Friday, May 20, 2005

Conviction or Preference?

We've been tagged by Spunky. Spunky would like to know is homeschooling a Conviction or Preference? I read Spunky's post on this right after she posted it. I didn't answer the question in the comments because I was soul searching. Last week was a particularly bad homeschooling week at my private school. It's possible that my 12 year old was being more than a little bit difficult. I was starting to fantasize about sending her away to school. How can homeschooling be a conviction if you have fantasies about sending the children away? Spunky gave me food for thought and now she has put me on the spot. She wants to know my answer. Well let's start with a trip to the dictionary and be precise.
con·vic·tion (noun) a strong persuasion or belief
pref·er·ence (noun) the act, fact, or principle of giving advantages to some over others
I think my vote is that homeschooling started out as a preference and is now a conviction.
When my first child entered school, we didn't even know homeschooling existed. My daughter spent 4 miserable months in kindergarten at our local public school. How can kindergarten be miserable? I have fond memories of learning phonics and singing, "I'm a Little Teapot" in Mrs. Higgins Kindergarten class at Fairview Elementary School in Springfield, Illinois. I loved elementary school. How could my daughter hate school? Why didn't she want to learn to read? How in the world could this small person who had been so happy 5 months ago be so miserable? We knew that something had to change. I went into her classroom each day and helped out with my newborn son. The fact of the matter was that the classroom situation was a mess. The teacher spent a lot of time yelling and my daughter was not used to this. On one occasion, I watched my daughter follow the teacher's instructions to the letter and then the teacher got in her face for not following her instructions. My daughter had done exactly what the teacher had said -- I think the teacher hadn't said what she meant. All of us say things or write them less clearly than we would like. It's the human condition. However, it's difficult for a 5 year old to explain to the teacher, who was literally in her face, that she was following the instructions to the letter. The next step was for my husband and I to look for an alternative. We called every private school in the phone book. After a secretary listened to my story, she said, "Why don't you homeschool?" She proceeded to give me some basic information on homeschooling so I could start researching. She felt I should get my daughter out of that classroom ASAP. We pulled my daughter out of school after Thanksgiving. It was one of our good parenting decisions. After a few years of homeschooling as our preference to the other alternatives it evolved into a conviction. I strongly believe that I can give my children the best education (most days). I guess I will still say that homeschooling is still a conviction. Just some days that conviction wavers a little bit.
Now, let's interview the children.
The 12 year old daughter states that homeschooling is a conviction. Hmm... How come she can't be more cooperative? I'll ponder that point.
The six year old son states that it is a preference. I'm not sure he understands what I'm saying, but we'll let his answer stand for now.

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