I remember when I was a child hearing that a homeschool family we knew was using uniforms and I was gobsmacked (to be fair: I was easily gobsmacked back in the day). I couldn’t fathom why someone who chose homeschooling would choose uniforms to promote conformity and rigidity. Homeschooling to me was a choice of flexibility, creativity, and opening up a world of options; whereas uniforms communicated the exact opposite to my young mind. In fact, I pictured a crowd of storm troopers.
Uniforms took away individual choice. Uniforms made the wearers look like mindless drones. Uniforms were ugly.
Fast-forward to my current mindset: homeschooling is all about access to the best materials, methods, and resources and having the flexibility of embracing any and all roads to a quality education.
Homeschooling means that what I use this year may be in next year’s curriculum sale crate. Homeschooling means if today isn’t working, then we re-assess and re-map. Homeschooling means being open-minded and innovative.
Last week, my husband and I were having a HHH (Homeschool Heart to Heart) with the girls. We were addressing the fact that their behavior at school (our hybrid program) was virtually above reproach. I’m very proud of how respectful, focused and hard-working they are in the classroom. Unfortunately, that behavior doesn’t always translate to our “class time” at home. Of course, I don’t expect them to behave exactly as they do in public when we are at home. However, I do want them to give their best effort as much as possible and that hasn’t been the case recently.
During this HHH, I blurted out: “Do we need to have homeschool uniforms to remind you that this is school time?” Suddenly, I realized, this wasn’t an altogether horrible idea. Simply doing something to differentiate our free time from work time could be a way to “shake things up”. I started mulling things over and doing some reading online about the pros and cons of uniforms. I was surprised how many homeschoolers consider this idea.
Less than I week after I started exploring this idea, I was flipping through the racks at my favorite thrift store and what did I find? Two size 10 girls navy school jumpers. For $1.20 a piece. It was a homeschool bargain miracle. Clearly, the uniform experiment was being set into motion despite any reservations on the part of my children. Fortunately for me, they pretty much roll with the punches when it comes to my brilliant ideas for life improvement. So let our experiment commence!
Be sure to follow Chasing Santee to read the riveting conclusion to this controversial topic. Or to hear how I wasted over two dollars and failed miserably at improving the educational process.