Let me begin by saying, that I am Traci’s daughter (Heather, the one mentioned in the article).
I know that homeschooling is a huge debate, but there are many misconceptions (such as the ones that I am seeing in the negative vote comments shown on this topic). Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this is my opinion, as a woman who WAS homeschooled during my pre/teen years.
First of all, I want to make it clear that my social life did NOT suffer as a result of homeschooling. As a matter of fact, homeschooling saved me from some very toxic relationships that would’ve taken me down a very different and dark path. I got plugged in with a local youth group, went to home school organization activities, and don’t feel that I missed out on anything. (As a matter of fact, my school friends were jealous at the flexibility I had to participate in my favorite activities!) I had more time to enjoy being a kid and relax, and develop my interests and hobbies (such as writing and music). And I had a beautiful graduation ceremony with dozens of other young people through the homeschool organization (cap and gown and the whole nine yards).
My mother did not have a teaching degree, but she is very brilliant and I also had a good curriculum. (Remember: teachers in schools use curriculum and lesson plans, too!) If there was a problem or a question I was stuck on that the teaching manual didn’t explain, we found that the internet and the library are endless sources of information. Part of developing academic skill is not only to know the answer, but also to be able to use your problem solving skills to discover the answer when it’s not immediately coming to you. If you work hard and apply yourself, you can do anything.
I did get into college and studied business tech. They had me take a placement test when I applied, but I passed it with flying colors and didn’t require any basic pre-requisite classes. Ended up getting a really good job in banking, which I stayed at for a few years before leaving to stay home with my special-needs daughter. (I got married in ’04, she was born in ’07). I now work for my mom’s very successful online business and have since decided to continue my college education online in order to further develop my skills.
Will I homeschool my daughter? I am still undecided at this point due to the fact that it will depend on how much special-education attention she will require. We may possibly homeschool her and set up times with an independent therapy center as needed. At this point, she goes to the local Title I preschool and receives free special ed/intervention services. Fortunately, a law was just passed in Missouri requiring insurance companies to cover autism services (yay!).
Under completely normal circumstances, however, I fully endorse homeschooling, provided that the parents are willing to put in the hard work and dedicate themselves to the nurturing of their child’s mind and academic development. I would say that most parents who decide to homeschool have already made that commitment, otherwise they would not be undertaking the challenge in the first place. My mother is a natural-born teacher, and instilled in me the love and thirst for knowledge, which I hope to pass on to my own daughter.
Another reason I very much endorse homeschooling is the state of public schools these days. Most of my friends growing up went to public schools (and I did for a while in elementary and briefly in middle school), and I was shocked at some of the things I heard that went on. Not only the immoral behavior of the students. (Believe me parents, you may think your teen tells you everything, but you may be shocked to find what they don’t tell you!) But also what is taught in the curriculum. (I have many friends who are teachers, and some of them have even told me they very much disagree with some of the things they are required to teach.)
Some of the things being taught in some of the schools belittle and demean our most cherished beliefs. Children are fertile ground; we need to plant seeds, not thorns! They are still vulnerable and shaping their characters, and bombarding them with toxic information is just plain irresponsible. I’m sorry, but refusing to discuss creationism in Science class and yet giving a 16-year-old girl a condom and telling her it’s okay to give away her innocence (as long as she doesn’t get pregnant) is sickening. People wonder why today’s young people are so lost and messed up and drugs, sex and violence, when public schools are adamantly declaring, “If it feels good, do it! Go with the flow!”
Now, that being said, I don’t believe that every kid that goes through public school is going to end up being a cracked out criminal or something. Homeschooling isn’t an option for everyone, and I do know some kids who go to public high school who managed to stay grounded – but it is very hard. They were often the only ones who didn’t go to the parties, or refused to drink the beer or get in the backseat with the guy. I think young people can still make a positive impact in their environment, wherever that environment may be. But it starts in the home. We, as parents, have been given the responsibility to raise our children right, and ensure their safety and well-being. We have an obligation to invest in our child’s future and character as much as we possibly can. We need to teach our children to be a light and an example to others, not compromise themselves and their values to fit in.
My mom chose to do that through homeschooling, and I am forever grateful for it!