I promised you guys a part two post, but I want to do it a little differently than I did the first one, which you can find here. Last time, I threw out a few observations from my experiences in the homeschooling community, because oftentimes, I think it gets a better rap than it deserves. Today, though, I want to address some of the positives, but I’m only going to do so from my personal experience, not my observations of others.
What homeschooling afforded me was freedom. For someone as independent as me, that was critical. Because of scheduling, I could still take challenging courses and have a part-time job in addition to my extra-curriculars. I was also able to get a full year of college out of the way as dual credit, which is becoming increasingly popular in the homeschool and public school sectors. I was able to have goals that were a little different than the norm and had the flexibility to accomplish them.
Additionally, while I was naturally independent, I also needed to be more independent. Because a lot of the homeschool classes in high school only occur once or twice a week, I had to learn time-management or fail. It taught me to push hard also to work ahead, which I hear I’ll have to do a lot of in this nursing program that I’ve signed up for…
My mom decided pursue classical education, so I got to spend a lot of time in Greco-Roman literature, Latin, logic, and other similar classes. Even though the focus was with these subjects, the basics were never underrepresented, and “enrichment courses” were never substituted for the standard core classes. The strong Latin and grammar base I had prepared me for learning a foreign language. (My minor in college was Spanish).
I appreciate the lack of focus on religion in homeschooling. We went to church and did some separate Bible-related things, but it didn’t permeate the curriculum and overshadow the education. In the different homeschool groups we ran in, it was unusual to have the lack of emphasis we had on religion. School was about school, which greatly helped me prepare for college classes.
I do have a few regrets about the education I received, as I’m sure most people do. There were other activities I became aware of after I started teaching in the public schools. I wish I had participated in HOSA and gotten a CNA or EMT license in high school. If I had known about the International Baccalaureate program, I probably would have wanted to participate in that. We actually have one in our school district that I could have attended. (For more information, check out their website.)
I also wish that my lab science background had been a little stronger and that it hadn’t been so heavily based in Creationism. It didn’t prepare me adequately for college lab science, especially since I had little assistance from some lazy professors. That’s just a nitpicky thing on my part. 🙂 The lab science thing worked out, obviously, since I got into nursing school. It was just a *huge* learning curve.
For years, everyone asked me if I could do school in my pajamas, since I was homeschooled. That question always flustered me. Why would anyone care that much about sitting around in pajamas all day? By senior year, I started to wonder why I had wasted all that valuable time in less-than-comfortable clothes and switched to wearing pajamas. 😉
I’m not sure if I’d be the same independent, workaholic person I am if it hadn’t been for homeschooling. Certainly homeschooling emphasized personality traits that I had. After being out and about the public schools, I’m not sure that my education was as unique as I thought it was in high school. Maybe I’d have ended up taking Latin and regular-ed (excuse the politically incorrect term!! I can’t remember what I’m supposed to call it) science. I don’t know if I’d have found myself in a close-minded subculture. Here’s that parallel universe conundrum again.
I mostly wrote this post to show that I don’t think all homeschooling is bad, because I think a few people might have taken that from my last post. I think it’s a system that allows for a lot of freedom and can be easily abused, but I don’t think it’s completely bogus, either. My mom did a fantastic job, because she made sure she was informed and organized. Test/college prep didn’t fall through the cracks, either.
(Love, Joy, Feminism has some critiques of homeschooling that I think are worth checking out, especially for those who have escaped from fundamentalism/other ugly subcultures where homeschooling flourishes or have some background on the movement. I won’t post them, because I’ve bored or offended you too much already. 🙂 Go here and here if you’re interested.)