Homeschool your kids.

I’ve been thinking a lot about academic stuff lately. (Lately? you say. Shut up, I reply. It’s my blog and I’ll pretend to be normal if I want to.) A lot of it is the graduate school applications and the letters of recommendation. I’m lucky enough that I’ve gotten to hear (read?) several people say how smart they think I am. That’s not what this is about, though. Because any intelligence I may have has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the way I was raised.

Marian apparitions are all well and good, but if you’re a bit of a skeptic and need a reason to believe in God, just take a look at my academic career.

I was in a Catholic school until second grade, when I told my parents that I wanted to be homeschooled. For no reason. We didn’t know anyone who homeschooled. My parents were an architect and an attorney; they were hardly what one thinks of when one thinks of homeschoolers. Once my mom figured out what that meant, she thought it was a pretty good idea, especially for an eight-year-old who just figured out how to read.

And it worked. It doesn’t always work, but if you’re willing to put the time in, it will work. Trust me. Of the homeschoolers that I still keep in touch with on Facebook, one just got back from Provence or Madrid or someplace, one is graduating earlier than she should with some fantastic degree like biology, and her little sister is already in college. And my brother and sister and I are doing pretty well too.

(Yes, I had friends. No, I didn’t do my homework in my pajamas. Yes, I began shaving my legs at a normal age. No, I never belonged to a religious cult. Those people exist, which is why we all get a bad rap. I’ve seen people do math lessons by going to the grocery story and breastfeed in public until the child is old enough to have friends. As the bottle-fed daughter of an attorney, I can’t decide which disturbed me more.)

After a spectacularly stupid decision to attend public high school for a year, I stood in the hallway and decided, you know what? I can do so much better than this. (FYI, the school at the time was less fantastic than it is now. My sister and her friends got a wonderful education. But it was emphatically not for me.)

A friend of the family suggested that I take a class at Concordia with her daughter. I said, hey! That sounds like fun. I’ll just be homeschooled for the rest of my classes. Her daughter ended up staying in high school. I visited Concordia once, and fell in love. So I lied about my age and signed up for classes and didn’t leave for three years.

I spent three years there, doing college work and, more importantly, not wasting my time. It was the best decision I have ever made, the happiest three years of my life, and probably the reason I’m able to apply to graduate school now. And it was a complete act of God.

There’s also that other little act of God where he made me not dead. Or completely developmentally challenged. Because if you had told my parents in September of 1987 that in twenty-two years that baby would be employed by a university and graduating summa cum laude they probably would have said, “Wait. So she can sit up?” Because that wasn’t supposed to happen.

So I guess my point is a.) trust God, and everything really will work out and b.) if there is any way you can swing it, please consider homeschooling your kids. Because it will be the best thing you ever do for them.

Well, after the whole baptism thing. Because I for one would never want to go through the RCIA thing with and immersion. Hell no. Wet hair is not a good look for me.

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