So, once upon a time I was home schooled. The first half of kindergarten, first and second grade. It was awesome. We participated in an organization called HomeLink that offered a variety of classes (I seem to recall a computer class, a Spanish class, a "Fun and Games" class) including a chess club which my mother was the coach of. This meant that I, along with my older siblings, competed in chess tournaments in kindergarten and first grade. Woohoo! And then second grade was an eleven month field trip across the country. My home schooling years were good years. Come third grade we'd just moved to Indiana and all of us started public schooling. There had been a smattering of public schooling for my older siblings, but it wasn't until that move that we all no longer home schooled.
Growing up in Indiana I still had friends who were home schooled, but it wasn't my world any more.
And it is kind of interesting to look at the home schooled individuals I know. Almost all of them are really nice people, both the parents and the children. But for many of them there is also a slight air of awkwardness. While they've been socially active, the level of social activeness just doesn't compare to spending seven or eight hours a day, five days a week, with a large group of your contemporaries. So it has often been possible for me to identify home schooled individuals based on the slight difference in interactions. Some of this is likely also a result of the fact that many people who are home schooled come from conservative and/or very religious homes.
Anyway, while my brother and I were waiting to catch our flight home from Costa Rica we ran into one of the women who we'd gone on the zip line tour with. We chatted for awhile about this and that, and at some point she randomly asked us if we'd been home schooled. Here there was a pause as Kyle and I looked at each other. Yes, we'd been home schooled, but we were so far removed from that that it seemed odd she was asking. We of course replied that we had been and asked why she'd asked. She said she had just been around a lot of home schooled people and there was a kind of aura she could identify. Because we were nice and open. Because we were there with our family and family was clearly important. Because we were somewhat intelligent and well spoken.
I guess I just suspect that what she was identifying didn't really have anything to do with home schooling but rather more to do with our heavily religious background. Of course, I didn't say this, but having interacted with a great number of home schooled individuals, I'm pretty sure the mannerisms she's talking about don't have much to do with home schooling. I suppose I don't really know that, but her observations just don't seem consistent with my own observations.
Anyway, it was an amusing conversation at the very least.
I don't plan on home schooling any children I might have. I think there are some clear benefits to time spent in a public school setting. That doesn't mean I wouldn't consider taking my children out of school for a year to do something else, but not for much more of an extended period outside of that.
There's not really one "right" way of doing things. Just lots of different ways that can all have positives and negatives. It's fun to think about it.
And on a somewhat irrelevant note, here is an awesome father-daughter-son trio of musicians.
(DMK: "Everything Counts")
-desultory: without direction in life