What do you think are the greatest advantages of homeschooling?
I believe that the advantages of homeschooling are numerous. The one that speaks most to me is the advantage of academics. I can customize curriculum for each child. I can teach according to my value system, culture and language. I can give my children more individual attention than they would receive anywhere else because the teacher student ratio is set by me, not by the government’s budget. I know that my children are receiving the highest quality education possible because it is my responsibility. If they don’t know something, don’t know how to figure something out, or are lacking anything, it is my fault. I devote my time to creating an experience called “Life” that is both unforgettable and educationally stimulating. I have the opportunity to teach my children according to my philosophy of education. I strongly believe that we have to teach children the basics of life and learning (reading, math, science, writing, etc.) Once they have mastered the concept of learning how to learn, I can scaffold back my control of how we learn and what we learn. For me that means that I am the greatest advocate for my child. I research and dedicate resources to enrich their learning. It is my full time job, and I love it. I have so much control; therefore I am able to give away even more control to my kids when they are ready for it. They can control what they learn and when they learn it.
There are many other advantages of homeschooling as well. Honestly, homeschooling has the advantage of socialization. I’ve run a playgroup for 2.5 years now and there is always something exciting happening that we can be a part of. Homeschooling as my boys grow older will simply follow the same pattern that getting out and playing, working, and learning with our friends in our playgroup has been for the last few years. They will be exposed to a much broader group of people. Instructors can be more diverse than anything offered through any school, and we can meet new friends from all walks of life, countries and languages instead of just the kids that live within a 1 mile radius of our home.
Flexibility is another advantage. I love to create, I love to experience, I love to learn, and I have the flexibility to do all of those things in a manner that works for us. The schedule is flexible, the curriculum is flexible, the hours are flexible, and the days are even flexible. Snow day? Sure! Too hot mid-summer to do anything but schooling inside an air-conditioned museum or library? Sure!
I could talk forever about the advantages of homeschooling. Mostly it comes down to love. I love my children and highly value their education. I know that homeschooling is right for us.
What advice would you give to a mom who is considering homeschooling her child?
You know your child. You know their ins and their outs. You know their strengths and their weaknesses. Consider your own strengths and weaknesses and how much you are dedicated to their learning. You have the opportunity to take the most active role in your child’s education. If your children and their education is your top priority, you will succeed. Consider everything you are doing for, and with, your child in your daily life right now. If you are exposing them to different types of lessons (music, swim, horsemanship), different experiences that get you talking such as at a museum or park, or to different types of cultures, you are already homeschooling. There is always the opportunity to make connections with other homeschooling families who can give you advice along the way. Homeschooling is accepting that you are a parent educator who may not have the school year mapped out through your child’s high school career but you do have the drive to make a difference for your child. There are so many resources, and many groups. I have an education background and am willing, like many others, to share my thoughts, opinions and advice. It takes a village to raise a child. Wouldn’t you love to create the village with all the people you look up too that can be examples for your children instead of sending them to a village that you don’t have much control over?
What’s one homeschooling challenge you’ve faced, and what solutions did you find?
The challenge that I’m always seeming to face is people questioning why I’m homeschooling and how I could possibly do a better job than the public system. The best solution is educating those with questions. If you find yourself in this situation, it is best if you’ve already thought through your reasoning. For myself? I’ve been in the public system as a teacher and had both positive, forward-thinking colleagues and negative experiences with administrators that had outdated beliefs. Public schools are a hit and miss when it comes to quality. If you find a fantastic school, what is the chance that it will stay fantastic for all the years your child is there? With budget cuts and excessive standards, the public system is becoming more and more strained. More recess is being cut, students aren’t allowed to talk in some cafeterias, how could that possibly be better than what I can provide them? There are good schools out there. I want to know that my children will always be receiving the best education possible, and who better to provide it than me? Educating others about the many advantages of homeschooling benefits my family and theirs.