Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Homeschooling - Is it better?

If the truth be told, I was am an anxious mother. When The Girl began to approach school age, I began to worry about this tiny, delicate child being subjected to schoolbus rides and playground injuries and every other conceivable risk of leaving the home. After all, she had been cared for by my mother for four tender years, how could she cope?

But for me, homeschooling was not an option. I had to work and so the child had to be sent to the public schools. In the beginning, once my fears wore off a bit, it seemed a good thing. But now that she is older and facing more difficult tasks, I see that homeschooling might well have been more successful for her and the trade-off in socializing experience was not enough to make up for the deficiencies of a public school education.

The statistics bear this out. Homeschooled children fare at least as well as children in public school on standardized tests and in some cases far exceed their scores. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal in February 2000, homeschooled kids scored better than average on both SAT and ACT college entrance tests.

For those who can manage to be home and are interested in homeschooling their children, there are now some really excellent resources that can help.  For parents who want to homeschool, there are programs that can be a great asset. 

Homeschooled kids do not become socially inept flops, but confident and well-educated adults whose success has been proved over and over.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I remember...

There are times when I feel that I remember very little of my childhood and other times when strange images and experiences of my senses come flooding back. If I close my eyes just now, I can see the old Stride Rite shoe store.  It's long gone now and there's a  small shopping center occupying the space.

In those days, children's shoes were a serious business. They weren't just adult styles made tinier with the appropriate cartoon character emblazoned on the upper as they are today. Children never wore sneakers or even shoes that appeared comfortable. They were well-structured boots that were designed to support those unstable toddler ankles. It was supposed we would never learn to walk properly unless our feet were trained to do so.

I don't really remember being fitted for shoes, or what kind I wore. I remember the store. I remember it being very bright with white walls, inside and out. Mostly, I remember the carousel.

There was a carousel in the store. While mothers shopped, children rode the carousel. Perhaps we got a ride once we'd behaved and quietly had our feet custom-shod. Perhaps our mothers simply needed a few moments of peace while we were being entertained. I don't remember.

I remember the carousel and inside this memory, the feeling of being a child and more importantly, being my mother's child. Each memory of her is precious, so I search through the hazy fog of time to find them and fine-tune them, to experience them once again and keep them safely tucked away in some region of my brain that won't discard them. Memories are spotty things, and sometimes I don't have enough of them to fill the void my mother left in my life when she died.