Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Homeschooling, in SALON

We are back in the new school year, and here in a new town, so I find myself answering some familiar questions about home schooling from people I meet.

I am glad they ask, it means they are open and curious. Sometimes people seem disapproving, and there are certainly some assumptions made by people about home schooling. But most people seem genuinely curious.

The main questions I hear when we move to a new place and make new friends are: "Why do you home school?" "What about socialization?" and something along the lines of, "How do you do it? Do you start in the morning and go all day like in regular school?"

I thought I'd do a blog on these 3 questions at a later date. But first in this blog I'd like to link to two interesting perspectives on homeschooling from the left-of-center home school crowd, in links below.

For my more traditional friends, also want to add I am not advocating taking your children to bars late at night or "un-schooling."

But I digress...

There are some interesting points and perspectives in these links, especially about socialization (most famously and capably handled by Susan Wise Bauer in the homeschooling classic, The Well-Trained Mind, intended for non-sectarian home schoolers as well as Christian ones) and also specialization.

Home schoolers are a group of diverse people. After all, people rarely fit rigidly into one mold. There is a spectrum of people involved on home schooling -- politically, financially, and culturally -- and they overlap in areas. Going to a home schooling convention or meeting or support group can mean sitting next to people you would otherwise never cross paths with, and enjoying it. It is good.

I know of a home schooling mom whose children wear school uniforms and sit in a row in little desks. I have met moms whose children wear their pajamas until noon and do their school sprawled across the floor.

Most of us fall somewhere in between. Both of these approaches would make me a little crazy, though when we moved here before our furniture did, we had no choice but to do our workbooks on the carpet. (And you know, the good news is that the kids were able to do it. An unintended consequence of home schooling can be flexibility -- mentally and physically -- cue wry smile.)

I saw this diversity among home schoolers more in China than in anywhere else, where, due to the exorbitant cost of private schooling and the Mandarin and communist nature of public schooling, many expat. women home schooled who otherwise wouldn't.

Confessions of a Homeschooler

Sour Grapes

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Top 10 Reasons to Home School

10. Pajamas and pancakes during memory work and devotions.

9. You can safely doze off during afternoon SSR (sustained, silent reading)

8. I get to go on every field trip. Heck, I get to pick every field trip!

7. It is socially acceptable to cuddle during read-alouds.

6. The kitchen crew is available during morning hours.

5. My human encyclopedia, Will, is always at the ready with scientific data.

4. Three little words: Done By One.

3. No need to flatten down cowlicks except on Sundays.

4. Owning lots of good Kingfisher and DK books!

3. The town library, the nature preserve, and Starbucks are satellite locations.

2. Vacations in the off season!

1. The learning never stops...for mom, too.