Confessions of a Homeschooler
Homeschool Co-op Idea
- Homeschooling: Little House on the Prairie
Some of my most beloved homeschooling memories date back to the year our homeschool co-op studied Laura Ingalls Wilders Little House series. We would read portions of the books on our own, and then...
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!