Shhh… The Secret World of the Everyday Homeschooler

Shhh… The Secret World of the Everyday Homeschooler

By: Tracy Madlener

Psst… over here… Yes you!… lean in a little closer, I’ve got the lowdown for you about a little enigma called, homeschool.  Yeah, that’s right.  Homeschool.  Shhhh!  Just saying the word homeschool evokes a sense of not being able to see what’s behind the closed doors.  What are they doing?  How many of them are there?  Is it a classroom setting?  Or is it a Satanic dungeon with lit candles outlining the shape of a pentagon?  I have to smirk at the latter as it simply is so outrageous that I laughed out loud while typing it!

 

Two friends working on a science project (Photo By Jason Kasper)

As the number of homeschoolers steadily grows across our country and people are increasingly becoming familiar with the word homeschool, does anyone outside of the homeschool community really know anything about this alternative collective that more and more families are choosing?  It’s not like you can look up homeschool in the Yellow Pages and let your fingers do the walking.  So let me be your directory and give you a brief understanding of who the people of homeschool are today.

 

*Meeting room with chairs formed in a big circle, I’m up first…*

 

“Hi.  My name is Tracy and I’m a homeschool Mom.  I’m starting my tenth year homeschooling my two kids and I never thought in a million years that I would homeschool my children.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing until my Husband mentioned it.  Fast forward 10 years and I know more about how the world works, how my kids learn and I have the attitude that anything is possible and I teach that to my children. I am constantly praised by strangers on how smart my kids are and they always ask me, what’s my secret.”

 

Homeschoolers today are as diverse and unique as an individual’s fingerprint.  They are resourceful, confident, and your neighbor next door.  There are no specific religions, political parties, or parenting rules that make up the homeschool community.  The parents who choose to homeschool are middle class, wealthy, or barely making ends meet, but they all have something in common… the sheer determination to help their children succeed with a personalized education that the traditional schools of today lack.

 

Labels are not for people!

Television and movies seem to enjoy the entertainment value of stereotyping homeschooled kids and the families that they live with.  Weirdos, geeky, non-social, religious freaks are a few adjectives that come to mind and quite frankly, I don’t mind if people that don’t homeschool believe this is the norm.  I think of it as my own little secret weapon and my children’s future ace in the hole from those who do traditional schooling.  Am I a weirdo, a geek, non-social, religious freak?  Are my children labeled as such?  No, they’re not, and I’m not, as labels are nonexistent in our school except if we want to label our science projects or notebooks.

 

Homeschool allows us the freedom to choose the subjects we want to study, to run as fast as we want with that topic or to take our time and fully understand the intricate workings of that assignment.  With this freedom of learning comes focus, and focus to me, is the building block of greatness.  Homeschool is an ever-changing, creative learning process that can match your goals for your child’s education perfectly.

 

Is homeschool a mystery?  Not when the door is wide open and you can see right in.

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  1. Sorry, but unless you ar a trained educator, homeschooling is depriving kids of a competitive education. Too many moms think they are as good as public school teachers and while in isolated cases this may be true, it is overwhelmingly incorrect. Don’t let your kids miss out on social activities, recess and proper education.

    • AmandaFox says:

      To better understand your authority in the area – how many of your kids did you homeschool or where did you get your information to form the basis of your comment? This isn’t to be argumentative, I want to understand how you reached this opinion you have because it is so far beyond contradictory to 35+ years of academic tracking and socialization studies that if there is reputable data to support your point, we’d be well served to present that in another column so we have both sides represented.

      I can’t say as I agree with you Doug and I’m not sure where you got the “overwhelmingly incorrect” idea from. Were you aware that most States have cyber academies for homeschoolers to use in case they need help with laying out a curriculum? Were you aware homeschool students academically outperform their peers both from public and private school? http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp In fact they outperform public school students by about 34% points across the board on all subjects. Were you aware homeschool students have matriculated to over 900 colleges including all the US Military Academies? Were you aware most homeschool students still participate in athletic programs and the arts as well as providing nearly a full 87% more volunteer program hours than public school students and still better than 2/3 more than private school students? Did you know that “half of the conventionally schooled children scored at or below the 50th percentile (in self-concept), only 10.3% of the home-schooling children did so.” (Self-Concept in home-schooling children, John Wesley Taylor V, Ph.D., Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI) I’m just wondering if yo were aware, that your assertion of “overwhelmingly incorrect” is well…. overwhelmingly incorrect against the public and private agencies that keep tabs on this type of thing.

  2. Austin Grady says:

    The public education system has a lot of critics. It seems that everyone has an opinion about what “they”, the powers that be, should be doing to improve education. However as soon as someone takes responsibility for the education of their children at home, the “outsider” labels come out and the us-vs. them rules go into effect. Home schooling is an option. Given the commitment, responsibility and ingenuity required to exercise this option – it may very well prove to be a secret advantage.

    • Tracy says:

      Us-vs. them… so very true Austin! As parents, we do the best that we can in what ever the situation may be wether it’s public, private, or homeschool. I am fortunate that I have the option to homeschool and yes, the secret advantage. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. MM says:

    I love that we have the choice to homeschool, independent study, attend online or go to a brick-and-morter school. Hey, we’ve done all the above! And I am very grateful to have had that choice. Tracy is absolutely right that homeschooling is not a mystery. It’s what you want it to be for your needs and for your child. No secrets. Just good learning. And, for us, we have done “all of the above” all while homeschooling. Yes, there are lots of choices for homeschooling, out there, that can suit many families’ needs. Thank you for another great article, Tracy!

  4. Linda Kasper says:

    Hi Tracy, I must say I was surprise to see the picture of my daughter on your blog, but I appreciate the post written about homeschoolers. Too many people have the wrong idea of homeschoolers, like Doug. I just wanted you to know that the pictures is of my daughter and her friend doing a science project together. (It is not me, her mother, someone miss label it on the internet.) This picture is an older one, since then both girls are in college now. They were both homeschool most of their school years and have many friends who went to public schools, private schools, and who were also homeschool. Thank you for trying to enlighten others about homeschool. It is really not a great mystery. A lot homeschooler are more than willing to tell you why they choose to homeschool. We decided to because our daughter was really advanced. She went to school until second grade. Her teacher at the time said she is really ahead of the class and she will be having this problem until she reaching 4th grade when their gifted program started. So, we choose to homeschool her. This way, she could work at her own pace. It work well for us. Thank you again.

    • AmandaFox says:

      Linda, thanks for stopping by! I have updated the photo description from that which is in Wikimedia to something more accurate which reflects what you have shared with us. It is great to hear both girls are in college now! It is always inspiring to hear that more an more homeschool students are finding their way to college and that admissions officers are better understanding that homeschooled does not somehow equate to an inferior education. Given the state of so many public schools and the expense of private schools, homeschooling is often the best option for children to really thrive educationally. Again, thanks so much for coming by and giving us the correct information on what exactly is going on the photo. We really do appreciate it!

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