My kids were in 10, 11, and 12 years old when I began. Right away, the kids did something I didn’t expect. They got along famously. They used to bicker and quarrel, and they used to needle and tease one another. Now, they were challenging each other to a game of chess during our break times. I began to wonder when the mother ship was returning and where the pod people had put my REAL children. They were actually a joy to be around. Who could have imagined that happening?
Cute When They Are Studious
Then something else happened that I didn’t expect. We were discussing some history lesson or another and the lights came on in their eyes. Do you know what I mean? It’s that moment when a child “gets it” and understands something they didn’t know before. It was positively illuminating. And they are adorable when they are studious. I had no idea.
Things That Need Work
If that wasn’t enough to encourage me, another perk came up. Deficiencies in their education became apparent. I learned things about my children that hadn’t been aware of before. I found out that my oldest was two years behind her grade level in math. Her biggest struggle was with fractions. I began concentrating on helping her recover lost time with fractions. We did fraction helps, fraction tutorials, and even fraction cooking. I announced one day that we had only enough ingredients to make one batch of chocolate chip cookies. Each of the four of them could have one-fourth of a batch to bake or eat raw, as they wished. All they had to do was go into the kitchen and make one-fourth a batch of the dough each. They had to figure things like ¼ of 2 ½ cups of flour, etc. With the hands-on methods, my daughter gained 2 years of math in that first year. That alone made it worth it.
Next Door To Illiterate
My youngest was the biggest surprise. She was going into the 5th grade when we started homeschooling. When we took a trip to the library, she concentrated on the picture book isle. I told her that she needed to get a book closer to her reading level. And that’s when I found out that she had little more than a 1st-grade reading level. She was excellent at memorizing and found a way of fooling the public school teachers into thinking she was reading when she wasn’t. But she didn’t fool me. In that first year, I got her interested in chapter books and the rest, as they say, is history. Today you can’t keep a book out of her hands. If her deficiency had gone unnoticed much longer she may have wound up illiterate.
Colleges Prefer Homeschoolers
These are just a few of the reasons I decided to continue homeschooling even after that first year. My children excelled and even went to college. One college counselor told me that colleges preferred homeschooled students because the homeschoolers knew how to study best. This was news to me. I had actually been concerned that they may have problems getting into good colleges.
There are some downsides to homeschooling. I had to make sure they met with other families regularly to have team sports and group science lessons. I had to study with them to be sure that they performed the necessary lessons correctly (mostly foreign languages like French and Latin). Once my middle daughter berated me for not giving her enough education. When I question what she felt deficient in she said that the boys teased her for not knowing the meanings of some dirty words. If that is the worst thing the kids can say about my educating them, I can accept that gladly.
Where To Find The Answers
Honestly, they didn’t learn everything at home. What I wanted more than anything was for them to know where to find the information to any question they may encounter. We visited the library often and even had scavenger hunts for information. At one point I even had the children look up the phone numbers of experts in their fields (like the Biology Department of the local college) with questions to ask a professor. There are just some things you can’t find easily at the library. I can safely say they all know how to find information on any subject they may need.
I read about a time in his later years when Henry Ford was on trial for competency. He was elderly and his children were trying to have him committed and he was trying to keep his rights. The lawyer asked him some difficult math questions and when he couldn’t figure the problem, he said he didn’t know but if he could have 5 minutes and a telephone he could give the judge the answer. The judge wanted to know what he wanted with a telephone. To which he answered that he may not have all the answers but he felt sure he employed someone who did. The judge found that a very sound answer. So do I. If my kids knew how to find the answers they would be able to succeed anywhere.