When we began homeschooling in 1990 it was a pretty scary thing to do. It was THE Great Experiment. It was fairly uncommon and in many places it was just starting to come out from being an underground activity. When we withdrew Cris from school, the administrators told us that our son would never get into college and might never be admitted to public school in later years if we changed our minds. They sent us a very intimidating letter that I wish I would have kept just so you and I could both see how ridiculous it was.
I will admit that homeschooling can be pretty intense and intimidating--but so can parenting! But, if you are reading this my guess is you are a parent or would like to be one some day and you are willing to undertake the task, no matter how hard. And rest assured, parenting and homeschooling are so worth it--they are hard but oh so rewarding. Does anything worthwhile come easy? I don't think so.
I want to encourage you that the GREAT Experiment works! I remember when our youngest started college after being homeschooled forever--I looked at Bob and said, "The Great Experiment worked!" Whew! What a relief!
Let me say, that academically and socially our kids did fine as they went on to colleges, universities, jobs and marriage. I am proud of each one of them for their character, good work and family ethic, and on a lesser note, that they keep my computer running! No kidding, what would I do without my computer kids to keep me up to date and on line? But I digress...
But, more than this, is the close family we have. I LOVE that our kids get together all the time for movies, picnics, concerts, lunch every Friday and on and on. They really encourage and support each other. Kari told me the other day that one of her roommates commented that Kari has so many brothers, couldn't the roommate "have" just one to be her brother.
Of course she was just supposing, but Kari said, "No. I need all of my brothers. I need each one differently. I couldn't spare one--I need them all."
And that is why I think the Great Experiment Works!
In this day of fractured families and everyone out for themselves--with all the texting and declining of face to face interpersonal relationships, homeschoolers are bucking the trend. I know my kids are family oriented and really like each other.
I think by each family making the sacrifices it takes to homeschool their children, they are investing not only in the next generation, but investing in generations to come. If we can raise committed family members I think we can be ambassadors in this world by showing people that families can get along and enjoy one another. It gives dysfunctional families hope that in-tact families really do exist outside of Leave it to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet.
I know when Kari was in college, sometimes she would bring friends home for a meal to show them that old fashioned families really do exist. They thought she was making it up when she said we had supper together every night, that we talked and laughed with each other, that we used the TV very little--that we had a white picket fence and that her parents really did love each other. Sometimes I feel like we are so normal, and then other times I feel like a cultural oddity.
I know many families who don't homeschool that have great relationships that are rewarding and functional --but I know even more homeschool families that are this way. Homeschooling gives children [and parents] more quality and quantity time with each other. The older children help the younger and everyone realizes they are an important part of the family. And if you read aloud regularly to the whole group, they share common literature and stories which help bond them as they get older and leave home.
I think it is easier to have the kind of family you always dreamed of when you homeschool--mostly because you have more time to spend with your children.
So, my science lesson for you today is that our hypothesis was proven correct--Homeschooling works to prepare kids academically, socially and it promotes strong happy families to boot! What could be better?
[Photos from top to bottom: Chad and his wife Molly and Cris' wife Jen using a cross-cut saw on a family outing to a Maple Syrup Farm; Chad and Scott ready to take part in the Fourth of July parade; Our picket fence; our family a couple of years ago--out on our farm for a picnic.]