Growing up, my parents were often complimented on what well behaved, and mature kids they had. I credit this to two major contributing factors: our Christian family, and the fact we were all homeschooled. In this edition of the column, I'd like to focus on homeschooling.
There are a lot of misconceptions about homeschooling. One is that homeschooling is a relatively modern phenomenon. This isn't true. While the term and current techniques may be new, homeschooling is really the first form of education. Before education became a larger social matter, parents and close relatives would take the time to teach children survival skills, reading, arithmetic, history, religion, etc. Homeschooling is tried and true.
Another misconception is that homeschooling is too much of a time commitment for the average parent. Homeschooling does take a lot of commitment, but if managed well, can be very doable. It's my opinion that if one has children, I think they should expect to commit large amounts of time to helping them grow. Teaching and guiding children, is what makes a parent, a parent.
Much of this responsibility has been given away to the government, and formal educators in our society. While I have a deep respect for teachers, I also understand there is no one-size fits all approach to raising children, as a result, I still think, more often than not, a parent has the time and means to better educate their children at home than public schools. This commitment can also create natural bonding between the parents and children, which is something that is very strained in many family relationships today. I think that is worth all the investment in the world.
Another misconception is that homeschooler's are socially awkward. A friend of mine in college once told me, “You're not up on pop culture, but you know life skills that public-schoolers don't. When I go to get a job, only those skills will matter.” My friend said it well, but I recognize that it is a bit of a generalization.
While many homeschoolers aren't as interested or knowledgeable about the latest fads their public school peers are into, they tend to grow in the ways that matter, much quicker, and unencumbered by social stresses. When you have to live with your school peers, AKA your siblings, conflict resolution is quickly learned.
How to do and share household chores, or how to communicate respectfully with people well outside your own age, are other positive side effects of working with, and learning from, family.
This is why homeschoolers may not be commonly classified as “hip kids”, but they end up, one the whole, being well developed, self disciplined adults, sooner than their public school counterparts.
While homeschooling may not be for everyone, it worked out well in my family. If you think it might work out well in your family, or you want to learn more about how homeschooling could work for you, I'd be happy to talk to you about it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 905-985-6985, and ask for Chris.
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