The summer between fifth and sixth grade, my parents decided to pull me out of the county school system and homeschool me. Their reasons were varied and don’t apply to this post, but I am glad they did. Homeschooling was extremely, extremely beneficial to me as a person and my education. As I look back on it, deciding to homeschool me was one of the best things my parents ever did for me and here’s why.
It’s pretty much a universally accepted fact that all children learn at different paces; not only that, but people learn different subjects at different paces. Homeschooling allowed me to have the freedom to do just that. It allowed me to do two years of math in one, and then spend four hours a day trudging through Algebra II in my sophomore year. It allowed me to spend less time on English, a topic that I took naturally to but had no interest in, and more time on Chemistry and History. It let me spend my summer doing General Science II, something that isn’t required in high school, so that I could better understand Biology.
If I had been in public school, I would have been forced to keep up with the rest of the class. That means, I would have been forced to sit through my classes bored because I already understood all the material, and in others be forced to struggle through, a step behind everyone else. Homeschooling gave me the freedom to learn as quickly or as slowly as I needed so that I could thoroughly understand the content.
2) Homeschooling taught me that everyone has their strong suit, and that’s OKAY.
The reality of homeschooling is that sooner or later the student is going to reach material that the parents just simply can’t help with for whatever reason. When I needed it, my dad could help with Biology and General Science and my mom could help with most math and basic English, but there were other things I needed help with. At that point, they sent me to people who they knew could help me. For Chemistry and science labs, it was a wonderful lady at my homeschool co-op and when it came to writing college-level papers they sent me to a family friend who just so happens to be a brilliant instructor.
Homeschooling allowed me to realize that the phrase “A jack of all trades is a master of none” is very true, and that’s a wonderful thing. We all have things that we are better at than others. The important thing is to know what those things are, and use that knowledge to help you learn the other subjects as well.
3) Homeschooling let me focus on the things that interested me.
The great thing about homeschooling is that it looks different for every family and every child. So that means that I was also able to focus on the things that really interested me. I’m really interested in Agriculture, so I got to spend time with my goats and chickens and at the Experimental Farm at Kentucky State University. We were also able to work my love of classic literature in to my curriculum. Let’s just say that, I got to the point where I was on first name basis with the librarians.
(Obligatory photo of my goats)
4) Homeschooling taught me to appreciate diversity.
People have this silly idea that the homeschool world is a world free of diversity. For some reason, people think that every homeschool family is characterized by a sixteen passenger van with pro-life bumper stickers on the back. When I hear that I want to laugh out loud. Yes, there are some families like that, but every homeschool family is different. Every family has a different method of homeschooling, and some have different methods for each child. Not only that, but each family has a different belief set, a different family dynamic, and a different set of opinions. This is a wonderful, wonderful thing! Differences are something to be appreciated not feared. Homeschooling helped me realize this.
5) Homeschooling taught me personal responsibility, self-discipline, and accountability.
Everyone homeschools differently because everyone has different learning styles (see #1). For me, my parents decided that the way I learned best was on my own. Every week they gave me a syllabus with everything that I need to get done on it. It was my responsibility to get my work done. My parents didn’t hold my hand, and they didn’t except excuses. I had one job and that was to get my work done during that week. Obviously, you can see how this would quickly teach me responsibility, self-discipline, and accountability. I can’t say that I was perfect at getting all my schoolwork done every week, but I can say it definitely helped build my character.
6) Homeschooling taught me to make friendships that last.
While my parents were deciding to homeschool me people kept asking the same question: “What are you going to do about socialization?” I HATE this question with a burning passion. Dogs are socialized. Children are taught to make friends. Also, why do people just assume that “socialization” just naturally occurs in public school. As if being forced to spend eight hours of every day with people who are your own age creates lasting friendships.
I won’t lie to you and say that it’s easy for me to fall in to friendships; instead, I have had to work for my friendships. Friendships that are worked for are better, in my opinion, than friendships that develop by default. Truth be told, all a person really needs in life is a good homeschool co-op and a wonderful youth group.
7) Homeschooling prepared me for college.
During my first semester of college, I’ve seen my public school counterparts struggle to adapt to college life. They can’t handle the freedom, the self-discipline, and the lack of hand holding. These are all things with which I’m very used to dealing. My friends have had to deal with what I call “academic shock” and I really haven’t. I attribute this to homeschooling. Going in I was prepared to deal with the syllabi, the freedom, and self-discipline. Because of this I’ve had almost no problems in college so far. In all honesty, I’ve found college to be just like homeschool except with more people.
8) Homeschooling gave me freedom to do unusual things.
Since I wasn’t sitting in a classroom for eight hours a day, I had the freedom to pretty much do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted (as long as I was able to get my schoolwork done, of course). That meant that I had the freedom to take a 6:30 am Bible Study class, babysit on Wednesday afternoons, go hunting with my dad, get a job to earn money to go to Mexico, and countless other things. Very rarely did I ever sit at home and just “do school”. In fact, I was almost never home.
(That job earning money to go to Mexico was very, very worth it.)
9) Homeschooling taught me to think outside the box.
All that freedom gave me a unique perspective on the world and because of that I was able think in a different way. Not only that, but avoiding standardized tests and not having to compare myself to my classmates really contributed as well. I learned that sometimes the best way to find the best solution to a problem was to come at it in an unconventional manner.
10) Homeschooling helped me find something after “The Wall”.
“The Wall”, as I term it, is the thing all homeschool parents dread. It is the moment they realize that their children have gone as far as they are going to be able to go at home. For some parents, they find harder, more video based curriculum, or they put them in public or private schools, or they look for dual credit programs at local universities. All of these things are wonderful options, but for me they just weren’t right. Homeschooling gave me confidence to find something after I hit “The Wall” in tenth grade. Thanks to all the skills I gained through homeschooling I was able to be accepted into the Craft Academy at Morehead State, a dual credit residential high school program. All in all, homeschooling has helped propel me further than I have thought that I would go.
Love and Happy Reading,