Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Homeschooling Experience

I mentioned something about being home schooled in this post and Ashley asked if I would write a post about the pro's and con's of it. So here we go!

I did attend public school K-2nd grade, but my memories are pretty vague of that time. Starting in third grade my parents decided that they would be responsible for my education.

They had multiple reasons for this decision and here's the basics of it.
  1. They wanted to be able to give me an education that was based on biblical principles such as God being the creator, not evolution.
  2. They wanted to teach me about God and have that be a daily part of our studies, not something that happens in public schools.
  3. They wanted to have control over who and what was influencing me as well. Overall they felt that they could give me a better education and more one on one attention than I would have gotten in a formal class room setting.
I wouldn't change one thing about being home schooled or the experiences I had. However, I do feel "left out" on a few things, so I'm going to do a run down of my pro's and con's.

  • I got to spend a lot of time with my parents which made our relationship strong (not very strong during some rebellious years I had from about 17-19, but it helped build the foundation for the relationship we have now.)
  • They got to give me an education based on our faith and beliefs. 
  • I feel like I got a better understanding of American History than most because we studied it from a Christian perspective and got to use a lot of curriculum that would never have been used in a public school. American History and the Founding Fathers was one of my favorite things to study about.
  • I got to have more hands on learning experiences. We would take a walk at the state park and it would become a science lesson identifying flowers, trees, birds and insects along the way.
  • We took a lot of field trips and visited historical sites all around Missouri.
  • Being with my parents so much and not having any younger siblings made me very well adjusted to talking and being with adults. Sometimes it seems like some kids have a hard time relating to and being with adults.
  • My education was personalized to my needs. If I was struggling in one area, we focused on it, or if I didn't need a lot of time on a subject, we just flew right through the material. I got to learn at a pace set just for me.
I'm sure I could go on and on, but this is what I can think of off the top of my head. Now for the flip side.

  • I never went to a Senior Prom. (Did I really miss much though??)
  • I didn't participate in organized sports, but I have never been the athletic type so that didn't bother me.
  • I didn't have a big group of friends that were my age. (I did have a small circle of friends who were also home schooled and we were very close.)
I really don't think there are that many con's to be honest. I can share how I feel about things from my experience, but each child and family is going to be different.

For me, in hindsight, the only negative thing was that I wasn't exposed to a lot of worldly things and ideas. Now, that sounds great, but once I was exposed to it when I started working with the public, I kind of lost my way for awhile and did some things I'm not proud of. Things that will affect me the rest of my life. But, that won't be the case with everyone, that's just my personal experience.

A lot of people have concerns with socialization skills when you are taught in your own home and are not with a classroom full of other students. In today's society, there are plenty of ways for your children to develop social skills outside of the formal school setting. They have church, sports activities, dance, karate, you name it, and you can have your kids enrolled in something every night of the week it seems.

Another concern is that they won't be able to be involved in sports, but that's not really the case anymore either. Especially in bigger towns. There aren't many 5 year olds around here that aren't playing soccer or t-ball.

When I got to my high school years and the classes became more challenging, we looked to our home school community for help. I attended a weekly biology class with 8 other high school home schoolers. It was taught my one of the mothers in our group. It was complete with frog dissection and microscopes and the whole nine yards.

There are so many ways and options to make  your child's education all it needs to be.

Now, just as a disclaimer, I have nothing against a public school education, it still hasn't been decided what kind of education we are going to seek for our children. Just that there is nothing wrong with the decision to home school and it gives you so many more options that you wouldn't get in a parochial school setting.

We even had a graduation ceremony complete with cap and gown and senior speeches! I had my little tassel to hang from my rear view mirror just like everyone else my age.

I mentioned earlier that I felt "left out". What I meant by that is, when I was younger (16-18) and would hear kids my age talking about all the things they did and were doing, I sometimes used to feel the slightest twinge of jealousy that I couldn't be doing the same thing. I would see my best friends from elementary school and wonder what I would have been like in high school. Would I have been homecoming queen like Candi? Would I have been the pregnant senior waddling across the football field at the homecoming game? Would I have been one of the popular ones like most of my friends from elementary were? Would I have been a cheerleader? or a basketball star? Would I have been a little slimmer and not a little on the chubby side like I was?

The older I got, the less jealous I became as I realized that I really didn't miss much of anything, besides what can be a lot of heartache and stress on a young woman's life. As it was, I never went to a high school party and drank underage. I wasn't worried about having sex at 16 like so many other girls were. I didn't worry about who I had to impress on a daily basis, or who would be talking about me behind my back. Or who my true friends were.

For me, homeschooling was the perfect fit. I wasn't all that academically inclined so to speak. I could have been, but just wasn't the direction I wanted my life to take. I had dreams of becoming a wife and mother, not a super, career oriented woman. So, at 16 I finished my studies and began working full time, with no intentions of going to college. Was I capable? Absolutely, just wasn't for me.

At the time I finished my studies, a lot of my friends were taking the GED to have an official end to their home school experience and for college and job requirements. I already had a job and had no desire for college, so we didn't think it necessary. However, after working for 4 years at one place and working for a bank for 1 year, Commerce Bank asked that I take the GED as a requirement of my being hired to work for them. So, when I was 20, with no studying at all, I walked in and took the 2 day test. I've never been a nervous test taker, so it was not big deal for me. I ended up scoring just 5 points below what would have been enough to get me a college scholarship. Not too shabby!

Overall, homeschooling made me the person I am today and I often wonder how different I would be if I hadn't been home schooled?? I guess we'll never know.

I welcome your comments and questions on anything I didn't mention in this post.


Chrissy said...

I didn't know you were homeschooled! This is a great post. No, I don't believe you missed anything important, Jessica! As smart as you must have been, I am surprised that you didn't go to college. I bet you would have done great!

I think I lack the structure and patience to homeschool. We're going to try a private, Christian school for the time being and see how that goes. I love their curriculum.

kimberly anderson said...

Thank you for this post. I have been struggling lately with this, even though I have a few more years to go. I have always felt that Bailee should go to public school, but lately with the things I have been hearing I am really confused.

Nel said...

Corey and I have talked about sending Libby to a private school. I have mentioned several times about homeschooling the girls too. But in the end they will prolly go to public.
I really liked your post! And will still consider all my options - I do have a couple years still :)

~And I think that every child has a time of rebelling :) Even if it's just a little bit!

Mary said...

Hi there! I just came upon your blog from McMama's website. I saw your blog last on the Not Me Monday and decided to click on it. :)

I think this post is great! I am a stay-at-home mom to my daughter who just turned 1. I am really considering homeschooling her. My husband and I are born again Christians and would like her to be taught with the Biblical principles. Like your parents did. I go back and forth on whether I think it is best or not. So reading this from an adult perspective is great.

Thanks again!


Faithful Mali said...

I'd love to homeschool, I just don't have the confidence in myself to be in charge of little man's education. I think, regardless of what type of schooling we have, we get those "what if" questions.

Ashley said...

Thanks Jessica! We are still praying about our children's education...now we've got 3 to decide about next year! I'm going to share this post with Lincoln and I may be hitting your Mom up for some suggestions / ideas! ;0)

Jaimee M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
valerie said...

So who wants to see a pic of Jessica in her graduation robe? ;-)
I always loved that pic of you, me, and Lettie.
I'm actually disappointed that I didn't get to know you better during those times, I guess I came too late to the party. But for what it's worth I don't think you've been chubby a day in your life.

The socialization argument always gets on my nerves though. E is only 6 yet he has so many friends outside of homeschool already. Sure there are some that hide their families away but I think that is more a rare case these days and that socialization is not a good argument against homeschooling anymore.

My grandpa actually asked me about a year and a half ago if I *really* thought I was qualified to teach E. Uhm, yeah, I do...


Anyway, I don't think we missed much not being at a traditional school. Though I wasn't homeschooled as long as you were but I did go to public and private schools. But I had so much freedom during homeschooling during high school and you're right about those classes, I didn't do the biology one as you know but the chemistry and the Shakespeare class... fun. Who knew you could have so much fun evacuating a house because a certain someone at my table didn't read the chemistry experiment instructions? :P