This past week we had a film crew at the house getting footage for a reality TV show about our family. I'm excited. At first I was scared that the TV show would be bad for the kids. And the night before the crew got here, I went food shopping, (because I thought I definitley don't want to drag a film crew through my tiny town supermarket—the people who live near me already think I'm nuts) and the cover article on one of the tabloids was that the Bachelorette is sacrificing her kid's sanity for her own fame.
I worried that would be me. But having a film crew at our home was a great learning time for the kids. The crew was from Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto, and the kids relished their position as farm tour guides for city people. (Here's my son showing the camera guy his show pigs.)
Each episode will have shots of us talking to the camera. Which meant that each of us had to do an interview. I was not there for the kids being interviewed. I question whether or not this is good parenting. We can debate that, I guess. But we cannot debate that the kids felt very important being asked a wide range of questions with a hoard of adults hanging on their every word.
When it came time for my interview, I sat in a chair for about an hour, answering a huge range of questions very patiently. When they asked me about homeschooling. They said, "Why don't you explain why you homeschool?"
I said, "Why doesn't everyone else explain why they don't homeschool? Everyone knows public schools suck. Everyone knows that kids learn best when the curriculum is tailored to their interests. Parents just conveniently ignore this because they are scared to stay home with their kids all day."
It felt good going on a homeschool tirade. A tirade always makes me feel good, actually, which is probably why I'm a good blogger.
Summer on a farm is made for reality TV. There are new chicks, new pigs, there's the county fair, there's the huge vegetable garden and harvesting the corn is like a nation-wide party because it all happens at the same time. But I worry about what we'll do in the winter. Being snowed in does not make for great TV. Now I think, though, that winter episodes will show, finally, how easy it is to homeschool. It will show us, sitting around the house, doing what we like doing, whatever that might be. It will show us walking the narrow line between neglect and guidance.
Homeschooling is the delicate balance between neglect and guidance which is a much easier place to live than the much more complicated line to navigate between doing what the family needs and doing what the school needs. Traditional school requires me overseeing their schedule, a teacher's needs and our own needs, making sure the classroom needs balance with my son's needs, and participating in lots of stuff that doesn't feel right—even school reading night felt stupid since we missed our family nighttime reading to attend.
I am convinced that most educated parents know that homeschooling would be a better way to educate their kids. But most parents are scared it would be too hard. I hope our reality TV show will be a way to let people know that homeschooling is not as difficult as it seems.
That said, I still second-guess myself all the time. But the reality show ramp-up time is months and months and months. So hopefully by the time the show actually gets on air a lot of my doubts will be gone.