The Homefront

It has been a while since I have put aside the chatter related to gaming and just simply talked about something…well, not related to gaming.  Of course, that is mainly due to a few reasons with the biggest being that in some of those posts of old I seemed to have come off as an angry person when giving my thoughts.  Instead of coming off as someone who is angry and rants 90% of the time, I decided to put the real world topics away and go back to talking about strictly gaming related topics.  By doing so, I typically couldn’t offend anyone.  Well…I could technically but it would take way more effort than I would have actually cared for.  It has also been a while since I have started a post with “It has been a while”.  Something else I did often in Ye Olden Days.

Anyways, with that introduction done, let me get to an important point before diving into my main point for this.  The first being that, while I know I said that I hate talking about myself in a more recent post (it’s still true for the most part) there is part of me that enjoys sharing more about the person behind the online moniker.  As I mentioned in some post somewhere there are real people behind these names.  So in some weird, mashup of a point of view; I don’t like talking about myself because it makes me feel like a self-centered person.  Yet, at the same time I’m perfectly ok with giving out a few scraps of info on how I think or some sneak peek into my life outside of games. 

As I write all of this out, it’s kind of strange because I’m not sure what the point of this post is or will be and yet at the same time, I do know what I don’t want it to be.  A lot of times when I write an article or a blog post about a specific subject, I do so to get my thoughts on the topic out there in more than 140 280 characters.  Adding to what I mentioned in the above paragraph, when I write something I never try to offend anyone…at least not intentionally anyhow.  Now, with all of that out of the way I shall now continue to my main point of this post.

A while ago, I was being lazier than usual and watching a show on TV.  That show being Tim Allen’s latest sitcom, Last Man Standing.  It’s an interesting show, I don’t mind it but I can see why people got upset about it.  Anyways, I’m not here to review the show but rather discuss the plot that was the center of the episode I watched.  A quick and detailed just enough to get the point across summation would look roughly like this:

A parent was going to pull their child out of their current school they were in for some reason I did not catch.  Their solution was to place him in a private school, but neither parent could agree on one.  The next solution that they came up with was to homeschool their son.  Meanwhile, the grandparents did not think this was a good idea.  After some discussion and research, the grandparents changed their minds and agreed to be more supportive of the parents’ decision.

There lies reasoning for me writing this post.  Before I continue, I will disclaim that many of my thoughts on this subject matter could probably be thrown out the window because I was homeschooled from the start and all the way through high school.  Something something, personal bias, something something.  I will also say however, that I fully believe homeschooling your child, or children, is not always the best option for them or you.  I was fortunate enough that my mom already had teaching experience prior to my parents’ decision to homeschool me so she was already accustomed to a teaching role.  This is where the obligatory “thanks mom” part of a speech would go.

Spinning back to the show I was talking about earlier, I was not all that surprised when the parents said they were going to homeschool their child and those whom they told were arguing against it and “disappointed”.  I’ve seen and heard plenty of that throughout the years.  What did surprise me, was the fact that after the grandparent’s did some more research into the whole homeschool thing they changed their mind and had a completely different attitude.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t pleased a little when that happened, because this was one of the few times in a television show where I have seen them go against the “popular opinion” on this subject.

What “popular opinion” do I mean?  Well, for starters I guess that term might be a bit hyperbolic but using terms that are hyperbole is fun, just ask anyone who authored a click bait title for an article.  Also using the word hyperbole and its varying forms is fun…I’m getting sidetracked here.  I’m basically talking about the mindset many people have that being homeschooled is seen as a bad thing.  While I don’t entirely agree with that point of view, I can understand why people believe that homeschooling is detrimental to a child.  Deciding to homeschool your child or children is, like most other things in life, something to consider very seriously.  This is not something you should do because “it sounds fun”…and yes, I have heard that phrase thrown around when talking about this topic as well.

I have always believed that education itself is important, but also the quality of education one receives.  By homeschooling your child, are you going to be capable enough to give them the best possible education they can get?  It’s a daunting question, I know, but most important life-altering questions are.  This boils down to one simple thing, what is the quality of education your child will receive from being homeschooled compared to that of a public or private school.  Numerous factors go into answering that question, from who is going to be teaching your child (expanding upon that, what is that persons experience), to how willing to learn is your child.  As I have already mentioned, my mother was my teacher for the entirety of my schooling years.  Given the fact that she had prior teaching experience before I came along, this definitely helped in assuring I was given the best possible education I could get.

Another thing that could be considered a “factor” into the quality of education is the kind of learning environment you’re in.  Something I have known for a while, but never fully acknowledged it until my later teenage years was the fact that the best way for me to learn was by doing it myself, but with guidance.  I can understand things when they are explained to me, but if they are poorly explained to me then I will fail to grasp what I’m being taught (or even told to do at times).  I’m sure that is something that is common amongst everyone, so I’m not trying to say I’m different from everyone else.  This is one part where I feel that me being homeschooled helped immensely; by not being in a large classroom with X amount of other people demanding the attention of the teacher, I was able to get the extra help to understand something if I just wasn’t grasping it.  Of course, I know the simple solution to that if I was in a traditional school environment would be to do my homework or assignments that would have been given to me about the topic, or even just ask for extra help.  With the curriculum software that I did most of my school work on, it had all of that stuff and my parents did assign me homework to do…even if I didn’t want to do it.

To provide a brief example of how the “one-on-one” environment of homeschooling helped me, I turn you towards my time learning Algebra.  To start with, numbers and I don’t mesh well so having to solve for X was an uphill battle at times.  Anyways, the curriculum we were using at the time was not doing its best job of explaining to me how to solve Algebraic equations.  Obviously, I struggled with it.  Luckily to get through it, my dad helped explain it to me and essentially tutored me through the areas I struggled with the most.  While it is true that you have plenty of resources to help you in a normal school environment as well, some times these are just not enough.  There are many reasons that can affect this, from something as big as maybe a school districts budget to something maybe as simple as someone just not caring.  This doesn’t mean that homeschooling is the end-all solution to this, but I do feel that the different learning environment can be beneficial for some.

I want to move on to my next major point in this post.  Often I have seen people use the argument of how being homeschooled negatively affects the child’s social life and/or skills.  I’m going to be blunt, I do not agree with this at all.  Sure, I guess it could be possible but I would argue that we should consider what else might be going in that child’s life that could be a factor to this as well.  My good friends know this about me already, but it takes me a while to warm up to people when I first meet them.  This isn’t because I lack social skills or do not know how to respond in social situations due to being homeschooled, it’s because of other things that have happened in my life to where I’m more cautious with trusting people until I get an idea of who they actually are.  So I encourage you, when you find out someone was or is homeschooled and they seemingly are a more quiet or reserved person, don’t be quick to assume they lack the ability to socialize in the “normal” world.

Another common thing I see people say in regards to homeschooling is how it promotes being secluded or not socializing.  Much like most things, there are ways around this and ways to prevent this.  Back in my early school years there was a group locally that consisted of numerous other homeschool families in the area I live in.  Name isn’t really relevant, and I don’t think they are around anymore but this groups name was CHALK…it was an acronym for something I think but I can’t remember for sure.  I met quite a few friends thanks to that group, but on top of that they also organized events for the group to participate in.  Truthfully it probably isn’t that hard to organize a field trip to a local museum or something like that, but the point is there were still things similar to those after-school activities that we couldn’t participate in because we were not in a public school.  This group also had their own recorder lessons…oh yes, even homeschool parents have to endure the lovely sound of a bunch of out of tune recorders.

After that group fell apart, my parents kept up the after-school activities for as long as they could with me.  Eventually we weren’t able to keep them up and quit doing them towards the end of what would be my grade school years.  Once I got into high school though, my parents tried finding something else for me to do after school was done for the day because I was starting to get into the bad habit of spending all my spare time on the computer.  Which is funny considering I’m writing this on a computer currently…  After my parents and I did some searching around for things that I could possibly start participating in again after school, we found this group at one of our local libraries.  It was simply named, the Teen Advisory Group, or TAG for short.  You didn’t have to be a member of TAG to participate in the annual summer reading program that the library offered, but if you were, you could also help plan events for that program.  Essentially, if you actively participated in this group you could help plan and volunteer with the teen related programs that the library offered to some extent.  There was other fun stuff they did as well, and it was cool and to this day I’m still glad I decided to give it a shot.

My point isn’t to take a trip down memory lane, it’s the fact that there are ways for homeschoolers to do some of the same things that someone who is in the public school system does.  Like with a good adventure, it’s out there, you just have to find it.  Sometimes, like with TAG for example, it doesn’t matter if you went to a public or private school, or if you were homeschooled.  When I joined TAG I was told by the librarian that was running it that I was the first homeschooler they had participating in the group for the first time in a while.  A few meetings later and a couple more homeschoolers showed up and as you can already guess, I became friends with them.  After graduating high school and the years of TAG, I obviously continued to remain friends with them.  To this day I still keep in regular contact with at least one of them and now, I would easily consider her one of my good friends.  Again, my point isn’t entirely to reminisce on the past, but rather to show that homeschoolers aren’t locked away in their houses and not able to do anything.

One last thing I want to briefly cover is something I haven’t seen too much of but have seen it pop up recently.  The surprising thing about it to me though, is it has come from people who currently are, or have been homeschooled.  It’s the belief that you have less of a chance to get into college as someone who has been homeschooled.  The biggest reason it puzzles me is because I cannot grasp how people arrive at that mindset.  So long as you have the appropriate information and meet any other requirements why should you have any less of a chance to get into the college or university of your choice?  In recent posts of mine, I’ve mentioned how I’m planning to attend SNHU’s online program for my degree and they didn’t mention anything to me about it when I told them I was homeschooled.  Back when I was looking into going into journalism years ago I had originally wanted to go to the University of Illinois and somewhere on their FAQ about applying, one of the questions was if homeschooled students could apply.  Their answer?  Yes.  In fact they encouraged it.  Many other colleges I have looked into in my research of where I was going to go made no mention of not allowing former homeschool students to apply at their institution.  So to see people say that being homeschooled lessens their chances at getting into a college to continue their education certainly puzzles me, because I honestly have yet to see any proof otherwise.

If you have made it here to the end of this post, thank you for taking the time to read it.  There have been a few times when I’ve heard or seen conversation about someone being homeschooled and those people have basically said that “homeschooling is wrong and no one should do it.”  Heck, I heard something similar to that from one of my own relatives at one point.  Over the years I have grown to the point where comments like these don’t bother me too much, sure I find them annoying and I imagine some people might even find comments like that hurtful.  I came into this post not knowing how it would turn out, but with the hopes it wouldn’t turn out like a rant.  My opinions on the matter could be summed up like this, homeschooling isn’t the evil and hideous monster some people make it out to be but I also believe it isn’t meant for everyone to do.  Regardless of where you may side in that debate, I do ask one thing of you.  That thing being to simply have a little more respect towards someone who was homeschooled.

I’m not trying to make it sound like the entire homeschool “community” is disrespected by everyone in existence because I know that is not the case.  I’m simply asking for people who don’t agree with the idea of homeschooling to not discredit anyone who says they were homeschooled as having a “second rate” education.  Or, if there are parents that are telling you how proud they are of the decision they made to homeschool their child to not question them as parents or their ability to be parents.  If you do, are doing it to understand why they made that decision or just trying to tear them down as people and their ability to be a parent?  Also, if you know someone was homeschooled and they are not the most social person; don’t just automatically assume that it is because of a lack of a social environment to help develop their social skills.  It might be due to other things that have happened, or are going on in their life, or maybe it is just the kind of person they are.

If you are someone who is thinking about the idea of homeschooling, I strongly encourage you to take into consideration everything you can possibly think of.  This is not something to do because your friends are doing it, or you read about it on the internet and it sounds like fun.  There are other things you can read about on the internet that I guarantee are fun and have less serious consequences.  Again, if you have made it this far I greatly appreciate the time you have taken to listen to my point of view on the topic.  It has been a long time since I’ve discussed something in a serious manner on here and homeschooling is one that means a good deal to me.

 

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2 responses to “The Homefront

  1. Pingback: The Scenic Route: “Glorious Dust Fit For Royalty” | StoredGrunt's Gaming Lounge

  2. Pingback: The Experiences of a New SCAdian | StoredGrunt's Gaming Lounge

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