One of the parts of homeschooling that feels most risky is that the kids will miss out on opportunities school kids will have.
This question reminds me of the question, How will kids learn social skills if we homeschool? It’s one of those worries that is common to parents who don’t homeschool, and parents who do homeschool don’t ever worry about it.
Here are three reasons you can stop worrying that your kids miss out on opportunities if you homeschool them:
1. This is not a homeschooling issue, it’s a parenting issue. We want to give our kids everything and we can’t and that’s the core pain of parenting. Kids who live in the city miss out on rural opportunities. Kids who live on a farm miss out on city opportunities. It’s a lesson that is fundamental to making choices: commitment to something inherently limits opportunities. Always. But if we don’t show that lesson to kids by committing to what we think might be best in then they will be scared to take action as adults. You don’t get to live near goats and museums.
2. The opportunities in school are in the context of forced curriculum: This is what we’re doing and this is how we’re doing it. Take it or leave it. An opportunity is something you recognize and you pounce on. I have noticed, as an adult, that the difference between success and failure is often luck. However luck is not really luck, but rather seeking out opportunity, recognizing it, and pouncing. Most people miss it when it’s in front of them because school doesn’t teach those skills.
3. Parents wouldn’t recognize an opportunity for kids anyway. My kids find stuff I’d never notice. Like, my younger son found a friend in Cambodia to play PVP Minecraft with every Sunday morning. This is a great opportunity. I have no idea how he found it. And my older son was one of the first kids to create his own plague in the new version of Plague Inc, It’s a great opportunity to create fake biological weapons based on real science that other kids play with. I’d have never seen the opportunity for him in a million years.
The real reason we don’t trust kids to pick what they want to do is that our culture distorts the language of opportunity. We lock kids up in school, limit the types of learning they can do, and then we call that “exposing them to diverse opportunities” so we start to wonder if free range kids at home are lacking opportunities.
To make sure your kids don’t miss opportunities as homeschoolers, you don’t have to do anything except take back the language of learning from the people who use it to crush our confidence.