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Confessions of a homeschooler


At 36 years-old, I’ve consistently had one thing said about me when others discover something about me: “Well, that makes a lot of sense” which usually follows my revelation that I was homeschooled. To this day, I’m not entirely sure what each person is referring to. However, I try to think it’s a positive observation, rather than a criticism (even if it were, I wouldn’t care.) when they say it.

This blog isn’t an effort to toot my own saxophone, or somehow give undue praises to the homeschool experience. However, my education is something that I’m incredibly thankful for the more I see how the world works, and what others learned in their own educational experience.

Most people tend to think of the denim jumper-wearing mom with a small army of children when they think of a homeschool family. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this outfit, but it wasn’t something that my Mom ever wore….

One of the main criticisms for homeschooling is a supposed lack of socialization that children are deprived from. I can personally attest that this wasn’t ever an issue for me. My parents did an incredible job of ensuring myself and my siblings were constantly surrounded by a diverse group of children that spanned a global palette of cultures. My best friends as a child were from South Korea, Africa, Guatemala and Mexico – to name a few places, as well as a collection of US born-and-raised children that were both white, black, mixed and everything in between. Diversity was not an issue, neither was the quantity of friends that I had.

This was largely in part due to the extracurricular activities my parents involved all of us in; taking full advantage of our local community recreation centers where we played sports (basketball, volleyball, soccer, baseball, flag football, to name a few) and I also swam competitively every Summer at the local Parks & Rec Summer swim team for 9 years, during which I set several citywide records and amassed a small shelf full of trophies and blue ribbons – all earned because I (or my relay team) finished first – not because everybody got a blue ribbon.

As a child, I was exposed to a wide assortment of musical instruments and instruction, with at least 8 years of private piano instruction, 3 years of private saxophone instruction which helped me one day play sax in The Ohio State University performance band on a quarterly basis – at the age of 16-17.

Going back to socialization, I have to challenge the idea that homeschool children are somehow being deprived of valuable social skills by not attending a public school, where I think they receive far inferior educational opportunities and chances to develop critical thinking. Additionally, I’d really like to push back on the idea that grade school is where children develop the invaluable social skills that will help them navigate life as an adult.

For example, it isn’t in grade school that children learn how to deal with – as an example – a manipulative person; it’s in their later years in life, for example. It isn’t in grade school that children learn proper networking and workplace communication skills – it’s later on in life, oftentimes in the actual workplace itself.

If you disagree, please share your thoughts with me. I’d love to hear them.

On a day-to-day basis, I attribute my knowledge and understanding of the world as an adult solely to the instruction, example and lessons my parents taught me – and not a single thing from my own college education (which I began at the age of 15, thanks to being a homeschooler). Am I rich? No. However, I live an incredible life that is full of more freedom than every single MBA graduate I know, and I personally find far more value in being able to spend my time the way I want than in being tied down to a job that demands 60+ hours of my life each week in exchange for a paycheck.

As a parent, I consider this the ultimate success; being able to spend as much time as I want with Atlas, without needing to punch in to a clock and return to him exhausted after the end of a long day.

As a homeschooled child, I don’t think that I was necessarily ‘taught well’ by my parents, on an academic level. By that, I mean that they didn’t sit down with me and explain every subject to me on a line-by-line basis. Instead, a lot of my education was self-guided, and my parents provided opportunities for me to figure things out on my own, which has quantified to the success, lifestyle and experiences that I’ve had as an adult.

On this note, they also didn’t spend a tremendous amount of time teaching me particular subject matters that I would have been exposed to in a traditional public school – which I’ve now come to find out are now completely false, slanted or downright fiction. Reference: Pocahontas. Look up the real story.

Being homeschooled gave me real-world opportunities that I wouldn’t have had elsewhere. For example, I volunteered over 900+ hours at the local science center, where I worked alongside adult staff, and was responsible, firsthand, for educating large groups of students through a variety of methods ranging from live science experiments, live-streamed educational sessions, historical theatre and even working with infants and toddlers.

At the age of 13, for example, I auditioned to have a role in their exhibit called “Progress” which featured a city street shown in both 1848 and 1962. Part of the responsibility of that job was ‘being in character’ which meant that I had to have a thorough understanding of both of those time periods and interact with the guests as if I were an actual resident at that time. Oftentimes, the guests would do their best to get me to ‘break character’ and admit that it was all a show, but they were never successful in doing so as I was able to accurately respond to questions about historical events at that time – and they did their best to convince me that Kennedy was dead.

All of these things played a dramatic role in the life I now enjoy as an adult, and it’s often very rare that I find other adults who feel the same way about their own education, shy of those who went to alternative schools such as charter or private schools.

Given that my Mom is a certified teacher with a Master’s Education, all of us children received standardized testing every single year, and consistently scored in the 95th+ percentile. Thus, I can’t say that we fell short when it came to academic performance in the slightest when compared to our public school counterparts.

Yes, I was homeschooled. No, I wasn’t somehow shortchanged or feel the slightest bit deprived in the way I was educated. And that isn’t as much of a confession as it is a proclamation I’m now happy to share as an adult.

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