Anonymous person: Where do your kids go to school?
Me: We homeschool.
There are generally about 3 responses to this:
AP: Really? Wow, you must be very patient.
AP: Really? Wow, you must be really dedicated. That would be a lot of work.
Or this one, very popular at the moment:
AP: Really? You are so lucky to be able to do that. My spouse and I both work so, you know, who would be with the kids during the day?
All three responses speak to myths about homeschooling. Lesser myths, perhaps, that the Great Socialization Myth, but myths nonetheless. To whit, I am no more patient than anyone else. Maybe I’ve learned not to attempt to impose my will on my children; instead I trust them and act only as a facilitator in their quest to learn the things they need to know.
Also, I am not particularly dedicated. In fact, I’m somewhat lazy. Rousing my grumpy kids out of their beds every morning at an early hour, haranguing them to eat, get dressed and get out the door so as not to be late, hounding them to get off the Wii or the TV or the computer to get their homework done – all that seems like a lot of work to me.
And finally, if the main concern is who will look after the kids during the day, then what is really being said is that school provides cheap daycare. There are many single working parents who homeschool. There are many two parent, two income families who homeschool. If you want to homeschool, there is a way. Remember, children do not need constant attention; in fact, they may benefit from a bit of benign neglect. (We’re not talking infants, here.) Parents can work different hours, or sometimes work from home. Some might be able to have their kids with them part of the time. My kids have gone to business meetings, real estate closings and even landlord/tenant court hearings with me and entertained themselves for hours with books or small toys or a laptop. People are constantly amazed at this, and tell me how well-behaved my children are. I don’t think they are that different from other kids, except for one thing: Most kids are required to sit at a desk in a classroom 5 days a week for hours on end doing work they aren’t really interested in. After that, any kind of sitting quietly is resented and resisted. For life learners, a few hours now and then is no big thing, especially when they get to be a part of a real life situation and they can choose what books or toys, etc. they want to bring with them in order to help pass the time.
Anyone can homeschool. Any family can take the life learning path. It’s not a matter of ability, it’s a matter of knowing the option exists and having the desire to follow through.
Simple as that.