To Homeschool, or Not to Homeschool: That Is The Question (Pt. 2)
After our initial discussions on homeschooling (click here if you missed it), my wife and I tried to talk about other things but we’d always end up talking about if/how our feelings were changing, new research we found, or anecdotes we’d heard about homeschooling. Our discussions often played out like a game of He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, where one of us would bring up a point in favor of homeschooling followed by a similar point against homeschooling. These are some of the things we came up with in support of homeschooling.
Why We Should Homeschool
1. Kids These Days
Remember Whitney Houston when she was awesome?
The 3 kids who could actually sing, sang this song while the rest of us stood around picking our noses our class sang this song for our 6th grade graduation. Perhaps the parents in the uncomfortable seats of our multipurpose room felt the same way that day as I do today: if these children are our future, we’re screwed.
Shortly after D1 was born in 2008, I found this article: A Nation of Wimps and I also read a book with the same title. The book was just ok, often given to hyperbole, but the article brought up a point that my wife experienced firsthand as a high school teacher.
Talk to a college president or administrator and you’re almost certainly bound to hear tales of the parents who call at 2 a.m. to protest Branden’s C in economics because it’s going to damage his shot at grad school.
My wife began her career as a high school teacher in 2004, and every year, she had at least one hyper parent who constantly advocated for their child. For example, one particular parent scolded my wife saying, “You’re ruining his chances of getting into college!” To which she replied, “Your son ruined his chances by skipping my class repeatedly. And besides, a ‘B’ in Algebra isn’t going to ruin him.”
Another point in the article I also witnessed.
In the hothouse that child raising has become, play is all but dead. Over 40,000 U.S. schools no longer have recess. And what play there is has been corrupted. The organized sports many kids participate in are managed by adults; difficulties that arise are not worked out by kids but adjudicated by adult referees.
I went to a kid’s soccer game once and the behavior was appalling. “RUN! KICK THE BALL! RUN! NO! THE OTHER WAY!!! STOP PICKING THOSE FLOWERS!!! STOP PICKING YOUR NOSE!!!” Instructions were yelled out constantly and when one kid accidentally knocked another kid down, the parents went at it, while the kids just stood idly by.
These two examples have more to do with particular parents more so than the public school system, but you don’t have to search too far to find a parent who wants to shelter their children from any pain or hardship, e.g., parents who have their kids wait with them in their cars for the bus, or wheeled backpacks to prevent back problems, or a bottle of Purell attached to those backpacks.
And my wife and I were able to see products of that parenting climate firsthand when we led the college group at our church. Increasingly, we found the students unable to make even minor decisions without some sort of guidance. We found students who were deathly afraid to make mistakes, and risk-adverse. And yet, many of them had a sense of entitlement though they themselves haven’t sacrificed much, if anything at all.
So if these fragile, entitled kids are our future? We’re screwed. Thankfully, through this here daddy blog, I’ve met some pretty incredible moms and dads so all hope is certainly not lost. But schools are still filled with a lot of bratty kids and parents could have undue influence on the staff. Do I want to shelter my kids from that? Yes, but no more than those same parents who would criticize us want to shelter their kids from pain or failure.
2. My Wife is a Teacher
My wife began her teaching career shortly after we were engaged in July of 2004. That first year was terrible. She often worked from 6am to 1am trying to get everything done – she knew all the custodians by name as they had to unlock the doors to let her our. I often delivered her dinner and had to force her to eat as she often neglected to eat. As if the first year of teaching weren’t demanding enough, I got sick and spent two weeks in Johns Hopkins for surgery.
The next year, things got marginally better. She only worked from 6am to 7pm and she actually had time to eat lunch. Now in her 7th year, she’s a pro.
Since my wife has that background and went through those difficulties, lesson-planning and instruction aren’t very daunting to her. And remember, she’s
cheesy wonderful, so she’s excited about teaching the kids how to garden and take care of the earth, planning trips to museums and other countries, etc…
One of the biggest struggles she had as a teacher was dealing with parents. If we homeschool, she only has one parent to deal with, and trust me when I say that she knows how to deal with
me this parent very well. A little too well for my taste, actually.
My wife has these grand plans to travel the world with our family. She’s
low-maintenance frugal and would rather spend money on experiences than stuff (I am blessed beyond measure. For serious). We also love visiting some friends we’ve met in Chiang Rai, Thailand and plan on taking our kids with us on family missions trips. And homeschooling gives us the flexibility to do that.
Along with parents, one of the frustrations my wife has with public schools is the increased focus on standardized testing . Combined with discipline issues, preparing for standardized tests takes up much of her time as a teacher, which leaves very little time to inspire students to love what they are learning.
In our research thus far, we like that we can craft the curriculum as we see fit. Our curriculum will be based on what our kids are interested in supplemented with things they need to know for college entry rather than our kids having to meet certain performance criteria mandated by the state.
So these were the four Pros to homeschooling that dominated our early conversations. Next time, I’ll discuss the Cons we came up with, but for now, are there any other Pros to homeschooling that you have experienced/witnessed that I haven’t mentioned?