Homeschool was an interesting experience. Over the years, I’ve seen many forms of education—public schools, private schools, homeschool, homeschooling plus co-op, and there’s probably more. I am a recent high school graduate, and I have never done school with anyone other than my three younger brothers, much less stepped foot in a public school. There’s so much out there, and each form of education has it’s own pros and cons. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing things I liked about being homeschooled, as well as my regrets.
Pro #1: Flexibility
I was homeschooled in the most isolated manner possible. (Is that correct wording?) There were no field trips, no schedule that required me going anywhere, and no co-ops to go to. If I had a presentation, I delivered it to the five other people in my family.
Given all this, you can probably imagine how flexible my schedule was. I loved it. I could complete things on my own timing, stay home all the time, and not have to interact with a single soul outside of my house if I didn’t want. If I wanted to do something fun, or we were visiting friends (which happened occasionally), I could just do my homework at another time. My mom set deadlines and expected me to finish by a certain time of course, but being homeschooled allowed me ultimate flexibility.
Pro #2: Promotion of Life Skills
Independent/critical thinking skills, time management, prioritization skills, and autonomy—homeschooling taught me all of these things. Our curriculum was big on making us think and make decisions for ourselves. I’ll give you one example.
For English, I didn’t just write book reports and essays on things I’d read about in History. Instead, I was given a lot of creative writing assignments that forced me to think for myself on subjective topics in order to form an opinion. Instead of just writing facts and compiling evidence, I was being taught critical thinking skills. I learned how to think, not what to think.
Other than that, just the setup of homeschool made me learn other life skills. Our curriculum was mostly student-led. Over the years, it slowly became more and more independent, until I was doing almost everything on my own. This forced me to develop time management and prioritization skills, and it also helped me become the autonomous person I am today. (I work the best on my own, and I am good at managing myself.)
Pro #3: Influence
My parents were able to control how I was being influenced in school. There are two major components in this: worldview and the people I was around.
My homeschool curriculum was a faith-based one. It taught me from a Christian point of view, and besides Bible verses and stuff like that, I was given solid, scientific evidence proving my faith and setting it apart from other religions and worldviews. One of the things that sticks out the most to me is how much scientific and logical evidence I was given. I learned how science points to creation (not evolution), and it helped strengthen my faith (not that I needed it; it was just helpful to me).
The other area of influence that my parents were able to control is who I was around all day. For most public schoolers, they’re around other children their age, all day, five days a week. You’ve probably heard the saying that you are who you’re around. Since children are so easily influenced, being surrounded by other people your age isn’t the most helpful in allowing you to mature. I had almost zero interaction with other children my age, and when it did happen, it was under the supervision of my parents. For this, I am grateful. I was able to grow a lot more and learn from the adults I was around. I could have cultivated a selfish, arrogant, rebellious attitude, but being around more mature people helped me to see the bigger picture and learn to view others in a respectful, open-minded manner.
On the flip side, not being around other people does have its disadvantages. We’ll get into that later.
Pro #4: Everything Was Easy
Okay, physics, chemistry, and pre-calc weren’t easy whatsoever. I just mean that compared to most people in school, I had it easy. I had little homework that usually lasted two or three hours a day, and my mom didn’t give me many tests or expect me to get the best grades possible. Actually, I didn’t have grades. My mom just corrected my stuff and had me do things again if they were wrong (in math).
As for graduation, I graduated in Texas. Texas is one of the most free states concerning education. You aren’t required to file reports, take state tests, or anything like that. Instead (for homeschoolers), you’re just expected to learn reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship. Science isn’t even required. (We did it though 😢) To graduate—well, it’s up to the parents to decide when the child meets graduation requirements. I didn’t have to do any tests to graduate. I just made a diploma on Canva and called it a day (I promise this is the only paragraph you’ll see emojis in.)
Regret #1: Social Skills
My social skills aren’t the best. Sure, I’m fine if the other person is an extravert, but you don’t want to see me in a one-on-one with another quiet person. My social skills used to be even worse (no eye contact, fidgeting, anxiety, awkward pauses, etc.), and the only reason they’re passable now is because I’ve forced myself to interact with uncomfortable situations and get out of my shell. I still struggle with anxiety, fidgeting, and awkward pauses, but I think I’m getting better.
Another aspect of the social skills thing is the fact that I don’t know how to deal with people very well. On the internet, it’s a breeze. I’m perfectly fine with confrontation, and I’m able to understand context well, because I can read and re-read what people are saying, as well as thoroughly think out what I’ll say before I say it. In person is another story.
Technically, I know what I should be doing and saying, but I seem to either go from extremely blunt to non confrontational. I struggle to find a balance, and getting what I really mean out is a challenge. It’s a lot easier on paper (or behind the safety of my computer screen). I think the issue is my self-consciousness, but once I get past this, none of this will be a problem (or at least I hope so).
Regret #2: No Friends
I’ve never really had friends. There were kids I hung out with on the occasional weekend because my parents liked their parents, but other than that, there was no one I actually chose or got really close to. *sees Maya looking at me with a furrowed brow* Okay, there are maybe two people, but still, I didn’t choose them (but I love them).
This sort of goes back to the social skills thing. Since I’ve never really hung out with people my age, I find it difficult to make friends. I’ve pretty much only been around adults. On one hand, it allowed me to mature quickly, but on the other hand, I don’t have much in common with people my age, and I find their interests boring. In addition to this, I’ve never gotten to go through relationship issues. (Everyone looking at me like “why is she complaining about not having issues?”) Okay, look you guys. I’m just afraid that when it really matters, I won’t know how to deal with situations properly.
Regret #3: Extracurricular Activities
As a homeschooled, non government funded person, there were no extracurricular activities to participate in. On one hand, yes, I love staying inside all day every day and not having to interact with anyone. On the other hand, I like acting and dance, and maybe I would’ve done it if I’d had the chance. Maybe. (It’s a big maybe.)
Um…yeah. So as you can see, the pros far outweigh the cons. If you take a closer look, you’ll see that there are actually five pros (with one disguised as a con) and only one con. The last regret doesn’t even count.
So in summary: I’m super happy I was homeschooled! The way it was structured fits my personality well, and I wouldn’t change anything if I could. I consider myself a blessed person—no matter how much I complained about physics and pre-calc.