Hi. My name is Carla and I want to homeschool my kids.
There. I said it.
I wasn’t homeschooled, quite the opposite. When I was 3 years old, I was sent off to school where I was expected to spend the bulk of my days for the next 20 years or so. I never met a single soul who was homeschooled. I didn’t even know the term or the practice existed until 4 years ago when I had my own kids. I discovered blogs by moms who were homeschooling and something about it spoke to me very deeply. Not like sweet baby Jesus whispered in my ear or anything. I’m not one of those homeschoolers (and by “that kind’ I simply mean of the Christian variety – I’m just not religiousy… faithful, si – religious, no).
Motherhood has been an exercise in connecting with my intuition – breastfeeding, co-sleeping, positive parenting, a vegetarian no cow’s milk diet, a natural approach to medical care – have all been choices made in response to something I felt was instinctively right for my children. And they’ve thrived because of it. Homeschooling falls into this category of things which my gut just tells me is right. Alas, my gut only really speaks my language so trying to explain it to others (before I’ve formerly even done a thing) has been tricky-tricky.
I’ve shared with a lot of folks my intent to homeschool and the reactions have been mixed:
- “You can do that? Interesting. Tell me more.”
- “OMG How awesome! I would totally do it if I could.”
- “Eek! Don’t do it! They’ll be socially awkward and weird and just no no no.”
It’s been easy to explain it to folks in group two. For the others, the concern is never actually academic. They always get freaked out by how terribly socially awkward homeschooled children tend to be (at least the only ones they’ve met who apparently wear trench coats and rock back and forth in the corner).
My first thought is always – I don’t send my kid to school to socialize. I send them to learn. The other kids there are just a side-effect, a sometimes pleasant or sometimes nuisance of a side-effect. I don’t expect to send my preschooler to school to learn any particularly useful social skills from snot picking, whiny peers. Actually, I’m hoping she’ll be paying attention to the adults she interacts with to see how she should (and shouldn’t) behave. This is where they all tell me any homeschooled person they’ve ever met is a real weirdo. My thoughts? If my kid’s going to be a weirdo, guess what? Homeschooling won’t be the reason why. I’m pretty sure my kids would be more genetically inclined to be socially awkward or have social anxiety than to be so from not spending enough time with kids their own age.
Don’t just listen to me, though. Read these smart pieces on why the socialization question for homeschoolers is a non-issue. The comments, too, please and thank you.
So why do I want to homeschool?
I have a very clear vision of the kind of women I am raising. It involves fierce creativity, kindness, self-worth, self-love and deep faith that anything is possible. A deep respect for family, insatiable curiosity, a recognition of themselves in all of humanity. Women who believe in loyalty and friendship, who rise to the occasion. Women with deep roots and pride in all that’s led them to who they are.
Can those things be achieved by spending the majority of your day in a classroom? Certainly. I arrived at where I am today, as did many people I admire, by going through the traditional education system. But just because there is one way of achieving a goal, doesn’t make it the only way.
For starters, I really, really want them to grow up with a bilingual education. I don’t want them to be immersed in English all day then have Spanish be an afterthought. I want them to live it and breathe it and be it. English and Spanish, Cuban and American, past, present and future – side by side, breathing and being. Don’t get it? Read this, comments too, and then you’ll get a clear picture of what I’m babbling about.
Second, I want my daughters to be blooming with creativity. I want them to be hungry to create for the rest of their lives. I want them to know having the courage , vision and drive to make an idea reality is just as valuable as reading, writing and arithmetic. I’m not entirely convinced the public school system is going to focus it’s energies on making sure of that.
Life is short. Childhood, even shorter. I don’t want to have it speed by with days spent preparing for testing. I want to spend their childhood watering their wonder, witnessing their light bulb moments.
Finally, this video is full of many of the ideas which encourage me to look at my chickies and approach their education as more than just a rite of passage but as a valuable and integral step towards their contribution to society and the economy. I don’t just want to send my kids to school because that’s what you do when they turn 5. I have given this tremendous thought and I take their learning as an incredible responsibility. Making a choice about their education means selecting the route we believe will help them thrive in the world tomorrow. So yes, it’s important for it to be a good fit now but if it doesn’t help them then what’s the point?
I’m raising little warriors to change the world one day. I’m not f*ing around here.
Here are links to a couple of my favorite “why we homeschool” posts.
- Ree Drummond, yes The Pioneer Woman, that Pioneer Woman, is a homeschooler. And her post on why she and the Marlboro Man homeschool is spot on for me. She starts off by stating all the wonderful preconceptions people have about homeschoolers:
“I forget that before I made the decision to homeschool, I always pictured homeschooling parents as denim-jumper-wearin’, no-fun-havin’, no-social-interaction-gettin’ fruitcakes who rap their children’s hands with switches if their cursive writing doesn’t have the proper slant.”
And then this sweet gem, “I do sense a real connectedness that has formed in our household over the past few years. There’s a sense that we’re a team, that we’re all in this together, and that any learning that needs to be done around here is a group effort.“
- Simple Homeschool is one of my favorite blogs and this post on how one mom’s reason to homeschool “comes down to a knowing feeling—a conviction that this is the way life should be” speaks right to my monolingual gut. And while it seems her gut is speaking to her too, she points out some very valid reasons, as well, including –
“We thought it was silly that our then-first-grader spent time each week in public school devoted to filling in bubbles on a test page. He and his classmates were practicing for the standardized tests they would have to take in second grade.”
I’m not anti-school. I’m pro-learning in all it’s forms.
So now you know.
I’m curious, what does your child’s education look like? Private? Public? Homeschool? Some other kind? I’d love to know what excites you and your child about their school experience, whatever that may look like. Tell me in the comments, why do you do school like you do?