By: Tracy Madlener
Psst… over here… Yes you!… lean in a little closer, I’ve got the lowdown for you about a little enigma called, homeschool. Yeah, that’s right. Homeschool. Shhhh! Just saying the word homeschool evokes a sense of not being able to see what’s behind the closed doors. What are they doing? How many of them are there? Is it a classroom setting? Or is it a Satanic dungeon with lit candles outlining the shape of a pentagon? I have to smirk at the latter as it simply is so outrageous that I laughed out loud while typing it!
As the number of homeschoolers steadily grows across our country and people are increasingly becoming familiar with the word homeschool, does anyone outside of the homeschool community really know anything about this alternative collective that more and more families are choosing? It’s not like you can look up homeschool in the Yellow Pages and let your fingers do the walking. So let me be your directory and give you a brief understanding of who the people of homeschool are today.
*Meeting room with chairs formed in a big circle, I’m up first…*
“Hi. My name is Tracy and I’m a homeschool Mom. I’m starting my tenth year homeschooling my two kids and I never thought in a million years that I would homeschool my children. I didn’t even know there was such a thing until my Husband mentioned it. Fast forward 10 years and I know more about how the world works, how my kids learn and I have the attitude that anything is possible and I teach that to my children. I am constantly praised by strangers on how smart my kids are and they always ask me, what’s my secret.”
Homeschoolers today are as diverse and unique as an individual’s fingerprint. They are resourceful, confident, and your neighbor next door. There are no specific religions, political parties, or parenting rules that make up the homeschool community. The parents who choose to homeschool are middle class, wealthy, or barely making ends meet, but they all have something in common… the sheer determination to help their children succeed with a personalized education that the traditional schools of today lack.
Television and movies seem to enjoy the entertainment value of stereotyping homeschooled kids and the families that they live with. Weirdos, geeky, non-social, religious freaks are a few adjectives that come to mind and quite frankly, I don’t mind if people that don’t homeschool believe this is the norm. I think of it as my own little secret weapon and my children’s future ace in the hole from those who do traditional schooling. Am I a weirdo, a geek, non-social, religious freak? Are my children labeled as such? No, they’re not, and I’m not, as labels are nonexistent in our school except if we want to label our science projects or notebooks.
Homeschool allows us the freedom to choose the subjects we want to study, to run as fast as we want with that topic or to take our time and fully understand the intricate workings of that assignment. With this freedom of learning comes focus, and focus to me, is the building block of greatness. Homeschool is an ever-changing, creative learning process that can match your goals for your child’s education perfectly.
Is homeschool a mystery? Not when the door is wide open and you can see right in.
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