When young, I was greatly intrigued by the lives of children whose parents chose to live in unusual ways:
- Children who accompanied their scientist parents rather than attend school. What's not to love about growing up on a yacht?
- Children of missionaries who grew up in Africa, running wild with the natives, and doing school through mail-ordered texts.
- Children whose parents raised them on communes. Again, little formal schooling and lots of running around in nature.
- Children who were sent overseas to boarding schools. Sounded like heaven to me, cavorting in the Alps.
- Children of diplomats who travelled the world. Some children have all the luck.
- Parents who dragged their children around in an old RV in the search of good surfing and odd jobs. While this may not have suited every child, I highly suspect I'd have embraced it. Surfing and no school....If I get a second life...
I love the idea of shaping life to suit oneself rather than conforming to society's norms.
Many of us love the idea of a bohemian or unusual lifestyle. NPR and the New York Times constantly highlight unusual people and jobs and lifestyles. Children's television loves to use that sing-songy voice to slowly explain that not all children live in a brownstone town home in New York City like little Noah or Emily. Some children actually live on ranches or in arctic villages and they are just as good as you and me. Didn't have to convince child me of this! They had it made!
I hold that, for some of us, this attraction to the uncommon is part of the reason we home school. We don't see why we have to do things the way everybody else does. Sending kids off to school while both parents commute to dull jobs where they complain to each other how stressed out they are doesn't hold much appeal to me. If I can avoid living like this, I will.
Even if. Even if every other person in America thinks we should all conform to one kind of life in order to create societal cohesion through shared experience. Even if my peers think my children will be at a disadvantage because we have opted out of the college bound rat race. Even if people who embrace just about any edgy lifestyle think home schooling goes too far. Thank God we live in a free society.