Lebanon Reporter

Columns

July 24, 2012

Enjoy learning at home and school

The parenting journey has led me down a number of paths that I never dreamed I would find myself walking. I used to say that when I put my youngest on the big yellow school bus, I would have a good cry, and then sit down and read a book from cover to cover without interruption. She is a sophomore and I have yet to read that book.

As our oldest was nearing kindergarten, my father-in-law, who is a public school teacher, encouraged us to consider home schooling. My mother, a Christian school teacher, encouraged (begged) us to consider home schooling or Christian school.

I grew up in a Christian school, and swore I would never send my children to one. And I had interacted with a number of home-schoolers, and promised I would never do that either. Back in the ’80s, they were even weirder than they are today.

I laughed off my father-in-law, and reassured my mother, but then came Jonesboro, Ark. As hubby and I were discussing the tragic school shooting I asked, “Does it scare you to send our kids to school?”

“Yes.”

“Then what are the options?”

I thought he would say one of us should get a second job to pay for private school. Instead he responded, “We could home-school.”

At that moment, it clicked with me. Yes, home schooling was the answer to all of my fears, except for the fear of skipping kindergarten round-up. Not signing up for kindergarten was a huge public commitment, but I decided to take it a year at a time and see what happened.

What I started in fear, I continued because I really enjoyed it. The kids and I learned so much together, and I soon realized that they were weird. They were weird because they did their schoolwork at the kitchen table, or on the front porch, or in a beanbag chair. They were weird because they could get up at 2 a.m. on a school night to watch a meteor shower and then sleep in the next morning. And it was really weird the week we based all of our science, math and history lessons on my daughter’s interest in the Titanic.

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