Quite a few years ago my oldest daughter got her first job at a SONIC restaurant. After about two weeks, she came home one night and said, “I now understand why you homeschooled us. All the kids at work smoke, drink, have sex and half the girls are pregnant.”
But let me back up a bit. There are many concerns that people have about homeschooling. Here are some of the ones we ran across:
- Socialization: People will tell you or you might be apprehensive about your child being properly socialized. One of Merriam-Webster’s dictionaries defines socialize as: to fit or train for a social environment — to participate actively in a social group.
It has been believed for many years that a child’s personality is pretty well set by the time they are five years old. There is a good possibility that that occurred because the child was put into a government school at five. The child then changed his role model from his parents to — not his teachers – but his peers.
What does a child learn from his peers today? Drinking, drugs, bullying and a great many other bad habits. We decided to keep ourselves as the role models until our children had hopefully matured to the point they were not so subject to peer pressure.
- Education/degree: Many people believe that unless you are trained as a teacher in a college you are not qualified to teach your own children. You would not be qualified even if you have a college degree but not a teaching degree.
Who has taught this child for the first 5 years? YOU! School is just the next step in the process. Think about it. If the subject is so complicated you, being 30 years old, cannot explain it to a 5 year old then it is too complicated altogether. You start with the alphabet not physics. You as the parent/teacher learn right along with your child.
Many people have said that by the time they were done teaching their children, they finally got the education they should have gotten when they (the parent) went to school.
You can do it if you are interested.
Sharon has no college degree and if you read her high school transcript it is sad. Her counselor figured she would never go to college because of her family. So the counselor had her take general math, sewing, home economics, study hall, gym. No science or higher math at all.
She learned right along with the kids. They studied chemistry, made rockets they blew off in the park, took algebra, etc. One day I came home from work and Sharon said, “You have got to see this!” She fetched an entire beef heart she had gotten from a butcher. They had dissected it, and she was showing me how the blood moved through the heart. She was more excited than the kids were. Learning together!
- Patience. Some believe they do not have the patience to teach their own children. There are many different methods of instruction. In some the parent is highly involved and some methods not so much. We will discuss methods in a later blog. But for now, the love you have in your heart for your child will go a long ways in helping you teach your children.
- Sacrifice. I have been in the homes of many people over the years. One lady told me her son was not really ready for kindergarten, but he had to go anyway. She was a school teacher. I asked her why she did not stay home and teach the boy herself. “We could not live in this house and neighborhood and have these things if I did not work, too.” So the boy went to a government school. Sacrificed on the altar of material possessions. Sad.
- Self confidence can be a stumbling block for some. Just remember that your love for your children will more than make up for any deficiency in your teaching. If you teach them how to learn, they can always go look up what they may have missed.
- Peer Pressure. Families can bring much pressure to bear on a family that wants to homeschool. It works much better if both parents are on board with the idea. Sometimes husbands are not into the home education thing at all. If your wife wants to home school, she needs you to back her up. You have a jewel there. Defend her to all comers.
- Money. Some are concerned that it will cost too much. Well, how much do school lunches cost, clothes and all the other expenses involved in a public school? I suspect they are about equal. There is a rumor out that President Trump is proposing to let the money for education follow the child including homeschooling. That would be incredible. Call your legislature!
Things your children won’t learn.
I used to listen to local talk radio and news quite a bit. One day our school district was having a problem in that they were trying to teach their students how to get better grades on their tests, but the complaint of the school was that the fundamentalist Christians were interfering. When the method was explained, the reason for the interference was obvious. The school was teaching the children how to use spirit guides to get the answers to tests. The school did not call the method using spirit guides but once it was explained it was obvious. I will not give the details here for obvious reasons. At another time they were teaching auto-hypnotization for relaxation and improvement on test scores. Yet another time the football coach in part of the south metro was trying to teach his football players fire walking to improve their test scores.
Once a kid has heard these methods, how do you un-teach them what they have heard? It would be simpler to avoid the BS altogether.
Additional thoughts — Things we considered before we began.
- There are a great many benefits to teaching your own children. Consider this: in a class of 30 children, how many questions per day do you expect your child can get answered if they do not understand? If the teacher answered one question per child in an hour, that would take up almost half the class time.
Yet in a home environment the conversation can be back and forth all day which is very similar to being tutored all the way thru school. The learning can be much accelerated.
- In a government school the children are grouped together by age. Rarely will your child find a situation or job where everyone is his same age. In a homeschool the child lives all day every day with people of different ages, much like they will have to do the rest of their life. They learn to cope with them all.
It is not uncommon for children in a family not to want to be seen, or hang out with their siblings. In school many times the younger kids are shunned by the older kids. Many times a homeschooled family makes a much tighter family.
- When we started homeschooling our state universities said publically that they would not recognize home school diplomas. But by the time our kids graduated from high school that attitude had changed.
I met a lady on one job that had about five kids in the home. I asked her about that because it was a school day. She told me her husband was a professor at Oklahoma University (OU). He came home one day and told her: those homeschooled kids are polite, come to class on time, have their work done on time, are respectful and are really good students. He said you are going to teach ours at home. So the attitude has changed quite a bit.
- Homeschooling can give you free evenings because your kids get their work done during the day.
- You can also take vacations whenever you want, and teach the kids in the car or the hotel or wherever. It could even be a field trip!
- Another advantage of having your children with you all the time is immediate correction of inappropriate behavior. This won’t happen in a government school.
- Unless you decide to, there is no labeling in a homeschool. No one is labeled ADD or ADHD or any kind of special needs child. They are all students and they learn at different speeds and levels.
- In the 1970’s homeschooling was virtually nonexistent, but according to NHERI (National Home Education Research Institute) it has grown to about 2 million students per year. So you won’t be the only one. There are probably many people right around you doing the same thing.
- In most homeschools vaccinations are optional!
- You can teach your child to study on their own at a very early age, which will be a great benefit to them if they decide to go to college.
( I had a government school teacher tell me one time that high school students were not mature enough to study on their own, that they needed a professional teacher to be able to instruct them and help them through high school. I asked what switch the students had built into them so that the next year in college they were able to study on their own. I told her our kids learned to self study early on, and that really helped them when they went to college.)
- In a homeschool environment, you can individualize the curriculum and instruction to each child. Many children do much better with that kind of care than in a one size fits all class of 30 kids.
- You can pick your own curriculum.
- You can make your study Bible centered.
- You can have the kids do service work in homeless shelters, retirement centers, etc.
- They can experience real life situations.
Just remember that government schools are run by the same people that run the VA hospitals, the post office and that take care of the Indians only on a local level. And they are staffed by union members.
You as a parent, even without a college education can certainly do at least as well.
If you choose to homeschool, pray a lot and ask God to lead you, teach you, and guide you, pray for your children and for your spouses that make the money for you to stay home and have all the fun learning with your children.
These two blogs have hopefully shown that if you are interested in homeschooling, it is something that you can do, and that there are a great many advantages for you and your children if you choose this route.
Homeschooling is not the answer for everyone. But hopefully, this gives you some food for thought.
Thinking is part of the Prosperous Life.