Homeschooling – A Mistake Or A Necessity?
With the launch of the Common Core back in September causing an uproar among teachers, students and parents alike, this question is likely a more plausible one for many than it was before. To homeschool or not? I'm uniquely positioned to answer this as I benefited from both and was also hurt by both educational models... So here's a 'biased-non-biased' snapshot look at the situation.
A couple of months into Jr. High at VVS, my parents gave me some shocking news: They were pulling me out of school for a combination of reasons, including my need for constant attention (which meant I was getting in trouble a lot, lol) and their doubts about a one-size-fits-all educational approach. My grades were great but my behavior marks weren't because I got bored so easily.
As a new 7th-grader I had absolutely no idea what this meant but not having to wake up and rush out the door in the morning anymore sounded GREAT! But wait, what about the single most important thing that every school kid loves, SNOW DAYS? And what would become of all of my friends since I wouldn't see them anymore? And wait, my parents aren't teachers, well they taught me a lot, but ACADEMICS? And what about sports and all of the electives I'd signed up for?
The biggest benefit was as a fairly intelligent kid, I was able to go at my own pace and many, many times I was able to finish most of my coursework before lunch and had the rest of the day ahead to be a kid with NO HOMEWORK! Or, if something came up in the daytime I could whether a doc's appointment or some fun event I wanted to do and I could work my schooling around it. But speaking of schooling, what exactly was the curriculum?
Since I was home-schooled starting in 1992, the internet was still in it's infancy so the online options that are available now didn't even exist yet. So, in my case I had to rely on books (others did video supplements too, yes VHS!) put out by several colleges and organizations throughout the nation which were decently self-explanatory. I usually took myself through the coursework on my own and would ask my parents for help if it was their subject area or to grade my work. You don't graduate with a diploma, so if you want to pursue secondary education, most home-schoolers need to grab their GED.
Now for the biggest downside (In my opinion), the thing that most schools already provide that isn't readily available is the breeding ground for a social life, especially one that puts kids in contact with people who think and act much differently than they do. While that very thing is what many homeschooling parents find to be a risk, when I entered the workforce, I found myself somewhat unprepared to relate effectively with and appreciate others who were different from me. I also had to quit all of the electives (like the DJ club. Funny, right?!?) and sports that I had signed up for in school and needed to find other outlets and explorations of my own. Many of which led me onto the paths that I am today like music and aviation...
So, to answer the question above, like most decisions in life no matter what they are, things always seem to work out regardless and there really is no one-size-fits-all solution. But, if homeschooling is on your radar my main caution would be to be sure to find other people and outlets to explore besides your local home-school network. Home-schooling like any other path isn't for everybody and even today I'm not even sure if it was the right one for me. But, it was my path nonetheless and I 'd like to think that I turned out okay, because at the end of the day, you've got to be HAPPY with yourself. My kids are in public schools today and I have absolutely no qualms about it either... Furthermore, given today's technology the process of schooling at home is much more streamlined for busy parents of motivated kids! Listen to this eloquent home-schooler below put it much better than I ever could, for both home-schoolers and public-schoolers alike...