Any advice for parents wanting to home school? I'm scared people are going to advise me of being a brain washing cultist.
I’ve been SOOO excited to answer this ask because I have so many good things to say about homeschooling! Actually, if I’m honest, I have absolutely nothing bad I can possibly think of. I was homeschooled all the way through 12th grade and there is nothing I would change. I will ALWAYS be grateful to my parents for devoting themselves to me in that way, and especially my mom for sticking with it - from the rocky years of highschool, to back when I was an elementary brat. Looking back, we agree it was worth any struggles tenfold.
The first thing you need to know is this: you will be ridiculed. At some point, somewhere, someone is going to criticize you. Whether it be your teaching, your abilities, your discipline, or your morals, the world is going to try and push you down. Therefore, you need to be confident, you need to know your motivation as to why you are doing this, and know that, as the parent, only you know what is best for your child.
A good way to kindly explain that to someone is to know the benefits of homeschooling. And the list is long!
— Homeschooling gives you the freedom to specifically tailor the curriculum to your child’s needs. Whether going slower or faster, you can go at a pace that is comfortable to you and your child. For example, division was a nightmare for me as a child, but I was reading at a 12th grade level by early grade school. Therefore my algebra was slow moving and required a lot of repetition, but I blew through English.
— Homeschool students as a whole score significantly higher on standardized testing, with the low range being 15-30% improvement, and typically score above the average collage admission test. All of this is regardless of the education level of the parents and any degree of formal they may have. You don’t need to be a certified teacher or have lofty degrees to teach your children effectively.
— Building off both the other points, I would argue that homeschooling leaves you over prepared for college. I briefly mentioned math is not my strongest suit. I thought, in going to college, that I would be behind, but I actually placed significantly higher than I thought I would. Socially, homeschoolers are generally more prepared as well, for as where public schoolers function primarily with their same age group, homeschoolers tend to be more accustomed to a variety of ages - from toddlers to senior citizens - and that can allow one to adapt well into different class, work, and social settings.
— For those with illnesses, physical or mental limitations, homeschooling’ flexibility is a definite asset, as it allows you to modify your schedule as needed, even on a day-by-day basis, and you don’t have the stress and pressure of missing school days - you can do the work when it is convenient for you.
— Homeschooling encourages enjoyable learning and self-motivation. I going to the aquarium and watching the school kids have to breeze through it in two or three hours. But for us homeschoolers, we could spend all day there, and we did! Why? Because I found it fascinating! I would read every brochure on the tropical fish, ask questions of the staff as I pet sharks and sting rays. Homeschooling doesn’t limit learning, it encourages exploration and deep thinking. You don’t have to rush through.
— Homeschooling encourages family bonding. Most the time, we all did school in the same room, either at the kitchen counter or consuming the kitchen table in books and papers. We would take a break from math and mom would read to us everything from history to science to fiction. Reading was a huge part of my homeschool life, and even now that I’ve long since graduated, my family still likes to read aloud together.
— It saves time. Where my public school friends were in school for eight hours a day and then spent several hours on homework, I got my school done in an average of four hours max. I would be done by noon, and the out climbing trees with my brother for the rest of the day. Learn about the world and then go live in it! I would have missed out on so much if I hadn’t been homeschooled.
— This next point is very important when you’re talking about “brain washing”. Public schools are growing increasingly more aggressive toward adverse opinions, any mention of God, and in many cases are implementing revisionist history. Not even biology is taught correctly anymore with this distorted view of sexuality. Homeschooling allows multiple view points to be explored and allows for deep research into why such a point is incorrect, what actually happened historically, ect. Public schools expect things to be taken at face value too much of the time. Homeschooling promotes critical thinking and exploration. You don’t just slam the door on counter views, you talk about them and discuss it. Additionally, homeschooling is not just for the religious. There are many people, including atheists, that homeschool simply because they recognize the benefits to their lifestyle and, most importantly, their child.
— Homeschooling protects your child. We have all heard people talk about how “sheltered” homeschoolers are. The only thing I was ever sheltered from was bullying, profanity, sexual jokes and harassment, violence, and peer pressure. I had many social circles and events (the joke among homeschoolers is often that they’re never home), but it was always in a positive environment. I would have been so much more insecure if I had had to face the things all my public school friends did, but instead I grew up knowing I could be confident in who I was. On the same note, it is important to make sure your child has a healthy amount of social interaction. Awana, youth group, various clubs, sports, are just a few ways you can make sure your child is active.
— Homeschooling saves money. Both within your home, and in regard to tax dollars spent toward public schools. There are great monetary and economical benefits to homeschooling.
— Public schools are a fairly modern development. For thousands of years the bulk of one’s early learning was done at home or in a relatively small school where you still received that one-on-one instruction - very similar to homeschooling. The norm was not 30-40 kids with one teacher. It wasn’t the massed produced learning you see today.
Now a few more things before we go…
There is a HUGE array of curriculum out there, you can pick and choose from a virtually endless myriad of resources. Find what works for your child. Know that often what works for child #1 does not work for child #2. I went through three math books until I found what really worked for me. Don’t be afraid to try different things. (And also look for homeschool book sales to buy at! You can save lots by buying used)
FIND A SUPPORT GROUP. This is HUGE for you as a parent because when challenges arise, and I PROMISE you they will, you are going to want someplace to look for solid advice. A network of good friends, co-ops, homeschool church groups, homeschool academies - whatever it is, find a group of homeschoolers near you where you can ask questions, present your challenges, and get positive feedback. More so than that though, you need encouragement. The best people to give that to you are people who have been in the same spot.
Know your legal rights as a homeschooler. I would highly advice checking out the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). They have fantastic resources on a general basis, but it is really important to know your rights as a homeschooling parent. At the very minimum, check out the state requirements and know what you’re obligated to do. When I was homeschooled, I didn’t need to take hardly any standardized tests, but there were a lot of people saying I needed to. So even small things like that are really important to know (it saved me a lot of anxiety).
Homeschooling isn’t always easy, but I promise you that the rewards far outweigh the cost. It is worth every moment. There are few ways better than this to show your child just how very much you love them.
Last thing! I came across this nifty page with all sorts of facts and statistics on homeschooling that is an easy and enlightening read [x] and a quick shout out to my many friends that brainstormed with me on this (readers, I hope you know you’re getting the best advice out there thanks to them! ^^ )