It’s school time again.
What this meant to me as a homeschooling mom was organizing an attendance sheet (Yes. I kept an attendance sheet to make sure that we had the requisite number of school days.) and writing down my lesson plans (Yes. I had lesson plans.)
It also meant setting up two folding tables in the dining room to use as desks and enrolling the kids in science labs at the Omniplex and then in physical activities at the Y for the physical education class.
We usually topped off the first day of class by going to a movie together in the afternoon. Since we were a one-income family and totally broke, we went to the dollar movie. I sneaked sodas into the theater in my large handbag and we shared a single bag of popcorn.
We also did some sort of field trip every week or so. The zoo was a favorite. In the cold months, it was often the Omniplex. We could buy an annual membership of both for $50 that allowed the whole family to go as many times as we wanted without extra charge.
Homeschooling is hard work for mom. Holding down a job is a lot easier. But then, you’re building people. You are investing years of your life’s capital in your children.
I did it. It was the best investment I ever made.
Here, are five reasons I think most parents should consider homeschooling.
1. Socialization. Every home-schooling mom knows this word. It is flung at us as a question. What about socialization? we are asked.
In truth, there is no accurate way to answer that question except with another question: What do you mean by socialization?
If, by “socialization,” you mean interaction with other children and free play time, homeschooling has it all over the public and private schools. Unlike kids in public schools, homeschooled kids actually get free play time. Free play time is critical to blowing off steam so they can learn without Ritalin. It forms skills, including social skills. Free play time also develops their whole personalities, including their creative, thinking powers.
If, on the other hand, you mean being subjected to the brainwashing our schools have come to specialize in, nope. They don’t get it.
As for interaction with other kids, there’s plenty of that in homeschooling. The difference is the kids they’re interacting with. Instead of spending their days with the messed up kids from the messed up homes that our society has come to see as the new normal, homeschooled kids spend their days with other homeschoolers, who are, by and large, from intact families and stable homes.
Plus — and this is critical — they spend a lot more time with their own parents, which gives them an emotional security that kids who are shipped around all their days will never have.
All in all, socialization is one of the best reasons to homeschool your kids.
2. Education. I first heard about the stunning educational effectiveness of homeschooling when I was on the board of regents of a college here in Oklahoma. The college president told the board that he was surprised to report that homeschooled kids were trouncing kids from public schools academically.
Not only that, but homeschooled kids didnt have the crippling behavioral problems that kids from the public schools exhibited. They were poised, sure of themselves, organized and they showed up for class ready to work. Both he and the faculty were surprised by this. It was a reality that flew in the face of all their previous suppositions. So, they were surprised. But they shouldn’t have been.
Homeschooling gives kids the chance to learn at their own pace. If a child is good at math, they can move quickly. If they struggle at math, they can slow down and work it through until they really learn it.
Homeschooling gives kids a one-on-one learning experience. Teacher mom is going to keep working with them on a knotty point until they understand and absorb it. There’s no going on and leaving them confused and lost because the rest of the group understands.
Homeschooling kids never end up in the dummy group. They are not subjected to bullying. They learn early that if they dig in and get their work done, they can go play. There is no sitting at their desk bored out of their gourd while the slower kids get finished.
Homeschooled kids can follow their interests. My youngest son loved chess. So, we joined the homeschool chess club. When the club entered its members in the statewide Chess tournament, my son went.
I have terrible handwriting. Somehow or other, the judges decided (I guess they didn’t look at the kid. Either that, or they were trying to punish him for being homeschooled.) that the number 4 I wrote on his entry card was a 9. So, they put my little fourth grader in competition with public school and private school 9th graders.
If this was an attempt to punish him for being homeschooled, it failed. Big time. He won the tournament and brought home the first place trophy. He beat them all.
The point? Homeschooling lets kids grow in directions that factory schools don’t.
3. Sexual harassment, twisted sex ed. If you have a daughter, this should be a big point. Based on what I heard from my constituents, sexual harassment of girls in our public schools is close to being pro forma. This is actually supported by sex ed classes that push kids toward sexual activity at a too-young age. Your daughter has a much better chance of growing up to be a strong, independent young woman if she can skip this abuse during her formative years.4. Religious freedom. Your kids can pray in homeschool. They can also read the Bible, talk about God and and express their feelings on issues of faith — all without fear of being hounded and trounced by lawyer-laden adults with agendas.
I read Hurlbut’s Bible stories aloud to my kids at the beginning of our school day for our first two years of homeschooling. My mother had this old book from her childhood and I read it on my own when I was little. I advise it to anyone, whether they are Catholic or Protestant.
We read The One-Year Bible for Kids the next year. We took turns reading different portions aloud.
After reading the Bible, we prayed together.
We also read a lot of other books on religious topics. Usually, I read them aloud to the kids, because they contained ideas that I wanted us to talk about. We’d read and then discuss.
5. Exploration. Homeschooled kids have the opportunity to noodle with ideas until they grok them. I remember when we were doing baby physics.
Things don’t fall, I told them. Gravity pulls. I dropped a wadded-up piece of paper and a can of beans on the carpet. When they hit at the same time, both kids were a bit gobsmacked. I did it again. They were still confused. So, I flattened out the paper and dropped it and the beans again. When the paper drifted down and hit later than the can of beans, the oldest boy “got” it.
But the youngest did not believe it. He would not accept it. He spent the afternoon, dropping all sorts of objects, looking for a “proof” that Mom was a nut and this gravity stuff was myth.
The opportunity to prove the idea to himself is unique to homeschooling. So is the good-natured discussion that went on during this learning time. At the end of that day, they both “got” it and we could go on to talk about terminal velocity and other interesting ideas the next day.
I saw this acted out in my kids over and over again. We read aloud through a children’s version of Homer. When we got to the sack of Troy, class broke down for a while as the kids played Greek soldier. Then, I had them write a Boyodyssey, about a journey of their own devising. One of them wrote about the family cat, going on a hunt.
This breakdown from study to story-inspired play was just as much part of the learning process as reading the book or writing the Boyodyssey. Years later, one of them took me to see the movie The 400 with him. He knew all about the story and the politics behind the war itself. We’d read/written/talked about this entire war (both wars, in fact) and its significance to Western civilization when he was a kid.
I could go on, but I’ll stop at these five reasons to homeschool your kids.
Our society is increasingly poisonous to children. Your children are a gift and a responsibility from God. Nothing you can do with your life is as important as raising these precious little ones in such a way that they can become the people God intended them to be from the moment of their conception. They are your value added to (or, if you blow it, your value subtracted from) the human equation.
I can think of no better investment in your children’s lives and well-being than homeschooling.
Homeschooling Resources: Homeschool Legal Defense Association
Vegisource Homeschool You can buy homeschool curriculum here, for a fraction of what it would cost new.
Homeschool World It is essential to find other homeschoolers. This is a place to start.
Many of these programs are accredited. They all provide a framework for homeschooling. This is just a taste. There are many choices.
Sonlight Curriculum This is what I used. Protestant, but can easily be adjusted for Catholics
Ave Maria Academy Classical homeschooling curriculum.
Seton Home Study School I have homeschooling friends who have used this with outstanding success. Rigorous, traditional, Catholic.
Lepanto Press Traditional Catholic
A Becka Protestant. Traditional. I started with this and abandoned it quickly. But if you want a traditional classroom curriculum with a Protestant slant, this is a good one.