Monday, September 10, 2012
Neighbor: How old is your daughter?
Me: Almost 6.
Neighbor: Where does she go to school?
Me: We homeschool.
Neighbor: Oh, I could never do that!
As the conversations continued, as I tried to make the homeschooling process seem a bit less mystifying, I unraveled some of the key issues that seemed most intimidating to parents regarding homeschooling. And, for the most part, it seemed to come down to time--as in too much of it.
While I do certainly believe that homeschooling grants us a lot of time, I am not convinced that it takes more time than parents dedicate to their child's traditional school. The parents I know whose children attend various public and private schools devote a great deal of their time to school-related activities, becoming active in PTO events, keeping abreast of academic expectations and performance, meeting with teachers and administrators, attending school functions, participating in school fundraisers, coordinating bake sales, planning after-school playdates and activities, making sure breakfast gets eaten, getting kids out the door to the bus, transporting kids here and there, preparing school lunches and snacks, and managing homework.
I don't think that homeschooling takes more time than all of that. There may be lesson plans to consider or activities to coordinate, playdates to organize and park days to attend, but we are able to move throughout our days and weeks at a slow, unhurried pace -- preventing burn-out from both children and grown-ups. We are able to adjust schedules, cancel activities, and regulate our pace if things get too hectic or if family rhythms change. We are able to focus our time on the activities that are most meaningful and important to us, recognizing changing interests and skill-levels. And then there is all that time for reading and snuggling, playing and pretending, dreaming and discovering.
In my view, homeschooling gives much more time than it takes.