Homeschooling so often gets pinned with a bad reputation and is considered by many a poor educational choice. As a current college student who was homeschooled from kindergarten through fourth grade, I have quite the opposite opinion of it. For me, the four years that I was homeschooled were some of my most engaging and beneficial educational experiences. Not only did I learn a ton during those years, but I didn’t dread school and actually would purposefully wake up early to get an early start on my school day. After consistently hearing negative remarks about homeschooling or hearing people say “oh boy” as soon as I share that I was homeschooled, I decided it was time to share my arguments about the many benefits of homeschooling and why it was indeed the best the decision my parents made for me.
A common argument against homeschooling is the lack of social engagement and exposure to extra-curricular activities. This almost makes me laugh because the amount of activities I participated in as a homeschooler was practically insane. Whether it was for soccer practice, dance class, archery lessons, pottery/art lessons, or gym and swim, my mom was always rushing my sisters and I out the door to get somewhere on time. Compared to many people that attended public school all of their lives, I have a very wide variety of experience in terms of extra-curriculars. With the flexibility of my school schedule, I was able to dabble my foot in the waters of many different activities and therefore develop a better idea of what interested me and what activities I wanted to further pursue. Through these extra weekly classes, I was also able to gain social interaction and make lasting friends.
Let’s face it: kids don’t function well sitting still. There are a million things flashing through a child’s mind and their attention span can only be captured for a matter of seconds. Expecting to be able to successfully teach kindergarten children addition (which could be an article of its own) while they are sitting still at a desk for hours is absolutely preposterous. This leads us to yet another benefit of homeschooling: the change of scenery. Each day, my mom designated time to journaling and creative writing, where she would simply instruct us to go outside and find something to write about. Whether I was up in the branches of a maple tree or in the back pasture of our horse lot, this exercise made it easy for me to effortlessly channel my creativity. The adventure of finding something worth writing about or a cool nook in which to hide away, made journaling and writing begin to come naturally to me and this stress-free approach was what initially sparked my interest in writing. Furthermore, many students do not function at their best while cooped up in school because the overall atmosphere of school buildings often causes unnecessary stress and anxiety for them, making it more difficult to learn and participate. Homeschooling on the other hand allows students to work in the comfort of their own homes and alongside the familiar faces of family members.
Another more obvious benefit of homeschooling is the freedom in terms of curriculum. The education system is so strict and perfectly sequenced to a tee, that children today are learning exactly the same things in exactly the same way. Although the education is “for the children”, we still deny them the ability to choose subjects or material that interests them and force them to learn directly out of a textbook. Of course, there is plenty of school material that is crucial to the proper education of children, but allowing kids to have a say in what they learn about is equally important. For most of my homeschooling years, science was my favorite subject. After each section of material that we finished, my mom would simply ask me, “so what do you want to learn now?” and I would rush downstairs to search through the science books and find something that interested me. My mom would then proceed to present me with a project to learn the material, such as painting and arranging Styrofoam balls to represent the solar system or making a volcano model erupt. Not only was I presented with choices about what I wanted to learn, but this project-orientated method allowed me to interact with the subject matter first hand, therefore making each lesson enjoyable and lasting.
I could easily go on for pages and pages about the positive assets of homeschooling, but I think I should stop while I’m ahead, before losing my pen to the strong beliefs in my head. I understand that homeschooling is not for everyone and that there are many factors going into the decision on whether or not to homeschool one’s children. The common bad reputation that is associated with homeschooling most likely comes from the cases where a homeschooled student comes into the radar completely lacking an educational foundation. However, that is the fault of his or her parents and as a past homeschool student, I see the educational pathway as a wonderful opportunity and choice. Homeschooling may not be the right choice for every situation, but that does not make it a bad choice.