A Forced Vacation {& an Unplanned Rant}

imageI work hard to avoid the stigma of being a ‘homeschooler’. Unwilling to readily admit it,  if you asked me where my kids go to school, the answer might resemble something along the lines of ‘they stay home…’ or, ‘they attend the Harmon Academy’; I don’t want to give the wrong impression.image

Maybe it is generational. The sort of reputation that a homeschooled family had twenty years ago was undesirable, from my uninformed high-school perspective. When the only thing to do online was hang out in AOL chatrooms, and mobile communication was limited, community and support networks must have been hard to find. Homeschool seemed reserved for the hillbillies, the weirdos, the rednecks building underground bunkers. There was literally nothing a kid could do to outrun the disapproving looks of peers and parents alike.

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But looking back, those opinions were largely a result of my own insecurities, and my own pride. As an adult, my school years in review, it is obvious now that pretty much none of the things I criticized about ‘homeschoolers’ matters at all. Not even a little bit. Those kids were smart, and talented, they had parents who put aside all sorts of self-interest to care for, and aid in the education of their children. They are currently successful adults, whose greatest wound was probably the rude behavior of kids in ‘normal’ schools. The problem was not the home based education of kids that ‘didn’t fit in’, but the general bad form displayed by the rest of us.

imageI recently read an interesting blog post that stated ‘creators live on the fringe’.  The author wrote about numerous successful musicians, artists, writers, filmmakers, designers, and programmers. The thing that tied them together was not a formula, but freedom to learn, and make, and do. Having my kids stay home for school gives them the flexibility to search out and follow passion, faith, and intellect, and as a result, have confidence to interact with the world.

Of course, avoiding jumpers and bad hair won’t hurt anything along the way.image

The Harmon Academy has been on an extended winter break. We usually break for December, but this year we went on a family vacation to California in January, and two weeks later my husband and I left for the UK, where we have been for the last week and a half. In between those trips, and coming up as soon as we get home, our oldest has had, {and will have} debate tournaments that last 4-5 days each. There is no way we can formally hold to a schedule in this mess, so I haven’t tried. We read every day, do math almost every day, go to music classes, but we don’t use the bells. I am waiting until the travel frenzy dies down. It seems like each year we hit a slump after Christmas, but this winter it wasn’t for lack of planning or uninteresting subjects, it was because we simply haven’t been home.image

Who remembers day in and day out what elementary school was like? No one. Who remembers family vacations? Most of us. Keeping in mind that learning has no location, and that memories last longer than busy work, I am happy we have had this time away from our usual routine. At the same time, I am very much looking forward to being home, and settling back into a schedule.  We can’t expect good form to happen on its own, can we?

Drinking fantastic instant coffee in England, Shelley

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