Homeschool: My Experience
Why do people homeschool their children?
My mother started homeschooling me when I was about 6 years old. She wanted the best for us, my siblings and I. Looking back I have to say that it made my educational experience solid. It set me on a course of success. I believe that many parents like my mother, want to have the ability to make choices about what their kids learn and how they learn it. Their is a lot of propaganda and different agendas are being played out in the public and private school systems. Why not have complete control over how your child is learning? This is the main reason that many parents decide to home school. They want to know what their child is learning and to be apart of that learning process. Teachers are always saying that parents should read to their kids and that parents should reinforce learning in the home. I feel that homeschooling is not the option for everyone. However. I think it is an option worth giving so thought.
So what was it Like?
Well I grew up in a large family of seven kids,my mother wanted us all to have a great education and to know that we were capable of great things. She was very strict and would not allow me to just do anything. I started sharpening my study skills right from the beginning.There were days that I could not come out and play with the little girl next door until I finished my math problems and studied my vocabulary. My mother would buy expensive encyclopedias and dictionaries for me to us as resources.We had books galore, Perhaps another main reason people elect to home school, is to freely incorporate their faith into the curriculum as my mother did. We did not talk about evolving animals in Science. It was about what God made.
As far as socialization goes, we had each other, and then there were support groups which are groups of homeschooling parents who bring their kids together to go on field trips together, take supplemental classes with a professional teacher, do sports, spelling bees and other activities with. I enjoyed this aspect perhaps the most. I loved the field trips, we toured an ice cream factory, a ship channel, and visited a replica of an old settlement. Other times we participated in an obstacle course. It was an unique experience. There were times that we would take a few days off and go on a family vacation. My mother had this flexibility to set our routines and schedules. She also had an obligation to keep our grades recorded. My mother was not trained to teach but she invested in expensive curriculum that guided and supported her teaching. Besides she was very intelligent and used her knowledge to teach as well. Because it became inconvenient or burdensome at times in my childhood, my parents did allow me to go to public school at times when they felt the time was right or the schools were of great quality. I went for 5th through 7th and 10th through 12th. During 9th grade my mother ordered a correspondence program from Pensacola Christian University. It was very similar to what virtual schools are like now. I would watch a teacher teaching a class and listen to the lecture on a VHS. I would take quizzes and test that my mother would grade. I earned my first high school credits this way.
Of course there were times that I wished I could catch the bus with the other kids or meet some cute guy at school. But when comparing the quality between home school and public school I have to say homeschool is superior. Why? Because small group or one on one instruction is always better for a student. Not having to suffer because half the class is below level and a few are on level is another benefit. Now that I am a teacher, in an urban city classroom, I have students on different levels. This causes me to have to give some students more attention than others, imagine how much students lack when there are so many with different needs. It is not humanly possible to accomodate all these needs at the same time effectively without some room for error. All that is eliminated when parents command and steer their own child's education.
Why homeschooling might not be for you?
Well there are pros and cons to everything. For one homeschooling takes discipline. lessons have to be taught, students have to have some order and consistency no matter how much flexibility you have. If it is hard for you to keep structure than a different option might be better for you. Also just like with professional teachers, parents have to keep records. My mother had to give schools records for previous years when she did enroll me into the public system.
Some parents do not have patience nor the mentality it takes to be successful with homeschooling. It takes diligence and sacrifice. Also many parents have to work and do not have a choice but to put their kids in public or private school. If this is your situation you can always still offer your child an environment where they can further their learning, research, study and get tutorial help as need outside of their schooling. Parents should be the first teachers. When teachers have a hard time reaching students they look to parents for insight. Parents should not feel intimidated if they have not went to school for teaching, their are many teaching guides and resources to help you along the way.
All in all I feel that home school made me an independent learner and it made me aware of my own learning (meta cognition). I knew in public school when I had a quality teacher and when I did not. I knew how to research and read for an understanding. I have always been an excellent reader because my mother drilled me repeatedly and had me listen to phonic tapes until I could read. She was my first teacher and she gave me a solid foundation.
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