For the next I-don’t-know-how-long, I am going to be posting at least one article a week (aiming for Fridays) about homeschooling. Let me be frank (but you’d better call me Emily!): I am hoping to get some wannabe homeschoolers or beginning homeschoolers to click on some of these articles. I am hoping that some of them start following my blog.
And that most of them will eventually purchase my math curriculum, and/or my reading program.
And when I actually start publishing my works, I shall return to these blog posts and blatantly promote them. The curricula, I mean, not the blog posts.
I’ll shut up now. About my ulterior motive for writing this series, I mean. (To make money. Hee hee hee! Yes, I am one of those EVIL bloggers who thinks she has the right to MAKE MONEY FROM HER BLOG.)
Okay, I’ll really shut up now. About that.
Three reasons you shouldn’t homeschool
Even the best things have disadvantages as well as advantages. So let me start by pointing out three huge reasons you may not want to homeschool.
#1. You cannot afford the mini-mansion you just bought, as well as to pay a cleaning lady and lawn maintenance crew to take care of it, unless both you and your spouse work.
#2. You want your kids to learn what a miserably, cold, hard world it is and how mean people are. No better place to do that than in a school!
#3. If you have to homeschool, you’ll have trouble fitting in a weekly pedicure.
All sarcasm and dry humor aside, I know that in certain situations, public schools can be an absolute blessing. I once heard a podcast episode about a family that had five or six children. All were homeschooled, except one. He was autistic with Down’s Syndrome. To paraphrase the father, they sent him to special education classes at the local public school because they wanted the mother to keep her sanity.
I also understand that a few couples are genuinely living as frugally as they can, yet with both of them working still struggle to make ends meet. I am not here to criticize them. I understand that life sometimes dishes out stuff we don’t see coming. And they are blessed that government schools exist to help them along.
However, most people who are either leery of homeschooling, or don’t want to homeschool, are not facing situations anything close to the magnitude of the two I just mentioned. Most people have the wrong idea, either about what a homeschool looks like, about their ability to be a homeschooling parent, or about the dynamics of a homeschooling family.
So if you are reading this because you are contemplating homeschooling your child/ren, pay close attention to the benefits of homeschooling I am about to list.
Advantages of homeschooling
#1. You can center the education around your children’s abilities and needs.
If your child isn’t understanding a certain concept, you can either go back over it several times until they do, or revisit it occasionally over the next few weeks, or completely drop it and wait a few months for their brain to mature into the particular concept.
On the other hand, if the child understands something right away, you can move on to the next thing.
If your child is a mover and a shaker, like mine, you can schedule several short lessons over the day instead of having him sit down for three hours straight. If your child is a late-bloomer, you can wait until she is eight or nine to start on the formal academics.
And so on.
#2. Homeschools are safe.
Safe from bullies, safe from drug pushers, safe from mentally ill teenagers with guns.
I need to put this out there: many children do not tell their parents that they are being bullied. Or sexually harassed. Do not assume that because they are doing well in school and seem generally happy that nothing is going amiss while they are at school. School teachers cannot keep an eye on twenty-five plus children all day long. And many kids have sneaky down to a science.
I know. I used to be a school teacher. Not to mention a student in a school.
#3: Homeschooling allows for flexibility in everyone’s schedule.
You can go on vacation whenever it is most convenient for your family, not just during the summer and holidays. If your children are early risers, they can get all their formal academics done in the morning and spend the afternoons, when they are more tired, engaged in less intense activities. And vice-versa for Night Owls.
You can schedule appointments whenever, without having to worry about who is going to be home for the children after school, without having to try to fit in visits to the pediatrician after three in the afternoon.
#4: Homeschooling parents develop deeper bonds with their children than non-homeschooling parents.
A few years ago, I had a friend – whose daughter was about a year and a half younger than our son – tell me that she was not going to homeschool because she thought her daughter would drive her crazy.
I understood. Our son has ADHD. And until he turned nine or so, I kept being tempted to send him off to school. But then a wonderful thing happened: he started to want to be with me. And I started to want to be with him. We got to know each other on a level that would not have been possible had I given in to that temptation. If I had decided to send him to school, all I would know about him is how crazy and obnoxious he would act at the end of the school day. I have no doubt our relationship would be strained, and one of us would end up eventually needing therapy.
I know a woman who is close to twenty years older than I who had the same experience with her children. While she did not homeschool them through high school, she testifies that she developed deep bonds with her children during the period that she did.
I believe that my friend missed out on a great opportunity to really get to know her child.
#5: Your child is not forced to become a robot.
A homeschooled student gets to eat, drink, and use the bathroom whenever she wants. If she’s not feeling well she can take a couple of hours or the rest of the day off.
(Gee, sound like homeschoolers might actually be healthier than schoolers, eh?)
During his free time, he can engage in whatever activities interest him, read whatever books he wants. He will also feel much more free to share his opinions and ideas and thinking processes than he will in a school situation.
Speaking of thinking…
#6: Homeschooled children usually are better thinkers than schooled children.
I don’t care how many Ivory Tower head-nods are given toward Bloom’s Taxonomy of Knowledge, nor how many principals demand that this Taxonomy show up in lesson plans. I don’t care how many cute logic puzzles a teacher does with her class. Public schools do a lousy job of teaching critical thinking.
Public schools exist to turn children into obedient young people who will become obedient employees.
Employees who think are dangerous. They upset the status quo. Worse, they might leave one day and start their own business and become competition. (Or, they might leave and write a book about the dark side of public schools.) Ooooo! We can’t let that happen now, can we?
#7: Homeschooled children have the opportunity to dig deeply.
No, I don’t mean bury themselves in a hole in the ground. I think the homeschooling parent is more likely to end up in jumping into said hole.
Okay, so that’s just me. I have bad days. Pray for me.
Anyway, what I mean is that when a homeschool is run correctly, at least half the day is wide open. That leaves a lot of time for a student to delve deep into a topic that interests her. Take our son, for example. He has been into animals since he was about two years old. Bu the age of eight or nine, he could tell you more about life science than your average schooled twelve-year-old because we had read him so many books on the subject!
There you go. Seven benefits of homeschooling. But I’ve probably missed a homeschooling advantage or two, so use your noggin and come up with some yourself.
And if you’re still on the fence about homeschooling after having read this entire article, please please please please PLEASE buy and read John Taylor Gatto’s book Dumbing Us Down.