5 Reasons I Would Home School

I was home schooled as a child from the very start until 10th grade. I had friends, I promise you. I was able to socialize with others on a normal level on a regular basis. My Mom didn’t make my clothes. I didn’t wear my hair in braids down to my butt. None of the women in our house wore jumpers. We didn’t live in a remote area out in the woods on a farm. We had a modest house in the city. I am from a family of five kids, though, so there’s a good stereotype for you to ponder. I have never in my adult life been asked if I was home schooled as a child, as if this sort of thing is obvious in a person that was once home schooled. In fact, many react with surprise when I tell them I was home schooled. I think I should be taking this as a compliment? Some do believe all sorts of odd things about children that are/were home schooled, but that usually comes from ignorance. Trust me I have received my fair share of snarky comments from those that believe themselves to be humorous and superior to someone like me. I’m okay with it, though. They don’t really know what they are talking about, or even what they missed out on by being sent to school.

When I went to school for 11th and 12th grade, I attended both my local high school for one or two classes and a nearby community college for the rest of my required education to graduate. When I graduated from high school, I was able to transfer two years of general education credits into my University as they counted for both high school and college. It was pretty awesome. I saved a lot of time and money by accomplishing that and I would like to thank my home schooling Mom for making me smart enough to do it.

I also have a unique perspective coming from a large family where the first two children were traditionally schooled (went to private school) and the last three of us were home schooled. My brothers and I ended up following similar paths throughout our childhoods and our lives that differed from my sisters, and I think some of that can be attributed to the way we were schooled.

These are the reasons I would home school:

  1. I am convinced the sense of safety and security that home school provides in those very early years of development plays a major positive role in building a child’s sense of worth and self-confidence. By far the number one reason I would home school is environment. I care a great deal about the environment my child lives in on a day to day basis. I am concerned about the stress young children face when put in large groups of peers with limited adult supervision. The pressures they feel to fit in, to wear the right clothes, or to hide physical differences can very negatively gnaw away at a young child’s growing sense of personal value. School can feel like a battle ground with so many variables to contest with, from unfriendly teachers to the recess bullies. That is a lot of stress placed on such little, impressionable people. Now of course I want my child to be around kids his age, to interact with and SOCIALIZE (the big buzz word in opposition to the home school movement) outside the home. He is just past two years old and loves being around other kids. He even has his favorite friends he gets very excited to see. We don’t lock ourselves up in our house all day long, just like my Mom didn’t lock us all up when I was a kid to protect us from the big, bad world. There’s also more opportunity for siblings to develop a closer bond with each other, than if they spend the majority of their days apart. My home schooled brothers and I were much closer in relationship to each other than my older, traditionally schooled, sisters were with each other. I think most of that reality can be attributed to our journeying together more closely on a day to day basis.
  2. The flexibility home school affords provides for a far richer educational experience than any other schooling option available.When we would study the history and geography of other countries, we got to find (and eat at!) a local restaurant that served foods from that country. We purposefully tried to order foods off their menu that were classic and traditional to that culture’s history. We observed and discussed the décor of the restaurant if it appeared to replicate any of the architecture and design we learned about in our history books. When studying the history of Minnesota (my home State), we took a two week camping trip all across the State, visiting historical sites and participating in various demonstrations held at those locations. We went to actual places where fur trading took place, learned how Native American’s harvested wild rice and built canoes. We tasted traditional wild tea and tried our hand at making a fire with flint and animal fur. We walked across the headwaters of the Mississippi river and climbed up an enormous fire tower that park rangers use to keep watch for forest fires. We took a road trip across the country to Washington D.C. and surrounding area, stopping at every historical site possible. Everywhere we went was an opportunity to learn. Every historical site or State or National park we passed got visited by us. And last but not least, we could always do things when the rest of the population was not. Vacations? Easy. Go when it is NOT spring break or a major holiday. As a child the value of this flexibility was lost on me, but now as an adult, it is very enticing.

    Exploring jelly fish at The Aquarium of the Pacific

    Exploring jelly fish at The Aquarium of the Pacific

  3. There were many more opportunities for play and creative expression throughout the day that just cannot happen in group and classroom environments. A lot of our lessons involved creative involvement and interaction with each other and crafty-type learning formats and tools. If we were working on a project together, many times we were free to continue to build or explore or work together on something that caught our interest much longer than we would have been able to do in a classroom. Kids learn a great deal through play and movement and interaction and it is tough to get enough of that on a regular basis in a traditional school setting. Additionally, it is very hard for young children to sit still for long periods of time. The beauty of home school is you don’t have to punish the kids for being squirmy, or label them negatively when their high energy interferes with the lesson plan. If we were antsy and having a hard time focusing, my Mom would just set us loose to get our energy out. We got these great play breaks in between studying different subjects. I think that kind of freedom to play regularly can be a very important part of a child’s life in the early years when it comes to learning, and maybe even help prevent a lot of the dread many children have towards schooling.
  4. We got one-on-one attention. The importance of having a trusted source for the one-on-one attention needed in learning must not be underestimated. I never hesitated to ask a question. I was never fearful of what my peers thought of me. I wasn’t leery of my math teacher or afraid of my science teacher. I was able to get the help I needed, always. I didn’t need a tutor or extra help outside the classroom due to lack of time and attention from the teacher. I never felt completely lost or overwhelmed by any one subject. In the areas that I struggled, we were able to take more time until I got it, or even to repeat it the following year without the fear of peer ridicule. On the subjects I excelled at, we flew through the material and would advance through to the next grade level if time and comprehension permitted. My learning pace was more customized to my learning style and individual abilities and gifts. Last, but not least, since my Mom was my teacher, she always knew how to help. I feel that sometimes parents are at a disadvantage in helping their children with their homework, not having been to the class or knowing all that is required. Several years ago my nine year old neighbor used to visit me regularly and bring her homework to me for help. There were a lot projects she was required to do that I was clueless on how to help. I just didn’t understand what the teacher expected and what the finished product was supposed to look like and accomplish.

    Read to me

    Read to me

  5. There are many opportunities for instilling your personal values and worldview, as well as fostering spiritual development and character building. Woven throughout our days were moments spent reading the Bible, praying for those who were sick or in need and learning valuable character traits by reading stories from these great books called Character Sketches that used nature to illustrate valuable and admirable qualities. I still to this day remember sitting and listening to these stories with wonder, my thoughts provoked to contemplate the larger lessons of life and the meaning to be found in our days and interactions with others. My brothers and I were also very involved in the youth programs at our church and always looked forward to opportunities to be with our friends and participate in the various trips and activities. Being at home most of the day lent itself to having a lot more energy and enthusiasm for these social events.  This ended up shaping a lot of our priorities and friendships around those that had similar values and beliefs, and all three of us grew up with strong core groups of friends that were “good kids.” All three of us also ended up pursuing our higher degrees at religiously-based Universities.

I have yet to decide whether or not I will personally home school my child. There are certainly cons to home schooling, both for the parents and the children. But that’s for a future post.

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13 thoughts on “5 Reasons I Would Home School

  1. What? I for sure thought one of your reason for home schooling was so that you could be like me? 🙂
    And I’m so happy that I could be a part of your NCC years, too! 🙂

  2. In all seriousness, thought. It’s good to hear from someone who had a mostly positive experience with home schooling. I meet lots of people who were home schooled and now say they would never do it themselves. That, of course, makes me think I might ruin my boys forever. But then I stop panicking and realize that this is working really well for us right now 🙂

    • I emphasized “early years” purposely. I would say mostly positive in the early years. There was a time limit to its value, in my personal experience, which will be noted in my “cons” post.

      I want to be like you, for sure! But I could never BE you. Five kids? Lord, help me. I don’t know that I can handle more than the one I have.

      I wouldn’t panic when talking with people who had a negative home schooling experience. How many people have you met who had a negative traditional schooling experience? A lot? I have. There’s no perfect solution for everyone, everywhere. If it wasn’t working in a positive way for your kids, you would know it. You just have to use your intuition and listen to it when it tells you it’s time for a change, if that time ever comes.

  3. Interested in reading the Cons, the pro’s seem pretty exceptional. I was home schooled for two years. I am not against home school by any means…however, there are many factors that could play a part, each family is different, as is each child is different. If you have the time and resources, and correct motives, Home School could be a fantastic thing, as can being Schooled out of the home. Most Schools encourage parents to be as involved as they can be, they Love it! I think whether you teach your child at home, or not, your child’s education must always rest in the Parents hands. Be involved as much as possible.

    You had stated that your younger brothers and you had a closer relationship than your older two siblings. Do you relate that to being Home Schooled? Also, in the final paragraph, you had mentioned that you all also went on to pursue your higher degrees at religiously based Universities…do you attribute that to your being Schooled at home, as apposed to your older siblings, who were not, and who attended in-state public Colleges?

    Another great blog post, sweetgingermama!

    • Waldorf philosophy offers some of the things you mention as benefits: Pacing through the day to balance high energy time with concentration, creative expression through art and handwork, encouraging Mom to stay with the child until age 5 (with some transitional separation), meeting the student’s academic needs at times that are developmentally appropriate. It’s not home-schooling, but it might be a philosophy that offers similar benefits, in your opinion. There’s a charter in Culver City/SM; I’m not sure if there are others closer to you besides the pricy private ones. They also have a slightly spiritual atmosphere at times, I understand, but it’s not at all Biblical.

      I’m not going to go on and on, because I’m sure you’re aware of it already, but some of the key points you made made me think of Waldorf.

      • Hi Bug!

        I appreciate your input, here. Yes, I have been contemplating Waldorf since, as I said, I don’t know that I will personally home school. I go to a RIE class, which has some similar Walforf philosophies, and the class facilitator actually helped get Ocean Charter in Culver City started, and both of her kids currently attend the school. Obviously the major drawback is the ability to get in. Very iffy situation. I do also hesitate with spiritual elements that are other than what I personally follow.

        Lucky enough for me, though, my son has a few years before I REALLY need to decide.

    • There are definitely cons to home school, and a big part of that comes down to the people. The kids. The parents. The temperaments. The home situation. A lot has to come into play for home school to work, for sure. I wouldn’t even say home school is the ideal format for every child’s education. I mainly wanted to give my opinion on the potential positive aspects of home school from the perspective of a child that was home schooled. The moms out there who are actually home schooling will definitely have a different perspective, and reasons for doing it, etc. I just think the perspective of a child that went through it for so many years may be valuable for parents out there that are either currently home schooling, or thinking about doing it.

      I do think that my brothers and I were closer than my sisters were because we were home schooled. I would say that was the MAIN reason, but I’m sure there were other factors. Gender may have played a role. Maybe boys and girls can get along better than girls with girls in the younger years. Parenting styles may have also had something to do with that, too. My parents were more relaxed in their rules and style by the time the last three of us came along, and parents are basically learning as they go with the first kids. Maybe the parenting style contributed to the development of the various relationships in my family.

      As far as our higher education, I think in our family specifically there was a big emphasis on our faith and spiritual development that happened more intentionally with my brothers and I simply because my mom had the opportunity to plan out all of our days, every day. When kids get sent off to school for a big part of the day and then come home with home work, there can be little time to spend on other priorities when dinner needs to be had and bedtime rolls around quickly. Additionally, because we were home most days, we were antsy to get out of the house and socialize with our friends, and the main source for that outlet was church. So church and the youth group became a big part of our lives, which I think greatly influenced our direction in life. I do think, maybe inadvertently, home school had a lot to do with us deciding to attend religious schools.

      I do believe my sisters will have their own, possibly differing, conclusions about this topic and some of my assertions. Should make for some interesting family discussions! 🙂

  4. Eh…we always have “interesting” family discussions. As a homeschooling mom I feel that my kids are closer than if they weren’t so you may be on to something there. For that I am so glad. Not that traditionally educated siblings aren’t/can’t be but it is a fact that they just don’t get the time to spend together because they are with about 15-30 other kids.

  5. I was thinking today about maybe another reason why you and the boys chose to go to a Christian college. The church I grew up in did not have any activities for the youth. Youth was not a priority in this church. Sure I went to the school run by this church but they only taught church doctrine/religion…not the Bible. However…the church you grew up in was SO different!! Your thoughts?

    • I think that absolutely has a lot to do with it. Your experience with religious institutions will definitely determine whether or not you want to pursue including it into more of your life, especially as you get older and have more control over what you do and where you go. I actually HATED going to church when I was a kid. I really just wanted to stay home and play, Sunday School was totally boring, and having to put on uncomfortable dresses and rush out the door in the morning was just not what I would have done if it were up to me.

      But once I entered the youth programs, starting in 7th grade, things totally changed. The format was completely different. The social scene was completely different. It was a great place to be, totally focused on that age group and prioritizing it with awesome adult staff that loved hanging out with us rowdy, immature teenagers.

      If that resource was lacking, like it was at your church, I think my life would be completely different. Those youth programs had a huge impact on my life and my spiritual growth. If they weren’t there, I don’t know if a religious school would have been important to me when I started to look for colleges.

      • Great stuff, JoAnne. I never would have thought about home schooling until I met you. The upside seems pretty awesome. The downside is the amount of energy and time that the parents have to put in. As we outsource so many things in today’s day and age, it seems like outsourcing the raising and education of our kids is too big of a task to trust others to do.

  6. Pingback: 5 Reasons I Would NOT Home School | sweetgingermama

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