Believe it or not, homeschooled children have the capacity to be better socialized, healthier, and further along academically than their schooled peers.
I know that isn't the narrative that you grew up hearing, but there is no need to cling to outdated stereotypes. Let's take a closer look at these three areas of growth, and how homeschool has changed for the better in the last 20 years.
When many people picture a homeschool family in their minds they see isolated, insulated children studying at the kitchen table from breakfast to dinner each day, breaking only for chores. Perhaps there was a time when this was the norm. (though the data disagrees) It simply isn't the case now.
As homeschool has grown in popularity, the quantity of available peers has also expanded. Throughout the country there are more co-ops, meet-ups, and subject sharing families than people outside the lifestyle realize. Thanks to social media, homeschool families can now seek each other out, and band together to provide a community.
The isolated homeschooler of yesterday is no longer a phenomenon (If it ever was is also debatable.). Homeschooling parents are finding other families walking the same path, and then traveling through life together.
Does anyone remember a time before Google?
Not long ago, homeschooling families relied upon expensive hard copies of curriculum, and/or frequent trips to the library (which they were relying upon to be well stocked). If the child posed a question, he was completely at the mercy of his parents' education and/or willingness to seek out an answer.
The curriculum aspect of homeschooling is a much different landscape now!
My children ask Alexa questions so frequently I feel I can hear her sigh in exasperation some days. Countless YouTube channels are devoted to teaching children, and books everywhere can be sourced online. Every aspect of curriculum choice can be tailored to fit the children in your home, and many (like Buckets) can be printed on demand. Thanks to the internet, parents are not handicapped by their own education.
Social media also plays a role in the curriculum sphere. Parents new to the homeschooling lifestyle can seek out what has worked and failed for parents all around the world. The devoted mom no longer stands alone, reinventing the wheel. She has thousands upon thousands of first hand experiences at her fingertips.
The computer, social media, and the home printer do for homeschooling what the dishwasher and the electric oven did for the kitchen. Mom still matters, but her work load has been cut in half.
How does this modern landscape of homeschooling help children? Kids are wonderfully curious creatures and the internet provides limitless pathways to learn. When these symbiotic qualities are supported through nurtured guidance, homeschooled children have the ability to travel as far as they desire down any given pathway.
Homeschoolers are not limited by access to information or slowed down by the assembly line grade system. They are free to learn.
A Healthier Way
In contrast to the previous two areas, better health outcomes can also be found in the homeschooling world... not because of something we do differently, but because of changes in the public school system.
20 years ago kindergarten students could be found taking naps, playing at recess, and exploring play centers in the classroom. In a push for early literacy and equity of outcome, these practices have been systematically removed from the environment... and from parental expectations.
These changes have had drastic effects on the physical and mental health of the children in the system. Especially in early elementary school, the homeschool environment supports the freedom of movement necessary for the healthy physical and emotional development of the young child.
Considering switching to homeschool?
For those of you who may be considering taking the plunge into homeschooling, it is useful to know that each state has its own laws and regulations. Before you get started, pop over here to find out what will be legally expected of you and your child. Many states, like Texas and Iowa, are preferred by the homeschooling community because of their faith in the family structure. Others, like New York, are certain that children are at risk unless their families are overly regulated. (insert unprofessional eye roll)
If you ever have any questions, send them my way!
I hope our journey inspires your own,
Buckets & Berries