Sometimes when I tell people I was homeschooled through the 8th grade, they look at me funny, as if they feel sorry for me. Maybe they think I was cooped up doing self-study booklets for hours. Maybe they think I didn't really get an education because I probably just did "school work" for two hours a day, in my pajamas no less.
They are wrong. I wouldn't trade my childhood for the world.
We had a first day of school and a last day of school. We had a dedicated school room. We had a wake up time, breakfast time, chore time, school time and play time. And we learned. Oh did we ever learn... The creativity of my mom was amazing. I asked her once if she ever got tired of thinking up awesome ways to teach and engage us and she said "Oh I had tons more ideas than the things we actually got to do!"
So, to the people who look at me funny and feel sorry for me for being homeschooled through my childhood years, I ask you...
Did your mom make fossils out of plaster and hide them in the creek bank so you could have a real live fossil hunt?
Did your mom organize the creation of a 3 foot wide, scale model, 3-D map of Texas with homemade playdough?
Did your mom oversee the construction of a giant dirt volcano in the garden and provide the baking soda and vinegar to make it errupt?
Did your mom make you and your siblings each a hand painted Hank The Cowdog t-shirt?
Did your mom hand draw on the big family calendar a trash can for trash days, a church for Sundays, music notes for homeschool choir days (it was a thing, and we were awesome), and milk jugs for grocery days?
Speaking of milk jugs, did your mom buy, use, wash and then hang various cartons and containers from the school room ceiling to teach cup, pint, quart, gallon?
But we didn't just learn from mom. We learned from dad. We learned from the neighbor kids. We learned from living life out in the country with a free reign that would make some parents cringe these days.
We learned about animals, from our cows, goats, sheep, chickens, dog, cats and turkey that thought he was a calf born to our milk cow.
We learned to watch out for snakes and scorpions.
We learned that the best way to get on top of a round bale is with a running start and no fear.
We learned from barbed wire fences and mesquite thorns that a bit of pain isn't the end of the world.
We learned to work hard.
We learned that a lot of that hard work was expected of us without any direct pay or benefit from it.
We learned about anatomy from castrating sheep and skinning deer.
We learned about woodworking in dad's shop.
We learned about heights from peering over the unguarded edge of the barn attic.
We learned that a hay ring turned on its side and rocked back and forth is practically an amusement park ride.
We learned about plants and growth from our garden, where we each had our own plot to care for.
We learned to use our imagination as we played house, played school, played pioneer wagon train, played skip-the-cake-pan-across-the-creek.
We learned about a decade later that mom loved to look out the kitchen window and see her kids swinging back and forth in the tippy topmost branches of the cedar trees by the barn.
Yep. I wouldn't trade my childhood for the world.