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Homeschooling vs. School
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I have many things to thank my mother for, and one of them is the way I was educated before I left home to go away to college.

I did not realize it at the time, but what my mother and my stepfather engaged in was a combination of homeschooling and traditional school. Back then, I don't think we called it homeschool. I think we called it playing hookey.

Anyway, I stayed home a lot and read books (I had a project to read the entire Encyclopedia at one point), gathered stuff from tidepools and identified the shells and living organisms, raised vegetables and tended the horse and sheep and goats and chickens on our farm...I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

I also attended traditional school, my mother shared with me years later, because, she reasoned, I was going to have to deal with regular people, prejudices, ignorance, rigid rules and stultifying bureaucracy all my life. I needed to learn how to be a fish, and swim the dangerous reef unscathed, rather than be dumped in the ocean of life as a young adult and have no idea how not to get eaten by the sharks.

My first day of school she went home and cried. I attended school only just enough to pass from one grade to another, so that my grade level wasn't challenged when I changed schools (I was two years younger than the other students). In one new elementary school, the principal tried to put me in an lower grade anyway, until my mother made him give me a placement test.

When I tested at the 9th grade level, he decided that remaining in the 4th grade was fine with him. I learned from that episode how bureaucratic rules can be used to leverage the bureaucracy and how rigid and rulebound some bureaucrats can be.

I did the same kind of education with my own daughter, trying to avoid one major mistake my mother made. There were huge gaps in my education because there were areas of learning to which I had never been introduced and which I hardly knew even existed. Painting and sculpture being one.

I remember my freshman year in college being asked by my advisor if I was interested in geography, a science elective I could take. I had no idea--not a clue--what "geography" was, though I was very familiar with maps and atlases and always served as the navigator on family outings.

Oddly enough, I subsequently minored in geography and enjoyed a career years later as a transportation planner.

I tried to make sure my daughter was exposed to every field of study, arts, sciences, humanities, so that she would have the whole spectrum of human knowledge to choose from. She is now something of a polymath, a renaissance woman, as a result.

She is also able to work in, and deal with, real people and red tape bureaucracies, thanks to the public school system.

So I'm an advocate of a mixed type of schooling.

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