Secular Thursday: Missing Out

On Wednesdays, FB takes a tumbling class at the local YMCA. The mothers generally stand outside the room and talk; EG goes to swim, and I chase PC around the hall. There's one woman who likes to talk to me about homeschooling. She doesn't exactly ask questions; she presents whatever she's thought of as a problem with homeschooling, and I have to respond. I have stock responses by now to a lot of questions, so that helps. It's especially fun when someone questions your ability to teach higher level math and science, and you get to reply with "My husband and I both attended Georgia Tech." It tends to shut them up, fast.

Her most recent concern dealt with high school activities. "What about high school," she began. "Not the courses, but all the extra activities. What about marching band, and debate, and things like that?" I fobbed her off with my stock answer, but on the way home, I thought about what she'd said.

And I laughed.

I went to a private day school for girls that had, at the time I attended, grades 7-12 (now it also has a sixth grade class). The two specific examples that she had chosen were activities that I didn't have at my high school. In other words, I wasn't homeschooled, yet I had no opportunity to participate in matching band or debate. It gets even more amusing when you consider that in our area, there is a homeschool marching band. As far as I know, there isn't a non-Christian homeschool debate team, but I'd really love to change that in a few years.

Her examples were poorly chosen. She did have a very real point: the high school experience will be very different for a homeschooled student versus a public school student (and, as I experienced firsthand, versus a private school student). I typically answer in a way that suggests that "it's okay, we can do most things that public school kids do!" However, that's not really how I feel about the matter at all. No, EG, FB, and PC won't experience the same things as their public-schooled counterparts. Their peers won't have the experiences that they will gain, either, though. There are numerous disadvantages and advantages to all types of educational paths for homeschooling, and while public school may be the norm, it doesn't negate the potential value in other paths.

Finally, can I just say how weird it is for someone to even bother quizzing me about high school when my oldest kid is nine? Sure, I think about the future and like to plan ahead, but I don't even know this woman's name. When I think about it, that's pretty weird.

Maybe my kid and hers will compete in debate in ten years. Or marching band. ;)


Smrt Mama said...

I also reject the idea that to be well-rounded or happy about your childhood, you had to have identical educational experiences. I guess schools who don't have Japanese language are depriving students? What about the ones that don't have computer programming? Or every single AP course?

Melanie said...

I've always loved talking about homeschooling high school. I like to say, "It's just not that hard," and watch people decide whether or not they'd like to argue with me. Next year, though, I get to walk the walk - I hope it really isn't that hard! ;) I know extra-curricular activities won't be a problem. My kids are already involved in more activities than I ever was in high school.

Daisy said...

Great post!

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