Well with a new year there come new issues as well as dealing with old issues. The other night The Spouse and I had a discussion about home schooling. With this new year there will be a new school year starting this summer/fall. The 2010-2011 school year would be the year Child #1 is “old enough” to start school. The Spouse expressed a desire for Child #1 to enroll which I strongly disagreed with and have shared that with The Spouse countless times. With 2009 winding down I felt it was imperative that we finally got it all out on the table and dealt with our differing opinions on our boys’ educations. The Spouse told me that he has heard the pros from me a million times over and he gets that, but he just wanted the kids to go to public school. That answer wasn’t good enough for me (naturally), if you are going to take a side on an issue then you need to have clear reasons why and be ready to state them and defend them when debating/arguing/whatever with me. That is just how I am, I’ve never been ok with “just because”.

After sometime of getting “just because” I went to print out some information on the pros and cons of home schooling. I then returned to our discussion and read off some of the information to The Spouse. He once again told me he heard some of the pros from me before, he was floored by some of the quotes I read him, as well as the information I had on the number of high school teachers (out of roughly 1000 who volunteered the information…there are definitely more than that) who admit to teaching creationism in their science classrooms. As well as the fact that some school systems actually are or are trying to be allowed to teach the bible as an actual course in school. Now yes I want my kids to be religiously literate, we will be devoting a whole year or two (depending on how long it takes) to examining religions of the world and their written texts if any are available.

BUT in a country were roughly 78% of the folks say they fall under the Christian umbrella (even though 35%-41% of born-agains don't even read their religious text), the likelihood that this would actually be taught like a typical literature class is very, very slim. It will most likely be taught as fact, with the atrocities ignored or twisted to be justified, and the fact that no other religious text is being discussed in a class setting speaks volumes at the aim of something like that. Sure there could be some good from that, but I would rather handle something as big as religion instead of trusting it to someone who has their own slant (and has never read the religious texts). While religion had nothing to do with our original desire to home school it does play a part more and more everyday, especially the more I learn about various school systems in states where we could end up one day.

Now after dealing with the pros of home schooling and bringing to light the things that we don’t agree with in the public school system, I moved on to the negatives. One of The Spouse’s biggest negative to home schooling is what people will think. He fears the boys will be picked on for not attending regular school. I reminded him that the folks we spend our time with either home school themselves, or respect a parents right to choose the best educational route for their children. I also brought to his attention that most of the homeschoolers I talk to say that any negative comments they have or do encounter come from the mouths of adults not children. In fact it might be safe to say that lots of children, if given the choice, would choose to stay home instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to head off to a concrete building for eight hours a day.

Since we don’t interact with our neighbors aside from a nod or a half-smile I don’t foresee them or their children directly saying anything hateful or uncalled for. The most I could see is someone actually stopping us to get confirmation of something most of them probably already suspect. And if someone did have something negative to say…well then they can learn first hand what happens when you open your mouth without me asking for your opinion. I also told him that they would more likely face bullying in public school as well as a need to conform than they ever would with being home schooled. And by us sending them to public school even though we know home schooling is the best thing for our family just so we don’t go against the grain spits in the face of every value we are attempting to teach our children.

We can support their desires to own dolls and dress up in my shoes and clothes, but their education is somehow separate from that? I don’t think so! The Spouse knew of course that debating this with me was pointless, which is why he didn’t want to outright say that was one of the problems. Although I respect where he comes from, he does have to spend 10-12 hours a day with people who don’t understand our approach to childrearing. The fact that our children own dolls is boggling to their minds, and then to educate them at home? We must seem like freaks to some people, but the thing I did my best to get across is that no matter what folks may think we must always do what is best for our family, especially when it comes to the boys.

He of course waved the white flag on this point, but then brought up a very good point which kind of had me quiet for minute or two. It silenced me for two reasons #1 I had never really thought he considered allowing us to home school until the boys reached college age, and #2 While I do have various things planned for the boys as they grow I really hadn’t considered how we would handle high school and college prep, I always figured we would cross that bridge when we got to it. Since college will be the boys choice, not something we force on them.

The point he brought up was how can they get into college without a high school transcript. I actually went and looked up information on colleges that have previously admitted homeschoolers and some studies on how homeschoolers fair in their battle for their choice school. I also let him know that there are ways to make transcripts for the boys, and colleges also take portfolios of the students work, which I have already started working on, by filling up a filing cabinet with things the boys have been doing. Once they get older it will be filled with writing samples, math test, and maybe even a few results from standardized tests I may cave and have them do over the years just to act as a visual progression of their knowledge growth for outsiders (since I will be able to see everyday how much they are learning and growing). I also told him of a homeschooler I knew in high school who was only enrolled part-time to meet certain state requirements, and brought up the various methods in which someone can finish high school.

I did leave out the letters GED because those are not to be spoken in our home. For the hubby they conjure up thoughts of those who dropout of high school not of students who test out early so they can move on to college. Which is a path I can really see Child #1 taking, although I don’t think it will be allowed by his father. Instead he will probably have to do some sort of duel enrollment where he is taking community college classes while working on credits to obtain a high school diploma (maybe an online type thing done at home), and it is an issue I know better than to fight with their father about. To receive a high school diploma in The Spouse’s family is rare…very, very rare, so for his kids to not have one is just unacceptable. I assured him I would do what was needed to make sure that whatever path they want to take they are able to take it.

He eventually seemed pleased, he is still nervous about it, but I don’t know one home school family that doesn’t fret over their children’s education. It is extremely important to us, which is why we undertake the painstaking task of overseeing every single detail of it. Yes I will admit as I admitted to him, that there are days when I could use the eight hours to get A LOT done. Having no one around would allow me to get the house clean and in order, but what good is that? Yes my house would be neat and orderly, but what about the boys’ minds? Yes I would be able to have more time for myself, more moments of peace and quiet, more time for the gym, but what would be the cost of those moments? For me the answer is their education.

Yes they would both probably get through public school fairly well, but would they have learned anything? Would they have a deep understanding of the things that interest them, would they have the time to really get to know themselves? No I don’t think they would. So I have no problem in saying I will gladly give up those moments I miss, to ensure our boys have the education they need, that they deserve. The thing is I don’t want our boys to do well in life I want them to EXCEL in life.

So with that is this debate over? I highly doubt it. In the end will we always make the choices that are best for the boys, of course. Does anyone else’s opinion of those decisions matter? Hell no! So that is that.

I do have a question for the home schooling families that read this blog though, what are your plans for your children as they grow? For those with high school age children how are you prepping for college? How are you handling the lack of a transcript or have you found a way to home school while still meeting your states requirements for a high school diploma?

This is very long…but very important to our family (which is why it gets so much blog space LOL).

Copyright (c) 2010 Rayven Holmes


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