“Scootin’ off to work now… have a good day”
That’s usually what I say to my 7-year-old daughter as I head out the door for work on weekday mornings. She’s usually up before I am and plugged into her laptop and headphones as she sits at the kitchen island.
At this point, I would say something like “Have a good day at school”, except, well, she doesn’t go to school. She stays at home with my wife.
- Establish a private school, which involves taking some simple steps. A teaching credential is not necessary. Once the school is established, file a private school affidavit form.
- Join a private school satellite program PSP, if it has filed its own private school affidavit in California. If it has not, then you must take all of the steps to establish your own private school and must file the private school affidavit.
- Join a public school ISP (Independent Study Program), in which case your child is enrolled in public school.
- Join a Charter School Homeschooling Program, in which case your child is enrolled in public school.
- Employ a credentialed tutor; or, if you have the appropriate credential, you may be the tutor yourself.
(We did Option #1.)
When we moved from Seattle to California in 2011, we didn’t know which school would be best for Charlotte, but then my wife happened to meet some homeschooling moms, and from there the die was cast. It was legal for Charlotte not to go to school and many other kids were living that freedom every day!
I loved that Charlotte didn’t have to deal with confining desks and noisy classrooms and alarm bells and incompetent teachers and stupidly written tests and forced homework and bullies-on-buses and being told to be quiet right now or pay attention or that she risk being hit in the back of the head with spitballs or being ostracized or anything I hated about school that actually DISCOURAGED me from LEARNING.
And Charlotte loves that she doesn’t have to be anywhere she doesn’t want to be. At home, with my wife serving more as guidance counselor than teacher, she learns what she wants to learn when she wants to learn it, whether it be 5 minutes or 5 days. One day it could be dinosaurs, another day astronomy. And she’s not alone. During the day she might get together with other kids a bit younger or older than her to do an activity like a museum or aquarium, an in-person Minecraft network jam, a nature walk, a theatrical play or park-day play.
I love that not only is this legal, there’s a thriving community for this. When I went to the HSC Conference last month, I was blown away at the richness of activities to do, targeted from the very young to the oldest teens — all family friendly. And the place was packed!
I did notice, however, that Dads were the minority. Out of 1100 people in attendance, the “Dad’s Roundtable” session attracted a whopping 17, which seemed just about the.total amount of Dads there. Maybe it’s because like a lot of families, the Mom usually does the enabling because they’re at home more than Dads. Like many Dads, I have to work. I’m a quality manager for eBay in San Jose, and they get me for 8 hours a day with a 30-mile one-way commute on 101.
What’s a Dad to do other than to feel like a minor ground crew player to a hotshot fighter pilot and wingman who have all the fun and get the glory?
Well, I’ll get to that. Suffice it to say I was lucky enough to meet Sue Patterson and I asked her what could be useful for the community to hear from a male minority, and a newbie one at that.
She encouraged me to create a blog about what I see and how I react to my daughter’s homeschooling. She helped me realize I was doing a lot with Charlotte that I didn’t even consider “schooling” because it was just FUN!
Stay tuned, I’ll talk about those things in future posts.
By the way, Sue has an excellent blog post this week about the back-to-school season we’re in now. It’s titled “Don’t Do It!” and it lists some of the great reasoning behind homeschooling that resonates with me and so many parents and kids who showed up at the HSC Conference last month, representing thousands more across the country who couldn’t come.