I began 15 years ago when I decided to try something different with our third child for his — or should I say “our” middle school experience. The neighborhood Middle School was the holding tank for my two older kids — even the Principal called it that. To this day I remember the horrified feeling I had as I stood in line to register for classes with my daughter. The language arts I was hearing from the mouths of her soon-to-be-peers was shocking (it wasn’t “golly”). But I didn’t know better, and I moved forward believing that all kids somehow survive, and after all, what am I going to do about it?
I recall the conversations I overheard as I stood there to register my son at the local high school. I heard moms talk about whether they let their daughters wear g-string underwear “it’s ok with pants, but my daughter wants to wear them with skirts…” I held my breath and went through the line, thinking all the time about the eye candy fringe benefits that all the male teachers were enjoying. One young girl was sporting a handkerchief top–a square of a hankie tied over her breasts. And parents just go along with all this. It’s normal. It’s what school has become. Sure there is some kind of dress code, but no one turns these cute girls in (not the male teachers, anyway).
I have come to love home school. At first I was concerned that I may not be able to do it — many questions roamed through my mind. But each year became better, and each year I became more thankful for my resolve to act on my mother Eve promptings. And now, I am able to sigh with confidence that it has worked. Two of my boys have gone to college. All of them have read stacks of books. They have no fear to speak up in class, to share their thoughts (I still suffer from this.) I know some teachers are good, but I also know that many are not. Days and years can be wasted at the public school system. At Home, we have read forbidden books such as Pilgrim’s Progress and Robinson Crusoe. We have studied Greek and Latin, logic, critical thinking and religion. We have stayed up on the current happenings in the world and listened to talk radio — Dennis Prager and Michael Medved. We have lined the walls with timelines. We have talked and discussed subjects; my last son made a documentary film.
I know, most moms are excited to see their kids off to school, as that is when they finally get a break. In the movie, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, David Niven is being asked by the neighborhood school to volunteer — The lady principal says to David Niven and Doris Day (the parents) “it’s our policy to draw school and home closer together, therefore we ask our parents to volunteer for at least one school activity.” Doris agrees to supervise an after school activity, but when the principal turns to David Niven he quickly replies —
“No I’m sorry I don’t think I’m going to volunteer…in my opinion, elementary schooling, the main purpose of it is to keep the children out of the parent’s hair and vice versa, those hours when the kids are at school, have for generations been held sacred to American parents that is when they are free and I don’t have the faintest intention of giving up that freedom.”
I understand those feelings as well. Somedays I was ready to ship them off to school. Yea, I have told them so too. But homeschool gives me a chance to be a bit of a rebel. I am different, I like to do things differently, and this gives me freedom and feeds my desire to learn things I missed — like history, that was always boring and taught begrudgingly by the high school football coaches.
I must say, it is not for everyone nor at every time. I never thought I’d homeschool, I was the model student, loved the smell of new erasers and sharp pencils. But, life is unpredictable and you have to make choices that you never knew would even be available.