In the wake of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, I’ve had a lot of people ask me about homeschooling as they try to make decisions about their children’s future in public schools. Many of them ask similar questions and it occurred to me that there may be other parents out there with the same questions except they can’t get their questions answered because they don’t know a homeschooler. In an effort to help, I have compiled this list of questions and answers about homeschooling.
Why did you choose homeschooling?
I’m not satisfied with the current American public school system. I honestly feel like students are trained to take tests, not excel in life. I know I probably sound like an old timer here, but back in my day we learned English, math, and science but we also learned how to change a flat tire, how to cook, how to build furniture, and how to balance a checkbook, among other life skills. Life skills are just as important as academic learning. And there are some really great teachers out there that still try to integrate some life skills in their classrooms, but it is no longer the norm.
Won’t your child have socialization issues?
This question always makes me chuckle a little and I reply “We’re homeschoolers, not recluses” and that’s the most honest way I can answer. We are part of a homeschool co op, my daughter takes dance classes, and she’s joining a girl scout troop in a few months when she turns five. She’s not awkward in public settings and she loves to play. Just because a child learns from home doesn’t mean that he or she is kept away from society. Most homeschoolers don’t seek to isolate; we seek to prepare on our own terms. Plus, don’t children get in trouble for talking in class? I know I did. Can’t be too much socialization if you can’t talk to your neighbor.
Don’t you get tired of being with your child all day?
No. I’m a stay-at-home mom, so my daughter has been with me nearly 24/7 since birth. I know this isn’t for everyone, but being able to watch her grow and learn thus far has been the greatest joy of my life. That’s not to say she doesn’t frustrate me sometimes, especially when she throws one of her rare but catastrophic temper tantrums, but that would frustrate any parent regardless of their stay-at-home status.
Won’t you become too attached?
She’s my baby, of course I’m attached. But I’m also a realist. She will grow up, move out, go to college, find a career, fall in love, and have her own family one day, in no particular order. I’m not trying to prevent that or keep her here with me forever. I’m actually trying to educate her and prepare her for the world so that she can successfully leave the nest, and I don’t think public school will do its part in achieving this. I want her to excel and be happy.
Is homeschooling your whole life?
Absolutely not. When I first decided to stay home, I was a college professor and taught online. I have since stopped teaching and started my own business. I’m also a published author, an avid reader, and a craft junkie. We take family vacations, hang out with friends, and attend conferences for my sorority and my husband’s fraternity. Homeschooling is a part of our life, but it certainly isn’t our whole life. Also, it’s an added bonus that we homeschool. When we do travel, we don’t have to schedule vacations around a school schedule. We can learn on the go.
Are you a religious fanatic?
No. Although religion may have played a large part in people’s reasons for homeschooling in the past, currently there are people from various religious, economic, and ethnic backgrounds that homeschool. Type homeschooling into the Facebook search bar and you’ll see hundreds of groups dedicated to all different homeschooling backgrounds.
Are there different types of homeschooling?
There are quite a few different ways that parents approach homeschooling. Traditional homeschoolers follow a similar schedule as public school. There are those that follow the Montessori form of education. There are unschoolers who don’t adhere to a set schedule, but rather focus on student-led learning. Also, there are worldschoolers who travel the world as they homeschool, exposing their children to different cultures as they teach them. This is just a short list, and some of them overlap. For instance, one might be a worldschooler but still adhere to a set schedule for learning. Personally, I’m a cross between traditional and unschooling. I have certain things that I want my daughter to learn and I schedule them out, but I also let her pick topics she’s interested in.
A recent article I read stated that homeschooling saw a huge jump in the early 2000’s and has consistently grown by 6-8% each year. That means that more and more people are exploring their children’s educational options. While homeschooling may not be for everyone, it is and should be viewed a viable educational option.