Monday, March 12, 2012

Foreshadowing of Homeschooling

As I start to put together curricula choices for next year, I am a bit dumbfounded that we are homeschooling.  Me?  I am homeschooling.  I am homeschooling?  (Said in the same incredulous manner of "Bill" in "My Cousin Vinny" when he realizes they are accusing him of shooting the clerk.)  I thought for sure I would have had visits from child services or be in a psych ward if I ever attempted to homeschool.  Yet here I am, planning another academic year.

I am beginning to wonder though that maybe I shouldn't be so surprised.  Maybe we were destined to be a homeschool family but we just didn't realize it.  Perhaps we were so busy just doing what everyone else does in the chaos of daily life, that we forgot to read the signs.  They were there.  They foreshadowed our future.  We just had to stop spinning so fast and take a look around.  The funny thing about signs is that they are easy to miss.  There is a good reason for the old saying that, "Hindsight is 20/20."  Only distance and time allows for us to look back and see.

So, what exactly were some of the signs that foreshadowed our radical departure from the traditional educational system?  Our radical beliefs?  Our radical lifestyle?  Our radical career choices?  No, no and no.  Geez, there is nothing radical about a two lawyer family with two children living in the suburbs driving a minivan and owning a dog and some goldfish.  No visits from Super Nanny or Real Housewives of Atlanta.  We would make for snooze TV, definitely not a ratings grabber.  Perhaps then, what I view as "signs" are subtle.  Merely things that my husband and I should have picked up on over time.

One of our first signs was our extreme dissatisfaction with the local public schools.  We knew many families who were very happy with them, but our discontent was such that we knew it would not be the right choice for our family.  Private schools were our only choice because only nut jobs, weirdos and Little House on the Prairie types homeschooled.

(Now I freely admit to having all sorts of ill-informed, preconceived notions about homeschooling.  That is not, however, the reason for this parenthetical comment.  It is because I feel confident that my mom is just dying to scream into cyberspace that I certainly qualify under the "nut job" and "weirdo"  categories.  Point well taken, mom.  To be fair, she is probably right too.)

 Our eldest started her traditional educational career of kindergarten at a Catholic International Baccalaureate school.  It is a school that we still highly regard, but it is no longer a good fit for our family.  A clear sign, which was missed by us, came on a "sick day" when she was in first grade.  Did we spend our time watching Dora the Explorer reruns?  No.  We researched totem poles and then she created her own totem pole out of an old wrapping paper roll.  Quick email to the teacher and she took it to school and gave the class a presentation on totem poles and the native people who created them.  Neither my daughter nor I can remember now what sparked the interest, but whatever it was, we followed it.   Now that is a definite homeschooling type activity.

The above-described incident wasn't an aberration.  Our research and explore modus operandi spilled over into all areas of our lives; family trips especially.  When our youngest was a first grader at the same private school we took a family trip to the Western North Carolina Nature Center.  Great place to wander and see animals native to the region.  It has always been a family favorite.  However, we gave our son pencil and paper and asked him to sketch the animals he saw.  Mom took pictures and put together a power point presentation on all the animals for his class.

Family trips are spurred on by our interests or topics about which people are learning.  "Night at the Museum 2" was a video my daughter really wanted for Christmas one year.  So our Spring Break trip was naturally a family trip to the Smithsonian.
Another sign was our family's grand finale whenever we head to Orlando for a theme park adventure.  We have taken the kids on two Disney Trips and one Universal/Sea World adventure.  All three trips culminate in a trip to Book Warehouse.  Please don't get me wrong, we do go to Downtown Disney for souvenirs and the Lego store.  But our very last stop, which is eagerly awaited, is always the Book Warehouse.  We spend hours piling up books for each member of the family.  Having just left there two days ago with a mountain of new books (55 in all, photo is just some of the kids' books) is what triggered all these thoughts of "signs" that we were destined for homeschooling.

Significance of the signs?  Not too much other than I should stop being so surprised that we are now homeschooling.  Guess it is time to relax and enjoy the adventures in learning together.


  1. As someone who is also part of a "boring, typical" family who never set out in life determined or even considering homeschooling, I appreciate your post.

    1. Thanks! As I am meeting more homeschooling families out and about, I am realizing just how far-fetched my preconceived notions about homeschooling really were.

  2. See, now I set out early in life to be the weirdo in the family, so while they were initially against it, I don't think my family was really THAT surprised at the homeschooling. However, there is a bit of a back story there too.. when my oldest was 5, I signed him up for kindergarten. Then, 3 weeks before school was to begin, I couldn't do it. I pulled him out before he ever started! And we've happily homeschooled ever since. Enjoy your adventures in homeschooling!

    1. I think our whole family (grandparents included) are a bit shocked at how much we are enjoying homeschooling. My parents have noticed and commented about how well the kids get along. When we considered homeschooling, we really anticipated having a lot more problems than we have had. Certainly we have had bad days, but the good ones certainly outweigh the bad.

  3. I like my nut job weirdo friend. She is definately my sign that it is ok to want to learn, to enjoy spending time with my kids, to speak with them as rational individuals worthy of engaging, while appreciating their foibles. Another sign I can add is three roses as a teachers gift in various stages of bloom; one for the past, one for the present and the full bloom for your future. Very glad you've found joy being in full bloom.