Growing up in an immigrant family of color, I was always told, “School is the way to success in life.”
It was where you learned how to succeed and how to make money. It was the only option and the best plan. And it was always outside the home.
Before kids, I didn’t think much about education or the education system in the U.S. I'd never heard of homeschooling, let alone imagined myself as the parent of a homeschooler.
But after our son arrived, I started looking into daycares and preschools, and I realized that homeschooling was the best option for our family.
No surprise: My extended family hasn’t agreed with that choice.
'When does he start school?'
For years, my family would ask when my son was “starting school.” When I’d reply that we’d already started — “We’re homeschooling!” — they’d respond, “He needs to be in school. That’s the only way he’ll learn and be obedient!”
Needless to say, it's very isolating. It’s a challenge to get the “he’s not obedient and doesn’t do what he’s told” or “how is he going to socialize with others?” statements — all with the undercurrent of “But if he was in public school...”
But here’s the thing: I don't want a child who’s obedient without reason. Those were the lessons ingrained in me while growing up; I don’t want that for my kid. Instead, I want to raise an adult who listens and respects others but who’s not afraid to speak up.
What homeschooling means to our family
For my family, homeschooling has provided that answer. It's giving us quality time with family, freedom for our lives and opportunities to enjoy the little things like beautiful sunsets or family trips.
Unfortunately, people hear "homeschooling" and may think that we sit home “schooling” all day. Fortunately, homeschooling to us is hardly ever that vision.
Rather, teaching my son allows him to pursue his own interests. We study everything from cars to Egyptian history. We visit museums, libraries and bookstores to see and experience — together — any subject that we care about at that moment.
We attend weekly park day meet-ups, Alternative Learning Experiences and regular field trips.
All of it has given my son opportunities to flourish and while we've yet to meet many other FOC homeschoolers, our experience has been a positive one.