I think answering that question is a lot like trying to explain to people who have no children what it’s like to bring a baby into the world for the first time. It’s the best thing in the world! It’s the worst! It’s all that, and it’s not like that at all. What can I say? You are blind, you’re asking me to describe the difference between mauve and magenta, and I’m not even sure you know what a color is. We may have no common reference point.
I don’t feel like reassuring this homeschool-teacher-to-be. I feel like shouting, “RUN! Run away NOW! You are not the ideal candidate for homeschooling.”
Okay, but why? Naturally, the instant the prospect left the Commons, the room erupted in what Polly has both optimistically and euphemistically referred to as one of our “supportive conversations about homeschooling and parenting” but to which most of us parents refer as our “gossiping sessions.” We parents are required by law to be on the grounds of the school while our offspring participate in the Seattle School District's answer to the ever increasing numbers of children escaping public school. Rather than give up that money, they’ve created a place where they can entice us back into the “system” with art, drama, music, and advanced math classes. For this we are paid $400 a child and they are paid $8,000 by the State. Our kids expand their minds, and we chit chat and drink coffee.
Anyway, there was a surprisingly high degree of consensus that my opinion of the prospect was spot on. She’ll probably make a lousy transition to a homeschool parent. This then led to a long discussion about what makes a homeschool family unsuccessful. So much for supportive, helpful comments about homeschooling by experienced parents. So to those in the F cube (friends, family and fans) seeking recommendations and advice on the topic of homeschooling, I offer this list from the parents of SHRC:
Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Homeschool
Reason 1) You believe that socializing is the most important job of public school.
Since this is always the first question “inquiring minds" want to know, I can only assume this is important. No one asks me how I’m going to teach the kids to read, conjugate verbs, or dissect frogs, so presumably they trust in my ability to convey those important skills. I would like to point out, however, that what public school socializes your children to do is spend six hours sitting in a room with twenty-nine other people the same age during which they must pee and eat at the same time as well as line up to move from room to room. If you know of any place but public school where this would be a useful skill, you let me know.
Reason 2) You send email to a complete stranger on the Internet asking which curriculum you should use.
Not to discourage the fan mail… I LOVE it! I thrill to receiving email from all of you – particularly those that I don’t know and who do not share my last name. However, I’ve received questions like: “Do you think I should use Sonlight or Abeka?” First, I have no clue. I don’t know what your kids are like. Second, I’m not a Christian. Don’t ask me to differentiate between books that teach the world is either 3,000 or 6,000 years old. It’s like asking a teetotaler to discuss the relative merits of gin versus vodka.
Reason 3) You have an obsessive need for one or more of the following: Cleanliness, peace, or privacy.
Actually, you probably shouldn’t even have had children. But if the barn door has already swung open on that one, don’t compound your initial error by bringing all that cacophony into your home 24/7.
Reason 4) You don't like your children.
See Reason 3.
Reason 5) You want to watch movies and play Sudoku all day.
Believe it or not, “Homeschool Parent” is a full time job. You may think that once you settle in with the kids at home you won’t be “working” and therefore you’ll have all the time in the world to write a novel, knit a sweater, or get a master’s degree in existential thought in the 21st century. I am here to assure you that you will have less time to yourself and your own pursuits as a homeschool teacher than you did back in your software development days when you routinely clocked 65 hours a week and synchronized your laptop in the delivery room.
Reason 6) You have impulse control problems.
The opportunities for disaster are endless.
Reason 7) You have only one child.
Okay, this isn't a reason, this is just a heads up. We onlies are an arrogant lot, bright and strong willed. We're tricky beasts. Be vawy vawy cautious when you twap one of us waskaly devils in your house.
Reason 8) The world revolves around either you or your child.
It does not pay to let anyone believe for more than a few minutes that he or she is the most important person in the world. From such lapses of reality, monomaniacal world leaders are created.
Inevitably, you will disappoint someone.
And, last but not least…
Reason 10) …
Never mind. We don’t have a reason ten. About two weeks into it, you’ll come up with your own reason ten.