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Education began at our home

Posted: April 28, 2015 - 11:14pm  |  Updated: April 29, 2015 - 1:03am

This week marked a profound transition for our family.

Since the beginning, we have always been a homeschooled family. Yes, those people.

There are a lot of myths, stereotypes and misconceptions about homeschoolers.

I’ll make a quick list for you:

Homeschoolers are religious zealots. Homeschoolers are anti-government. Homeschoolers aren’t well socialized. Homeschoolers get an inferior education. Homeschoolers are just weird.

While I will readily admit that some homeschooled families might fall into one or two of those categories, I also submit that so would many of your friends and neighbors with children in “normal” schools.

Such blanket statements really fail to capture the diverse spectrum of people I have encountered during the nearly 15 years of homeschooling our children in the Augusta area.

I know families who are fervently religious and also those whose lives don’t revolve around a church. I know families who would never put their children in a public or private school, and those who shift every year based on their children’s needs and desires.

The thing most people don’t understand about homeschooling is that it in not some monolithic cult that eschews modern culture. It is as diverse as this nation we live in.

The one thing that homeschoolers do share, however, is a passion for their children’s education, which can’t be said for all parents of children in more traditional schools.

Homeschoolers have to be passionate about education because they are deeply involved in it every single day. School is not a place you go, it is a lifestyle that involves a daily pursuit of knowledge.

Everything is an opportunity for learning, not to be missed. Math lessons emerge from home maintenance; science experiments are spawned in every kitchen; history lectures lurk about waiting for any child to ask an ill-timed question.

And every single family vacation is just another field trip on a much grander, more expensive scale.

That is the one thing about homeschooling that is different. As a parent who homeschools, you know exactly what your child knows and where his or her strengths and weaknesses lie. It is not a mystery.

Now, however, we are coming to the end of our last bittersweet year as homeschoolers.

My wife, who has really been the driving force for education in our family, has blossomed into a sought after Spanish language teacher. A series of events has opened the door for her to teach full-time, which means our last child at home will begin attending a “traditional” school next fall.

A lot will change, but a lot will stay the same. Despite altered circumstances, I have no doubt we will remain intimately involved in our children’s education.

The lesson does not endeth here.

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