I’ve previously talked about my heart for homeschooling in part 1 of this post. I feel like there are so many reasons that it is important for me to homeschool my son, and why a lot of other people homeschool, and it’s why I’ve felt compelled to share my reasoning here. After all, if I have a voice, I may as well work to be heard, especially when there are a lot of misconceptions out there about homeschooling.
Homeschool students have a great opportunity for building social skills. One huge misconception is that homeschooled kids don’t have social skills. Sure, there are plenty of examples out there of homeschooled students who have zero skills. But there are far greater numbers of students who have amazing social skills built in homeschooling. My brother, for example, is in competition soccer and takes improv theatre lessons. He’s built a friend group and has social skills, allowing him to be very social and have those great communication skills that are essential. There are many options for homeschooled students to get involved, whether it’s a local group of homeschoolers or an extracurricular activity to join in. Homeschooling isn’t like it used to be; with a growing number of people homeschooling their children, there is a greater number of homeschooled students to connect with, allowing huge networks of students to build, grow, and enjoy each other’s time.
Homeschool students have a lot of extracurricular options. As I mentioned above, my brother, a homeschool student, is able to take improv theatre, play competition soccer, play Minecraft on a server that is specifically for local homeschooled students, and more. Students can take art classes, music classes (both solo and in group settings, similar to a band class), drama, participate in community theatre, play sports both competitively and non-competitively, and more. There are so many options for homeschooled students to learn skills and participate with each other.
Some studies have shown that homeschooled students have better self-esteem. Not only are many homeschoolers removed from the trauma and pressure of bullying (after all, closer-knit class groups for extracurriculars and their school day being spent largely around family versus around peers allows for more close monitoring to stop bullying in it’s tracks, as well as less opportunities to allow it to begin in the first place), but they’re also spending their days in an environment that tends to foster a feeling of safety. When kids feel safe at home, and safe with their parents, they’re able to build that self-esteem in a safe environment. Not to say there aren’t horror stories out there– there are in every situation–but the majority of students who are homeschooled are able to build higher self-esteem. Not only is bullying cut, and a safe environment available, but homeschoolers also tend to learn at their own pace (and challenge themselves). By having a better grasp on their skills and by being able to get personal attention when they’re struggling, rather than being put in a remedial class or being held behind, they’re able to acquire skills without feeling like they’re a failure or having the emotional strain of not being “good enough.” Unfortunately, students who aren’t grasping material well are pushed farther behind their peers, and students who are grasping material too quickly are often slowed down, resulting in a cycle of falling farther and farther behind, culminating in peers, and sometimes even teachers, shaming them. In homeschooling, this isn’t the case. All-around, it’s easy to see why students who are homeschooled tend to have better self-esteem in a loving environment.
Homeschooling is widely accepted. Over 4% of children in America are homeschooled, and it’s growing in numbers every year. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you took all of the students in the 10 smaller states in America, you’d get the SAME number of students as are homeschooled currently. It’s a pretty big number, actually. Some universities have specific policies in place for accepting homeschooled students, even if those students didn’t earn an accredited high school degree (since homeschools are essentially unaccredited schools in many states). I went to college with many homeschooled students, and all of them were at or above my level as a student entering from public school.
Students have less access to drugs and alcohol in homeschool, and are less likely to over-indulge later. Studies have shown that students who consume alcohol before the age of 21 and are around it in a peer setting (a party, in a limo on the way to prom, at a friend’s home, even their own home) are more likely to abuse the substance later. Because families that homeschool tend to spend more time together, there’s less opportunity for a student to indulge, say, after school at a friend’s house. Homeschool families don’t really have latch-key kids, so the kids spend fewer hours home alone, with fewer opportunities to get into the wine cabinet. Don’t think private school kids are immune to this trouble, either… it actually turns out that statistically, because families who send their kids to private school tend to have access to more funds, kids are actually MORE likely to use and/or abuse substances than they would in public school… and, other studies have shown that if they are caught, they’re less likely to face serious consequences. By homeschooling, you can remove your child from an equation like that entirely, or at least severely reduce their chance of dealing with it. You can do so even more if you’re a home like mine, where alcohol isn’t even around.
There’s less violence in a homeschool situation. There’s been a lot of talk about bullying, cyberbullying, school shootings, fights, and suicide. While again, there are horror stories out there, homeschool environments are largely safer. There is a lot less risk of cyberbullying when kids are homeschooled, and parents who are involved with their children’s studies (whether they’re homeschooled or public schooled) are more likely to pick up on bullying and help stop violence in it’s tracks. Homeschooling, by nature, requires the involvement of parents, and it’s proven that kids who are homeschooled are less likely to be involved in (as a victim or a perpetrator) violence, whether emotional or physical.
I’ve got a lot more reasons for wanting to homeschool, and again, this is just a glimpse. Check out part one, and keep an eye out for part 3, coming soon.