Monday, April 11, 2016

Homeschooling with Confidence



 
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I don’t know about you, but I have found confidence to be a rather fickle creature; especially when it comes to homeschooling. Although I knew that pulling my kids out of “Brick and Mortar” five years ago and schooling them at home was something that I needed to do, the things that people would say to me as a homeschooling parent really started to shake my confidence. Have you met those people? With one look, or one comment they can cause you to question your decision. I know that I have gone from confident to wishy washy or even fearful in a matter of seconds.

To be confident in any decision means that we are fully convicted that we have made the right decision, and that we are determined to walk it out without regrets. That isn’t always an easy place to get to with decisions. I find that especially true when it comes to decisions that impact my child’s life for the long-term. My mind can definitely torment me about them if I allow it. Since this is a very real struggle for me, I wanted to write this article for those of you that have had the same struggle.

Let’s talk through some common myths in an effort to see clearly the truth about them.

Myth 1 – “Your kids will be socially awkward if you homeschool.”
Truth: Okay, let me just start by saying that my kids were not always homeschooled. I have been to classrooms and/or events at a “Brick and Mortar” and I have met some pretty socially awkward kids right in the midst of the public school system. What logic alone tells me is this; all kids are unique and require different levels of interaction for them to be comfortable in social situations. If you are concerned about your child’s interaction level with other kids their own age then you can enroll them in sports, join a homeschool co-op, make friends with the neighbors, go to library clubs, get involved in your local church, or join the YMCA…the list could go on and on. You get to choose! I love that part! You can choose exactly who, how, and what your children get involved in.

Myth 2 – “I am not a teacher, so my child won’t be able to learn.”
Truth: I have to say that if you are thinking this right now, stop it! When we first hold our children in our arms; the full weight of parenthood begins to sink in on us, that is the moment we become their teacher. From the time that their little eyes can focus on us, we smile at them until they reciprocate. From that point forward we teach them everything, absolutely everything. I understand that academics is different than teaching your children how to walk…but you don’t have to do it on your own. There are spectacular curriculum companies that help you know exactly what to say as you teach your kids. In fact there are classes on video, or you can register your children in virtual classrooms. What I’m saying is you have options, a lot of them!

Myth 3 – “Homeschooled kids don’t do real schoolwork.”
Truth: I find this particular myth slightly offensive as a homeschool parent. Homeschooling is a valid and wonderful method of education. Homeschool companies continue to produce wonderful curriculum that challenges children and pushes them forward in learning instead of holding them back with the slowest person in the classroom. When you homeschool you can take advantage of the flexibility that is available to you. My husband travels fairly often for work, and that means we are able to go with him and still do school. So whether we end up in Missouri or Washington D.C. school goes with us! When trips like that come up we can take advantage of the location and change things up a bit to whatever may be in that area. Rest assured that homeschool kids are working hard, sometimes harder than those receiving a “traditional” education.

Myth 4 – “A college won’t accept a Homeschooler”
Truth: For those of you that are like me and are schooling your kids into and through High School, know that colleges are happy to have homeschool students apply to their college for many reasons. This website really put my mind at ease about homeschooling through graduation from High School.

There are also ways for your child to receive dual credit as they go through their high school courses that help them earn college credit. In the state I live in, you are able to start taking dual credit classes as early as your freshman year.

Myth 5 – “There aren’t many people that Homeschool.”
Truth: That couldn’t be further from the truth. Every year there are more people homeschooling their kids than ever before. There are so many benefits to educating at home, and there are more people realizing that.
The National Center for Education Statistics says that about 3% of school age kids were homeschooled in 2011-2012, and that number continues to grow.

If you are trying to decide whether or not to homeschool your child, let me say that the benefits are great. I love homeschooling, and love the difference in my girls since making this change. If you are homeschooling, but struggle at times with the crazy looks, or things people say I hope this article is encouraging to you.

 
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