by Amy Tjaden
Homeschool.com News Editor
I often say that there are as many ways to homeschool as there are homeschooling families. While some styles are similar, no two are exactly alike.
I thought I was familiar with most homeschooling dynamics. But I recently met a single mother who showed me yet another, unique situation. By day, her 9 year old son appears to be a typical private schooled student. By night, he becomes…a homeschooler.
No, by definition they are not a homeschooling family. The mother has to head off to work each day. Her son spends his day at a private, Catholic school. But technically, through all the extra work she does with him and the field trips they take together, she is a homeschooling mom.
She told me that before she became a parent she didn’t realize how pointless most schools are. She finds many assignments redundant and calls them time wasters. She has extended family that homeschools and would very much like to homeschool but, at this point, it is not an option for her.
She explained that she tells her son that it is okay if he didn’t do so great on his spelling test. She tells him not to sweat the fact that his handwriting isn’t perfect. The school thinks those things are important. She doesn’t. So she lets things slide as far as the school is concerned. He does his best and when at home they follow topics that are important to him.
So, she spends extra time discussing these various topics with her son and following his interests. Last year they toured the nation’s capital and visited museums. This year they are planning to tour the UK so they can visit castles. It is all done in the spirit of learning. They don’t stay in fancy hotels or constantly eat at restaurants.
She describes living off of sandwich fixings because it isn’t a vacation, it is a field trip. The purpose is to further her son’s knowledge, encourage his own interests and expose him to cultures around the world.
As I listened to her I began to wonder how many other families are like theirs. How many send their kids off to school each day as a necessity but let the real learning begin in the evenings and on weekends? How many families want to be homeschoolers and just haven’t figured out how to make it work yet?
My guess is that it is probably a surprisingly high number.
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