Making Educational Choices Work – Regarding Homeschooling

I like Wisconsin's Evangeline Dhawan's letter to the editor posted in the Pierce County Herald.  There are many families who don't realize other educational  alternatives are possible.  

Letter: Nothing wrong with exploring alternatives to public school, she says


The recent issues in Wisconsin concerning the public education system have made me realize how much we, as an entire society of Americans, worship the institute of public school.

The mentality held by the average American is jumping through the hoops of public school is vital to achieve success later in life. By age five or six, we have already been taught the system is the only choice we have, it is the golden standard by which we must all measure up, it is the river we are all demanded to travel on, and anyone who dares to do or suggest otherwise is automatically labeled as an incompetent imbecile.

Recall the great intellectuals you have learned about in school; many if not most of them were considered failures of the system in their day, yet went on to achieve great things, their names destined to be written in the textbooks used by the very institution they rejected.

Thomas Edison was openly considered a failure during the early years of his life, Albert Einstein’s parents were told by his teachers he had a learning disability, and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and New York Times’ bestselling author Christopher Paloni were both homeschooled.

Don’t be pigeonholed into the box, you have the right to choose for yourself. I am not against the existence of public schools; many people enjoy high school and go on to do well in life. I am here to say you have other options and there is nothing wrong with exploring them.

A few years back, a local acquaintance was asking me about my kids' educational plans after a soccer game.  Her dad was one of my former teachers and she was also employed with the school. I could tell she was biting her tongue regarding our decision to homeschool.over the years.  She addressed my decision  with this comment:  "I believe in the public school system".  Knowing she was a devout Christian, I responded that I hadn't thought of it as a religion, so I just learned something from her that day.  It was a short conversation.  That reminds me of another conversation with a soccer dad who told us we needed to put our boys in the school because they needed as many soccer players as they could get.  He wasn't joking.  When Pat was on the school board, there were a couple of those fellas standing in the back with crossed arms during the school board meetings making sure sports received all necessities and otherwise in the budget.  They were the sports bodyguards.  But then again, some of my most enlightening conversations about education have been around the soccer field.  Who'd have known?

But speaking of extra-curricular activities, or what many families would consider part of their vital learning experiences, the LA Times interviewed a 12 year old actor performing in one of my family's favorite theatrical endeavors: Les Misérables.  

 Colin DePaula, 12, plays Parisian gamin Gavroche in “Les Misérables” at the Ahmanson while Judy Durkin, 11, gender bends to become the doomed Duke of York in “Richard III” at Theatricum Botanicum. Here, the prince and the pauper talk showbiz.

Give us the basics.

Colin: I was born in L.A. but moved to New York when I was 3. I live in Brooklyn. L.A. is my 16th city on this tour. I’m home schooled — my mom travels with me.

Regular school versus home schooling: discuss.

Colin: Home schooling’s way better because you don’t have to sit in one room all day. 

Definitely a benefit and Colin is having one great traveling adventure.  What a wonderful learning experience.  

Our boys are playing cello, violin/fiddle, mandolin, banjo, harmonica along with an accordion springing into the picture too.  We would not have taken advantage of those amazing musical opportunities if not for homeschooling.  We had the time. 

Accordion Fiesta


Last story – Delaware native 16 year old Nick Ferrell and family made a big decision last year.

Teens chase coveted Motocross dream

After his performance at last year's national championship, in which he was riding in the top five for several laps before his engine blew up, he moved to a full-time training facility in Cairo, Ga.

For him, a typical day of training includes a morning stretch, about four hours of training on the track, cardio, bike maintenance and home-schooling.

Before he moved to Georgia, Ferrell, who is from Townsend, was enrolled at St. Georges Technical High School. His father, Tim, called the decision to send him to Millsaps Training Facility "the hardest decision of our life."

But Nick Ferrell knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. "It wasn't a tough decision for me," he said. "I was all into it."

Seems like someone who is voluntarily out in "more than 100-degree heat, a rough track and his bike [and body] taking a pounding" has a racing bug that won't go away.  Glad he can follow his passion full-time.

I like to see what homeschoolers are doing with their educational alternative. Living and learning can be a lot of fun.  I know I enjoy it as it seems to be addictive.  Not a bad habit to have.

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