08 September 2009

The High Cost of Education

This is a warning. A disclaimer, if you must.

This is a post about homeschooling.

It's not the best educational choice for every family. It may not be for yours. That's not what I am saying.

But it is a choice that our family has made for the past four years for our oldest daughter Riley. And it has not been an easy one. Not at all. (Few important choices are really easy - right?)

This year is different.

On so many levels.

In light of, because of, not even having to do with some of those differences, we made a different choice for Riley this year.

Riley is attending a local Christian school.

And it's going just fine.

But here's the thing.

It's not the same.

And of course we didn't expect it to be.

Another disclaimer, if I may.

We like her school. We like the teachers. We like the administration.

Okay. Enough already.

It just comes down to this . . . . the dinner table conversations.

During the homeschool years, Riley's dinner table conversations were varied and interesting to the entire family.

She would discuss Abraham Lincoln's final days, regale us with stories about Thomas Jefferson's innovations or wonder aloud about Jem and Scout Finch's unusual relationship with their father. We would wonder what else could possibly go wrong for Anne of Green Gables and Kevin would answer the science questions we couldn't solve during the day.

Now at the evening meal, things sound a bit different. We are frequently greeted with a litany of "and he was like ...", "and then I was like ...", and finally, "we were all like ...". We know all about the locker drama and the skinny jeans some girls wear so why can't she and what she shared at lunch with her friends and how the cross country meet went and how many days until school picture day.

And I can't help but wonder exactly what this education is costing us. (And I am not talking about the tuition rates.)

It just seems that, in our attempt to make Riley's world a little bigger, we have, in fact, made it a little smaller.


  1. There are different kinds of smart, I think. Maybe this could be viewed as a form of social intelligence. It is natural to mimic what is around you most often. As long as she is getting the academic education she needs, this can only be an addition to her database of knowledge. It may not be the most applicable, but it will add dynamIc to her character.

  2. Great insight Lacey!!! While I'm not against other means of education, I wish all those who question the wisdom of homeschooling could read this. Psychiatrists tell us that socialization is not a measure of how many friends you have; but whether you like yourself. After a study of National Merit Scholars, the only commonality they shared was family conversation around the dinner table!

  3. http://www.wesjones.com/gatto1.htm#author - it took me a while to find it. but i thought it was pretty good.

    - t