"What qualifies you to do that?"
The resident wore green scrubs. He stopped dead in the middle of putting a new cast on one of the kids to ask me this question.
He’d wandered into the “where do your kids go to school?” space, and I had just told him we homeschooled.
No one had asked me my qualifications yet, not since we’d decided to bring the kids home. And yet there was only one answer.
"Because I'm their mom," flew out of my mouth.
He stared. Unimpressed. And then, he stopped talking.
Immediately, I felt like the dumbest person in the universe.
As the silence grew and as the cast was being wrapped, questions looped in my mind: Who were we to homeschool our kids? Would they get what they needed?
And yet I knew it was right to stay home for a season.
I knew our school resources were excellent.
And I knew the kids asked to come home.
So, there's that.
What I didn't expect were the questions that called our God-given authority and His leading into question.
Have we forgotten who's in charge?
After we’d tackled the authority issue, we fielded questions rooted in bizarre stereotypes.
Would I get tired of wearing dull brown skirts and frizzy hair?
Would I chuck my makeup?
Would we get pygmy fainting goats? What about chickens?
But the question that chases us to this day is this: Would our kids get the socialization they need?
Because at home you don't see anyone. Apparently.
Also, has anyone noticed what's going on in many but not all schools today? And you want to ask THAT question?
Just so you know, we aren't against the traditional school. In fact, we're not homeschooling right now.
But here's what we're for: doing what's best for your kids and your family.
And that includes knowing what’s going on with your kids.
So, do you have your kids' textbooks or access them no matter your school situation? Are you reading what they're reading? Do you know their teachers? Are you talking through what they're learning? Are you prepared to challenge your child, equipping them to defend their beliefs - even in private or Christian schools? Are you doing this?
Because right now, no matter where you are, this is necessary.
And what’s also necessary?
For some of you to bring your kids home.
So. Who is being homeschooled?
According to Fortune.com, families that may have turned to homeschooling as an alternative to hastily assembled remote learning plans during COVID-19 have stuck with it. Reasons include:
Disagreement with school policies.
A desire to keep what has worked for their children.
Again from Fortune:
Black families make up many of the homeschool converts. According to U.S. Census surveys, the proportion of Black families homeschooling their children increased by five times, from 3.3% to 16.1%, from spring 2020 to the fall, while the proportion doubled across other groups.
What do homeschoolers’ test scores look like?
Mean ACT Composite scores for homeschooled students were consistently higher than those for public school students, ranging from 1.4 score points higher in 2007 to 2.2 score points higher in 2014. (ACT)
The only students who did better were privately educated.
So how did we do homeschool?
We used local co-ops with exceptional classroom teachers, many retired from local schools.
We also used online learning platforms, like Ignite Academy, a forerunner in online learning.
And because necessity is the mother of invention, home school pods, sometimes led by private tutors, started as COVID-19 ramped up.
Rest assured, there are plenty of excellent options.
The bottom line?
You're not alone. You can find what your child needs.
And for a time, ours needed to be at home.
My son-in-law, Ben, said this: "There was freedom to explore subjects we cared about. There was individual attention. And there was time to do what we wanted. But the most important thing we learned was time management, which most prepared us for life."
He did add, "Were there glue sniffers, weird kids with helicopter parents? Yes. But you'll find those kids anywhere."
Consider this from the Federalist and a veteran homeschool mom:
“Many people cannot even fathom education happening at home simply because school occurs at school… When the artificial structures of a school schedule and an institutional conveyor belt are stripped away, each student is himself, in his natural and normal habitat, reading and writing and talking and thinking. Learning readily passes into the inner self because social pressures and distractions are removed.”
We found that to be true.
So what about your family?
Are you satisfied with the state of your child’s education?
Do you want to try something different?
The answer to that question sent us home for a season.
I dare say, after this year, it may send some of you there, too.
Amie Beth Shaver is a speaker, writer, and media commentator. Her column appears every Wednesday in 1819 News. Shaver served on the Alabama GOP State Executive Committee, was a candidate for State House District 43 and spokeswoman for Allied Women. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to [email protected].
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