Sandra Leong, financial district, with sons Julian-Alexandre Wang, age 6 (left), and Brennan-Pierson Wang, age 8.
At first my husband and I thought we might homeschool our oldest son, Brennan-Pierson, part of the time, and send him to Montessori for socialization. There were only twelve children in the class, but one 4-year-old was a bully; I never knew it started that young. All the other kids and even some of the adults were afraid of him. Ultimately we pulled our son out. We just didn’t feel he was being fully educated, academically or culturally, in that system. We eventually realized that homeschool kids are actually really well-socialized. They’re learning and living in the world. They meet people of all races and tracks of life. My kids also act and model, so they’re constantly with other kids in those industries.
Brennan-Pierson has a passion for fencing and chess, and homeschooling allows me to budget my resources. I can hire a private teacher for one-on-one chess strategy, and we let him do fencing three times a week. They advance so much faster this way. We covered kindergarten in three months. If you don’t put a lid on a child, he can grow at exponential rates.
Julian-Alexandre is also homeschooled. He’s in first grade but doing second-grade verbal and math. Brennan-Pierson is in third grade, but he’s doing fifth-grade math, seventh-grade grammar, and eighth-grade reading. I wanted to introduce our kids to the classics early, so when Brennan-Pierson was 4, I hired a girl to teach him Shakespeare. She really engaged him. Now he’s developed a love of Shakespeare as a child, which everyone says is insane.
We realize we’re the type-A New York family. It’s almost an addiction: You’re constantly trying to get new stuff for the kids to learn. Homeschool moms never go on vacation. Even on a trip, you’re still trying to make it a stimulating experience. You’re the teacher, the principal, the cook, and the driver, all at once. Sometimes I lay in bed just wondering whether I am doing enough. I’m like the tiger mom of homeschooling.