Despite the growing numbers of homeschoolers, homeschooling is not a mainstream choice. As a home educator, you are already an oddball in the realm of general society. So when you find a homeschool support group of real life people who have also made this radical decision, it feels like finding a family where you fit in.
Until you start to talk to these new homeschool friends and discover that you are again an oddball even within your homeschool circle. No one else seems to hold to your homeschool philosophy or practice, and you realize just how different you really are.
No, we don’t use textbooks or a boxed curriculum with a neat label.
Yes, I think Teaching Textbooks is “enough” for math.
No, we don’t use tests. (And I don’t grade Emma’s papers.)
Yes, I still read out loud to my eighth grader.
No, we don’t have a rigid schedule.
Yes, this field trip is our school today. We don’t go home and do workbook pages in addition.
No, we are not behind. We set our own schedule. How can we be “behind?”
Yes, I spend tons on art supplies and art lessons but prefer to do our own science labs at home.
I don’t consider myself an unschooler. But in contrast to the homeschoolers around me, I feel like one. And a very oddball, freaky one at that.
You see, although on my blog I have hundreds of readers who appreciate my style, in real life I am a homeschool oddball.
Do you feel that way too?
By nature, I’m not one to be overly concerned with the perceptions of others. I’m fine with following my own path and ignoring the reactions of those around me. On my own, I’m very confident in my choices. But sitting in a homeschool group as the lone oddball can make even me question my decisions for a split second. Then I get home and see my Emma surrounded by her colored pencils, listening to an audio book, and I know that we are on the right path. Doing traditional school at home would destroy the essence of this creative child almost the same way public or private school would.
I truly believe that in education, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Einstein said that. He was a brilliant man who did poorly in rigid, academic settings.
Knowledge certainly has its place. It is a foundation upon which to creatively build and explore. But it is those with imagination who truly live and who make life better for others.
Maybe the path of imagination and creativity is a very narrow one, one that only the oddballs can walk.
Do you feel like a homeschool oddball? How do you cope when your IRL homeschool friends do not follow your same style?