“You can’t have a bb gun because you’ll shoot your eye out.” The sentiment might have been from a movie, but I often thought about it when I contemplated homeschooling. People told me I would regret it. People told me I’d ruin my children. People told me I’d hinder them from pursuing higher education.
After all, I was not a teacher (and I didn’t even play one on television). Who was I to educate my children?
The struggle was real – and even now the struggle continues. Despite having graduated two sons already (both of which made the rank of Eagle Scout and are maintaining A averages in college), I still doubt having made the right choice.
I also doubt having made the choice not to finish out the school journey with my youngest son and letting him choose to attend a local Christian school. Even though we offered every year to allow the boys the choice once they reached middle school and he was the first to request the change. I doubt having made the right choice.
Homeschooling is no better (or worse) for education than any other path. It comes down to what you choose to put into the journey and what you instill in your child to put in. In the end, there will always be what-ifs and if-onlys that will make you doubt your choice.
Home Schooling Basics
- Flexibility – for timing, for topics, and for focus
- Community – the homeschooling community is vast and widespread. No matter where you go, there will be homeschooling gatherings nearby.
- Connection – you invest more time with your children and that created more opportunity to engage, connect, and grow together.
- Funding – it’s all out of pocket.
- Responsibility – the buck stops here because it’s up to you and with you.
- Naysayers – there will be plenty of people explaining to you how your choice is wrong and you will find that you doubt your decision on multiple occasions (no matter how good things may be going).
We homeschooled for 17 years with a variety of systems, methods, and schedules. Our two oldest graduated as homeschoolers – the oldest received an Associate in Business and will be attending JSU on a Presidential Scholarship in the fall. The middle maintains a 4.0 in college. The youngest chose to shift to traditional school last year. Along the way, there were lots of bumps and plenty of bruises (on me) but the boys learned to learn and have taken that into the world.
Homeschoolers are the smartest or not as bright – there are as many different levels of homeschoolers as there are in any educational organization.
Homeschoolers lack socialization – there are opportunities to be around kids all day, every day. The only limits are your willingness to attend events (or host if you so choose).
Homeschoolers are shielded from society – most people choose to home school to direct the educational journey not to isolate the child.
Homeschoolers only spend time with people like them – my first week of homeschooling many years ago, I encountered unschoolers (that don’t have a set schedule or even set curriculum) and restrictive homeschoolers (that followed a traditional school schedule and procedure – just at home) and the variety hasn’t stopped. Even attending co-ops I found different lifestyles, interests, family dynamics, and personalities.
Making the Choice Right
No matter which way you move, you can make the choice the right choice by making the investment to make it work.
- Set aside time to work with your child. No matter where school happens, be up to date and invested with your child in the school work. Designated times for review will keep you from having negative surprises in the results.
- Listen to your child. Each person has unique learning tilts – although the ideal learning environment implements ALL learning paths. Let your child show you the preferred path for his (or her) success and don’t try to force her (or him) into yours.
- Listen to the teacher. No matter who is teaching your child, you need to take time to listen to what they are experiencing. If it’s you, then keep a journal of what is working and where there is a struggle. If it is another, keep in contact to see how you can help with the process (and don’t just wait for there to be a problem).
In the end, homeschooling will be what you make of it and what your child makes of it.
Now it’s your turn. What are your thoughts for or against homeschooling?