Monday, September 28, 2009

A morbid reason to homeschool

Over the years Janine and I have written about dozens of reasons to homeschool. As we wrote in our Introduction to Homeschooling:

A recent survey, by the Department of Education, found that about 85% of homeschooling parents were concerned about the environment of public schools. This ranged worries about safety from bullies, to gangs, to drugs, and so on. A second major reason, for 72% of the parents, was a desire to provide religious or moral instruction. The third major reason, 68%, was dissatisfaction with academic instruction at public schools.

There are also many, many more reasons. Some homeschool so their child can be in the movies. Some homeschool because it is hard to get rid of bad public school teachers. Others homeschool because of the father's work schedule. I know some parents homeschool to avoid assignments like researching internet porn. The reasons go on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on.

Today I thought of a new reason to homeschool. It is a bit morbid. The reason came to me while I was having lunch with a good friend.

My friend's grandmother, living in another state, had recently died. She appears to have passed away peacefully at 101. She was mentally sharp and physically active up until the end. (That is my goal, to reach 100 mentally sharp and physically active.)

My friend said it was a good experience to get together with his sister and their cousins. They helped clean out some of the house and talked about memories. My friend had taken his children for the funeral, but then took them back home so they won't miss much school. He is going back this Thursday to help clean out the rest of the house over the weekend. His children will stay in school.

During lunch I thought about what a missed opportunity for his children. My friend will be on the road for most of Thursday. They could have dad all to themselves. They could chat about what is on their minds. He could share some of his best memories about their great grandmother. It could be a real bonding trip.

Then at his grandmother's house his children could have gotten to know their aunts and uncles better. Working together is a real bonding experience. And again treasured memories would be shared.

As it is they will be stuck in school learning merely academic topics. They'll miss out on some real meaningful lessons, life lessons about how a woman lived a great life and the influence she had on generations.

This is not a major reason for homeschooling, but I am glad that when my family members die, hopefully many years in the future, my children will be able to be more involved in the mourning process, and learn to a deeper level lessons from the death of a loved one.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education


Dana said...

I think that fits in the broader vision of deepening family relationships. Last year when my dad had surgery, my daughter was able to go down for two weeks to cook and clean and play games with him. She never could have done that in school. We never would have even thought to find out had she been in school.

Nancy, hsmom64 said...

I agree, not being bound to a school schedule allows the entire family to deal with illnesses and emergencies together. Just because the kids are sent off to school to "keep things normal" does not mean they do not suffer and worry. They are just separated from their loved ones.

Sleep-Deprived said...

I also agree. I lost my dad a year and a half ago, and am so grateful we were already homeschooling. It gave and continues to give us the opportunity to spend time with my mom to grieve, to help, to heal, to grow. My kids were close with my dad and I know it has helped them to process their loss - as well as to understand all that my dad meant and continues to mean to us. They also have participated in helping one another through the midst of grief.

My mom has expressed her great appreciation for our availability. And like Dana said, it has given us an opportunity for a much deeper family relationship than we would have had if our visits were limited to weekends or breaks. My kids love going to their Grandma's - and they often talk about their Grandpa and all the things he used to say and do with them. The last time we were there my 5 1/2 year old commented, "I wish Grampa hadn't died. I would have liked going fishing on the boat with him." I wish he hadn't died too - but I am also grateful that we had much more time to be with him because we homeschooled.

Luke said...

Flexibility in schedule to do what works best for you and your family is a huge boon of homeschooling. So many more opportunities!


the Fish said...

When I was a kid, it was common for my family and others to take weeklong or longer trips during the school year. The teachers were happy to write out the work for you ahead of time, you brought your books along and did your homework in the car. The understanding was that travel was educational, and anyway that it was the parents' perogative to choose to take their kids out of school for a while.

By the time my kids started school, no teacher would help you in that way, because absence for vacation was "unauthorized". And If your child has more than 3 or so "unauthorized" absences, he can be subject to increasing disciplinary action.

Apparently I am not "authorized" to excuse my child from school; only an illness will do. If the illness lasts for more than 2 days, a doctor's note is required; I am also, after 18 years of parenthood and 4 children, "unauthorized" to diagnose and treat a 3-5 day bug.

So the state usurps the parents' authority. I suspect with the rise of homeschooling, the schools also fear that parents might start wondering "If my kid can learn from the world and out of books on vacation, whay can't he do it all the time?"

Denise said...

I was just talking about our children and funerals. Two of my daughters, ages 8 and 9 were acolytes at a funeral yesterday. They had no qualms about being so near a dead body in a casket. They were happy to serve.

I don't think that it is morbid. It is keeping us in touch with what life is.

Dawn said...

We have found that to be true in our family as well. We were able to drop everything for the death of a grandparent, another having a battle with cancer and the needs of our own special needs. My kids will make much better citizens because of it and our family is very tight knit.

me said...

I lost my mother in 2007 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Squirt was in Kindergarten at the time and the principal was concerned about the amount of time my son was missing from school - the teacher was fine with it as she felt the bonding with a grandparent he was going to soon lose was more important. Earlier this year, we lost my sil in a horrible accident and I was able to pack up Squirt and go out there and help my brother and his children though this whole ordeal without worry. Squirt "did school" some days, but mostly he took the hands of his older cousins and guided them through their days with kindness and gentleness. I was often faced with "aren't you worried he's missing too much school?" but I would only We homeschool.

My poor niece and nephew on the other hand...

They were allowed one week to mourn and grieve for the loss of their mother. After one week, the principal and the school district contacted my brother and informed him that if he was going to keep them at home any longer he'd best take them into a doctor and have notes issued for the both of them.

Seven days they were allowed to mourn and then they "had" to return to school or get a doctor's note proving that they needed more time.

It seems so sad that the school system has become so detatched that the human kindness factor is no longer there and it is simply a matter of rules and regulations.

and brother did get a note from the children's doctor informing the school district that returning to school would be very detrimental to the mental well being of the children.

Ben's mom said...

Well said. Having time with my son is the reason why I will homeschool when he is of school age. I see so many opportunities for him and know that we'll be a tight family because of it.

Dave @ Home School Dad said...

I was working at a table with a friend of mine a few weeks ago. Her mother died of cancer a few years back. She stold me of a story of how before her mom died she had many sessions of chemotherapy. At the time my friend and her sisters were all homeschooling.

In order to attended the chemo sessions, my friend and her sister had their children watched by a church friend of her parents. The sisters, their children and the family friend all still remember the incident warmly.

If the kids were in school, the family friend would have missed the blessing of serving a family in crisis, The sisters would have missed the blessing of being served, and the children would have missed the opportunity of at an early age seeing the church (other believers) in action.

BTW you used the word bounding twice. I believe you meant bonding. Just another example of how spell check is not your friend.

Anonymous said...

When I was 12 and homeschooled, my family had a similar situation. My grandmother was on her deathbed from cancer, so my mother brought myself and siblings to live with her for the last two weeks of her life. It was a great bonding experience for the entire family, and one that wouldn't have been possible if not for homeschooling.

AlbertaMama said...

What a great point! I agree, it is amoung one of the many reasons to homeschool, although a sad thing. There is no better way to help children through grief than to include them and keep them close. I think it helps them and I think it helps the adult family members too, because the children are a constant example of life!

Julie said...

I like your post. School is not just algebra equations and poetry. I believe the whole concept of home school is to live life and learn through experiences. I always try to think how it must have been in life before the public school system. Good post!

Shannon said...

We have lived out a similar situation. My mother-in-law was in the advanced stages of Parkinson's for the last 4 years. She lived 800miles away, and because of homeschooling, we were able to visit her approx. every 3 or 4 months up until her death in May.

We treasure those visits with her -the precious moments our children got to spend with Grammy, and the memories that are now theirs. This would have been impossible if they were in school.

I thank God for this blessing of homeschool.

Rachel said...

We were faced with this in May. My mom suddenly fell unconcious and was hospitalized and died the next day. My sister (11 kids) was able to fly down and leave the packing to her older children - they stayed almost a month. My youngest sister just stopped since she only had very young children, my next youngest sister only has a preschooler which came to my house twice a week for "school" with all her cousins, and we kept cruising along in spare moments (we lived next door) with plenty of time to spend with the relatives who came pouring in from all over. Homeschooling gave us the freedom to be together and be a family and the flexibility to still have some normal time. Homeschooling the preschoolers gave the little ones some structure and filled some of their long days with songs and crafts and a bit of education on the side.

I can't imagine this time if we all public schooled. Loosing a loved one so suddenly is horrible enough. Being together allowed us to start healing.