Edited May 2019: We were a part of a wonderful Classical Conversations community for the first eight years of our home education journey. Now, due to poor state leadership and questionable corporate business practices, our family has elected to “consciously uncouple” from our association with the organization and we cannot recommend any others get involved at this time.
I’ll be telling our story of Reluctant Homeschooling over the next few days.
Yesterday I left off with the discovery that, despite our ill-informed prejudice, we decided we wanted to give homeschooling a try. I wasn’t willing to go for it all the way because I was still working and, frankly, the idea of not getting a break from my child was a little too scary to seriously contemplate.
So we pulled Uno back to a half day in pre-K and started Classical Conversations one day a week to see if this could work for us.
Over and over my husband and I tried to figure out how we would accomplish this crazy goal of homeschool. I didn’t want to give up my career path and he didn’t want to be the primary educator… what would we teach Uno? How would we teach Uno? Would she gradually become incapable of socializing in a normal way with other children? What did we think we were doing???!!!!
A few opinions emerged from the weeks of wrestling with whether we should side step the traditional education process:
- If the education we received didn’t give me the skill set or confidence to teach my child in a logical, educated way… why would we want her to continue in the same system? There’s a phrase for that: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Poor outcomes don’t need repetition.
- There are many, many ways to educate a child and homeschooling is only one of a wide array of good educational choices. There is no spiritual winner’s laurel for homeschooling. Homeschooled children aren’t any more intelligent or godly or… anything… simply because they learned to diagram a sentence at their kitchen table or missed out on mystery meat in the cafeteria.
- We didn’t want our children in school as wards of the state (yes, that’s the legal status of a child during school hours) for the time equivalent of a full-time job. School takes up a lot of time, which makes sense as the institution acts as free babysitting for many, many families in this country. But we liked the option of a shorter quantity with (hopefully) improved quality of time spent on schooling.
- We didn’t want to spend the precious few hours we had with Uno at the end of the day doing homework and undoing the behavioral lessons she’d picked up at school. We wanted that time to concentrate on family, not sass.
After deciding some practical reasons for home education in our family we had to consider a few larger, simple questions with startling complexity:
What is the point of education? Is education about the social outcomes?
A miscellaneous gaggle of facts?
Is an education truly necessary? Is it useful for all people?
Without those foundational ideas solidly answered in my head, there was no way homeschooling would ever be successful for our family because the sacrifice would be too extreme. The loss of “me” time – even the ability to use the restroom in peace – and the constant stress and insecurity would be too painful for success to occur unless I was truly convinced this was the best choice for our family.
So we wrestled. And wrestled. And, over time that wrestling has proven to be a blessing to us because we were able to start with the end in mind.
From a practical perspective, we started by finding childcare for Uno for a few hours a day so we could both still work. Over time our situation changed so I now run a business out of our home. We wear many hats, our school day doesn’t follow a specific pattern, but we’ve found a way to adapt and make this work or us.
What are the answers to those questions for you?
Did you miss the start of the Story of a Reluctant Homeschooler? Here you go, links to catch up!