Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Hatch Homeschool Diaries - Answering questions for the other 96.4% :))

We are winding down here at the Hatch household.  I am helping the boys complete lots of unfinished projects while looking ahead to next year.

Next year.  And the year after and after and after that....

You are going to really do it that long?

Homeschool I mean.  High school?

Are you qualified!?!

( I'll go ahead and get this one out of the way.  Yes.  Yes, I am qualified.  And No. I do not have a degree in Physics.)

Questions.  I get lots of questions.

What time will you be done with your school? 

What subjects do you cover?

What curriculum do you use?

How can you handle teaching to two different levels at once?

I could never do that...being with my kids all day.

We don't work well together.

How can you homeschool legally?

Oh, you have a teaching degree...that is why it is OK for you to homeschool.

How do you make sure your kids are socialized?

Don't they miss seeing other people?

Do they get to have many friends?

I would hate having to stay home all day.  I need to get out too badly.

I just need My. Time.

Well, I am sure you are doing a good job, but I am talking about the uneducated parents that homeschool.  I mean, they are hurting their children.

Some of these questions are innocent enough, but some I feel the need to answer so that I may shed some light from a different perspective.

The problem in thinking that we do "school at home" is that most people remember having to sit at a desk for hours on end with various monotone teachers lecturing, occasionally throwing in a good one that made one subject come to life, filling out thousands of worksheets, and then doing this act of boredom for many years until one day we are declared graduated.  And then taking that memory and relating it to my house and my dining room where I personally subject this system onto my children while never taking them out because "we homeschool".  So then, of course it would stand to reason that corporate schooling whether it be public or private would look better.  At school you at least had friends that sat in those desks next to you and that you could secretly talk to if you were careful.  I mean, you got socialization, unlike that dining room table where it is only your little brother and his smelly farts.


While some people do run homeschool as though it is school at home, very few of my friends subject their children to such torture.  Homeschool at the Hatches and in many homes all across the country is actually taking place alongside the parents, with respect and patience for each other.  Out in the open, at the grocery store and the local farms, and the park and the planetarium and the museums and the restaurants and on hiking trails, schooling is happening with groups of happy people of various ages.  Conversations are taking place and are not interrupted by a bell or a silent lunch, and kids are collaborating on how to build working soda machine models out of Legos.  Right now as I type, this is happening.  Baking and gardening and sewing and reenacting and building are all common parts of our months, cycling in and out according to desire, season, or basic need.  Learning is infused with life and life with learning.  There is no need to separate the two.  In fact it is quite natural in pairing those together.  All that - instead of a desk and chair and lots of useless, brain numbing worksheets and repetitive book exercises. 

But what about the socialization?  The other kids. Their. Age.

What about it?  Is it normal to have to raise your hand and pray some adult says yes when you make the request to go to the bathroom?  When your children get into an argument with their best friend and feelings get hurt are you hoping they go to the relationship experts - their other best friend (who you have never even met because you heard about her and don't want her over at your house) in math class in period six?  When you go into the office is there an armed guard and metal detectors making sure those mischievous office mates don't try to sneak in knives or drugs for their mid morning breaks?  Is everyone in your life within three years of your age, and are all your best friends exactly your age?  And are all the older folks in your life completely uncool in their "mom" jeans?


My kids' socialization happens through support groups and boys' club and tween group and art class and gardening club and park day and field days and monthly hikes and messaging friends to find out how far they've gotten in Harry Potter and to share a great deal on Legos at Amazon.  And then there's church and soccer and sleepovers and neighbors and walks downtown and.....all of that AND they get to eat lunch around the kitchen table or lying on the floor reading, they can go to the bathroom anytime, there are no bullies waiting at their lockers, no metal detectors for the front door. 

That is how we get socialization. 

Real life practice in real life situations.  All day.  Every day.

For all the rest, the answer is that they study the same subjects that the public school kids do, but in much different ways.  While I am glad that I have an excellent background in education, I have also had to realize that my view of education as a public school teacher actually held us back at first.  I kept trying to create that "school at home".  I love my kids, and I have always missed them when they were away from me for the day.  That would be why I worked at their preschool, picked them up early, and substitute taught at their school before bringing them home.  But....I also understand those that struggle to get along with their children.  To those parents, I am truly sorry and I get that it is hard.  I just ask.... Are you sure that it is your child that is the problem with your relationship?  Could it be external factors, such as what they are exposed to at school?  Could they need a different learning environment?  Could they need you to listen and see them in a new light?  Wouldn't it be easier to correct behavior and develop a positive relationship with them at home rather than working with everybody's leftover patience at the end of a day?

Don't get me wrong.  I don't think that everyone should want to homeschool.  I get that parents have careers.  I will be honest and say that there are days I miss working.  There is a restaurant downtown that needs lunch servers and I thought it sounded like fun.  But I can't apply for such a job just yet.  I do have to make hard decisions about my life in order to continue homeschooling.  It is not for everyone, and I do not think we live in a world where the same decision is best for all people. 

But before you tell that odd family that homeschools their kids and lives down the street from you that you could NEVER do what they do, please stop.  Take a moment to think about what it is they truly do.  And realize, it probably isn't what you imagine. 

Just sayin'.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! That's exactly what you told me yesterday. It was good to see you & meet your husband. I'll be reading your blog with great interest.