The Parenting Chronicles: Rock and Roll High School

Actually, it will be Rock and Roll Kindergarten around here, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to use a Ramones title. At any rate, it’s official: As of September 1, I am homeschooling my son. I’m still swinging back and forth between utter panic and cheerful nonchalance.

It wasn’t a hard decision to make. Scary, yes. Hard, no. Right now, he’s still not able to advocate for himself, and until he can, I refuse to send him out into the world alone. The incidents of outright abuse by special needs teachers is disgustingly high, and it’s all too often directed at kids who can’t speak up about it. (I was going to add links for recent cases, but it’s just too depressing.) And it isn’t just the possibility for big abuses or outright assault; the idea that my son might have to deal with micro-abuse in the form of quiet hands or forced eye contact is just as repugnant – and far more likely.

Aside from all those concerns, one major truth about my son is he does not want anyone to teach him. He still won’t let me read books to or with him. He won’t let me sit down at the computer with him or let me show him something cool on his tablet. He learns best by teaching himself, and I know that just won’t fly in a classroom. Neither will his incessant need to be moving/jumping/bouncing while he learns.

Adding it all up, there’s been no question about my homeschooling him. There are all kinds of questions about the how, of course, but I’ve never let a lack of clues stop me before. Why start now? At this point, I’m essentially an expert at flying by the seat of my pants.

What I do know is it’s mostly going to be computer and DVD based. I found a set of DVDs that teach phonics and sight words. After a month or so, he’s already mastered the first five discs. That’s encouraging. I’ve also loaded his tablet with every educational app I can find (still looking for more, so if anyone has suggestions for Android apps, holler!), and I’m going to hook up with ABCmouse. PBS Kids Play is also a good tool; he’s been using that for a couple of years now and he’s still not bored.

There will be some hands-on as well. Baking gives the opportunity to teach several subjects. A butterfly plant with five monarch caterpillars will be a great start for science and biology. The possibilities are unlimited, and that’s the best part about homeschooling: it doesn’t matter how I get him from A to B. The only thing the state cares about is that he shows up in a timely manner.

As the time gets closer, I get more excited. This has the potential to be so much fun ““ for both of us.

By Brenda

40-something-something stay home mom, floating somewhere between traditional and strange. I’m addicted to music, making things and my computer.

8 replies on “The Parenting Chronicles: Rock and Roll High School”

Congratulations! My brothers and I were homeschooled, and it rocked. Actually, technically, we were unschooled (not as scary as it sounds, I promise.)

Also, I’m sure you’ve already done plenty of research, but from what you say about your son, it sounds like some form of unschooling might suit him really well. There’s a spectrum to how structured/unstructured it can be, and it’s a really great educational method/philosophy for kids who are such strong self-directed learners. This website has some good info on unschooling and John Holt, who pioneered “unschooling” as an educational philosophy:

I’m also always happy to talk about unschooling/homeschooling. It’s not right for everyone, but I’m a huge advocate of it when there’s an involved parent and a kid who could benefit.

Unschooling is definitely going to be my main approach (benevolent neglect might be a good descriptive as well :-). I just can’t see any good outcome of forcing him to learn what he’s not interested in, or in a way that hampers or disturbs him. He’s really bright and learns quickly, and I’d hate to see him lose that.

Big thanks for that link; I hadn’t come across it yet. It looks like an awesome resource. And I’m always happy to hear people talk about it, too, so anything you want to pass along will be gratefully appreciated :-D

I’ve been contemplating homeschooling a lot, and I can see how exciting this must be for you. You know him best – and you’re clearly keen to teach him. It’ll be great for both of you! (And I’m a teeny bit jealous… I’d love to homeschool, but the girl is VERY keen on going to school. Damn :p)

It is exciting, even when I’m shaking in my boots over it (or inwardly groaning over having to navigate through something filled with conservative evangelicals and tea baggers).

Maybe you can revisit the idea with her down the road? When she’s complaining about hated subjects or getting up so early, you can point out the benefits of learning in your pajamas :-D

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