Homeschooling: The Good, The Bad, and The Next Generation

My mother asked my siblings and me some questions recently about our homeschooling experience.  She wanted to know whether we had enjoyed homeschooling, and what were our favorite and least favorite parts of it.  And she wanted to know whether we would homeschool our own children.

I loved my homeschooling experience, as you can guess if you’ve been following the blog or have read the archives.  I had lots of freedom within the system.  For instance, my mother would give us a sheet each week listing all the assignments we had to do for the week in each subject.  From there, I could pretty much choose which assignments I wanted to do each day, so long as I got it all done in the week’s time.

What did I enjoy most about homeschooling?  Well, that might be a tough call between having lots of free time after schoolwork was done and spending so much time with my mother and siblings.  In my free time, I’ve pursued many hobbies, such as sketching, crochet, guitar, writing stories, and painting.  Some of these and my other hobbies I first learned as part of school, whether for art, practical arts, or music, but I took them further even after I’d finished the assignments.

I also got to spend a lot of time with my family.  As you may have guessed (or did I already tell you), we’re a tightly knit bunch.  My sister and I loved to play together, acting out stories with our dolls and stuffed animal.  I played many different games with 3G, some indoors, some outdoors.  I like to spend time with the twins, especially now that I’m giving them singing lessons.  I spent many a happy hour talking with my mother as we prepared meals, worked in the garden, or shopped for craft supplies (or many other things).  In the evenings, my father would read aloud to us, usually a history or literature book Mom chose that complemented our studies in those areas.  Later, Dad taught me to play guitar, and we currently do some volunteering together once a month.

What was my least favorite part of homeschooling?  That’s a tougher one that the favorite part.  I don’t think I came up with anything when she asked the question, and I still cannot think of anything now.  There were parts of homeschooling that I didn’t enjoy, but they were parts that would have been the same in public or private school too.

The last question was about whether or not we would homeschool our children someday.  I cannot say with 100% certainty that I will, but it will take some convincing from the Lord to show me that he wants me to send my children to school.  I cannot fathom putting my children on a bus and letting a school educate them.  I believe that I’ll be better qualified to teach my own children than any teacher, merely because I’ll know my children better than any set of teachers could ever know them.  For this reason if for no other, I would homeschool my children.

The fact is, though, that I have plenty of reasons to want to homeschool.  Chief among them is the desire to train up my children in the way they should go.  The public school system no longer acknowledges God.  Trying to counter the teachings of public school in what little time I would have my children with me would be tough.

Private schools may not undermine the foundation which I am trying to build for my children, but they still have other issues, such as too much peer influence, too many authority figures, and too little time spent with family and mature adults.  In addition, private schools tend to be fairly expensive; I know homeschooling can be done for considerably less.

Will I homeschool in precisely the same way that my mother did?  Probably not.  For one thing, I’m not the same kind of person nor the same kind of teacher that my mother is.  My strong subjects are quite different, and my methodology is different.  I would be able to use different types of curriculum sometimes than what she used.  For another thing, I will not have the same kids she taught.  Homeschooling is best when tailored to the child, so I will choose methods and materials for each subject that are best suited for each child.

The children of the homeschooling pioneers are just reaching an age where their children are old enough to start homeschooling.  I think it will be interesting to note the way homeschooling changes as more and more second generation homeschools begin to influence the way homeschooling is carried out and the way it is viewed.

I can’t wait to be a part of that!

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