2012-11-15 / Lifestyles

Tutors and ‘puters and mom, oh my!

Lois A. Corcoran Lois A. Corcoran My son Kelly graduates this year. I guess you could say we’re in the home-school stretch.

Though it saddens me to see the journey draw to an end, I found it downright terrifying at first.

Despite its legal status, I feared our family of three would wind up in the clink, with no one to bake us a file cake. Or double the recipe for a hands-on math lesson.

When we first decided to homeschool, it felt like a make-or-break, life-or-death situation. Of little help were looks of foreboding from naysayers who swore we were scarring our kid for life. As if they made exemplary parents themselves.

I harbored plenty of doubts myself, not the least of which begged the question, Am I bright enough to do this? What a great relief to discover I don’t have to be. Tutors and ‘puters exist to take up the slack when mom draws a blank — which happens often.

The most effective learning, however, occurs when we teach ourselves. Kelly showed me there’s nothing we can’t master if we possess a deep desire to do so, and free afternoons to make it happen.

Homeschoolers may be a minority, but it’s a big minority. Exact numbers are unknown because many states require no registration. But estimates hint that well over two million American children learn at home now.

There are drawbacks though. As comedian Tim Hawkins, himself a home educator, said, “The bad thing about homeschooling is you don’t have any bumper stickers to brag about your kids.”

We need one that reads, “I have an honor student at (fill in the blank).” It would remain blank since we failed to think of a name that didn’t sound downright silly.

Though I bought more books than necessary, homeschooling is not all that costly. In fact, we could have done it free at our friendly neighborhood library. Or let ConnectionsAcademy.com, a tuition-free online school, foot the bill.

That’s all hindsight, of course, as are other lessons I learned. If only I knew then what I know now.

Makes me wish I could turn back the clock — or grant the request of some younger students. When they heard that Kelly will be leaving our group, they cried, “Can’t you flunk him?”

Now there’s a school of thought...

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