Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I don't think I could do that

When I tell people I homeschool, 9 times out of 10, I get the same response, "I don't think I could do that." Guess what? I'm not so sure I can do it either. I do know that it beats the alternative.

When most people think of homeschoolers, they picture religious fundementalists, who shun evolution and sex education, in favor of sheltering their children and implementing Christian values. Or, they picture those freakish children who win spelling bees, and get accepted into college on full scholarships at the age of 12. Our family does not fit into either category. We are not religious, and we are not geniuses. We are a hapless tribe of misfits striving to make our way in life.

Even with all my Bohemian, pseudo-hippie, idealistic views, the little conformist in the back of my brain keeps pulling out the yardstick to measure my children's accom
plishments with "standards", otherwise known as adequate yearly progress. It doesn't help that a very real authority will use this same yardstick to judge my children's progress come June. There's not a day goes by that I don't imagine sitting in an interrogation room, with a hot bulb dangling over my head, and an investogator questioning, "Just what have you taught these children?!" "Uh, um....how to follow the mircrowave directions on a frozen chicken pot-pie." SMACK! "Unacceptable!"

Dear Authoritarian Sirs,

Please excuse the lack of rote information in my sons' portfolios. We meant to do many math tests, write many book reports and essays, make history time lines, and science diagrams. Somehow the months escaped us. Sometimes, we'd spend weeks on one Algebra unit, doing practice problems over and over. Sometimes, too, we'd start out reading a novel and the children would refuse to stick to the story line. Instead, they'd veer off on their own series of "What if's". They'd insist on asking me "Why?" I tried thumping them on their heads, and begging them to stay on task, but their minds kept wandering. I also must confess, that my children spent hours listening to heavy metal music, and found distraction in that too, wanting to know what words like "obliteration, animostiy, and apathy" meant. I do have some actual work samples, few as they are, and I'm glad to report that they were all graded A+A+.

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