To Homeschool, or Not to Homeschool: That Is The Question
First off, thank you to all my readers who left a comment on my first homeschooling post – the thoughtfulness of your comments blew my wife and me away. Definitely lots of food for thought there. Thank you.
Ok, so everyone and their mom has probably used or modified Shakespeare’s To Be or Not to Be as a post title, and homeschooling isn’t a matter of life and death, but for me homeschooling is similar to Hamlet’s musing. He sees pain in life as being inevitable, just as I see pain in public school as inevitable, and often a positive thing that can build character; and he compares it with the fear of uncertainty in death, just as I fear the uncertainty of what the long-term effects of homeschooling will be.
So how did two products of the public school system come to a point of considering homeschooling their kids? A confluence of factors actually. First, my wife is a rather
cheesy awesome person. One thing that has remained constant through 2.5 years of dating, 1/2 year of being engaged, and 5+ years of marriage is that she is always thinking of cute trips and excursions she can take with me, and now our family. Just before we got married, she bought Rails-Trails and several other books with date ideas. My date ideas usually involve us consuming massive calories followed by calorie burning activities afterward (get your mind out of the gutter); her idea of a fun date is visiting some cheesy cute, often educational place. She absolutely adores the Washington Post’s Weekend section, and has been compiling a list of dates and/or excursions she’d like to take.
Second, something changed in my wife when we had D1 and even more when we had D2. My Mother-in-law is a go-getter. Despite being an immigrant with two kids at home and language barriers, she worked her way up the corporate ladder and continues to climb today. So naturally, my wife is the same way.
On her old webpage that was hosted by UMCP, this was her list of “Boos” on her bio:
- Rude, inconsiderate, egotistical, or disrespectful people
- People who don’t believe in women in science
- The way women are sometimes portrayed in society
- How kids these days grow up too fast
Yup. That’s how much she hates celery. She was a mechanical engineering major and she did really well. Toward the end of her college career, she felt God calling her to be a teacher and to make a difference in high school student’s lives, so she became a math teacher. Despite consistent success in the classroom and accolades from her department chair and principal, she always wondered if she made the right choice by giving up a career in the corporate world.
Yet, when D1 was born, her career started to seem less important, and she often lamented having to go to work and miss out on memories with the kids. I was the exact opposite. While I loved D1, work was often a welcome respite from nonstop daddy duties. We had numerous discussions of her being a SAHM, but we ultimately decided that when the kids go to school in 5 years or so, she’ll be on the same schedule with them so she would be able to spend all summer, winter break, and Jewish holidays with our kids.
The SAHM conversation reemerged after D2 was born.
Third, the parents and the kids she encountered were far different than when we were in school. My wife encountered many parents who insisted on their kids having cell phones and often did all the fighting for their kids. As a result, much of my wife’s time was spent on dealing with parents rather than teaching and inspiring students.
So those three factors led us to the point we were a few weeks ago, when we began discussing homeschooling. Neither of us knew very much and had biases against homeschooling. So she did what she knows to do: borrow books from the library. And I did what I know to do: turn to strangers who are not so strange on the internet.
At this point, this is how I would describe our views toward homeschooling:
Would that change as we had further discussions and got more educated on the subject?
What about you? What are your views toward homeschooling? If you homeschool, what were your thoughts toward it initially? What about your spouse?