SmackDown: Would You Homeschool Your Kids?
Filed under: Opinions
I was Homeschooled, and So Are My Kids.by Crystal Paine
There is overwhelming evidence that the majority of home-schooled students are thriving -- they score high on standardized tests and also do well in college. These studies and statistics are impressive, but they are not why my husband and I have chosen to home school our children.
For us, the main reason is a religious one: We are Christians and believe the Bible is to be our basis for all of life and practice. Scripture speaks very clearly to the role of parents in the education of their children in Deuteronomy 6: 5-7:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."
It is hard for us to follow this Biblical mandate if we send our children to school to be instructed by others for the bulk of each week day.
Both my husband and I were home schooled and had very positive experiences, so this has also significantly impacted our decision to teach our children at home. I loved the immense amount of quality time home schooling afforded me to spend with my parents and the close relationships I developed with my siblings as a result of having them as my classmates.
Some people bring up the argument that home schooled students aren't socialized. I think that's one of the biggest myths on the planet. Think about it: When else in real life, but in a classroom setting, are you put into a situation where you are only interacting with people your own age?
Instead of growing up in a peer-based, age-segregated system, I learned to communicate and interact with people of every age -- from babies and toddlers to the elderly. In my opinion, that's true socialization.
Homeschooling has advanced so much in the last 20 years. While there used to be only a few textbook options available, there is now an almost-overwhelming plethora of curriculum available. For parents who feel apprehensive or unqualified, there are support groups, co-ops, distance learning opportunities, self-teaching computer programs, online tutors, local classes and more. The wealth of homeschooling resources available online and offline is almost limitless.
A classroom setting tends to encourage a one-size-fits-all conveyor belt education which caters to the lowest common denominator, whereas homeschooling provides the freedom for children to pursue opportunities tailored to their interests and gifts. For example, I was very interested in creative writing in high school. After completing a few grammar and writing courses, my parents encouraged me to start a bimonthly newsletter which eventually ended up with more than 200 subscribers from around the world.
For four years, I spent close to 40 hours per month on the newsletter, writing and editing articles, designing the layout, communicating with subscribers and printing and collating. Little could I have dreamed that this foray into publishing would lay the foundation for writing a blog read by hundreds of thousands of individuals across the globe.
I'm so thankful for the many wonderful real-life, hands-on opportunities that being home schooled provided me. And I'm excited to offer the same for my children, as well.
There's no denying that home schooling is a lot of work. It takes commitment; it takes perseverance; it requires a great deal of effort. But it's absolutely priceless to get to be right by my daughter's side as she learns to read and grasps each brand new concept.
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