Reflections on Homeschooling: An Adult Homeschooler looks Back
By Louise Frazer.
Many parents wonder about the outcome of their homeschooled children. Sometimes they ask themselves, “Will they be prepared for post secondary and later on for adult life? Will they be glad or mad they were homeschooled?” Rachel’s story will encourage parents and ease any anxious thoughts.
Like many parents, Rachel’s parents wanted to provide a solid education, but they also wanted to shape their children’s character and impart their faith. With these two notions in mind, they enrolled their daughters in a Christian school. Since it was an English school, and since they wanted to ensure that the girls’ written French was equally strong, their mother supplemented French after school. She also supplemented their Math to ensure they would be academically competitive in any setting. And so, the two sisters’ days were filled with school, homework, and extra math and French.
At this time, homeschooling was viewed as “abnormal” (even more so than today) and not something Rachel’s family knew much about. Despite that, several years into this demanding schedule, Rachel’s mother began to entertain thoughts of homeschooling. After all, she realized she was already teaching a good chunk of the core subjects by supplementing math and teaching French every evening on top of supervising their regular homework, but was still nervous she would not be capable. Rachel’s father proposed they try one year of homeschooling.
That year had them hooked, and the whole family never looked back. Rachel says that soon after beginning homeschooling, they saw many benefits. Here are a few:
- The stress level in their household dropped: no more hurry-scurry mornings to get to school, and no more long evenings spent on heaps of homework. When their Dad arrived home from work, all the homework was completed, the household was peaceful, and they were free to enjoy each other’s company.
- Their relationships with each other deepened and strengthened. It wasn’t that they had poor relationships, but they rocketed from good to amazing.
- Rachel discovered she had a love of learning. Who knew that learning could be fun?
- Her social skills improved. Rachel says that making friends in a school setting was relatively easy and doesn’t really require social skills, since children are daily thrown together. She observes that it is also too easy to take friends for granted. Once removed from “instant playmate” mode, she found that she had to make a concerted effort to look for and create opportunities to make and keep friends. More than that, Rachel notes that children do not always have the maturity or coping skills to deal with social conflict, yet at school they have to work through tumultuous situations alone. Homeschooling offered her an environment in which her parents were available to help her through conflicts.
- Her organizational skills improved. Rachel describes how everything was decided for her, “like a chain production.” What subject to work on, how many pages to complete, and what topics she would learn were all decided for her. Homeschooling opened the possibility to having a say in her own education, and she states she “had a hand in deciding her own schedule.” Her mother showed her how to divide up her work and calculate the number of pages in order to complete the work in a given subject. She soon figured out the sooner she started her day, the sooner she finished.
Was everything agreeable and easy? No, Rachel recalls the Youth Protection complaint when she was a teenager. But they called HSLDA and were coached through that hurdle. She also points out that they had to grow accustomed to the idea that people thought they were strange (remember, “normal” families didn’t homeschool).
Despite those inconveniences, their homeschooling experience was overwhelmingly positive, and she still recalls the bittersweet moment of finishing her final homeschool exam at the end of high school. She says she was grateful to her parents for homeschooling her, but she felt sad and thought she was leaving behind the best years of her life.
However, it seems Rachel will repeat the experience, although this time as a parent with her own young family. Even before meeting her husband at university, she knew she would want to homeschool her own children one day because she says that she considers it both her privilege and duty. Being homeschooled was so extraordinarily beneficial in so many ways; she would not want to give her own children less than the best.