Tip Tuesday — No Place Like Home?

I went to public school. I liked public school, minus the years of purgatory generally referred to as Junior High. Would someone please tell me next time before I decide to exhibit my keychain collection in the school library in between the guy who collects bugs and the girl who collects miniature plastic unicorns? It won’t turn out well. I will not make new friends. The 13-year-olds who say, “Wow, cool collection!” in a mock-nasal tone are not being sincere. They think I’m a tard-loaf who should pack up my 50-ton plastic glasses and tin-laced smile and head back to the band room. I will cry… every day… for 3 years.

Now I’m getting Laylee ready for preschool which is, in essence, in fact, so-called because it is indeed a “pre” school, if you will. PRE-SCHOOL??? Nu-uh. I am so not ready for this. Many of you have given me great advice about finding a preschool and several have suggested that I consider keeping Laylee home. This is something I think about all the time, not in terms of preschool but as a possible long-term educational solution.

When I was young, homeschool kids were stereotyped as fundamentalist weirdos who stayed home to avoid getting beat up. We thought of them as strange, socially inept and clueless about the world around them. I suspected they were all anarchists or at the very least unfamiliar with or opposed to standard social and hygienic rituals.

I’m not sure I knew a single homeschooled kid because they were probably chained up in a basement somewhere without deodorant, memorizing nuclear equations and weaving baskets with their own ankle-length hair.

In the 15 years since I started high school, things have changed drastically in the homeschool community and in people’s perceptions of homeschooling. I personally know several outstanding women (some even in real life — gasp!) who have made very educated choices to keep their children out of the public system.

At this point, I have a really favorable opinion of homeschooling but I’m not sure what we will do when the time comes.

I know it’s true, as Abby commented on my preschool post, that “there’s no place like home” and honestly that’s what scares me about not putting my kids in school. There is no place like home and if I don’t let my kids experience the world, will they be in for a junior-high-style emotional butt-kicking when they turn 18 and head off to college?

Will it just be delayed reality-shock, aggravated by years of hanging around with their mom, polishing the key chains and learning in an environment tailored specifically to them? As much as it sucked to be tormented for three years in Junior High, I learned a lot about myself through those experiences, only some of it from reading nasty things people wrote about me on the bathroom wall.

On the other hand, I don’t want to thrust my kids into the deep end with the sharks if they can learn quite nicely at home with me in a warm and safe environment and still find a way to adjust well and become fully functioning members of society.

Do you homeschool your kids or send them to public or private schools? What is your reasoning for this? I’d like to know more about why you do what you do to help me make my post preschool decision.

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