Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Homeschool Association

 Our county has had a very active Homeschool Association  for many years. When Devon was 4 everyone was bugging me about early enrollment in Kindergarten. I was quite certain that I did NOT want to enroll her, but not so sure what I wanted to do instead.  I started attending WHA meetings. Every other year they usually start the year off with a parent panel of experienced homeschooling parents who tell their stories about why and how they homeschool. The presenter asks some basic questions and then lets the audience ask questions for the "experienced" parents to answer. The first meeting I attended I remember being completely wowed by a Mom of 7 kids! I had 3 small children at the time and I remember thinking that this Mom must just know everything. She must have all the answers, I mean homeschooling 7 kids! I also remember another mom talking about her son not really doing much math and how that was totally fine with her and another set of parents telling how their daughter didn't read until she was 12 but they were alright with that. I was shocked. How could not doing any math for months on end and not reading until 12 years old be alright. Those parents obviously didn't know anything and they certainly weren't up for sainthood like the Mom of 7 kids.

 Last night was the first Homeschool Association meeting of the year. It was the parent panel meeting. Only this time I was on stage telling about homeschooling my 7 kids. Talking about how I was fine with the fact that some of my kids haven't read until they were 12 and the fact that we don't do math every day(or even every week sometimes) and how I was alright with that. I also got to talk about how my daughter placed into all college level classes at the Technical College and how my son built a computer without any help. On the one hand I don't feel like an experienced homeschool parent at all. I'm certainly not going to be nominated for sainthood anytime soon. On the other hand, I can look back at all the doubts and uncertainties I've faced with our schooling and know that I've worked through most of them. We've tried several different styles and curriculum and we are in a good place right now. I know what works for us and what doesn't. I still feel like I should be doing more, but we do what we can and the results have been great so far.

 The truth is that it is really hard swimming upstream, but the results really are worth it! Homeschooling is becoming more and more accepted. When I first started it was estimated that 1 percent of American children were home educated. That number is now up to 4 percent. I think most people are still happy with more traditional "school at home" methods than the relaxed philosophy we adhere to, but it is changing! It is still really weird to be considered an "experienced" homeschool parent, but I guess I really am by now.

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