So…I homeschool. I love it. And at times, hate it. And at others, feel absolutely no emotion towards the entire practice. But I have perspective (not much, but some), because I saw how the other half lives. I went to school. And left.

Now, I don’t want to sound like a snob (see just about every disclaimer I have ever made on this blog) but homeschooling is much better than brick-and-mortar school. I can see the heads shaking, but had I not homeschooled, I would probably be an over-medicated, under-performing vegetable. Possibly a rutabaga.

But homeschooling is not for everybody. It happens to be right for me, because if I want to try to learn Russian in a week (fail) or paint Starry Night on my French teacher’s classroom wall (success!) I can do so. I also happen to be rather introverted and do quite well working by myself, which is why spending the day at home, with a few animals, works for me. It would not, for example, work for my sister (who is the Lydia in the family). And she is quite content attending normal school.

Like I said, somewhere in the last three rambling paragraphs, homeschooling is wonderful, but also maddening on occasion. So join me, be you parent, teacher, student, or civilian, as I attempt to explain homeschooling. Laugh along, roll your eyes, and enjoy the ride.

  1. The Books

I don’t know about you, but the sheer amount of books I accumulated over my homeschooling career is astounding. I have bookshelves–many bookshelves–devoted to anything from Nancy Drew to Physics. And the books are still accumulating, just piling up all over the place because I ran out of shelves about a year and a half ago. I need a card catalog.

bookcase-1869616_1920-800x445
A good approximation of my home library. Mine’s just…messier.

2. The Subject Matter

As I said, I have (in theory, of course) absolute freedom over what I wish to learn. There is, of course, the list of required subjects that must be covered every year, and most things have to be run past the parent who is (supposedly) in charge.

But I was granted almost complete control over my education. This does not happen in most homeschooling families, but most homeschooling families have more parents and money than mine.

So, as my own teacher, registrar, janitor, etc., I put together what I consider to be some pretty fascinating assignments. At one point, I tried to recreate the Oracle of Dodona for my history curriculum. It involved a dress form in a chiton, several candles (incense having been unavailable at the time) and many bottles stung across two chairs.

On the dining room table.

It is absolutely beyond me how neither I, nor anyone else, thought to take pictures.

3. The Freedom

Probably my favorite thing about homeschooling, aside from not having to wonder if anyone’s taped a “kick me” sign to my back, is the freedom I have. I can go to the park with my books, sit under a tree, and eat an apple as I work; I can research autoimmune diseases; I can play the harp until my fingers bleed (I did, once. And it was not an experience I have any intention of ever repeating.)

anneofgreengables

I tried shadowing at a school once, and was amazed at how restrictive it felt–and how bored I was. When you build oracles on your dining room table, sitting in class doesn’t seem all that interesting anymore.

Well, I think this is long enough for now. Next post: weird questions homeschoolers get asked. Submissions are readily accepted for that one.

What are your views on homeschooling?

How many books did you accumulate?

And what is the weirdest question you’ve been asked about homeschooling?

Yours, etc.

Miss Elizabeth

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5 thoughts on “Homeschooler, Part I

  1. #1: Second generation homeschooler now homeschooling our 2e 5yo. That about sums it up! Plus, there’s YouTube – didn’t have that when I was a kid. Woohoo!

    #2: Why is this past tense? I’m still accumulating them…ran out of bookshelves. Probably 200 + until I buckled down and weeded out the ones I wouldn’t re-read 2 or more times. Currently…hmmm…4 tall bookcases full, with double stacks on the lower levels. A lot.

    #3: Weirdest question: “shouldn’t you put him in public school so that a qualified professional can deal with him?” (learning disabilities and all that) Bleh.

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  2. Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes!!!!!!
    Okay, so I was homeschooled too.
    First. I agree, homeschool is far better than a “regular school”. At least for me, because I agree also that it’s not for everyone. Some of my siblings have done public school and there are two attending right now.
    1. YES. THE BOOKS. It’s just a thing, I think, that homeschooling families (and homeschoolers personally) have a lot of books. It just is. Of course, not too many books…simply not enough bookshelves. 🙂
    2. YES!!! I was given almost complete control over my high school education as well, given our state’s graduation requirements as a guideline. And while I haven’t done things *quite* as amazingly creative as that, I have had some fun with it, including putting together my own Jane Austen English Literature course. 🙂
    3. THE FREEDOM. Absolutely, absolutely yes. That is quite possibly my favourite thing about being homeschooled. So much freedom. Once when I was doing chemistry it started raining, and being that it was a warm spring rain, I went outside and danced in the rain. Imagine doing that in a public school!! (That’s my favourite example of freedom in homeschool, but as you know, there are bound to be many. 🙂

    As far as your questions…I already answered the first one, I cannot answer the second one, except to say too many to count, and the third…
    It’s weird, where I live, people don’t really ask questions about being homeschooled…let me think… Well.
    I’ve been asked if I do homework… “Like, after school.” “Umm…it’s all ‘homework!’ Hehe.”
    “Do you, like, go to a class with other homeschoolers?” “No…Some people do though.” I’ve never done co-ops.
    “Do you like it?” NO I HATE IT THAT’S WHY I DO IT EVERY YEAR EVEN THOUGH I HAVE THE OPTION TO GO TO A PUBLIC SCHOOL and my parents even really wanted me to go one year but I refused.
    Hate it. Quite.

    Haha. I can’t wait to see your next post, Miss Elizabeth! ‘Tis quite delightful to see things about homeschooling.

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    1. True, one can never have too many books–it’s just the bookshelves that seem to be lacking (cue Mr. Collins’ closet with shelves 🙂 On that note, wouldn’t a closet devoted entirely to books be wonderful? Like a miniature library!)
      By the way, how did you put together your JA Literature course? I’d love to know (so I can steal some ideas and use them for myself, of course…)

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      1. Yes, shelves in the closet, happy thought indeed! Especially a miniature library in the closet…very happy thought. “I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

        For my Jane Austen Literature course: I made a unit out of each novel. I wrote three essays for each novel, of varying types; compare and contrast, analysis, persuasive, etc. I didn’t really do much except read the books and analyze them and write essays on them. For my final, I wrote an essay for the Jane Austen Society of North America Essay Contest, http://www.jasna.org/essaycontest/. It was a really fun course!

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