Are the kids alright?  We ask ourselves this question.  A lot.  Not because our four children are problems; in fact, they’re amazing.  It’s because homeschooling is a kind of leap of faith.  When you choose to homeschool, you fly in the face of the mainstream.  You declare that you’re going to try and do the job of a highly specialized, compartmentalized, entrenched and well-funded system.  And do it at home.

When you homeschool, you find tons of very cool people to support and assist you; to encourage and guide you.  At the same time as you have to answer lots of questions.  Questions posed by those who would never consider doing it, and some who are thinking about it.  Questions like:  ‘What do you do for sports?’  ‘What do you do for socialization?’  ‘Can they go to college?’  And ‘who do you answer to?’

They aren’t hostile questions; they’re reasonable questions, posed by folks curious about a decision to abandon convention.  But at times, even the most stalwart homeschool mom or dad asks:  ‘Was this a good idea?’

That’s also a good question.  ‘Was it a good idea?’  And the other question as well:  ‘Are the kids alright?’

And so far, all I can say is, ‘yes, it was an awesome idea!’

Not because we have an abiding disdain for the public school system or its teachers.  Some of our dearest friends, in fact, are educators.  Not because we are isolationists, hiding in our log cabin (we really have one), waiting for the end times.  Not because we are afraid our children will (gasp!) be exposed to popular culture.

It was a great idea because it connected us with our children.  Because it gave us time to lavish on them, and freed us from the routine school-system schedule, so that we could travel as we desired.  Because it allowed us to explore their interests with them.  It was a great idea because it furnished a forum to include deep discussions of faith, ethics and culture, without any fear of the ACLU or anyone else fearful about the role of religion in education.  It was a great idea because my wife is a fantastic organizer and educator, who is passionate about her students.  It worked because it allowed us to educate our kids the way with live our lives.  With a kind of easy-going calm.

Yes, the kids are alright.  College looms for the oldest in two years.  Will he be the same student as his public or private school friends?  Unlikely.  But will he be able to obtain an education and career?  I have no doubt.  Like his siblings, he is honest, ethical, clever, articulate.  He is possessed of the normal, wide, weird knowledge base of a homeschooler.   His vocabulary,  like that of his siblings, is expansive.  All of them read constantly.  All of them are inquisitive.  And each one is courteous, noble, honest and gentle.

Their paths into adult life will be slightly different from that of the average bear.  But ultimately, I believe they will be fine.  Above all other qualifications, all test scores or course work, they love, they laugh, they communicate and they enjoy knowing things…for the very sake of knowledge.

Yes, it was a good idea.  And thank God above and their mother below, the kids are just fine.

Edwin

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