Thursday, August 25, 2011

On Homeschool...

I read a lot of blogs each day, and a good portion of them are what I have affectionately named "Mama Blogs"  Women who write passionately about family, homeschool, and being a parent among other things. One such is Miss James, (BLEUBIRD - Homeschooling) a lovely mama of three rascals who has recently made the choice (along with her older two) to begin homeschooling.  Some ignorant person made comments on her blog that raised my ire and I wanted to write a post about my experience as a homeschooled child.

While there were parts that could have been improved, my experience was fabulous overall.  My dad began homeschooling me somewhere in the neighborhood of 5th grade, so what?  1990 something?  I had started out in the public school system and had done okay for a while until I began needing more help with mathematics, etc.  My parents told me later that I would periodically burst into tears at dinner after a long day.  I was only in 2nd grade.  I'm not a stupid person, I just needed a helper to show me the way.  Once I had a grasp of that I was fine to continue on my own until I had a question.  I just needed extra attention, something the public school cannot provide as readily as homeschooling.  For 3rd grade, my parents ordered curriculum and we gave it a try.  Perhaps the most boring drivel I have ever forayed into.  It was like having the rigor of public school at home and I bucked it, hard.  Frustrated but not dismayed, I went back to school for 4th grade and my dad wisely read everything he could find on the subject of homeschooling.  In 1996 there wasn't a whole lot, and not a lot of blogs to find practical help either.  But we made progress.  The concept of "unschooling" was introduced and we embraced it fully for 5th grade, and I never went back.

People hear I was homeschooled and the immediately conjure up an image of some Amish child sitting straight-backed by the fire reading the Bible or something.  The assume we are devoid of human contact, that  we have no friends or an understanding of how cable-tv educated society works.  I gently tell them they are wrong.  SOME families are like that.  NOT ALL OF THEM.  We were different.  Not only was the man of the household at home educating the children, but we were of the artistic bent and didn't stick to memorizing bible verses all day.  We went to the grocery store and learned how to purchase food, how to make decisions on what was least expensive.  We went to the bank, post office, we interacted with society on a level, I think, many of my peers learn after college.  We were polite, well spoken, intelligent, and respectful because not only had we been taught to do these things, but we had seen how we were treated when we acted in such a manner.  Many people marvelled at how well behaved the three of us kids were.  We quietly occupied ourselves at restaurants, office visits, etc.  We took "activity bags" with us that we ourselves packed so we could have a selection of things to play with.
It isn't something that is isolated.  Rather we were exposed to so much more, treated as little adults sometimes, and I believe, learned more than our peers.  Now we are a little odd to our peers, I'll grant you that, but if you met us today, I don't think you would find us anything other than normal, pleasant people.  We have our quirks, we're artists and that's just the way it is, but they're not unsociable quirks.

I would like to homeschool my children in the future.  I would like to give them experiences and opportunities they might not have had if they were put into an (arguably) broken system.  My fervent prayer is that I can be able to take the time to educate them myself and to nurture who they were born to be, allowing that spirit to have the freedom to manifest itself given time, love, and patience.

What are your thoughts?  What do you see homeschooling as?


Becky Cain-Kellogg said...

Awesome blog, Anna. I couldn't agree more!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Anna I'm slowing stalking your blog, but only because I'm sorry I missed interacting with you more at school. There is a video on YouTube about the difference of being homeschool-ED and a homeschool-ER. It's a funny video :) Eva Z.