My first letter to the editor

This past September, someone wrote a letter to the editor in a Fredricksburg newspaper.

While I definitely get and appreciate the sentiment of this, this was not a message on an email list between homeschoolers, this was a public letter to the editor by someone who is not even hsing yet (and not even very original as I have seen many versions of the same idea throughout my 3 years of homeschooling). I have to wonder, did he really think that this would reflect positively on homeschoolers? I think that homeschooling has enough to offer on its own merits that we do not need to go publicly bashing the school system. This did nothing to promote acceptance or understanding of hsing. In fact, it made us look very close-minded and judgmental. I was not alone in my perceptions as can be seen by the 2 responses that it generated:

Why slam our public schools? Homeschool if you like, it is your loss

These letters illustrate how much homeschooling is misunderstood, an impression that the original letter did nothing to help. It bothered me so much, that I actually ended up writing my first letter to the editor. Kind of exciting to see it in print (although I was annoyed that they put hyphens in all my references to homeschooling!)

As a home-schooler, I was saddened to see Alan Brymer's comments about why he home-schools ["Home-schooled and skipping the 'joys' of modern education," Sept. 1].

Home schooling has enough to offer without having to attack public schools. Mr. Brymer's comments, however, might stem from frustration over hearing the question that all home-schoolers hear: "What about socialization?"

Contrary to popular opinion, home-schooled kids do have many similar experiences to school kids. Our kids join 4-H and Scouts. They play in bands and orchestras. They are on sports teams, act in drama productions, and attend co-op classes.

They start book clubs, chess clubs, and science clubs. They are not limited to just what their parents know, because we are good at finding or creating the resources that our children need to learn and thrive.

They also have the time to learn at their own pace and follow their own passions, something that often seems lacking in our constantly on-the-go society.

Yes, there are experiences that home-schooled kids miss out on by not being in school, both good and bad, just as there are experiences that school kids miss out on by not being home-schooled. But that does not make one choice "right" and the other choice "wrong." They are just different.

I had a wonderful public school education with none of the experiences that Mr. Brymer talked about. But I have chosen to home-school my kids because it is the right choice for my family.

I do not presume to know what is right for other families, and I am grateful that we have so many educational options from which to choose.

Stephanie Elms