My wife gets a question asked of her over and over. It seems harmless sometimes. It is often asked out of innocent ignorance.
Shouldn’t your children be in school?
You see, my children are homeschooled. They do actually have a schedule, but unlike the rigidness of public school, the time can be adjusted when something comes up.
Today, my wife received the question at the bank. It has been asked all over town. “Why are your kids not in school?” People have a hard time accepting that not all kids have such a rigid schedule.
After they get over the horrific idea that the kids are not “publicly educated,” they often (but not always) make a passive aggressive remark to my wife or my kids of some kind. Usually it comes in the form of “so when do they start real school” or “what will they do when …”
I find this funny, because adults are often impressed by the strong social skills and intelligent conversation that our four and six year old demonstrate.
The only reason I can fathom that somebody unrelated to my children would need so badly to criticize our decisions is because they feel personally threatened. Why? Probably because of the cult of institutional education. The people in my generation and earlier grew up with the understanding that an educated person could only exist if they were brought up by an institution.
Just to dispel a few notions about our family that some might have…
- My wife and I are both educated and intelligent. My wife, graduated with honors in accounting, and I did the same in computer science.
- Our children are “socialized.” Between homeschool group activities, church, etc, they have a lot of social interaction. On the other hand, they don’t spend a lot of time with manipulative children, bullies, and other bottom feeders of society that children are forced to work with in a traditional setting. Instead, they are inspired by oftentimes older role models. This propels them to maturity faster than their peers.
- The kids in our family are challenged more so than those in public school. We base the curriculum on their level of accomplishment, so they are given more when they are in the “zone” and given less when they may have other distractions. This is important because it makes their education work like a well fit glove. It becomes the perfect tool instead of an awkward instrument.
- Our life is more portable. If we wanted to take a vacation in the middle of February, we could literally take the school on the road. Or we could call it our spring break.
- We are more vested in our children’s education than any institutional school parent. My wife is a teacher and a mother and takes both jobs very seriously. She understands her children’s needs better than anyone could by only participating in one side of the equation. This is not to say there are not good parents, just to say it is almost impossible to be more vested than a homeschool parent.
- My children know technology and they know it well. It may partially come from their dad being a software engineer, but it is also how we teach our children. We embrace technology and use it heavily to assist with education. The children understand how to not only operate the computer/tablet/phone, but we are also working with them on learning why such devices work.