Confessions of a Homeschooler

My parents homeschooled me for twelve and a half years, and I survived. And so did my parents. I attended a Christian private school for a few months in kindergarten before my parents pulled me out to start the great expedition of homeschooling. My parents gave me a well-rounded education. One of the most important things I learned was how to learn.

Okay, so we all know the propagated generalizations about homeschooled kids. They wear denim jumpers and have no sense of fashion; they are socially inept; they wear pajamas to school; they listen to classical music only; they don’t have any homework; they are really, really smart and would rather create proofs for the Pythagorean Theorem than spend time with friends; they have no friends; they use big words like “propagated” and “generalization.” Yeah, I’ve heard them all. But I know from experience that generalization, in general, sometimes mistakes the idiosyncrasies of the few with the character of the many.

I love homeschooling. Sure, there were times when I used to think, “it would be great to see lots of friends every day” or “I would love having a locker” or “wouldn’t it be fun to eat at a cafeteria for lunch,” but overall, I believe homeschooling provided the best education I could have had.

Of all the questions people have asked me about homeschooling, the most popular one was: “What about socialization?” And I, since I had no experience in socialization or communication, always answered by staring in silence and confusion at the asker. No, really, socialization is a ridiculous reason to attend public school. I thought education was supposed to be about educating, not pressuring and being pressured by your peers. Honestly though, socialization can be a problem for some homeschoolers. Some homeschoolers stay inside and never interact with outsiders or “public-schoolers.” Isolation is not a good idea. I have personally experienced the feeling of being on the “outside,” of being the misunderstood and the misunderstanding. But I believe one big reason for this was my introverted, shy personality, not my lack of social interaction. My brother (homeschooled for thirteen years) is my opposite. He is outgoing and sociable by nature, and it seems easier for him to relate to other people. Another reason could be that homeschoolers and public-schoolers really are different. We come from different perspectives, different worldviews, different backgrounds. But what’s so wrong with that? Isn’t diversity the hottest topic right now?

As to real socialization skills, homeschooling provides these; it doesn’t take them away. I was taught that my relationships with my family members were the priority. I consider all my siblings my friends. My parents are my mentors. I have a great respect for their commitment to my upbringing. God has truly blessed me with a wonderful family. I wasn’t confined to the house though, and I have had many different relationships outside the home. I was able to participate in outside activities such as piano lessons and soccer practice. I had a couple different elderly piano teachers; I not only learned piano, but I also learned how to treat the elderly with respect and patience. Through soccer practice, I was able to interact with other kids my age, homeschooled or not. And of course, we did lots of networking with other homeschoolers. I remember wonderful times with co-ops about Laura Ingalls Wilder and field trips to Philadelphia and D.C. I have made many friends and, believe it or not, no enemies.

There are many great benefits to homeschooling. My parents put an emphasis on learning and learning how to learn. With homeschooling, I was able to learn at my own individual pace. I was never really stressed out about a test, because my parents wanted me to actually study to learn, not just to remember for a test. My parents understood my weaknesses and appreciated my gifts. I was taught as an individual, not as just one of the herd.

Recently, a homeschooled child in New Hampshire was forced to attend public school because the authorities felt she was getting a narrow-minded education. This upsets me, because I believe the government should not be able to control how children are educated. The government is taking away our rights as citizens. Anyhow, I disagree that homeschooling is a narrow-minded form of education. People say that teaching Christianity through homeschooling is like brainwashing. Well, isn’t teaching evolution through public-schooling like brainwashing? Public schools teach evolution as fact (not as the theory that it really is). They teach the religion of all religions, but for some reason they don’t teach the truth about Christianity. They scream “Diversity!” at the top of their lungs, but don’t respect the diverse beliefs of Christians. Public school students are encouraged to accept all people, but students who profess to be Christians are looked down on for praying to Jesus or for speaking about Him. How is this diverse? I was taught the truth about many religions, not just Christianity. My parents didn’t hide from me the fact that there are many beliefs out there. I believe that Jesus is the Way, but I respect other people who have different opinions. You might tell me that I am biased toward Christianity. Yes, I am. Everyone is biased and opinionated about something, even if your opinion is that you have no opinion. Everyone has a worldview, like it or not. The truth is what really matters.

Homeschooling was a great experience for me. I would definitely homeschool my own kids, if I had any. Let me know what you think! I would love to answer any questions you might have about homeschooling!

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Comments 27 comments

Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon

Well said, and Amen!


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States

That video you included is hilarious! Unfortunately, in many cases, the rougher aspects of it are too true.

So what category of homeschooling would you say your education fell under? Classical, unschooling, Montessory, Charlotte Mason...? A combination?

And what method are you thinking of choosing for your children, supposing you have any?


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thank you both for reading!

My education didn't really fall under any specific category. My parents taught me traditional subjects (math, English, science, and history, as well as other subjects such as Latin and government) with traditional textbooks (supplied by different homeschooling curriculums). If I had to put my education in a category, I would say I had a "Christ-centered" education. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" was our basic principle. My parents believe children should be taught as individuals with God-given gifts and interests. They required me to learn certain things, but they also encouraged me to express myself through electives like music and art.

As for how I plan to teach my own children someday, I expect I will teach similarly to how my parents taught, building on what they learned in the process.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States

Interesting. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I, too, had what might be termed a "Christ-centered" education. My parents were very mindful of God in their lives, and I saw Him in an everyday (that's not to say irreverent) kind of way. My mother was a very scheduled person (unlike me), and our first subject each morning was Bible, two chapters, without fail.

My parents used some texts with my siblings and I, but we used historical novels and hands-on projects as much as possible.

I, too, was taught some Latin, for which I am thankful, as I have a greater understanding of many languages, as well as the cultures and groups which relied on Latin.

Perhaps you should do more articles on your experiences, and why you would repeat them for your children.


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks for sharing! We, too, read many historical novels and worked on projects. Really, the possibilities in homeschooling are limitless!

Thank you for your encouragement! Maybe I will write some more homeschooling articles :)


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States

Great! Looking forward to those articles.


nutuba profile image

nutuba 6 years ago from North Carolina

Rose, what a wonderful hub! I read with delight about your homeschooling experiences. My wife and I are homeschooling our four -- actually, our oldest just graduated and is off at college now. Homeschooling has worked well for us. Socialization? Yeah, our kids are respectful, polite, thoughtful, and well behaved. I can see why many parents get upset about that (hahaha). And yes, ours is a Christ centered education.

Thank you for sharing this!

Regards,

Joel


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks for reading, Joel! So you've made it to the homeschool finish line for your oldest - congratulations! There's a lot of hard work that goes into reaching graduation - for the student and the teacher. Best wishes as you continue to homeschool your other three!


Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

This is a good read. I too was homeschooled, and think the best part about it, besides all the free time for exploring hobbies, was learning to learn. Learning to seek out information and make it my own.


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Ivorwen, thank you for reading! You're so right, learning to learn is such a huge part of education. And homeschooling provides great opportunities for that.


Entourage_007 profile image

Entourage_007 6 years ago from Santa Barbara, CA

AWESOME HUB!!! I was not homeschooled but I think that your dead on! Hello Rose, thank you so much for your advice, your writing continues to inspire me, I am really trying to understand what i need to do to get higher scores... I thank you so much for all your support so far, but if you do see anything in my hubs please let me know what i can improve on.


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Entourage_007, thank you for your kind comment!

You're very welcome for any help I can give. You're on the right track, don't worry too much about the scores. Just be patient :)


Lamme profile image

Lamme 6 years ago

Great hub Rose! I have 5 children and I homeschool them all. we've been at it for 8 years now and people are starting to wonder if we're ever going to send them off to public school! Doesn't look like it. Thanks for sharing your perspective.


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Lamme, that's wonderful that you homeschool your children! What a blessing... Eight years is quite an accomplishment. I'm glad you stopped by!


Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 6 years ago from Southeast Michigan

Good hub about homeschooling, and it should give folks who have a negative bias against homeschooling as a viable form of education a thing or two to think about. Homeschooling (like public schools) doesn't work for everyone, but that doesn't mean it won't work for anyone.

There are only a couple points I want to comment about directly:

"Recently, a homeschooled child in New Hampshire was forced to attend public school because the authorities felt she was getting a narrow-minded education. "

This is outrageous. The only question that state authorities should be asking is this: "Is the kid learning?" If that student was functionally illiterate, couldn't add or subtract, or had some clear academic/educational deficiencies, then I could understand the state saying to the parents, "Look, you're not doing right by your kid. You need to get him a tutor or send him to a school." The state has no business, however, specifying which school (public vs private) they must use. As for passing judgment on the home education as "narrow-minded," sorry, that's not a criterion that the state should even be trying to measure.

Second, the point about evolution being taught as fact rather than "the theory that it really is." Lots of theories are taught as fact in schools. That's because for all intents and purposes, until we learn more, those theories /are/ fact. They describe our current scientific understanding of how the world works. For an in-depth discussion of the differences between scientific hypotheses, theories, and laws, see this link:

http://wilstar.com/theories.htm Anything I typed here would be a duplication of effort.


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Hello again, Jeff. Thank you for reading this. About the narrow-minded education, I'm a bit confused whether you agree with me or not - is my statement outrageous or is the court ruling outrageous? You already know that I don't believe the government has a right to regulate education at all.

I don't think evolution should be taught as fact. It is a scientific theory and should be proclaimed as such. Many people that I run into seem to unquestioningly believe in evolution; they were never taught of the lack of evidence of macroevolution. Public schooling has taught them to assume that evolution is true. Evolution is different than other scientific theories because it simply does not have any hard evidence.


Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 6 years ago from Southeast Michigan

Hi again,

"About the narrow-minded education, I'm a bit confused whether you agree with me or not - is my statement outrageous or is the court ruling outrageous?"

Sorry; I wasn't clear. The court's ruling is outrageous. If the kid was flunking his math test, that's one thing. But for the state to just decide the kid's otherwise functional education is "narrow-minded" is intrusive and wrong.

"I don't think evolution should be taught as fact. It is a scientific theory and should be proclaimed as such." It is indeed a scientific theory. It is indeed taught as such in public schools. I think the disconnect we're having is that we do not have the same understanding of the definition of the word "theory."


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks for clarifying that, Jeff. I agree that the court made an unconstitutional ruling there.


Marna Stark profile image

Marna Stark 6 years ago

My family has been engaged in "home-based" education for about 15 years now. The needs and responses of our all adopted clan, as well as my husband's disabling accident 5 years ago, mean we go about our learning in many different arenas--online (not very satisfying); organized classes; coops; community college; tutors; library, etc. But the family, not the school, is the center of our life, and that has made a very positive difference over the long haul. From a short term perspective, the public school looked VERY tempting at some points. Especially in a family with complicated relationships like ours (yours?) basing our life at home rather than school/work was very difficult occasionally. The rewards, in my view, made it worth it!

You are clearly an articulate, thoughtful person, Rose. I really enjoyed reading your hub. And I appreciate Jeff trying to take on so politely the issue of "theories" in science. In science, a theory is based on much investigation and represents the best conclusions of the scientific community. It is not idle supposition...Lots of homeschoolers talk about theory in science as if it meant "speculation."


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi Marna, thanks for reading and commenting! I definitely agree that family-central life is super important; and it's rather hard to accomplish such a lifestyle in public schools. I'm glad that the home-based schooling worked out for you and your family. It is hard sometimes, but you're right: it is worth it.

You know, thinking more about scientific theories, I would say evolution is not a theory at all. It is a hypothesis. There is not enough scientific evidence supporting macroevolution to make it a valid theory.


mae Desmarais  5 years ago

I think home schooler is better than attending class in school.I agreed with you,that learning is the main purpose of education although socialization is part on developing a person personality.


Rose West profile image

Rose West 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi mae, yes, socialization is important, but not a sufficient reason to attend public school.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

I considered homeschooling my older son at one point but decided it wasn't for us and ended up giving tons of info I had accumulated to a friend who homeschooled her son for a couple years when he was going through a rough time. Homeschooling isn't for everyone nor is public/private school for everyone. I think it has to be a choice made my the family and what is best for all involved. I personally rec'd a great public school education in Michigan in the 1960s and on.


Rose West profile image

Rose West 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi Danette, I totally agree that education should be a choice made exclusively by parents. And I don't think homeschooling is for everyone. On the other hand, public schools aren't what they used to be, especially now that the Federal Government has gotten involved... but that's another hub :)


Karen 4 years ago

Rose--

Your essay was beautiful and a lot of fun to read! We home schooled our two children for a number of years, our daughter for about 6 years and our son for about 9. What an incredible adventure!! We encountered the "observation" that many times home schoolers are not "socialized". My counter point to that was.... that is the parents job to socialize their child. Not their teachers job or their peers job. I have met young people who have gone all the way through a formal school system who have no eye contact, no social skills, and can not carry a conversation with me. That doesn't mean that the "school system" failed them. That is a parenting issue. Yes, there are home school students who need socialization, but there are also those who need "socialization" who have been in school all their lives.

Thank you, again, for sharing your thoughts!


Rose West profile image

Rose West 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi Karen, thank you so much for reading! I'm so glad you enjoyed it :) It's funny how often the issue of socialization comes up. You make a very good point - many in the public schools seem to have just as much difficulty with social skills as homeschooled kids. Stereotyping homeschoolers as not socialized is a big mistake. Kids in both systems can have difficulty with socialization. I agree, it is a parenting issue.


graceomalley profile image

graceomalley 4 years ago

Your writing skills certainly show that homeschooling worked well for you.

I homeschooled my son for two years (middle school - just about any public schooled person will identify these as the worst years of their lives, and i personly think this has something to do with how that level of school is structured, but that is a topic for a hub of its own).

Now i am teaching classes in my home for homeschooled middle & high school students. The socialization many kids get in public school is a socialization they could do without. The larger the school, the more powerful the peer culture becomes, and it isn't good preparation for life. In the rest of life will you be rewarded for being 'cool'? For being a football player? For being a goth? In the rest of life, you are generally rewarded for how hard you work, for your skills.

Good hub.

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