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Friday, December 02, 2005

Blogging Requirement

Well, Blogger has required me to write more entries or they won't approve this blog. Hmmm, writing under pressure - not easy. I guess I'll start here:

In my first post, I mentioned (slipped it in, actually) that we homeschool. The reason we usually find ourselves 'slipping' this in is because this is a hot-button issue for a lot of people. We find that many people have judged us on this one aspect of our lives before they really get to know us.

Let me start out by explaining what we are NOT.
We don't homeschool because of religious reasons. We are not overly paranoid, anti-social nuts that feel the schools are turning our children against us. We are not some backwoods militia group, arming ourselves in preparation for the overthrow of the government (although this might not be a bad idea with what we currently have in office!). We do not think our kids are better or smarter than public schooled kids. We do not hate teachers or the public school system and finally we are not germ freaks who are worried about our children catching the latest strain of bird-flu or whatever else comes down the pike.

This was a decision that we made as a family for our kids without any judgement toward people that don't homeschool. Many people (including some of our friends) felt we were making a judgement about them and thought they were bad parents because they put their kids in school. We found ourselves doing a lot of explaining.

We came to this decision moreso based on the fact that we had daughters. Our oldest daughter was in 3rd grade when we decided to pull her out of school. This was not an easy decision. She protested, although not as much as we had anticipated. We saw our beautiful, fun, happy daughter who had LOVED school to this point, start to change. We noticed the pressure to be someone she wasn't, the pressure to like boys, the pressure to cram/memorize work in a certain time period without really learning it so she could be moved on to the next subject. Her love of reading went in the toilet. To us, this much stress and pressure on a girl of 8 to 9 years old was crazy.

This is where most people say: "She is going to have to live in the real world of pressure sometime." Yes, as fairly intelligent adults, we realize this, but not at 8, 9, 10 or even 11 years old. We felt she needed time to learn to be comfortable and confident with herself as she was, not as all her friends thought she should be.

It helped that I was already staying home with the girls and had the time, it also helped that the town we lived in happened to have quite a few homeschooling families already doing it. The ultimate advantage was when I had told one of my friends what I was thinking of doing - it turned out she had been thinking of doing the same thing and was too afraid to say anything! So we took the leap together.

Now, if I am making this sound like, we thought about it and just did it and all was great - I'm not. This was tough in the beginning. Many sleepless nights spent wondering if I was completely screwing up my kids, would they have any friends, would they keep their friends they have, what about sports....etc., etc. The first year was the toughest, always second guessing myself, trying to copy what the schools do - after that, it just kept getting easier and the freedom of it is what we love the most.

As I said, our oldest daughter came home after 3rd grade and stayed home until her Freshman year - this is the choice we give the kids - if they want to go to high school, they can, or if not, they can stay home. It is just very important to us to have them home through the middle school years which seem to be the hardest years especially for girls.

Anyway, obviously everyone is free to agree or disagree with our views, but this situation has certainly worked for us and we love the amount of time we get to spend with our kids.

Who knows, maybe they will grow up to be complete losers and resent us for all the things we did to them thinking it was the right thing to do, but then again, isn't that the risk we ALL take as parents? Go with your gut, I say.

1 comment:

Johnny said...

It's probably blogexplosion.com, not blogger.com, that requires the entries before they will list you in their directory. :) So, get busy! lol