I wasn't always homeschooled. In fact, I went to public school for far longer than I was homeschooled. I grew up thinking homeschooling was for freaks. I just assumed something was wrong with them. My mom used to be a public school teacher so she wasn't a huge fan of homeschooling (originally). She wasn't against it, but she just didn't feel it was a good fit her kids.
Fast forward to my freshman year of high school. My mom announces that she has decided to homeschool my younger siblings. She had been praying about it and doing research and felt that it was what she was called to do. So I was like "That's cool Mom, but I will never be homeschooled. Never." To which my mom replied "Ok. Just let me know if you change your mind". Yeah right.
I did change my mind. After a few months I saw how much my siblings were enjoying being homeschooled. And I'll admit...high school was lame. Plus, there were a lot of advantages to being homeschooled while being a competitive swimmer. Swimming wasn't the main reason I decided to make the switch but it sure made certain things easier. For example, on days that I had morning practice, I could get a nap in before afternoon practice. I could also eat a lot healthier too. Traveling to various swim meets around the country was easy because I would just work a few days ahead in my lessons plans so I wouldn't get behind.
In the end, homeschooling was one of the best things my mother ever did for me and my siblings.
Unfortunately homeschooling gets thrown under the bus (School bus! Pun intended.) There are a lot of incorrect assumptions about kids who are homeschooled and it really isn't fair.
-If you're homeschooled you can do schoolwork in your pajamas. FALSE. My mom makes all my siblings get up around 6:00 a.m. They get dressed, eat breakfast, do chores and then start the school day at 8:00 a.m.
-If you're homeschooled you're socially awkward. FALSE. Most homeschoolers are involved with extra curricular activities that allow them to "socialize". I had swimming!
-If you're homeschooled then you're like the kids at the beginning of the movie Mean Girls. FALSE. Most homeschoolers are normal like Cady...before she joined the plastics. SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GO TO PUBLIC SCHOOL?!? Haha just kidding! But seriously...
You can't put all homeschoolers in a box. It isn't fair. Which brings me to my next point...
I'm not going to start a debate about "Common Core". Nope. Not going there. However, I will say that homeschooling allows for so much freedom when it comes to teaching! It allows you to customize the curriculum to your child. Each child learns differently and has their own interests and strengths. Homeschooling caters to that. While my family does NOT believe that God gave us guns to "shoot the dinosaurs", our faith was a huge part of the decision to be home schooled. As a family we could go to daily Mass before starting our school work and do a lunch time rosary. We were able to take religion classes that enriched our faith life and made us want to study Catholicism more. It's undeniable that it's getting harder and harder to be a Christian at school. After the tornado in Oklahoma they interviewed a teacher who saved the lives of her students by shielding them with her own body. They asked her what was going through her mind while she protected those kids, she said "I did what teachers aren't supposed to do, I prayed".
Now I have many friends who teach in schools and friends who have children who are not home schooled. This post is NOT to bash them or their profession. I once asked a very faithful woman of God if she homeschooled her kids. She said that she didn't and I asked if she ever felt pressure to do so. She told me that schools need those kids who live their faith, schools need the kids who know right from wrong. She was so right! Schools need teachers like my friends and the one from Oaklahoma that I mentioned above. This post is only to point out that homeschooling is growing in popularity and people need to stop treating it like a disease. Each child is different, and each family is different too. Homeschooling might not work for your family and that's ok! Or homeschooling might be exactly what your family needs.
Now so what is it that I do? I mention a lot that I am a "Teaching Assistant" for a homeschool program. What does that even mean?!?! Let me tell you.... I have 12 students from all over the country. Some kids have 1 class with me and some kids have 4. The parent is the primary teacher. Always. Even with kids who attend school, the parents are the primary educators. So my job is to assist the parent. My students send me work to grade and we talk on the phone frequently to discuss their course work. I love it. I get to be a teacher and stay at home with my boys. The program is Mother of Divine Grace (MODG). Check out their site if you want more information! If you are think of starting up homeschooling I recommend this book by Laura Berquist, founder of MODG.
There are a lot of different homeschool programs to choose from. You just have to find the one that works best for you and your child. For example, my mother just switched my younger siblings over to MODG. She can't even begin to say how wonderful this program is for my brother John Paul. He is absolutely thriving!
Most homeschoolers don't go to prom or homecoming. And yes, most of us have a graduation ceremony in our backyard. But this doesn't mean you should feel bad for us or think that we "missed out" on life. We just had a different high school experience than you. I got to experience a lot of things in high school that my peers didn't. So we're even.
Will I homeschool my kids? Probably. Am I completely closed off to the idea of sending them to school? Not at all. All I know, is that right now I am so happy with the work I am doing with MODG and I can't imagine not exposing my children to this curriculum. Art, music, poetry, classic novels, rich history, in-depth science, MODG has all of that. I don't want my kids to feel like all they've learned to do is how to properly fill in the bubble on a test sheet with a #2 pencil! Though that is an important skill to have, homeschoolers still take SATs you know. I want them to learn so much more than that. I want them to love learning. I want them to WANT to know more... And I think homeschooling will do just that.