Monday, September 7, 2009

A Candidly Incomplete Guide to Considering Homeschooling

Yes, I know I have not yet finished my Awesome Anniversary Trip series. But it is winding down and I've been thinking about this next one for awhile. Ready for the title? Here it is:

A Candidly Incomplete Guide To...

I'll be calling them C.I.Gs for short. Yes, I'm aware this is what some people call those death sticks they're addicted to. We'll just have to over look that unfortunate association. So without further ado, here is my first C.I.G.

A Candidly Incomplete Guide To: Considering Homeschooling.
There are two things you need to know about homeschooling:

1. Homeschooling is easier than you think.

2. Homeschooling is harder than you think.

That's it.

I hear your protestations from here. "That can't be it! And it's contradictory! Foul!"

Here's the deal: All that stuff that people say they're worried about when considering homeschooling is bunk.

"I don't know enough"? Are you admitting that you don't know more than a five year old? 'Cause that's pretty sad. As I tell parents considering homeschooling, you only have to stay one step ahead of your child (in Grammar, say) and sometimes you can learn something right along with them (that'd be Latin for us). And this isn't even counting all the co-ops, online classes, videos, etc. available for any subject you find particularly hairy.

"I'm not sure about the legality of it." Rest your mind. It's legal in all 50 states and some foreign countries. So, unless you're living in Germany, remove that concern from your list.

"What about socialization?" Please. It is to laugh. If you really want to go there with me we can discuss this one 'til the cows come home. Suffice it to say, my children have friends, cousins, passing acquaintances,
enemiesjust like every other child, only - and this is a major selling point as far as I'm concerned - their circle of influence is NOT just 29 other children their own age and Prince Charming and I have a lot more say in who makes the cut.

"It takes so much discipline". Well, to my mind, it's no more than it takes to get your unwilling child up, out of bed, dressed, fed and to the bus, then to soccer, then to music lessons, then home to four hours of homework. We get to sleep in, if we wish. And set our own schedule for the rest of the day, too. Sending a child early in the morning to another building, to be on someone else's (the school system's) schedule for nine months out of the year - now that's discipline.

Now for the hard part:

1. It's every day. All day.
2. Your discipline problems with your children are all yours. No one else to blame. No one else to depend on for a fix.
3. Your house will be full of books, papers, educational videos, and board games. And maybe dirt, rock "collections", leaves, origami animals, etc. Martha Stewart will not be coming to check up on you, so who cares?
4. You will feel the need to defend your family's educational choice to everyone. And trust me, everyone will have an opinion.
5. You will want to buy every single item in the Rainbow Resource Catalog. (And don't worry, you won't actually do it. It's possible to homeschool for free, if you're really strapped for cash.)

Really, the support system for homeschoolers is amazing these days. Feeling burnt out? There's someone who's been there before. Feeling overwhelmed? Yep, someone has felt that too, and overcome it. Here's the secret you've all been waiting for: we homeschool parents don't have some educational superpower (cape & tights optional). We're just parents. And isn't that the hardest job anyway? The way I see it, once you're a parent, you're in for a wild ride no matter what your kid does for Kindergarten.


Pastor said...

Great observations! Looking forward to the rest of the pack, I mean guidelines.

Vicky said...

Great post! I wish we would have thought more about homeschooling!

Lisa said...

You're such a great writer. Can't wait for the rest of the series!

Bleu said...

So true, every point!

christinethecurious said...

This is one of the best (and funniest) getting started articles I've ever read.


Ruby in Montreal said...

I so enjoyed this post! This really sums up most of the thoughts I've had about the choice to homeschool in the past three years. And with a dash of humour too :)

I'm planning to quote you on my blog. I'd love or others to come & see your writing!


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