Finishing up with our Homeschool Mixer Questions,
13. What difficulties and challenges do you have with homeschooling?
I can think of two main challenges from our homeschooling years. The first major challenge was finding local like-minded homeschoolers. It seemed like every homeschooler that we knew within a reasonable driving distance either homeschooled for religious reasons (which we did not) and/or they followed a strict school-at-home schedule with curriculum, lesson plans, etc. Each circumstance led to uncomfortable visits, awkward conversations, and the feeling that you had to keep silent so that you didn’t offend someone or appear to be passing judgment upon how they homeschooled.
The second challenge was the learning styles in our family. I am a very visual, text-based learner. I also like to learn things for myself, do them myself. I most definitely am not an auditory learner, unless something is put to music. My children tended to be auditory, visual and hands-on. Sometimes their needs to learn things for themselves without assistance butted heads with their need to be shown how to do something, an issue I frequently have. So dealing with the issues presented with our sometimes very different learning styles and sometimes too similar learning styles was a continual challenge all through out homeschooling years. In fact, I was so aware of this issue that I wrote several articles about learning styles, which can be found on the LeapingFromTheBox.com website.
14. What makes homeschooling enjoyable?
The gift of time that it gives to the whole family – time to pursue interests, time to have a life other than school, time to give to others.
15. How do you get involved in the community?
My husband and I are not really joiners, so community involvement was not an area that we concentrated on. Sometimes I think that was a mistake, but that is just who we are, or rather, aren’t. Community involvement was in the areas of our activities; youth sports, square dancing group, martial arts lessons. When those groups held community activities, then we joined in.
16. When do you have opportunities to interact with public or privately schooled children?
Through many activities, such as sports, art lessons, interests such as astronomy and chess. We really were not isolated, contrary to what the popular societal belief is about homeschoolers.
17. Would you like more of these opportunities?
If we had lived in a less rural area, there would have been more such opportunities. But honestly, I am not sure we would have sought them out. We really had enough activities as it was, for the most part, and I don’t know what we would have gained by making a point of seeking out activities that involved public or privately schooled children.
18. How can they be created?
The marketplace, supply and demand, will eventually create them, if they are desired by homeschoolers. Already there are many more opportunities for activities in the public sector for homeschoolers than there were twelve years ago when we first began homeschooling. That is due to the increase of homeschoolers and their demand for more activities outside of the church and outside of the public school venue. I also believe as public schools go through more and more rounds of cutbacks due to the economy, that more activities will be funded by the parents in the community, hence more interaction of homeschooled and public schooled children.
19. What is your least favorite homeschool stereotype?
My least favorite is the notion that we all homeschool for religious reasons, which is a stereotype even within the homeschool community. I receive advertising packets geared towards homeschoolers that is 100% religious in its slant. I have received phone calls from political parties urging me to vote for specific politicians who expound a particular belief, assuming that because I am a homeschooler, I must be pro-life or pro-whatever.