The other day, I went to a birthday party of one of Ari’s friends. At the party, I met a woman and her six-year-old son. The kid was really cute, and had a beautiful head full of curly hair.
“Where do you go to school?” I asked him. There was a pregnant pause.
“Go ahead, you can say.” His mom said with a soft smile.
“I don’t go to school.”
“We’re un-schoolers.” His mom said. She meant that her son was being homeschooled. She went on to say that they learn whatever he happens to be into at the time. Her son is really into clay sculptures at the moment. They don’t go by a particular curriculum, per say, but they follow his interests. They visit a lot of art galleries, museums, and basically “live life.” It sounded utopian to me.
I’ve always been fascinated with homeschooling. I’m not sure if I want to pursue it or not for my kids, but I like a lot of aspects of it on the surface. I like that you can design your own personalized curriculum for your kids, or you can follow a purchased curriculum from a particular education style, for example Waldorf, or Oak Meadow.
Ari is not in pre-school now, and that gives me the flexibility to explore his interests. However, there is a lot of societal pressure to put your kids in traditional school. Homeschooling is viewed, by many people I’ve spoken to, as cultish. The other concern I’ve heard from many parents is that kids that are homeschooled don’t get enough socialization with other kids.
From my limited experience with parents of homeschooled children, these appear to be misconceptions. I’ve heard this sentiment time and time again:
“Homeschooling is not about being in the home.”
This means that kids are taken to different classes to explore their interests, they are exposed to other children who are also being homeschooled or “unschooled,” whatever terminology you use.
My personal concerns about homeschooling would be the following:
- When would I have time to work on a curriculum?
- When would I have time for myself?
- How would society judge me if I chose to homeschool my kids?
If I chose to enter Ari into Universal Pre-K at a traditional school, I’d have to make that decision by January of 2012. I keep vacillating between traditional schooling and homeschooling. At the age of 3 1/2 it seems premature to be making these decisions about my child’s future. He still seems so little to me.
What about you? Would you consider homeschooling your kids? Do you have your kids in traditional school?