In my freshman English class in college, I had to write a persuasive essay; my position was that homeschooling should be outlawed. Now, 22 years later, I have no idea what that evidence base was, but I am firmly on the other side. Homeschooling has provided my children with an individualized education that has allowed them to absolutely thrive academically, physically, and socially.
We began homeschooling 3 years ago purely because of the timing of a move. Who wants to move schools in May? We quickly found a group of fantastic people to help guide us along while we got to know our children as learners and students. Academically, we are able to choose curriculums that cater towards their specific learning styles and pace. My daughter, a more auditory learner, listens to audiobooks, does math online, learns facts through song, and delights in conversation. My son, a more kinesthetic learner has math manipulatives, learns spelling using shaving cream or beans, and keeps his hands busy with legos while I read about History. We also have family conversations surrounding books, geography, and nature. I, as their mother and teacher, am learning so much as I read alongside of them. I had no idea a move would influence their academic success and enourage homeschooling, but I'm thrilled that it has.
Homeschooling has influenced my children's physical health in two ways.
1. They are able to be outdoors everyday for many hours. We actually have a goal for 1,000 this year. This allows them to experiment with balance, strength, coordination, and even visual motor skills in a natural environment. As an OT, we I've watched my 4 year old accomplish physical feats and build confidence that I could have never expected coming from a clinical setting.
2. Being around my middle son throughout his school day allowed me to see some odd things... he got a black eye from a frisbee that he never even saw coming and he would literally cry when more than 3 sentences were written on a page. Being an OT, I recognized this as eye muscles not working together. In a different environment, would this have been noticed in a very agreeable kid that academically fits squarely in the middle? I have no way of knowing for sure, but I do know that with vision therapy, home exercises, and a specialized curriculum of my choosing, he is now thriving. All three of my children have benefited physically because of homeschooling.
Finally, homeschooling has really allowed my children to flourish socially. When we started, my husband and I sat down and identified our social goals for them. We have been able to participate in co-ops that allow public speaking, close relationships, as well as interaction with children and adults. In addition, their team sports provide the cooperation, leadership, and sportsmanship. Finally, being able to choose their curriculums and read aloud books give us the ability to talk about and empathize with different cultures, religions, and Histories. All of the social questions that we considered when coming from the public school system, and those that I wrote about in the persuasive essay in college were quickly answered and are no longer a concern.
Though my children are thriving now, as prior happy public schoolers, I recognize the fear, worry, and concern especially for families of children with special needs. However, because you know your child best, you will be able to help your child excel in the homeschool setting on the way to his purpose in life. If you have questions or concerns about how to specifically cater to your child academically, physically, or socially, please contact Collins Academy Therapy Services for a private consultation.