Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sometimes even I think I'm smart.

On one of our recent posts the question was asked, "Why homeschooling?"

Over the years I've had the opportunity to explain, defend, and promote homeschooling. So of course I had to give a long-winded response. After typing and submitting my comment, I re-read it and was surprised at how good it sounded for a one-draft explanation. And so I decided to share it with all of you who do not eagerly follow all the comments made on our blog:)

We have chosen to homeschool because we believe it to be a superior choice for our family. Both of us were homeschooled and are turning in stellar performances in college, as are our siblings. Both of us were socialized with all age groups, not just our peers. In public/private schools kids typically interact with only their age group. Homeschooling allowed our parents to school us according to how we learned best-auditory, visual, or kinetic-and didn't force us into a mold.

As to social interaction ... my brothers and I were very involved with soccer from an early age and ended up playing at a competitive level. We were involved in our church and attended homeschooling co-ops. I attended a music school run by and for homeschoolers and competed at the Division level with other public schools in music. I attended soccer camps and music camps, as did my brothers. We took numerous field trips and my mother turned almost everything into a learning activity and made it fun. I would venture to say that we were more socialized than most of our public school counterparts.

Most people hear about the abnormal homeschoolers. What they don't hear is that homeschoolers get into the top colleges, they have top SAT, ACT, etc. scores. I can tell a homeschooler apart from other kids because they typically don't think according to any one mold. This is not to say that public/private school kids do not excel ... I have seen many smart, motivated, and accomplished kids who have been educated the traditional route. And I am not against public/private schooling-once my kids hit the high school years we will consider letting them go to a public or private school. It is easier to get scholarships for sports, music, and so on through traditional schooling.

Very long-winded response, but both Damm and I have thought about this a lot. And our parents thought through their decision to homeschool us and faced extreme opposition and ridicule from family members. Family members who later apologized because they saw how well we were doing.

Some object to homeschooling because not all parents have a degree. My mother did not have a degree (my father has his Masters in Electrical Engineering) and Damm's parents did not have a degree when they homeschooled. You don't need one, frankly. You have to have the desire to teach your kids and the energy to research how. And the ability to acknowledge when you need outside help. Educators in the traditional system do need extra training because they are managing larger classroom sizes and that is incredibly different from homeschooling. I have a healthy respect for educators-they get scant praise for the extraordinary efforts they go to to teach kids in a system that works against them and is more and more forcing them to teach kids to pass a test.

I realize homeschooling is not for everyone. Not everyone has the option of homeschooling. But for my kids it is the best option.

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