Homeschoolers’ Rap

by S.C. Torrington on February 2, 2008

thin_iceAsk certain curators, naturalists, librarians or docents who have worked with home educators and they will tell you to Beware. The kids are feral and the mothers expect us to run a program that works for the 3, 8 and 14 year olds while they’re off nursing their infants. Gee, sound familiar?

I’m helping a local nature center organize their first Homeschoolers’ Open House in the Spring. At our next Board Meeting, I need to present some specific classes and programs to finalize funding for the event. I’ve given them my opinion, but I posted to several local yahoo groups to learn the type of programs other homeschoolers want. Not just in terms of the Open House, but what specific science opportunities are lacking in our area.

I know the staff is approaching this event with trust in my word and trepidation from their experience. As it turns out the naturalist with whom I’m working is the same woman who was our guide for a hike at another center several years ago. It was miserably hot. Some of the little girls wore their flip-flops. There was much whining from and carrying of the younger children. A relaxing ramble morphed into a trail of tears.

And I remember the group finally arriving at the stream for our geology lesson where Kriste announced that some of the rocks were slightly magnetic. She knelt down to find a few samples, but by the time she stood up, the kids had scattered to the wind—all picking up and pocketing their own stones. Let’s hope there’s no Minebank Run curse.

So here I am, on the homeschool/real world cusp. I certainly feel the frustration of their no-shows, lethargy and general flakiness. But as one who still uses our pilfered magnetic memento to hold open textbooks, even my tight-ass needs some leeway.

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