I am the youngest of four girls. Growing up, my sisters and I were all homeschooled. All through elementary school, middle school, and high school. I want to tell you the experiences I had while being homeschooled and why my childhood affects how I raise my children today and why my husband and I choose not to homeschool.
My experience of doing school at home is probably not the “normal” homeschool experience. My parents had more of a hands off approach when it came to teaching us, which worked for us. We never really sat down and listened to a teacher. As homeschooled children we pretty much functioned in school by reading and learning on our own. We were given all of the necessary tools to succeed, and we did. We all graduated and three of us went on to college to continue our studies.
When I went to college, my experience trying to fit in and be comfortable around other people was quite difficult. I had little classroom experience and suffered from anxiety. Still to this day it’s something I struggle with. I was nervous beyond control every time I went to class. It was hard for me to make that transition. I didn’t feel comfortable and it took me a long time to get to the point of having confidence in myself. I felt dumb, out of place, awkward, nervous, and on the verge of throwing up for the first 2 years of college. It was hard making friends. I was extremely shy and kept to myself. I eventually grew out of the awkwardness, but it took a while. And yes, I do think being homeschooled had something to do with that. Not all kids who are homeschooled will experience this, it was just my personal experience.
My son is in 3rd grade now and my daughter is in 1st grade, both attending a public school. They are getting a fantastic education. I can say truthfully that I am not cut out to be a teacher. It takes a very special, very patient loving person to do this incredibly hard job. I don’t have the patience or the will power. I do believe the majority of homeschooling parents have the best intention, want to give their kids a good education, and want to keep them away from the negativity that can come with public schools. I get it. Trust me, I get it. The concerns a Christian parent might have with putting their child in a public schools really make a lot of sense and they are concerns I’ve had from time to time…
- “My child will get picked on.”
Okay, my take on this is, you don’t know for sure your child will get picked on, and honestly it’s part of growing up. Learning how to deal with other kids is an essential part of childhood. Learning how to stick up for yourself, your friends, that’s a character trait I want my child to have! We also put our son in Karate so if that ever happens he can whoop their butts! Lol
- “They will be taught sexual education and handed condoms.”
Not on my watch! You may, as a parent, opt-out of sexual education for your child. This bit of information can be found here for California residents. Check your state’s .gov site. This has always been a big deal for my husband and me. If there was no option of opting out of sex-ed, I’ll tell you right now, my kids wouldn’t go. That is not something I’m flexible on. As parents, it’s our job to tell our kids about sex when it is appropriate and when they are ready, not the school’s.
- “But the Bible says you should homeschool”
Actually no it doesn’t, the Bible states a great deal about obeying your Father and Mother and following the instruction of your Mother. I do not take those verses and interpret them to mean keep your kids at home and teach them everything yourself. I take those verses to mean it is a parents responsibility to teach your child right from wrong, to teach your child about God, to teach them the important things in life that only a parent can teach their child. We put our kids in Awana and Sunday school don’t we? Why are we allowing other people to teach our kids about God? Shouldn’t we be teaching them everything they need to know ourselves?! To me, it’s the same logic.
- “They will be exposed to bad language”
Newsflash people, now days you can go into any retail store and hear foul language. I have personally experienced this with my children in tow. No one cares if you have kids with you. They will speak however they want to speak. You cannot shelter your kids from everything. We must instruct our kids and talk to them about bad language, not try and shelter them until they are 18, set them free into the world, and have them experience a major culture shock. I experiences this and let me tell you, not fun. Not fun at all.
- “They will spend more time in school than with their own family”
From personal experience, when I pick my kids up from school or when they’re off on the weekends or during summer, I treasure that time with them. Maybe I pay attention more to everything they say and to the questions they ask. I try to make the most of the time I have with my kids. I love having them come home and tell me all about the new things they’ve learned, how he did on a spelling test, the new projects she has coming up. Yes, they are away for a portion of the day, but I have not noticed one difference in their personalities since starting school. He gets his traits from us, not from other kids at his school. If he ever started acting out like kids in his class, we’d nip that in the bud. We constantly remind him to be himself and not be afraid of being different than all the other kids. We encourage him to remember what the Bible says and what is right from wrong.
- “Prayer isn’t allowed in schools.”
Heck yes it is! How will people know if you’re praying? Really? You can pray whenever you want, wherever you want. No one can take that away from you or change that. Period.
- “Violence in schools is getting worse”
I’m kind of with you on this one. The violence going on in our public schools is tragic and scares me a lot. If you keep your child out of school for this one reason alone, I understand. Violence in our society is something we cannot control. BUT, violence can happen anywhere, and we know this. That’s something we as Americans have to deal with whenever we step outside our homes. You can’t hide from it. It will always be there. Using violence as an out would mean you can’t go anywhere with your kid. Not in the car, not into a store, not into a park. Because as we are constantly reminded, bad people are everywhere.
Please remember I am not saying homeschooling is wrong. I’d like to point out also that homeschool was not all bad for me. Being a teenager that lost her dad is hard, but I am beyond thankful that I was able to spend everyday with my Dad and I will forever have special memories that I never would have had had I been taken to a public school. I am so thankful for my parents and all that they did for me. They loved my sisters and I so so much. And I know that my mom wishes she could have stayed home and taught us herself, but she just wasn’t able to do that. She had to work to support us. And I thank her for sacrificing so much for our family. THANK YOU MOM for all you did for us. We would be nothing without you.
Everyone has different opinions and different ways of thinking about homeschooling. No one has to agree with me. It’s just my personal view. If you disagree, that’s cool. If you’re on the same page as me, that’s cool too. Hopefully, one thing we can all agree on is that as parents we want what’s best for our children and that can mean public school or homeschool. Whatever God has led you to do, do it!
Please feel free to comment/like/share! I love to hear from my fellow parents out there!