Our girls attended public school for five years. We were very unhappy with the emphasis on the standardized test. School plays, creative projects, cursive writing, book reports, oral reports, even volunteer opportunities have been sacrificed in the name of rigorous academics for test prep. As one teacher told us, “That’s not on the test, so we don’t worry about it.”
All of our area Catholic schools are closing and private school tuition is not in the budget. After two years of research and contemplation, we decided to remove our girls from school and bring them home to learn.
I admit that I had all of the common ideas about homeschoolers. I thought the moms would all wear prairie dresses and be extremely conservative. I thought the kids would be unkempt, with uncombed hair, spewing science fiction jargon. I was a little concerned with how we would fit in.
A blog I read advised me to join a local Yahoo group for homeschoolers, which I did and my girls I set out to meet some other homeschoolers.
We were pleasantly surprised by what we found.
We have yet to meet a mom who wears a jumper or prairie dress. Sure, some kids are a little nerdy, but you get that anywhere. Most of the kids are creative and energetic. They wear trendy clothes and watch TV and eat junk food. They tease each other, they even sometimes bully each other.
The difference is that they learn at home. And most of them like learning. Imagine that. Kids who like to learn.
Homeschoolers end up with more time to pursue what interests them, so many of these kids read and have time to be really creative or really get good at sports.
Learning is relaxed and almost organic. Homeschooling has just become a part of our family’s life. We do it together over meals or while sitting around the living room. My kids retain more this way and because we know what the kids have learned, we find ourselves discussing it throughout the day or over dinner.
Sure, some people homeschool for religious reasons and some people homeschool because their children are brilliant. But the majority of people are just like any other mainstream American family running their kids to lessons and practices, wearing trendy clothes, and seeing the latest movies.