There are many myths about homeschool. Having been an actual participant in our own homeschool I have experience on both sides of the controversy. I never intended to homeschool. It happened out of a sincere desire to help my son who was drowning in the public education system. I’m ashamed to admit, I believed some of these homeschool myths. I blindly accepted them. Now that I am on the inside looking out, I’d like to share the truth I have discovered behind the lies. Dispelling one myth at a time, starting here.
Myth Number One: Homeschool Kids Are Not As Smart…
Wow! I never sincerely believed this one from the start, but a lot of people do. People tend to wonder if your average everyday person is capable of teaching at a level that experienced and highly trained professionals can and that is a fair question. Look at this more closely with me, will you?
Imagine sending your kid to school every day knowing that he was the number one priority of all the authorities responsible for giving him the best education possible. Imagine that not only do they offer him their full attention but they like him so much that they love him also. They teach with all the passion and enthusiasm they can muster because his excitement and engagement mean the world to them. There are not twenty something other students competing for the attention of the teacher so she has his interests at the front of every part of their day. She teaches lesson plans based on things that she knows he enjoys. Whether these things are wrestlers, his rock collection or even his favorite video games she incorporates them into his lessons to make sure his attention is hers. She is always right there ready to offer him one on one engagement when he needs it and at other times she is encouraging his independence when that is appropriate.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela
If he gets hung up on something she doesn’t leave him behind while she teaches to the other students who grasped the concept very easily. No, instead she finds more and more materials to offer him until she is sure that he has this. They try learning in many different ways. Whatever it takes. And then once he has mastered a concept, and only then, they move on. He will never be left behind or skipped over. In other cases when things come easily they need not wait for others to catch up, they leap forward triumphantly.
She uses regular curriculum as well as online courses and videos and documentaries. These sources are provided by the leaders in education and experts in individual fields of studies. Literally the whole world is here classroom and it is full of material. If something in the curriculum isn’t working she changes things up unafraid that another student may prefer the first collection. It is all about him. What is best for him? What works for him the most consistently? What small change would help him learn this and retain this best? What exactly does he need? She brings in games, art lessons, and hands-on experiments. She turns spelling word lists into knock-knock jokes because the sound of his laughter is contagious and it inspires her. They are having fun learning together. There are hard parts, but they discover everything hard can be conquered if you get creative. She encourages his creativity. His sense of humor is embraced.
An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but doesn’t teach them how to make a life. ~Author Unknown
She teaches him the regular lessons, but she also cares about his heart so she teaches him kindness and compassion. She teaches him that every life has value. She takes him out into the community and shows him how to give back. She teaches him that he is not the victim in his story but the helper and the hero. She shows him how he can change his part of the world, one person, one kind deed at a time.
She takes him from the school room out into the real world and they learn among trees and sitting before creeks. They climb mountains taking guided tours and learning about plants that are growing in front of them instead of a mere sketch in a book. They cook together. They fix things together. They ride bikes on lunch breaks and have picnics. They visit museums in the middle of the week when all is quiet and the staff is eager to teach. They travel through time visiting historic sites and really getting a true feeling for how things once were. History comes alive in a very literal way. They may not be sitting still at a desk. No, they are frequently in motion but they are learning. Even better they have developed a love of learning. One that will stay with the child.
He learns every day in this environment. After school, he still plays with his friends. He does not have homework anymore so he has more time to get outside and be with his buddies or climb those trees or visit his neighbors. He is not socially awkward but instead confident, well-spoken and kind. These are lessons he has practiced and learned.
When he develops a passion for writing or computer science or marine biology they dive in and explore it with complete abandon. He directs a lot of his learning. After all, it is all about him and who he hopes to become. She encourages him, lifts him up, guides him and adores him as they go. She is not lazy or lax as many would have you believe but instead she is strong and determined and no one else in all of the world could have his back the way she does. There is no one else it matters to more that he gets the very best education possible.
Do you suppose learning in this environment produces kids that are not as smart as the rest? Absolutely not. I have seen my son flourish in this environment. Here at home, I have seen him leap over obstacles where he had struggled year after year in the public education system. He has advanced dramatically in every subject. Where he has issues, we work on them. We have fun while we are working. We do not stress out over test dates. We do not memorize things in an attempt to retain facts until the test on Friday but rather we learn in an attempt to keep these lessons and ideas forever. Learned not temporarily stored. There is a big difference. We do sometimes have school in our pajamas, but that is rare. We have structure. We have responsibility and we both have work to do. The most important work, some might say. Teaching and learning. It is about Math and Language Arts but is also about learning how to live. We do both. And this kid, well I may be partial but I have to say, I’m entirely confident that he is brilliant!
Home-schooled teens outperform their peers in college, studies suggest. Between deciphering college financial aid awards and settling into a shoe-box sized dorm room with a perfect stranger or two, making the move from high school to college can be a shock to the system for even the most put-together teenager.
Parents naturally want the best for their children, but figuring out exactly what is the best is often a process of trial and error. Ideally, you want to learn from the wisdom of others so that you can have more successes as a parent than failures.
What do you think? I’d love to have you chime in below.