Which is probably why, even though I've come late to it, I like homeschooling so much. No waking up before the crack of dawn to prepare lunches and breakfasts (we won't get into me getting up before the crack of dawn to write blog posts though, will we); no agonizing over Who Was Shunned Today; no "OMG, he failed Quiet Time!" angst; and finally, no stress over whether or not the teacher likes my children, despite their theatrics, intense energy levels, and precociousness (and no, as "teacher" I do not play favourites, no matter what Max tells you).
My decision to start homeschooling came about rather suddenly. I sort of leaped head first, without thinking too carefully about it (gosh, what a surprise, says Richard). I've written a bit about it before, here and here, but really, it kind of thrust itself upon me. Lest you think me anti-school, I will say that I'm not: all three of my kids attended kindergarten at local schools and all three of them loved it. And one day they may all choose to go back to school. I won't prevent them. But I like what not going to school has done for them: FDPG can read grade 6 level books without anyone saying anything; Dominic can continue to learn to read without anyone saying anything; and Max can, well, continue to be Max without anyone saying anything. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. There's all that Other Stuff, stuff like reading really great books aloud to them on wet, rainy mornings (instead of racing to school), or making chocolate chip muffins with - gasp - peanut butter in them for lunch (instead of racing to school), and let's not forget the moments when they play charmingly together (instead of racing to school). This is definitely one of the aspects I like best about the homeschooling community: the fact that all ages can usually hang out together without conflict, grimaces, or angst.
Yes, we get a lot of "But what about SOCIALIZATION?" comments, mostly from people who just don't know better, some way more well-meaning than others. And yes, we get a lot of "Aren't you worried in case they aren't at grade level?" remarks usually from VCP (Very Competitive People). And finally, there are the relatives who think I am sheltering them too much, but I tend to avoid these people as much as possible. I have enough angst over my parenting style without worrying about what I might be doing to my kids' intellects! But mostly we get a lot of "What nice/polite/charming/helpful/well-spoken children!" remarks, some sounding more surprised than others.
It may be too that I have developed a really thick skin, or the fact that I live in a part of the world where homeschooling is considered a trendy educational option, or I'm just good at ignoring things, but I don't notice too many negative remarks these days. When people tell me how privileged we are that we can choose this kind of option for our kids, I always agree, although I am quick to point out that it has its down sides: I don't contribute to a pension plan, we are frequently scraping the bottom of our bank account, and I often feel a certain frustration of over my own dearth of free time. It's a trade-off, as with most things, but one I like so far. So do the kids.
So here's to another Not Back To School week! Happy