Thursday, January 25, 2007

This is my 11th year of homeschooling. I'm pretty fortunate to live in a place that (now) is moderately tolerant of us homeschooling families. Years ago, when I first started homeschooling Jessica, it wasn't so easy. Curriculum was hard to find. I'm not saying "good curriculum was hard to find". I'm saying "curriculum was hard to find". It was there, but certainly not like it is now.

And the extracurricular activities? Forget about it. There was almost nothing. And that was hard on a child that had been in both private and public schools through 3rd grade. She really did miss having kids her age around.

The younger two have no idea what it was like back then. They have this tremendous support system. They have been in a YMCA homeschool program for over 6 years. Lots of the same children are there that started with them. They are also in a GirlScout troop that has several homeschooled kids. They are in a brand new youth group formed at our brand new Church. They started this incredible co-op this year. The teachers are unbelievable. And lets not forget all the new "strangers" they've gotten to meet there.

I love homeschooling. I love that I get to spend the majority of time with my girls. I love that I know their friend and their friends parents. And I love that I can trust what they're learning, even when they're not learning with me.

It seems that kids that are homeschooled get to be kids longer. As a generalization, they're kinder in nature. They seem to value home and family in a way that is, unfortunately, not so common anymore. They seem perhaps more vulnerable to me, because they've not had to deal with many things that children have to deal with in school settings. Their hide hasn't had to "thicken up" so to speak.

Which brings me to the point of this ramble.

As the girls get older, they do more things with their friend or groups (like GirlScouts, youth, etc). I have 2 daughters, almost 3 years apart, that I still run around (and one that runs herself around :)) so I can't possibly be with both of them on every outing they have. And I'm finding, especially with the older one (and her older homeschooled friends), that she's asked to "prove" herself maybe a little more than other (not homeschooled) children. Nothing harsh, don't misunderstand. But it's like there are adults "out in the world" that seem to want to push these girls a little harder.

I have a friend, a homeschooling mom, who adores her children (like we all do). And she seems to think that this isn't a bad thing. She says that her children need that conflict from positions of authority to learn conflict resolution. They they need to learn to deal with someone who might be in a bad mood, or grumpy, or maybe just doesn't particularly like them for whatever reason.

I just couldn't disagree with her more.

There are some downsides to homeschooling for the children. There is no prom. There is no lunch line. There is no school bus. There is no football games.

At the same time, there is no bullying, or cutting in the lunch line. No unfair grades because the teacher was in a bad mood, and there should be no adult in a position of authority asking more of my 12 year old simply because we homeschool. She should not have to prove herself beyond the scope of what's she doing at that moment, or beyond other children whose parents choose to school outside the home.

I *like* that my 12 year old has "thin skin". I like that she's not world hardened.

Isn't there plenty of time for that once they are adults? I'd love to hear any thoughts on this (even if you *gasp* don't agree with me!)


Sharon said...

I agree with you. There is plenty of time when they are older to deal with the realities of life. In the meantime, I feel that they should be somewhat sheltered as they are having their characters molded by the parents.

My daughter is 20 now. I homeschooled her from 5th - 12th grade. During those years we became very close and both enjoyed the time we spent together. After she finished her 12th year, she decided to take cosmetology at the local tech school and I warned her that she would be in for culture shock. I told her to stick with her beliefs and not to be swayed by others. I said that they would test her and end up respecting her for being strong. She did and I am now reaping the joys of a blessed mother! She is a very sweet, mature young lady. Anyone that meets her always compliments me about her. She is still waiting for the man that God has for her. In the meantime she is working in a salon (she is still standing strong)and some of the other girls even apologize to her when they let loose with a bad word. She fills her spare time playing in a good old-fashioned gospel group and she loves it!

Sorry to ramble on, but I think our children need more protection these days than ever before!

Michelle said...

Not at all. I appreciate that there are others that feel the same as I do. I pulled my (now 20yo) daughter out after 3rd grade. She wanted to go back for highschool, so we let her. She's a wonderful daughter as well.

Sometimes I feel overprotective. But, isn't that what I'm *supposed* to be? I'm the mother, afterall.


Beth said...

I don't have time right now to read everything (will come back later), but are very pretty!!! Not at all what I pictured (not that I pictured you as not being pretty), but I'm way off base here,lol. :o)

Michelle said...

LOL Thanks Beth! Now I'm curious as to what you had pictured?!

It's not really a great picture, as a matter of fact, it's a digital picture of a picture, that's what it looks grainy/dusty. I may change it with one of just me soon. Depends on if DH minds or not.

Beth said...

Okay, I had you pictured as having brown hair, light brown at that...don't ask where that came from 'cause I don't know,lol.

Moving on...great post! I only wish I did homeschool. We were going to start 2 years ago *just the younger 2*..went to the Indiana homeschool convention, got all the books (I did alot of investigating before going so I wouldn't go hog wild) and then I chickened out. And now my hunk thinks it's best they stay in public school, which honestly drives me crazy because my youngest is ahead of the other students and is bored in school..of course they can't move him forward or give him harder work. So in the meantime I just keep praying that maybe hunky will have a change in heart and that in that event the Lord will help keep me strong that I CAN DO THIS.

Michelle said...

Oh...I didn't know you'd almost homeschooled! I remember that it was really scary at first.

Mike didn't love the idea at first. He'd never even heard of it. But over the course of a year or more I brought up the positives and he started talking to other men whose wives homeschooled and, after meeting some of the kids, he really jumped on board.

Now I don't think he'd let me stop.