by Ann Zeise
At first I thought I’d comment on this article in ehow by Brittney Horwitz, but thought I’d respond to her here instead. The link to her article is at the end.
Her first concern is that your homeschool student won’t have a social life, and that somehow the social skills learned in a school environment are important. I think many of us homeschool families would say we are homeschooling because the social experience, let alone the academic experience, in our local schools were so bad, that the socialization problems with homeschooling seemed unimportant.
Homeschooled kids are seldom stuck all day with kids their same age. Having friends of all ages better prepares a young person for real adult life, which is almost never confined to ones age peers. Not only do homeschooled kids do things with homeschool groups, but they also are likely to be involved with other groups and organizations in their communities. As for not having friends to relax with, we usually had tons of kids over after school, as their parents were working and our house was a kid-friendly house with an adult, me, supervising. They’d get their homework done, and then swim, play video games, make pizza, or go to the park for a ball game.
Brittney seems to think that homeschooling parents have to develop a curriculum all on their own. Those who need a lesson plan can find them free on the internet or buy them from a homeschool program. Those who want to be more child-oriented can develop casual plans along with their children to learn the skills a child needs to fulfill their own goals.
Brittney also claims that their are national requirements, but those the federal department of education puts out are for those programs that get federal funding, which homeschool families do not get.
Yes, being a homeschool parent does mean you have to be involved with your child’s education, but you get to be involved with the fun stuff, and not the one of being the enforcer of doing dumb homework assignments during evening hours when there are better things to be doing with your family.
Is homeschooling a full-time, unpaid job? Well, as much as parenting is. As home education is very efficient, most parent supervised education can be done in about 2-3 hours, and during the 2-3 hours of your choice, which might well be evening hours after work. Many a homeschool mom has taken her professional skills and turned those skills into a home business, often with homeschool families as their clients. I’ve known those who were CPAs, lawyers, band managers, professional actors, educators at all levels, you name it, someone has turned their skills into a homeschool business. I took the marketing skills I had learned working at Apple and turned that into a business marketing homeschooling.
What about paying for the “stuff” you use for educating? Well, first do an overview of all the stuff you had to pay for when your child attended school. I remember having to spend a good deal on a list of supplies and then handing them over for the whole class to use, even though my daughter needed special left-handed scissors. In homeschooling you can buy the quality of supplies your child needs and that you can afford. Homeschooling can cost just as much or as little as you can afford. The only curriculum that costs too much is the curriculum that isn’t used. You can borrow lots of books, videos, games, and other items at the public library, or buy used online. There are many great free resources online, too.
What about time for yourself? Time to work on your art or skills, or just take a nap? Believe it or not, your kids will also want downtime from you! You could do some co-operative homeschooling, with your kids going to their friends’ house maybe one day a week, and one day a week their kids come to yours. EAch mom teaches the whole group about what she knows best. That way each mom knows she has one day for getting a haircut or going to the dentist or painting all day if that’s what she wants to do. No one is saying you can’t hire a sitter and get out when you need to.
Homeschooling usually causes less tension in a normally healthy family. Bad days at school used to bring our children home angry and disheartened. Homeschooling we could adjust to our own comfort levels. For example, our son had taught himself to keyboard at a young age, but he was not allowed to type his homework in 2nd grade at school. At home he could type to his heart’s content, and probably got far more done, and done neatly, than he would have writing it all out longhand. Also, when homeschooling, the little things that cause tension at school, such as needing to go to the bathroom, or needing a drink of water or a snack, did not turn into huge disruptions. Like normal human beings, we took care of what we needed, and got back on task.
As I get older I have come to the conclusion I don’t much like the way anyone else raises their children, and would probably have done things differently myself — started homeschooling from the get-go. But I strongly feel that parenting is an amateur sport and should stay that way. Learning how to gracefully confront busy-bodies is something we all have to learn at some point in our lives. A friend of mine had a list that went like this: “Oh, really!” “You do say!” “Everybody does it?” “Everybody has one?” “They do it how often?” “What happens next?” and so on in that vein.
So we homeschoolers tend to get our own list going for answering such busy bodies as Brittney Horwitz.
“Oh, really? No social life? I’d love to talk more but I’ve got soccer practice now.”
“No, my mom and dad don’t develop curriculum. I pretty much spend my time writing my novel, preparing for my next concert, practicing for the Nationals, saving the wolves, etc.”
“What? You don’t budget and save for the things that you find important? That’s how we manage.”
“Actually, my parents are pretty cool. We have such a good time together!”
“Can my mom homeschool you, too? Well, I don’t know. Can’t your mom homeschool you, then we could do it together some of the time!”
Written as a reaction to Why Homeschooling is Bad by Brittney Horwitz, eHow Contributor.
By Ann Zeise