There are lots of stereotypes about homeschoolers and homeschooling, most notably that homeschoolers are “different.” Well, that’s true — but probably not in the way you’re thinking.
Because of their unique educational experiences, homeschoolers often grow up viewing the world a little bit differently. Instead of dealing with things like social cliques and report cards, homeschoolers are able focus on things like independence and natural curiosity. Such a difference has lasting effects on the adults these children grow up to be. Below are 20 ways homeschoolers view the world differently.
Homeschooled children are comfortable on their own.
Being on our own is an inevitable part of life, but while some people flounder in isolation, others thrive. Homeschoolers tend to fall into the latter camp thanks to the fact they are often working by themselves to complete work or study. This leads to the ability to self-focus, self-entertain, and self-soothe — all important characteristics in a healthy adult.
Life doesn’t hinge on single friendships.
But the fact that homeschoolers tend to be comfortable on their own isn’t to say they are anti-social or overly introverted. On the contrary, homeschoolers have a lot of different types of friends from a lot of different types of places: the neighborhood, the soccer team, dance class, the homeschool co-op. Arguably, a young child learning to be social is healthier having a lot of different friends than he is sticking to his small group of friends in a public school setting.
No peer pressure. Homeschoolers tend to think for themselves.
Because homeschoolers are comfortable on their own and usually have a variety of friends, they often grow to become comfortable with their own opinions and mindsets. Because they aren’t surrounded at all times by large groups with varying social ranks, they learn that disagreeing with another person is okay, as is choosing to make one’s own decisions.
Parents and siblings can be friends.
Granted, children of all educational backgrounds are capable of great family relationships. However, genuine friendship between siblings, as well as between parents and children, is a common trait amongst homeschoolers. Different families accomplish this different ways, but many credit the vast amounts of time spent in close proximity and the working towards a common goal.
We can learn from our parents and siblings.
That friendship between children and their parents and siblings has an additional benefit: respect. Parents who pass onto their children cool facts and vital knowledge form a relationship in which the parent is seen as someone capable of teaching and worthy of learning from. The same can be said for older siblings who teach younger siblings.
Learning is privilege and education is something to be respected.
When a child sees their parents planning a lesson and taking the time to teach that lesson, it sends the message that education is something worth putting time into. When a parent chooses to forego a more traditional career in lieu of teaching his or her children, it shows that learning is a privilege for which sacrifices are often made. Children who only see their teacher for the lesson, who miss the hours of preparation that go into teaching, and who know their teacher only as a teacher, miss out on this crucial mindset.
….But it isn’t something to be overwhelmed by either.
Yes, education is worth putting time into, but it isn’t something to become overwhelmed by. Homeschoolers understand this. Because homeschoolers tend to follow a shorter and/or less rigid schedule, learning does not consume their entire day. They are able to stop once they sufficiently understand something, or can dive deeper into a subject which they find particularly interesting. While some students in certain school situations become distraught over the thought of grades, a homeschooler is unlikely to become overwhelmed by that.
Anything that can be worked toward can be achieved.
Homeschoolers often have much more freedom in what it is they learn and how they learn it. They can set their own goals and delve as deeply as they want into a specific topic. By setting their own standards and finish lines, homeschoolers learn that what one can accomplish is practically limitless if hard work is involved.
There’s a lesson in anything and everything.
In a traditional school setting, lessons are limited to lectures, textbooks, and maybe a quick hands-on activity or two. In most cases, if it’s not in the textbook, or part of the required curriculum standards, there isn’t time for it. But the opposite is true with homeschooling! While lectures, books, and hands-on activities can be great learning tools, so too is hiking, making a trip to the post office, collecting leaves, or volunteering at an animal shelter. Anything can be a learning moment if you have the freedom to make it one.
It’s a small world after all.
One of the most appealing things about homeschooling is the fact that the classroom isn’t limited to four walls. Indeed, the entire world can be a classroom and for many homeschooling families, it is! Children who are given the opportunity to get out into the world realize very quickly that it’s a far more accessible place than one might initially think.
We never stop learning.
Because homeschoolers realize that anything can be a lesson and that the world is a place worth exploring, they quickly come to understand that learning is a lifelong endeavor — not just something that happens in a classroom when you’re a child.
If something isn’t working, there is always another way.
Homeschoolers are nothing if not adaptable. Many families choose to homeschool to avoid the limitations placed on learning by a traditional classroom setting. Are examples not enough to learn to graph a line? Let’s find a helpful video to offer a new perspective. Does the child prefer writing over hands-on activities? There’s a workbook for that. If something isn’t working effectively, homeschoolers adapt to something that does work. Adaptable homeschooled children grow up to learn that there is always another way.
The latest and greatest — what’s that?
School can be a tough place to be a kid. There is always someone richer, smarter, cooler, and more athletic. Oftentimes, children feel like they need to keep up with these kids by having the latest and greatest of everything. As adults who have left school, we know that the possessions we own do not define us as a person. This is also a lesson that homeschoolers learn early on, as they’re not often in situations where they would feel the need to compete unnecessarily with their peers over owning mere things.
Things we’re interested in are worth exploring.
As previously mentioned, homeschooling offers a ton of freedom for students to explore the things that interest them. By taking part in an educational system that values the student’s interests, that student learns that interests are a good thing to have. They know that constantly expanding their knowledge is a great thing, and that there is a ton to learn in this world.
Knowledge is the point of learning — not grades.
For children in traditional school settings, the thought of test grades and report cards can become overwhelming and debilitating. Homeschoolers tend to focus more on the material than they do assessments and final grades. They consider the attainment of knowledge to be the end goal of learning, not grades. The thirst for knowledge rarely leaves a homeschooler after graduation.
Homeschooled families have a better view of the “real world.”
School isn’t the real world. Sure, school rules are there to help form students into good citizens, and cliques exist in a workplace just as they do in a classroom. But for the most part, a school setting is a microcosm of society with its own culture, laws, and authority figures (both legitimate and self-proclaimed). Homeschoolers, on the other hand, are never forced to transition themselves from school to the “real world.” This is because they’ve already learned to operate in the “real world” by joining sports teams with children they wouldn’t know otherwise. They take constant field trips to everywhere from the grocery store to Japan. And they altogether avoid the faux totem poles constructed in every school setting.
Homeschoolers understand early that it’s perfectly okay to be “different.”
One of the most commonly repeated stereotypes about homeschoolers is that they’re “different.” But is this a negative thing? In school settings, children are constantly told that to be different is a good thing, and yet those students deemed different by their peers often have a hard time socially. Because they’re not growing up in such a confusing social setting, homeschoolers often don’t possess the same idea of “different” and “normal,” and are therefore much more content just being themselves.
Responsibility is vital.
Society has a lot to say about the entitlement of children these days. While any kid can develop a sense of responsibility, “responsible” seems to be a common trait amongst the homeschooling community. Homeschoolers are often responsible for getting themselves ready to learn each morning. As they grow older, they become more and more responsible for their own learning and time management. This is especially true in those households where a parent is homeschooling more than one child.
Books are valuable possessions.
Says one homeschooling parent, “Every homeschooling family’s home I’ve ever walked into has had books in every room.” Generally speaking, people homeschool because they value learning, and don’t feel like any other sources can provide the type of education they desire for their child. These types of people are often extremely well educated themselves, and have the huge piles of books to prove it! Even if a family doesn’t hoard books like the quoted homeschooling parent implies, homeschoolers deal with books more than the average student.
Curiosity is key.
Many families make the choice to homeschool because they simply do not agree with the set curriculums offered by most schools, public or private. Some families even take homeschooling a step further and “educate” their child via “unschooling.” Whether traditionally homeschooled, unschooled, or something in the middle, children who learn at home are quickly instilled with the idea that curiosity is key. No matter what a child might be interested in, it’s worth exploring. This leads to a lifelong love of learning, and the ability to constantly ask questions about things unknown.