Rina and Mark Crane, Bronx. Daughter, Mita, age 7; son, Sylvan, age 5
I started thinking about where my children might go to school before they were born. I mean, this is New York City, and in my area there weren’t many options. Our zoned school was out of the question. There’s no outdoor space, and after lunch the kids watch TV in the cafeteria. It’s also mandatory to stay after school for several hours several days a week to prep for tests. That wasn’t acceptable for us.
At first I thought homeschooling would be too much of a commitment, but we got involved in a homeschooling community, and I loved the idea so much that it no longer seemed overwhelming.
Some people follow a curriculum, and some people do unschooling. I’m in between. We have textbooks, but we take every opportunity to teach our children something. We recently went on vacation to Washington, D.C., and while most families would consider that just a fun trip, for us, we had fun while we learned. We toured the State Department, the Capitol building, and the White House. At one point during the White House tour, a Secret Service agent asked who the second president was. People came up to me afterward because they were so impressed my daughter knew the answer.
Children are naturally curious, but in school all they’re taught is to get the right answer, which I think can be stifling. My kids were involved in a camp over the summer, and since it was a big unruly group, they had to do things like line up and wait. That isn’t normal in life. It made the homeschool parents so grateful that our kids don’t have to put up with that kind of thing. The classroom is such an artificial setting.