A lot of people have an ignorant take on home schooling. When my children were in their middle school years, we pulled them out of a public school that seemed to think their job was to babysit and indoctrinate our kids on liberal ideas. When I expressed concern that my children weren’t learning important foundational education concepts, I was asked why I was concerned since they had straight A averages. They seemed dumbfounded by the fact that I was more interested in their learning and that they should continue to love learning than I was their grades.
TOOLS AND CURRICULUM ARE READILY AVAILABLE. ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) helps many homeschoolers ensure their children are learning these foundational, educational concepts. It is also a requirement in some states for homeschoolers in order to avoid truancy charges. The test shows the student’s standing (percentile) among his/her grade level. Like most homeschoolers I knew, my children fell in the ninetieth percentile or higher. (Their understanding was greater than 90% of their peers). Abeka is one curriculum that many people use. It provides the plans and books, etc. There are video curriculum for those who don’t feel competent enough to teach their children, and you can also pick and choose your own texts and make up your own curriculum is you feel that confondent. The beginning of homeschooling for our oldest daughter started half way through 5th grade. As it was apparent that the “Straight A” average she received meant nothing, we taught her the entire 5th grade using Abeka curriculum in less about 4 months. This required her to study up to 12 hrs/day (learning curve). However, this experience is very uncommon.
KIDS CAN ENJOY THE LEARNING PROCESS MORE. When the next year came around and my oldest daughter would be entering a different school (middle school), I asked my daughter if she was relieved to be getting thing back to a regular school, since she would no longer have those long days of school. She practically begged to continue homeschooling. We scrambled to accommodate her and added a different math curriculum, as Saxon seemed to be better. Fortunately, the second year required no retracting or I teaching of foolishness, so she was able to complete her lessons before noon and got to do other things of I tweets to her (cooking, shopping for the ingredients, figuring out how much each meal costs, etc...). I remember taking her to the store to purchase something and seeing the shock on my 12 yr old’s face when the cashier accepted my cash and couldn’t figure the change back because she had mis-entered my payment into the smart register. My daughter and I quickly did the basic subtraction in our heads and had told the panicked cashier how much to give us.
KIDS CAN HAVE BETTER SOCIAL EXPERIENCES AND AVOID DAMAGING INFLUENCES. When my oldest re-entered public school in High school, I put her into their International Baccalaureate (IB) program. This was a more rigorous program designed to enable students to complete high school while gaining enough college credit to obtain an AA degree. Although I knew she was ahead of her peers intellectually, I feared the claims others made about homeschooled kids being socially retarded might be true even if I couldn’t see it. For this reason, I called for a conference with her teachers, counselor, her and me. I explained my concern and asked what I could do to aid in ameliorating any damage I might have done to her in this area. The counselor chastised me for asking, in front of my daughter, if she seemed “socially retarded” (retarded meaning behind in development) due to the time spent in homeschooling. I quickly said, “I don’t hide the truth from my daughter as I know she can handle the bad along with the good and she will make the appropriate adjustments based upon the information. Her Math teacher spoke up and said, “Yes, she is socially retarded in a way I wish all my students were. She raises her hand to respond to questions and doesn’t know how to shoot spitballs or mock others.” Another thing she avoided by missing middle school is that she never had young boys grabbing her newly developing breasts or snapping her bra strap, etc. These are things than normally happen only in middle school (at least without severe repercussions).
BETTER PREPARED FOR COLLEGE AND LIFE. My daughter earned a full-ride scholarship (she worked to pay the room/board and other expenses that weren’t covered. She did well in college and went on to use her BS RN. She married a man who was also homeschooled (as were his 10 siblings). They both completed their undergraduate work without piling up a lot of debt. After their first child came, she became a stay-at-home-mom. They are doing very well and he is finishing his graduate studies while advancing in the military and raising 4 awesome children.
HOMESCHOOLING IS AN EFFORT OF LOVE. Our experience with homeschooling isn’t unique. Although it requires more effort to homeschool your children many people love their children enough to find a way to give their children the best. Nobody loves your kids as much nor is anybody as vested in their success as their parents.