I live in Knysna, a gorgeous town where so many of my friends have opted to homeschool their children. These kids range from nine to 17 years old and they do well – on all fronts. I’ve heard that homeschooled children can have problems with social interactions or with taking responsibility, but I really haven’t seen that with my immediate group of friends (I’m not only saying that because they read my blog). Still, when faced with the decision of what to do with our daughter, we opted for public schooling. Here’s why:
1. I like the type of discipline that she gets at school. Putting her finger on her lips or facing the possibility of detention works with her. And it wouldn’t work at home. Staying at the table for an extra 30 minutes wouldn’t phase her as much as it would if she knew her friends were all playing on the field outside. The rules around sitting quietly, walking in single file, wearing a school uniform or putting your hand up to speak are generally done away with (for obvious reasons) in a homeschooling environment. But, they benefit her. And they’re not personal; they apply to every child around her. This is good preparation for life.
2. She loves the interaction. She has close friends that aren’t at her school and she’s asked to be homeschooled, but she still really loves spending time with the other children during her school day. I use the drive home every day to ask about her highlight, her lowlight and who she showed kindness to. Without fail, her highlights are a long list of fun games or hilarious stories; while her lowlights are almost never anything more than someone borrowing her pencil for “too long”. In short, she’s having a good time.
3. Routine rules. I know that the parents that rock homeschooling have a strict routine, but that’s just not the kind of mom I’d be. I’d swap school for an important errand or be lenient about the hours when my mom comes to visit. And then, it would all fall apart. I just know it.
4. It would bore me to tears. I really admire 1) teachers and 2) the moms that can tackle homeschooling. But, I’d rather drive a nail through my eardrum than go over a three times table for the 12th time. I realise that this is about me and not her or schooling.
5. It makes the time we spend together more special and enjoyable. I love my job, it feeds me in much more than just a physical way. By getting to do my work in the morning and then have a more flexible afternoon with her, I know that we are enjoying a less stressful time together.
I don’t expect others to agree with me or to base their choices on mine. I have loads of respect for parents that have chosen to homeschool their little ones for any variety of reasons. And, maybe things will change when she’s older. But, for now, we’re both far happier for the decision to stick to a traditional school.