Saturday, August 18, 2012

Breaking the rules. Making our own rules.

I have to make this brief because Liam is going to be home from a play date in 20 minutes and his other friend will be here in 40 minutes for a sleepover and Finn will likely be up from his nap any minute so, here goes nothing. Deep breath...

We have decided to homeschool!

Besides the obvious questions like am I out of my mind (maybe) and what are we going to do about socialization (please see above), the rest of it really seems to make sense.

When we took a hard look at our options, the decision sort of made itself. It came down to this:

I could A) fight tooth and nail to get what we needed from public school (so not my style); B) shell out the big bucks for private school and hope it was a more appropriate fit (even though we essentially already pay for homeschool); or C) customize a curriculum to fit Liam's current needs and keep him engaged and excited about learning.

Ding, ding, ding!

It was one of those decisions that we were afraid to say out loud but once we did it was like, "Oh, yeah. Obviously. Why didn't we do this all along?"

Well, I can tell you why. We didn't do it because I didn't think I could ever possibly do it in a hundred million years. We didn't do it because it's different and I am a rule follower who can't help but want to be just like everyone else. We didn't do it because we didn't want to raise a kid who didn't know how to fit in and play by the rules and be normal. We didn't do it because we didn't want to miss out on the community of school (and yes, the socialization).

We didn't do it because we didn't want to be that family.

But the thing is, once I saw how many resources there were floating around out there on the World Wide Web and kind folks (like you!) pointed me toward things like Saturday Academy at Vanderbilt for the Young and Stanford's Education Program for Gifted Youth and the East Nashville Homeschool Association and I realized I wouldn't have to be his one and only teacher, more like his guide, it hit me: I already homeschool. I just call it parenting. How bad could the real deal possibly be?

Sure, we'll be that family. But who cares? I mean, really. That is so not a reason. And the whole teaching a kid to follow the rules business? Why? So he can grow up and struggle to stand up for himself and his kids because he's so darn good at following the rules? That's crazy talk. Besides, the only time you really have to just follow along and fit in and deal with the hand you've been dealt is when you're a kid, right? I mean, if there is one thing I hope I teach my kids it's that if a situation sucks you should change it, not just hang in there and suffer.

It's harder but it's worth it. Right? Oh boy, I hope so.

And as for the socialization thing, have you been to school lately? I mean real school. Public school. Because aside from the walking in and saying hi to people in the morning (which I love) and one 15 minute recess after lunch every fair weather day and hanging around the playground after school (which we will still be able to do), there is not a whole heck of a lot of socializing taking place. There's a lot of shushing and "quiet down boys and girls" and "one, two, three quiet mouse!" and sitting still and being quiet, but as for the social stuff it seems to be kept to a very manageable minimum. Which majorly bummed me out every time I visited Liam's kindergarten class and will be what I hold onto in my head every time I momentarily freak out and worry that I have totally ruined my six year old's social life. 

That and what at least a couple awesome people have told me since we started down this crazy path:  YOU WILL NOT SCREW UP YOUR KID.

And if it starts to look like I figured out a way, we'll try something else.


jen scaffidi said...

I am so excited for you guys, and for Liam especially. Don't worry about the socialization. He's going to get plenty of interaction with kids and adults just by engaging in the kinds of activities he finds interesting. And if you start to find that he's preferring alone time to social time, a) maybe that's ok because some people like to be alone or b) find some clubs or activities in the after-school hours where he can make friends and do group stuff. Plus, it sounds like there are a lot of resources in your area where you can connect with other homeschooling families who are looking for the exact same kinds of group interactions.

(I think that the "homeschooled kids are weird and unsocialized" stigma comes from the homeschooled kids of our childhoods, who belonged to a much different model of homeschool than the modern version you guys are implementing.)

Anyway, I just wanted to throw in my support and validate your choice. I think your whole family is going to benefit, and it's going to be awesome, and it will give Liam a real advantage as an adult.


No Mommy Brain said...

jen, i have to say, your validation seriously means a lot to me. don't know why exactly but it really does. and i think you are right on with all the points you make. it just sounds a lot better hearing it from someone who isn't me. : )
i was going to tell you that bill's in reno and you should totally see him but he told me you guys already hung out last night. woohoo! sorry to miss it. hopefully we'll see you next time we're in town.

Caddie said...

Not that you need my two cents, but I think that it is AWESOME that you will be homeschooling Liam! It sounds like you have already done a FANTASTIC job with him (chapter books??? fractions???) & I know that you will continue. The great thing about homeschooling (to my mind) is that you can do so much more hands-on stuff - go on field trips, grow your own tomatoes, whatever. Plus the obvious ability to tailor the lessons to YOUR child's needs. Woot!!
My stepmom homeschooled my brother & sister for elementary/middle & put them back in magnet schools for high school (she didn't feel comfortable teaching HS curriculum) & they both turned out great, well-adjusted, & ready for college.
Congrats & woo hoo!! :-)

Morning Cloak said...

As a fellow rule follower, I can tell this is huge for you and your family. Congrats!