Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Homeschooling: Missed Opportunities?

Homeschooling: Aren't my children missing out on opportunities?

"Aren't my children missing out on opportunities?"  This question was certainly a forerunner in our own list of concerns we had when deciding to homeschool. It is definitely something not to be taken lightly when deciding on how to educate your children. Ultimately, there are advantages and disadvantages to both sides of this issue. In the end, you have to decide what opportunities are worth giving up for the other opportunities, and which ones are not optional. Obviously, this is a very personal decision because each child and each family are going to be different, have different goals, values, etc.

One of the biggest opportunities that parents are often concerned about is sports. If I home school my child, then he won't have the opportunity to play on team sports and he also might miss out on a scholarship. I will admit, this was a concern within my own household. However, if you know myself or my husband, then you know that neither one of us went to college on a sports scholarship. I would actually much rather my children go to college on an academic scholarship because, in my opinion, intelligence is more profitable than physical ability in the long run. Just to be noted, many Ivy League colleges and universities and other very elite schools are specifically seeking home schooled students out and recruiting them to attend their schools. This is because on average, home school students are mature, independent thinking, creative, and oh yes, perform above the national averages on the ACT and SAT.

There are also other venues to play on a sports team than just through a traditional school setting. Upward Sports is a great way to get your young child involved and their are leagues and other teams for the older child. Home school children are often eligible to play on private or public school teams, as well. (We do still pay taxes for public education, so I don't feel a bit guilty about this.) Tim Tebow was home schooled all the way through high school. A local private school allowed him to play on their football team, he was recruited by University of Florida, and achieved the Heisman Trophy as a college sophomore.

What about band, homecoming, and proms? Home school students have all of these. Well, maybe not homecomings. But, they have winter formals and other alternatives.  Home school students also have opportunities that their traditional schooled counterparts may not have. Did you know that many local community colleges welcome home school students to take part in their classes, as well? A high school level home school student can graduate from high school with an associates degree, at the same time!! (We happen to be friends with one such young lady!) They can also take their dance lessons, music lessons, swimming lessons, and other lessons during the day, instead of trying to work them around after school, home work, and other after school activities. It is part of their education, not something thrown in extra, if you can manage the time. The world is their classroom! Every outing can be a field trip, an educational experience. Oh, yeah...and way too much fun!

Because we are home schooling, we didn't have to fit our vacation somewhere between June and July, when everyone else has to fit there's in. We are actually on vacation right now, the week after Labor Day. Since President Obama recently went on what he called a 'working vacation,' I'm going to call ours a 'schooling vacation.' We took Buddy's basic school lessons with us, then used the great out doors, and our other visits we decided to take, as hands-on learning time. (Our "sit down" lessons only took about an hour, so don't feel too sorry for him. Sweet Pea had not yet started schooling and Sunshine was not even thought about when this was originally written.) We all observed a turtle in it's natural habitat, went to a museum about the local history of Waynesville, NC, then we spent a whole day on a 'field trip' to Cherokee, NC to learn about the history and culture of the Native American Indians. Who knows where our 'schooling vacation' will take us before it's all over!  What student is going to complain about a week of school like that?  *(This actually happened a couple of years ago, now.)*

I could go on, but I hope you get the idea that home schooled students may miss out on a few opportunities, but there are so many more opportunities out there for them, they really aren't missing anything at all.

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