My kid has been studying at home for two years already. This has become the simplest and logical decision for us.
Our family upholds and accepts our decision. However I constantly get the same questions to answer. That is why I decided to make a post in which I provide all the answers and will explain my decision.
Socialization of a kid
A dictionary gives the next definition of the term «socialization»: a process of adoption of a certain system of knowledge, norms and values by a person which allow him or her to act as a member of society.
Initial socialization takes place in a small social group (commonly, in a family circle), the next step of socialization takes place in a bigger social group. This is the part of educating a kid which bothers most of the people.
However a kid educated at home is not locked in a single place and to a certain society. The kid constantly communicates and interacts with other people. Commonly these are friendly, enthusiastic, interesting people, adults and kids, living in different countries. Will this society be worse than an accidentally gathered group of age mates under supervision of a teacher? Will the norms and values of this society be worse than norms and values implanted by a school?
However I constantly think of how to create valid group for my son to communicate. But this is not because of socialization, but because of holidays, games and adventures being better accepted in the company of age mates.
Other home-schoolers, as I know, also support this way of communication of kids. That is why these are parents of home-schoolers who should ask parents of average school kids about their socialization. Such one-sided habit of survival at school is not enough to become a member of a modern society.
How a kid learns about the world’s diversity?
In terms of knowledge and emotional diversity home-schooling exceeds in volume and quality traditional schooling.
We have enough time to search for answers and not only to find answers, but to experience the situations.
But we are often asked not about experience, but about various people, various situations which home educated kids rarely face. But the truth is that as home schoolers so traditional school kids face the same unpleasant issues of life, no matter how hard you will try to conceal them and to protect your kid from evils of the world. The difference is evident.
A home schooler knows for sure that he or she must not interact with a person who constantly humiliates the kid and others, the kid knows that he or she can simply avoid being in unpleasant place and in unpleasant situations. But do our kids need such a skill to put up with such attitude? Or is this the best way to adjust to the modern life?
How a kid will learn to overcome difficulties and to deal with such unpleasant situations?
A home schooler constantly faces many of unpleasant situations — interacting with parents, doing home tasks, meeting with friends. These are perfect situations to teach a kid to adjust to life, but not to let your kid to try Russian roulette under a slogan «all that does not kill us, makes us stronger».
Is this good for a mother to become a teacher? Does not such role shift affect relations in family badly?
We do not turn into teachers and coaches when a kid is trying to make first steps, we do not turn into speech therapists when a kid is trying to pronounce first awkward words. Then why should we turn into teachers when educating our kids and teaching various disciplines?
I teach my son as a mother. Sometimes I need to be strict and exacting, sometimes I get bad tempered, sometimes I lose control over my emotions. However I behave in the same way when trying to make my son to take his toys to right places or to get to bed. These are some particular parent tricks, games and inventions that assist me in overcoming difficulties in education of my son in the same way as I cope with any other parental problems.
How a mom can teach without a specific education?
Is it possible to so highly value school and to neglect gained at school knowledge and skills? I am quite sure that even if I do not know something or forgot something from school program, then I am able to gain the knowledge gap and to restore knowledge by reading elementary school books. However it is quite weird to prove my ability to read school books and to do math tasks and other exercises.
What if I fail to teach something?
If my faith in my skills and in myself will become exhausted, I can always address to a specialist.
What if I miss something important from school program?
I do not know what builds such a strong faith in school in many parents, the faith that nothing will be missed at school. However I know about myself that I can miss something and leave this unattended.
But I do not think this to be a great problem as we can always gain the gap when it is noticed. It is more terrible to find out that something is missed considering a discipline strictly regulated with educational laws and norms. But in real life knowledge, sciences and disciplines are endless and incomprehensible.
Is it right to devote yourself totally to a kid?
Surely, this is not right as parents should have their own individual lives: business and hobbies. But during home schooling most of the knowledge kids acquire in the meantime — during breakfast, in discussions, during walking, while sitting at the desk takes the minor part of the day of a kid (we spend commonly about an hour). I think this is even less than other parents spend with their school kids doing home tasks.
How to organize a kid and yourself for home schooling?
Many years ago I was always asked how to work at home without a boss supervising all your actions during a working day. I always answered that I did not have any idea, the same answer I can give about home schooling.
I can organize myself and I think that it is of ultimate importance to teach your kid to organize time and himself. However the secret of self-organization is not in the will power. It is in the strong motivation and solid understanding of life goals and wishes. If my son and me strive for home schooling, to spend more time for interesting and engaging occupations and to spend less time for preparation for test and exams, then we will find time, efforts and desire for regular home studying.
What if a kid does not want to study at home?
My son is always reluctant to study. For a week or two we study well, but then he rebels. Then we take another round of discussion the alternatives and future and make conclusions why my son should study at home. I think my son has a sound understanding of a necessity of studying, however he needs to rebel from time to time against dull and boring tasks. This is his right.
If you get bored? What if your kid will desire to go to school?
A decision for home schooling is not taken once and for all for the rest of the life. If my kid will constantly ask me to go to a traditional school, then I let him go. This is one of the greatest advantages of home schooling — to be able to flexibly adjust to the requirements and needs of all participants of the studying process.
What if a kid will have problems with studying?
If there are some problems with studying, then they will be no matter what type of education you choose — home schooling or traditional school.
However solving studying problems is much easier at home in an individual regime of a kid, tracking the reactions, responses and success of your kid. Parents should not think that they will be alone in solving studying problems. You can always find people with more home schooling experience to assist you in your problem.
What if a family and friends will not support the decision to educate a kid at home?
First, you need to make up your mind what roles do all these people play in your life and in the life of your kid. For home schooling of your kid you do not need to follow the opinion of your neighbour or a pediatrician. However those people who take an active part in the upbringing of our kid should not be ignored.
Then you need to reach a compromise, discuss a trial home schooling year or give home schooling a try till the first difficulties or fails. However I could not give practical advice on how to solve such a problem as our family supports us in our decision.
What if a kid will laze about all days long or will play computer games?
If your kid is engaged in studying process and experiencing the surrounding world, then in his leisure time he or she will have no strive for such occupations.
That is why it seems that when a kid does not study he or she lazes about and tries passive activities. A kid spends much time, efforts and power for home schooling, and the kid tries to invent, experience, make something with hands, play, read. Though these are not occupations which parents want their kids to engage in, still these are important tasks for kid’s development.
What if a kid will abuse you in limiting him or her from school when grown up?
Nobody from parents knows for sure, what their kids will say when grown up. It is a foolish thing to wait for their acknowledgement and appreciation. We live for present days and present emotions. In our family nobody has a place for escape: parents do not have offices, kids do not have schools.
That is why it is important for our family to make home a comfortable environment for all, a place of interest for all. We strive that nobody feels that he or she lives a wrong, non-standard life.