When people make polite conversation, it’s usually in a kid oriented forum. I was sitting in the “viewing room” during my son’s gymnastics class the other night and I heard a woman’s voice behind me, “Which one is yours?” As if he were a puppy in a pet store window. While my eyes searched the immense, warehouse space splattered with trampolines, jumping tracks, gym bars and balance beams, I sighted my son on the ground level trampoline in his bright red, t-shirt and it triggered my delayed response, “He’s the kid in the red shirt…umm…with the full head of dreads.” The woman didn’t take a breath, “Oh, he’s young but obviously very talented.” I thought Well of course he is talented. He’s my son.
The woman sat next to me and we chatted quickly about the location of her kids. The setting lent itself to education talk, which is exactly the topic that ensued. It made me reflect upon who I am as a homeschool parent. I ponder the variety of degrees that exist, but never did I have a specific label for it. Apparently, according to the woman at gymnastics class–her name is Kathy–I am a ‘deschooler.‘ Hmmm. She, on the other hand, is a ‘homeschooler.‘ Now that I have these labels as part of my repertoire for the discipline of education, I instantly formed a stereotype of myself; I’m the mom who allows my kid to loaf around the house in his pajamas all day, dappling with Wii, watching cartoons, and playing fetch with the dog….Wait! My kid has a schedule. In fact, he’s so scheduled I have spent time trying to de-schedule further so he has time for himself, to work on a puzzle, play a game, or even play Wii for a spell. We do not, however, have a television, so that’s not an option. Really what we do is fit the academics around his developmental need to bounce, move fast, flip, and flop. Many parents of boys and active girls will agree when I say, “Feed the energy of your young child and the academics will follow.” For now, that works for us.
I discovered that I, in fact, do not know all the varying degrees of homeschooling that may exist. I can only place my own interpretation on it as based on need. A strong message to further, as it teaches self reliance in the process. I think it’s best to consider homeschooling a life style, of which was introduced to me by my sister. She and her husband had a preconceived notion of the life style they wanted for their boys. Therefore, they followed suit to incorporate the academics coupled with their free style skiing venture for the next few years. I, on the other hand, walked into homeschooling out of what I sensed as dire need. I dedicated my career to education as a teacher and administrator and realized I had no business passing my child off to teachers under my charge. How silly!
From classroom, to homeschooling, to unschooling and potentially anything in between, before, or after…the beauty of homeschooling is untraditional and not part of the mainstream. It truly is that which is part of your life style.
Inspired by my conversation with Kathy and information found on at http://www.essortment.com/parenting-styles-unschooling-vs-home-schooling-40561.html