Sunday, July 29, 2012

4 Homeschooling Myths, from a High Schooler's Perspective

Some of you know this already, but for those of you who don't, I'm homeschooled. I have always been homeschooled, and it is our intention to keep learning at home until I graduate. I will be a sophomore this fall, and am so excited! There has never been a time when I wished I went to a 'regular' school.Choosing to homeschool is a great decision, and I think that more people should consider it. For that reason, I'm writing this post on 4 Homeschooling Myths, from a Highschooler's (that's me!) perspective. Enjoy!

Myth No. 1: (Student) "I won't have any friends!". Hands down, the number one response I get when I say I'm homeschooled is, "Oh. Do you have any friends?". I don't know where people got the idea that a 'regular' school system is the only possible way to meet new  people. Afterall, you go to school to learn, not to improve your social life. Infact, although I won't argue that many people have good friends they have met in school, it can be rather limiting, can't it? Everyone is from the same area, in the same age range, and studying the same classes. They also all attend the same social events (like dances, school plays, or games) and know all the same people. The best kind of friends usually aren't the ones that are your exact twin. By befriending people that are different ages, busy with different interests, coming into contact with people you don't know, and having different experiences, they'll grow in, obviously, different ways. Then, since you two are friends, you'll be able to influence and help each other to grow in ways you couldn't have if you'd only ever had shared experiences. As I said before, I've been homeschooled my entire life, and I have never had trouble making friends. There are so many resources that help you meet others; 4H clubs, sports teams, church, co-ops, special workshops or classes, theatre groups-you name it, it's out there. Some are even specially tailored for homeschoolers! If you make up your mind to look around for resources, you'll have no problem making awesome friends. 

Myth No. 2: (Parent) "I'm not smart enough to teach!". My mum and dad are wonderfully smart, helpful people. But they aren't over-the-top extraordinarily intelligent. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to homeschool. If you get a good textbook, with a good teacher's manual, you'll be alright. My mum is always saying how she re-learned fractions to teach us. Now, she has a better knowledge of them than she did before! Homeschooling has many more resources now than they used to; there are catalogs, book fairs, and websites made specifically for homeschoolers where you can purchase a whole curriculum! And if you want to do something more in a certain subject area, just head to your library and get some extra information. When my brother and I were younger, my Mum once did a whole study with us on the history of pirates that she created on her own! And she taught us both literature for years without a set 'curriculum'. There are other options, as well. Now that I'm in high school, I take a literature class with about 30 or so other homeschoolers. There are also co-ops, where parents work together to teach classes to multiple kids. So basically, if you're committed, the teaching won't be as scary as you may initially think.

Myth No. 3: (Student) "I won't be able to go to prom!" People have actually said this to my dad before, about me, " But she won't be able to go to prom!" Wonderful. Sacrifice four years of a wonderful, challenging high school education just so you can attend one night of dancing, dressing up, and the display of a total lack of common sense....perfect. You have to admit, it's a pretty silly reason not to homeschool. It's even sillier because it's not true. There are countless homeschool proms! All you have to do is look around! One of my friends, a homeschooled senior, organized one last year. There was a DJ, food, a free photographer, and a gorgeous location. I went with a huge group of my friends, and we had a blast! That wasn't the only one happening in the area, either. We met a girl at prom who had attended a different one the week earlier. And I know of another one that happened a week or two after. If you have your heart set on going to prom, just look around. There's bound to be one in your general area. And if not? Get a group of friends together and plan one. Or, go the untraditional route and host a contra dance or square dance. I know of someone (she's graduated now) who, after a year of studying several of Jane Austen's books, planned a regency-era dance, where they sewed period clothes to wear and learned the traditional dances! In my opinion, that's a lot more fun than the average, dark dance floor. 

Myth No. 4: (Parent and Student) "But colleges won't accept homeschoolers!" This is not only incorrect, it's exactly opposite! Recently, both colleges and the military have been specifically looking for homeschoolers, because they tend to come from good families and be disciplined. As long as you graduate with enough credits, there is absolutely no reason why a college would turn you down. And what about the question of not having a diploma? When a job or college asks for your high school diploma, oftentimes they mean, "did you graduate?". I don't believe they actually want to see the piece of paper. 

I hope you have enjoyed this post! For any of you considering homeschooling, I wish you the best of luck and want to let you know that it's a wonderful decision! For those of you homeschooling for the first time, my suggestion is to just find a homeschool circle in your area. We're everywhere! Trust me. Finding a group of homeschool families will really help support you when things get tough, and, of course, help you make awesome friends.

If you want to chat more about homeschooling, feel free to leave a comment or email me using the address on the right. I'd love to talk to you!

Also, try contacting Home School Legal Defense Association. They are wonderful! They provide information for everything from learning disabilities, teaching high schoolers, and good curriculum courses, as well as legal help should you ever need it. And, if you become a member, you'll get a subscription to their awesome magazine! 

Thanks for reading! :)

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