Ya’ll know I’m a little non-conformist. I seem pretty normal/traditional but it doesn’t take long before you realize I’m a little quirky. Like my sport of choice, as a woman, is bodybuilding. Most men don’t even do bodybuilding, so it’s fairly niche to do it as a woman, let alone one who also happens to be 43 years old and a mom. But it works for me.
In keeping with my inner spirit to try oddball things, this year I’m homeschooling both my kids. The first question people ask me about this choice is if I’ve suddenly become hyper-religious.
Nope. I still believe in mostly secular education, but I don’t shy away from teaching about world religions either. I think it’s good to expose my kids to lots of different ideas and points of view (but secretly hope they will grow up to vote the same way I do.)
I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of homeschooling. As a child I remember hearing on the news that some kids raised on a farm ended up going to college when they were ten and they credited their advanced learning to homeschooling. I told my mom about this alternative educational choice but she said she didn’t want to live on a farm, so I was stuck with public school. Later I went to Catholic high school, but that’s another story.
In my 20s my boyfriend’s brother just had a child and he and his wife had lots of interesting parenting ideas. (They were granola types.) We were at a party and they told me they weren’t going to get their baby vaccinated because it was unnecessary and they were going to homeschool her because they didn’t want their child to be bored doing worksheets all day.
Later, during that same party, someone brought their baby daughter, who just happened to have the measles. My BF’s sister-in-law ran her baby into another room and shouted, “Why would you bring a baby with the measles to a birthday party!?!” to which the mother replied (yelled), “Why wouldn’t you vaccinate your child!?!”
And I was like, “Yeah, worksheets are dull. I should homeschool. And vaccinate my kids.”
So multiple homeschool seeds had been planted in my brain.
The final thing that floated through my rich fantasy world of what parenting would be like was the idea that some day I would have two children and when the oldest was ten and the youngest was eight I’d take a trip around the world and homeschool them. What better form of education than really living, breathing and seeing new and exotic museums, cultures and cuisine in person, right?
I had no idea where I’d find the money to pay for said trip, if I’d be able to take time off work to do this jet-setting, or even if I’d have two kids, but it always seemed to work out perfectly in my mind.
Flash forward to today. My daughter is ten, my son is eight, and I’m driving them both on a ten day trip across the country. It’s nerve-wracking and thrilling and I truly feel like I’m living out my dream despite friends and family scratching their heads at me.
I’m already four days into the trip and have very limited access to Wi-Fi or, you know, free time to blog, so this will be my last post for awhile until I get home.
When we return I’ll be writing about all the cities we visited and what we studied along the way. My hope is that some mom or new mom-to-be will read it and be encouraged to give the non-conformist homeschool path a try, even if only for a short time.
Honestly, I don’t see myself teaching my kids high school chemistry at our kitchen table, but for now we’re making incredible memories that can’t ever be taken away and no worksheets required. (But do get immunizations. Seriously.)
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!
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