Category: Beautiful Family
Created on Monday, 19 September 2011 21:25
I love school. I loved school as a child. I loved school as a young adult. As a testament to my love of school, I chose a career which allowed me to stay in the ‘comforts’ of academia well into my 30s! I loved school so much that I even (temporarily) voluntarily went back last year (but that’s a story for another day).
I love it when my kids are in school. I feel *happy* and *excited* for them – a new phase in life marked by school shopping, discovering teacher assignments, a new class room, and a more senior position in the hierarchy! Another opportunity to excel. A new group of classmates to choose a new best friend from. As they share the ‘days events’ about the new school year at family dinner, I eagerly ingest every morsel. I LOVE that they have this awesome opportunity to interact with such wonderful people who provide them with experiences that I could not.
We moved into this very house almost 100% because of the local schools. A nice mix of rich and poor, rural and urban. There’s a decent ethnic diversity….considering. And the test scores and ratings do matter as (over-emphasized as it may be) it is the main objective criteria we have in which to compare the academic programs at various schools.
Then…a good friend a mine pulled her children out of school to home school.
Why? I asked her.
Did you have a ‘problem’ at the school? Are your children not learning, or are they being labeled as ‘problem children?’ Was there an incident, or was your child being bullied or otherwise unduly influenced in a negative way? Were there behavior issues? Maybe a friend/peer group that was distracting your child?
No. No. No. No. And no.
Then why? Why would you pull them out of a perfectly fine school and do what the teacher does so well? Why re-create the wheel?
She explained, “Because I think I could do better. I can do better by my children. I want to tailor their curriculum to their strengths and weaknesses. And I think it will help with family bonding.”
I thought to myself...I wonder how that would work for my family? And quickly realized that...
....it would be exceedingly difficult for me to do better than the local school in providing general academic education, overall. Not unless I sacrifice everything else I have going on in my life and single-mindedly focus on homeschooling. And even then, I’m not sure I can do *better* than the school. I can do *different* (maybe worse), but not necessarily better. Not right now. Because the schools are SO good for my children. They are thriving. We are thriving. And I have no motivation to re-create a program at home that’s working so well for them at school.
I believe it takes a village. And some villagers are better teachers to young children than I am. And I am willing to compensate those talented individuals to teach my little ones…and in exchange, when those little ones get sick, bring’em to me as the village doctor.
But I will admit – my friend’s decision got me thinking. What are some of the advantages of homeschooling? And can I capitalize on those advantages while allowing my kids to stay in public school?