I would never homeschool my kids.
That’s what I said.
Well, really, that’s what I thought. I didn’t say that because I recognized that it was close-minded and because several people whom I respected homeschooled their kids and because, technically, I saw some value in it. At the same time, though, I was generally 99.9% certain that homeschooling wasn’t for us.
After all, kids need the structure of school. And if my kids were anything like me (which Luke is), they would need the constant social interaction that school provides in order to help their overly-introverted selves become normal. Plus, as Greg points out, kids need to learn to respond to different authority figures, even ones who don’t like them. They need deadlines and due dates and people who don’t let them off the hook just because they love them. They need to learn to not be the center of attention, to function and interact with groups of people who might be very different from them. I could go on. The bottom line is that I see so much value in the classroom setting.
And yet, here I am…
…fairly certain I am going to homeschool my children next year…
…and very excited about it.
That’s kind of weird, don’t you think? I think it is. I actually am pretty shocked at myself. What really gets me is how good I think homeschooling will be for Luke and Anna, after being so sure that I would never homeschool them. It’s quite a reversal of opinion!
At the same time, though, I think we might indeed be the weirdest homeschoolers in the world, which is saying something because…you know what? Never mind. I won’t besmirch the community:). Instead, I will just point out all the ways that we, personally, will be weird homeschoolers:
1. We are weird people.
Let’s start with the obvious. Three out of four Kirby’s range from fairly to extremely introverted, and even Anna (our token non-introvert) generally keeps to herself in preschool, despite the other girls’ valiant efforts to befriend her. Thus, there is a good chance that next year, we are all just going to crawl into a hole and become hermits. It is a very real concern.
2. We love the public school system.
Yes, for real. I think it’s wonderful. I am so stinkin’ proud of our country that we view education as a right, and that we are committed to providing every citizen with a good one. Whether we are actually able to do that is a matter for debate, but the idea is right on. A successful democracy depends on an educated populace, for one thing, and in my opinion, it also depends on cultural awareness and acceptance. And in public school, you are surrounded by people who are different from you, and you have to learn to get along with them. That’s a good skill to have, which is why I want to be a part of the public education system. I want to support this noble effort, and the best way to do that, I think, is to allow my children to participate in it.
Furthermore, we have loved Luke’s school and the people who work there. Luke’s teacher has gone above and beyond for him, and I love the principal, the counselor, the reading specialist, and so on. Luke also loves his classmates, and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to volunteer there once a week and getting to know the little children with whom he spends his day.
3. We are not homeschooling for religious reasons.
In fact, I am slightly terrified of the idea of indoctrinating my children into my own worldview. I know that is weird, since my biggest hope for them is to become Christians, but I want them to choose it, you know? I want them to hear other viewpoints and perspectives, to have other teachers who disagree with them (and us), and to grapple with other worldviews. If our house has a motto, it might be something like, “The truth is strong.” And so, I’m not afraid of exposing my children to contradictory worldviews. To me, faith that is not tested is not faith at all. That’s probably why I found myself researching secular curriculum instead of the Christian material that makes up the lion’s share of homeschooling curriculum. The curriculum we finally chose is Christian, but we chose it only after reading many critiques about its “controversial” nature and how it gives other views instead of just the biblical view. That’s what got us.
4. None of our friends homeschool.
At least, none of our friends in Nashville homeschool. In South Carolina, almost all of my friends homeschooled; I was the weird one for sending my kids to public school. In Nashville, however, a disproportionate amount of our friends work in the public school system, and so now we’re weird for homeschooling. Apparently, I have a perverse desire to look at what all my friends are doing, and then do the opposite. Perhaps I need to explore that tendency…
Until then, those are just a few reasons that we are going to be weird homeschoolers next year. In light of those facts, you might be asking, “Why in the world are they going to homeschool their children?” And even if you aren’t, just know that I’m going to blather on about that very subject for the next few days. So if this topic does not interest you at all, then…um…see you next week? We’ll miss you! (For real.)
To the four people who are left, I will get to the two big reasons soon. They need elaboration. For now, here are some of the smaller reasons:
Our kids want to.
We want to.
Greg’s schedule is the mirror opposite of the typical school schedule: his busy times are evenings, weekends, and the summer. If homeschooling is convenient for anyone, it is the minister’s family.
My two biggest passions in this life (besides the overarching passion for God and my family) are writing and teaching my kids. When I do those two things, I feel the most alive.
Nashville has so many opportunities for homeschoolers. Seriously, it’s incredible.
My best friend is moving up here soon (God-willing), and she homeschools her boys, who are my kids’ good friends. We have big plans for collaboration.
I’m sure there are more little reasons that make homeschooling appealing to us, but I can’t think of all of them right now. The bottom line, though, is that, as convincing as those factors are by themselves, they would not have pushed us over the edge. I would describe the two factors that did push us over the edge as
and a match.
But more on that tomorrow.
In the meantime, if you have children, how did you choose to educate them, and why?