If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that there were plenty of years when my sons hated writing. Ironically, after years of hearing whines and moans whenever I asked my oldest son to write a sentence, he has blossomed into a talented writer. Here are his honest reflections about what he feels are homeschooling pros and cons. – Michelle
I will be graduating from high school in a couple of weeks. It is a strange feeling but an exciting one as well. My mom has homeschooled me from the beginning so this lifestyle is what feels normal to me. Receiving educational gifts for Christmas. Sleeping in pretty late during my tween years. And family vacations which were reminiscent of school field trips.
Homeschooling has been my life for the past 16 years and I’ve learned a lot along the way that I hope will give you some new insights for your own journey. It’s really a short list of critiques and praises. A few things that I’ve liked and a few that I would have changed.
Here are my 4 Homeschooling Pros and Cons:
1 – Socialization
For the first few years of high school, I struggled with not having very many friends. Church youth group and basketball were the two main opportunities I had for socializing and I didn’t take full advantage of either. I got to a point where I’d accepted the fact that I was an introvert and I didn’t make any effort to change things.
I think a lot of homeschoolers when accused of not socializing, want to plant themselves and say “That’s not true!” But both sides have good points. It’s a fact that most homeschoolers don’t have the same daily interaction with other teens that most do at public school. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it means we have to go out of our way to gain the social skills that others might gain more naturally.
When I went on a missions trip to Brazil with our youth group, it completely changed my life. I became good friends with everyone who went on the trip and we began to hang out more than just at church. Obviously, you probably can’t just send your kids to Brazil for two weeks, but it’s important to make socializing a priority. If you have a shy kid that’s totally okay, but I figured out that I was not a shy kid after years of acting like one.
2 – Faith
I was saved when I was four and I’ve never seriously doubted that faith. But I also discovered along the way that I’m very susceptible to peer pressure. I care far too much about trying to fit in and be accepted. Because of this, I do not think I would have remained a Christian if I went to public schools.
I have no way of really knowing what would have happened. But receiving a religious education is the reason God led my parents to homeschool me in the first place. To raise me in His Word. And I don’t doubt that God could have drawn me to himself anyway. But when I honestly look at my personality I think I would have followed the crowd had I gone to public schools.
This isn’t to say that public schools are evil because everyone is different. But I really do believe that homeschooling may be the reason I’m on the path that I am now. I owe a lot to it.
3 – Effort
I had a lot of great moments in five years of playing basketball. A few wins, a lot of losses, and a game-winner on Senior Night. But in those five years, the most valuable lesson I learned was how hard work pays off. It’s a mentality that is incredibly hard to apply to your whole life.
Staying positive and yet never accepting failure. These are things that many people say while working out.
But I would argue that this mentality is just as valuable when applying yourself to school and doing what you love. I had years where I honestly didn’t accomplish as much as I should have during school hours. But once I started applying myself more I became really focused on my work and the dream of turning that into a career eventually.
It sounds simple: work hard, get results. But that doesn’t make it any less important. I really don’t think anyone is born with this mentality. You have to find out exactly what motivates you and then dedicate yourself to it. Ultimately, when it comes to really taking school seriously, it’s all up to you. Homeschooling gives us many freedoms but unfortunately, the freedom to slack off is one of them.
4 – Freedom
I just mentioned how freedom can be a negative sometimes. But overall, it’s an overwhelming positive. I have the freedom to take days off, whether that’s to rest or to help out at church. A good balance for taking these days off is doing school on the weekends or in the summer which I don’t have an issue with, because whenever it becomes too much, I can take a day off.
Another way I use this freedom is by pursuing what I love. I spent a lot more time this past year writing my first book than doing anything else. Because that’s what I wanted to do. I can spend hours a day honing my craft and working on what I hope will be my career. This is an opportunity I wouldn’t have in public school. I’m sure I would have struggled to find the motivation to write in the little bit of free time I would have had in that environment.
As I said before, it is important to use our freedom wisely. It’s so easy to spend our extra time doing things that we enjoy but aren’t productive. Forming habits is a big deal in this area. If we make laziness a habit then it’s extremely difficult to get out of it. I know because I was there for a long time. Forming the correct habits early can be huge.
I am truly glad, looking back, that I was homeschooled. It gave me the opportunity to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Homeschooling is something I will always defend and recommend to people. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t without its flaws and it would be silly to act like it was perfect. Nothing is.
There are a few natural shortcomings that can be inherent with homeschooling but if we’re aware of them, then homeschooling can be an amazing way to receive a Christian education while also giving students the opportunity to eagerly pursue their own unique path.