My wife and I homeschooled our own children. Our son just hit the 6th grade and my daughter the 2nd. Both excelled in the ISD and were in gifted programs. Grades were never really an issue. More and more we had been faced with having discussions with the school teachers and principle about the curriculum being taught in the classes. Then there was the ‘grading on a curve’ issue which never set right with us. We did not like what we were seeing and had come to the realization that we had to make a choice. So in 1986, we withdrew our children out of ISD and schooled them ourselves all the way through graduation. It turns out we were not the only ones and soon discovered a network of many families doing much the same. We worked with each other and were amazed at how successful it was. The children learned faster because there were no distractions of useless wasted time and energy. Class time was concentrated and took so much less time that we had to invent ways to get them involved in our daily lives of shopping, bill paying, etc. to keep them from getting bored. Many times we would take field trips to see the world around them. My son was always challenging himself to learn and read more. We had to actually scale down our own curriculum to keep them from advancing too fast. After all, kids still need to learn to live out their childhood using their playful imaginations and interactions with each other.
We traveled a lot because of my job and the homeschooling worked out beautifully during those days. Every state we went to, we found what the requirements would be for testing our children and complied. They NEVER failed to excel in those test and were continually in the high 3 percentile in scoring. Additionally, because they were so used to speaking to adults, they could carry on thoughtful conversations with friends and strangers in the stores or wherever life found us. People were always impressed with their candidness and level of conversation with them. Instead of hanging their heads and wondering why an adult was speaking to them, they would look them in the eye and answer questions, offer thoughts and compare notes. Upon one occasion, when my daughter was a young teen, a deaf woman with a severe case of MS showed up in church. No one would attempt to communicate with her for fear they may not know what to do or say or do. My daughter was learning sign language, and immediately left her pew and sat next to the elderly woman and smiled and signed to her. The look of shock and pleasure filled the woman’s face and she began flashing sign after sign back to my daughter. The two became close friends until we left to another state.
In the meantime, our children DID have issues with their peers. Many of their peers who were NOT homeschooled just did not understand them and many shunned them. Instead of talking about girls or boys and makeup and cars, our children talked a different talk and urged them to consider deeper issues. Things like why getting pregnant was NOT a good idea, spiritually, emotionally, and logistically. That did not go so well at times. But, we were very close to our children and we shared ideas, hurts, concerns, joys and they clearly trusted our relationship with them. My wife and I always understood that we were never to stick their little heads in the sand and ostracize them from the world. Nor did we want them to live life depending on us. We just taught them to consider options and even allowed them to make minor mistakes and then after the consequences were addressed, sit down and discuss with them why that didn’t work.
When new acquaintances would hear about our homeschooling, they would start firing questions of warning. A few of those questions and statements were, “Children NEED peer pressure to be balanced!” Our reply, "No they don’t." By the time they are ready for the world around them, they have learned to see the world in an adult perspective and make decisions based on their intelligence and spirituality, not by how good you will look and accepted you are by your friends. “That is illegal, isn’t it?”. Fortunately that is one of our most basic rights; to be under the control of teaching our children what we believe to be moral, and useful and expedient for their personal futures. WE decide. Not our government system with strange ideas and carnal thought processes bordering on animal instincts and Godless ways. We are NOT animals and helpless but have a choice in our lifestyles and need to be aware of how it affects not just them but all who are in contact with them. We can overcome our weaknesses and ignorance through study and daily practice of our ideals.
The questions were many and would take up too much time and space. Suffice to say, our homeschooling was an astounding success. Difficult? At times. Challenging and time consuming? Of course but if you love yourself more than your children, then you will not be successful. There must be sacrifice by the parents. An added bonus is that in doing this, you learn a lot yourself. They were always challenging our intelligence and were painfully aware that we did not know everything. That was okay. We were learning together and at times they even taught us a thing or two. That leads to the article I encourage you to read through this link. Colleges are seeking homeschoolers and for good reason.
Colleges Nationwide Recruit Homeschool Grads
January 4, 2011
As the modern-day homeschool movement confidently marches forward into its fourth decade, colleges and universities are opening wide their doors to welcome its mature, prepared graduates to their ranks. Homeschoolers score an average of 37 percentile points above the national average on standardized achievement tests and typically score above average on the SAT and ACT, statistics that apparently have caught the eye of college admissions personnel. Since 1999, the number of homeschoolers in the United States has increased by 74%, and today thousands of young men and women are graduating from high school—at home. See more...