My Story

If you don’t want to read my story, just skip this part.  Some people like to know the person doing the writing, so I’m writing this for them.

So who am I and why am I writing this?

I am the parent of a very active 13-year old boy who is actually my grandson.  I’ve had him since he was a baby, so he really IS my son!  He loves ice hockey and chess, and has played/competed in both of these activities since he was 7.

This is the second time around for raising kids for me.  I’m hoping I’ve learned from my mistakes or improved on other parenting techniques.  I DO try, but I’m sure I still make many mistakes.

The first time around for kids for me was in the 1970s.  Homeschooling was NOT legal in all 50 states.  I actually do not know of any state where homeschooling even was legal then (Alaska maybe was, but I really don’t know).  I had problems with the school system back then, too.  I was never wealthy or even well off, so private school was rarely an option for me.

Now, mind you, my problems with the schools were mostly with the school SYSTEM, not the teachers, although I did have some problems with a couple of teachers.  I was almost jailed in both the State of California and the State of Arizona for pulling my two boys out because of my dissatisfaction with the school SYSTEM.  In Arizona when I asked the Superintendent what I could do to keep my kids out, he said I had to pass the teachers’ test.  It was only given once a year (or something like that), but it just so happened that the test was being given the following week.  I went down to Phoenix, paid the fee, took it, and passed it with flying colors.  Whew!  That gave me time to figure out what to do with my boys.

And now that I think about it, I’ll bet homeschooling was legal back then in Arizona IF the parent had a teacher’s certificate, because I wasn’t jailed or even threatened after I passed that test.  Hmmm...

I did think about homeschooling during that time, but one of the main problems with parents who have never tried it is lack of confidence.  And where does one get information about it?  How would one go about it?  Where does one get books and curriculum?  Remember, this was the time before computers and the internet!  Information was not readily available back then like it is today.  And anyone who homeschooled was just unheard of.
Now, some of my main problems I had with public schooling were what was being taught.  I didn’t agree with a lot of the material or the way a subject would be presented.  Or, I would have problems with the school dictating to me what to do with my boys – like in kindergarten they had to go to the morning session because of where we lived, which presented a problem for me and my work schedule.  And they wouldn’t work with me on that.  Or giving one of my sons milk when he was allergic to it (“all growing children need milk!”)   Yes, the dairy industry was in-your-face back then, too.  I wasn’t even given the option to bring in a doctor’s note, either.

Okay, so it really boils down to if you are a bit different, have different values or beliefs, then you are rocking the boat and making the school upset.  You become a piece of dust clogging up the gears that make the system run smoothly.

So fast forward to the year 2000.  My outgoing and energetic son is in kindergarten in the public schools.  In this grade he learned about drugs, weapons, sexual abuse, and “stranger danger”.  He also learned a new “vocabulary”, but he didn’t learn how to defend himself against bullies.  The teachers loved him.  He got top grades.

In first grade, he was still increasing his “vocabulary”, still getting beat up by the bullies, and didn’t have any real friends at school because no one had the interests he did.  He was still real popular with the kids in this grade because he did interesting things no one else did.  But he did learn his math facts well and became a good reader.  He was also still climbing trees and exploring the world outside around him.  Again, the teachers loved him and he got top grades.

The third grade is where I was noticing the content of what he was learning in school.  By third grade he was learning from the curriculum racism and how the U.S. was not “special” (“multiculturalism”), how not to like or get acquainted with someone he didn’t know, was afraid to try anything new, and was literally (by this time) consumed with safety.  His exploration of his world literally came to a halt.  It was also during this grade that he finally learned to fight back to protect himself.  Because the teachers, principal and staff knew me well (I was there every day since kindergarten and worked daily on campus, too), they knew my opinions and knew better than to discipline my son.  In fact, I was first to the principal’s office to demand something be done with the child my son beat up.  My son was still on the honor roll this year and his teachers still loved him.

So fourth grade, now.  By the end of the first week of school, I was “done” with public school.  School had just started and already I was undoing what he was learning in school (like "why are people with dark skin bad?").  Plus, looking through his history and science texts I found that the information was so sketchy and general, he was bored to tears and simply not learning anything.  He knew all the information that should have been written between the lines.  So I decided to “do it right” this time by giving a date to the school when both of us would be quitting school.  (Last two times in the ‘70s I was less than nice...)

And then I started researching on the internet... about homeschooling.  The reason I chose to homeschool was twofold: financial (I certainly couldn’t afford tuition anywhere!); and the freedom to travel.  Besides, I also had definite ideas about what I wanted my son to know.  AND there were almost as many homeschoolers in our little county as there were kids enrolled in public school!  My research taught me that homeschooling was indeed legal now; in fact, it had been legal in all 50 states since the year my son was born!  Hallelujah!

So here we are... several years into our homeschooling experience and still LOVING it!