5 Reasons We Swore We’d Never Homeschool (And 10 Reasons We’d Never Go Back):
As a public school teacher and former manager of a group home for boys in the custody of the state, my husband and I have always been proponents of public education. Though each of our school experiences differed, we both felt that even some negative exposure to things like peer pressure could be a positive experience for our kids. As we have gone through system changes and education pressures, our tunes have changed dramatically.
Here are the top five reasons we said we’d never home school:
Socially Awkward-Forgive me when I say that I would have sworn all home school kids wore t-shirts with wolves on them and dawned fanny packs proudly. We feared that our kids wouldn’t learn how to problem solve or collaborate with others. We were afraid they’d never learn to communicate and adjust to various social situations.
No Sports-Our son is super athletic, like my husband. Sports were a large part of our childhoods. We didn’t want our kids to miss out on the comradare or pride that comes from being a part of a team and getting coached.
No Social Functions-I was very social and involved in high school. Being in clubs and organizations, planning and decorating for prom—those were great memories for me. It’s important for kids to have an opportunity to get involved. Unless a co-op is part of the home school plan, many students miss out on these formative life events.
Lack of Real World Experience-It was a major concern that when students are taught by their parents, they may miss out on important exposure to real world experience. We were afraid that, even if plugged in to a co-op or collaborative classes that our kids would be so focused on things like worksheets just to get them through that they’d miss out on important lessons.
Sheltered Ideals-While our family is focused on building and maintaining our relationship with Christ and teaching moral and ethical ideals to our kids, our image (mainly drawn by the media) of home school families was that they were basically cult-lead and only taught strict ideals that were far beyond what we felt important for our children.
After eight months of Roadschooling our kids while living tiny, our ideas of home schooling have completely changed; folks, I am talking a full 180 turn. Here are the ten reasons that, after starting to home school, we’d never go back:
Hands-On-As a licensed teacher, I am able to design lessons that incorporate hands-on activities and experiments to facilitate learning and keep our son’s ADHD engaged in the lesson. These ways of learning also allow him to better retain what he has learned.
Personalized Schedule-Because of our son’s (and many others’) struggles with emotional, behavioral, and anxiety disorders, he struggles especially in the mornings or when he feels rushed. This feeling is intensified if he is being forced to transition to a place or activity that he does not enjoy. Before, while he was in public school, we had violent meltdowns every single morning. Roadschooling allows us to personalize his schedule. There is no limit to when lessons can be taught and when he can learn so our school day doesn’t follow typical guidelines of 7:30am-3:30pm.
Affords Freedom to Learn-When I heard that my son’s kindergarten class was forced to stay inside during recess and be quiet last year because the upper classmen were doing standardized testing, I knew something had to change. Roadschooling allows our son to have the freedom to learn outside of the traditional rows of desks in a classroom. He gets to go on trips, travel, and be exposed to cultural experiences all while learning and being fully engaged.
Incorporates Real World Experiences-From cooking to budgeting, building to anatomy, our son is incorporating real life into his lessons every day. He links math lessons to measuring, construction, and shopping for groceries on a budget. He learns anatomy while at the doctor’s office and visiting an Our Bodies exhibit at the local science museum. And he is able to learn about fire safety after taking cookies to our community fire and rescue squad. Nothing beats hearing lessons taught by the experts themselves and having hands on lessons.
Constant Teachable Moments-Our son loves to get involved in whatever we are doing too, so that means that tons of opportunities arise each day for him to put his skills to work. “Which part of the pizza represents 2/3?” “How much money would you have left after spending $1.25 for those apples?” He learns and retains so much more information with these types of lessons.
Student-Lead Learning-Instead of forcing students to study certain topics or subjects, our lessons are guided by our son’s interests. After teaching in a STEM academy, I can figure out how to incorporate English and History into just about any type of lesson and he is much more engaged in what he is learning this way.
No Strict Grade Levels-This was a major motivator for us to pull our son from public school. He excels in certain subjects far beyond his grade level academically. However, with his emotional and behavioral needs, he falls short in maturity and reactions to difficult situations. Therefore, the public school system struggled to meet his needs as they are overwhelmed themselves. So, Roadschooling allows him to be in first grade while doing 3rd and 4th grade math, 2nd and 3rd grade reading, and so on. He is also able to be paired with various ages in co-op and they can learn from each other and model things from the school lesson to mature behavior.
No Standardized Testing-Y’all just don’t know. If you haven’t taught in public school, there truly are no words to accurately describe what these state tests do to both teachers and students. They are stifling, suffocating, anxiety-ridden weeks of being subjected to hundred of questions that scrutinize what someone may or may not have been taught. They measure nothing real and are used for nothing beyond graduation. With a son with high anxiety and severe ADHD, these tests aren’t even an option. The ability to choose whether or not you test your children in home schooling is like gold.
No Cookie Cutter Lesson Plans-Roadschooling has forced me to be more flexible. While I make the curriculum and lesson plans, my husband does the instruction. If our son is having a poor day behaviorally, he may only get through half of his lessons for the day. However, the next day, he might tackle three days worth of assignments. Additionally, they may spend part of a day outside enjoying the sunshine and testing their math skills studying the velocity of flying paper airplane when his lesson plan said Dr. Seuss Week. That’s okay, friends. The freedom to learn should be just that—free.
Safer Socialization-Parents today are being forced to make hard choices about the safety of their children while they are at school. From cell phones to social media, school shootings to bomb threats, this is just the world we live in now. While we don’t want to lord over our own kids and encourage them to take risks, try new things, and be their authentic selves, we do want to be able to have some hand in protecting them from unnecessary threats. Roadschooling allows us that opportunity.