Sometimes I worry that I’m not teaching my kids enough. Like when they can’t identify Brazil’s flag or when they seem to have bad animal skills, or people skills, or math skills.
So I keep a list of research that people send me – research that reminds me that even if I’m a terrible homeschool parent, the kids will still have a better experience than if I had sent them to school. Today I’m sharing the list with you, for those days when you also question everything you are doing with your kids in homeschool.
You’re making your kids healthy adults.
Did you know that you can train kids’ tastebuds to be poorly behaved? All you need to do is give them access to unlimited salt. The same goes with sugar. I was reading this in Time magazine thinking, “What kid has unlimited access to this stuff?” Then I realized, “Oh yeah. In school.” School kids choose what they eat. They can pour on extra salt or sugar and trade for more as well. So if you just take away the salt shaker, you can train your kids to be healthier than kids who went to school.
You’re building their network.
Did you know that athletes do better in the workplace than anyone else? That’s because work isn’t about good grades and IQ, it’s about leadership, teamwork, and diligence –all traits of a star athlete. So it’s no big surprise that top athletes are homeschooling; school doesn’t teach the skills that are in highest demand for an athlete. The bonus for the rest of the homeschool community is the network of homeschoolers isn’t going to be all math geeks and artistic types.
You’re building self-control.
Since school is like a prison system, kids don’t learn self-regulation. Staring with the youngest school kids. This is what a Danish study shows. The study doesn’t use the term prison system, of course, but this is a post to boost your spirits, so language is important.
The truth is that kids keep quiet in school because of fear, whereas kids at home sit quietly when they are engage in whatever they chose to do. True self-control is something you teach yourself. It’s not external. Even for a four-year-old.
You’re teaching grit.
Grit is a fashionable idea right now. First it was emotional intelligence (something you don’t learn in school) and now it’s grit, which is another thing you cannot learn in school. The reason you can’t learn grit in school is that no sane person perseveres when something is difficult and they don’t care about it. Part of grit is self-determined. And since school doesn’t really allow for much to be self-determined, it doesn’t do grit. Fortunately, you do—if you let your kids choose what they learn.
You’re giving them the gift of the do-over.
Rich kids do better than poor kids because rich kids can fail and then try again. If you’re poor, your one wrong move could be a permanent failure. The Washington Post cites this, more than any other schooling issue, as the cause of our increasingly stagnant class system.
I’m very familiar with the benefits of a do-over. I failed a lot of courses in high school, enough that my parents had to give money to a university so I would be admitted. Then I didn’t graduate in time— I was one course short—so my grandma paid for me to take the course at a local college.
The great thing about homeschooling is there is no linear path to pave with money. There is no list of failures and recoveries. There is only the search for engaging material and the daily challenge of meeting one’s own expectations.
Homeschooling is a do-over every day, and, come to think of it, maybe as homeschoolers we are not only doing great things for our kids, but we’re also creating real opportunities to close gap between rich and poor in this country.