Over the years, I have answered the question “Will you homeschool?” in several different ways.
Are you kidding me? I will never homeschool. Being a stay-at-home mom was not in the plan and neither is homeschooling. I want my kids to be socialized and have the chance to be part of a team, band, or any other type of group. I don’t want to keep them at home and teach them myself. I’m smart but astrophysics is a little out of my league. (Because of course, my children will be studying astrophysics by the 2nd grade…I will spawn out of this world intelligence!)
Besides, the public school system was an integral part of my life. My grandma taught in a one room schoolhouse back in the day. My mom taught for 40 years. I even had her for a teacher. (Oh, schnutz! Those stories alone could be a blog post all it’s own – “The Ridiculous Balancing Act of Calling Your Mom “Mrs.!”)
But seriously, I loved school and all my teachers. I was that child who got so excited the night before the first day of school that I couldn’t sleep for fear of missing it! I wanted my kids to experience that same joy. Except for middle school. NOBODY in their right mind would want to torture their precious, innocent baby with middle school. But, it’s sort of a rite of passage. It’s the fire of adolescents that breeds strength in adulthood, right?
Homeschooling? No way! The very idea was quickly put to the side because I believed the cons far outweighed any pros.
I’m not sure how or when but over the years, the idea of homeschooling kept circling and calling to me like a siren. It was intriguing to me when I started noticing that some of my assumptions about homeschooling were all wrong.
About the same time, I was struck with a very sobering fact at an AMFM conference my husband and I attended: Between birth and 18 years old, parents only have 936 weekends with their kids. I don’t know about you, but that freaked me out. Time flies and 936 weekends seems like a drop in the bucket. IF I get a drop, who gets the bucket? Maybe it was wanting the opportunity to interact with my kids more than just after school and on weekends that let my ears perk up whenever I heard something about homeschooling. I was still nowhere near convinced it was for us, but became open to hearing the wonderful stories of how families were benefiting from homeschooling and all the opportunities that were open to their kids. Yes, there are a ton of opportunities! For some reason, I believed that homeschooled kids got short changed. The stories I heard were exactly the opposite.
For example, my boss’ granddaughter had a passion for Japanese. She was able to complete her school work during the morning then run off to work at a Japanese restaurant where she could cultivate her verbal Japanese skills with the cooks in the back. She did this all before the last period bell rang at the nearest public school. Later, she even had the opportunity to travel to Japan as a student ambassador. She didn’t miss anything, but instead cultivated her passion!
Then, there was my husband’s younger brother, 10 years younger to be exact, who was homeschooled. I vaguely remember something about how there was a girl he liked so he joined a co-op that allowed him to either play volleyball with her or taught him how to river dance with her. I prefer the river dance story because it makes me chuckle funny, but maybe she was a Celtic dancer and he just joined the volleyball team. The point is that extracurricular activities abounded in the homeschool arena as well. Who knew?
Ok, just from that statement alone, many might say, I shouldn’t teach my own children. Don’t worry, I will teach them proper English as well as Okieisms so they can communicate in both languages. Actually, multiple languages are on our agenda.
Needless to say, I had a lot of questions. I still have a lot of questions. Around the time our minds were opening up to the idea of homeschooling, we heard about the OCHEC Homeschool Convention in Oklahoma City. We weren’t ready to jump in and get started or even attend the workshops being offered but we were curious, so we purchased a “shopping pass” that allowed us into the exhibit hall. We perused the curriculum. There were so many options for all different learning styles. We saw art exhibits, entrepreneurial business ventures, and robots that won competitions, which were all created from the minds and hard work of homeschool students. What honestly was most helpful to us was the mentoring booths, where veteran homeschool parents volunteered their time to answer any questions a current homeschooling parent or potential homeschooling parent might have. We sat down with one of these mentors and started asking question after question. The mentor was very patient and kind. She answered our questions, directed us to many resources and left the door open for future contact. We had done research, but it was nice to hash through our concerns with someone who has been in the trenches for years.
The more we learned, the more excited we became about homeschooling and realized our preconceived notions were untrue. I won’t be alone in this venture – there are co-ops and support groups and a wide variety of learning resources out there to help us on our journey. There are just as many, if not more, opportunities for my children to be involved in extracurricular activities. There is no “right way” to homeschool. It looks different for every family and child.
If you are starting to be intrigued by homeschooling or want to do it but don’t know where to get started, I would highly encourage you to attend the OCHEC 2014 OKC Convention May 2 & 3.
Will you be attending the OCHEC convention?
If so, comment on this post. I’ll message you and maybe we can get all the OKC mom’s blog moms together for lunch!