Over the last year, while my cousin was visiting us from Germany, I found myself asking the "how was school" question often. Aside from two parent-teacher conferences the rest of the year, she was my only real point of contact. I could have called her guidance counselor, the woman who struggled to find a way to communicate with someone not completely fluent in English, but that would have yielded nothing; my cousin never went to talk with her about anything. I could have checked in with her teachers, but there wasn't much they could offer that we didn't cover in a five minute conversation once a semester -- "Your student is doing great. I love having her in class. She's learning so much!" And I didn't have time or opportunity to connect with her classmates and teammates to gain their confidence such that they'd share their insights. So I relied almost exclusively on what my cousin said in response to that single question.
Given that, the following metaphor rang so true for me:
"How was school?" he asked. School was a country and home was a country, and the two sent each other letters but never met, [the student] the emissary shuttling between.
This is the unfortunate reality of so many school situations. Teachers would love more parental involvement -- as they recognize the profound impact you have on your student's success -- but the whole system just isn't constructed to accommodate such teamwork. Maybe in the younger years, but I doubt it based on my experience with high school.
With homeschooling, we don't have this problem. We know exactly how school went today because we are there through it all. If there is a meltdown -- us or our children ... or both -- we're all too aware. And if things are awesome with tons of "light bulb moments" and smiles and enjoyment of learning together, we're part of that. Home and school are both the same "country" and there is no need to send emissaries. You and your children work together as a team.
Foreign relations are difficult. Dealing with multiple governments can be frustrating, as I've learned while trying to acquire visas. Any time you bring two cultures together things can be bumpy. The same can be very true as parents and teachers try to do what is best for the children entrusted to them.
Homeschool and you continue to fulfill your natural teaching role. You can listen to what your children are going through. The joys and triumphs of learning and success, as well as the heartbreak and torment of struggle and perseverance, are yours to share ... together.
Home and school are connected, intertwined, shared. And that is a good thing.
Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad