Have you ever walked away from a home school seminar with a picture in your mind of what it will be like to teach your children at home-every day filled with sweetness and light and joyful children who cheerfully finish their assignments and then eagerly offer to help mom with the dishes? I'm sorry, but that is the home school equivalent of selling the Brooklyn Bridge. Some days, indeed some years, are just plain hard.
In the fall issue of the Court Report, I wrote a thank you letter to home schooling mothers. To all the moms who took the time to write in response, thank you! The letters I received were truly touching and made me glad to be associated with all of y'all (that's Virginian for "youse guys").
The "thank you" column was serious and, perhaps, a little sentimental (I think that sentimental is often good). In this column I want to offer another round of encouragement, employing a totally different genre. This time I selected a style of writing made famous by David Letterman.
Yes, despite the fact that America is plagued with an overabundance of "Top Ten Lists" let me courageously share my home school variation on this theme. And since home schooling is at least twice as fun as the alternatives, here are The Top Twenty Advantages of Home Schooling (forgetting passť advantages like achievement test scores).
20. Your kids never tell you that you are a lot dumber than their teacher.
19. If you can't find matching socks for your child first thing in the morning, who cares?
18. Cleaning out the refrigerator can double as a chemistry lab.
17. Your kids have good reason to think they might get spanked in school but no reason to think they'll get beat up by a gang.
16. If the principal gives the teacher a bad evaluation she can stick her icy feet against his legs at night.
15. You can post the Ten Commandments on your school room wall and you won't get sued.
14. You never have to drive your child's forgotten lunch to school.
13. Your child will never go to their 20th high school reunion, meet an old flame, and recklessly abandon their marriage.
12. You get to change more than their diapers, you get to change their minds.
11. If you get caught talking to yourself, you can claim you're having a PTA meeting.
10. It's better to be slightly concerned about socialization than very concerned about socialism.
9. Your child will never suffer the embarrassment of group showers after P.E.
8. The only debate about the school lunch program is whose turn it is to cook.
7. You never have to face the dilemma of whether to take your child's side or the teacher's side in a dispute at school.
6. If your child gets drugs at school it's probably Tylenol.
5. The teacher gets to kiss the principal in the faculty lounge and no one gossips.
4. Your kids recognize that this list is numerically in reverse order.
3. Your honor student can actually read the bumper sticker that you have on your car.
2. If your child claims that the dog ate his homework you can ask the dog.
1. Some day your children will consider you to be a miracle-working expert and will turn to you for advice.