“Schools have not necessarily much to do with education… they are mainly institutions of control, where basic habits must be inculcated in the young. Education is quite different and has little place in school.” ~Winston Churchill
“You will not reap the fruit of individuality in your children if you clone their education.”
― Marilyn Howshall
Homeschooling has always been a touchy subject with me. At points in my life I hated being homeschooled; mainly because so many people just assumed since I was homeschooled I was screwed up, or was going to be screwed up, and then partially just going through what every young person goes through and just plain hating school.
I will admit, a lot of people have given homeschoolers a bad rap, being that some parents use homeschooling as a way to keep better control over what their child learns or doesn’t learn, or not even teaching their children in the first place. Luckily, I didn’t have that experience with my schooling.
I did, however, attend one year of public schooling when I was about six, but didn’t get to finish the school year because I had to be pulled out due to acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (or ADEM for short; something I would like to talk about later on) and had to spend a good amount of time at the doctors. Yes, it was kindergarten, but I still count it.
Before my parents had enrolled me, I had a passionate hunger for knowledge. I loved math and history, but art and English were my favorite. I was well above my peers when I entered public school. Everything my friends were learning I had already mastered, so I spent more time playing rather than “learning”. Soon my teacher started to get frustrated with me because even though I knew all the answers to my math questions, and could explain how I got them, they weren’t the way I was supposed to do them; she even got frustrated with how I wrote my eights!
My parents started to notice that I had picked up some bad habits, like baby talk, lying, tantrums, etc. My once greediness for knowledge had been replaced with a bitter hatred, so much so I didn’t want to sit still and would throw fits.
After being released from the hospital we started to move into our new house, which was about forty-five minutes away from my school, so obviously, I got pulled out for that. So, from first grade until graduation, I was homeschooled
The good, bad, and frustrating.
Not very many people were supportive of my sister and I being homeschooled; I even had people tell me that someone was going to come and take me away from my parents because they weren’t putting me in school! Again, a lot of people do just pull their kid out and neglect to actually give them an education, or they do give them a great education and completely neglect the social maturity of their growing children.
But that was not the case for my experience. At the time, we lived close to a city that had an abundance of homeschool groups and programs, which we took advantage of when we could.
I’ve always been independent, to say the least. So when I entered a learning environment that didn’t have a rigid schedule or lots of pressure, I took advantage of it. There was never an end to my school days, even after my mom had cleared the table and let me run off to play, I would still be trying to learn everything I could. There were so many questions my little mind had, and an abundance of books and people that attempted to answer all my questions.
I believe because of this, it’s helped me as an adult now, and helped me to be more independent and self-motivated in life. I don’t need to be reminded to do things and am more motivated in certain aspects of my life compared to some of my peers.
Because in most homeschooling situations, the student works at their own pace, either getting ahead of children their own age or working at a slower pace, depending on the learning abilities of the child. That being said, if you have a lot of non-homeschooling friends -like I did- you have trouble relating or discussing school subjects with them. Most of the time I’d be a math grade behind, and ahead in English or history, while my friends were all learning something I’d already learned.
Another negative aspect of homeschooling is if you don’t live in a community with a co-op, then you really have to work at going out and making friends and socializing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I was socially stunted in any way, but you do have to put forth a different kind of effort than if you just met someone at school.
My parents were very conscientious when it came to this, and if I had an interest in any activity they wouldn’t deny me the chance to try it out. From the moment I started being homeschooled I was involved in t-ball and soccer. I was terrible at both of them, but I continued, not because of a competitive need to be the best or win, but just to be with children my own age. From then on I was playing either soccer, basketball, attending youth group, extracurricular classes, biking groups, and archery.
People are pretty frustrating no matter what circumstance you’re going through. I know most of the stupid things people said to me were because they were confused by my family choosing to raise me in a way that wasn’t considered the social norm. Going through elementary school I didn’t have too much trouble with having to defend my intelligence or life choices, most people assumed once I hit middle or high school I would naturally attend public school. Here are some of my favorite comments, and by favorite I mean the most annoying thing I had to deal with during my last few years of schooling.
“You… homeschool? So could you just not keep up with normal kids?”
“Oh, is it because your parents needed help on the farm?” (We lived in the middle of the suburbs, why people kept thinking we had a farm was beyond me.)
“But how do you make friends?” (Ah, yes the ever popular belief that school is a social activity rather than a means of education.)
*whispers* “Is it because you have a mental problem?”
“I sure hope someone in your family has a good education or else you’re screwed.”
“Wow! You’re actually pretty normal for a homeschooler!” (Normally I followed this response with a maniacal laugh and a few twitches, just to mess with them.)
I’ve been out of school for about four years now, and I still get these questions, some out of genuine curiosity, others just plain rude and uneducated.
I know a lot of people have different experiences with homeschooling; needing to be homeschooled for personal reasons such as a mental health issue, bullying, or difficulty keeping up with the rest of the class) and I totally understand that, but this is my personal experience.
There were times growing up where I hated being homeschooled, because of being bullied or just getting frustrating with feeling different than the other people my age. Looking back, though, I don’t regret it. It’s made me different, stronger, more independent and creative; I was given a chance to pursue every possibility of myself.
I’ve met some amazingly unique people that were homeschooled, and some not so amazing homeschoolers, but that’s how it is with people, everyone’s different and quirky in their own way and I think that’s amazing.
Thanks for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment; I’d love to hear from you!