02 April 2012

Why We Chose to Homeschool

Image: Photostock

When people find out that I am a) a Pagan and b) have decided to homeschool Sydney, they're usually a little confused.

"But don't only really conservative Christians homeschool?" I've heard more than once.

Nope.  And here's why.

My interest in homeschooling began when I was in college, long before the idea of having children was even on my radar.  I was studying both Anthropology and Literature, and my classes for the latter were often shared by the future teachers at UMD.

As time went on, I became casual friends with several of them, and during our idle before-class chitchat I learned that they spent a good deal of their time learning things like "how to design an attractive seasonal bulletin board" and "ideal desk placement."  When it came to the actual information they would be imparting to the young minds in their care, however, well, they didn't spend a whole lot of time on that.  The lesson plans would tell them what to teach, so they didn't have to know it themselves beyond what they picked up in a handfull of low-level liberal arts classes.

Also, many of them were dumb as bricks, god bless 'em.  Don't get me wrong, they were lovely, caring people, but their responses in class and the written work I saw sometimes made me wonder how they'd ever graduated high school.  On multiple occasions, one of them would say, "I was going to major in [whatever] but it was too much work."

These are the people we've entrusted to shape the minds of the future.

Some were quite smart and driven, of course, and I have no doubt they'll make wonderful teachers.  But the seed of a thought had already buried itself in my mind- when I had kids someday, there was a good chance their teacher had only gone into the field because Art History was just too darn much work.

Then, in my final year, I found out I was pregnant.

Future-dh and I had been told that, with my PCOS, the odds of me ever getting pregnant were slim to none, so we hadn't bothered with any form of birth control, figuring that if I did get pregnant it would be a miracle.

Enter dd, my miracle child that I conceived about a month after ceasing birth control.

As she grew and I became interested in all aspects of parenting, specifically attachment parenting, I learned some disturbing things about our school district.  Namely, that it sucks.  The sixth grade has a problem with children cutting themselves.  The educational standards are hovering somewhere around basement level.  Bullying is widespread.

That was it for me.  Very early on, I decided that I was not going to allow dd to have a substandard education interspersed with violent bouts of bullying, like I'd had as a child.  I'm a smart, educated women with an IQ that places me squarely in the "highly gifted" range.  If anyone was going to teach my child, it was going to be me. 

Dh agreed with a great deal of enthusiasm, and we've never looked back.

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Amy said...

I'm sure that we have very little in common, but I love your journey to desiring to homeschool. Kudos on deciding to be the one responsible for teaching your child! Amy from Living and Learning at Home

Mergath said...

Thanks! It wasn't a hard decision, I'm a huge nerd and I have so much fun with all this homeschooling stuff so far... lol.

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