An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Home School Daze

A neighbor across the street boasted about home schooling her children, but it looked more like no-schooling to me. The boys spent most of every day shooting hoops. The girls carried a baby on their hips on the rare occasions they ventured outside. Not all home schooling is that bad. As a junior high English teacher, I encountered many home schooled kids whose parents enrolled them in public school in 9th grade for high school credits. Unfortunately, most of the home schooled kids I taught were years behind the other kids in their age group. But I did meet a couple of exceptions—kids with skills and knowledge way above grade level.

My current neighbor, whose back yard borders ours, does an excellent job of home schooling. In nice weather, we hear some of the lessons. For most subjects, this neighbor uses the state curriculum guide, but on one topic her kids receive advanced instruction.

The other day I answered the doorbell to find Rachel and Regina, her six and eight-year-old daughters, asking: “Can Pita play?”

Our dog, Pita, fills in for the girls when their human friends are unavailable. I took the kids to the backyard and supervised—to make sure 60-pound Pita didn’t knock my little friends down in a burst of doggy affection.

 Pita rolled on her back for a belly-rub, and Rachel asked, “Is Pita a girl dog?”

“Yes.”

“Has she ever had puppies?”

“No, she’s been spayed.”

“What’s spayed?”

I earned ten points for handling that one carefully: “She’s been to the veterinarian and been fixed so she can’t have puppies.”

“Can she still have sex?”  A 20-point question.

My two-point answer: “I don’t know.”

“Has she ever had sex?”

Home schooling is what the parent makes it. Clearly my neighbor soars far above the state guide for teaching sex ed.

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