handy for talking to people I don’t know well, because really they will carry the conversation. I certainly CAN talk about public education and its issues, but really truthfully there are also great things about it. But I don’t like this answer because it is loaded with judgment. Right?
“Why did you decide to do XYZ.”
“Because the alternative is abusive!”
Parenting is hard enough without us all judging each other all the time. Besides, some of my best friends have kids thriving in public school! So you see I’m not prejudiced.
Answer 2 is the reason we started. We toured schools. We talked a lot about it. Kevin’s elementary school experience was boring but not terrible, so we devil’s advocated each other without really knowing which side was the devil’s. Weighing it all came down to a gut decision and also: “Hey, well, how hard can kindergarten be?”
But truly our kids aren’t me, and their teachers probably wouldn’t have been any of the same ones I had as a kid. My fears were probably out of proportion, and our kids probably would’ve been fine.
Answer 3. Is the real answer. I’m having more fun than EVER in my life, and I am so very lucky to be able to live and raise my kids this way.
If you want to follow our messy madness, there’s a facebook page here: The Ard School Facebook Page
I’m also going to try and keep various PDF-downloadable games and science printouts available on this page. This is stuff I make for myself or for our little homeschool group here in town, but if you find it useful then hey! That’s awesome.