Out Of The Blue


We live fairly close to the CBD of one of the biggest cities in Australia. The suburb we are in and the surrounding suburbs offer a variety of great public and private schools. Yet we have decided to home-school our children. In a way it makes us the odd ones out.

In all those years I have only met two other families homeschooling their children. By coincidence. Yesterday I met family number 3 while spending time on the beach.

While my son was discovering the tide pools I spent time with my daughter playing in the water. I saw the two girls and thought that they might have just taken the day off. Many years ago I might have wondered if they are home-schooled too but I sort of gave up on it. Too often I was told that they just took the day off or that they were only visiting. So this time I did not even bother.

The entire situation seems really interesting still. Usually my daughter takes off the moment she sees other kids and approaches them. She is a social butterfly. Not yesterday. She stayed with me, enjoying our little game. When my son came back and the two of them started playing I went back to my towel and sat down, watching them play. It was only then when she took off and went straight to the other two girls. It didn’t take them long to bond and only shortly after all four kids were happily playing which always puts a smile on my face.

I love watching how easy it seems for children to connect. No matter their age, their skin color or language. They always find a way.

Suddenly the mother approached me.

Again it felt strange. I actually thought my kids did something but then I saw her big smile, almost showing relieve as well.

“Your kids are home-schooled! So is my daughter.”

The weird thing is the relieve we both apparently felt in that very moment. It makes me think. Why is it that way? Why do we feel relieve when we finally are approached by someone who home-schools too?

I tell you why. It’s because finally you don’t feel like you have to explain the whys and hows. Finally there is someone who chose the same path you did and knows the quirks of it.

And while you might not agree with their philosophies, while their whys and hows might be completely different to yours you still feel good because you have one thing in common: The responsibility to not screw up your kids education.

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What was interesting to experience was the need she must have felt to explain to me her why. Funny, isn’t it… You meet someone of who you’d think you’d have the same philosophies or at least you’d come close to. And yet you feel the need of explaining why. Nobody does that when it comes to picking the school of your children. At least I’ve never heard any or my friends telling me exactly why they chose a certain school.

I would lie if I would say that the mom I met yesterday is down my alley. She is not. I actually had to be careful to not fall into this stereotype kind of thinking that I dislike so much. I was so close to it because she is so different to me. Frankly our philosophies couldn’t be more different.

While she sees the world as the one and only classroom her kids need, I think there is more to it. I agree that the world is a classroom and that there is plenty for them to learn. But I also think that my kids need to learn what is taught in schools. Just so they know what people talk about and how to deal with what is thrown in their ways out there. How we teach them all the different subjects though, is up to us and the curriculum we choose and follow.

Although we teach our children in a different way, use different tools and might choose different paths we can all be proud of our children. Her girls where lovely. They were fun, polite and kind. So while the subjects of what we teach our children might be completely different we still managed to instill something similar in our kids. Values.

Life is a lesson as such and yesterday taught me a a lot once again.


19 thoughts on “Out Of The Blue

  1. Kudos to you both for choosing your path and not following what the world does. I went to a school and while school is partly the reason I am a scientist today, there were things I detested. I thought long and hard after reading your post abut whether home schooling could have been an option for me but I concluded that not everyone is lucky to have such options. I come from India where there are too many people and too few jobs. Also, I come from a modest family and that means I need to earn to survive, I don’t have inheritances. And when you are pressed by situations, you sometimes have to give in. For some life is much harder but I hope I can make this choice for my children 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you while I also think that homeschooling should be possible for every income group. Of course you need to make sure that your children get the best possible education so they will be able to choose which ever path they like to go down.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In retrospect I wonder what life would have been like had home schooling been an option way back when. My mother was a divorcee, a single parent long before it became fashionable. She was determined to raise her two children on her own, and did. My first years were spent in a Catholic school and I loved it. My first year of high school was also in a Catholic school. My mother was told that I could not return for year two. The reason. “your son’s world view, especially in religious matters, does not meet with our standards.” This because I asked too many questions that were explained only as “divine mysteries.” I went to the local “government warehouse” school, lost all interest in the process and joined my new peer group in just waiting to get out of school and be drafted into the military. It was several years before I realized the value of higher education and returned to the classroom. I applaud your approach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow… what an example of the enormous impact a school can have. Why not answering questions to the point you can? Why not honestly say “we just simply don’t know” and then talk about it. There are so many great schools out there with fantastic teachers but there are bad ones too. I have experienced great teachers and I have experienced the ones with the “just shut up, don’t ask questions and swallow the information we feed” attitude. I always hated the last and I decided that the only reason to react like this is because you are insecure and have no clue what you talk about. It’s the person who answers in such a way that is afraid of losing power over others. A lesson we teach our children too: Sometimes there is no clear answer. Sometimes there is no black or white. And sometimes even the smartest people have no clue.

      Liked by 1 person

      • At the risk of stepping on some religious toes, it has been my observation that many religions place their God into a box of orthodoxy and then jealously guard the perimeters of that box. I believe that to be the case with my Benedictine fathers so long ago.

        The example of Galileo comes to mind. It has been reported that subsequent to Galileo’s little unpleasantness with the Roman Inquisition Pope Urban VIII told him to not be so foolish as to think that the higher ranks within the Church were unaware of the truth of heliocentrism but, in as much as that teaching went against the Holy Scripture and would only confuse the masses, it could not be allowed.

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      • Yes! That is very true! I just had a conversation down that line yesterday with friends and it stands out how extreme people make their religion… Religion is a tool of power and unfortunately it is used as such to the extreme…

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  3. I, too, home-schooled my children. I only did for two years then the youngest decided he wanted to finish his course work at a local high school. You are correct in that we feel we are obligated to tell the “why” of it all. I think that comes froms the way in which we are treated by those who do not home school. Inevitably there will be a person who asks if you “are a religious nut?” or ” can’t your kids get along with other children?” I can not tell you how many times I heard questions along those lines while teaching my children.
    One of the things I really appreciated about the district where we lived, both my sons were encouraged to come to a local school for physical education and all the after-school activities. They got the best of both worlds that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha… yes! That is so very true! It’s those questions that are hiding the real one “what is wrong with your child or with you”…
      Our kids do heaps of after-school activities, mainly group activities ever since we started homeschooling. It was and still is important to us that they mix with kids that go to school, that they learn group dynamics and have other inputs and teaching styles. It works really well. The lady I met was all about homeschooling groups which, to be honest, I never really liked the idea of. I see the support you can get but I also think it is not healthy to stick to groups like this rather than mixing the two sides.
      Thanks for your feedback 🙂


  4. I am interested in the statistics of home schooling. We knew quite a few families that home schooled in New York. John worked in a book store for ten years, and he saw lots of families that did it. He claimed he could always pick them out at the register because the children interacted with others well. They were articulate, polite, and knowledgeable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, look at that great feedback. See, I think the one thing I believe has a positive impact on home-schooled children is the fact that they have to mix and mingle with much older kids or people or much younger ones. So they learn how to “move” in age groups that are not theirs. When I look at schools the kids are grouped into same age groups and the interactions mainly happen in those groups. My kids come along with me when I do stuff during the day. I take them to parks when school is done, sometimes before depending on when we can do school. And very often those times we head out are during normal school hours. So you find little kids in the park that are not in school yet. Or you chat with adults. My daughter can easily spend half of a day with kids much younger than she is (talking about at least 5 years) and still be entertained. But she can also on the other hand easily have a perfectly fine “adult” conversation with grown ups. I loved school when I was a kid but I also love it that we have the chance to home-school our children. In many ways I believe that they have better values then some of their peers because those values got instilled. While they might not already now learn how to deal with “the rough things that make kids so much stronger and prepare them for real life” I’m confident that it will not matter at all down the line as they had time to grow into themselves, into the people they are and have the confidence to stick up for what’s right. Just as much as a child hopefully will that suffered all the unfairness that sometimes goes on in schools.


  5. There are a lot of programs where I live that are directed to home schoolers, including but not limited to those sponsored by and for local museums plus the low income state scholarship program. I also live in the Bible Belt. Think there’s a connection there?
    I am also a great believer in public education, especially since that’s often all that’s available for poor families whose parents must work outside the home to provide for them. Interestingly, in the wealthy area where I used to live, there were many families who insisted on private schools for their children, some religiously based and some not. I think there were actually fewer home schoolers, and fewer local programs for them, in that part of the same state. This was when I lived in the actual Buckle of the Bible Belt and some of these parents, and even some of the published statistics, confirmed that the education provided in the private schools was not always superior to the local public schools.
    I didn’t and don’t have the patience to home school, but can see why it would be a good i.e. more flexible choice for those who do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are many reasons to choose this path. I do think that religion has a lot to do with it in many cases. And just like you said I have found that the financially stronger families actually rather choose to send kids to schools/privat schools.

      Liked by 1 person

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