I have been wanting for ages to do a post about homeschooling. I think about it a lot, though I'm not sure if it's something I want to do. When I first started dating Abraham (who was home-schooled), I was very sure about whether it was something I wanted to do. So strong was my opinion, in fact, that I informed Abe that I would never be able to marry him. "Why is that?" he asked.
"Because I refuse to homeschool my children," I replied.
"What makes you think I want to homeschool my kids?"
I had assumed that all homeschooled kids thought that homeschooling was the best.
"I don't know. It will probably depend on a lot of things. But no, I'm not adamant about homeschooling."
"Oh." Pause. "I guess we can keep dating then."
I have many, many things to say about homeschooling. However, in the spirit of my new resolution, I am going to whittle my feelings down to their barest bones:
1) I hate the word homeschooling. It makes me think of buck-toothed backwoods Christian fundamentalists. I would much prefer home education: "We are educating our children at home and in the community," not "We're homeschoolin' our keeds to keep 'em from learnin' about EVILoution in them hell-begotten liberal schools."
2) Provided that the home environment encourages learning, an at-home education is bound to be better. For example, the following is typical of a conversation I (public schooled) will have with my husband (homeschooled):
Abe: Can you imagine what it would have been like to be there when Karkatoa erupted?
Abe talks for a while about the size of the rock that would have been spewed out of the ground; the way the ash would have looked falling on the ocean, etc, etc.
Rachel: Wow. That would have been something else. What was the name of that volcano again?
Abe: Karkotoa? You know, the largest natural disaster in human history? (Slaps himself in the forehead.)
3) Homeschooled kids are weird. This is not necessarily a bad thing, nor does it necessarily imply that they lack social skills or lives. However, homeschoolers are outsiders, and no matter how you cut it, homeschooled kids are going to be different from almost all their peers: their lifestyle is different, their day-to-day activities are different--therefore, their way of thinking about things is different. This will put them, to one degree or another, on the outside. This is not necessary bad, I suppose. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read, "Well-behaved women rarely make history." And that is true. The people who really make an impact on the world are those who aren't afraid to stand out, to be different, to do their own dance.
4) I just happen to know a few homeschooled kids who aren't very good at doing things they don't want to do. And I'm not sure if that's the product of their educational background or if it's just a personality glitch. But I do know that if there's one thing that traditional school teaches, it's how to suck it up and do crap you don't want to do: how to trudge daily to a place you don't necessarily want to be, how to complete tasks in which you have little or no interest, how to spend time with people you may or may not like, how to priotize, how to organize your time. These are things you have to be capable of doing if you want to thrive in the economic world as an adult.
5) Homeschooling may provide more opportunities for kids to become more of who they really are, unfettered by fears of peer rejection or bad grades.
So those are some of my thoughts on homeschooling. And I believe it is now obvious that I am incapable of brevity. I am uncertain as to whether or not this was caused by my public education.