Its that time of year when families are considering options for enrollment in schools. If you have found this blog because you are considering homeschooling as an option in your home, you might look at "Choices, Choices, Choices" if you haven't already. I wrote that article when we had just begun homeschooling for the very first time and it talks a little bit about my family and our thought process on the matter. With one year under our belts, I thought I would just write a quick synopsis of the things we have found advantageous as well as some of the drawbacks we've encountered. I hope to help you make an informed choice that is right for you.
- Your schedule is mostly your own.
- I actually know my kid and her friends really well, not only from conversation between activities and over dinner, but I really know what she is struggling with and what really inspires her. There are a lot of mortar and brick schooled children who have parents that can say the same thing, but I bet they have to make a really specific extra effort to get there that I haven't had to make other than the time involved in being her teacher.
- My kid thinks Bill Nye is really cool and will choose his movies over watching junk like Barbie Mariposa and other commercialized movies of the same quality.
- I get to see my kid's "lightbulb moments" instead of some one else seeing those cherished "ah - ha's"
- My kid can be reading 4th and 5th grade literature even while her writing skills are at a kindergarten level and she is in 1st grade math and not be made to feel like a weirdo nerd, or a stupid failure on any of these counts.
- You can "shelter" your kid as little or as much as you feel is neccessary - this does NOT mean your child will be more sheltered than other children. He or she just might be more sheltered from a different set of information. Any sort of discussion of religion, even those that are historically oriented is almost completely taboo in our public schools. Makes it hard to properly discuss the crusades if you can't really discuss them in their religious context. On a similar note, did you know that Diary of Anne Frank AND The Grapes of Wrath are both on the banned book list for public schools in our state because apparently they are too "depressing" for even high school children to read in a classroom context! It simply means you have a little more control over WHAT they are exposed to and aren't exposed to for now. I'd rather my child be exposed to the things listed above (Some in Highschool - like the books listed), The Bible and Bible stories oh- and you know, a larger vocabulary and some geography etc. than be exposed to drugs, alcohol and sex at the ages of ten and up.
- Homeschooled kids typically learn more about how to help out around the house, sooner than their mortar and brick peers - therefore, how to take care of the house you hope they will someday own, how to care for the garden, how to cook, where their food actually comes from, how to balance a budget, how to help with younger siblings, how to fold laundry (guess what, all of these skills can relate to legitimate lessons on science, art and math as well. for example, folding laundry requires an understanding of symmetry). . .
- Homeschooled kids have more time for extracurricular activities because the time it takes to do a lesson with one, is significantly less than the time it takes to do a lesson with 40.
- Homeschooled kids typically do better on standardized tests than their mortar and brick peers.
- Homeschooled kids are now often more sought after by colleges because of their reputation as generally being better writers and great problem solvers.
- Its one less income and money gets pretty tight.
- Especially at the elementary level, homeschooling is time-consuming to the parent
- You MUST be organized and disciplined in order to keep everything running smoothly.
- Spring fever sets in for the teacher parent as much as it does for the kid so you still have to find a way to motivate yourself and your child even when you don't really feel like it.
- It is a life style choice and will permeate everything else. From friends to how you run your household.
- You really do need to make a specific effort to get away from each-other, because as much as you love them and they love you, "everybody needs a little time away" once in awhile.
- You find yourself answering the same questions over and over again every time it comes up that you are homeschooling your child. More often than not, they are simply questions placed out of curiousity, but in rare instances people can become somewhat hostile about it.
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