So, if you remember my 2013 post I mentioned one of the things I was planning on posting about was *dun dun dun* SCHOOL-STUFF!
So, I decided to start out with… WHY home school? There are reasons to and not to home school. I personally love home-edjumication, and it works great for our family (and there are so many fun ways to say it!), but I have known one person who wished she wasn’t homeschooled. And I’ll get to that later. First…
Why I Like Homeschooling
I have been homeschooled my whole life. And though I only really have the stereotypes of a normal school to go on, I’m happy staying where I am. But what are my favorite parts of home education? First off, probably flexibility, followed by free time.
What do I mean by flexibility? I mean the fact that we rarely stay with a math book/system for more than one year. Why? Because we keep trying new things: each one works for a while then we get bored with it, or it gets too hard, or we find something new and more interesting. Currently we’re doing a Charlotte Mason system which includes a lot — a LOT — of reading. Which for me — being a book-addict — is great.
But what if your kids aren’t really into reading? Well, there are tons of other methods to try, such as unschooling, text-book, eclectic, and many more. Seriously, if you wrote about all the different ways to homeschool, and then put all those papers on a scale, it would probably be a ton. Anyway, most are rather roughly defined. To make them even more confusing, they can overlap so that, for instance, we COULD fall into a few different categories.
Overall, it’s like hiring a tutor for your kid like people use to do, only instead of hiring a tutor, YOU are the tutor. And the advantage is the same, only more (you don’t have to pay anyone :P). You can fit the schedule to whatever works for you and your kid(s), because some people like one learning style, and other people like others. And if you find a learning style that works for you, school will go much more smoothly. A classroom environment just isn’t capable of doing that: half the kids might be fine with the way the teacher teaches and flourish, while the other half get confused, and teachers just don’t have the ability to cater to each individual child.
But enough about that. I also mentioned free time. Here’s what I mean: on a good day, I wake up around 8-9 and have most of my school done by 1, and what I don’t is all independent reading that is easy to do in bed at night. I then have the rest of the day to drink coffee, free read, practice programming, watch YouTube, play violin, or whatever I may feel like doing. Granted, sometimes it’s hard to time manage and get done what I need to, but I still have the free time to use as I wish (for the most part).
Those are my favorite things about homeschooling, now for…
Some Cons of Homeschooling
Now I’m probably not the best person to ask about cons. Personally there’s nothing I really dislike about homeschooling. But I know a couple of reasons people might not like home-ejucation.
The biggest problem I hear is “I couldn’t teach everything.” I mean, not very many people are even OK at all the subjects, and trying to teach something you don’t fully understand yourself is a scary idea.
Another is the fear that homeschooling’s not social enough, especially if you live out in the country like me. Of course there are often siblings to play with, but if you have an only child, or the closest sibling is five years older, that may not work as well. And your child probably won’t get as much contact with school friends, at least not during the school year, which I believe is why my one friend disliked it.
And then, of course, there’s the problem of both parents working and the child(ren) being too young to stay home alone.
First off, let’s point out why some of those aren’t really a problem.
1. “I couldn’t teach everything!”
REST YOUR FEARS. Why? Because the fact you’re reading this tells me you have the single most important tool for making sure your child learns everything. *dramatic pause*
That’s right. If you have the internet your problems in that quarter will be largely solved. Why? Because there are all sorts of online things that are FREE and can teach subjects for you. Khan Academy, AoPS, etc. Plus plenty of places to get ideas from.
Still not sure? Besides the internet there’s always the handy-dandy *another dramatic pause* LIBRARY.
If you have the internet and are reading this, you probably also have a library. Libraries are a great source of educational books, and you don’t have to pay (unless you return them late, but that’s your own fault) and libraries are especially good for trying out books you aren’t sure you want to buy, but that sound interesting.
2. “Not social enough.”
Now I’m not really a social bunny (though I’m pretty sure my Chinese zodiac animal is the rabbit†… Hmm), so this has never been a problem for me. But here are a few ideas:
Co-ops and similar home school groups: ask around, you probably have one in your nearest city, and if you don’t, you could always try starting one!
School’s extracurricular activities: just because you don’t send your kids to the school’s math class, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get them involved with their extracurricular activities such as sports, bands, etc. I don’t know too much about this, but I have friends who do football and such. Plus, if your kid’s school friends also do the activity, it’s two birds with one stone. Or something like that.
And outside the school there are 4H, boy/girl scouts, church activities, dance/play groups, math competitions, and other such things that you can pick between, depending on your child’s interests (and some of these even help with teaching everything). Even if you don’t know about any activities, asking around is always a good — even great — plan. And if you feel awkward… well, you’re the one who wanted your kids to be more social, and who better to set the example than you :D.
3. “No parents at home.”
Okay, this one I admit doesn’t have an easy fix. One does not simply walk into Mordor— er, leave kids at home. Same difference, right? *cough cough*.
But seriously, this just isn’t going work. Of course, this depends a lot on the kids and how long the time is that they’ll be alone. If it’s a short time, you may be able to work out something with a friend, and if it’s a mature kid than you can probably trust them not to do anything too drastic.
But sometimes things just doesn’t work out, and I really got nothing.
But if the kid is older, then (s)he can probably be left home alone for a while, assuming you trust them not to get distracted by video games or whatever. I mean, depending how you work out your system, you might be amazed how much they can get done on school alone.
But whether you leave your kid home or not is very touch and go, much like what system of schooling you use. And if you’re still interested in homeschooling, you might wait till your child is old enough to be home alone.
In Other News
There are many other reasons to do (and not to do, I suppose…. :L) home-edjumication. But I think I’ve gone over some of the bigger pros/cons of homeschooling. And like with the social activities, talking to people you know who homeschool can be very helpful in the decision process — just remember you don’t have to homeschool the way they do. Now, until next time, *flourish and bow*.
†Actually, we looked it up: my zodiac is a tiger (silly Chinese new year ;P). Guess that’s why I love cats so much.