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January 23rd, 2013 10:27 PM #19Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2010
Blade, I think you're making excellent points.
In very particular circumstances, homeschooling makes sense. But I think it is for truly exceptional situations.
Someone earlier mentioned that academic learning isn't the only type of education a child gets at school, and I have to wholeheartedly agree. For financial reasons, my parents both worked full-time jobs, so I was pretty much away from them for at least 9 hours a day from the time I was 5 years old. Because of that, I had to be very independent at a young age. The last time my parents helped me with homework I was probably in about fourth grade. They stopped being able to do most of the work I was being given when I was in around eighth grade, so they were not even an option for help beyond that time. I started taking public transportation home with a neighbor at 8 and alone at 13. Besides going to a religious school rather than a public school, I was very unsheltered, and I think that was the best thing my parents ever did for me. It forced me to become independent, self-directed, and resourceful. When I needed help with homework, I found a way to get that help. When I had a problem, I found a way to fix it. In high school, I became interested in physics and theatre, so I did my own research and got pretty far without the help of a parent or even a teacher. I researched academic papers and watched interviews of experts in those fields. These skills have served me well as an adult and I would consider my independence and problem-solving ability to be my greatest strengths. This isn't to say my parents were neglectful; they were always supportive and there to help me. They simply believed that sheltering me wouldn't serve me well at all, and they were right. They never coddled me, so I felt completely capable on my own in situations where they couldn't help me. Homeschooling is all about sheltering and coddling; the kids don't interact with groups their parents don't approve of, and that is a terrible disservice to them.
I'm grateful that my parents allowed me to be exposed to different types of people. Many people I was around when growing up disagreed sharply with my parents on very major issues- politics, religion, you name it. Even though my parents disagreed with these teachers, they respected them, which showed me to respect them. It also made me question my parents beliefs- I didn't blindly accept them because I was offered an alternative. I came to my opinions as a fully-informed individual educated on both sides of every issue. I never spat out my parents' beliefs, I arrived to my own conclusions. Homeschooling just doesn't enforce that kind of critical thinking and independence, which I think is far more important than learning math or reading faster than peers.