Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fringe Benefits

I previously wrote of how homeschooling is hard, harder than anyone told me. Now I'm worried what I said in last week's post might discourage someone who is considering homeschooling. Because this new blog that I have barely done anything with yet and less than a dozen people read might be found in the millions and millions of other blogs and *poof!* I just disintegrated the hopes of a desperate mother whose kid is struggling in school. Then the Ghost of Heather's Public School Past will haunt me forever.

I need to make amends!

But I'm not going to lie and say it isn't hard. Or maybe challenging is the better word. If I were to rank the most challenging things I've done in my life, I'd list them like this...

1. Raising children
2. Homeschooling children
3. Staying happily married to the same man
4. Do-it-yourself bikini waxes

Yes, I put homeschooling above the difficulty of staying happily married.  Who has time to even question the state of their marriage when you homeschool. I'm always at the printer.

Homeschooling is hard. But it's not.

And I've been sitting on the post for days and days now, trying to find a way to articulate how homeschooling isn't hard. Maybe it's because homeschool "success" is hard to measure. Or maybe because homeschool is just another name for self-inflicted psychosis. Because, seriously? This is not something a sane person would do.

Good, I said it. I hope I have scared away all the faint of heart and weak-minded. And maybe I even scared away some of my former public school PTA buddies/teachers too.

Now that all of those people are gone, I can say this:

Homeschool is one of the most unbelievably awesome things I've ever done.

I wish I could articulate exactly why. Part of it is seeing my oldest son discover there are not just one or two kind kids, but an entire group of kind, accepting, friendly kids.

Part of it is having the authority to say, whoa little 8-year-old dude, writing this many paragraphs stresses you out and makes your handwriting revert to a preschool level? Watch me use my superpower called COMMON SENSE and magically BACK THE FUCK OFF until you are developmentally ready for this. Because, really, who cares if you learn to write five paragraph essays in the 3rd grade versus 5th grade.* It doesn't matter to the person who will accept you into college!

Another part of the awesomeness is realizing it's more important to teach how to tap into the creative process than to teach them to write five completely dry, boring, uncreative paragraphs just to fill a word quota.

I would be remiss if I didn't also say a great part of homeschooling is my 5th grader not having two hours of homework every night. Which, I'm sorry, people think homeschoolers are weird and unnatural? That shit is unnatural. That's robbing a childhood.

Which leads me to say I love that I'm able to let my kids be kids. Not stressed-out miniature adults expected to work for eight hours a day. Kids. That's all I require them to be for now.

Well, that and my own personal window-washer/laundry folder.

Homeschool lesson of the day: A lot of it is about the fringe benefits.

*I have more to say about our experience with teaching writing. But first I have a two-sided paper jam in my printer. Damn it!


  1. My oldest is having problems with "mean girls" in her class, enough so that she asked if I'd home school her. It's a nice idea, but I just don't know that it would work well with us. But that doesn't mean I don't admire you for doing it with your boys.

  2. See? I knew the ghost of my public school past would haunt me. That's exactly what I told myself for 3 years, hokgardner.