What comes to mind when you hear the word homeschooler? Fundamental Bible-thumper? Socially awkward? Nerd? Someone who wears long skirts with sneakers? I can say these things because I was one until 8th grade. I don’t think the term carries such a negative stigma these days as it did when I was younger, thanks to many types of alternate education gaining popularity. I’m thankful my Mom decided to teach me this way and for all the time and effort she invested in helping me grow, but also glad she was open to me learning in a traditional setting for the latter part of my education.
The way I was educated has certainly shaped how I view the options available to us when we have our own children. The one that I gravitate to the most is the university model, which combines the best aspects of homeschooling and traditional schooling. University model schools like The Covenant School usually hold on campus classes 2-3 days per week, with the remaining days being at home learning using already prepared lessons (by a certified teacher). I love the sense of partnership and ownership that this provides for parents, allowing them to get involved in their child’s education and also have more time to spend with their children.
From my perspective, each family needs to weigh the pros and cons as they relate to their own situation to determine the method of education that will work best for them. Here are some of my thoughts on my own experience of being homeschooled.
- Efficiency – freedom to learn at my own pace. Slow down on topics I wasn’t picking up quickly and speed through topics that came easily to me.
- TRAVEL (no surprise this was one of mine, right?) 🙂 – If I wanted to start early and finish by noon to go enjoy a nice day outside, I could do that. If we were taking a family vacation, I could take my schoolwork with me and still be able to keep up with my schoolwork while enjoying some time away. I’m so thankful for the places I was able to see and trips we were able to take (especially in Asia) because of that flexibility.
- Values – Ability to impart the core values important to you during your child’s formative years.
- Lack of social interaction – At times I did miss being around my peers, but we did attend spelling bees, geography bees and other science classes to allow for more opportunities to interact and socialize.
- No athletics – This was ultimately the reason why I started attending traditional classes in 8th grade, because I didn’t want to miss out on playing sports. It seems like schools are becoming more open to allowing homeschoolers to join their teams now, which seems like a positive in my book.
- Teamwork and group projects – It can be hard to shift from the “It’s all about me” mindset when switching to traditional classes and finding that you are required to work with others to accomplish a common goal, even if you may not get along with them.
How were you educated? What do you think is the best model for education? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!