As a firm believer in self reliance, I have been homeschooling my son since 2012. For us, it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’m not saying it’s without its challenges, but the pros far outnumber the cons. With that being said, it is not something to be entered into lightly. The whole family needs to consider and evaluate it. And quite frankly, the entire household needs to be on board with it, or at least be cooperative, to make it work.
Research it. Laws vary widely from state to state. It is your responsibility to be aware of and comply with the law.
Here are some of the rewards we’ve reaped from homeschool:
- By far the biggest one; the one on one attention the student receives. Worth its weight in gold, platinum, and diamonds! There is just no way a child can get that kind of time and attention in a classroom of 20-30 students.
- Studies have found that kids who have consistently received that attention from a parent are less likely to act out later. Priceless.
- A child’s strengths and those areas where they need help can be identified and focused on. Too often kids get lost in the shuffle and overlooked by the school system. Passed from one grade to the next, or from this teacher to that one simply because the schools don’t wish to spend the time or resources. So what do they do? Let it be someone’s problem. The trouble with that is, it is the child who gets deprived and ultimately suffers.
- Flexibility! In the traditional school/classroom setting, let’s face it, there is not a whole lot of straying from the norm going on. The teacher lectures, or the class reads from the textbook, they might have a discussion, do a worksheet, have homework assignments, then a test, and do that over and over again until June. Quite honestly, I do my fair share of that too. But it’s sure great to change it up now and then, especially for the student. The response you get when you engage and do the unexpected is nothing short of amazing! Unfortunately, that kind of “coloring outside the lines” is seldom practiced in our children’s classroom.
When your family makes the decision to homeschool be prepared to receive a lot of input from a lot of people! This input runs the gamut from “Why?!” accompanied by a puzzled expression, to “….but what about: socialization, friends, being in the classroom?” you will probably hear something along the lines of “….but you’re not a teacher…”, and you will occasionally hear words of encouragement and praise.
My responses go something like this:
When asked “why?”, I admit it is difficult to conceal my irritation. Why am I doing this? Well, why wouldn’t I do it? My son did attend a “regular” school. I observed firsthand and I was disappointed by what I saw. It is staggering how little of class time is actually spent on the curriculum and learning. By the time the teacher gets 20-30 kids seated, quiet, takes attendance, contends with distractions, he or she can finally begin with the lesson, add in more distractions or interruptions (hopefully they can just get through the lesson), the students are given an assignment and instructions, inevitably the instructions will have to be repeated a few times for those who were not paying attention….whew! Based on my personal observations, I’d say about 40-50% of class time is actually spent on learning the curriculum. When you eliminate all the distractions and formalities, class time can be spent actually learning, discussing, and engaging. Home schooled kids tend to be more well-read by the time they graduate. In my admittedly biased opinion, they are just more well-rounded in general because they have the advantage of one on one instruction and attention. When you have more time you can dig deeper into things, right? The lessons are just more substantial and in-depth. And just look at all the negative aspects of “regular school”; peer pressure, bullying, violence, lack of resources. Why wouldn’t I do this?
“…but don’t you think socialization is important?” um, yes. However, you go to school to learn. Socialization is not the main objective. Time and place people. Socialization can come via getting your child involved with; sports, community activities, clubs, home school cooperatives and play groups, neighborhood friends, and family. I take it one step further and say homeschooled kids socialize with many people of different age groups which will better prepare them for “the real world” after all, how many of us only encounter and interact with people who are our age?
“…but you’re not a teacher…” (my favorite) Yes, I am. And so are you. To say that I,or any parent is “not a teacher” is just lunacy! As a parent, you are their first and most important teacher. Period.