Often, what seems a reckless decision to homeschool, is really the result of the last straw placed on a pile of worry, grievance and outrage. A final shove to get parents over the cliff of indecision from which they were already dangling. A hesitant leap into a lifestyle the whole family will most likely benefit from more than they could ever have imagined.
“Did Mr. and Mrs. X really just pull their kid out of school because the teacher canceled show & tell on Fridays?”
Well, yes. And no, of course not! But ya, probably.
Maybe little Susie came home crying that she wouldn’t be able to show and tell her classmates all about her great grandpa’s war medals. But under the surface of this small slight there was probably a storm of discontent that had been brewing for weeks, months, or ever since her second week of kindergarten.
But not every reactionary homeschool leap works out.
Homeschooling is Best (except when it’s not)
Could there possibly be stupid and reckless reasons to homeschool? No way. Sounds like an oxymoron. I think homeschooling is the best, good, right thing to do, Forrest. And often occasionally I forge ahead with my enlightened hifalutin nose in the air. Confidence is key. Right?
But truthfully homeschooling is only the best thing to do if (the following 5 points):
- You see a need, interest or eagerness in your child (that outside schools cannot fill).
- You want to homeschool more than your kids want to be homeschooled.
- You can afford to homeschool (time required/income for basic needs) and still feed your kids without family panhandling or locking them in the basement.
- You can make homeschooling a priority.
- You won’t give up after three weeks and talk smack about the rest of us making it happen while on your lunch dates or at the gym.
And if you can’t meet these five simple points, please rethink homeschooling. Or don’t think about it at all. You clearly haven’t thought it through yet anyway. The rest of us would like to offer you our tax dollars to send your kids to school and keep “homeschooling” out of the headlines and legislature.
The decision to homeschool cannot be based solely on a knee-jerk reaction, or an “I’ll show them!” moment if it’s really going to work for the long haul. Parents must think past the momentary satisfaction they will get from say…showing that horrid aide in the school pick-up line that she has no power over their mini van anymore.How dare she tell me to get back in my car when I was just grabbing little Johnny’s lunchbox he dropped near the right front tire! (scribbles letter of intent on back of kid’s 7th tardy slip this month and stops to shove it under windshield wiper of the principal’s SUV).
Maybe you made an aspirin of yourself at the last PTA meeting. Is that reason going to fortify you enough to commit to teaching grammar in your pjs for the next several years (or decades)? If not, show some restraint at the next meeting.
If you choose to homeschool only so you don’t have to show your face in a certain crowd ever again, you could be doubling down on that humiliation when the overwhelming task you hastily embarked on forces you to return your kids with your tail between your legs after realizing there are no magic homeschool fairies coming to teach your kids. Please refer to the 5 points listed above before acting on impulse.
The Straw That Broke the Fed-Up Parents’ Back
Some stand-alone excuses to yank a kid out of school are down-right ridiculous. But, there are many great reasons to homeschool. And in combination with (or piled upon) one of these great reasons, even trigger-happy excuses to homeschool can become a solid base from which to leap. Then, once seasoned, parents will hopefully discover the rewarding cornerstones of the homeschool lifestyle.
Like the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak.
Our Last Straw:
It was a dark year in the second grade. Colorful reference books sat in unused despair beneath an apple tree chart. An tree whose apples hung in a frozen free fall from impossible achievement limbs…
Alright, I’ll cut through the prose and get to the stinking point.
My kids were bored, I was tired of forcing them to spend their time away from reality, real learning, and the joys of sunlight. I could no longer stomach forcing them into a system that beat a drum, and taught them to follow, while liberally assigning labels and suggesting medications. I was toying with the idea of homeschooling from the safety of my place in the pick-up line.
And then one notable stormy afternoon… (takes a long slow sucking breath) when I heard that the over-worked, underpaid, jaded, past-due for retirement teacher let my kid cry all day over a book I bought him and he read, that he wanted to take an accelerated reader test on, and that she wouldn’t allow him to take because it was above his grade level and she wasn’t sure it was appropriate for him to be reading, even though she had tested him and reported to me he was reading on an 8th grade level and, “As his mother,” I asserted, “I’ll be the judge of what is appropriate or not for my child to read. Thank. You. Very. Much!!” (eye twitch, nasal flare, top of head blows off)
One small straw falls on the hump and the camel collapses. That’s it. I’ve said my piece and counted to three.
And now we’re homeschooling! Thanks for the shove, Broomhilda.
THE BEST BOOK OF HOMESCHOOL LAUGHS!
A Lapse in Sanity or a Shove into Homeschooling
Before any parent sets fire to their kids’ stack of tardy slips and rakes the principal over the coals, or worse, goes out and purchases a laminator, they need to decide if they are acting out of momentary insanity or finally acknowledging the need to act.
It may be hard for us to judge our own situation, much less the reckless decisions of others. What seems impulsive just might be the straw that broke the camel’s back, the match in the powder keg, the vinegar on the baking soda volcano. We don’t always know what road that particular camel has been down that led to this one triggering straw.
Lets play a game: Reckless Decision or The Last Straw?
Is the reason for deciding to homeschool a “Reckless Decision” or “The Last Straw?” It’s like playing fact or crap, only better. And maybe educational. Sort of. Probably not. Anyway, here is a list of what seem to be ridiculous and kamikaze reasons to homeschool. But are they really?
- You lost the popularity contest for PTA president.
- They no longer sell chocolate milk in the cafeteria.
- You and your kids are allergic to dawn. Not the dish soap.
- We’re not selling stale popcorn or yeti cooler raffle tickets door to door. Mandatory fundraisers are communism.
- “The new school uniforms are not my daughter’s color.”
- The high school football coach is now also the elementary school principal, and they replaced the librarian with a teacher’s aide.
- Your mother-in-law said you couldn’t, shouldn’t, and she won’t allow it.
- The truancy officer didn’t agree with your pattern of spontaneous family field trips and good weather days.
- The basketball team got new uniforms and a coach bus for away games. There’s asbestos in the band hall.
- “That teacher can take her apple tree behavior chart and #$#% @*%(^@ #&*!#.”
- Your balance of library and lunch fines got out of hand and you’re going into hiding.
- The teacher threw out all the juice and pixie-stix you sent for snack time.
- “I’m not a policeman. I’m a princess.”
- We’re saving money on clothes.
- You got out of the car in the pickup line and were later identified and targeted 37 times on Facebook.
- Homeschooling looks fun and cozy like a Hallmark special.
*Ask a friend to play along. Add your own precipitating events. Compare answers. Laugh, argue, empathize.
Some of us needed an aggravating event to push us into acting on a situation we were afraid we couldn’t possibly fix. And we likely found we are more capable than we imagined. And then we look back wishing we’d had the guts to start sooner. But thank God for making us uncomfortable enough to finally dare.