Photo: The Sam Noble Museum
Photo: Eclectic Community of Homeschooling Opportunities
I have been to many different kinds of schools over the course of my life: public, Catholic, Montessori and, yes, homeschool. Over the years I have gotten used to the looks of surprise on people’s faces when I tell them I was homeschooled. Many times my peers have responded with something along the lines of “Oh, that’s awesome! Did you wear your pajamas all day?” or “How long did you get to sleep in?” They seemed to think that my curriculum was easy and that I played by my own rules when it came to how much work I did. Then there are others who think homeschooled children lack basic social skills and rarely leave their homes. But the truth of the matter is that a very small proportion of homeschool students fall under this categorization.
How Hard Do They Really Work?
There are often misconceptions when it comes to the nature of homeschooling. There are several different styles including online classes, homeschool groups, video courses and instruction by parents. These are not the only methods, just some of the frontrunners. What all these methods have in common is that they require time and work on the part of the student. While some homeschoolers elect to wear pajamas, that does not change the fact that they are working, learning and expanding their knowledge every day.
Personally, when I was homeschooled, I was up and moving by 8:30 and got dressed nearly every day. I had daily grammar, spelling and social studies lessons out of a workbook. I learned Latin through a video course and my mom taught me the other subjects.
There are many reasons why a parent elects to homeschool his or her child that are unrelated to social skills. A 2012 survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics revealed that 25% of parents who elected to homeschool their kids did so because they were concerned about the safety of traditional schools. 21% responded that they wanted to teach based on a certain religious or moral perspective and 19% expressed discontent with traditional school systems. Other reasons include wanting to spend more time with their family, giving their child an education tailored to his or her needs and accommodating busy schedules such as that of a high level athlete. I was homeschooled because private school became too expensive and my parents, like many in the survey, had concerns about safety and the level of education that takes place in public schools.
There is no right or wrong way to get an education. Learning takes many forms and while each one has its own reputation, it is important to look past what we think we already know in the hopes of accepting people for who they really are, and not who we presume them to be.