Ever since Mason was born, I planned for him to be in public school. With the other options being pricey private schools, or "weird" homeschooling, public school seemed like the only thing for him. And around these parts, the education you get from public school is actually pretty awesome.
I don't remember when I first became open to the idea of homeschooling, but I do remember being so intrigued by an article that claimed that most homeschoolers aren't "weird" at all, and that homeschooled children usually perform better on tests, are more socially adept than other children or teens of their same age, and (gasp!) actually enjoy learning, that I had to look up the facts behind those statements. What I found surprised me. I won't get into it here, but after researching the results of good homeschooling, I was impressed and ready to start homeschooling Mason.
That was when he was three...and before I realized that I would actually have to do most of the work to make it happen. I'm ultimately lazy, and when it came time for him to start preschool, I went with the route that was easiest for me: I enrolled him in the preschool attached to the elementary, and took him to be taught...whatever he was taught...by a stranger.
It turned out that I hated that stranger. Every time I talked to her, I wondered why she was teaching in the first place. She didn't seem to like the kids, and she seemed to like the parents even less. It all came to a head when she tried to see if Mason really needed to do chemotherapy and radiation to fight his cancer ("Do they have to give it to him? Can't they just stop?" <--yeah they can...if I want him to die), and then tried to stop a chemo tantrum (a regular tantrum--magnified) during a parent-teacher conference by pulling him from my arms and yelling into his ear. I won't go into the specifics of everything else that happened, but we didn't go back to that class for the rest of the school year. He was in the hospital most of the time anyway, and sick the rest of the time. And while I knew bad experiences wouldn't happen with all of Mason's teachers, I couldn't shake that one from my memory. It also brought back memories of my own teachers, and some of the horrible things I witnessed in school, or had happen to me.
I know the kind of person I want Mason to grow up to be: honorable, hardworking, spiritual, creative, critical, and a leader. These things are no longer taught in schools, and they are definitely not values that are nurtured in junior high and high school environments. It wasn't that long ago that I was in high school myself, and BOY do I remember the things I learned there, and the things I pretended not to have, because they weren't cool.
On top of all of this, I was literally called to homeschool Mason. That may sound crazy, or it may sound outrageous, but it's true. Divine intervention dictated that for the past two years, each time that I decided to go ahead with public school, there where at least two things that would happen to bring me back to the idea of homeschooling.
I would come across an article out of nowhere, about homeschooling.
I would meet a person who was homeschooled.
I would meet parents who homeschool their children.
Quotes from religious books or talks would stand out to me in a way that emphasized the need to homeschool.
A re-run episode with the Duggars teaching their children at home came on one night, just as I had decided to go with public school.
A review book popped up in my email (I review books here) about a protagonist who is homeschooled.
And finally, a few weeks ago, I found out about a local homeschooling convention and fair (in a completely random way) the very hour that I had been considering the pros and cons of each choice.
The convention was last week, and after attending the workshops that were available, the final decision has been made: I am sold on homeschooling.
Will I mess up? Probably. But this is a learning process for both of us, and I have complete faith that I wouldn't be told to do something, if there wasn't a way for me to do it.
Will I regret it? Most likely. But only occasionally, when we have a bad day.
Will Mason actually learn anything? Absolutely. Of this, I have no doubts.
So call us weird, or judge as you may, but you can now consider us one of "those homeschooling families."
And I'm perfectly fine with that. :)