Today my new friend Kevin asked me if I had been homeschooled. My initial reaction was to hesitate a moment until he told me that he, too, had been homeschooled. Why is that? Why would I hesitate? I certainly wasn't going to lie, I just wasn't sure how vulnerable to be about this part of my history. Once I realized that Kevin and I shared that background, we easily fell into conversation concerning our experiences. But it leaves me to ponder: of what am I afraid? I loved being homeschooled, and I loved homeschooling my sisters, and I intend to homeschool my children someday, if I am blessed with that opportunity.
So I decided to would blog about it. The majority of my readers are either homeschool moms, former homeschoolers, both, or at least in some way interested in the topic. The title Homes"cool" is an expression invented by my sister's friend Shea to be used in situations where people express "Boy, you don't seem like a homeschooler to me!" :)
Part 1: Is homeschooling not mainstream enough yet to merit an explanation? Certainly in the Christian circle I now live in it is, but even so, the tiny percentage of adults my age (Kevin is the first I've met here so far) that graduated from homeschool, attended college and now are engaged in further study has not quite yet produced a generation that "proves it works". Can I be the lone reed, then, to encourage you, my homeschool mom friends -- you are doing an awesome job! I wouldn't trade my past for anything. I am confident that I received a quality education (and these were in the darker days when the curriculum choices were rather slim), and even more importantly a real love for learning that made me hungry to read and learn -- and continue to do so. Kevin and I agreed that freedom to read and pursue self-motivated studies was the biggest educational perk to our learning system. One thing he said was "I'm sure I wouldn't have read nearly as many books as I did if I weren't homeschooled." So let your kiddies READ! Let them pick what they want to read and give them ample time to do so. I think too many modern homeschoolers are constantly being rushed to one activity to another to ensure that they are socially fulfilled, but meanwhile they are hardly ever home! (sorry, I'll get off that soapbox now.)
Part 2: Why is there still this idea floating around that homeschoolers grow up socially deprived? I guess I thought that idea would be put out of its misery when those pioneers went off to Harvard and Yale in the 1980's. And certainly I would hope people would realize otherwise if they met me or any of my fabulous former homeschooling friends! If homeschooling impacted me socially, it was to tie my social world to my siblings, which is a blessing beyond measure! I tell you, I would not know my darling sisters as dearly and closely as I know them now, if not for sharing an roof all day long like we did. I was certainly self-centered enough as a teenager to not seek to build a relationship with them -- imagine if I had been away all day! They would have been virtual strangers to me, rather than bosom friends. Clearly, other people have close relationships with their siblings without this being their background, but I know myself and a huge part of what knit us together was mom reading out loud to us all, and doing my math at the kitchen table while Emily ate cheerios in her high chair.
In conclusion, I want to submit that education is the responsibility of the parent. They must answer to God for their choices in raising their children, this choice chief among them. I support my friends who have chosen not to homeschool, or to stop homeschooling at a point -- I know you want the best for your kids! But let mine be a voice crying in the wilderness -- "Prepare the way for the generation of socially adjusted, well-educated, sibling-loving homeschoolers!"