For parents and kids who are thinking about homeschooling, the lifestyle may be so unfamiliar to them that they find themselves wishing they could just talk to a kid who does it; perhaps ask a few questions. To that end, I have interviewed my son, who has been homeschooling for several years. His name is Tony, and he is currently in 7th Grade. Tony has a less common spin on home schooling, simply because he has also attended public school. Here’s hoping that our experiences can give prospective homeschoolers some valuable insight into what homeschooling is like, from a kid’s perspective.
Question: Have you always been homeschooled?
Tony: No. I went to public school for all of 2nd Grade, most of 3rd Grade, and the first week of 4th Grade.
Question: Was it your choice to homeschool?
Tony:Yeah. I was sick of teachers who gave out work they didn’t explain, and told us not to ask questions because they were busy with other paperwork.
Question: Is the school work you do while home schooling harder or easier than the work you did in public school?
Tony:Well, it’s different. The work at home makes more sense because there’s an adult around to explain it. So, I learn more at home than I did at public school, but the work seems easier because I don’t have to be so stressed, and I can ask questions.
Question: What are some things you like, or don’t like, about having your Mom as your school teacher?
Tony: I like that my Mom is totally willing to answer my questions. That way I don’t have to waste time making a bunch of mistakes on something that just needed a simple explanation. We get along, and she’s a good teacher, so we don’t have any problems working together. The only thing I don’t like is that she never forgets anything, and she doesn’t let me play video games anymore on school days. (I used to be able to play video games every day when I went to public school, as long as my homework was done).
Question: For a lot of people, the only exposure they have to homeschooling comes in the form of programs on T.V. For instance, the Duggars, from 19 Kids and Counting, are a homeschooling family who most people in our country have heard of. Is your homeschooling family similar to the Duggars?
Tony: No. There are a lot of differences! First of all, my family doesn’t homeschool for religious reasons. We believe in God, but that’s not why we homeschool. We actually don’t even go to church. The Duggar parents seem very strict about television, music, and the Internet and stuff.. My parents have some rules about certain T.V. programs and rated R movies, but I get to watch pretty much what I want. I listen to the music I like. I’m sure the Duggars are nice people, but I think homeschooling is about the only thing we have in common.
Question: What’s a typical school week like for you?
Tony: I work on school stuff 5 days a week. Sometimes that includes a field trip. I don’t always take Saturday and Sunday off. It just depends on which days my Dad has off from work. On his days off, we don’t do any school work, because I spend my time hanging out with him, playing video games and stuff.
Question: What does a typical school day look like for you?
Tony: I get to sleep in every day, unless we have to get up early to go somewhere. I have time to eat big breakfasts. I don’t have to do all of my school work at once, because I get to take breaks when I need to. I spend about 4 hours a day on school work. I can do my school work outside. I can stay up as late as I want, and I can work on something I’m interested in for as long as I want without being interrupted.
Question: A lot of people have a stereotypical opinion of what home schooled kids in middle school grades are like. Some people believe all homeschooled kids fit into that stereotype. Why don’t you share some of your favorite things, so that readers can see that the stereotype definitely doesn’t apply to all homeschoolers?
Tony:My favorite bands are AC/DC, My Chemical Romance, Linkin Park, and Green Day. I’m a Halo fanatic. I’m on Facebook every day. So, in a lot of ways I think I’m a lot like other guys my age. And I’m different in some ways too, but mostly that’s by choice.
Question: Understandably, parents who are considering homeschooling their kids will wonder how the change will affect their child academically. Can you explain how you perform academically now, compared to where you were academically when you attended public school?
Tony: When I left public school, it was the beginning of 4th Grade. My parents were pretty mad because I hadn’t been taught easy things like times tables, or how to write a paragraph. Now, I’m in 7th Grade. I’m in Pre-Algebra, and I’m in the middle of reading The Hobbit. I’m studying ancient civilizations, and the Science that 7th Graders in California are supposed to do. I can write pretty well, and I’ve written a lot of stories. When I left public school, I was falling behind, but now I’m actually a little bit ahead of a lot of kids in my grade.
Question: Often, people who have never homeschooled, will say that homeschooled kids don’t get to hang out with other kids enough. How has your social life been affected since you left public school?
Tony: I just moved here from another state. But before that, I saw friends of mine pretty much every day. There were some friends from public school that I didn’t see any more after I left, but some others lived in my neighborhood so I saw them all the time. Other people from school I would see when we went ice skating, or shopping, or something. When we moved here, we moved kind of out to the country, so I’ve only met a few other kids so far. I’m looking forward to making more friends around here.
Question: Are you happy as a homeschooled kid?
Tony:Yeah. I’m actually learning more without having to spend as much time on school work. I like that I’m not on a strict schedule, and I like having a lot of free time. Public school was stressful and tiring, and most days certain kids and teachers made it hard to learn. Now I’m relaxed most of the time, and I like most of the stuff I learn about.
Obviously, homeschooling isn’t perfect, and even though some aspects of it can make it feel like the best choice a family ever made, there are things that sometimes go along with life that can make homeschooling less than wonderful. Our move to a rural area, for instance, has thrown a bit of a wrench into the kids’ social lives. However, that can be remedied fairly easily, and the benefits of homeschooling still outweigh any drawbacks for us, at least for now. Tony has benefited immeasurably from homeschooling, in my opinion.
Hopefully, this article will give prospective homeschoolers some useful insight into the lifestyle. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, and certain personality types are definitely better suited to it than others. For more personal accounts by homeschooled children, check YouTube for videos submitted by homeschooled students. Some of them are very clever, and nearly all are quite insightful.