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August 12, 2010

School Like Cars

If there's any conversation in the public square that's more inflammatory than religion and politics, it's the topic of early childhood education. You'll find no subset of people, even within a church, having unity on the issue.

Except us homeschoolers, we ourselfes.

The topic comes up. A lot. My work environment lends itself to knee deep conversation. Just last week a patient gave me a 5-minute socialization lecture from the treatment table. When another patient brought it up this week, I tried to skirt the issue by telling her what school district we live in.

"Really? My daughter teaches there... Oh, why did you decide to do that?"

So suddenly I'm thrust back into the whole - we wanted to just try it and if the kids turn out weird and backwards it's because of us not the education and we love having the time with our children but that's not implying that regular school parents are crazy and hate their kids - thing.

Maybe I'm just not mature enough to take a deer in the headlights "good... good for you" auto-reply as sincere. Call me "sport" and give me two head taps. Maybe it's confidence. Despite my blogging tone, in real life, Amy and I are not terribly confident people.

At any rate, my final attempts at sidestepping the home school conversation include naming our home school (The Aptitude Academy of Mechanicsburg, a very private, selective institute) and creating new labels for home schooling itself (Domestic Education).

I'll let you know how it goes.

I really try, and even pray, to have neither pride nor shame in our decision. Amy and I continually take it seriously. Things may change. We're going to take it a year at a time, and I'm thankful that Amy wants to take this on for now. There are legitimately good reasons to home school. There are also a few good things the kids will miss out on. You can't have it both ways, right?

With only a year under our belt, we're both extremely satisfied with the decision. A year ago when I was asking respectable parents how they felt about their decision to send their kids to public- or private- or home school, each and every one of them told me the same thing. But then again, you will rarely hear a person go around admitting or even knowing they got a bad deal on a car. I wonder if the school thing is similar.

I'd prefer to not go there. It often seems like a lose-lose. We're homeschoolers. Whatever that says about us is true. I guess.

And then there's Debbie V and Steve A. I've been able to have this conversation with them and laugh about it. We all love our little pupils and want the best for them. We're able to do that without feeling all judgy. I walked away from that conversation without feeling like one of us was punched in the gut.

I know there are Debbie and Steves out there. But at work, I don't have the time or energy to risk it. For now, I'm keeping it nice and shallow at work, and diving deep at the Mechanicsburg Aptitude Academy.

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L.L. Barkat said...

I was a public school teacher and never would have DREAMED of home educating my children. (I don't "school" my kids... what would be the point? :)

Then I visited the kindergarten where my daughter would be going, and I knew, I just knew it wasn't fair to take a kid like her and make her learn her letters again (she'd been "writing books" since she was 2).

That was a long time ago. Today I have two middle school aged kids who have their issues (just as they would if they were in public school), but they are happy and reading at the college level and involved in all sorts of things for their own joy. I just like it. And I won't apologize for that.

Bob Gorinski said...

Thanks L.L., for a vote of confidence!