As more news flows in about yet another school shooting, my heart goes out to you because I know your children attend the local school just down the street. I cannot imagine the heartache and stress that so much violence has brought to you as you send your kids off every day. You send them off on a typical yellow school bus to a typical classroom full of typical children, teachers and administrative staff. It’s difficult to imagine that such random displays of insanity and evil could ever touch our little town, but frighteningly easy to imagine it now, as well.
I know that if I were in your shoes that anxiety would rule my thoughts. I am not in your position, though. You see, I home school my children. Before you get defensive, please understand that this is not an attempt to tell you that you are a bad parent for sending your child to public school. I don’t believe they will be dumber than my children (I was a product of public school, myself, and think I managed well enough). I don’t believe you care less for your children, and I don’t believe you have to see things my way.
I do however believe it is critical that you know one thing: You have a choice.
You do not have to trust the safety (or education or social interaction) of your child to the local schools.
You do not have to send your child off on the bus just to spend the day praying that they will return to you alive, intact, and un-scarred.
Homeschooling may seem like a radical choice to you, but I would argue that we are living in radical times, extreme times, scary times. Difficult decision have to be made.
I will not weigh in on the gun laws. I will not attempt to make sense from this chaos. I will only say that you, as a parent, have the right to change your child’s circumstances.
Before you say it isn’t possible for you or your family, please see the chart below. Do some research, and realize that there are ways to change this pattern, to stop the deaths of so many innocents en masse. This is one way, and you can make this choice if you feel as I do–that the risk of hard days, potential social stigmas and lifestyle changes are worth being able to have more say in the safety of your child.
|Reasons you think you can’t home school and why you can.|
|“I have to work. I don’t have time.”||Option 1: Hire a tutor if possible. Oftentimes, money is saved by keeping children home by eliminating costs like school lunches, snacks, field trips, activities, donut days, expensive pictures and more.Option 2: Fit school in before and/or after work. Homeschooling takes less time because there are fewer students and more focused lessons.Option 3: Switch work schedules so that parents can share schooling responsibilities.
Option 4: Sign older kids up for online schools that track and teach for you. They can work independently from home while you are at work. This also opens up their schedule for part-time work if your family decides.
Option 5: This may be a good time to re-evaluate what your “have to” is financially. Vacations, clothing expenses, etc are wonderful…but are they necessary? Could your family go without them? Can you look at Pinterest or search online for ways to save on your grocery bills, etc. Again, many families save money when one parent is home because gas, eating out, babysitting, and grocery costs all go down. See if it’s a possibility for your circumstance.
|Option 1: http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/tn/201106230.asp, http://www.qedny.us/, Search “hire home school tutor in (your state)” for more local results.Option 2, 3: http://school.familyeducation.com/home-schooling/working-parents/41085.html, http://www.articlesbase.com/homeschooling-articles/why-yes-i-work-full-time-and-homeschool-1213830.htmlOption 4: http://www.k12.com/ This lists both public and private schools. There are even some, at higher pay rates, that allow children to “attend” class via webcam or watching videos.
http://www.free-online-calculator-use.com/stay-at-home-calculator.html easy, step-by-step calculator. Plug in your numbers and see! http://www.holyspiritledhomeschooling.net/2011/06/ten-things-i-gave-up-when-i-quit-2/ This site is spiritually based, but she offers very good, honest evaluations of her motivations. Regardless of your faith, it may be a place for you to start.
|“I don’t have the patience.”||Option 1: Trust the homeschool community-no one feels they have the patience, but there are millions of resources available to prepare you. It is important to note that doing a structured activity with your child is much less stressful than the 24/7 “babysitting” that most envision homeschooling to be.Option 2: See tutor and online options above.||http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/articles/021009.htm#.UO9XAuT7K2U There are many, many articles just like this—just search it.|
|“I’m not qualified.”||Qualifications vary by state, but in most cases, every parent is eligible legally to teach their own children.Option 1: Go back to school (from home) while you home school if you feel that is needed.Option 2: Remember that parents were teaching their own children to read and write until around 1918 when it was both free (mostly) and required. Like breastfeeding, homeschooling is something parents do naturally but are taught by society that someone else can provide better for their children. Unless there are physical limitations, it simply isn’t true.||http://homeschooling.about.com/od/legal/Staying_Legal_Homeschool_Laws_and_Requirements.htm, http://www.hslda.org/laws/,|
|“I couldn’t keep track of everything.”||There are simply too many resources (free and paid) for that to be true.||http://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/gettingorganized/allplanners.php#sthash.gqzsS0CF.dpbs Printable, http://www.homeschoolreporting.com/, http://www.homeschooltracker.com/, http://www.homeschoolskedtrack.com/HomeSchool/displayLogin.do|
I cannot presume to know your heart, but I can understand your concern, your anxiety and your love for your children. Remember: all is not lost, you have many choices. You have many options. The world of parenting is one of a million different options (that’s why we all criticize each other), make sure you know yours.
I am not naive enough to believe that I can protect my child from every harm, every slight, every misfortune or tragic event. But I will protect them from the things I am able to.
-Thank you for your time
Julie Robert, homeschooling mom of two boys.