Sometimes it feels like when you decide to homeschool, you’re automatically slapped with a Homeschool Ambassador! badge and thrust off into the wide world to prove that homeschooling works. It’s a stressful feeling, knowing that people are looking to you to prove that the entire cultural and academic group of homeschoolers are ok – not abusers, or subjecting our kids to educational neglect.
I prefer to be judged for myself so it’s a bit annoying. Still, when you manage to pull something off that helps the entire community, it’s nice! Today was one of those days.
A while ago I had contacted our local library and asked if we could display some of the kids’ artwork in the children’s section. They weren’t too enthusiastic about it, but they agreed to do so. They didn’t really seem to be on board until, having a difficult time describing what the work looked like, I sent in a few pictures to illustrate.
Then, things went smoothly. Things worked out. They were enthusiastic. Fast forward to us bringing the art in: they were blown away by the quality of work that my art class did.
The librarian I had been in contact with asked if I had seen the display from the local elementary school that hung on the walls before ours. I had to say no. I had no idea what she was referring to, and I could tell she was trying to be tactful. She hesitated, and then told me the work was on poster board sheets and looked as if the kids had barely spent any time on it. But ours …. ours was impressive. Amazing. Wonderful! I was grinning ear to ear, and I totally agreed. My students did a wonderful job!
Then today, we held our gallery show in the community room. The kids got to display the rest of their work, get feedback from other grownups, and have nibbles (the most important part is always the food.) It was a great way to share what they had been working on.
The same librarian came in and told me that the response to our artwork display had been overwhelmingly positive. I stopped her, called ALL the kids over, and asked her to repeat it. She was smiling, and told them again. THEN, she asked if next year, we could display their work once a quarter instead of just at the end of the year. Yay!
I think we’ve totally converted the librarians (this one, anyway!) to a positive view of homeschooling. I love that! I love that doing something we really enjoy together resulted in such a positive outlook from people who haven’t really dealt with homeschoolers much.
It feels a little unfair though, to compare us to the public school kids. We spent an hour and a half every week focusing on a project. The kids had assistance if they got stuck, and parents were there to help out if they needed something. The public school kids definitely did not have such a focused time slot, and I doubt they had the instructor to student ratio that we did. Be that as it may, the public school is the standard, and we beat the standard. Even though it wasn’t a competition.
It was a lovely end to our school year. I probably appreciated it more than the kids (but certainly not more than their parents!) So I guess that ambassador badge isn’t such a bad thing right now, right?