“Oh, you homeschool? How does it work? Does your teenager have to go to high school? What do you do? What do you teach?”
If I had a nickel for every time I had to endure this questioning, I would be a rich woman. Initially, I felt the need to explain. I felt compelled to have to explain myself. Sometimes I felt I was soothing their fears for my children. A quick resumé of my education, my degrees, my teaching experience, and my philosophy seem to quell the fear in some while sounding like bragging to others. Any hesitation in explaining my plans for my children’s future seems to appear I don’t have a clue of what I’m doing while in reality I have a half of dozen ideas rambling around my mind at any given time because what people don’t understand is that homeschooling is a fluid way of life.
I don’t school at home. I homeschool. There is a difference. The difference in the two make traditionalists clutch their pearls with anxiety. If some governmental agency isn’t dictating what I do on any given day, then I must be leading my children to ruin. If some religious institution isn’t sanctioning my curriculum, then I must be doing something wrong. If someone who is perceived as an authority figure is not issuing my books or checking my children’s work, then I must not be giving my children a quality education.
Homeschooling is as old as civilization. The brick and mortar method of schooling where children are divided by age and expected to think, learn, and succeed at the same time and pace as everyone else while responding to a set of bells is fairly new in human history. My children have a 2 to 1 relationship with their teacher. They have a teacher who would go to any length to make sure they succeed. She doesn’t waste time on busy work and worksheets. She teaches lessons and shows how these lessons apply to real life. She also teaches lessons that she explains are important to know to succeed in higher education.
Sometimes I believe people are afraid to live outside the box. I’m not talking about living in mayhem and hoping for the best. I’m talking about walking down another road to get to the same destination.
So I bear the questions while quietly swallowing my annoyance.