|Graphic available (w/out text in red) as a printable from Scholastic.com|
While driving around this weekend, surveying possible areas for our relocation, I was suddenly struck with a thought about homeschooling — something I hadn’t previously considered. That thought, which I’ll share a little later, got the gears cranking about the concept of homeschool, and what it meant to my husband and myself, prior to this thought.
When Declan was an infant, my husband and I began discussing the possibility of homeschooling him, and weighing the pros and cons. I approached the idea of homeschooling from a purely elitist educational standpoint. My undergraduate degree is in English, with a Comparative Literature option, and I often had classes with English Education majors. I was shocked by how much these Education students didn’t know about English, and couldn’t imagine those folks ever teaching my children. Then, I had the opportunity to teach for a year in Florida, and again, was unimpressed by many of the teachers’ [lack of] command for the subject area; they knew educational principles, and had studied their classroom texts well, but often fell short in their ability pull from sources outside of the district assigned textbooks.
The fact that we frequently move for my husband’s work is another factor that makes us inclined to consider homeschooling our child(ren). We don’t always know where we’ll end up, or the kind of area in which we’ll be living, and I would hate for our child(ren)’s education to suffer because we moved to an area with a failing school system. If this was the scenario, homeschooling would definitely be a great option.
Another topic we’ve discussed is the number of available options for homeschooling these days. There is a misconception that homeschooled children suffer from the inability to socialize and interact with their peers (because they’ve been stuck in their homes with their noses in their books). Some ‘homeschooled’ children actually report to a school-like center and are ‘homeschooled’ with other children (which also means that working parents are able to ‘homeschool’ their children). The internet has made the world a smaller place, so there are many options available the cyber route as well. We live in Pennsylvania, and are lucky enough to have a dedicated website with information about homeschooling in the state.
So, back to that drive this past weekend. I was looking out the window, as we drove through a wooded area with a creek, and saw a sign for a preschool. Out of the blue, my thoughts immediately went to the fact that our children aren’t one-hundred percent safe when we send them off to school. I don’t know why I was bombarded with these thoughts — Declan’s still got a while before preschool — but it caused me to think about some of the decisions we’ll need to make in the next couple of years.
I was in college when the Columbine High School shooting occurred, but it resonated with me as a teen [not far removed from high school]. And the more recent Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting resonated with me as a parent. Both of these horrific incidents illustrate, to me, that even schools aren’t safe places for our children.
My husband and myself were lucky enough to attend schools without metal detectors and bag checks. Shoot, the doors to our schools weren’t even locked to outsiders! I don’t think schools, no matter the location, were ever the same after the Columbine incident. I know that my former high school began locking it’s doors not long after Columbine, but I believe there had also been a rash of incidents leading to that decision (bomb threats being a major factor). One thing is for sure: the atmosphere surrounding schools was filled with tension, not something I (thankfully) ever had to experience.
Maybe it’s because my little guy is still so young, or because of the fact that I’m at home with him, but for now homeschooling seems to be a great option for us. I know that I won’t always be there to protect my child(ren), nor do I have any aspirations of becoming a helicopter parent, but there are things that I can do to take precautions in these unpredictable and volatile times. Until this country makes education a priority, I can’t trust that my child(ren)’s best interests are being looked after in public schools (be it physical safety or getting the best education possible).
What are your thoughts about homeschooling? Do you homeschool? Are you thinking about homeschooling?