Okay, so maybe there are a few subjects off limits. Most of you would balk if your child asked to study Playboy. Perhaps if your kid came to you with a burning desire to study satanism, you’d faint dead away — I think I would. Aside from something that packs a wallop of shock value, though, most homeschoolers study stuff you’d never find on a public school curriculum. I have friends whose curriculum includes gymnastics, national parks, human rights, calculus, and psychology, and these kids are all elementary kids. Ours includes or has included cooking, mythology, Greek, American Sign Language, paleontology, Spanish, sewing and legos. And this might very well be the most impressive thing about homeschooling, because if you tried to find a school that would address everything your child was interested in, you’d probably pay a fortune in private school tuition and the school would have to be something really special.
Before we jumped into homeschooling fully, Pumpkin was part of a homeschool coop. When I was getting ready to send him and I ran into people who I didn’t think would be receptive to the notion of home studies, I turned it around so that I listed the great stuff he was going to study first, waited until they said, “Wow, what school is that and how do I get my kid enrolled?” and then told them it was a homeschool. It’s amazing how much more receptive they became.
My child is a gifted child. Gifted kids have tremendous imaginations, voracious appetites for learning, and the incredible ability to suck up information like little sponges. Most elementary kids study science without any understanding that there are categories of it, mine asked for chemistry. My son asked for geography last year. It took him six weeks to study the world through computer games and puzzles. He knows every country in Africa (for as long as the names remain the same). In a single year he studied the typical stuff (language arts, math, world history, spelling, and p.e.) At the same time he studied, art, art history, piano, voice, biology, calligraphy, sign language, sewing, cooking, and basic electricity. So I have to be creative, but if he tells me he wants to study something, I do my best to make it happen.
If my son went to public school, he couldn’t have all these subjects. I’ve never seen an elementary school teach cooking let alone Hebrew. Most adults don’t known where Afghanistan is, let alone some of the obscure south Asian countries. My son was able to study all of that because he was homeschooled. So who says my child isn’t getting a terrific education. And any way, it’s much easier to convince a child that he can become anything if he can first study anything. Well, almost anything.