By now, I’m sure everyone is wondering why on Earth I choose to homeschool. Which would be a fair question. I wonder how many would consider it a fair answer when part of my response is, “Because I truly believe I can do it better than the public school system.”
So, I’ve been spending a lot of time going over things that might fall in the “bad” category. Bad as in, people running and screaming with their hands in the air. . .maybe.
There are many rewards to homeschooling. Truly, there are; and, for me, few of them fall under the education category.
Now, as I have mentioned we did the public school route for a period of time. Also, just as a reminder, I have all boys. And one thing that is commonly stated (because it is fairly true) is that boys aren’t very conversational.
For example, I would get my child from school and say, “How was your day?”
His response was always, “Fine.”
So one day, I decided to pull a fast one.
“Honey, I’m going to ask you a question and you are going to give me an answer that is longer than one syllable. . . How was your day?”
Son looks directly at me and responds, “O-kay.”
Which, obviously, required a different tack from me altogether. “Oh, so what did you do in school today?”
“Nothin’. . .”
I raised my eyebrows.
“. . .much.”
Even now if someone were to ask how the day went, any one of my boys would respond with “Fine.” I don’t care if we had done a bungee jump or swum with sharks; their answer would always be the same! However, now that they are at home with me, I get more of an idea of how their day actually went. . .and I’m not above listening to their conversations with friends.
So, when my husband comes home and says, “I heard there was a standoff down the street between the police and some guy with a hostage. What did you guys think of that?”
And my children reply with “Oh, well. . . “
I can later tell my husband how they reacted. . .because boys act / react, and honestly I think that is part of the problem with their conversational skills, because the adrenaline starts flowing and logically constructed sentences just fail them.
I can also tell him how they described it to their friend. (Though, there is a lot of action in boy-talk, and an immense amount of sounds effects that I refuse to belittle their mastery of by trying to present a poor imitation of herein.)
“And, OMG, it was like. . .WOW! and then, like. . . BAM! and then there was this total silence and. . .KABLOOEY!”
To which the friend, invariably, knowledgeably, responds with, “Duuuuuude!”
(Surfer attitude just added for my fun.)
Do you want to know what I honestly believe is a good thing to homeschooling?
The lack of “socialization”! Oh yeah, that item for which homeschoolers are constantly heckled for, is actually a good thing! And truly, it is because it doesn’t exist.
Socialization is the act of interacting with others and the process of learning values and mores from those around us. I like the idea that my children are learning from a various range, rather than from 20+ other kids the same age that happen to be in the same class.
I have two “followers”. I mean, honestly, they simply were not born leaders! The older of the two would, in elementary school, always follow the “bad” crowd. It was pretty simple actually. The “bad” crowd was usually considered “bad” because they were “overly” energetic, and he was drawn to that energy. Now he is a young man who leads, not because it is his natural inclination, but because he was given the freedom to grow outside of an artificial social climate and in one that helped him to learn to control and channel his energy in constructive ways. He was also able to consider his actions outside of a peer group and rather view it through the eyes of society as a whole.
I love being awestruck! I can’t help myself. I just love seeing those “firsts”! I had a girlfriend who once told me, that every single “first” she wrote in her baby’s 1st year book was observed by a daycare worker. Yeesh! I am here to see all their “firsts”, and not only the things that occur naturally over time, but the items that they work hard at and struggle to overcome. And, even when I see the small steps that are being made to accomplish a goal, I can still be totally amazed when there is a sudden click in a little man’s noggin. And there is nothing more exciting than seeing them realize they did it.
I am also here to witness their struggles, and as cranky and upsetting as those can be, I actually appreciate those moments, for it is in those moments I can see the measure of my men.
I appreciate that my kids will still come up and hug me in public. YES, I DO! My older guy gets razzed for it by his peers; yet, he still willingly does it. (My peers are all envious! They tell me so; thus it must be true.) I know when my oldest guy was in Kindergarten he came home and announced no more public hugs, as it was simply “too embarrassing”. Phooey on peers!
I recall a time when my oldest two would give up on something simply because others were better at it than them. Now, however, I see them work to master something that they may have previously dropped, and I have come to realize it is because they aren’t comparing themselves to others. (Or maybe more importantly, they aren’t dreading that others are doing the comparing.) I mean, when a professional pitcher stands on the mound is he trying to be better than the other pitchers (maybe), or is he trying to best himself? I believe it’s an internal competition that causes people to be great. . . of course, you may disagree.
Here’s something for you. . .I love learning! It’s really quite amazing, and I’m quite sure my parents never thought they’d ever hear those words breathed from my lips. But, I am totally learning along with my kids. Even though, I’ve had my own education, and even though I’ve gone through a lot of this with my older two, it is still guaranteed that something will strike me as “brand-new”. My kids look at me all crazy when I make a mental connection that wasn’t there previously, but they are always willing to follow my train of thought / rabbit trail until we all know it.
There are many other rewards to homeschooling, but I currently have a teenager asking for a personal reward of M&Ms just because he’s my son.
Maybe I’ll let him. . .