“So, we are 10 years into this homeschooling gig, what do you think so far?
Standard reply of shoulder shakes and giggles.
“When you are 30, am I going to find out you resented being homeschooled?”
“No,” with firm head shake.
“So, there are some good things about it?”
Strong affirmative nod.
“But you are still curious?”
“Yah, still curious.”
This is not an unexpected answer. Of my four children, she is the most curious about public schooling despite her rather strong inclinations for solitude and introversion. She is an avid reader, and an avid imaginer of other worlds and places. I suppose this reveals many of the reasons why she is the most curious. My other three children are appalled by the idea of spending so many hours of their day in a building, other than their home. They like social activities, co-operative learning days, but they love being home where their things are, where they have autonomy over much of their time and learning.
Not this one, although she doesn’t “hate” being homeschooled, she does have a healthy, persistent curiosity about public school. So how do I balance this curiosity with our choosing to homeschool her? There is a bit of me which is saddened by her curiosity, a small part which wants to say “Aren’t I enough?” But I know full well, I’m not and that is how it should be. I understand that it is normal to wonder about how the other “90%” live, especially after reading so much about it. I am also aware that reading about it and reality are different things.
I am not convinced that curiosity is enough of a reason to enroll her in public school – but what is a good enough reason? I don’t want to end up being the parent who “forced” her child to be homeschooled. I will exercise my right to make the choice – but how can I recognize if my choice is harming one of my kids?
Funny, I’m sure not as many parents of public schooled kids have this conversation with themselves. Granted there are some, and I have met many who have made a change and taken their children out of the public system and begun homeschooling. But those numbers are small compared to the overall majority of public schooling families is the essence of what I am saying. However, I think nearly every parent who homeschools considers these questions many times over throughout their journey. Being in the minority makes it hard to avoid the flow of the majority. This is not a political statement but rather an observation.
Back to my kid and her curiosity – should it affect our choice to homeschool her? For now, I say yes but no. Yes, I need to keep in mind the motivation behind the curiosity – is it the learning or the social aspect she is curious about? But no, I don’t think, at this time, it is enough to consider enrolling her in a public school. She currently can’t articulate why she is curious – and “I don’t know – I think it looks fun” is not enough of a reason. I am not closed to the discussion either should her reasons become more tangible. For now, I ruminate on the subject, it is good to check in and ask questions and see if the answers still match up and make sense.
But, for the time being, she gets to be curious and I get to snuggle her and ask her questions and get shoulder shakes and giggles in reply.