I am thinking about homeschooling my 3 children, but I am getting a lot of negative attitude about it. Remarks like my children won’t be socialized, and it is really hard for parents to do. I know my children will be socialized, they have tons of friends, but is it as hard as everyone makes it sound?
My sympathy! I think anyone who has even thought seriously about homeschooling knows just how you feel! My thought on this is that some people may feel personally threatened by the idea of homeschooling, fearing that if it is a good idea, they may have to consider it seriously. When I tell others that I homeschool, the first thing that always comes out of the other person’s mouth is, “Oh, I could never do that!”. Then they continue with such comments: “I don’t have the patience” or “I’m not smart enough” or “My husband likes a clean house”, etc. As far as having patience goes, if we believe in lasting family relationships, just when were we intending to learn to be patient with the ones we love? Better now, than later, I think. As far as being smart enough, what better way to learn than by spending time with your own children, learning together? As far as housekeeping goes, what better way to teach your children life skills than work side by side with them?
I have done both—had my children in public school and homeschooled them—and I personally feel that homeschooling outweighs public school. Yes, it does take my time and energy, but I want to spend my time being with and teaching my precious children. That is my top priority—to raise my children uprightly—and homeschooling makes it easy to spend time with my children and pass on my values, and have fun together and become best friends. When my children went to public school, we had very separate lives. I lived my life and they lived theirs and seldom did our interests cross. When you homeschool, you share the same interests and enthusiasm. Whatever great literature book you are reading aloud, or art project you are working on becomes a fun thing that you share. Field trips, museum visits, and even choice of dinner foods seems to focus on what we are having fun studying at the moment. Vacations become the ultimate educational field trip! All the world becomes your school, and learning becomes a passion.
Just a note: the hardest combination of all is to have some kids in public school and some kids in homeschool. Public school schedules and calendars tend to dominate life. Mornings are a frantic rush out the door to catch the bus, gulping breakfast down before the departure. Kids comes home tired. Homework spills into the evenings, as do performances, Back to School Night, and more. Spring and fall vacations (the cheapest, least crowded, most weather pleasant times) are impossible. Homeschool is a lifestyle that is squelched by the public school calendar.
Socialization is something you have to attend to. When you birth children, you take responsibility for their lives: their education, their physical health, their social life, their religious training, etc. You can’t really shake those responsibilities. Public school can educate your children (although it does not teach them morals and values) and fulfill their need for being around other people (sometimes, as long as they make friends and avoid bullies). When you do not use public school, you have to provide opportunities to fill those needs. Belonging to a homeschool support group and making sure your children have opportunity a few times per week to play with friends, or attend a club or activity where they can be with friends, will do the trick. They will need homeschool friends, friends who share a similar lifestyle, so they have things in common. They can have public school friends, but they may feel left out of that public school scene, as that is generally what the kids talk about. As the years go on, your children will become different sort of people, more educated and better mannered generally, and they won’t feel as comfy with their public school friends, perhaps.
Homeschooling does take attention and work, but this is the kind of work: reading to your kids and playing phonics games with them and doing science experiments and going to the library and writing stories, and such. This really sounds more like “fun” than “work” to me. I love to be with my kids. I want to teach them that life is good and learning is fun and satisfying, and that great literature and fine books can open a whole new world to you. I am very interested in giving them Christian values and faith in God. For me, this is the most satisfying way to live and raise children!
Please come see my advice on Homeschooling: You Can Do It! . This is a series of simple assignments for the brand new homeschooler or wanna be homeschooler, to give you a taste of how fun homeschooling can be!
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