Friday, January 9, 2009

Homeschool Manifesto

We get a lot of questions on our decision to homeschool, so much so that we're writing it all down carrying it with us everywhere. That way, we can just whip out our little booklet and say, "Here, read" whenever anyone asks us. We recommend vegetarians do this also for that ever present question why are you vegetarians even though the entire world knows its better for your health and the environment. In fact, we just got the question yet again from a friend last week. So here, once again, I will try to convince the world of our sanity.

We live in an excellent school district where all the API scores are 8 or above. Our neighborhood school has an API score of 10/10 (highest possible) so we can always fall back on it if the homeschooling doesn't work out. Clearly we weren't forced into this. We chose to very reluctantly. Extremely reluctantly, as in why God oh why us? People think we homeschoolers are all gung ho about it. Really the only gung ho people are found only in kung fu movies.

I should just cut and paste from a bunch of homeschooling books and articles here because there are a gazillion reasons to homeschool, and they have all been documented to death. Some people really want to know what they are, and some people just enjoy putting us on the defense. Little do they know that I used to watch the Practice, Ally McBeal, and Law & Order.

For me personally (the husband has his own list of reasons), the clincher is that I don't want our children to grow up as "normal teenagers." I abhor the society that today's teenagers have to live in. What society is that, you ask, as if you were asleep for 50 years and just awakened? The way they're expected to have a boyfriend or girlfriend at age 13 when actually they think the other still has cooties. The way they feel pressured to be cool, as decided by a bunch of 13 year olds high on hormones and who knows what else. The way they can't tell anyone that they actually hate Hannah Montana and HSM. I, Fearless Mom, hereby proudly declare that we have never watched a single episode of either show and that my daughter refuses to buy anything with Miley Cyrus' picture on it. Yes the road has been long but it has been worth it.

Of course there's the horrible teenager wardrobe (girls - the world is 110 degrees & boys - belts are evil), the cliques, experimentation with sex and drugs, the attitude towards school, the insane amount of homework for college prep students, and the sudden rift between parent and teenager. And these are just the minor things.

I'm not saying all teenagers end up with issues. Lots of them turn out fine (like me, for example). Still even the nice teenagers have to compromise to fit in because what teenager wants to be a pariah? Especially when she hasn't had a hit in ages, although she is married to Nick Cannon. The nicest teenagers I know have great relationships with their parents and befriend outcasts and children alike but they still wear tube tops down to their nipples and spend way too much time alone with their boyfriends.

Call me what you want (over-protective, martian, whatever) but I want better for my kids. I could just throw them into the mix, pray for the best, and try to undo whatever damage at home, but... I am a secret control freak. It may not be immediately obvious when you come over and see the socks, toys, books, jackets, blankets, mail, school papers, crayons, and trash strewn everywhere, but I have my outlets. One is the dishes - cursed is he who leaves dishes in the sink unrinsed (just ask the husband).
And the other of course is the kids. Must make them turn out to be the smartest, most athletic, artistic, musical, respectful, spiritual, decently dressed people on the planet who will go on to conquer the world. If not that then at least a few spelling bees.

Now I know your next question: why don't we just wait until junior high or high school to homeschool then? That's like asking, which is better training for a beginning homeschooler - algebra & Shakespeare or counting up to 100 & punctuation marks?

So we came into homeschooling for a few important reasons such as we don't like to wake up at the crack of dawn but have since discovered an avalanche of advantages. Those may or may not be explored in future posts, depending on how much time I have in between the spelling training.

1 comment:

PoLoverLorna said...

if you didn't have the charter school where your daughter can interact with other children twice a week, i would be one of those that called you a martian.