« The last time I moved to the Pacific Northwest | Main | The first week of school »

Why I homeschool

On a homeschool list recently, someone asked parents to explain why they homeschool, and how long they've done it.

Her husband doesn't want her to homeschool, and she wants information to persuade him.

Honestly, I can't imagine having to persuade my husband into doing what's best for our kids -- I have a long history of doing research, laying out the groundwork for why we're doing something, and by the time it comes along, my husband is on board and can't imagine doing it any other way.

This, of course, bites me in the ass when I change my mind because it gets hard and it sucks and I plan on going an easier route. Because then I have Mark in the background, who's lived with years of my propaganda, selling him on this, saying, "Wait. We agreed this is the best thing for our kids. You told me, X, X and Y about how this has to happen or they'll be screwed up for life. And what about this book you made me read, and these kids you pointed out who are screwed up? Nope, you have to keep going."


So, why do I homeschool?

I have always homeschooled my three kids, and I homeschooled my nephew Matthew on and

off when he lived with us.
When most people ask why I homeschool, I give them the glib answer, "Oh, because
I like my kids and can't imagine sending them off somewhere else every day and
only having them around when they're cranky and tired."
That's partially true.
Why do I homeschool? Because I can travel when I want to, without being at the
mercy of someone else's calendar.
Because I don't ever want my kids to think that Columbus discovered America, and
because I want them to know that Columbus sold nine-year-old girls to old men as
sexual toys. i don't want them to celebrate him as a hero.
Because I want my kids to play a game of Risk, as they did today, and yell, "You
can be the Roman empire, I'll be the Ostrogaths, and you can be Alaric! Let's
see who wins the empire this time!"
Because I want the worst problem that we fight about to be that my son, who's
12, never, ever stops reading and we have to ask him to put it away at the
dinner table. To put it away to cross the street to get the mail. To stop
reading long enough to put on his shoes. And yes, this is the worst thing we
fight about.
Because we don't eat gluten, or dairy, and none of our friends think it's an
issue. Not one of them thinks we're weird or strange or has a problem with it.
Homeschooler just accept differences.
Because in my homeschool group we have friends who are lesbians who have adopted
children, and friends who are gay men who have adopted children, and friends who
are black, and friends who have autism, and friends who have dyslexia, and
they're all part of one big group and they play across lines of color and age
and gender and ability.
Because when someone asks my son who's 8 what grade he's in, he doesn't know.
Because it really doesn't matter to him.
Because my son can read 18 books about the platypus and keep going and no one
tells him that this week we're doing reptiles and he has to stop.
Because I really, really hate packing school lunches.
Because I really, really hate getting up at 6 a.m. and I hate dealing with
bureaucracy and I hate paperwork and following rules and I'll be damned if I
have to show an ID to go talk to my kid whenever I like.
Because I believe in education, not school, and in learning, not curriculum, and
in growth, not checkboxes.
Because my kids are oddballs and always have been. My older son is all over the
place. He's reading college level books. He writes at about a 4th grade level.
He's in pre-algebra. He's been taking violin for six years and still sucks. He
can't catch a ball but loves Ancient Rome.
Because I want more for them than the lowest common denominator.
I went to 29 schools in five states growing up. I have seen the good and the bad
of public school, and I was bored out of my mind most of the time. I learned
much more in between classes than in them.
But most of all, I DO homeschool because I love and enjoy my kids. I like
picnics and museums and zoos and sleeping late if we want to and travel and
giggles and being the one who gets to see my son learn to read.

I like to take days off when we want to, and double up on math, or triple it, when my son's in the groove and learning at warp speed. I like to back off when I can see them in over their head, and I love the look of, "Oh, NOW I've got it," when we revisit it a little later.

Some days, it really sucks. Days when you're sick and you have to get up and have a co-op anyway, because there are kids counting on you. Days when you're sick of your kids and you just want them to go away and stop that awful whining noise. Days and days and days where you realize that if your kids are screwed up, you can't blame anyone but yourself.

But most of the time?

It works, and we love it. And as long as it keeps working, we'll keep doing it.

Reader Comments (3)

Damn, your blog is awesome! I've been reading since I found your autism 101 page years ago. I was going to post this article to my friends on facebook, but your family as a team article was even better, I had to post that. Thanks, and hi to the kids.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterqaz

Always glad to hear how awesome I am!
And always glad to have loyal readers!

October 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterMeagan McGovern

Hi Meagan! This reminds me of our homeschool days gone by--- my youngest is 17 now. Enjoy your family, and welcome to Washington!

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMary @ Fit and Fed

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>