So, if you read my blog from Tuesday, you know why we homeschooled our oldest son, Boo. Bud is 3 years younger, and the reasons why we homeschooled him are as different as Bud is different from Boo. After all, I can’t preach the benefits of an individualized education and then force Bud to follow the exact same educational path as his brother, right?
Well, Bud just sort of segued into kindergarten. He was only 3 when Boo started homeschooling, and so it was just natural for him to start learning along with his brother. Over the years we discovered many differences in their learning styles. Boo is a natural mimic. He memorizes easily – has a near photographic memory. Bud has more common sense. He gets concepts intuitively, if he can apply them to a relevant situation. Boo is more of an abstract thinker.
One of the biggest questions we have been asked ever since we began homeschooling is “Aren’t you worried about socialization?” Dictionary.com defines socialization as “a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.” How is that learned in a classroom full of children your own age who don’t know anymore about social skills and behavior than you do? What people really mean when they ask about “socialization” is “do they have any friends?” Well, in Bud’s case that has never been a problem. Kids are drawn to him like a magnet. He was always the kingpin of our neighborhood and none of his friends ever cared what school he attended.
Bud has always been a very busy child. Some have called him our “wild child.” I have been asked why he wasn’t in a classroom where a teacher could keep him “under control.” We preferred to raise him ourselves and channel his energy into taekwondo and flag football and dodgeball and basketball and tennis shoe hockey and swim lessons and whatever else we could think of that he might enjoy.
Bud homeschooled through the 6th grade, completing 5th and 6th grade in one year so he could attend middle school in the same grade as the majority of his friends. Bud really enjoyed middle school, but some health problems, along with bullying issues (see When Older Kids are Bullied) made him decide he wanted to come back home for school after 9th grade. We did more research, as I doubted my abilities to teach high school science, and a friend pointed us in the direction of K12.com and California Virtual Academy. In this program, Bud attends all his classes online, sometimes in real time; sometimes by listening to a recorded lesson. He has excelled in this environment, never earning less than a 3.5 GPA, and is set to graduate high school this June. He is planning on attending community college in the fall, studying horticulture and business.
We are so proud of both our sons and the fine young people they are becoming. The experiences we all gained through homeschool have been invaluable. My hope is that every parent can discover and have access to the educational program that is the best fit for their child.