Why have we chosen to home educate…
To begin with, I firmly believe it’s my job as the parent provide my children with the highest quality education, in the healthiest environment possible, and that they end up with the tools they will need to succeed in a variety of areas when they are grown. I can totally squeeze that in between Tivo’d episodes of General Hospital and The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
So when I was getting started on this Putting Into Words Why I Home Educate mission, I realized that all the reasons I had could pretty much be boiled down to fit into two categories – Academics and Environment. Frankly, I don’t think that public school can give them a quality experience in either.
I think I can give my kids a much more academically rigorous education than they could receive in public school. That education can be specifically tailored to their needs and interests and learning styles; and it can consist of so much more than the basics of reading, writing, putting condoms on bananas, and duck-and-covering when the school bully is nearby (or is it stop-drop-and-roll?) Academics are extremely important to me, but I don’t feel that public school is a very efficient means of delivery.
The Environment category is a little more complex, with lots of subtle reasons, but basically, I do not feel that peer-centered socialization is (in general) a positive thing, or that the social experience you get in school is relevant to real life. The whole S question gets so tiresome. Do all public schooled families get issued a memo or something? Here Is What You Do If You Meet A Home Schooled Person. Do they hand it out along with copies of the fire escape plan? Why is that the first thing out of every person’s mouth? And how do they manage to fit both surprise and accusation in those three little words? “What about socialization?” Like you seemed so normal before, what with your church-going and your block parties and aren’t you people supposed to wearing denim jumpers so we know who you are? and now they may as well have found out that you swing a dead cat over your head in the backyard at midnight.
I feel that living life and interacting with a wide variety of people is a more real and relevant social experience. It allows me to be there to guide them, giving them tools and encouragement. I find it interesting that so many people associate public school with diversity, as though it’s the only place kids will meet someone different from themselves, AND as though it’s a given that they will do so. The reality is 30 kids, all from the same neighborhood, all from a likely similar socio-economic status, and all having birthdays within the same arbitrarily pre-determined 9 month period. The much-touted diversity of people does not appear to me to actually happen – or at least not to a hugely significant degree.
I have been looking for the words to explain why we home school, and I have finally found them:
We keep the kids home to run our potato-whiskey still, and they don’t need no fancy book larnin’ for that.