There are many other like-minded parents who support and share our decision to homeschool but there are also a lot of parents who just cannot, and do not, understand this choice. For most parents who have not done this research or explored these options, it seems to be seen as an unfair method of sheltering our kids. Lack of "socialization" is the concern I hear most and they see it almost as a cruelty to our child. I have frequently found myself in a conversation with a, let's call them "traditional", parent and as I'm explaining our choice, they look at me like I have 2 heads. This conversation usually begins with them "finding out" that we homeschool, like it's our dark dirty secret. Homeschool to other parents seems to be some archaic, barbaric method of educating our kids and they just cannot understand how we could do that to our child. Public school is what's "normal" to them and choosing to homeschool makes us "weird" in their eyes. I'm sure. if you're a homeschooling parent, you've had a similar experience. But they are completely unaware of how homeschool works.
I know that homeshooling is not for everyone and I think every family should have the right to decide what works best for them but I fully stand behind our decision. It is not the "sheltered" existence that these parents imagine. We are part of a homeschool co-op, she has "school friends" but I have the benefit of knowing these kids and their parents intimately and they will most likely form lifelong friendships as we work through the years together. We do field trips and participate in groups. She participates in dance class and t-ball. She has the "normal" childhood socialization of kids in public school. She may not ride a school bus or eat in a cafeteria but how important are these things in the grand scheme of things? She is happy. She is considerate, well-mannered and kind and she interacts well with her peers. And is school not primarily to educate our children anyway? If she can have more resources and experiences readily available to her through homeshool, that is what matters to us.
Throughout our experience, we have learned that our daughter has dyslexia. This means that her brain processes things backwards. For instance, she will see a 'b' as a 'd' or she might read the word 'or' as 'ro'. From my understanding, kids with dyslexia are not often diagnosed early and this is usually from a lack of attention or focus on the child. 1 teacher with a classroom of 30 cannot dedicate one-on-one attention to every single student; that's just a fact. But we were able to do exactly that. I feel absolutely certain that, had we not homeschooled, she would have spent years struggling and being frustrated; feeling like a failure. She would have been considered "slow" or maybe even to have behavior problems. But our experience allowed us to discover this within the first year. Homeschool single handedly allowed us an opportunity that public school would not have. I am happy to report that she is now reading a grade level ahead. She went from being so very behind where it looked like she might never read, to being ahead and reading fluently. She was frustrated and felt stupid and lost all confidence. She was ready to give up. But we found the cause and were able to tailor an approach individual to her. All because of our homeschool choice and our ability to work with her one-on-one every step of the way.
My purpose in this post is not to "hate" on those who send their children to public school or even to hate on public schools in general. I know there are some amazing teachers who love their job and live to educate their children. In fact, the very second homeschool becomes a detriment and not an asset to her education, I will have no problem in sending her to public school. I have even told her that if she ever changed her mind and would like to go to school, we will sign her up. No questions asked, period. I am not forcing this choice on anyone, least of all my child. My purpose is to simply shed some light on homeschooling and why we chose to do it. Every parent is different, just as every child is different. Not all homeschool families chose to do it for the reasons we did, this is just our personal experience. But if it is a decision you are considering, here are a few facts that a friend (who is a teacher in a public school) shared with me earlier today: