Weighing pros and cons of homeschooling

The strangest text I’ve ever received read, “If you ever had kids, would you homeschool them?”

It seemed such an odd question and I wondered why anybody would care enough to send a text about it.

But it did make me think. What is the value of homeschooling, and is it worth the consideration of students who a few years down the road may be settling down and having babies?

I’ve written an article focusing on how homeschooling has affected students at JBU, especially during college. In this column I’ll review my own experience and how that can show some things to consider, both good and ugly.

I didn’t hate homeschooling. I just wanted to be public schooled. I’m the last in a family of six. By my parents’ own admission, they didn’t always know how to handle me like the other five.

I was one of those weird homeschoolers who didn’t adjust well to being on my own schedule. Ever. I had a specific amount of work to get done in a day, and it was up to me how much time I spent on it. I remember envying my hardcore sister who would finish all of her work by 12 p.m. Then there was me, still going at it after dinner.

More than anything else I disliked the lack of people. We lived out in the boonies near Summers, Ark. Our neighbors came to visit us sometimes, and I had basketball and youth group, but that hardly counted as a wildly diverse social experience. As an extrovert, I recharge by spending time with lots of people. That worked when I got to hang out with my siblings. But when they went off to college, I went a little crazy.

Despite all this, I wouldn’t throw out homeschooling as an option.

Most homeschoolers, myself included, find that learning at home prepares them much better academically. In college I often felt bored by general education classes, because they covered exactly what I’d covered in high school, and maybe even a step beyond that.

Minus some drama, I still consider my family to be a strong unit. I know that bears testament to all those extra hours we spent together in school.

So, what’s my take on homeschooling? It can be amazing, if it’s done right. My family fought an uphill battle with me, but largely because of my personality. I thrive in high-pressure situations and groups of people.

In my case, I think I would have done well with an accountability system, creating a medium-pressure environment. Add to that regular contact with many different people, and I think that would have helped me thrive after high school.

Though my experience was less than ideal, I’d still recommend homeschooling – with a caveat. It takes more time, more effort, to do it in a way that is actually helpful. Especially if you end up rearing children with challenging personalities, look to their specific needs in considering this option.

I needed more people and pressure. What another child needs might be totally different. I advise those considering it to just to stay alert and be willing to make adjustments.