People are talking about homeschooling quite a lot these days. Not sure if it is more than usual or if I am more hyper-sensitive to the subject now that we are a homeschooling family. Nonetheless, people have a distorted and often times, misunderstood view of what homeschooling is all about. I must admit that before I started homeschooling two years ago, I totally couldn't relate and held onto some these perceptions regarding homeschooling.
I thought that those kids that were homeschooled were less socialized and unable to function in society. Don't get me wrong, there are those kids in the homeschool world but the same goes for the those that attend tradition, brick and mortar schools too. Bottom line, a kid's personality has nothing to do where he/she is educated. Awkward, quiet kids will still exist right along side those out-going, confident types in any situation. I see it in church, at the park, and organized and unorganized functions. But, I can honestly say that in my experience, my kiddo has become more comfortable talking and interacting with people of all ages and levels not just those in his grade now that he homeschooled. In addition, he has friends of all ages and not just those in his grade or peer group.
I thought that those poor homeschool kids don't get to do all the fun stuff that their peers "at school" did, like field trips, computer class, art, music. In reality, my kiddo has gotten more exposure in those areas and many more choices that aren't even offered in the standard school format! He has blossomed in his two years at home. He has had the opportunity to take "normal" field trips and sit right alongside his tradition school peers in the same venue. So, in essence he hasn't missed a thing!!
I thought there was a uniform approach to homeschooling. In that same manner, I thought they were the folks that churned their own butter, made their own clothes and were very, very conservative. That is not necessarily the case. I have met homeschool families from many different backgrounds, approaches, ethnic and socio-economic levels. There is not one set "type" of family that chooses to homeschool. I've seen families with very conservative dress and values standing alongside the tattoo-pierced bunch with no conflict. Diversity is an added bonus to homeschooling. It's not just the kids that exposed to it but their families too!
I honestly thought there is no way I can teach my son because I was not a teacher and certainly lacked the patience for teaching. To be fair, the patience aspect is still an issue that I am working on but the teacher complaint doesn't really hold water. After all, who taught my child how to tie his shoes, say the alphabet, to use the potty, to spell his name, etc? The answer is me and my hubby. From the day, the nurse laid that tiny bundle in my arms, the classroom opened and his mind began to expand. I can't give up the teaching role just because he may go to a formal school, because once he comes home, the teaching continues with values, morals, expectations, and so on!
I have seen articles written by private school principals talking down about the virtues, merits and contributions of the homeschool and virtual school approaches. Just today, I saw a post on Facebook from a news personality asking about "unschooling" and the comments were not at all positive and to be honest, not even remotely correct. Also, I have heard of families being openly criticized by their own extended families for choosing to homeschool. People just don't understand that there is no right or wrong way to homeschool. They assume we are doing our children a disservice. But now as a full-fledged member of the homeschool community, I know it couldn't be further from the truth!!
It is very easy to judge until a person has actually walked in the shoes of another. So, we need to do our best to shed light and explain why we homeschool to others so that they too can change their perception of the homeschool process. As I tell my friends, homeschooling is not for everyone but for those of us that are called to do so, have an open mind and realize that our mold is not necessarily a one-size fits all approach to life or education. That's the beauty of homeschooling!! It's the freedom to do what works for your family!!
Join me on my journey at See Mom Homeschool!