How do I know for sure if homeschooling is best?
You are on the fence about whether to homeschool or not. Maybe you are already homeschooling but you are feeling unsure of your decision. I hope to help you decide whether homeschooling is best for you and your family with real answers from real people who homeschooled. Post-graduate homeschoolers tell us what worked and what didn’t. These answers will restore confidence in your decision. Rest assured, every homeschooler I ever ran into had at least some days when they wondered about that big question. Here are the four main concerns about the long term effects of homeschooling.
The four main concerns of homeschooling are:
- How will homeschool affect my child socially?
- How do I choose a curriculum?
- How will homeschooling affect my child once they are grown?
- How can I make sure that there will be good memories about homeschool?
The answers are not always easy to find.
I wish I could tell you exactly how homeschooling will affect your child’s social aspect, what curriculum is best, and how they will fare in the real world as adults. What I can do is share how other families who have gone before you did it for years and how they created wonderful, lasting memories with their children. You can also find out what type of curriculum they used and why they chose what they did.
You can read exactly what twelve adults who were homeschooled have to say about how homeschooling affected them as adults in the real world. Their fond memories as well as what they wish had been different will help you plan for good memories. In addition, you can read exactly what eight moms say about what is most important about homeschooling your child.
It’s all in this book of interviews written and sold here on Seasons of Devotion: Homeschool Kids & Moms: 10 Years After
The Most Important part of your decision about homeschooling
Before we dive into the four main topics about homeschooling, there are some foundational beliefs that you may want to address first. These beliefs will be the anchor of why you are choosing to homeschool (or not).
One of the advantages, the beauty, of homeschooling is that you get to tailor all of that into one big beautiful story. You can be as creative as you want or you can follow a ready-made structure, or something in-between. Those decisions are the “how”, but before you dive into all of that, there is something that is super important.
You must first be intentional with your reasons why you have chosen to homeschool. Those convictions will help you during the times when you wonder these things all over again. You will. Trust me you will. All of us moms did. Many times.
Before you read farther, please take a moment to reflect on your deepest “why” you are homeschooling. If you journal, write it down. If you don’t, write it down! Put what you write in a place where you can pull it out and thank God for it when you feel confident and pray about it when you don’t.
How will homeschooling affect my child socially?
The top research topics are pretty much limited to academic performance and social development. The effects of homeschooling have a resounding positive effect across the board. Tests show that not only do homeschool kids score higher with test scores, they are also better adapted in social skills.
But something is missing from the research.
It doesn’t look at the long-term effect. I have yet to read any research on the kids long after they have graduated and entered the workforce.
So, I interviewed 12 homeschooled kids who graduated at least ten years ago.
These amazing “kids” gave me honest answers about their take on homeschooling now. I wanted to specifically find out what kinds of challenges they faced that may have been caused by their homeschool environment. You would want to know if the research we are all so familiar with is still true years later, right?
These young adults homeschooled for various lengths of time. One of them homeschooled for only one year, others started after a few years in elementary school. Some of them started in kindergarten, and some of them returned to a traditional school in the later years. Most graduated homeschool high school.
Their viewpoints and reflections are quite amazing, to say the least. I will be using only quotes from the book so you can begin to draw conclusions for yourself. The answers ranged from them feeling an advantage to feeling at a disadvantage for the first few years after graduating:
How does homeschool affect homeschooled kids socially as adults?
Interview Question: Do you think being homeschooled caused any challenges in your life?
“It’s actually the opposite. Everywhere I’ve been, when I say I was home-schooled, it’s
been very well received and it opened up doors. I’ve had internships, been active in
politics, and it helped with college admission.”
“If someone would start working with me, and then they found out a month later that I was homeschooled, they would say, “Oh that makes so much more sense now.” It was because it was me being naive or something like not hearing about a certain movie and things.”
“No, but I still have a problem with being socially distant until I can be friends and hold a conversation with anyone. If there’s a group of people that you have to get in on that conversation it’s a lot tougher to be open to that. I mean I can do it but it’s just awkward for me.”
Interview Question: If you could go back and change anything what would it be?
“I don’t think I would go back and change anything. (After thinking about it a moment)
I wish I would have done more extra-curricular activities like high school sports or drama.”
“I would actually pay more attention in history and focus more on reading”.
“I would say to focus more on social programs, maybe not a full day but a couple of times a week.”
How do I choose a homeschool curriculum?
Interview Question to “kid”: How would you describe your parents teaching style?
“Very well planned out-structured lesson plans. A lot of energy was put into all of our lessons and what curriculum we used to make sure we fully understood and that we were learning.”
“Very casual. When we got to middle school, we went to a lot of co-ops. So, she taught us math and certain things like that but when it got too hard subjects, like Algebra we would go to co-op.”
Here are answers from a couple of the moms:
Interview question: How would you describe your teaching style?
“My reason for choosing Abeka was because I was very scared I wasn’t going to give them something that they needed and Abeka provided what I thought they needed. I felt like we needed something that was very structured and it just made me feel comfortable.”
“My original ideal was to homeschool in an unschooling method. The late John Holt was my inspiration. Through his books that I read early on, when we first looked into homeschooling, I really believed in child-led learning. I believed that my kids had things that they had an interest in and so I would allow that interest of theirs to lead the way into our homeschooling and their education.”
For more information about how to hone in on your child’s natural inclination to learn and how to tap into that, you will enjoy this article: The Best Way to Teach Children
How can I be sure to make homeschooling full of great memories?
The kids remembered some remarkable things that ranged from big trips to afternoon traditions:
Interview Question: What may be the best memory you have about your homeschooling years (or a story you would like to share)?
“One thing I remember is that, when I was 9, we actually went up to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. So that was almost like a live field trip into history. We spent several days there exploring Jamestown. There were many other times when most kids had to be at school, we could take vacations and go to these awesome places instead of just reading about it a book.”
“Every single afternoon, even throughout High School, my mom would read. We had literature that we had to read also but she would read a literature book to us. That was my absolute favorite time because we got to do whatever we wanted during that time whether we were drawing or doing something with our hands or a craft.”
No matter what teaching style or curriculum you choose, anyone who is teaching at home can take time to do a unit study. Here are complete instructions on how to do that: Create a Unit Study: A Complete Tutorial
What are the long-term effects of homeschooling when kids finally go out into the “real” world?
Interview question: Did you end up in the career path that you thought you were headed for?
“Absolutely! I’m not pursuing that career currently but I got to where I needed to go. I decided I wanted to do hair when I was around 10.”
“Yes. Really, I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and homeschool even though I went to college and I got my bachelor’s degree in accounting. I would hope that would be more of a fall-back for the full-time career of being a stay-at-home mom. Really the thing I wanted to do most was being able to stay at home and educate my kids and that has been possible for us right now.”
The question of long-term effect circled back around to the social skills.
The interview question again: Do you think being home-school has caused any challenges in your life?
“I don’t think so. But, I don’t like being in an office environment now because my family was so conservative. I mean, I’ve had a lot of interactions with people my age where they would talk about things that apparently were conversations we never talked about. Being social with that environment was hard.”
Final thoughts about whether you should homeschool or not
Lastly, a couple of final words from kids and moms who want to tell you something about homeschool.
Interview question: If you could speak to a new homeschool family or a family looking into homeschool what would you say to them?
“I would say, make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons because I’ve met a lot of people where there’s a stereotype that still persists around homeschooling. They believe they are shut off, I guess from everything, and that they are sheltered. If you are doing it for religious reasons make sure you still have an open mind so that your kids are able to understand other viewpoints and other beliefs. They need to be able to speak to other people.”
“Firstly, just make sure it’s fun. Keep it relaxed without necessarily always being in a book.”
“It’s an awesome way to meet your kids where they’re at and what they need rather than have certain expectations of what they should be able to do.”
“It’s not as hard as you would think because you’re not tied down to a school regiment. You don’t necessarily have to do art, music, PE every single day. You can do all of one subject one day to do all your math for the week in one day. You could do all of your science for the next day you can do whatever way works best for you and your kids.”
Would you believe those answers are from the KIDS?!
Interview question: Do you still believe it was what was best for you and your children?
“Yes, I would do it all over again.”
“Absolutely, absolutely. I’d love to do it again. I would do it right now! Really!”
“Absolutely! There were times that it was stressful and I was overwhelmed but, looking back, I can say it was golden.”
Read more interviews about real homeschool families who homeschooled.
I hope you found some encouragement and some things to think about. You may think that choosing the right curriculum is the most important thing but it’s only a part of the whole picture. I believe that the worry about how homeschooling will affect our children, in the long run, is the most common concern.
I ask deliberate questions in my interviews to reveal some answers for you. You can read the complete interviews and in-depth answers for yourself. I give you room to draw your own conclusions by asking questions that matter and giving you space to record what you find out.
To get the entire series of interviews, you’ll find out what went right and what went wrong. You’ll gain insight to daily routines, curriculums they used or rejected, which memories really made an impact, and much more.
When you subscribe, you will get a coupon code for $4 off the price of the $8 downloadable e-book. Your cost will be only $4. I know you’re going to love it.
It was a real pleasure to interview them all.
I believe you will not only find the information very helpful, but you will find yourself thinking about the different viewpoints long after you finish.
The decision to homeschool your child or not can be easier if you take the time to find out what worked and what didn’t from those who were homeschooled and their mom teachers.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – Mat 6:33 CSB