I think we’ve pretty much decided that we’re going to homeschool. It’s funny, only about eighteen months ago I wrote this post saying that I didn’t understand why people wouldn’t just send their kids to regular school. But after a lot of research and prayer and (probably most importantly) meeting a bunch of homeschooling parents, it now seems to me to be the only way to go for our family.
My decision was based on the quality of education I could give my children as well as my belief that true education encompasses far more than sitting in a classroom memorizing dates and formulas (I direct you to Sally Thomas’ amazing article Schooling at Home for more on that — yeah, what she said).
And though I am happy to discuss the data I read and the observations I’ve made about homeschooled children and will readily offer a dry list of the educational and intellectual benefits I think the environment would provide for my children, what gets me most animated when the subject comes up is this: winter parties. It’s not the main reason I decided to homeschool but, man, I just can’t have my kids going to winter parties.
When I was a kid in public school we had Christmas parties. I wasn’t a Christian, but I always loved those events, where we’d take a break from tormenting one another for an afternoon to celebrate Christmas with red and green cupcakes and maybe even a classroom visit from Santa Claus. It was a chance for us all to come together to celebrate something that was meaningful to so many people. Though Christmas was not a religious event in my household, it was fun and interesting to see how much the holiday meant to the other kids, to sing age-old Christian songs and hear about who got to play Mary and who had to be one of the three wise men in the local church play.
A few months ago, when I was still on the fence about homeschooling, I lamented to a neighbor that I’d heard that public schools had those watered-down “holiday parties” now. The neighbor, whose son goes to the local elementary school, shook her head and informed me that those were phased out a few years ago lest they offend someone. They now have “winter parties” — and red and green decorations are forbidden. (Kudos to the creativity of the school board to find a way to water down holiday parties — that’s quite a feat!) Easter is celebrated with a “Spring fest”, and instead of Halloween they have “crazy sock day”. Crazy sock day?? I think that was the straw that broke the camel’s back in the decision-making process.
I realize that homeschooling is not a fit for every family, and that it’s certainly possible to get a good education out of the public school system. But, for us, I think homeschooling is the way to go. If nothing else, if I end up rounding out the social studies curriculum with episodes of Dr. Phil and only get as far as “how to make mommy’s martini extra dry” for our chemistry class, at least they will have the distinction of being able to say they never attended a winter party. 🙂
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