Homeschooling culture is funny. I admit it. There’s a lot to pick on us about.
Thankfully, we have a pretty good sense of humor and can dish the homeschooler jokes out ourselves. John Crist and Blimey Cow being chief among us.
But as funny, humorous, and, at times, embarrassing as homeschooling can be, I wouldn’t trade it. I’m glad I was homeschooled.
The thing about homeschooling is despite the stereotypes, it’s a pretty different experience for everybody. I mean, that’s kind of the point of homeschooling: To be able to customize your child’s learning experience.
So when I say I had a good experience, I’m not saying it’s for everyone. It’s not. My parents did a good job at pushing us to study hard, exposing us to real life, and encouraging us in developing friendships and social skills.
However, there are also some things I didn’t like about my homeschool experience. In fact, I’m sure I would have learned some things better in a rigorous, structured environment.
Homeschooling is certainly not perfect and it’s not for everyone. But here are three reasons I, for one, am glad I was homeschooled.
1. It Prepared Me to Be Different
I didn’t like being different growing up. It made me feel funny–like I didn’t fit in anywhere.
Being homeschooled meant I couldn’t identify with many of my neighbors who did go to school. When they talked about favorite teachers, classes, or science experiments, I could only imagine what it must be like.
My teacher was my mom and all my classes were in our basement living room, which also happened to host four other grades (those of my siblings). As for science experiments? I did those on my own in the hundred acre wood out-back.
As much as it made me feel awkward to have such different experiences from my friends and as much as it frustrated me when the neighbors got snow-days and we didn’t, I’m grateful now because it helped me become comfortable with the feeling of being just a little bit odd.
Now, I’m not talking about being odd for the sake of being odd.
I’m talking about being okay with the idea that my life experience is different than most of the people around me and I don’t have to “fit in” to be accepted by or contribute to my community.
Obviously, you can learn this in a traditional school setting, as well. But my educational background thrust me head first into the struggle of being different and I’m grateful for that opportunity.
2. It Prepared Me to Be a Lifelong Learner
The thing about doing school at home is you never leave the classroom.
I know a lot of parents who do really well at taking advantage of everyday experiences to teach their kids, but I think homeschooling parents are especially good at this.
When your house is your school, learning becomes your lifestyle rather than something you do for several hours a day, then leave behind and forget about.
Don’t get me wrong, I was sometimes a lazy student and usually procrastinated. And I still wrestle against that urge to put things off until I feel like dealing with them.
But the mindset I was given from my family was to never stop learning even after I “leave the school.”
For that, I’m grateful.
3. It Nurtured My Love for Reading and Writing
I didn’t have any friends, you see, so I spent all my time, in a hole in the ground, reading and writing.
No, I’m joking. I had some really good friends.
But I certainly had fewer school activities and programs going on than most of my peers did.
In some ways, I kind of regret this. I would have loved to have been apart of drama or debate or the school’s hockey team (I did play little league baseball for one year).
However, all of those things would have kept me from reading as voraciously as I did or writing an unfinished seventy thousand word fantasy novel when I was 13.
(I was such a nerd, I know.)
All those things–homeschool nerd and all–helped push me toward being a writer which is why I’m here today. It’s not the only career I could have pursued, but I am grateful and happy where I’m at.
And thus I’m glad I was homeschooled.
Like I said, homeschooling isn’t for everyone. There are great things about traditional education as well.
But, for my part, I’m grateful to be a part of this weird, funny, nerdy family we call homeschoolers.
Thanks, Mom and Dad.
What’s something you loved about your growing up years?