Monday, December 06, 2010

Homeschooling: An Intellectually Stimulating Job

On Saturday I was chatting with a woman at Gary's company Christmas party. She had just started her job about five weeks earlier and had been very nervous, just as I am about my new job. She said that, the week before she started, she kept thinking of all the things that might go wrong. But after she started, she found the job to be so intellectually stimulating. She promised me I'd find the same thing after being at home with kids for so many years.

A job? Intellectually stimulating?

My job for the last couple of decades has been exceptionally varied. I have managed my own time and priorities. I have taught children with various strengths, weaknesses, skills, motivations, and learning styles. Just recently, I have played with exponents and graphed quadratic functions, read literature set during World War I, studied different economic systems, explored the causes and results of the Mexican-American War, and read about statistical analysis and how it can be abused and twisted for propaganda's sake. Over the years I have studied more about the Civil War and whales and mountains and Shakespeare than I ever dreamed anyone could know. I have repaired large and small appliances. I have delved into the intricacies of my daughter's birth defects, cardiovascular system, speech therapy, and learning disabilities. I took on gardening and canning. I have become a superb cook and bread-baker, and I know an awful lot about nutrition and a little about herbology and alternative medical care. If I'm not the Queen of Frugal, I am at least a contender for the crown, and that takes creativity and hard work. I stayed up on politics, testified at hearings at the state capitol on various pieces of legislation, and led homeschooling workshops for hundreds of parents. I have edited theology books and articles by Scaer, Korby, Bender, and Fabrizius.

And somebody thinks, in comparison to this (this just-a-housewife job), being a bank teller will be intellectually stimulating?


  1. If the lady you spoke with was in a situation where she was not getting much adult conversation before, then she probably is feeling more intellectually stimulated as the result of getting more of that now, regardless of what the conversation consists of. You, as a highly invested homeschooling mom, were getting plenty of intellectual stimulation before. Now you will be spending some of your days doing a job that in and of itself may not be all that "intellectual." But who knows, maybe you will find that the adult interactions will provide a different sort of intellectual stimulation. Or maybe not. I will be interested to hear!

  2. Yes, on the adult conversation. Desperately so, sadly. I miss it mightily.

    But see, most who stay home with their kids are not homeschooling them, and that changes things dramatically, especially when the children are a little older.

  3. Working in an environment that involved both children and adults, I found the children to be more intellectually stimulating than the adults there.

    On the other hand if you were a stay at home mom whose kids went to school, you wouldn't be learning all those cool things and maybe to a non-driven person that could get a little boring.

  4. The banks around here seem to employ only young girls as tellers. If that's true at your bank, I think your coworkers will find working with you intellectually stimulating simply because you know so much and you're used to teaching your kids, some of whom are the same age. Whether you're intellectually stimulated by the experience is something I hope you'll be sharing with your readers in the days to come :)

  5. Barbara, I was surprised when we moved here: the average age of tellers is probably 10-15 years older than where you are. It's unusual to see a teller over 30-35 in your area. But here there are 25-yr-olds and 40-yr-olds and 60-yr-olds. I'm the next-to-oldest one at the branch where I'm training this week, but there are young middle-agers, and only one youngster. At the main branch where I was training last week, the average age was younger; it appeared to be late-20s.