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Normally people don’t ask too many questions or if they find out we are homeschooling they might ask why.  In fact we have had very positive and supporting encounters until the other day.  Well, the other day, at a local restaurant for lunch the server commented to my son “Why aren’t you at school?”  Of course DS quickly and proudly says “I home school.”  The server gave us an odd look and quickly walked away to never be seen again.  We have been to this restaurant many times and this was the first time we had this kind of encounter.  I didn’t know if I should have said something more, but definitely had that feeling he thought we were weird.  And of course, that got me thinking, how weird are we?

So here is my list of “You are a weird homeschooler if….”

The librarians know you.  I mean really know you.  Yup, we know 4 of the librarians quite well.  They smile when we come in, they chat about the holds we have, and ask questions about what my son is working on.  They also give suggestions of other titles of DVD’s and books too.  In fact they have even helped us find more technical books from the adult section for our son.  I have to admit I love our library system!!!  We use their hold system to the maximum allowed (10 at a time) which means we end up going at least  twice a week to pick up more.  When we first started we were going almost daily.  The library has so much and it’s free!

Your friends save broken appliances or toys for you.  Now in our case, I admit we are hackers or tinkerers (there is an earlier blog I did on this subject).  Our son has loved taking things apart since he was very little.  He often asks for broken stuff instead of gifts.  Well now that he is older and more creative, he really does hack things.  Yes, he hijacks components to make other stuff or for just playing around.  And of course, he learns reverse engineering by taking things apart.  He tries to figure out why something broke and if he can hack it or fix it.  He also criticizes or praises some of the designs.  And he has made circuit art for his bathroom and bedroom.  Its all learning!

You go outside a lot and during traditional school hours.  Some of our neighbors know we home school and will see us outside biking or at the park.  A couple even comment that we have the best PE.  I’d like to think so too.  I know some of the neighbor kids will say things to us if we are out while they are getting off the bus about wishing they could do school with us instead of traditional school.  They are middle school age and the definitely get a kick out of DS telling them this is his recess and PE.  We get outside daily, unless bad thunderstorms.  Seriously, we even go out in the rain.  This gets the biggest chuckle from the neighbors.  I think we are the only family in our neighborhood that goes on rain walks.  DS purposely goes out to clean out the storm drains of leaves after bad storms.  Our streets flood easily, so I view it as both fun and doing a good deed.

You take lots of field trips.  I admit we take weekly field trips and some weeks its more than one.  DS loves them and I know experiential learning is very important.  But we also take so many trips because DS is an only and its our only way to meet up with other home school families.  He takes robotic classes and piano lessons weekly.  He takes dissections and labs at Houston’s big science museum monthly.  He takes dissections at Houston’s health museums quarterly.  We go to student matinees at the various performing art venues in Houston (ballet, symphony, and 4 different theaters). We go to the zoo for special events and their swap shop allows DS to give a presentation on what he is turning into them for points that he is saving for one of their giant rocks.  We go to the special Home School Days that NASA and the Children’s Museum hold.  We go to special events at college campuses (UT Explore, Physics Festival, Chemistry Open House, etc.).  We go to special events at various state parks and state historical sites (living reenactments, animal shows, etc.).  We go to the arts museums on their free days.  There about 90 museums within one hour of Houston, so we have plenty of options.  In traditional school kids are lucky if they get 2 a year and its not as individualized of a trip as ours are.  We live in the Houston area filled with awesome places that are all very home school friendly and even have special home school programs.  I am taking full advantage of this opportunity.

You take weird field trips.  In addition to the more traditional field trips I admit we do take some weird field trips.  Thanks to DS’s interest we go on field trips to pool supply stores (2 different companies), a vacuum repair store, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Electronic Parts Outlet.  These are intentional visits so DS can talk with employees, ask questions, look at manuals, and discuss his ideas or future inventions. We do this about once a month.  He loves them and the employees or managers have all been awesome with my son.  You can’t get this kind of interaction or learning in a traditional school.  Of course two of the businesses have told him they’ll hire him once he is 16.  They also give him suggestions of other videos to watch and books to read.

Your “school” is not just one room.  I admit we have a ton of books and a ton of science kits.  DS does a mixture of online curriculums and workbooks.  But we have books for him in his room, the living room, and “parts room.”  We also have books for me & hubby in the living room, spare bedroom, and office/piano room.  We have Legos growing in several rooms because both DS and hubby do Lego robots and the whole family loves building.  We have other construction kits too.  My son’s taking apart of stuff lead to one room being called the “parts” room but it also is the room filled with science kits, art supplies, and board game (which aren’t used as much as I’d like).  Currently there is an unfinished robot arm being worked on.  Curriculum for multiple grade levels (thanks to DS working on 6th grade through high school) are in several of the above mentioned rooms too.  You get the point, our whole house has become our school.  But we also do school outside of the house too such as the garden, garage, yard, in the car, and on field trips.  Learning occurs everywhere.

I’m not sure if any of the above really makes us weird, but yes we definitely home school!  I wouldn’t change any of it.  My son is happy and our family is happy!