By: Leah Prescott
Even though I am barely into my thirties, one of the topics that makes me feel rather old is home education. I find myself incredulous at the changes that have transformed the home schooling world over the last couple of decades. I can’t help opening my mouth with the proverbial, “When I was a kid…” because back then, my parents chose homeschooling when homeschooling was barely an option. It was such a fringe movement that strangers would blink at me when I answered the dreaded, “Where do you go to school?” (Often, their meaning was “Why aren’t you in school right now?”) At my answer, they would respond with complete confusion. “Home bound?” I was asked. My, how times have changed…
Now when my girls answer this question it is met overwhelmingly with enthusiasm. I still find myself amazed by this change. One older gentleman at the copy store went on about his support of homeschooling and his efforts to convert his daughter on behalf of his grandchildren. I was somewhat gobsmacked, I admit. We run into other homeschoolers all the time and at the very least, strangers nod knowingly and mention, “My cousin homeschools.” Or “Sure, my neighbors are homeschoolers.” I have had new homeschoolers practically hug me when they learn I am a second-generation homeschooler, and sincere thanks are sent to my parents, pioneers in the field. (We were involved in a court case to legalize homeschooling in the state of South Carolina.)
My mom was constantly faced with the question, “Why do you homeschool?” but that question has basically disappeared from the conversation. (Although I admit that when my toddler is being particularly challenging, I will ask myself the same question, “WHY am I doing this again?”)
With more and more parents questioning the public school system and our nation’s academics falling lower, nearly everyone understands the reason for homeschooling. The question now is, “How do you do it?” This early in the game, I admit that question is hard for me to answer. I’m still working it out year by year, grade by grade. I guess my complete answer at this moment is, “I homeschool by the grace of God!” Without His hand on our family, I wouldn’t have the determination and energy for this task.
More specifically, the market is brimming with curriculum, extra curricular activities are abundant, and classes, enrichment and co-ops for homeschoolers are, in most areas, easily accessible. Interested parents need to realize that homeschooling is attainable. I am sad to encounter parents who genuinely want to teach their children at home but feel they are not up to the task. Believe me, you can do it! Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, but it is a viable option for many families. The resources are available. The support is attainable. And the results can be very satisfying.
Feel free to ask me whatever you want about homeschooling, I love to write and chat about it. I will answer questions to the best of my ability, based on my childhood and our current situation. Whatever you do, just don’t ask me if my kids are “socialized.” That question is SO early 90’s.