The Time Has Come, the Walrus said…to Homeschool the Children

by | Jul 6, 2011 | homeschool | 16 comments

If you homeschool, you can pick strawberries from the garden while still wearing your pajamas.

Yes, well, let me say from the get-go that I love public school. I pretty much think it’s the greatest thing ever. I love school in general. But public school — oh! such great times! You get to go to this building with all your neighbors and learn things together. And there are the pencils, and the textbooks (checking to see who had your science book the year before) and covering your books in brown paper bags. There’s wondering who’s going to be in your class and what your teacher will be like, and what you’ll get to read. There’s getting that giant September issue of Seventeen magazine and scouring the pages to decide which plaid skirt is best and what kind of blouse do you wear with a calico prairie skirt?

But it turns out that all that isn’t really the experience that Henry’s having. He actually seems to love school too, but during the three years he’s been there, there have been increasing stories of students not learning anything, as well as students behaving badly (Bullying, Advanced Bullying, and the Bullying Doctoral Program). Plus teachers leaving, or just being burned out.

If you homeschool, you can wear mismatched clothes and visit the ducks mid-morning.

So! Two things are happening with our local school. The first is that, because it’s so seriously underperforming, we now have the option of transferring to another school in the district. The second thing that’s happening is that (because it’s so seriously underperforming) they are completely revamping the curriculum to be project-based. Which is awesome. Everything I read about that makes it sound great.

But roundabouts April I said to Henry, “So, well, you can stay at your school, and do the project-based learning stuff, or you can go to another school, or you can homeschool.” Well, what I actually said was “…or you can homesch-” because he didn’t even let me finish the word before he jumped in and said, “I want to homeschool!” I gently told him that, if we homeschooled, it wouldn’t mean sitting on the couch and reading all day, and he replied, “I know! If we homeschool, I can learn stuff they don’t teach me at school, like ancient history, and Latin!”

If you homeschool, you can be dragged out in the freezing rain to tour replicas of the Nina and the Pinta.

And how can you turn that down, I ask you?

And let me tell you, once you contemplate homeschooling, and get over the initial “wait, what? where would my free time go?” reaction, you suddenly realize that it would be awesome. No more running out the door at 8:45, or waking people up from naps to go pick up at 3:00! Being able to go on vacation when you want! Teaching your kids 100% more in half the time!

Plus there’s that whole notion of trying to stick your very active kid into the box of school. I completely understand why they have to have a million rules about being calm, because it would be complete bedlam otherwise. But if you’ve got a wiggly, active, Big Movements kind of guy, he’s going to hold it in all day at school, and then pretty much explode when he gets home. I’m talking here about Eli. He’s kindergarten-age in September, and about a month after we really seriously started contemplating homeschool, he was outside using a full-size axe to chop up twigs. He looked like John Henry. I turned to Dave and said, in my sweetest pretend-girly-mom voice, “You know, dear, I just don’t think public school could provide our son with the daily axe work he so clearly needs.” And we laughed, but then we got kind of quiet. Because it’s true.

So! Exciting! We jumped right in on the Monday after public school ended, figuring that we’d try it over the summer to make sure we could make it two months without me going insane/the kids starting to loathe me/the house developing a two-inch-thick crust of dust and toast husks. And so far it’s going really well, I have to say. I’ll write another post later about what materials we’re using (because I love those what-we’re-using homeschool posts) (and because if I don’t stop now this post will be way, way too long). But that’s what’s happening here in the World of Julie!

If you homeschool, you can be super cute and sit in chairs backwards, posing adorably. Oh, wait, no, you can do that anyway.


  1. Elizabeth

    Very exciting! Makes me want to jump along right with you. I am happy for you. Can’t wait to hear more about it. It is something that I have contemplated and continue to contemplate from time to time.

  2. Bethany

    Very interesting! Can’t wait to hear more about this!

  3. Liz

    yay! this is very exciting news. i think you guys are going to have a fun and crazy homeschooling time together. i can’t wait to read more about it!

  4. Robyn

    Hurray, really. How can/may I help? (more than sighting gingerbread men, though I’m willing to hunt those down when necessary!)

  5. Julie

    My first thought, Robyn, was, “You can help by moving to Maine!” But I’m sure I can figure something else out. Can you do Reiki across the country?

  6. Stacey

    You’re going to be the best home-schooler ever. I just know it. Let me know when you’re doing ancient history. I could use a refresher course.

  7. Julie

    Thanks, Stacey. We’ve already started ancient history. Turns out I didn’t need a refresher course so much as a course, in general. I’m pretty sure I never learned any of this stuff. Next lesson is Stonehenge — come on by!

  8. Beth

    Julie, I’m really happy for you guys. I think this is a great decision, and I know you will do an amazing job teaching your kids. I can’t wait to hear about all your exciting adventures as a homeschooling mom!

  9. Nancy Fairweather

    That is fantastic! I would have loved to be homeschooled, but my brothers would have driven me insane in about a week… 🙁 My mom actually trained to be a teacher. Hilariously, same brother is now a teacher! lol. In fact I will give him your post url, cuz it rocks. 😀

  10. Julie

    Thanks, Nancy! I would have loved to have been homeschooled too, though I don’t think those thoughts really formed until we decided to be homeschoolers ourselves. I REALLY loved going to school, but I also loved being at home. I think what it comes down to is I want to be a homeschooled adult.

  11. Robyn

    I’m telling you: Maine has so much going for it it’s really ridiculous that we’re still in California. So yes, I’ll work ether-wise. But someday…

  12. Sarah

    Love this post! And our door is open to you when you are ready to take your American history lessons on the road and want to check out Lexington/Concord/ Boston…heck most of MA for petes sake.
    Have to tell you I’m on your site today to look up your granola recipe again after spending $5 on homemade granola at quaint ME roadside farmstand in Rockland only to find it completely rancid when getting home. Bummer. Guess if I want to have some granola I better take care of it myself 🙂

  13. lindsay

    There is a great homeschooling community in South Portland…progressive, interesting, smart people. I can introduce you to someone if you need help finding group classes for homeschoolers. Good luck!

  14. Julie

    Yes please, Lindsay!

    And Robyn, you at least need to come visit one of these days.

    And Sarah, we’ll definitely be down at some point — we had a big Revolutionary War discussion this morning, and it’d be nice to see the sights that go along with that.

  15. Cindy

    Ugh. I had a week of seriously considering homeschooling a couple months ago. My eldest wasn’t so into it though. And the schools are great where I am. But still, they start standardized testing this year and I just love the idea of having more time to do fun stuff with them. The day is tooo long at public schools.
    Anyway, sounds like you and the kids are going to do so well with it. Jealous!

  16. Julie

    Cindy, the day is way too long in public school, especially considering how much of that day is spent lining up. And I just recently learned that, during the winter, the kids eat lunch IN THEIR FULL OUTDOOR GEAR, because there isn’t time (!?!?) to get ungeared after recess. So I am maybe homeschooling so my kids can eat lunch without snowpants and scarves on. Unless they want to.

    I will also say that it is nerve-wracking. If I mess up, I only have myself to blame. Scary.


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