When I was first making the decision to homeschool, The Whole Assed Honey was not 100% on board. In fact, “not 100%” on board” is probably an understatement. Socialization and time were his main concerns and he laughed it off as something that should not be considered at all. At the time my oldest son was 8 and had already been in the public school system for what amounted to four years. He began with half-day pre-school, (from which he graduated as a delinquent – a story for another day) and was just rounding the last couple months of second grade.
I had always had the intention to avoid public school, but never to attempt homeschooling. When My son was born I was finishing my degree in political science and national security studies. I had every intention of placing him in private schools. Schools like The International Schools or highly rated Preparatory Schools with the ability to reach beyond the public curriculum. I believed – and still believe- that what is necessary for my children to succeed into adulthood is a rounded education that is not focused on testing and scores, but strengths of the child and of the future. I wanted foster learning in my child that included critical thinking, strong analysis, logic, reasoning and creative problem-solving. I felt that seeking my own success could ultimately afford him this opportunity; the opportunity for a private education built around his needs and strengths.
I met The Whole Assed Honey when my oldest son was two years old. I was 2 years away from graduation and, unexpectedly only a year and a half from a daughter. I graduated with my degree when I was 5 months pregnant with our baby girl. Six short months after she was born I became pregnant with our youngest son.
So life took a different turn, one that I welcomed completely. I was given the opportunity to stay home with my children as they grew and I absolutely love it. Although when we purchased our home amid all this family making, the idea of private school still weighed heavy and sat atop my “to do” list. I looked into the nearest (and farthest) private schools to our new home and calculated our ability to pay tuition on what would ultimately become three kids. Private school didn’t look feasible.
Oliver, the oldest, began Kindergarten at the public elementary school down the street. His teacher was fantastic and he did well. In fact, all his teachers have been exceptional and I find that we are very lucky to have had this experience. He began to excel in math and science and I began to reassure my self that forgetting about private school was a good decision. I would talk with other parents who would make the case about high ranked public schools, driving their kids out of the district, the options of part-time “family school” and how to get scholarships for private schools.
My sister would often mention her desire to homeschool when we would talk about our kids’ schooling. I would listen intently as my teacher friend would rant to me, becoming discouraged with the system she had to operate within. I would lurk in the parent’s school district facebook group, listening as parents voiced concern after concern that I would ultimately have to face myself. It all seemed pretty overwhelming, disheartening and I again began to look into private schools.
My kids were still just nearly 1,2 and 7. There was not an opportunity that I was seeking to go begin my career – you know, the one I got a degree for and accumulated so much loan debt for – I was still able and happy to stay home with my young kids. I began blogging on The Half-Assed Housewife with the hopes and intentions of “making it big” and raking in ridiculous money that you hear other bloggers talk about. I didn’t want “ridiculous money” – I wanted money to send my kids to private school. I wanted to be able to have my kids succeed in school, not just survive by fitting in the peg and graduating. Fitting in the peg just isn’t enough. The future will rely on logical and critical thinkers, not rote memorizers of prefabricated facts. Don’t get me wrong, I love facts and my trivia game is untouchable, but being able to make rational analysis with the logical process is a great deal more useful. I wanted my kids, who of course are advanced and little geniuses, to have a healthy appetite for learning and the ability to achieve this, in my vision, was a private school.
More often the discussion of homeschool would come up within my circle. The idea became more and more prevalent in my daily life. I had always been aware of the Family School option but never looked into it. I still didn’t consider it an option. For me, I only thought two ways: Public School or Private School. If I can’t send them to a prep academy, then I guess we just have to do public school. I resigned.
Then I was handed a flyer to fill out for more information for Family School which was actually PART of my son’s current school. Schooling that takes place part-time, two and a half days a week, leaving the remainder of the week for homeschooling. Family school is a small semi-public school with small classes, combined grades and kids attend part-time. 90 days is required in the school and 90 days of education required at home to fulfill the 180-day school requirement. Kids attend two and a half days a week, learning math, reading and language arts and the rest of the time is the responsibility of myself and my kid.
Whole Assed Honey rolled his eyes. How would I be able to teach Oliver with the two Toddler Terrors running around? How would Oliver be socialized? Those were his questions as he brushed the idea off – but I secretly felt that he was doubting my ability to teach my children what they needed. I felt as though he doubted my intelligence and that of homeschooled children. I didn’t go looking for validation because I am really not the type to give many fucks about things that other people think. I am the type to make educated decisions that appear impulsive and make it work. So we signed up.
Another Aunt of mine lives in Alaska and has 9 children. All of whom she homeschooled. Many are my age or older. They are all successful and well socialized and quite happy. Many of them have made the choice to homeschool their own children, who are also successful. When I was in high school I had a close friend who materialized out of thin air – as in, she came from homeschool to high school. She was quiet and shy but not unsocial. She went on to college and then Law School, recently was elected to a city council seat and opened and operates her own Law Clinic for Low-Income Persons. My best friend teaches high school at a charter school. When I mentioned my interest in putting the kids in Family School (Part-time homeschooling) she said that some of her kids came from family school and they were some of the best students she had. They were independent, motivated and hard-workers she said.
People who homeschool typically enjoy it. I didn’t want my research to be skewed, so I sought out other friends who had tried it and went back to public education. I began asking questions such as what type of patience was required of me to tolerate a back-talking shit head child all day. It would certainly take some getting used to. I really liked the ‘mini-vacation’ when the kid left for school and became someone else’s problem. Totally kidding – you see, our children are only assholes around us. When in public with other authority figures that are not their parents, apparently they remember their manners and all you taught them. Which is nice. I was not seeking a constant battle.
After realizing that I already had a predetermined educational theory I just needed to relax a little and make a decision. I love the idea of interest based learning and know that it played an incredibly important role in my education. It would be much easier for me to create time and learn about my kids if we had the determination and necessity to do so.
So I decided.
So, as of today, we are enrolled to do Family School in the fall of 2018.