Sadly, I was influenced by my peers to do things I wouldn’t normally do. So, after a few years of public school my mom decided this wasn’t the best way for me to be educated, so for the past seven years I’ve been homeschooled. Over this period of time I’ve come across a handful of people that think being homeschooled puts me at some kind of disadvantage, however, through my personal experiences homeschoolers have more free time, are better socialized, and receive a better education than public school students. Let’s start with the amount of time spent on school work itself.
The longest I’ve ever spent on any one day’s work is about 5 or 6 hours, and on an average day I spend a little less than 4 hours doing school work. In communicating with other homeschooled students, not too many of them spend more than 5 hours a day on school, unless they are pursuing a subject which they are very passionate about. So what do homeschoolers do with all that extra time? One example given by Charles Glenn declares, “Last Christmas season, one of my daughters noticed that most of the other young dancers in The Nutcracker were home schooled; their flexible schedules made it easy for them to attend the rehearsals. This is a perfect example of what makes homeschooling, not only good, but maybe even better than public schooling. On an average day a public school student may have up to 4 hours of homework or more! Add that to 8 hours of school and you can be spending 12 hours or more on school work, every single day! Compare that to a homeschoolers 4 or 5 hours of school work, for the entire day, and you’ll see why homeschoolers have slightly more flexible schedules. We can now see that public school students are deprived of a very flexible schedule and that they have little ime for anything outside of school, while homeschoolers have rather flexible schedules and can participate in activities outside of school such as sports, community service, church activities, and just plain hanging out with friends, with much greater ease. Next up is my favorite point to negate about homeschoolers and that is the point of socialization. Rowanski states, “Critics charge that homeschooled children are isolated from the outside world, rendering them socially and educationally handicapped. ” As for me, personally, this statement is way off base.
I belong to a homeschool group of over 100 families and about 450 members (100 of them teenagers). We get together on a regular basis to participate in extra curricular activities including drama, basketball, yearbook, journalism, radio drama, and many others. With co-op groups like these all over the United States, homeschoolers spend more time together doing things that they enjoy doing while public school students spend a large amount of time, in a class room, listening to their teachers lecture, leaving very little room for social interaction.
While all public school teachers don’t just lecture to their students and some make an effort for some good hands on learning, they still don’t provide a lot of activities that involve the students interacting with each other. One of the co-op groups that I belong to consists mostly of extra curricular activities that involve several of the students working together to accomplish what needs to be done. Basketball, drama, and yearbook are the classes I have signed up for, and I find I need to constantly interact with my peers to do these classes.
Public schools also offer classes and sports like these, but if a public school student participated in all of the same activities that I’m signed up for, they would have a rather full schedule. Others claim that homeschoolers do not receive the best education that they can, this claim comes from the fact that not all parents are certified to teach. Patricia Lines explains, “[A] handful of studies suggest that student achievement for homeschoolers has no relation to the educational attainment of the homeschooling parent…One explanation might be that the advantages of one-to-one learning outweigh the advantages of professional training. Homeschool parents have a better opportunity to instill a passion for learning in their children, because they are very involved in their children’s learning experience. This is not to say that public school parents don’t do the same thing, it’s just homeschool parents have a much better opportunity to do this. A child with a passion for learning can figure just about anything out, but there are some things that require a little extra help. In describing a homeschooling environment Patricia Lines says, “[I]t often involves shared lessons with other homeschooling families. This brings me to another way homeschool parents deal with the tougher school subjects, and that is co-ops. Not all homeschool co-ops have just extra curricular activities, there are quiet a few that offer more academic classes than anything else. This is particularly helpful when it comes to subjects like chemistry and biology. These two classes are best done in a lab with someone who has experience in those particular fields to help guide you through the required text and experimentation.
When I took these classes I only went once a week and read up on the chapters during the week. Now public school students are exposed to the same lab and text books five days a week, but do they actually retain that knowledge? Patricia Lines goes on to quote a survey that says, “Lawrence Rudner of the University of Maryland collected and analyzed results from the 12,000 students nationwide who had used the Bob Jones University testing services. The homeschooled children placed in the 62nd to 91st percentile of national norms, depending on the grade level and test subject area. So not only do homeschool students spend less time on any one subject, but we test better than the students who spend several hours every day learning the exact same things. Through these examples I’ve shown you that homeschoolers, for the most part, have more flexible schedules, have a better social experience, and learn and retain knowledge better than their public school counterparts. Even if I have not convinced you of all of these points, I hope you do not think of homeschoolers as deprived. I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve been homeschooled these past seven years and wouldn’t have had it any other way.