Saturday, September 10, 2011

"Home" Does Not = Recluse

You know that house in the neighborhood where there's always about seventeen bikes strewn about the front lawn, an abandoned lemonade stand by the sidewalk, chalk drawings smothering the driveway, and plastic cups littering the patio table?  That house where the bushes are never trimmed, the windows rarely clean of window crayon... but the door is always open and you can usually smell chocolate chip cookies baking?  Oh, and you can usually see a slew of kids eating those cookies and drinking that lemonade and dropping those bikes on the lawn.

Yep.  You know that house.  You probably have a strong opinion about that house, one way or another.  In Blue Grass Farms, at least in four block radius of the court, that house is my house.  And we like it that way.

The other day I had a family member, once again, play the "socialization card" in his argument against home schooling.  Hmmmm. 

Let's compare:  Our first day of homeschool this year, my kids finished up by 12:00 noon.  By that time, the new neighbor's boys were in their back yard.  Cady and Asher ran out to the fence to introduce themselves, and before I knew it they were at our house playing Foosball, jumping on the trampoline, riding bikes, and having lemonade.  While they were still over, my daughter's friend M came by to join in the raucous.  She stayed on for dinner (a big pot of chicken and rice soup, home made).  She had three bowls... Leaving just enough to have another neighbor and his kids over for soup, too.  Oh, and the single guy across the street stopped over just in time to lap up the last ladleful!

THEN, as the sun was just thinking about drifting off to sleep, another friend stopped next door to help her boyfriend move some of his stuff in, bringing along her two boys... who immediately ran to our tree for climbing and our trampoline!  My kids weren't  "alone" until time for them to drop into bed.

So much for my reclusive home schooled kids turning out to be uni bombers, holed up in a shack plotting against society because they weren't exposed to hundreds of kids in a controlled, scheduled setting from 8:00-3:00, Monday through Friday.  Sorry to disappoint you, disgruntled anti-homeschool family member.  Your argument doesn't make sense.  Want to debate?

Right now, my daughter is sitting next to me with her friend that slept over night last night.  My son is at his Michigan Opera Theatre Children's Chorus rehearsal for Carmina Burana for three hours (oh, yes, it takes more than one kid to put on an opera... there's only 50 kids and many adult performers... including professionals from Cirque de Soleil [shameless plug]).

Yesterday, they had a great day at their homeschool classes.  And yes, they are real classes:  Earth Science, Drama, Medieval History and Literature, Math.  Each class had 6-15 kids.  Nice teacher - student ratio, huh?  And Asher got an enthusiastic sleepover invitation.  It didn't happen to work for last night, but we will plan it for the near future.  The point is, he was INVITED! 

Hmmm, yes I "hmmmm" again.  His last year at public school he was never invited to a thing  by a classmate, and sat alone at lunch almost every day.  Which is a more fertile environment for the growing of a reclusive, angry human being? 

For this child, for my family, for right now (because this family is the only one I am qualified to make these kind of decisions for), I am confident that home is where we need to be. 

Home.. and at rehearsal in Detroit, and at the dance studio, and the community theatre rehearsal, and at the home school group in Warren, and at scouts, and at art class, and at music lessons, and at the neighbor's house, and riding bikes with a mob of kids in the neighborhood... Learning how to be kids with other kids through life, through groups, through lots and lots of free play...  tromping around the neighborhood with kids, thinking of things to do, riding bikes, making up games... THAT's where kids learn how to navigate life.

Home doesn't mean "homebound," it doesn't mean "recluse."  Home is just where we cover the academics... out in the world is where we cover the rest.