Sunday, March 07, 2010

Radical

Years ago, being a homeschooler was radical. Oh, it wasn't illegal like it might have been only a decade or two before. I didn't have to go underground. But it was uncommon. I was considered bizarre, if not weird, by many. There would be those that would corner a homeschooler at a gathering, running across the room to pick my brain. But dh and I have actually experienced a sudden global cooling in the room when divulging our educational choices. In those years, you might hear, "You do what?" or "Is that legal?" I kind of enjoyed my radical persona.

As the years went by, homeschooling became a "movement", if you will, more and more people opting to teach at home. The responses began to change: "Oh, my grandma's neighbor's sister-inlaw's cousin homeschools six kids!" Still followed by, "I could never do that." Now, everyone knows someone who homeschools. No longer am I radical. (Though I believe they still think I'm a bid odd.)

This past week. I saw that we've evolved a bit in the questions I've been asked over the years. I have often been asked about the "S" word: socialization. Although usually, the asker hasn't enough sophistication to distinguish between socializing and socialization, the "S" word is often brandished as a reason to question homeschooling. Because that's the purpose of schools, after all. Isn't it? Or perhaps education might be a goal? I digress. It was a given, my inquisitor said, that there are ample opportunities for socialization of homeschoolers, but in discussing this with a friend of hers, they wondered how these homeschoolers will manage when they are thrown into a college setting.

Now, here I must tell you I was in a bit of a tiff already. Standing in line to get my auto tags renewed and with only fifteen minutes to spare, I didn't feel obligated to explain myself or engage in a philosophical debate with someone that clearly already had an opinion. I just wanted my dang tags. Yet, I had made the mistake of bringing along William, which brought the inevitable, "why aren't you in school?" and the discovery that we were those kind of people.

I tried, really I did, to control myself. I am usually very calm in response to these questions. But this was a new one. My neck feathers raised up a bit. "Well," I responded. "My daughters have already gone to college classes while still in high school. They did quite well." I should have stopped here, I know. I didn't, God forgive me. "And yes, they do have a problem socializing with many public school kids. Many they find too focused on peers, less mature."

Ah, a window was open, my turn. I would be saved from telling her about Lauren's community college class where the students didn't show up for study classes, texted or listened to iPods in class, didn't respect the teacher or participate in group projects. At the first study class, Lauren sat there with several older adult students, no kids her age. Perhaps I'm not radical anymore, but I am different. My kids are different because of it. I'm glad of that.

6 comments:

Cloudia said...

You did a wonderful job and your kids are lucky. You don't owe the rude & curious ANYTHING. Lauren's piano does the talking for you!


Aloha from Hawaii my Friend!


Comfort Spiral

JÄ°VAGO said...

I'm coming from Cloudia's blog.
I wish you and your family a very good week.

Best wishes from Ankara !

Junosmom said...

Thank you, Cloudia - Her fingers do the walking and talking!

Jivago - Welcome! A good week to you also.

pita-woman said...

I admit it, when we first met (how many ages ago??) you were the 1st family I'd ever met that home-schooled and I was skeptical. You've convinced me otherwise. However, I have encountered other parents that homeschool, that have no business even procreating, much less teaching their children... but that's an arguement for another blog. ;)

Loved the photo! That's how I still remember the girls when I think about them. Hard to believe they're women now.

Junosmom said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence, PITA. And I laugh at your description of these parents, but excuse my skepticism in thinking that if they shouldn't be procreating, that the government schools can correct the defect. But I know what you mean.

Anne said...

I had heard that question a few years ago from someone I know. I just answered with "no, I'm not worried" and zipped my mouth.

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