Home-Schooling 101


Source: homeschooler problems

A friend recently shared an article with me called “What Being Homeschooled Is Actually Like”.  I nodded and/or laughed in agreement at every single one of the photos. I like the article with the pictures and how succinct it is. However, if you’ve ever thought about home-schooling or were wondering if all those stories about home-schoolers were true or false, then here’s a bit more info from my personal experience. This is my take on each of the photos from this article, starting with the penguin feature.

~ Ignorant people will sometimes ask a home-schooled or unschooled student (or even a former student who is now an adult!) questions like, “Oh, you were home/un-schooled? WHAT IS ONE PLUS ONE?” and when they are met with the blank stare of “are you serious?” then they snicker and pat them on the back condescendingly. Ugh. It happens. If you’re reading this, please don’t be the kind of person who treats home-schoolers that way. Yet while I know that these people are just foolish, there’s always the tiny worry in the back of my mind that says, “I hope nobody thinks I’m stupid because I was home-schooled. I’d better act intelligent.”

~  Yes, some families I knew banned the Harry Potter books from their household because they were sure the stories would somehow make their children become witches and wizards and get into black magic. Different families follow different ways of thinking, no matter what their educational choices are, and some families are just a little more out there than others. Although I read the first two books, I didn’t like them for other reasons, so I never got on board with the series, but I knew PLENTY of home-schooled  families that loved J. K. Rowling’s books and even read them together.

~ Grammar. I loved it. The end.

(Was that an incomplete sentence? Fail.)

~ The library has been one of my favorite places since I was about three years old. My mom read books out loud to my sister and I for as long as I can remember. It’s pretty amazing to be reading those same books aloud to my own daughter, Harmony, now! She’s eight months old and board books are awesome.

~ I never worked well at a desk when I was a child. Lots of children don’t, actually. Asking a child to sit still is difficult. Believe me, as a music teacher, I know!

~ YES. This is one of the best things about being home-schooled: you can learn EVERYWHERE. Learning isn’t confined to a certain place or a certain time of the day or a certain age!

~ Home-schoolers can learn from their dads. And their moms. And their grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, neighbors, second cousins, friends, parents of friends, grocery store clerk, mailman… anyone! Heaven knows I suck at math, which is why my lovely husband has already offered to teach Harmony and any other future children we have all math levels beyond basic arithmetic. Thank goodness!

~ Drawing at the park, playing at the park, exploring at the park… going outdoors is on the same level with going to the library. Everyone should do it way more often! If I could give children two places where they would learn the most, it would be nature and the library.


~ I promise I played frisbee with friends.

~ My friends got together more often than every ten years.

(Dr. Who is my hero, just to let you know.)

~ I didn’t have to read books about making friends.

~ Not Back to School Camp looks like a place I would have LOVED as a teen! Truth be told, I wasn’t a perfectly friendly, outgoing child; in fact, I was quite shy, didn’t do well in crowds until late high school, and had to learn how to socialize just like every other child. I was a normal kid with normal flaws. It’s a constant learning process for young people to learn how to behave well together and make friends, whether they are introverted or outgoing, whether they are home-schooled or attend school. Seriously, though, the socializing aspect of home-schooling wasn’t an issue at all, what with all the extra-curricular activities I did, the home-school group we participated in, field trips, music events, etc.

~ Heh.

~ What teenager doesn’t like talking to their friends?

~ A few incidents of arguments or disagreements with other children occurred when I was younger, but I was NEVER bullied. Our parents helped us work through problems, separately and together. I had to apologize quite a few times to people.

~ No more bullying, please.

~ Home-schoolers have just the same kind of silly, confusing, dramatic, messy, over-the-top, crazy dating relationships that public schoolers do.

~ Just find the right person for yourself and be happy being different together! It’s so true!


Chris and I, five years ago, enjoying letterboxing together like the crazy kids we are.

~ While parents are lovely teachers, I taught myself quite a bit. And took outside classes with other cool adults as my teachers and mentors. I didn’t think that adults were to be feared or hated or avoided because when I was with them it was for the purpose of learning, and I WANTED to learn from them.

~ …….. no comment.

~ Many of my home-schooled friends and I began taking classes at Boise State University when we were sixteen or seventeen. I was afraid that the friends I was making in my music classes there would think differently of me if they knew I was home-schooled, so I didn’t tell them until the end of the entire year. They were surprised, especially since I was at least two years younger than most of them, but nobody really cared. As one of my college friends told me, “It’s not like you’re more weird than any of us.”

~ Most of my friends growing up had jobs, apprenticeships, or volunteer positions at local organizations by the time they reached high school age. And most of them liked it! I was teaching classical guitar lessons at sixteen, performing and entering competitions, babysitting and housecleaning for a few extra bucks, and playing duets around town with my guitar teacher. It was a good balance of work and school that helped me learn responsibility and figure out my career path.

~ Everyone can be weird in their own special way ; )

~ Ha ha ha, “gnome” schooled!

~ Here is a whole long list of people who were awesome and never went to school!

~ More photos of a bunch of other people who were home-schooled. What about Ansel Adams, famous photographer? “At twelve, unable to stand the confinement and tedium of the classroom, he utterly disrupted his lessons with wild laughter and undisguised contempt for the inept ramblings of his teachers. His father decided that Ansel’s formal education was best ended. From that point forward, the boy was home-schooled in Greek, the English classics, algebra, and the glories of the ocean, inlets, and rocky beaches that surrounded their home very near San Francisco.”

~ Home-schooling may or may not be adequate preparation for a zombie apocalypse (I think it is, ha) but it can certainly help prepare a child to take on the world, as long as their parents let them experience real life and provide the instruction and nurture each individual child needs.

~ Remember what I said above about the folks who ask home-schoolers “what’s one plus one”? It’s those people who deny the evidence studies that show home-schoolers really aren’t that messed up.

~ Home-schoolers are doing pretty darn well in academics, too!

~ Once again, some people just won’t understand. That’s okay. You as the student, you as the parent do not need to apologize to anyone for your education or the education of your children!

~ This comic called “Life in School” outlines every aggressive reason a person would rebel against public schools. It’s a very confrontational way of looking at public education. But some children sincerely like going to school! I’m always happy when a child tells me that they enjoy school. In fact, I don’t hate public schools at all. There are educational options for everyone. I am just a huge fan of home-schooling : )

~ Home-schooled families differ widely in their emphasis on academics, co-op or extra-curricular activities, lax or strict schedules, parenting styles, etc. My biggest reason for wanting to be home-schooled when I was a kid was because I was truly able to follow my passion (music) and explore activities that made me happy! And that is exactly what we want for our kids as well: to guide them as they become well-educated people.

The world is our school. Learning is everywhere. Education doesn’t have to begin in kindergarten or end after college. Children don’t need to be confined to one space or with one age group for academics. You don’t have to be taught how to live life… you just have to get out there and live it!

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4 Responses to Home-Schooling 101

  1. Amen to everything! 😉 I would emphasize your point about the varied nature of each home’s educational experience…indeed, each child’s. We tended to be structured (with lesson plans, “real” curriculum – another issue that people somehow think they need pry into or “check up on”! – and desks in a certain room) but that worked well for all three of my kids. With the structure in place, they whizzed through some things (math and spelling) and then had time to be more open-ended with other things (reading many biographies as part of their history study, for example, or writing and illustrating poetry). It also allowed MUCH time for extracurricular things like AWANA, gymnastics, soccer, 4-H, ballet, piano, art lessons, French lessons, and gun club. We loved having the library mostly to ourselves during the day and would frequently meet our friends there for a library date!
    I would hand their lesson plans to them at the beginning of the week. The only stipulation was that they had to get through everything by noon Friday. Sometimes, my son would get so focused that he’d do several days’ worth of math all on Monday morning. Or not! It was up to them as long as they didn’t get too far behind. I graded EVERYTHING. EVERY misspelled word (no matter where it occurred – a spelling lesson or in a paper) was ALWAYS corrected and EVERY incorrect math problem was ALWAYS corrected. I just thought that was important so it was part of the routine and they knew it, so there was never any grumbling about anything like that.
    They always had time to read…even with pretty rigorous academics and lots of other activities, as well as great times with many friends, they always had time to read. And they read continually and voraciously. They are all still readers and I am so thankful!
    They made lifelong friends. We have such precious memories of wonderful people…we are so blessed that so many people poured into our kids’ lives and gave them so much.
    My grown children all imperfect but good people, hardworking and conscientious, with strong values and great loyalty to their beliefs and the important people in their lives. I was a far-from-perfect homeschool mom and there are many, MANY things I wish I had done better, but it was a great choice for our family. I’d do it again (and do it better, I would hope!) in a heartbeat.

  2. Kelsey says:

    Ok, so for starters, thank you. I laughed so hard about what people think home schoolers are like! Still chuckling. I finally had a chance to come over here and read your whole post. My mom started me when I was in 4th grade.
    If I had a nickel for every time someone said something like “how were you socialized” or nowadays “make sure your kids are socialized” I’d be a RICH RICH woman. I almost throw up a little in my throat when I here this because I’ve heard it so many times and it is ridiculous. Got any suggestions on good comebacks??
    And my homeschool friends ROCKED and were so smart and funny and we had a great time. And yes, you could not be more right about kids learning from us, grandparents, and a wide age range of other kids. Which is better, that or for our kids to learn from 30 other six-year olds? When I say that to people, it usually shuts them up. Plus, who cares more about my kids, me or a public school teacher? Can you tell I’m hot about this? These people put no thought into how they come across when they try to take ME to school on homeschooling my kids.

  3. Kelsey says:

    Oh, and I know some who are totally against the Twilight series. Ooooo…. vampires, it must be a book full of eeeeeevil fruits of the deviiiil. 😉 I loved it and will SO let my daughter read it when she gets older. And HP!

  4. Kelsey says:

    And just one more thing, look for your blog post and the article to appear on my blog. This totally made my day. Thanks.

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