July 19, 2007

twinkle-ding-dong, nerdy eggheads

Homeschool kids general fall into four basic categories:
1) Nerds. (I use this term lovingly, as I know some of these.) Wildly overprotected; “tucked in” tee-shirts; have actual desks and maps and bulletin boards in a schoolroom in their home; willingly, and sometimes annoyingly, initiate lengthy conversations with adults about their recent science experiment involving hydroponically-grown melons.
2) “Twinkle-ding-dongs.” These are the offspring of the leftover hippies. They draw unicorns for biology, play non-competitive games, build all-wooden, multicultural toys, eat a lot of tofu, and write music for wind flutes. (The “Twinkle-ding-dongs” were much more common in Alaska than they are here in the good ol’ South.)
3) Classics. These children are well-behaved; well-versed in home economics and American history; involved in scouts and 4-H clubs; competitive; and for some reason, they are almost always “morning people”.
4) Egg-heads. You know the type: Articulate in three languages; fluent in oboe and violin; can do advanced math on an abacus; can not only spell “flocculent”, but also define the word and give its etymology.

We never did seem to fit into any of these categories. We rarely "tucked in", the car was our school room, my kids thought 4-H was punishment, we never baked anything we could buy at Kirchoff's Bakery, and neither of my kids could spell “flocculent” - though they could easily come up with three creative, off-color uses for the word!

When people asked me why we homeschooled, my answer would vary from year-to-year. Partly because I'm a notorious "do-it-yourselfer". Largely because we just didn’t have time for regular school - we were too busy learning stuff. But primarily because I LOVE hanging out with my kids.

We had a “loose schedule” and followed it loosely as well. Our curriculum was always a hodge-podge of books we found fascinating. Our classroom was wherever we were that day – the den couch, the car, the church building, the park. Our activities ranged from the high-brow Symphony Children’s Choir to very loud guitar and drum lessons, from gymnastics to baseball and volleyball, from community theater to lots of community volunteer work. We had days we just couldn’t face the idea of “school”, so watching “Jeopardy” and and going to Kroger and mowing the yard became current events, economics and P.E. I think we even managed to go swimming and find a way to call it “marine biology”.

We never missed an opportunity to have a meaningful conversation. We talked. A lot. We read. A lot. We played games. A lot. We laughed. A lot. We slept in. Yeah, a lot. And I guess we did okay. Kacey managed to receive several academic scholarships and a 27 on her A.C.T. (not an egghead score, but quite respectable!) She will be a college senior this year and has maintained a 3-point-something GPA while serving as an R.A., small-group leader, Student Government senator, etc. (Kevin exhibits all the signs of being even more intelligent than his sister, but until we can decipher his handwriting, we cannot be certain of this.) My kids are well-rounded, responsible, funny, and far-from-perfect. I am so glad we chose to homeschool. I wouldn’t change a thing.


janjanmom said...

I love you forever for this post. Especially today.

Mia said...

Thank you so much for this post. It made my day, and no we don't fit into any catagory either and I sometimes try to "push and shove" us into one too!!