Monday, November 08, 2010

The New Recurring Homeschool Question

When my son was a little younger, and I was pontificating on homeschooling (and the only parent in my peer group actually having the kids do *work), I was continually asked:

"Are you REALLY going to homeschool?"

But now that my son is at the age (6) where he's legally supposed to be in school, but isn't(!)....I'm continually bombarded with a new question:

"So HOW LONG are you going to homeschool?"

In fact last night I told my wife I had be asked this so much I was going to mention it on my blog.

She replied that she had suffered that same line of inquiry just yesterday!

I give a diplomatic answer:

CaptiousNut - I have no idea where or what I'm going to be doing in 5-6 years. If you had told me, 6 years ago, that I would relocate from Brooklyn to North Carolina, start blogging, then move up to Boston, have two kids, move to a coastal town south of Boston I'd never heard of and LOVE IT, decide to homeschool, and them move to Long Island - a place I'd never been fond of - AND MOVE IN WITH MY FREAKIN' MIL....I'd have thought you were crazy....So I really have no idea what the future holds for me, if I'm going to be homeschooling or what.

And that answer does pacify the interrogator. From my response they take that *I probably won't homeschool my kids forever* and that my kids *will eventually become normal, go to high school, and then college*.

Now if I instead express my ACTUAL current belief - that my ultimate goal is for my kids to NEVER step foot in a school or college - that will definitely provoke some discomfort.

Of course the appalling irony is:

While these people are explicitly questioning my MY long term's actually THEM who don't have any!

I'm the one who's spent considerable time contemplating how I want my kids to turn out and researching how best to achieve that end.

And THEY have done nothing whatsoever in this department!

Blindly following groupthink and inertia just DOES NOT constitute a thoughtful, comprehensive parenting or educational plan.


Anne Galivan said...

Being diplomatic is the best strategy because it saves you from having to explain to people something they will never understand.

Those that are sincerely interested, maybe who are thinking of home-schooling themselves, will ask you questions in a way that makes that clear.

I will admit to you, CNut, that I get really annoyed with home-schooling parents who say, "we're taking it one year at a time." Why? Your children won't need to be properly educated one year from now?

I do disagree with you about college. I am still trying to finish my college degree and my husband never went and it definitely affected our ability to provide for our family in the way we would have liked to. For years we never took vacations because in my husband's industry, construction, if you don't work you don't get paid. There's no such thing as "paid vacation." We could never afford to pay for any kind of vacation and also go without the pay.

I believe my husband's lack of a college education severely limited his options. He went into construction because it was the family business. He did get his contractor's license and we started our own business in 1992 and he's VERY GOOD at what he does. But if he had had options, this is not what he would have chosen to spend 40 or 50 years of his life doing in order to support his family. And while you hear and read all the time that if you don't like what you're doing you should quit and go "do what you love." - that's Pollyanna and potentially irresponsible. Fine if you don't have kids but once you have kids you have a responsibility to put a roof over their head and food on the table and clothes on their backs.

That's my take based on my life experiences.

CaptiousNut said...


Everyone disagrees with my stance toward college. People who went to bad colleges, those who went to good colleges, and those - even if successful(!) - who didn't go to any college.

The fact that EVERYONE disagrees with my incipient little anti-college theory only makes me more convinced that I'm on to something.

I should probably do an entire post clarifying my stance - to readers and for myself as well.

Yeah, I'm with you though. Once kids arrive (mysteriously!), career options narrow.

But that makes teaching kids about economics and work - from the get-go - all the more important.

All of these homeschoolers I meet and read about keep prattling on about learning *from nature*.

While there's certainly truth and virtue in that, I submit that it's far more important for them to learn from history and economics.

I talk with my son everyday about making and selling things about prices and buying things. Right now we're trying to start a *photo scanning* business for him.

Anne Galivan said...

I get the whole entrepenurial thing being one myself. And my kids have certainly been exposed to that and who knows where that will lead.

But I insisted my kids go to college because I did not want their options limited. I should add, however, that by "go to college" I mean "attend college."

My two college-graduated kids both lived at home while they attended college. We are 40 minutes from FSU so they simply drove to class.

When your kids live at home while attending college they can go cheap because most of the cost is room and board.

My kids also attend community college while they are in high school so they get high school and college credit. My oldest son (now 22) had 39 hours of college credit when he graduated high school. He also had a 4.0 GPA in his college classes so FSU paid him to go to school there. His academic scholarships not only paid for all his tuition and books but they also sent him a check for $1500 every fall and spring that he could use however he wanted. I don't see any downside to getting PAID to go to college. He graduated FSU at the age of 20 with a degree in Business Management AND he still had his 4.0GPA intact.