For reasons I still fail to understand, every so often some clever mommy blogger decides to write about why she doesn’t homeschool. This time the culprit is Sarah Bregel, whose latest contribution to Babble, Disney’s online parenting magazine, is titled “10 Reasons I’m Probably Not Cut Out for Homeschooling.”
The listicle is supposed to be funny, but the first sentence just made me sad: “My daughter started kindergarten this year, which means our once peaceful evenings are now marked by the constant frustration that is elementary school homework.”
My eldest is 30, and for a myriad of reasons I started homeschooling her after she spent a year in kindergarten. Back then, although the classroom wasn’t as play-oriented as I would have liked, at least there was no homework.
“But this is early education,” says Bregel, “and we simply have to keep up.” Why, I wonder? Because my five-year-old needs to compete or they’ll never “make it” in the world? I thank my lucky stars I didn’t buy into that notion.
I guess I was just cut out for homeschooling. I recognize that not everyone is, and that is just fine. In fact, it’s as it should be. People should do–and should be able to do–what works for them.
Still, while reading Bregel’s list of why she’s not cut out for it, I had the same experience I’ve had reading similar articles in the past. Her reasons for not homeschooling are, for me, reasons to homeschool. So just for fun, I rewrote her list from my point of view, once upon a time when my kids were little.
- My kids (along with pretty much all kids) are awesome listeners.In fact, they’re super observant and astute, even when they can’t articulate just what they’re feeling. If I say “get dressed” and they start painting the cat, it usually means they’d rather be painting the cat than going wherever it is we’re about to go. Sometimes they have to get dressed and go anyway, but at least we can talk about it.
- I get my “me” time. Fortunately, my homeschooled kids are self-sufficient and independent. They really like to play, and they do it quite happily, which means I get to do my thing, too. We also have plenty of friends who homeschool, so if I absolutely need to be alone I can hit up another family for support.
- I can eat candy whenever I want. My kids might ask for a piece, and I’m happy to share, but they wouldn’t dream of telling me to stop.
- I get plenty of exercise. My slow homeschooling lifestyle includes a boatload of walking–in museums, parks, the woods, the apple orchard, and plenty of other places. We often bike to the library or the park, too. If I want to pull out one of my exercise videos, I simply do it while the kids are playing. Sometimes they even join me!
- I don’t have the patience of a saint. Dragging my kids out of bed every morning to make it to school on time, packing lunches, dealing with the fallout from stressful days at school, and making them do homework every night would send me over the edge.
- Distraction isn’t a problem. With everything in life being a learning opportunity, we can all follow up on whatever intrigues us.
- I don’t have to worry about teaching everything. In fact, all I have to do is supply a rich environment and they do most of the learning themselves. If they want or need help with something, like algebra or playing a musical instrument, and I can’t or don’t feel inclined to provide it, we can find a teacher.
- So much help. Dishes, cooking, cleaning, and the like? Many hands make light work. ‘Nuff said.
- Laundry is not a big deal. Guess what? Laundry ain’t rocket science. Kids can do their own from a very young age.
- All the hours in all the days. Time is one of the biggest reasons I do it. Time for them, time for me, time for us, because the biggest cliche in the world is absolutely true. Their childhoods go by fast. Really fast.