Home is Where the School is: An Argument for Homeschooling Children
- Dec. 7, 2012
- 9 Comments
I never attended elementary or middle school. At the age of 16, I had never gone to public or private school. Before I attended high school in Wellsville, Kan., from 2005 to 2008, I was educated at home. My father worked multiple jobs so that my mother could stay at home and teach us.
I would normally wake up around nine, eat breakfast and watch TV for a few minutes. My mom would always come turn off the TV and then I knew that I was at “school.” She would gather my brothers and me in the living room and read a chapter from a children’s or young adult book to us.
That was followed by math, history, science and language arts, all of which I would sit at the kitchen table and do on my own, only asking my mom for help when I needed it. My favorite part of the day was when I finished all of my subjects and I could go outside and play basketball. Some days I finished at 1 p.m., other days 5 p.m., but I was not allowed to go play until I was done with my schoolwork.
In elementary school, my mother would guide me through handwriting and reading skills, but after that, I taught myself much of the time. I was handed my math books and I diligently taught myself the times tables, division and more.
Growing up, I didn’t feel that much different than kids my own age (other than being significantly taller — I was 6-foot-6 by the eighth grade). I wore similar clothes, ate the same food and watched a lot of Nickelodeon. An estimated 1.97 million kids (or just under 4 percent of all 5- to 17-year-olds) were homeschooled in 2011-2012, according to the Kids Count Census.
Both of my parents went to public school all the way through high school. My mom and dad made the decision to homeschool my four siblings and me because they wanted our education to be focused on Christianity and biblical morals. All five of us were homeschooled for more than half of our K-12 education.
There are plenty of negative stereotypes that go along with being homeschooled: We wear long jean skirts or overalls. We’re socially awkward. We’re religious fanatics. We take field trips to Walmart. While homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, some states require documentation to ensure students are up to par with public education students; other states have no requirements. In Kansas, you have to be registered as a “homeschool” family, but that’s about it.
While my mom does not have a college education, I do not feel like she was inadequate to teach us at home. She taught me how to read and spell, and I developed a passion for writing because of her teaching. In my first semester of public school, my GPA was 3.87 and three years later, I graduated in the top 10 percent of my high school class. Fast forward a few years, and now I’m less than six months away from graduating from KU’s School of Journalism.
I will be the first to say that I had the best of both worlds. I had the opportunity to be homeschooled when I was young and have a very close relationship to my mother and my siblings. However, I also loved going to high school for three years, where I made friends and prepared myself for college by being in an “actual classroom.”
Being educated at home taught me many valuable lessons that still stick with me today. Most importantly, I was forced to develop self-discipline and self-motivation because I didn’t have someone holding my hand. I was determined to get my schoolwork done in a timely manner, which has helped with getting homework done in college.
I did not feel like I was a step behind my classmates when I first went to public school or graduated and went off to college. I feel like homeschooling helped me become the person that I am today. I never felt uncomfortable, inadequate or undereducated because I didn’t go to public school as a kid. Although I may have been different on the surface, I was really just the same.
Homeschooling is a viable option today for parents and students that choose to make the commitment. Homeschooling can lead to a college degree and a successful job. Homeschooling can work; it worked for me.