April 24, 2014

Sweet Tea Tuesday: Back to school?

This time of year, the question on many minds and lips has something to do with going back to school. School? Well, if you mean the place where our social skills are developed and strengthed, where strong character foundation is built, lessons on friendships are taught, where healthy competition is fostered and of course where all of the obligatory academics are learned- we never left. In fact, we never leave, we are lifelong learners and un/homeschoolers, the world is our classroom and “school” is in session all day, everyday.

“Homeschoolers?! What about…”- I’m not even going to let you finish. What about socialization/social skills, yes? Well, what about them? (“High Fructose Corn Syrup Lady”" stare) Family, however large, small, blended, nuclear was our-yes, yours too- intro to Social Skills 101. If you’ve held a door, set a table or washed and dried dinner dishes, you’re a team player. If you’ve ever swapped chores, or followed an alternating recycling and trash schedule with a sibling, cousin, parent; ever received an allowance? You’ve engaged in reciprocity. Sat at the dinner table? Commensality. It’s all right there, right here, at home. Of course, as the years start to add up, the situations become increasingly more complex, but when it gets right down to it, the rules are still the same.

Huh? Did you say something about healthy competition? Candy Land for a thousand, Alex! Tic Tac Toe, road trip Yahtzee; Bingo, Old Maid, etc. And, no- I never let them win; no home court advantage at our table! Board games are a great way to teach children about healthy competition; about being gracious winners, how to lose with dignity, dust off and get back in the game. I’m still the reiging champion at most of our reading table tournaments, but these kids are birthday party phenoms, I’m telling you!

This week we’re on a getaway celebrating our family’s anniversary, and just today we covered social science, earth science, art, art history, geography, and math! Our university student is with us, writing lyrics for his next iTunes EP release and promoting previously released projects. Those are just a few events I’m able to consciously “pluck” from the barrage of our day’s happenings.

Agreed, our lifestyle is not suited to the needs and tastes of every family, just as the school setting doesn’t work for us. However, I wanted to clarify some of the common misconceptions about lifelong learners and homeschooling families. We’re here, we’re there, and we’re learning, thriving and socializing. If you’ve ever thought about homeschooling or what it might be like if you never went back to school-actually never left- you ask, and we’ll answer.

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T. Allen-Mercado

T. Allen-Mercado

T.Allen-Mercado is a mixed media artist, award-winning essayist, student of anthropology, blogger, wife and, mother of two.

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  • http://www.sandrahicks.blogspot.com Sandra Hicks

    I really appreciate this post. I home schooled for two years, my children are currently back in public school and I am making plans for homeschooling again next school year. I will always love homeschooling whether I do it consistently or not. It opens up such a wide world in learning and it definately is not inside of a box (or a building) . Kudo’s to you!

    • http://teanhoneybread.blogspot.com T.Allen-Mercado

      Thank you for stopping in, Sandra! And you’re right, learning without limits-no boxes, no boundaries. I hope the school year is rich and rewarding.

  • http://lovesgumbo.com love’s Gumbo

    Thanks Tameka! Thanks for being one of my homeschooling inspirations. You came into my life right at the time that I needed an alternative to school. This is a great article and so true. I think you should start a homeschool blog because there are so few secular homeschooling voices out there. We need more.

    I don’t post to mine very often, but I try homeschoolblast.blogspot.com

    • http://teanhoneybread.blogspot.com T.Allen-Mercado

      Thank you so much, Brooke. I think you’ll be pleased to read more homeschooling articles here as we grow and transition. I can’t take on another blog since I’ve returned to school, myself! But, I do hear your concerns about a dearth of resources for secular homeschooling families…let’s think about changing that!

      I’ll visit your blog too.

  • Kristina Daniele

    Thank you T. We will definitely add more homeschooling articles here! I love that there are so many within our community!

  • http://www.themahoganyway.blogspot.com Darcel @ The Mahogany Way

    Great post! Thank you for sharing it with us. I would love to see more post around here about homeschooling.

  • http://www.pvmaro.blogspot.com Frank Maier

    Happy to find you via Darcel. We are unschoolers (of the “radical” or weltanshauung variety) and we love the start of the school year. The roads are empty, airfares are reduced, everywhere is less crowded, and we are free to roam the entire world!

    And maybe have a glass of sweet tea while we’re at it.

    • http://relaxedeclectic.blogspot.com/ Andrea Q

      Enjoyed reading your back-to-school post. We’re leaning more and more towards the radical side of things with each passing day. We have to turn down social opportunities to keep up with the rest of life (especially laundry, LOL).