This post is from contributor, Monica Heffner
My Homeschool Experiences
Many times I have been in public places with my children and they have been asked where they go to school. When my children tell the interested party that they are homeschooled, two things happen:
1. The typical response is, “Wow, you’re homeschooled? I would never have guessed that!” as they eye my children for hunchback-like deformities.
2. They then ask me, “Aren’t you worried that they are not getting enough social interaction?” To which I would like to reply, “Are we not in public conversing right now?” But I refrain.
The truth is–as I am sure you well know–homeschooled children are normal. Homeschooling doesn’t make a child social or unsocial any more than going to school outside of home makes a child social or unsocial. I have seen plenty of shy, quiet children who were attending public or private school.
The Myths Revealed
In order to answer some questions and hopefully bust some myths, here are the most commonly asked questions and my answers.
*Do homeschooled children get enough social interaction? Yes, all of my children are involved in activities outside our home where they have opportunities to interact with other children. Local recreation departments offer dance, soccer, football, baseball, and many more team activities. There is also church, which meets weekly, and often offers extra group activities, in addition to regular meetings. If that isn’t enough, most homeschool children have play dates with other children.
On a personal note, I have witnessed for myself that my own homeschooled children are more likely to introduce themselves to new children at the park than their public and private school friends. They do not have the mindset of a child who has been taught that your friends are the people who are your age, and who look cool or dress like you do.
*Do you have to be involved in a co-op or homeschool group? No. This is a personal preference. I have friends who are involved in weekly groups and monthly groups. We are currently involved in a monthly group meeting because that is what has worked the best for my family. This leaves more time weekly for the children to participate in other activities that suit them better than those offered at a co-op.
*What about art and music? Most local private schools allow homeschoolers to join in their classes for a small fee. My own children participated for $5 per class in art and music. You can also find a co-op that offers these classes, or a private teacher to teach music or art lessons to your children as a group. Often they will come to your home. Some children are not interested in these activities, and a parent may choose not to offer them.
*Do your children get enough exercise, and how do they play sports? Yes, I find that my children are more than happy to run outside and play or jump on the trampoline or ride bikes as many times a day as I would allow it. As far as organized sports, the recreation department offers a variety, and my children have also opted onto local private school teams.
*How do you know what to teach them? There are many great curriculums available. I just choose one that fits my state’s requirements, and teach away. I do not have to know what to teach them, I only have to have the ability to follow a curriculum that fits my state requirements. Our state (Virginia) has a booklet that is available for purchase that has the state SOL’s. I have found this to be a helpful resource in knowing what the state requirements are.
*How will you ever teach high school? There are many options for high school. I have friends who continue teaching whatever curriculum they already love throughout the high school years. Another friend chooses to enroll her children into correspondence school when they reach high school. There is also the option of internet classes, DVD/video school, and computer programs that take you through an entire class/year.
I personally do a combination. My son is a freshman this year, and he is completing grammar, writing, and literature through a correspondence class, and his math through a computer program. The rest I am teaching him or he is completing alone. The only “right” way is to do what works for your family and what meets your state’s requirement–if that is necessary.
*Can your homeschooled child still go to college? Yes. There are a lot of children who were homeschooled and continued on to college. You just have to find out what is required by the colleges that your child is interested in and meet those requirements.
*Will your child have a high school diploma? This is different for each family and each state. If you are participating in a correspondence school, they may provide this to your child upon completion of their program. I have also heard of some parents providing a diploma to their children. I am not familiar with each state’s regulations on this topic, but a great resource for this would be HSLDA.
There are many more questions that I am asked from time to time, but these are the most popular.
What about you? What are your concerns or what questions have you been asked that you can share with us? It is always good to encourage one another in this crazy adventure.