Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Catholic Online asks about homeschooling

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 25th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Homeschooling is a challenge, but for some concerned about the quality and safety a public education affords, it is a challenge they are happy to accept. Catholic Online recently asked several homeschoolers about their experiences and this is what they had to share. 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Q: What are the drawbacks to homeschooling and how do you address them?

It appears the one drawback that gave homeschoolers the most concern was the perception that homeschooling means less social interaction. After all, how else will a kid learn about social mores, peer pressure, popularity, dating, and so on? 

Intrepid parents however, found solutions. It was immediately apparent that suggesting homeschooled children are "isolated" is a popular misconception. A homeschooled child remains only as cloistered as a parent chooses, which doesn't have to be hardly at all. Since a homeschooled student does not have to keep the same hours as a child in a public school, a parent can arrange social activities at any time, and be there to supervise, if they so desire. 

Homeschooled kids often have siblings, enjoy weekends, vacations, and other activities just like any other child. Homeschooled kids are even allowed to play sports through various private organizations that sponsor homeschooled athletes. 

Lisa Morgan of Austin, TX said, "I have worked to find activities to do with other homeschooling families." A number of other respondents also mentioned that they were able to network with other homeschool families in their area and plan group activities including field trips. 

Linda Biewer of St. John's MI, said "We have a good homeschooling support group in our area. I have our homeschooling group over twice a month. The kids play and the mothers talk. There is also a large group of Catholic homeschoolers in the Lansing area. We usually have an opening school mass and a graduation mass. There have been various groups that my children have participated in--Socrates Cafe, Reader's Club, Writers Club, Homeschoolers-4-Life, flag football and ultimate frisbee."

Biewer also discussed her daughter, of whom she is very proud. "...I ended up sending my daughter, Catherine to high school for her senior year. She wanted to go too," Biewer explained. What I found was that Catherine was not behind in any of her studies. She ended up being nominated for Student of the Week and the National Honor Society. She got all A's. She is now attending Aquinas College in Grand Rapids.  She earned a 3.95 GPA for her freshman year. One of her professors told her she was the most impressive freshman that he had ever had and that she was head and shoulders above the rest of the students.  He said that it makes him want to homeschool his children. What this says to me is that what I perceive as drawbacks to homeschooling, really aren't. My children are learning in spite of me and my anxieties.

Q: Why did you choose homeschooling?

Reasons to homeschool are varied, but always in the best interest of the child. For some, it is to protect children from the controversial material being taught in schools - not to isolate them from it, but to manage the introduction and exposure to it. In other cases, it is simply the best fit for the child. Sometimes a child has difficulty fitting in at school and if teachers and administrators are indifferent to the child's welfare, homeschooling may be a better option. 

Such was the case for George Goodsaid of Murrieta, CA. Goodsaid was homeschooled for a couple years as a child and all the way through high school. 

"When my parents first put me in homeschool, it was because the public school system was being absolutely cruel to me. I was halfway through the 2nd grade, I had ADD, and was ordered to take Ritalin just so I would be quiet and pay attention better in class. I took Ritalin for a while, but it was later discovered that Ritalin was causing harm to my health, my family told the school about this, but they did not care at all. They wanted me to keep taking the Ritalin even though they knew it was harmful to my health, so my family put me in homeschooling, and ever since then, I was getting better grades, studying more effectively without distractions from bullies and teachers who did not care about me, and I was much happier."

Goodsaid continued, "When I was homeschooled again in high school, I was safe because I didn't have bullies hitting me everyday. Public schools are filled with bullies. [there are] teachers and administrators who do not care about these very serious incidents. All they care about is that the students get good grades and have good attendance. Bullying and fighting is also an important issue. Homeschooling does not have these problems because it is just the teacher and student one on one, no bullies, and no problems."

Other respondents say they decided to homeschool because they have experience as teachers and did not want to see their children get put through a system they see as inadequate and inefficient. Public education is focused heavily of testing and attendance, since that is the source of the school's funding. However, the goal of the school should be education, not money. At least with homeschooling, it can be. 

Q: If you were speaking to a parent who was considering homeschooling, what would you say? 

Morgan: Definitely give it a try. There are so many curriculum materials out there that walk you through each and every day. You basically have to follow the instructions.  Some people that I have talked to are concerned about having to keep their child on task. However, if you are starting with them fresh in the day, instead of getting them at the end of an 8 hour school day, many times, the work will get done quicker, and you can move at their pace and not have as much waiting time for the other kids to finish. I would also say to try to find groups in your area to meet other home schoolers.

Biewer: If I were to speak to a parent who was considering homeschooling I would tell them the truth---that homeschooling is not easy. But if they feel called to do it, it can bring great blessings to their family. I would encourage them to find a homeschooling support group and get to know the families and ask lots of questions.

Goodsaid: I would say that homeschooling is the best possible decision you can make for your children.

What do you think? Do you homeschool and is it a better experience for you and your children? Add your comments below.

 

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)