Like all at once.
IN HER HOME THAT IS NOT EVEN A BAR.
She asked other moms (of both the homeschooling and no-way-in-hell-schooling varieties) for feedback. What do we have to say about the pros and cons she'd listed? Are there pros or cons she hadn't considered?
As a working mom, married to a high school teacher, with two kids in public school, I have a surprising fondness for the homeschooling movement. I talk to Larry about it all the time. Not because I think I could teach the basics better (he could, I couldn't), but because I could do all of the other stuff better. For my kids it's all about the other stuff. They are geniuses at the other stuff (most kids are, no?) But they need time and space to become experts.
While I'm not as militant as Penelope Trunk on the subject, I love her feisty rant about "well-roundedness." If you're interests are wide ranging (mine are all over the map) - then by all means, let your well rounded self roll. But some people (my oldest child, for example) have very specific interests. To the untrained eye, specific interests can look a whole lot like crazed obsessions. To the standardized test makers, specific interests resemble (d) none of the above. And to teachers, specific interests look a lot like a kid who will only stop talking if you write him another demerit (and tape it over his mouth.)
So I dream of homeschooling. Of allowing my children to learn the basics through the lens of their own passions. Doesn't that sound romantic? Learning through the lens of your own passions. I want that sentence to light a candle and feed me chocolate mousse.
But here are some of the less romantic reasons I fantasize about the homeschool life:
1. My kids have been taking Spanish since they were four years old. If you need a good laugh, ask them to say a sentence (any sentence) in Spanish. No. Can. Do-o.
2. In school, there's PE, but little-to-no free play. After all, why let children explore and imagine and make up their own games, when you can have them JUMP ROPE FOR HEART(R)
3. Speaking of which - ENOUGH. Enough with using innocent school children to do your fundraising for you, American Heart Association. As much as my son would love to "unlock" the five AWESOME "levels" of rubber duck necklaces, we've already sucked all of our neighbors dry with those godforsaken CitySaver books.
4: Those Godforsaken CitySaver books.
5. But let's get back to heart health for a minute, since the American Heart Association keeps bringing it up (year after jump roping year). You know what's not so heart healthy? Having our kids sit on their asses in school all day, every day, for 17 years, so they can grow up and get good jobs where they sit on their well rounded asses all day.
6. T-shirts. T-shirts. T-shirts. To every season (and fundraiser, and chili cook off, and talent show, and sporting club, and band) there is a t-shirt. Turn, turn, turn.
7. Family "Fun" Nights.
8. Worksheets. Avalanches of pitifully written (often incomprehensible) worksheets spewing from 47 pound backpacks, directly into the recycling bin, because I. just. can't.
9. The "Agenda" that has no agenda other than to document the color that best describes my child's behavior that day. But it's very important that I sign this agenda every night, to ensure I fully absorb the GREENNESS of my child's "choices", and also that he gets his precious "dip in the treasure box" at the end of the week, which is, quite possibly and very sadly, his favorite thing about school.
10. The Recorder. The recorder is not an instrument. It's an act of aggression against fourth grade parents everywhere.
11. School picture day! In the fall! And in the spring! And then makeup pictures! If I wanted shitty digital pictures of my kids wearing wrinkled shirts taken by someone with no formal training in photography? I'D TAKE THEM MYSELF.
12. Oh wait. I already do. Like every day. And my photos have filters, bitches.
13. Family "Fun" Nights. Did I say that one already?
14. How about the tardy slip? That's some fucked-up Little House on the Prairie bullshit, if you ask me. First of all, welcome to the future, Tardiness. On the planet 2015, we call it "being late." It's a common occurrence these days, what with all of the agenda signing, and t-shirt ordering we have to do. Also, should we really hold a mother of five to the same standard of punctuality as the mother of an only child? I think parents of multiples should be granted a five-minute grace period, not per child, but per shoe. It's only fair.
So that's my fourteen cents, Jen. I could go on, but I probably have some permission slips that require me to write my child's name and grade and known allergies in triplicate when I get home.
If I were you - I think I know what I'd do.
On the other hand ...