To this day, there remains an abiding stereotype that people who homeschool are crazy. Not just a little strange, but all out, bat-sh*t, wild and feral, crazy.
If I’m being honest, I have no idea why.
Perhaps I should preface this article by noting that I was homeschooled. Not my whole life mind you, I attended ‘traditional’ school as well. But for a few years in middle school and high school, while living overseas in Indonesia with my mum, I was homeschooled. So yeah, I get that I have a bias, but that doesn’t mean the stereotype isn’t worth challenging.
It’s a stereotype that is surprisingly ingrained in our society. So much so that, when telling people I was homeschooled, the reaction I tended to get was a retreated step and a look that clearly said “what’s wrong with you, then?”.
Yes, it’s true that many hardline religious families choose to homeschool to limit outside influences on their children, but that is far from the only reason people homeschool.
Seriously Good Reasons To Homeschool (That Aren’t Crazy)
1. Learning Freedom
All parents want their kids to learn a range of different things during their schooling years, but some parents choose to homeschool in order to broaden the spectrum of what is learnt. The curriculum and topics in public schools are government approved so some topics get left by the wayside as not ‘appropriate’ for school-aged kids to learn. Other topics, including many life skills from taking care of a vegetable garden to doing your own taxes, are simply ignored entirely. Many parents want their children to have both an intellectual and a practical information, and homeschooling with your own curriculum allows this.
2. Bullying & Peer Pressure
Mainstream schooling offers many challenges to both children and parents, but bullying and peer pressure are often a considerable influence in the decision to homeschool. Bullying can cause long-term problems of anxiety and depression, with many struggling kids and teens feeling like there is no way out. Bullies often don’t realise the damage they cause, or they do and don’t seem to care either way. In terms of peer pressure, many experts have noted that the closed social system of a school environment can lead to damaging trends and crazes. This in turn can result in kids obsessing over body image, the clothes they wear, and the activities they undertake, some more dangerous than others.
3. Different Learning Styles
We don’t all approach learning in the same way. Some people learn best by seeing things, others by touching and experimenting, and others by listening and discussing. While schools do work to balance these styles, it is often the case that some children don’t fit into the school’s learning framework. When this happens, even very smart kids can fall behind, become disenchanted with school, and have problems down the line. In a homeschooling environment, parents can offer one-on-one attention that kids simply can’t get in a classroom environment, as well as provide more suitable activities, tailored for the needs of the child.