Confessions of a Hybrid-Homeschooling Mom

goals-for-2017by Lisa Godfrees

 

I have two daughters, both of whom have been in public school until recently. Without going into the long story behind why, let me say that public school works very well for most students. In fact, my 7th grader excels in school and when given the option to be homeschooled, she decided to stay with her friends.

But some kids need a little more one-on-one time, or a different approach to learning, than a public school can accommodate. Such is the case with my 5th grader. While she misses recess, she is overall relieved not to be in the classroom, much preferring to be taught by Miss Mummy Pants (her teacher name for me—I have absolutely no idea why).

While I cannot claim to be an expert at homeschooling after less than a semester, I can offer some unique insights even in my short time. Feel free to add to it in the comments below.

 

Homeschool parents: Public school is not evil.

Some parents who have exclusively homeschooled have the biased view that sending a child to public school is inexplicably evil. And to listen to some of the people who speak at homeschool conferences, it’s no wonder parents hold that view. Homeschool associations that have fought for parental rights and seen the bad side of the system tend to have a jaded view of public education and its administrators.

Thankfully, I live in Texas which is still a conservative part of the Bible belt. In my experience, public school teachers and administrators do their best to offer safe and quality education away from the hot topics of gender and sex education. Many of the teachers/administrators my daughters have had are Christian. And thank God for that! Can you imagine what our school system would look like if no one involved in it were Christian?

 

Homeschool kids are not necessarily better educated.

I have several friends who homeschool their children. Depending on the child and the parent, their kids may be ahead or behind public school grade levels. What some of these kids learn is truly amazing, and what others don’t learn is concerning.

A child’s performance depends on what they are taught. If their parents don’t select a well-rounded curriculum, if they don’t take schooling seriously, if they don’t push, if they don’t monitor what their students are learning and retaining, then we can end up with high school students that can’t link countries to continents. They might place China in North America, or the Philippines in Greenland. (I’m not joking. I’ve graded tests.) Or students that don’t complete homework, or don’t come prepared for class, or whine when asked to do a more coursework than they are used to… more than can be completed the night before the class.

After teaching high school students at a co-op this fall, I’ve seen that some kids are directionless. Graduating seniors who don’t know what they are going to do next year. College, work, neither? Homeschool children need vision casting for their futures too. It might not be college, but it should be something. We all need a goal to shoot for.

 

To public school parents: Homeschool kids are socialized just fine.

If you’ve been around homeschoolers, you’ll realize what a laughable misconception it is that children who are homeschooled aren’t well socialized. You probably work or know people who have been homeschooled and don’t even know it. Don’t mistake children with special needs or learning disabilities (at home or in public school) with poor socialization.

Socialization can be a concern. Since it’s just me and my daughter at home, I try to make sure to encourage activities and play dates with other kids, but many homeschool families have a lot of kids, so this is more the exception than a rule.

 

To public school parents: History makes a lot more sense when the Bible is taken into consideration.

As a product of a public-school education, this one came as a surprise to me. I’m not sure why it should—I mean, I went to seminary. It’s not like I’ve not learned the history. But the thing is, when you start looking at world history from a biblical perspective and consider everything together, it Just. Makes. Sense. In a way that separating church and state from one another is fundamentally flawed. It’s enough to make me wonder what great disservice we’re doing to our kids. How are they going to understand God’s ultimate plan if they don’t learn a comprehensive view of history and the Bible? We can’t expect them to learn it at church/Sunday school once a week. The Bible illiteracy of our culture probably has a lot to do with the Bible being taken out of the school room. It’s a historical document, folks!

 

Moms on both sides of the equation feel guilt.

My public-school daughter is out in the world, interacting with peers, learning about due dates, tests, competition, and expectations. She has extracurricular activities that my homeschool-child doesn’t have, but she’s missing out on the comprehensive Christian worldview my youngest is learning. She’s spending time doing some ridiculous school bureaucratic things, because – hey, that’s public school, right? There’s a reason we make fun of it.

But I worry for my homeschool daughter, too. Am I teaching her my bad habits? Is she missing out on real-world experiences that she needs to turn into a well-rounded adult? Am I sheltering her too much? Am I ruining my kid?

 

Whatever the case, we can only live in the moment and make the best decisions we can at the time. And pray, pray, pray – for one another, for our kids, and for our country.

 

lisa-godfrees-lr-5Author Bio:

LISA GODFREES worked over a decade in a crime lab. Tired of technical writing, she hung up her lab coat to pen speculative fiction. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies and online. Mind Writer (Elk Lake Publishing) co-authored with Mike Lynch, is her first novel. Lisa is a member of ACFW, SCBWI, the Houston Writers Guild, and serves as the Production Manager for Splickety Prime. She currently resides in Houston with one dog, two cats, two girls, and a husband.

Website: www.lisagodfrees.com

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10 Comments

  1. I have homeschooled all seven of my children from kindergarten through 12th grade. Two of them were so uncooperative I really should have sent them to public school. I have found that one thing that really limits the quality of the education that many homeschoolers receive is the fact that the parents are not well-educated themselves. They do not even know what they are not teaching their kids because they never learned it themselves. So the most successful homeschoolers I know are the ones who either had an excellent education themselves (like me) or who jump into learning right along with their kids. I am always flabbergasted when I walk into a homeschooling household and don’t see any evidence of books. Our house is basically an inhabited library!

  2. I don’t buy the “uneducated parents” excuse – for one, there’s group-curriculum available that covers all bases so a parent can rest assured their child is getting the right instruction. But, yes, a parent better be ready to learn right along with their kids. I’m always having to brush up on subjects just to help my daughter with her homework!

    As for the real-world experiences – she’ll get them in college, youth-group, jobs. Especially if she has the opportunity to take some courses while still in the upper high-school grades. And you can give her different extracurricular activities that will more than fill the gap on what she is missing. Coming from someone who experienced both sides of schooling (public schooled through 5th grade, then homeschooled the rest of the way), it’ll be fine.

    Oh – as for your older daughter missing out on the Christian worldview, you can always counteract that a bit at home. Before my daughter was able to get into the Christian private school she is currently attending, she still knew that much of the history and science she was learning at school was coming from an unbiblical perspective and we often talked about why we believe what we do and how the secular world tries to fill those voids with incorrect ideas.

    • It’s a work in progress. Last week, I was really down on my schooling abilities. This week, I feel like a rock star. LOL

      I didn’t realize you were homeschooled!! (Not sure how I missed that…)

      • Yup – all through the 90s, so the homeschooling scene has probably changed quite a bit – I know it’s expanded since then! Though technically, I pretty much only did college my last 2 years of “high school.”

  3. Thank you for this, Lisa! My kids aren’t school age yet but I know I have a lot of difficult decisions ahead of me, and it really helped to read such a balanced perspective!

    • You’re welcome. Homeschoolers are more than happy to share and help. It is a wonderful community. 🙂

  4. Great article Lisa!! The one thing I love most about home schooling is being able to teach all my children differently. I have 3 that love to read but one of them is dyslexic. So I can adjust what I need to and teach her more creatively. If I have learned anything in my 8 years of home schooling it is that God is sovereign. I know that He has called me to do this and He gives me the strength, ability, time and courage to do it. He also has allowed me to see that when I am weak He is strong. Blessings to you as you embark on this wonderful journey.

    • Thanks, Cassandra. Finding out how your child learns best seems to be the key, or that’s what I’m learning.

  5. Great post, Lisa! I homeschooled my youngest for 9 years and, yeah, the socialization thing. Drove me nuts! That was always the first thing people said when I talked about homeschooling. We were plenty involved with the neighborhood kids, as well as church, dance, gymnastics, a homeschool co-op, and summer theater. My girl had a ton of friends, and when she went to public school in 8th grade, she made National Jr. Honor Society and won the highest award the school offered for being a well rounded student. In high school, National Honor Society, and the Dean’s List all 4 years of college. And right now, she’s getting ready to leave in May for Cameroon, Africa, with the Peace Corps. Is that all because of homeschooling? For our family – yes – and I’m so thankful I spent those years with her.

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