By: Hadassah Umbarger, Guest Writer
I’m always pleasantly surprised when I meet someone else on campus who was homeschooled growing up. While it’s a method of schooling that’s widely recognized, I have always been conscious of the fact that my family was pretty unique in choosing to pursue it. But I’m so thankful that I was schooled the way I was, and if I have children, I think I’m going to do my best to homeschool them too.
Admittedly, that will depend on some factors — Will I need to be working? Or can I be a stay at home mom? — but I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite parts of homeschooling, Umbarger style, with you.
The first, maybe biggest one, is closer family ties. I’m sure this isn’t across the board, but it feels like homeschooled families have closer relationships within the family. I always hear the fear that children in homeschooled families won’t be socialized enough, and I agree that they shouldn’t only be around their families 24/7, but the opportunity to have a closer family circle is definitely there. I know that I wouldn’t be half as close to my family if it weren't for being homeschooled.
And, side note, since we’re kept around our own families more, we’re also hanging out with our siblings, who are different ages. Surely there has to be some negative byproduct of traditional schooling keeping kids in groups of peers their own age exactly. Mixing up the ages a little bit helps children develop interpersonal skills since they have to navigate interactions in different ways for different ages. You don’t talk to a 10 year old the same way you talk to a 4 year old.
Another favorite aspect of homeschooling is the chance to choose which subjects you study, to some degree. Yes, math is a non-negotiable. But are you on a WWII airplane kick? Study it to your little heart’s desire. Kansas birds? Be my guest. History of quantum mechanics? Whatever floats your goat. I think this is why homeschooled kids are generally perceived as nerdier — because, well, we are. We are given the opportunity and environment to explore and develop interests in fields that we might not get the chance to in a traditional classroom. This isn’t to say that there are no people out there who were traditionally schooled and aren’t nerds. I just think homeschooled kids are given a leg up in a lot of ways.
One caveat here: Every family homeschools differently (which is another really cool part of it). It really depends on what the parents are like, and to some extent what the kids are like.
But I hope you get the chance to get to know a homeschooler sometime in your life. We’re a little strange, but that’s part of our appeal. Like a beautiful T-shirt I’ve seen on the internet before, “Keep homeschool weird.”
PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Unsplash