Let’s just start out by saying that I’m gonna shake it up today and probably ruffle a few feathers. Hopefully I’ll start some thought-provoking conversation (or at least thoughts.) Today’s topic is one that has rankled me for a long time.
I’m gonna be honest – I’m NOT against homeschooling. I can think of many situations where it’s a good thing, and I know many excellent, kid-driven homeschool moms who have their families’ best interests at heart when making that decision. For example:
The mom of a large military family. They move around a lot, sometimes abroad. By homeschooling, she’s able to provide her kids with tons of continuity in their learning.
The Godly woman whose spouse travels so extensively for work that they would not get time together as a family if they couldn’t travel together and take school with them.
The mom of a child with special needs who can truly provide a one-on-one education for her child.
Several families who, for religious reasons, have chosen to educate their children at home.
These are just four, but I know many more. I’m not puzzled by those moms. I get it. I support their decisions. And they don’t judge me for choosing to keep my kiddoes in public school.
I start to question the decision when it’s not made 100% about the kids. I’ve talked to many women about this, and I get concerned when I hear moms say things like, ‘We just don’t like that school, teacher, class, other kids, so we took him/her out and keep them at home.’ Or a few that just hate The Establishment and want no part of that for their kids. Now, I know that homeschooling (or not) is a personal decision, but consider the following:
I’m a product of public school. I didn’t always like it. But there are some life lessons that I fully believe kids need to learn in order to become fully productive members of the society in which we live.
- Life’s not fair. It just isn’t. There’s always going to be someone who has more, does better or simply succeeds ‘just because.’ I didn’t like it in school (still don’t) but as an adult, I can’t just walk away from a situation where this happens.
- Sometimes people won’t like you, no matter what. I can count on one hand the two teachers who didn’t like me. For whatever reason, they didn’t. My parents encouraged me to speak up for myself and be proactive when I felt like something was out of line. There was only one time where they got involved. And you know what? I can’t just leave a job because I think my boss doesn’t like me. I learned how to handle it.
- Kids bully. They can be mean. It’s the truth. We’ve all been bullied, and I definitely had more than my share because I was an easy target. Smart kid, glasses, dressed funny, liked to read, etc. But again, you learn how to handle it. My parents used those times as teachable moments. I’m trying to do the same with my kiddoes.
- Schools can’t teach right and wrong. As a former educator, I know this. We try the best we can to teach social skills but fully recognize that it is the function of the family unit to instill values and ethics.
Bored yet? If not, keep reading. What truly puzzles me are a couple of examples that I’ve encountered. And let me say for the record that I fullly recognize these as exceptions rather than the majority of homeschool moms.
A mom who started homeschooling because it was just ‘too much of a headache to get the kindergartener up, dressed and off to school without her throwing a fit.’ What does that teach the child about routine, life and responsibility?
The mom who rushes through the math textbook in a month because she ‘hates math and doesn’t get the topic’ in order to get it over with for the year and then spends the majority of time on reading and writing.
The kids I’ve talked to who say things like, ‘Yeah, we did biology back in December, but we haven’t done it in a couple of months.’ How will they be prepared for college or a job when disagreeable subjects or tasks must be done every day or consequences will result?
And finally, the following conversation I had with two adorable homeschooled children, ages four and seven:
7 – Yeah, we love school cause Mom’s such a good teacher.
4 – And it’s fun cause Mom forgets about school a lot and we don’t have to do it.
7 – NO! Remember, Mom told us to say that we do school every day.
WHAT??! Seriously I didn’t make that up. I could go on, but basically just wanted to say this: I’d love to get your thoughts on homeschooling, pro and con, in order to better understand these few exceptions. Help me get it, please! Because in these few cases, I don’t. And I want to understand.