Friday, January 11, 2013
The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a Homeschooler
I came across this graphic on Facebook, and when I started to write out my status in sharing it, I realized that I actually had quite a lot to say on the subject, and it would be more appropriately presented as a blog post.
Homeschooling isn't for all families - there are many reasons why other education options may be better for them. Still, I have to say, this one has a lot in its favor. My family decided to homeschool after I lost my hearing, for which I am incredibly grateful. We all did very well academically, and please don't even mention social issues... we never lacked friends (okay, other than me during my awkward 11-13 period), and consistently impressed adults with our maturity. My sister is currently living on campus at a local college, doing dual highschool/college credits. My brother, just 21, is a residence hall director and working on his Master's degree. (I won't talk about me, but I think bragging on my siblings is okay... right?)
Sure, there are some rare homeschooled families that hit the other side of this, but honestly, state oversight is so thorough that it's hard for families not to get caught if they're not actually trying to educate and raise their homeschooled kids properly. In my state, we had to take tests every year (as opposed to the every other year mandated for our public school counterparts) and we are one of the looser regulated states. (My cousins in Pennsylvania have a pretty unfair level of reporting they have to do, since that is one of the strictest states).
For those who say "my mom and I don't get along - she could never teach me!" Well... my mom and I had just as many (and probably more) problems than any mother and daughter, but that never interfered with my schooling - it just motivated me to become more independent with my academics! My mom was educated as a nurse - not a teacher. She was a fantastic homeschooling mother because of her love and dedication, not because of any degree. Her secret? She read to us for at least an hour every day. Of course when we were in elementary and middle school she spent more time working on math, science, spelling, etc, with us, but that's not a fearsome job - I did it with two different families when I was just 20.
There are so many more resources for homeschoolers today then there were even ten years ago. Many cities have homeschool centers that offer specialized classes or "tutor sessions" for the high school subjects that parents don't feel confident overseeing, such as the sciences, math, foreign language, and writing. There are also many homeschool sport leagues, bands and drama groups, plus laws are changing to allow homeschoolers to participate in extra-curricular activities at their local public schools.
I could go on and on, but I'm afraid I'll start sounding rather pompous on this soapbox... feel free to ask any questions if there's an aspect of homeschooling you've always wondered about.
The most important thing I hope comes across here is that I'm adamantly in support of a family's right to choose how to educate their children, and homeschooling should not be seen as a 'scary' option, even if it ends up not being the right one for your family. (Yes, I very much hope to homeschool my own future children, but I'm aware that there might be a scenario where they would need some other form of education for a time, and if so, we'll make it work).