A Second Generation Home School Family

As a mother of three children, this will be my second experience with homeschooling. First as a student in the 90’s, when it was less than popular. And now teaching my children in 2015, when it seems like just about everyone I meet either home-schools or knows someone who is thinking about it. Now that I am a teacher and preparing three children to go on the wonderous journey of homeschool I wonder if I didn’t somehow luck out.
When I grew up, we were shunned. Homeschool students were made fun of, looked down on by society on a large scale. In Colorado, we had to see a psychologist, this was done in part to determine if homeschool was harming us in any way. I don’t know if the same laws still apply in Colorado. My mom and the moms of the 80’s and 90’s paved the way to make homeschool normal.
You could say that homeschool is in my blood. Except my sister who never homeschooled tried it with her kids before life interfered, and she had to go back to work full time. My other sister who was homeschooled also experienced life’s general interference and therefore never tried it with her daughter. Three of mom’s five children were homeschooled. She didn’t even know it was an option when her older two were school age.
We were ridiculed by people who clearly had no clue how homeschool worked. “What about socialization?” Give me a break we had a ton of friends. My brother excelled at track and football, my sister was a champion at showing horses, she also raised rabbits. We had a garden and the stand to sell our vegetables; we were quintessential “Little House on the Prairie”.
What about me, well I am glad you asked. At sixteen, I got tired of homeschool and decided to try my hand at college. I was in for a rude awakening. The deceit and backstabbing were new to me; I had no idea that someone would lie and try to get you kicked out of school just to have a private dorm room. The school was less than helpful. Well no, that is not completely true I had a pretty good idea that people were horrible I just wasn’t expecting the amount of terror that adult girls would put another young girl through. The admissions rep was awesome. He did everything in his power to make things right for me; the lady in charge of housing was another story altogether. Perhaps homeschool made me willing to stand on my own two feet; it gave me the courage to stand back up after being knocked down. Shortly before my 18th’s birthday during my sophomore year at college I transferred schools.
The new school was okay, but I had lost my focus. At 20, I dropped out of school altogether just one semester shy of my Bachelors in Criminal Justice. I met a man, fell in love and got married. Our son was born, and I started thinking about my life so far. I guess I didn’t want him to be disappointed in his old mama, so I went back to school, changed majors to English and walked in my graduation at 29.
I am not your typical homeschool story though. I like to think that most homeschool students who go to college are not met with the kind of deceit I was, and most don’t drop out.
My brother graduated with highest honors. He was the first student to graduate with all A’s from his program with a degree in AutoCAD. He works for a nice company now as project manager. We all take different paths in life, homeschool students, for the most part, are no different from our public school counterparts. We have the same interests and ambitions, what differs is our learning atmosphere. My good friends send their children to public school; they are smart, sweet, and successful. My good friends also homeschool their children, and they are just as smart sweet and successful. The choices that we make as mom’s, what is best for our family, is simply for our family. I would never tell another Mom that they had to homeschool or not, or that they had to vaccinate or not. We should respect each others choices when it comes to our families. Sure I can quote statistics on homeschool, how students excel, but the research is out there if you are interested. What I hope instead is that I presented a story of a second generation homeschool family that is just trying to figure things out as they go.

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Justification

homeschooling-abcs

Some days it seems like all I do is make justifications. Why do I homeschool, why do I have three children instead of two. Why, why, why…Why should I justify myself to you? No, I am serious, why should I justify myself to you? The question was raised last week about homeschool. As I was drawn into this conversation the main thing the other person wanted to know was what my justifications were. Which then made me wonder, why I should justify homeschool to them or anyone for that matter. Homeschool moms and students all know what I am talking about, that moment when we are put on the defensive and have to explain to someone, most likely a stranger why we decided to homeschool.
It is not just home education that I am constantly defending. Vaccinations are another hot button topic. Do you find yourself defending your decision to vaccinate? What about defending your decision not to vaccinate? Do you ever wonder why these people have so much free time? What about circumcision. I was floored when I learned what a huge issue this is. First of all, my child’s body is none of your business so do not even ask if either of my sons are circumcised. Secondly, that mother over that that you are reprimanding for not circumcising, the same argument applies, her child’s body, none of your business. The mom who chooses a circumcision, can you guess where this is going? That is right it is still none of your business.
My point is this, we Mom’s spend a lot of time justifying decisions to total strangers. We agree to do things a certain way with our spouses and then they go off to work and we are left having to defend those decisions. No, I do not have to justify any choice I made for my children to you or anyone else. No, my child does not have a say in major life decisions, they are 6,2, and nine months respectively and therefore in my opinion incapable of making major life decisions. If children were able to decide things such as circumcision, vaccinations, and where they go to school then there would be no need for parents, our young could survive on their own without us. However, from a biological standpoint we can all agree that our young require parents to care for them. Part of that care means making those tough decisions like what they are allowed to do with their bodies until they reach such an age where they are capable of making that decision on their own. Where they go to school, church, and who they spend their time with is also up to us as parents. Please stop asking me to justify my decisions, and I will do the same for you.