We have friends who have two amazingly smart, well-adjusted and entirely pleasant children, who have been home schooled their entire lives. In standardized testing, they typically score 4 grades above where they’re supposed to be in school. Their eldest, who’s only just pushing at her teen years has already taken PSATs with scores sufficient to get her into pretty much any college she wants.
Having known them since they were born, we haven’t needed much convincing on the benefits of home schooling. However, we’re aware – having known other kids who have been home schooled who aren’t as well-adjusted – that there are also risks/potential problems with home schooling. Social consideration, of course, being significant.
You’re welcome, dear reader, to chime in with thoughts on the subject, as we’re currently gathering such opinions, but its not likely you can introduce any new variables that we haven’t already been considering.
Home schooling is on the rise in the States, one of the foremost reasons given by surveyed parent’s who chose this path being that they desire a better religious education for their kids. I won’t say that’s not important – it is – but I doubt I weight that factor for the same reasons as many Christians. I do not, in fact, want my kids to grow up ultra-conservative. I’d much rather see my kids grow up with an excess of compassion than an excess of indoctrination.
That said, I understand the importance of shaping our kid’s understanding of the world according to Truth, as well as Grace, and acknowledge there are things in the public school system that we would prefer to have taught differently. What I struggle with is that I don’t want my kids to arrive at adulthood without being able to understand, and have respect for, differing points of view. If they learn only our point of view, then how are they going to react the first time they meet someone different than us? How can they be effective on a missions field, or in a workplace, if they grow up without tolerance for differing perspectives? Although we don’t want them to be of the world, we do want them to be effective in it.
On top of that, and the aforementioned (and obvious) social implications, I worry a little bit that our house might become a semi-permanent cradle. With me working at home, Nicole functioning as the in-home teacher, and our little village being a little bit isolated from the 3 neighbouring, larger cities, it would be very easy for our kids to grow up thinking that our home is the center of the universe.
All this is coming to a head because, ridiculously, we have to enroll Benjamin in school now if we want him to attend Pre-K in September. Because his birthday falls at the end of the year, our choices are to either enroll him as too young for his class, or too old. Both possibilities pose risk that, with him at a public school, we won’t be able to determine quickly enough if he’s struggling at school, and why.
I have two theories on my own education (and frustrations with it) that combined suggest to me that if we put Ben in school too late, he might end up frustrated, bored and unable or uninterested in performing according to how he’s evaluated… but that if we put him in too early and he learns differently than the teachers expect, he might get steamrolled.
If our kids learn at home, they’ll have 1 full-time teacher, and 1 part-time teacher available to them to help them learn however they need to, and at whatever pace works for them. And our field trips? They’d be world-wide…