Monday, August 22, 2005

Answering "Why aren't you at school?"

What do you reply when you or your child(ren) are asked:
"Why aren't you at school?" or "You're not in school today?" or "Which school do you go to?"

We live in the outskirts of a small country town on the Atherton Tablelands, Qld, where everyone knows everyone (or so it would seem). We have always been a homeschooling family. Our children are aged 16, 13 and 11 years old. When we first started, we were the only homeschooling family in the area. Nowadays there are dozens of families homeschooling in this area.

When the children were little and people asked why they weren't at school, the children used to shyly answer that they were homeschoolers and then pass over to me to say anything more. Right from the start, I was keen to
tell people that we were homeschoolers and the responses we received were always very positive. There were many different responses: "You're so brave. I couldn't do that!" "Can you do that?" "How can you do that?" "Why would you want to do that?" "What will you do if they want to go to university?" "How will they get a job?" "Of course you can do that, you are a teacher." etc.

I answered questions easily and used my feelings about the questions and answers as a barometer, to show me where I felt insecure or confident.

A couple of days ago the 16 year old was asked the question and I was tickled pink to hear her reply with confidence that she is and always has been a homeschooler. She was able to answer the questions herself, happily, with confidence and with experience. It feels good to be at the other end of the 'tunnel' and to see that what I dreamed to be possible for our family, really has come true.

Grace Chapman.