Every year around this time, the same thing happens. Back to school stuff appears, forms from the school get sent in the mail, appointment reminders from doctors’ offices show up reminding me that it’s time to poke my child again.
And every year at this time, I come off a two-month stint of hanging out with my kids and loading them up in the car to go to really awesome places and see exciting things, and a tiny thought worms its way into my little brain: “If I home schooled my kids, we could do this cool stuff all year long.” I start to resent the local school system for snatching my babies out of my arms, and that makes me start thinking anarchy-type thoughts about how the government is taking too much control over the masses. Then I realize that if the government didn’t mandate education for our citizens’ children, half those kids would grow up to be knuckle-dragging mouth breathers.
About four minutes after thinking I could home school, a different image slaps the home school thought right outta me, and no, it’s not the brutal realization that we would never bathe or put on actual non-pajama-clothing ever again. It is the fact that I don’t know a single home schooled kid who turned out normal. Before you call me on the phone to gripe about that statement, you have to know that I spend a good deal of my day apologizing to various people for the weird-assed stuff I say, but I’m not budging on this one.
I admit it, some kids out there are home schooled for semi-legitimate reasons, like severe allergies to everything including air, and I’m not gonna finger point at those parents. You have to do for your kids, especially the things that keep them from dying. Other kids have mad ninja skills in some kind of awesome talent, like they were playing Chopin on their Fisher-Price pianos before they could support the weight of their own heads, so they get home schooled while they’re on tour. Okay, again, who am I to judge?
I’m even willing to admit that some home schooled kids would have been weirdos even if they had been given the benefit of a few rounds of All Skate through the public school system, but they would have gotten beaten up on a daily basis. I give it to their parents, those kids were gonna be socially inept no matter what you did for them. You might as well keep them home so you don’t have to wash the blood out of their shirts every day.
The ones that actually make me want to drive my car through a crowded play date of eleven-year-olds are the parents who proudly declare that their children are too smart for public school, that their children would have been bored. You know what? We’re all bored in school! I’m a teacher and I’m effing bored! If it wasn’t boring you wouldn’t have a reason to graduate!
Maybe it’s because I’m a teacher that I get so riled up on homeschooling. In my mind, it would be like me deciding that my appendectomy wouldn’t be fulfilling enough if I had it done in a hospital, so I’m gonna do it at home on my kitchen table with some tools I ordered on the internet, just to keep it fresh and unboring. How exactly did you come to the decision that any craptastic human with a pulse can be a teacher? Or can perform appendectomies, for that matter?
So I invite—nay, I urge—all of you to join me in aisle four of the local Walmart where normal parents will wrestle to the death in a retail cage match while trying to buy the last three-ring binder in town. Our kids will suffer through agonizing classes on our state’s history where they will learn useless information like all twelve verses to our state song; of course, there will be a test on this material, and probably a really crappy diorama to build involving lots of glue and popsicle sticks. And yet somehow, my kid’s still going to turn out more well-adjusted than the one you raised in your own private think tank. It’s one of the mysteries of the universe.