Homeschooling Article

An Essay By Madeline // 12/6/2011

Hey Ya'll! :)

So, I write for our local magazine. The editor wanted an article on homeschooling, and I happily wrote it for her! Enjoy. Feedback!! Thoughts?

-Homey :D

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          Let me begin my latest article by saying this: do not, under any circumstances, ever ask a homeschooler about their socialization. You will be fixed with a cold, hard stare. Goosebumps will rise on your arms. You’ll swallow nervously. And then, dear reader, you will rather abruptly be given a long lecture on how us homeschoolers are far more social than any kid that goes and hangs out in a windowless building all day.

            If you think about it, public school offers less socialization nowadays than homeschool ever will. In my school, during sixth grade, we had assigned seating. No talking was allowed in class, during lunch, or when you were walking in the halls. I barely had time to talk to my friends. In middle school, it gets worse. You no longer have the freedom of recess. Five minutes in the hall, and that’s it.

            When you homeschool, a world of social opportunities is before you. You can go volunteer at the animal shelter, attend co-ops every week, have sleepovers on a weeknight…the possibilities are endless.

            Each homeschool family is different, and everyone learns their own way. We are what you’d call “relaxed homeschoolers.” Our schedule differs from day to day, with more structured learning some mornings and none at all on other days. It depends on what my mom has planned, and how each of us feels.

            Our most basic schedule requires us to be at the table by ten. We’ll do Bible study, which our dog loves. She’ll come get on the table (shh…don’t tell!) and wag her tail while my mom goes over the lesson plan. We’ll listen and then answer questions when she’s done speaking. Afterwards, we’ll often write in our journals. It’s pretty obvious I love writing, so this is always fun.

            Spelling follows, and we review our lists. Monday we get a new set of words. Tuesday is ABC order…skip ahead to Thursday, where we take our spelling tests. Wednesday is a big day for us, so there’s usually no formal schooling on those days.

            My brothers love science, so I am often allowed to read them their lesson. I try to “teach” every opportunity I get, so this is a lot of fun for me, too. Then there’s the occasional math lesson. And this may surprise you, but I’m going to say it: I don’t do any math. At all. I strongly dislike it, and so I don’t have to do it.  Instead, I learn math through cooking, grocery shopping with my mom, budgets, banking, running my own very small businesses, and having my own debit card. No textbooks at all, thank you very much (although I have a Saxon Math textbook sitting in my locker, accumulating dust at this very moment).

            From there, we do our chores. Doing dishes, laundry, sweeping, dusting “windexing” (as my brother puts it) and cooking are among our daily duties. Part of being a homeschooler is pitching in and helping to keep the house clean.

            We assist mom for lunch, sit down to eat together, and then go our separate ways to read. After getting work done on our individual projects, the homeschool day is over. We are then allowed to watch television, use the computer, or play videogames for a short time. Dad comes home not too long after that, and then we have dinner together.  Evenings are fun, with time spent together and watching television some nights. We’re all in bed by eleven, eager for the morning.

            Our state's* homeschooling laws are very lenient. I’m thankful for that. Otherwise, I’d be stuck doing things I hated all day. Instead, I can focus on what I love and what I’m good at. Math is not one of these things, and so I choose to avoid it. I might change my mind later, but, for now, I know my math to the extent I need to.

            I’m very spirited when it comes to discussing homeschooling and public schooling. I can sit for hours just talking away, sharing stories, and comparing the two experiences. The problem with public school is the fact that each and every child is expected to be exactly the same. That’s a problem.

            Every person is different. No two individuals will ever be the same. That’s why public schooling is such a problem. Many area schools around here* are failing. There was an article in our newspaper* about it. Why? Here’s my theory:

            Each child, teenager, and adult learns differently. They have different interests. Notice the keyword here is: different. With public schools, every student follows the same curriculum. Most often, it can’t be tweaked to suit a specific student. If you’re behind or struggling, you’re in trouble. They’ll hold you back. “Oh, you just need another year.” The school will say. Not true. Obviously, what you’re being taught is not for you.

            If you’re ahead, you’re dead. No pun intended. (Or should I say rhyme…) You’ll be bored to death, sitting in a classroom all day, listening to the material you already know. That’s no fun, either.  I should know.

            So, do  you see the solution? When you homeschool, it allows you to learn whatever you need to, whatever you want to, at whatever pace best suits you. There’s absolutely nothing like it. You might think we’re bored to death, at home all day. But it’s not true. You’ll often see that homeschoolers are a happier bunch of children, easier to socialize, and more respectful to others around them. And it’s not just because we’re homeschooled. There are “bad eggs” too. It’s all in the parents.

            When a mother, father, grandfather, grandmother…whomever is in your life…..when they make a decision to teach you, they are devoting themselves to your education, to you, and to your life. Parents who homeschool their children are often more attentive than other non-homeschooling parents, spending more time with their sons and daughters. The children will then reflect the values and morals they’re taught at home. 

            Of course, this also applies to some children who are public schooled. Homeschoolers, however,  are spending more time with family, siblings, and friends--and learning respect.

            If you’ve made the decision to homeschool your child, don’t be afraid. I’ve met people who fear messing up their child’s education. But, in my opinion, homeschooling is the best way you can go. Until the public schools change, and I doubt they ever will, homeschooling will always be the best option for your child’s education. This is all my opinion, of course, so don’t let me discourage you if you or your child(ren) are happily attending public school. It obviously works for you.

This message goes out to the parents who feel they have no option, or to the child who thinks he or she is “dumb” because they don’t learn the same way. Or even for the kid who sits in a classroom every day, staring at the walls because he is bored. There is an option for you, and a path that will take you many wonderful places. Don’t hesitate.

I’m positive that if I wasn’t homeschooled I wouldn’t be writing this right now. So I’m infinitely grateful to my parents who, six years ago, decided to pull my brothers and me out of school. I’ve been back since then, on-and-off, but I always come back to homeschooling.

It kind of feels like home.

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*names have been changed.