I was homeschooled in the late 80s and early 90s, from kindergarten to third grade. The main reason my mom chose to homeschool all three of us kids was not because she was a masochist. It was because my dad pressured her into it to fit into his religious definition of a good Christian family.
So, I was raised Christian and was homeschooled in my early years. I still consider myself a Christian, although I no longer embrace strict religion. As you might have guessed, our homeschooling curriculum was Christian, and I finished elementary school in a private Christian school. When my parents divorced when I was 10, I finally went to public school for the first time as I hit middle school. I’m so glad I did.
In a way, I might have homeschooling to thank for being academically advanced. I was able to combine kindergarten and first grade while I was homeschooled, so I essentially skipped a grade. I graduated high school at 17, and I was one of the top students in my class.
But beyond those potential academic benefits, I would never wish homeschooling on my kids. For starters, I refuse to be their teacher. Sure, I plan on teaching and enriching my kids whenever I get the opportunity in everyday life, but I’m not going to sit down with them and pound out a lesson plan. Nope.
Second, my memory of homeschooling revolves around deeply religious lessons and a Christian bubble of “homeschool friends.” As a parent today, I’m heavily focused on socializing my kids so that they’ll feel comfortable and know how to respond in a number of settings. In my opinion, that’s the best way to prepare them for the real world.
In the homeschooling circle that I was in, secular was bad, and spiritual was good. That doesn’t fit the true definition of socialization since homeschooled kids in these circumstances were only exposed to one culture. I was able to experience both worlds, and I think that attending a public middle school helped to socialize me without any truly harmful repercussions.
Most of the time, I forget I was ever homeschooled, and it’s hardly a blip on my radar. Still, I can only imagine how my world views and life experiences might have changed if I was homeschooled throughout high school. I know this is merely a stereotype, but I have personally met many homeschooled high schoolers that were completely out of touch with reality. I can’t even imagine how they might have felt when they attended college or got their first real job—like a fish out of water.
There have been a handful of times that I have been asked if I will homeschool my children. I only have my personal experience to draw from, but my answer is always an emphatic, “Hell, no.”
(photo: Getty Images)