Most of the parents my wife and I talk to, look at us like whack jobs for telling them that we homeschool our kids. We can only imagine all of the thoughts that come to their minds. All the things they would like to say to us about how our kids are going to turn out. Weirdo’s, unsocialized, dumb, and the list could go on. I’m going to list the top five reasons people give for not homeschooling their kids. In no way do I believe our decision to homeschool is superior to someone who decides not to. My wife and I both went to public school. We just chose this path based on our circumstances and observations of the direction in which our society is going.
1. Our kids are not going to learn how to socialize in the real world.
And you think public school is where they are going to learn how to socialize? Seriously? Did you go to public school? Because I did. Sometimes we think any socialization is good, but its not. I personally don’t want my kids being socialized from High School. Merriam Webster defines socialization; “to teach (someone) to behave in a way that is acceptable in society.” I don’t know what high school you went to but I didn’t learn anything from my high school experience that I deem as “acceptable in society”. I guess it depends on what sort of society you’d like for your kids. In my high school (and my wife’s), people bullied weaklings, chewed tobacco in the halls, smoked weed in the bathrooms, participated in orgies both heterosexual and homosexual, cheated on tests, and threw gummy bears on the ceiling when their stoned English teacher wasn’t looking, shot and stabbed people at parties and disrespected the campus aides. The good kids escaped with their heads down, praying that they’d make it another day without having someone throw a chocolate milk carton at them from across the lunch pavilion. Yeah… maybe your high school experience was fun, but many were not, and its definitely not what I would consider a good place for “learning how to socialize.” There are schools in certain areas that are the exception to the rule and even miracles happen in bad schools. One of my favorite all time movies is “Freedom Writers”, a story that takes place in a challenging LA public school. However, if you watch that movie, it wasn’t the teacher that was the problem. It was the politics that ran the school that caused the issues.
My point is that we don’t need public school for socialization. Why not seek a more controlled environment for socializing our kids? Church and other related activities. Homeschooling co-ops and parent involved charter schools. Sport teams, clubs, extended family, and …. how about your own immediate families? Kids are influenced easy and they prefer to be influenced by their mom and dad, whom they look up to more than anyone else. But if mom and dad don’t make the effort to socialize with their children, their children will find someone else to socialize with and emulate. Read about how Mick Jaggar intends to raise your kids and how his music is calculated to drive kids to sex. (Pages 11-13)
2. Our kids will turn out to be weirdos.
Weirdos? Have you ever walked down the halls of your local high school? I’m not trying to be judgmental, but holy crap. There are more weirdos on high school campuses than can be counted. Kids are not going to be weirdos because they are homeschooled. They are going to be weirdos because their parents are weirdos. If there is any perception of homeschooled kids being weirdos, it is because of their parents.
3. I don’t have the patience
This is a common concern for moms. Especially moms that are inundated with lots of little boys. But, is there anything more important to you in your life than your kids? Would you not endure a long and tortuous death just to save them? Do you not wish that you could take the pain from them anytime they’re hurt? It is a sacrifice to teach them everyday but imagine the difference it will make. You may have a bad day and completely lose it, but just know that you can go to sleep and pray for strength in the morning. If you know it would be best for them, and you’ve observed some serious issues with the direction the public school system is going, then why not give homeschooling a try. You might find it to be easier, and more rewarding than you think.
4. I don’t have enough education to teach my kids.
Have you ever heard Abraham Lincoln, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin and many of the founding fathers of the United States of America? Yeah…they were homeschooled. You don’t need an education to teach your kids. All you need to do is care about them and push them. You don’t need to have all the answers, you just need to be able to help your kids know where to find them. Then you can let their imaginations run wild.
Abraham Lincoln attributes everything that he was to “his angel mother”, who is actually his stepmother. She could not even read or write. The key to Lincoln’s success was found in his ability to self teach himself. But guess who was the one that encouraged that type of learning. “His angel mother”. She pushed him to seek learning from the best books. The great minds of the world became his tutors.
Hugh Nibley, one of the most learned men of our age, holding many degrees, and knowing many living and dead languages, considered himself a “mental midget” as he studied the works of Brigham Young. Brigham Young had all but 11 days of formal schooling. Both Hugh Nibley and Brigham Young considered themselves intellectually inferior to Joseph Smith who had the equivalent of a third grade education.
Many of the founding fathers of our nation were homeschooled and then “mentored”. They received their education in much the same way Abraham Lincoln received his education. They were led in a direction by their mothers that enabled them to dive into the things that interested them the most. They were not constrained by common core, or government, or the status quo.
Electrical mastermind Nikola Tesla was homeschooled, and credited his memory and creative abilities to his mother’s genetics and influence. His boss, Thomas Edison “attended school only for a few months. He was taught reading, writing, and arithmetic by his mother, but was always a very curious child and taught himself much by reading on his own. This belief in self-improvement remained throughout his life.” Ben Franklin stopped his formal education at age 11 and he turned out alright.
Trust me, you don’t need to be a college grad or a multi-tasking creative genius to homeschool your kids. Any effort you give toward educating your children will be far more comprehensive than anything a transient public educator can teach them. Remember, those teachers have hundreds of kids come in and out of their classroom on any given semester. Even if the teacher cares a lot and is really smart…there is only so much of that teacher to go around. He/she cannot give the same attention to your kids education as you can.
Ezra Taft Benson said that “I would rather have my child exposed to smallpox, typhus fever, cholera, or other malignant and deadly diseases than to the degrading influence of a corrupt teacher. It is infinitely better to take chances with an ignorant, but pure-minded teacher than with the greatest philosopher who is impure.” (LDS General Conference, October 1970) Homeschooling allows the parent to control the purity of the teaching. Again, to reiterate…I am not saying there are not unbelievable teachers out there. What I’m saying is that politics in the school systems may cause a degradation in the quality of the teaching pool and you don’t want your child to be affected by it.
5. I don’t have enough time.
No one has enough time. I feel this way every day of my life. It seems like there are never enough hours in the day. People only don’t have time for things they don’t make time for. If you really want to do something, you’ll find the time to do it. You might even need to sacrifice a career or a secondary education. Tell the babysitters to go home and make the biggest investment of your professional career by taking control of your kids education. That being said, there are situations that do require your time and will prohibit you from being able to homeschool your kids. Single mom’s or financial situations are a couple of those situations. But, if you’re only forgoing this great opportunity because you want to read blogs or “take a break” during the day, it might be something that you regret long term.
There are many more than 5 reasons people give for not homeschooling their kids but these are the classics. I will have no doubt offended some readers here but that was not the intention. My goal here was to answer some of the most common concerns my wife and I hear about homeschooling. So many of our friends say that they wish that they could homeschool because they are so sick of what they hear in the news and because of the quality of education they know is taking place at their local public schools. All I know is that I’m a guy that loves my wife even more for her commitment to homeschooling our kids. I initially balked at the idea because of many of the reasons I gave above. I was skeptical because of my ignorance. I had not comprehended the depth of the homeschooling and charter systems that are established today. She wanted to do it, and I supported it…but as I’ve witnessed it and researched it, I’ve become convinced that it is the best decision we’ve made for them so far. Our kids absolutely love being homeschooled and what I started to notice was that every kid we’d see at homeschool activities loved it too.
Don’t worry, your kids will most likely be able to play sports on your local high school teams and they will have just as much of an opportunity to go to the college of their choice. Heck, many homeschool kids are graduated from college by the time they’re 20. Imagine the jump they’ll have on their competition.
If you have a lot of kids at different ages, then empower the older ones to become mentors and teachers to the younger ones. That will help the older ones mature and become teachers at a much faster rate.
Both parents need to be supportive and excited by the prospect of homeschooling. It’s not something that a mom can or should do on her own.
You will not be alone if you want to homeschool your kids. You may have no idea what kind of movement is taking place out there. Check out what the future of homeschooling looks like in this video at the Ted Talks.