Welcome to Preconceptions, the morning show where we confirm our preconceived notions! I’m your host, Glib A. Sumption. This morning we’re hosting Sara, a homeschooling graduate and veteran homeschooling mom.
GLIB: Sara, we wholeheartedly support this educational choice for your family. So we’d appreciate it if you’d back up our assumptions about homeschooling, okay?
SARA: Well, I might not. . . .
GLIB: You’ll do fine; don’t worry! So let’s start off with one thing we know for sure. Your children are, of course, great readers. As homeschoolers, they spend all day reading!
SARA: Well, no. We do love stories and books, but we also love electronics. My kids spend a lot of time watching YouTube shows and playing computer games.
GLIB: That’s not . . .
SARA: We do usually have a family read-aloud at the end of the day. Darren chooses a book, or we listen to an audiobook together. Recent books include Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling; Where Eagles Dare by Alistair McLean; Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey; and memory journals written by their grandmothers.
GLIB: Huh, reading family memories out loud. We’d never thought of doing that.
SARA: Homeschoolers are full of surprises, right?
GLIB: [clears throat] That’s not really the point of this show. Moving on, your kids probably spend hours designing things. Homeschool kids, am I right? Machines out of Legos! Or taking up the whole living room with cardboard building projects!
SARA: While my kids are proficient in math, and all are creative in various ways, none of them have an engineering bent. They don’t even like Legos very much.
GLIB: Not even the boys?
SARA: Not even the boys.
GLIB: Well, one thing I do know. Since you’re homeschoolers, your kids are all very polite.
SARA: I’ve definitely been told so, usually after someone has had a conversation with Sparkler.
GLIB: [relieved] Right. Because homeschoolers, unlike other kids . . .
SARA: But she’s just naturally interested in people. If you had the same conversation with Gamerboy, you might not be so impressed. He takes a lot longer to warm up and figure out social cues. Homeschooling has been especially good for our more taciturn kids because it’s given them time and space to bloom.
GLIB: [uncomfortable laugh] You just keep throwing us curve balls! Let’s move on. We’re confident that your kids, being homeschoolers, perform remarkably on all their tests.
SARA: They do well overall. But they have weak spots that we have to address each year. They definitely don’t ace every test we put in front of them.
GLIB: [slightly desperate] Please at least reassure us that your kids get along unusually well!
SARA: Well, yes. They’re used to being around one another, thanks to homeschooling.
GLIB: [relieved] Right.
SARA: But it’s also because we’ve worked very hard to teach them respect and negotiation skills.
GLIB: Oh, you mean you’ve worked at it?
SARA: Also, their personalities mesh pretty well.
GLIB: But that’s not something you can plan for even with homeschooling.
SARA: And never underestimate the benefit of earbuds and separate electronic entertainment to give everyone their own space. Sometimes it’s best if we don’t have to interact for a while.
GLIB: [somewhat dazed] Speaking of interaction . . . what about socialization?
SARA: We of course make sure they’ve got social outlets. We encourage participation in drama, Scouts, 4H, co-op, and hanging out with neighborhood friends. Online friends are a big part of each day. Also, our local library has made a real effort to reach out to teenagers. They host regular events and encourage kids to use the library for meetings or games. So my kids’ social center is the library, which is pretty great, right?
GLIB: Yeah. [weak laughter] Since you’ve been homeschooling for thirteen years and you’re a homeschool graduate yourself, I guess you’ve just got it all figured out.
SARA: No. Homeschooling is hard work, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. It’s not like I coast through each day.
SARA: But homeschooling is very rewarding, and I’m glad we have the option to do it.
SARA: Is there anything else you’d like to know?
GLIB: No, no, please. My assumptions are shattered as it is.
SARA: Good, because I’ve got to get home, kick kids off computers, and get school underway.
Photo Credit: iStock.