Although I planned to homeschool my son for at least this next academic year, I decided I should visit some schools to put his name down for next year in case I thought he should enter school and to see what schools are doing. Big mistake. Huge.
Visiting schools is like being a vegan and going to steakhouse just to, you know, look.
Teachers really don’t like to hear that you homeschool. They take it personally and then look at you like you are and your progeny are odd and troublemakers. The teacher at one school immediately told me that if my son didn’t join them immediately he would on no account be allowed in next year. Because a homeschooled 4 year old is unteachable and maybe even a danger to others. I dunno.
Once you leave the safe haven of your own convictions, you now fall victim to self doubt. Teachers give a pretty hard sell and will leave you in no doubt that if your child doesn’t attend this particular school then they can’t be sure but they don’t think it will end well.
As soon as your family and friends hear that you are visiting schools they now feel emboldened to share their innermost misgivings about homeschool. They will champion whatever school you have in mind if only to make it clear to you that up to now they have been discussing you privately in lowered gossipy tones.
The schools are so nice, you feel kind of silly – like really why am I killing myself homeschooling when my son could be sitting here like little Einstein doing puzzles every morning while I have coffee and cakes at the Wheatbaker Hotel with the other Desperate Housewives.
Your homeschooled child has built school up into this Disneyworld of possibilities in his mind. At one school he was so enraptured when it was time to leave he burst into tears. I wanted to tell him that in ‘real’ school time they wouldn’t let him play in the pretend kitchen longer than 10 minutes and he would have to fight for kitchen space with 20 other children – but I bit my tongue as he wailed and railed. I felt bad. I felt guilty.
Having ordered a thousand dollars of homeschool supplies for the year from Amazon, my husband is now looking at me with a thin lipped smile – presumably to avoid beating me (he doesn’t really beat me), when I now tell him ‘I don’t know’ what to do about the schooling and maybe Ru-bear should go to school after all.
If you want to homeschool – here’s my advice. Don’t go on school tours and don’t have a plan B. Homeschool only works if you are committed.