Homeschooling isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s really the earliest form of schooling, long before the classic “one-room schoolhouse.” But it’s taken on new life for a variety of reasons, from philosophical, to unease about school security, relocation, and any other reason that parents may decide homeschooling is a better option for their children than the public or parochial school systems.
For Rosemary, the change was a philosophical one.
Her daughter was in public school in first grade. They’d moved midyear and found they didn’t align with what the school had been teaching. She’d considered homeschooling leading up to this but was on the fence. When an early encounter with a school bully made the situation untenable, even if they could find a solution to the curriculum that bothered her so greatly.
A chance meeting at church and some trusted guidance led to her ultimately taking the leap of faith that it was the right move.
Once she made the decision and told her daughter, she literally jumped for joy.
Rosemary needed no more convincing she was doing the right thing.
In Thomas’ case, the pandemic was the catalyst.
“My son’s just in grade school, but he always struggled with ‘getting it.’ Then when they were all on Zoom during the pandemic, there was this great turnaround. His work improved and he was ‘plugged in.’ That’s when we knew we had to do something better for him to keep his momentum going. It was harder for me, honestly. I never had any inclination to teach. But to see him blossom like he has, it’s worth it.”
“The biggest upside for this is that I get to spend more time with my son, watching him learn and discover, always rising to the oddball challenges I set out to push him out of his comfort zone,” Thomas shares. “I think it’s helped him to relax about learning. He’s found some joy again. Above all, he’s learned that he can handle the pressure to succeed. That’s a tough lesson to learn while you’re still learning fractions.”
Choosing to home-school isn’t a casual decision. Self-reflection and self-doubt are the first stumbling blocks for a parent, especially one who wasn’t a great student themselves. There are the inevitable parenting decisions – “am I making the right choice for my child with this?” “Will my daughter be able to go to the prom?”
Luckily, parents of school age kids keep society child-focused.
“One of the biggest myths to overcome is that kids lose out on socialization,” explains Rosemary. This isn’t done in isolation. Homeschoolers participate in ‘normal’ school activities, including sports (in some districts) and, yes, the prom. Rosemary even helped change the policy in her district to allow home-schooled children to participate, as long as they’re following a comparable curriculum.
In fact, homeschooling offers some social advantages. With flexible schedules, they can use “school time” off-hours for things like bowling outings and other outside events during non-peak hours.
“The homeschooling community tends to be generous with their time and resources, whether it’s online or in person, Rosemary explains. “They take a cooperative approach. Swapping is very common.” Parents who might be experienced (or simply better) with certain subjects can be instructors for groups of children in “pods”. So if you’re a parent considering homeschooling your child yet dread trying to teach them math, it’s not a lost cause.
“Homeschoolers bend over backward to help people who are looking to get into homeschooling because they understand the challenges that come with starting.
“You’re homeschooling for life. Children learn to take more initiative, to be more resilient. They learn that there’s more than one way for things to be done. Homeschooling is a way that more of those individual gifts and talents can be cultivated. They get to learn early what their individual gifts and talents are with specialized learning situations to develop not only the skills but the character for stewarding those talents and gifts directly. It gives them an opportunity to discover at an earlier age what they were created to do.”
The goal is that we’re really home schooling for life. Since we can individualize their lessons, they can learn from a very early age what they love and are meant to do.