Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I Done Got My Schoolin' at Home

I was home schooled.

A lot of you already know that, on some level or another, but I want you to tell me your reaction.  What biased did your mind jump to when you read that sentence?  What are your preconceived ideas and judgements?

See, I still don't really seem to get it.  Over the years I've bragged about being a home schooler.  Now it's less relevant to my life (hello adulthood.  You and I are old friends now) and I prefer to think of it as advocating. 

I'm also starting to realize what home schooled actually means.  Or, rather, what people think it means.  And, yes.  I am personally aquainted with some of these stereotypes.  The ten kids, denim jumpers, headcoverings.  Classical piano, Rod and Staff (err, that's a curriculum), and repressed social development. 

But... But, that's not what home schooling was for me.  There were a lot of "normal" experiences that I didn't have.  A good chunk of my sex ed came from magazines and late night talks with my friends.  I never shoplifted gummy candies on my lunch break or smoked cigarrettes under the stairs.  Personally, I don't think missing this out did me much harm.  Most of my "home schooled" friends have grown into functional, responsible, intelligent adults.  The ones with the most trouble are the families I've known that have been extreme (see above paragraph).  Honestly, those kids often go crazy, but do you blame them?

Those of us with a better balance may question our social roles a little earlier and learn to make out in the backseat or a car a little later.  But, in the end, we usually seem to work things out just fine.

Education at home is a concept that has continued to capture my attention.  I have no interest in working in education, but the idea of alternative education fascinates me.  I have little tolerance for anyone closed minded enough to override home school as even a possible beneficial option without any previous experience or reason.

Do I think everyone should be schooled at home?  No.  Not every parent is anywhere near capable of that commitment.  Do I think home school is ideal in every way?  Not even a little bit.  I do, however, think the public system only serves a certain portion of the population very well.  Obviously, it's a one size fits all, and has to be that way.  And that, essentially, is why I continue to support home education.

The potential for a personally tailored education is endless.  So much so that I can see how mistakes could be made, and parents could easily feel overwhelmed.  There is much to take into consideration.  This is also why I'm bothered by such a sweeping generalization of home schoolers.  There is no norm.  I have some of the typical traits, but not many.  Where I'm from almost has a separate culture just for us.  We always walked the line.

I, personally, am thankful for my home tailored education.  There is much I would do different if I went back.  Would hope to do different if I were ever to have children of my own.  And high school should be (and was for me) a personal option.  Proof of academic achievement and a social structure are two aspects of home schooling that must be thought out where there is rarely need in a public school.

Just, please, tell me this.  What do you think when I tell you I'm a home schooler?  Is all this defense necessary?


Anonymous said...

Not for me. No defence necessary.

I don't know, I think if children are given the right, healthy structure and environment in which to learn, grow and develop into self-reliant, functional adults... more power to that. I believe that these structures are different for every family and every child; and sometimes home schooling is the best fit.

In my opinion, education- quality education at that- is important; essential even. Whether they receive this education in a public school or at home is moot point.

I get a lot of flak and a lot of judgement for being an international school 'brat', which I think is stupid. It's based on a flawed understanding of what it is, so I don't even bother explaining it now.

I don't see a need to defend your education, just like I don't see a need to defend international school kids. We all turned out OK- it means it worked for us. That's the important thing.

London Girl said...

I personally wouldn't give it a second thought if someone told me they were home schooled. Especially because presumably it wasn't their decision in the first place but their parents.

I think as long as you allow your kid some integration with other children, whether that be in youth groups or sports clubs, it wouldn't matter if they were home schooled or not.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the link, but unfortunately it seems to be down... Does anybody have a mirror or another source? Please answer to my post if you do!

I would appreciate if a staff member here at becauseorwhynot.blogspot.com could post it.


O.F.C.J. said...

Hello. No, there is not a defence needed, unless you feel homeschooling is a crime in need of defense, which it is not. I usually would hear people talking of homeschool in a more exclusively served way. And then sometimes I heard it spoen of on a dimmer note. Just depends on who you're around. If you feel you learned enough to be able to nicely compete *and* work with your mates in the same field that you are going into, it served its purpose.


lalalalauren said...

Hey, some of my best friends were home schooled. I really think no less of you. Not everyone needs to learn the same way.
Personally, I'm a believer in the public school system. It's hellish, but I would not be the same tough chick I am today if I didn't go through it. My theory: If you can get through public school, you can deal with anything. Of course, I never really thought about it while I was going to public school. But after I graduated from high school, I went to a private college where most of the kids there were coming from small private school or home school backgrounds. Lots of them were smarter than me academically but lacked common knowledge about how the world works. Example: I always locked the door to my room in the dorms but most other people on my floor were trusting and left their doors unlocked. They thought I was being weird and paranoid - until people started getting robbed. I guess that plays into the common stereotype that home schooled kids are sheltered. Of course, this stereotype is not entirely true. One of the most foul-mouthed, dirty minded guys I know was home schooled until college. Of course, I can still tell he was home schooled because he's got a million weird hobbies to show for it. I can generally tell when someone was home schooled (or at least not exposed to the public school meat grinder). But really I think no less of people that were educated at home. Actually, I think it's kind of cool.
Okay, done rambling now. :)

TabithaVenasse said...

No defence necessary. I've known plenty of homeschool'd kids who were awesome. :)

Kris said...

Aww. Look at all the awesome commenters I have! Well, other then anon. Is that the new version of spam?

Anyway, the rest of you rock. I especially appreciated our comment, Lauren. And, Rish, very well thought out reply. Thank-you

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

Overall, I have a very romantic idea of homeschooling. Most of the homeschoolers I've known have been delightfully unique and confident. I have known a few folks for whom "homeschooling" was an excuse for their parents to keep them home with their head in the Bible and their hands doing chores, but they've been the exception, not the rule.

Jill said...

Honestly, I thought when I first read it that you might have a few social issues. I know when i was in college, a lot of the home schooled kids had trouble making friends and got really homesick, but of course that wouldn't be the case for everyone! My parents could never have homeschooled me so I'm glad I went to public school I guess, but I would have liked avoiding all the awkward/drama times that HS brought.

Kris said...

Thanks for your honest reply! I will readily admit that social issues are a concern with homeschooling. I have known children who certainly could've benefitted from more activities outside the home.

I had some of my own struggles in high school, but have never been homesick throughout my world travels, and have received surprised reactions when I share my educational background. It seems to balance out in later years, but yes. If I know someone considering homeschooling I always recommend the put careful thought into the social situation.