Traditionally, society thinks of homeschoolers as “weird” or “unsocial”. Why is that?
I think because in the beginning, many people chose to homeschool to “protect” their children from exposure to people and ideas different from their own. The homeschool curriculum available was older and very traditional.
Since the invention and introduction of the internet, homeschooling has exploded. In fact, some states have a higher homeschooling enrollment population than a public school enrollment population. How can that be?
It’s because the world is at our fingertips. When I decided to homeschool my own children, it wasn’t to hide them away. It was because in rural America, your school choices are very limited. The best and brightest teachers aren’t at your disposal.
With online learning, the production of YouTube channels, DVDs, interactive textbooks, and multiple learning platforms; stellar education and amazing teachers are available to everyone.
My eldest son was home from college this past weekend. He told me that the best thing we did as parents was raise them with more exposure to the world and more social skills than most of his peers. He took online classes – such as history from a Lt Col. in the Air Force, Government from a lawyer, Foreign languages from native speakers, math from amazingly gifted teachers, and more. He went on mission trips to several countries with students across the United States. Every year our family vacations have centered around something educational – The Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam, Plymouth Rock and Salem, MA, Driving up Pike’s Peak and attending Cheyenne Frontier Days, etc.
Field trips are a huge part of our education plan. We spent an entire day at the state capitol watching a bill get introduced into committee. We have been to Indian burial grounds, all types of museums, swamp tours, NASA trips, multiple zoos and aquariums, LIGO science center, beaches, bayous, and barns.
Sports and extracurricular activities have abounded. Piano, guitar, fiddle, banjo, baseball, soccer, rodeo, sewing, welding, leather working, woodworking, forging, church youth groups, art classes, volunteering, and so much more!
Homeschooling has allowed my children to explore the world on a much larger scale than a classroom with the same people every day. They know how to order and pay for their own food at a restaurant, cook their own meals – both for themselves and others, make friends in any situation – even when they haven’t met anyone in the room, speak to people both younger and older than themselves, learn anything they are interested in, ask people for help, and help others.
Homeschooling for us is anything but staying at home. It is exploring the world, introducing new things, meeting new people, and having a great time becoming educated.
The biggest appreciation for homeschooling for me is that I have not missed my children’s childhood. We have learned and grown together. When it’s time for college, I know they are prepared. I know they can handle money, wash their own clothes, cook their own food, and hold themselves up in any conversation with any person they meet.
My second is leaving for college this fall, and he is prepared as well. He has already met his college rodeo teammates, is working all summer to save money for this fall, and is anxious to leave! And that’s a great thing! As parents, our job is to make good human beings who will be helpful and contribute to society. As a homeschooling mom, I know that I have done everything available to make that happen.
Only one more to go. Last round of high school, here we come!