Two months ago, I wrote similar post about the reasons why we were considering homeschooling. We stil are. But we’re also considering not.
1. Friends. Since turning three, Cole has become obsessed with other children. He talks about it all the time. We do what we can, we meet up with other traveling families, we bring him to the mall’s indoor playground, we stop at McDonalds so he can play, we go out at night after 8 PM when the local kids come out to ride their bikes. He loves it. Yet, we struggle to keep up with it. And there isn’t always kids around — they are often in school or at home. So we drive around like some kind of weird predators, looking for children for our son to play with.
2. I set up a straw man on my last post. I noticed this in the comments, more than one person indirectly called me out on it. I don’t need ALL the schools to be awesome, just one. The one my child attends. The fact that some schools do a terrible job, well that’s not really a problem unless he attends that school. I set up the straw man, the imaginary bad school, then I shot it down. The truth is that there are programs that are doing amazing things.
3. It’s also not: Homeschool or Live in the US. We could live abroad. If I don’t like some aspect of the US culture, we could live overseas. We already do. We could just do the paperwork to get more permanent residency, and that can be achieved a number of ways — from Thailand to Europe to China to Bali. Especially if our child is attending school and we’re not working locally, then it’s even easier. There are always ways.
4. Mommy separation anxiety. Maybe, and this is a little raw and hard to admit, but maybe, I don’t want to watch Cole go to school with a big backpack on and wave goodbye as he gets on the bus. Maybe I’m not ready for that and homeschooling is a way to avoid that moment. Drew doesn’t even fully get why this wrecks me, but if you’re a mother, you know. I want to hold on to my baby forever! I’m working through it.
5. Formal Instruction. As my child gets older, the right school could give him formal instruction in the arts, music, science, mathematics, the classics, etc — if any of those are interest areas — that homeschooling can not. If Cole is really into science, he can go to a science-heavy high school. Or art, or dance, or whatever. The one-sized-fits-all approach is true of many schools but not all, and there are specialized programs we can choose for him as his interests begin to show.
6. Writing and reading in a foreign language. One really big thing about being bilingual is learning to read and write at a high level in that language. Going to school in a non-English environment could cement his bilingualism in a way that I could never compete with at home — he’d be getting 30 hours a week of intense immersion for years. It’s a really big incentive.
7. If we do continue to live overseas, maybe school will help him better fit in. It will be hard, as a kid, for Cole to be “The American”. Especially if he’s also the “Homeschooled American with Weird Interests”. Not that fitting in is all that grand, I love travel because I love being an outsider. But as a kid, I craved that feeling of belonging. Maybe it’s better to give him that opportunity to decide what he likes on his own.
8. It’s reversible. Maybe it’s easier to go from school to homeschool than the other way around. I’m not sure, but it seems like it would be an easier adjustment to say, pull Cole from school if it’s not working, than to say, stick him school for the first time when he’s 10.
We’re still thinking. Cole is about 3 1/2 years old. We have two more years. But I am considering experimenting with preschool to see how he likes it. He’s so little, but already his personality is coming through, and it’s a very social one. Maybe my daughter Stella will be completely different. Maybe we’ll do different things for each child. I don’t know. Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post, much food for thought. These posts are a work in progress, so bear with me, I’m still working it out.