Writing a column about home schooling I worry about giving readers the wrong idea. I cringe at the thought that anyone would think of me as an expert; someone to rely on for tips about how to school their kids.
In fact, a few years ago, when I was shopping this column around, I offered it up as 500 words a week that would speak to parents who home school and parents who don’t.
One editor replied, “You’re hired, but write it as a how-to home school column instead.”
I flatly declined. After all, no one is qualified for that! As we moderately-seasoned home school parents know, there are myriad ways to do it and no one way is best.
But occasionally, because I am one of a few home school parents sticking my neck out in such a public way, I get e-mails from those interested in the lifestyle, but stymied and sometimes terrified about where to begin.
Some are simply curious inquiries. Then there are parents who share heartbreaking stories of tormented kids sobbing as they go out the door each morning, and as they climb into bed at night, fretting about the next day. The family has tried and tried to make it work at one school or another, and has had it.
That’s when I suggest finding the courage to give home schooling a chance. After all, some things described are nothing short of childhood being robbed at school. The real question is, “Feeling such anguish, how can a child learn anything?”
Is home schooling the answer? Maybe. Maybe not. The only way to know is, as the Nike advertisement put it, just do it.
Obviously, this is where I feel confident to hop up on my soap box. Moreover, I feel honored to be in the position to suggest readers take a leap of faith in their abilities to teach their own children.
First and foremost, the universal wish for our kids is happiness, isn’t it? And when it is within our capabilities, aren’t we obligated to try to make damaging or hurtful things right? Particularly in those worst-case scenarios where a kid is in daily despair about school, it’s time to step in. If not by switching to home schooling, at least by trying another school.
Also, there are no rules declaring that if you try home schooling and it doesn’t work out, that children cannot return to a traditional school. In fact, it happens frequently. I am aware of several families who have experimented with traditional school, then home schooled their children, sometimes settling on homeschooling, sometimes not, but cycling to find the right fit.
There is no statute of limitations. Parents own the right.
Undoubtedly, the unknown is always uncomfortable, but from where I stand, specifically in cases where a child is chronically, emotionally hurting at school - it’s time to fight the fear, find the resources and home school.