Friday, July 15, 2005

Our Journey to Homeschooling Part 1: Something Better

A few years ago my husband met the local 1st grade teacher while out buying milk and introduced her to our then-3 year old and then-2 year old. The woman pulled him aside, nodded to Brighteyes and said in a low voice, "Please homeschool that child. She's very bright and very lively, and I don't have the resources to teach that kind of child. She would get bored and become a troublemaker. You don't want that and I don't want that." My husband nodded and thanked her. He didn't tell her that we had already started homeschooling both of them, or that we had decided to homeschool our children over a decade ago.

We met in college, dated for three years and married the summer after my husband graduated. Like most newlyweds we were eager to have children and anxious to do a better job of rearing them than had been done with us. We both had concerns about bringing up children that we wanted to hammer out as soon as possible, and the biggest concern by far had to do with schooling.

I attended one of the best public schools in the state, with three times the course offerings of the average public high school, good discipline, and an excellent college track. My husband attended a well-regarded private school. I was in the Honors Program and graduated Star Student. He graduated Star Student and valedictorian. We should have been shining examples of everything that mass education can do well, but we both hated the schools we attended. We found school boring, frustrating, demeaning and mostly pointless. Between us we had seen the best, and it was not good enough.

I had also been the subject of constant harrassment by my classmates. By the fourth grade I realized that this behavior couldn't happen without the tacit approval and subtle encouragement of the adults who were supposed to be watching out for me, and my anger at my peers transformed into a cold hard fury at the system that produced them and the grownups who worked the system.

There are those who say that children who are different from their agemates need such treatment to teach them how to conform. Unlike Abraham, I was not prepared to sacrifice my beloved child to the One True God of "Conformity". As much as I wanted a baby I told my husband flat out that I was not even going to consider coming off birth control until we had found something better for schooling.

Six months after we got married we found a newspaper article on homeschooling. Approximately 30 seconds into the article we knew we had found the answer. We were going to homeschool. From that point on every decision we have made for ourselves and our family has revolved around that choice, even though it would be over 10 years before our children were born.

Continued in Part 2: Insurance


TC in Seattle said...

My dh and I had very similar school experiences to what you described. He went to the most expensive private prep school in Denver, and I went to the second-most expensive one. We both did well, but hated our experiences ~ I swear you're writing our story! We weren't quite as determined that it be different until our oldest was 5.5 years old and it was time to look into school. We both sortof got heebie jeebies and didn't think to articulate why. We already had very close friends who were homeschooling, and had recently met other homeschoolers, and decided to give it a try. Now we're devoted to the cause and look forward to staying the course. We enjoy every moment.

Near the beginning of this "school" year (our first), we found some other Pagan homeschoolers and were overjoyed not to be alone in a christian dominated environment.

Thank you for your delightful blog! I hope you're feeling better soon, and I look forward to future posts. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lioness~
I was just perusing your reasons for homeschooling.It truly was a journey, wasn't it? I so admire you for waiting until you could stick by your hs convictions. We knew, too, before our daughter was born that we would homeschool.
I just wanted to mention that two paragraphs really stuck out to me. The one where you mention the tacit approval of "the system", then you also mention "the one true god" of conformity" Wow. You put one of the reasons I hope school so succinctly. I am sure there were others times but I particularly recall a history class in high school and how one particular teacher tried to gain adolescent approval by publically humiliating a student. Not a place for any child. When will people begin to fully realize how outdated and destructive the public school system really is? I read it to my husband and we had a nice discussion on you comments.
Well, I copied and pasted those two paragraphs and I shall show others this as one reason I homeschool. (naturally I will point them to your informative and wondeful blog!)

Mommamia from TDJ board

Anonymous said...

The Carnival of Homeschooling is now posted with your entry in it!

Be sure to stop by and check it out. In addition, we’d love for you to blog about it on your blog. Don’t forget to enter to win prizes everyday and a Grand Prize on Saturday!

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