Today was a a day full of "why we homeschool" conversations. It started this morning as my daughter was getting ready to go to Oak Ridge, TN and compete in the Energy Bowl at the Museum of Science and Energy with her twin brother and 3 other 6th graders from our Blount County Co-op. They are actually 5th grade, but they needed another student to compete and agreed to let a couple 5th graders on their team.
As she was getting dressed she asked, "Do people think homeschoolers are weird?" When I asked her why she was asking that question she said that last week while we were at a field trip at our new performing arts center, there were some public school girls making fun of her and her friends because they were homeschooled. I told her that some people may think we are different, but that is one reason we homeschool.. to be different from girls that behave that way. I also told her that if she was in school , those girls would be making fun of her for something else most likely.
So off to Oak Ridge we go in the snow and sleet. The kids were all nervous but they did great and came in second overall. We were very proud of them for that accomplishment, but quite dismayed that they were beat by a team who apparently had the questions to study ahead of time. I know without explanation, I might be labeled an "overprotective, controlling, homeschool mom". So, here it is:
The most obvious question, among many, went something like this. "Blah, blah, blah... all of the following except". The other team's captain buzzed in at that point and answered "C" which was the correct answer. How could he have known that "C" was the answer if he had never heard the answers to choose from?
I was a bit perplexed as was one of the other moms who asked what was going on and the response given her was "This happens every year with this team". But, they can't prove anything so they don't want to accuse them of cheating.
Needless to say, my children, the keepers of the fairness torch, were outraged. I tried to explain that some things in life are not fair and when that happens we just need to accept it as graciously as we can and try to glorify God with our behavior.
This led to the next "why" discussion. While I was trying to talk them down we talked about how we do not educate to a test. We do not have packets with test questions, we have books that we read. In the past month we have all learned so much about energy and physics that we did not know. We, most certainly, are the winners when we look at it in this context.
The last "why" of the day came when we pulled into the driveway. A little girl who is I think about 11-12 was on the street, on her bicycle in the snow, chasing after her sister who is 13 who was running away after a bad day in school. These are some really sweet girls who are home by themselves in the afternoon with their 9 year old brother until their mother gets home from work.
We parked her bike and loaded in the car and went and found her sister. She was talking to her mother the whole time on the phone and all I could think is "Thank you Lord that you have blessed me with the luxury of being with my children." I knew that these girls would be ok, but my heart was aching for their mother who was at work and unable to do anything. I know that homeschooling requires a sacrifice of time and money, but it does not mean that we love our children more.
When we got them home, their nine year old brother was in the garage in his socks and a t-shirt just sobbing. Yeah, I would say I that I have the "luxury" of being with my kids and homeschooling them.
I guess there is yet one last "why". It was what my daughter did when we got home for the evening. She had taken her prize money for being on the second place team to the museum gift shop, bought some kits and came home and made a robot and started some crystals growing. She gets to love what she loves and my little girl loves, among other things, science.