As a homeschooling mom I am frequently confronted with questions about the way we have chosen to educate our children. Sometimes the questions come from those who are considering homeschooling themselves, or from those who respect homeschooling and genuinely want to learn more about it. More often though, the questions come from those who cling tightly to their own interpretations and misconceptions of what homeschooling is and they aren’t so much asking to gain an understanding, but rather they are seeking to point out what they believe is a problem or concern. The questions are almost always the same so I thought I would address them here. If you are reading this and aren’t familiar with homeschooling, maybe you can learn something. If you are a homeschooler or are supportive of homeschooling, this will reinforce what you already know, and serve as a reminder that you are not the only person who has to answer these questions!
1. No, I am not worried about socialization. Homeschooled children learn to interact with both adults and children of all ages through playgroups, co-ops, scouting programs, sports, church groups, etc.
2. No, we do not feel isolated, or cooped up within our homes. Contrary to popular belief, homeschoolers do get out! While their peers are spending 7+ hours in a classroom, homeschoolers may finish their day before lunch and spend the afternoon going to various activities, having a play date, visiting the library, etc. In our own home, the only day that is consistently free of outside activities, is Thursday.
3. No, I am not worried about socialization. In fact, socialization is one of the reasons we chose to homeschool.
4. No, a parent does not have to be a certified teacher to homeschool their children. In our case, I do happen to have a teaching degree, so I am often given a pass on this one. I will hear, “Well, that is good for you, but I could never do it, I’m not a teacher”. Listen carefully; you do not have to have any special training to teach your children!!!! Statistics show that home educated students score higher than their public school peers in standardized tests, REGARDLESS of the level of education reached by the parent/teacher. Who cares more about your children, you, or an outside teacher? Who has more time to work with your child until they are 100% certain he/she understands a concept, you, or an outside teacher? Who has time go over each and every mistake until an assignment is correct? Who understands how your child learns best and can accommodate that individual learning style?
*Certainly there are many school teachers who also do these things!
5. No, I am not worried about socialization.
6. Yes, the state checks up on us. Each state has different laws regarding homeschooling. In our state they know what curriculum materials we are using, how many days we are schooling, and they keep track of the progress of our students.
7. Nope, still not worried about socialization.
8. Sure, sometimes I worry that I might be missing something. What good teacher doesn’t evaluate whether he/she is lacking in any area? What good teacher doesn’t assess how their year is going and make changes as needed? Of course we want to make sure our children are receiving everything they need, so yes, I do worry about these things.
9. Socialization is not a concern.
10. There is no shortage of homeschooling resources. In fact, there are so many great resources that it can be intimidating and overwhelming trying to decide which materials will best suit your learner(s). One of the beautiful things about homeschooling is that every family looks a little different. Some parents pick and choose different materials from various resources, while others purchase a packaged curriculum. Some families school online, or use unit studies. There are options for every learner. Our family has chosen full enrollment in an accredited school. We receive all of our materials, including lesson plans, quarterly tests (which they grade), and report cards from the school. Many families switch materials from year to year as they evaluate what works for each individual learner in their family.
11. I DO think our kids will be properly socialized.
12. No we do not get tired of, or go crazy spending so much time with our children. In fact, in our family having more time with the children was a huge factor in our decision to homeschool. We appreciate the extra time we spend with our children, as well as the extra time they have with each other. If our oldest was in “out” school she would see her baby brother only a few hours a day. As it is now, they are together the entire day, and we view this as a beautiful thing!
13. Regarding socialization: Will my kids stand out as different in a group of their peers? I will answer with my own question. Is it really a bad thing if they do?
14. No I do not believe that EVERY family should be homeschooling. I do not think that homeschooling is superior to any other form of schooling. It just happens to be the path that God has led our family to, and it works well for us, so I am going to talk truthfully and positively about our experiences with it.
As a final note I want to add that the pert nature of this entry is not meant to offend anyone. It should be read with the understanding that while I do get irritated when it is clear that the intentions of those questioning me are not sincere, I absolutely love to answer the questions of those who are truly just curious…AND I can usually tell the difference pretty easily.