Thank you to my sister who is definitely Not Your Average Al for letting me guest blog. I have something I need to get off my chest and since I don’t have a blog of my own, she is a gracious hostess.
Here’s a little background on me since I don’t know most of you. I will call myself Guinevere. I am older than Al but have younger kids. I had a trial run marriage. That’s a polite way of saying I married an idiot. I rectified that and married my Mr. Everything (we’ll call him Lancelot) 15 years ago. We have 3 children: a 13-year-old daughter (Iris) and 10-year-old boy/girl twins (Axel and Ariel). We are happily married, but we have our moments, just like everyone (except for Al and Mr. E).
Our children are in public school. We do not homeschool, and we will never homeschool. Why do I feel this important to mention? I am a Facebook user, just like many of you. I posted about one of the twins having nightmares and not being able to sleep. I asked for any advice to get through this. I got some great advice, including praying before bed and checking the room. That’s what worked, and we still pray together each night before bed; the child can now sleep each night. I also received a very negative piece of advice that if I homeschooled instead of being selfish and putting my children in public school so that I could have time for myself during the day, my child would be well-adjusted and would not be exposed to the negative influences of public school. WHAT? How does that help me get my kid to sleep? For that matter, how does raising my blood pressure get me to sleep?
I have been composing a response for over a month now and a snarky Facebook post from the same person recently has led to me actually put this in writing.
Why do I chose not to homeschool? Right now, you are thinking I am going to bash homeschoolers. Wrong! I have the utmost respect for parents who homeschool as well as parents who choose public school, private school, charter school or any of the other choices of schools available these days. Lancelot and I have chosen to put our children in public school and so far, so good. Iris is in the 8th grade in all honors classes and is taking 3 high school credit courses. She has made 2 B’s in her life and is proud to be an honor student. She is on-track to graduate high school with many college courses under her belt. Axel and Ariel are in the 4th grade at a great elementary school. We have requested teachers each year, and the principal has always worked to accommodate our choice of teachers. They are both in the advanced program for math and science and are always on the honor roll. Iris is going to take a virtual class over the summer to get a required course out of the way so she can take an extra AP course in 9th grade. She sounds extremely unadjusted, right?
Do I feel that I am dumping my children in public school so I can have a break during the day? NO! I wish I could sit on the couch and eat bon-bons all day long. Lancelot and I both work full time and are involved in extra activities. We are both social workers and provide benefit coordination to people with unique needs. Lancelot typically carries a caseload of 60 to 80 elderly individuals, and I maintain a caseload of 39 to 43 individuals with developmental disabilities. We both work extremely hard, and I can assure you, social workers paid through the Florida Medicaid system are not highly paid. We do the best we can with what we have, and our children do not lack for anything, including time with their parents. So, I ask, when would I homeschool? I want my children to have a good education, and I am intelligent enough to realize that 2 parents working 50+ hours per week are not going to be able to provide the time needed for a complete education. I applaud those of you, including my little sister, Al, who have dedicated yourselves to educating your children. Of course, Al, also works like a dog, but she finds the time to manage her children’s education too. But, I also applaud those of us that have dedicated our lives to serving others AND providing the best experiences possible for our children. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the education question.
I have many friends who homeschool. One of my favorite families from church has a set of lovely twins who are seniors this year. They are homeschooled and have been accepted to a fabulous school. Their mother is a saint, and they are the nicest people of all time. Do I think they are nice because they are homeschooled and not exposed to the “bad kids” of public school? NO! I think they are nice and responsible because that is how their parents raised them. Are there homeschooled kids that will become mass murders? Yes. Are there public school children who will become pastors and priests? Yes. Public school did not give my child nightmares. A child whose parents allow him to be exposed to adult movies and situations scared my child. Could this have just as easily have happened at church? Yes.
Lancelot and I are doing our best. We love our children, and we provide them with every opportunity available. We are not a theme park affording, expensive vacation taking family. We are a movie night and game night with the kids family. We go to church and get involved in the activities our children are passionate about. Iris enjoys youth group at church, and Lancelot and I are right there with her. Axel is a Webelos Scout, and Lancelot is his den leader and will be the Packmaster starting in March. Ariel is still stretching her wings and deciding which activities she wants to try because we walked away from her previous activity, but when she flies, we will be right beside her.
I will end here, but watch for another guest spot where I address some of the craziness of raising a mini-me teenage daughter!
Thank you again to Al for letting me express myself!