The Homeschool Advantage

Here we are, on lockdown. Now everyone that has been writing about COVID-19 in their blogs for the last few weeks is like “hah! I told you so!” I’m haven’t gone to look at everyone’s blogs yet but I’m sure they’re going to cover a good amount of the quarantine. I’m going to bring up a viewpoint I’ve just recently gotten to look through, Homeschooling. Now let me be clear, we’ve successfully gotten through a single week of being at home together. Monday the youngest was sick and I went to work and by Thursday I had the flu and the kids had to spend afternoons at their grandparents, but I feel like it’s been an eternity! Enrolling in Public School After Homeschooling | School Tips

You all remember that kid that showed up to your proctored state exam that you didn’t recognize right? They were well dressed, well mannered and stuck out like a sore thumb. I’m sure there were more than one for those of you that were younger, but in the 90’s and early 2000s homeschooling was something only the ‘weirdos did’. Those of us that went to public school could never understand why anyone would want to be in homeschool and surely all they did was hang out around the house all day! There was always a stigma attached to someone homeschooled. I remember the kids that lived up the road from my dad were homeschooled. There were 5 of them and my grandmother would say things like “I’m sure they’re not getting a proper education like that”

I remember in high school, being angry to hear that homeschooled kids were thought to be better than those of us in honors at public school. I remember thinking and feeling strongly that they should have to abide by a strict curriculum just like us! Work 7 hours a day! I came to understand a few of the pitfalls of this sort of education in college, my freshman roommate was homeschooled up until her parents let her get a job at 16 at a restaurant. Let’s just say she got in with a promiscuous crowd and was incredibly unprepared for what she got involved in. When she asked me “how could I tell the father of a baby if I were to have gotten pregnant this weekend if I slept with three different guys?” I knew we needed to have “the talk” but why she didn’t already know this stuff was beyond my comprehension.

So I’m interested to know what your take on homeschooling is, those of you who reply to my blog. I’ve recently become more interested in it not only because we’re here quarantined but there has been a whole new wave of alternative education that seems to be sweeping the millennial parental group. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that has gone through public school in the last 40 years – it’s garbage. You hardly retain anything, kids are exhausted, stressed and overloaded going into college which is another conversation. Standardized tests have made learning almost impossible for teachers to do effectively. So parents have been taking it on themselves to do it the good old fashion way through experience at home.

Homeschool World - News - Some Fascinating Facts About Homeschool ...

Once I realized we’d be doing some at-home learning here with my 4 and 2-year-old, I got a little nervous. Thankfully we’re still in the stages of learning through play and working on writing and the very early stages of learning to read. I started doing research and talking to friends that I know homeschool. The number one consensus I got was that it doesn’t have to be structured. I immediately wanted to structure it, which is funny because that’s exactly what you want to get away from with public school right? The most you need to expect your children to spend time with hardcore learning is 2 or so hours a day. That was a relief! I was told the majority of math was taught through baking, how awesome is that? It’s ok to be bored, this one I have trouble with since my kids are used to constant stimulation at daycare. They’re having trouble coming off of that high, but their Amazon Fire is a great babysitter for a few hours a day. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Now let me assure you, I have no intention of continuing to school my children at home once the quarantine is over. I did want to make the most of this time at home with them, however. It’s a peek into the life of a homeschooling mom and I’m glad I’m getting the opportunity. I would have never had this opportunity had I not been forced to take it. I never considered myself capable of being a Stay At Home Mom, I’m not tough enough for that! Last week we began with coloring and color sorting with water beads. I’m not sure if you all have every played with water beads, but they’re the coolest things ever. They grow so many times their size from dry to wet but they’re squishy and bouncy and come in a container of mixed colors. We sorted them all out and then squished them between our fingers. So we covered some tactile learning as well as color sorting and fine motor skills. There were times the girls would get up and go do other things, I would continue to sort because it was soothing and I’m a little OCD. They’d come back and help some more. I was kind of impressed at how well it went, to be honest.

Although we haven’t tried baking yet, I’ve obtained all our supplies for making bread and cookies and muffins. These will all go over well especially with my husband who I’m sure will eat all of the results. I’m looking to also include gardening in our ‘curriculum’ over the next few weeks after I recover from the flu. We’ve started a little but only while the weather cooperates. The girls will start getting involved in cleaning and laundry which they’ve helped with periodically in the past. I dye yarn on the side, with natural ingredients, so this will be fun to have them help me forage for in the woods on walks.

Rosalie is two and a half, she’ll be working on tracing letters and numbers. She recognizes them very well and we’ll work with her on adding small things and counting. Elizabeth is working on writing letters, spelling words and starting to read. We have a few books that she’s getting good at sounding out the words along with the story. This will all prepare her for kindergarten in the fall.

All in all, I don’t expect to be setting any huge goals for myself during this time. My main goal with this post is to bring to attention the bias that was there when I was growing up about homeschooling and how it is now. Now there is more understanding of play and experience-based learning. These methods make more sense to me now and I’m able to understand now that I’m older, why people have turned to homeschooling. Students can excel in both but parental support and involvement are necessary.

2 thoughts on “The Homeschool Advantage

  • March 30, 2020 at 12:22 pm
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    Blog #3; Comment #5

    Just like you, growing up when I learned of kids in my community that were homeschooled, we automatically and negatively stereotyped them. That’s why when I saw your blog title, I was so intrigued on reading it because clearly right now with COVID-19 and school closures, they are the best prepared and no longer look like the “weirdos”.

    As soon as I read that homeschooling parents teach math through baking, I was like sign me up. Let’s turn this “quarantine 15” into quarantine 30 lol. I absolutely love baking; it was something my grandma and I used to do all the time when I was little. I was planning on doing much more baking and experimenting with new recipes while I was stuck in my apartment due to social distancing; however, the grocery stores are completely out of flour and brown sugar!! So, I have resulted in ordering baking mixes online to be delivered to my apartment. It’s not ideal, but it will do as I have the world’s largest sweet tooth.

    For parents with younger children like yourself, homeschooling seems like it will be much easier. I say this because I assume basic math, reading, and writing or no problem for parents to teach. But this has me thinking, what about for the students who are in high school, and let’s say they are taking AP classes like advanced chemistry or trigonometry. I am sure many parents would not feel comfortable or qualified in helping teach those subjects to their students. So that leaves a question, what should we do with students in those scenarios where homeschooling is nearly impossible? How are they going to be prepared when they enter college? Since I am older now and don’t know students in high school, I am not sure if school boards have already addressed those questions.

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  • April 16, 2020 at 11:26 pm
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    Blog #4, Comment #2
    Thanks for sharing this interesting topic. With school closure, the homeschool be an important option. I think homeschooling can be very stressful, but I can say it is rewarding especially during some circumstances likes these days with the coronavirus outbreak. Actually, this idea is not common in my country. I knew this from your post that educating kids at home is legal in America. I thought homeschooling just for wealthy families. I can understand why some parents decide to let their kids learn at home. The most advantages maybe the parents want to provide tailor learning to their kids capabilities and personality or fearing the popular culture for religious reasons. However, what about kids with special needs probably they face the greatest homeschool challenges of all. This is mainly because many special needs kids may need especial teachers and equipment and their parents cannot teach them independently. I think this idea not for every kid also as Savannah mentioned parents who have kids in high school could be hard for them to teach difficult subjects. This may lead to other issues that homeschooling is not for every parent. Parents who are unprepared or unwilling to make the commitment to be an effective teacher should avoid homeschooling.

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