In an article titled If School Is Cool, We Win, Author John Lewis takes us through his family’s first day of the school year through their approach to homeschooling. A few enlightening takes on the usual questions. Why we homeschool:
My wife Anne and I have been homeschooling our children for the past two years. Because the kids are generally well-behaved and articulate, we’re often asked where they go to school. Upon hearing they’re homeschooled, people’s responses generally fall into two categories: dismay (“I could never do that”) or curiosity (“I’ve always wanted to do that”). The former far outnumbers the latter, so it’s no surprise that less than 3 percent of U.S. children are taught at home.
And those responses are often accompanied by an assumption that we’re either religious conservatives, off-the-grid types, or averse to public schooling. None of those stereotypes apply, especially the rejection of public education—I’m a product of the Baltimore County school system, and Anne graduated from Western.
Basically, we homeschool because we can. Our work schedules—as editor/writer and musician, respectively—are flexible enough, we love learning, and we like spending lots of time with the kids. Don’t underestimate the importance of that last item. Sure, everyone likes spending time with their kids, but parents of homeschoolers spend a lot of time with their kids, and they wear a variety of hats. Not just teachers, we’re also curriculum setters, guidance counselors, cafeteria workers, activities planners, phys ed coaches, and janitors, too.
And there is always the socialization question:
If you’re a homeschooling parent, you know the s-word. You hear about it constantly, from friends, family members, physicians, and chances are even the mailman has weighed in on it: “Aren’t you concerned about socialization?”
“I might be if my children weren’t homeschooled,” I’m tempted to respond, but usually I tick off how they interact with peers and get outside the house—from sports, music lessons, and volunteering in the community to simply playing with other kids in the neighborhood and occasionally taking classes with other homeschoolers.
Let’s face it, we don’t live in isolated, or isolating, times. In our wired world, there are many people clamoring for our kids’ attention and homeschooling actually helps manage the onslaught.
It caught my eye that the author doesn’t even feel compelled to capitalize the s-word. This encouraging article appeared in the November 2009 issue of Baltimore magazine.