Thursday, September 17, 2009

Home Schooling "Who-ha"

"Oh," they respond, "we're home schooled." 

Our children frequently give this answer to the oft asked, "Where do you go to school?"  Then I watch the asker's face to see what they think.  If the look is one of skepticism, I have an almost uncontrollable urge to ask one of the kids what the capital of Tanzania is-just to show off a bit.  Not that I'd know if they gave me the correct answer or not.  Not, even, that any of my kids would actually know the correct answer.  I figure, however, that the chance of the person-I'm-dreaming-of-showing-off-to knowing the answer is slim at best.

Some excellent teachers from my hometown, asked once, "Why do you want to home school?"  That was a few months before Cole and Meg and I began the "adventure" and I had all kinds of grand motivations and glorious reasons, facts about testing scores, charts, long term statistics. . .

That was five years ago.

We're beginning our sixth year of this "adventure" with some of the same motivations and less of the high and lofty reasons. When folks ask me today why we home school, I have fewer facts and figures, (I only have time for the facts and figures that we need to learn) and some very solid reasons - few of them glorious.  What I am able to tell curious onlookers is that we home school because, it is the best option for teaching a Christian world view to our family for this present season.

I'm not given to the school of thought which declares that every child should be home educated.  I'm just not.  I'm also never going to say that those who send their children to public or private schools have opted for "the easy way out".  That simply is not true.  In fact, my very favorite answer to, "Why do you home school?" is that I could never, never get my children out of bed, feed them breakfast, get them dressed (in clean clothes), and delivered to school on time 5 days every week.  Never happen.  I applaud my mom friends who do this day in and day out, and stand in awe of their skills.  My kids would be delivered late, half-starving, and half-dressed 4 out of the 5 days--of this, I'm confident! 

Aside from very low standards regarding the dress code at the "Wright Academy", we enjoy other benefits as well.  Once in a blue moon, the school cafeteria serves Happy Meals for lunch and donuts for breakfast (but not on the same day).  Birthdays are school holidays and Christmas Break lasts most of December (unless you count the baking of cookies and other goodies as a study of fractions, the mixing of the dough and the baking of it as science experiments, and the purchasing of ingredients while staying within a given budget as economics). 

In the fall and spring, most of our studies take place on our porch or on a blanket in the backyard.  In the winter, we cuddle up in front of the gas logs on our living room floor.  There is a bit of extra work for the mother/teacher, but there are lots of perks as well.  I loved teaching the kids to read and being right there when the "light bulb" lights up and the funny shapes on the page became words and sentences and stories.  I also enjoy a rather cozy relationship with our principal. 

It's not all sunshine and cookies though.  We rarely observe snow days.  This is a disappointment to the Wright kids and the neighbor's child who hopefully knocks on our door each snow day with just his eyes and nose showing through his snow gear, asking if the kids can come out and play. It's also a bummer when the teacher gets side tracked doing the laundry, or talking on the phone, or serving as school janitor, and delays the final bell for over an hour. 

Sometimes we struggle understanding our subject matter, or with bad attitudes, or there is crying--but eventually I pull myself together, dry my tears, and listen closely as the children explain again the subject I'm struggling with! 

Many people ask me, "How do you do it?" 

"It's not really that big of a deal," I have always responded.  Really, how many adults do you know who do their jobs in their pajamas if necessary?  (Note:  I am not able this year to "do school" when not properly dressed because I get complaints from the pre-school class when not fashionably attired.  I am NOT joking.)  The kids have no other school to compare theirs to, so they have no expectation except that which I lay before them.  My very favorite thing about homeschooling is that I get to learn too.  Cole and Megan are in fifth and fourth grades and I do much more learning than teaching.  Talk about a fringe benefit--I've always got an interesting tidbit to contribute to conversations.

Others ask, "Don't the kids need to be around other children?"
If you ask the children, they'd probably tell you that they would cherish some time when there were no other children present!  Honestly, if we weren't privileged to be a part of such a vibrant kid-focused, kid-wealthy, church family, we would approach school differently--I think.     

There you have it.  The grand "who-ha" of home schooling here at The Wright Academy finally revealed.  We really do call ourselves The Wright Academy.  On the advice of another home schoolin' mom, we named our school so that when we are filling out the myriad forms and files one has to for their children, we had something to fill in the blank marked "School:_______________". 

It fits us and the kids like having an option in case they don't want to answer, "Oh, we're home schooled."  Cole even wants to have t-shirts printed that say "The Wright Academy" with a family crest on them.  Fine with me as long as we don't get any calls from new students wishing to enroll.  We're already pushing the fire marshal's limit for our facility!

It's Dodoma  by the way-- the capital of Tanzania.


Becky said...

I think Cole has a wonderful idea. I have the iron on transfers, just send me the design for the "Wright Acadamy" t-shirts.

Jana Vee said...

This is probably my favorite so far!!! It should definitely be published somewhere for something!!! Seriously, I laughed so hard reading this. I so enjoy your blog!!!

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