Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Homeschoolers All Grown Up -- Introduction

We're one of those homeschoolers who have been doing it from the very beginning.  My oldest is in 8th grade, so that means we've been doing this for about 9 years now.  Not to say that we will NEVER send our children to school.  In fact, every year we think about it and consider it, and every year we decide to keep homeschooling.

And every year I second and third and fourth guess myself. 

Doesn't everyone?

I think we all want to make sure we are doing the BEST for our children.  I have this awful fear that my children will miss learning some vital skill or important tidbit of knowledge.  That they will go off to college and everyone will be all, tsk, tsk, those dumb homeschoolers are weird and unsocialized and uneducated and stupid.

I don't have any personal experience with homeschooling.  I'm a product of the public school.   I know what I know, but I also know that there were gaps in my education.  I never learned all the states and capitals.  I never had any geography teaching.  Really....I didn't. For some reason, my school wasn't down with teaching geography.  I certainly never diagrammed a sentence.   And, I never learned Latin.  I did however learn lots of other stuff...reading, writing, gym, history, science.  I had a really good science education, I think. Overall, I would say I had a decent school experience and high school definitely prepared me for college.  In fact, I remember finding many college classes to be way easier than high school classes. 

I also learned a lot of not so good things in public school.  Kids can be cruel.  Don't you dare wear the same clothes in the same week.  Brands matter....that little C logo on Champion socks makes all the difference (anyone else remember that trend???).  Only losers shop at K-Mart.  Everyone talks about everyone else.  

I didn't have many friends in school. I had a few in high school, but mostly I socialized through 4-H and was busy studying and working at a horse barn to get free riding lessons and didn't hang out with friends.  I didn't have a bad school experience, there were parts I liked and parts I didn't.  I had friends I would sit with at lunch and I did really well in my classes. For most part, I was pretty much ignored by the other kids. Everyone thought of me as the shy, quiet, smart kid. Except in elementary school.  I actually was made fun of quite a bit in elementary school.  Not sure why little kids can be so cruel, but many of them are.  And the teachers were quite oblivious to the whole thing.  Actually some of the teachers were pretty mean too, or at least I thought they were in my 8-yo mind.

So, I know what it's like to go to school, but I don't know what it's like to be homeschooled.

But, lots of adults do.  The "first generation" of homeschooled children has now reached adulthood and are raising their own children.   When I was growing up, I didn't know anyone who was homeschooled.   And, now I do know several adults who were homeschooled.  Most of them are a bit younger than me, I'm just a bit too old and when I was in school, homeschooling was really unheard of.  Now, it's fairly common-place and everyone knows someone. 

So, a few weeks ago, I got the bright idea to interview a few former homeschooled adults.

They don't really dress like thus.

I sent them a list of the following questions, which they returned back to me.

1. How long were you homeschooled  and what ages/grades?  

2. What was your parents’ primary motivation for homeschooling (if known)?

3. How do you overall feel about your homeschool experience?

4. How do you feel about the social experiences you had as a homeschooler?  Do you feel that you had enough friends, or enough opportunities for friendship?

5.  How do you feel about your education?  Do you feel you received an average, above average or below average education compared to same-aged peers in your community?

6.  What did you do after graduation?  College? Work? How prepared did you feel for “the next step?”

And, I will them be sharing their (anonymous) answers with you. 

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