My friend K was all set to homeschool her kids, but as her eldest approaches kindergarten age she has changed her mind. She is expecting baby #3 this summer and worries about burnout. She worries that homeschooling is going to mean endless driving around town, going to different classes at different locations. But mostly, her son is begging to go. He is a very social boy, has been since I met him at age 2. He gets to a playground or anywhere kids are and immediately wants to join in the fun. He loves being with friends and will happily go off with a friend and friend’s mama to hang for a while without the rest of his family. He complains alot about not seeing his friends often enough. And it’s not like K is dumping him in any ol’ school. We are blessed to have a number of independent schools here and the two she is considering are as close to homeschooling as you can get: child-led curricula, attendance not mandatory, no homework, respectful non-punitive environments, etc. While I’m bummed that her schedule will now be more rigid, making playdates and outings less feasible, I can see quite clearly that her son would probably not be happy doing the homeschooling thing, and will undoubtedly love going to school.
I have another friend, A, who was really interested in homeschooling and trying to convince her DH to give it a go. She just told me yesterday that her DS will be going to their local Catholic school Kindergarten this fall. She was almost apologetic about it. But her son, like K’s, is also a very sociable boy. He also has 3 older cousins (triplets) whom he spends tons of time with and worships and they go to this school. He was asked what he’d like to do this fall and he vehemently insisted that he wanted to go to school. For a dozen other reasons I think it would be hard for A to homeschool and I can totally see how this choice really fits for their situation and lifestyle (and they are Catholic, of course).
I’ve written before about how I don’t think homeschooling is for everybody. I don’t feel bad for these families the way I feel bad when someone decides that breastfeeding “just wasn’t working for us”. In fact in some ways I envy them and the free time this gives them. But the truth is, even if I weren’t convinced of all the benefits of homelearning, my DD is nowhere near ready for school. She is not a social girl and is totally not interested in running with any crowd. She is just happy to read her books and learn about dinosaurs and go to gym class. She bristles at any mention of school and adamently insists she is never, ever going to go. She is simply nowhere near ready for that kind of separation and she isn’t the slightest bit interested in it, either.
And this is when I feel so grateful that I discovered this option. This is what I wish for all people – that they knew the option existed. At least K and A know that if their kids decide they hate school there are options. In the meantime, it’s going to be very interesting to see how it all pans out.