This letter was written by my wonderful husband for all the dads who are feeling rather undecided about the whole homeschooling thing. Maybe it will help provide some thoughts for your family.
Dear Undecided Dad,
Carrie asked me to talk about this since I had many of the same concerns you have about when talking to colleagues about homeschooling. Having worked as a Director of IT and now working as a Senior Consultant at ABC Company (a large, global company), I understand the hidden pressure when talking with colleagues and clients and the subject of kids and school. At first, I was very hesitant about the conversation, but as time went on, I found that people were very interested in the subject. I never felt judged. Usually, the conversation went like this
Friend: My kids are at XYZ academy, how about you?
Me: Actually, my wife and I homeschool our two girls.
Friend: Really? How does that work?
Me: It actually works very well. My wife deserves all the credit, though. She has spent hours researching and preparing curriculum and teaching class. One of the things we realized was that in a “typical” school, the teachers are spending time with those who are at the bottom of the class educationally and expect the others to just follow along with workbooks. We found that by homeschooling, we can tailor the environment and get great results. Heck, my daughter is reading well along with working on both German and Spanish languages and has lots of time to play outside. Her childhood is still there while she is learning a lot!
Friend: What about the social aspect? Don’t you worry about your kids socially (or some variation on “is your child going to be socially stunted by homeschooling”)
Me: Interestingly enough, my wife gets out with the kids quite a bit. Because with homeschooling, you have a lot of flexibility, my wife meets with other homeschooling mothers. Of course, it helps that Carrie also assists a homeschooling support group in our area, but there are quite a lot of interactions.
Basically, people begin to understand that we’re not “weird” and with the noticeable wins by homeschooled kids in things like the National Spelling bees, it’s becoming more common. I always stress how much work my wife does, and how well she does it. I also stress that my wife and I felt that having a parent at home with the kids is important for both of us. That can give some people a “hidden guilt” because they’ve given that up and both parents work. We, who have chosen to have a parent stay home, have smaller houses, older cars etc, but in the end, hopefully we have kids who enjoy learning and who are strongly connected to their siblings and to the family.. ..That’s the legacy I want!
I think, Undecided Dad, you would be surprised how many people homeschool that you don’t know about, and how interested people are when you do.
Carrie Here: Thanks to my husband for putting this together for the Undecided Dad!
Just a few thoughts from our little corner of the world.