September 29, 2011

Why I Was Homeschooled.

     Recently I have noticed that I have never come across a blog post written by a homeschooler giving their thoughts on the whys, the hows and the effects of their chosen method of education. So, I've sat down to attempt giving a testimonial of sorts, on homeschooling, from a homeschooler's point of view.

     I make no attempts to convince anyone homeschooling is for them, I simply relate to you the story of my education.

     Two issues that often come up when speaking about homeschooling are the following:

1. Having no other option and/or
2. Having never experienced 'real school'

1. People have implied in conversation to me that my parents make me be homeschooled. The truth is, Victor and I have been raised and taught to choose, not follow. We are taught right from wrong and then encouraged to make wise decisions. Our parents fully support my decision on being homeschooled, yet I have no doubt that, if I were to choose to switch to public school, they would be any less supportive of me in my life. They advise rather than force, and it works. :)

2. Another thing I have overheard skeptics say as they stare at me from the corner of their eyes and confront my parents about their choice of educating their children is "but they've never tasted 'real' school; that's why they 'choose' to be home-schooled." Again, the truth is I have tasted public school for two years. My first two years of education were public, and in both I enjoyed the 'school experience'. I experienced socializing with other children, did I enjoy it? Yes. Have I ever missed it?

     I'll be raw and honest with you–not really. It was different for me. I knew I  was different. I didn't eat what they ate, I didn't wear what they wore. I had my little friends and we had fun, but it was companionship, not friendship. When my parents took me out of public schools, they also took me out of the city. I was put on a ten-acre lot of land where I got over fears of grasshoppers, tall grass, and becoming me. There, I was free to grow up and be myself, because honestly, society likes to say they are pushing kids to be themselves and say it's 'ok' to be "different" because everyone is unique, yet, it's ok to be a certain type..of different, their accepted type of different. In Terrell, I had homeschooled church friends, and from the beginning of my homeschooling education to now I have never looked back with regret at being taken away from public school.

And then, come the doubts on everybody's mind, 'Homeschooled kids aren't social enough,' and 'don't they ever get lonely? Will they be ready to face the real world after being so sheltered?'

     Everyone needs friends, so, what do we do to keep social? For deep friendships we have each other. I believe nothing has brought our family closer together as the ability to eat all of our meals together, pray together and work together. We have learned that our parents are our friends and that everything they do and tell us is with our best interests in mind.
   
We have church friends, family members, neighborhood kids, and friends met during extracurricular activities. Also, because our schedules are much more flexible with homeschooling, we get to travel much more often and meet people from diverse cultures, backgrounds and have friends scattered across the globe with whom we then keep up with via internet, snail mail and phone calls.

     Sure, there are many home-schooled kids that are extremely introverted, but are there are no introverts in public schools? Is it wrong to be an introvert? Is it a bad thing? Does it need to be "cured". Introverts and extroverts are born, so just like there are introverts in public schools, there are several extrovert home schoolers.

Peer pressure. An assumption people often make is that, if home-schooled, a child is sheltered and won't know how to cope with the outside world.

     If only it were that easy to make sure children are never tempted to do wrong. Wouldn't that be nice? To home-school and know that your children will never feel peer pressure or come into contact with evil. Oh peaceful bliss!

      But that isn't the case. No matter if parents seclude their kids, at one time or the other, they will come into contact with peer pressure and things parents hoped they wouldn't have to face. The only thing parents can do, is prepare them for it. The way I see it, no better way than homeschooling to show your children an environment that can result because of the right choices–your home. You can't protect your children forever, but you can, however, offer them a safe environment where they can grow and premeditate what they will do when faced with temptation.

     Daniel, when his parents taught him the Truth, didn't teach him by sending him to Babylon, or throwing him to the heathen hoping he would there become a faithful man. Instead, they taught him at home, and when the time came he was ready to face the King of Babylon, ready to face lions.

'But, do homeschoolers get the same academic advantages as people in 'normal schools'?'

      When applying to a university, home-schoolers have the ability to stand out in the fact that they are homeschooled meaning: they have exercised self discipline, push themselves and are committed to their studies. With the program we use we get full credits, and a transcript after graduating.  If we want to finish early, we have the option of pushing ourselves to finish faster. Victor and I can stay home and learn fundamentals of what builds a family while also receiving an education with standards perhaps even higher than those of public schools. [edited to add: As a university freshman in a university known for its high standards, I am so immensely grateful we used this program. I felt so prepared and homeschooling prepared me to commit to my studies on my own without having someone to spoon feed everything to me or badger me that assignments would be due soon. I finished my first semester (all that I have completed so far) with a 3.95 gpa and made it on the Dean's List while taking 16 semester hours). I fully attribute my preparedness to homeschooling and the program my parents chose for us.]

      Homeschooling isn't for everyone. It's a family effort. Homeschooling is one of the things that brings our family closer, but it takes work. Parents need to be very involved in the correcting and overseeing of their child's education themselves, as well as be willing to pay for their education from their own pockets. It's a hard task, but it's not impossible and in the end, it's worth it!



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