Dana, a homeschooling mom, asked me why I am considering home schooling and what it meant to worry about my "last neuron". I'll answer the second question first. I'm a person who needs silence and solitude and lots of it. Some people would argue that parenthood is antithetical to either silence or solitude and I would agree. I look forward to summer vacation and then look forward to school starting again. The kids go back to school. The odds improve. (Only one toddler at home.) Blessed peace during nap time. Blessed peace during Mothers Morning Out when I take the toddler to a church developmental program (play time with a teacher). I love these times. I actually get to finish a task uninterrupted. Bliss. So yes, I worry about my mental health with home schooling. When would I get this time?
The die-hard home-schoolers will snort derisively at my selfishness. I've heard a pious home schooling mom say, "You wanted children, right? Why would you entrust their education to the state?" It could be argued that the responsible decision is to send a child to public school. I could easily retort that with some home-schooled children I see, the only teacher they have stinks. Home schooling isn't magical. Or rather, it's as magical as the parent who teaches. Let's face it, some parent's aren't magical or even adequate.
My daughter has had truly magical teachers the last two years. Her teacher last year should be bottled and replicated. She was amazing. Her team-teachers this year taught with energy and sensitivity. My son, on the other hand, has suffered in education purgatory, aka Special Education. Special Education is a special hell where no one takes responsibility and the customer gets condemned and excused for performance simultaneously. Finally, we prevailed in getting him placed in a regular education classroom where his teachers and I attempted to make up for two years of under-achievement--by his teachers. He worked doubly hard this year, essentially learning two years of curriculum in one year. All that and he was described by the school as mentally retarded. Right. How many "normal" children learned their times tables up to 12 in one month?
Here's more about why home schooling appeals:
- My son does get exhausted working so hard at school, but then we spend one to two hours per night slogging through what he didn't "get" during school.
- My son cannot share when awkward or dangerous social situations occur, so we can't talk about it.
- My daughter is already talking about other girls and boys who are "boyfriend and girlfriend". There is kissing. These are second graders.
- My children can extensively discuss the injustices of slavery and the tragedy visited upon Martin Luther King, but cannot discuss the significance of democracy or freedom.
- My children can walk in line like soldiers, they can follow rules, but they are having independent thought driven out of them. What happens when they stop coming home and asking questions--all the p.c. garbage gets funneled in unchecked.
- The educational emphasis is crazy. Content that I learned in college, they're cramming in in second grade. Earth science to weather to biology to anatomy and physiology to astronomy--you name it, the scientific concept was covered. Why? I suppose it's for the 50% of kids who drop out of high school. At least they'll know the parts of a bee. Sheesh!