Adult Homeschoolers Speak Out: Part One, Why I Wanted to Write This
HA note: The following series is reprinted with permission from Brittany’s blog BAM. Part One was originally published on May 24, 2012.
Also in this series: Part One: Why I Wanted To Write This | Part Two: Survey Stats and Large Families | Part Three: Top 3 Reasons Parents Homeschool | Part Four: Academic and Emotional Experiences, K-8 | Part Five: The Highschool Experience | Part Six: College? Prepared or Not? | Part Seven: What About Socialization? | Part Eight: The Best Thing vs. What Was Missing | Part Nine, Do Former Homeschoolers Want to Homeschool? | Part Ten: Are the Stereotypes Better or Worse?
Series Preface for HA
** In the introduction to my blog series in 2012 about Adult Homeschoolers I wrote that “everyone turned out fine.” This phrase may seem odd and may even seem hurtful to some HA readers and writers due to the fact that many of the stories on HA deal with the painful past of many adult homeschoolers. The purpose of sharing that “everyone turned out fine” was to state that everyone who participated in my series is now a strong, functioning adult who has worked through or is working through any struggles from their homeschooling background.
The purpose of my series was to look at the “good, bad, and ugly” issues of homeschooling in an honest and fair way, with the underlying thread of hope by sharing the experiences of many adults from all around the USA. I hope that, as you read, you will be able to identify with the stories of these men and women as they share the reasons their parents home schooled, their elementary and high school years, the “best” and “worst” thing about homeschooling, adjusting to college, socialization issues, and if they plan to homeschool their own children.
I hope that as you read, you will also feel hope; know that you are not alone.
Part One: Why I Wanted to Write This
I was a first generation homeschooler.
…meaning my parents starting homeschooling in in the late 1980s right after it became legal in Nebraska (where I was born). In my elementary years, when someone asked where I went to school, 99% of the time my answer would produce a furrowed brow and the question, “What is homeschool?”
Nowadays, everyone knows someone who is homeschooling or who was homeschooled. First generation homeschoolers have grown up, gone to college, and have started families of their own.
My own children are now almost school age (I have twins who will be 5 in October) and in recent months I have been contemplating my own schooling experience.
- Do former homeschoolers want to homeschool?
- What do they think of their homeschool experience?
- Were they happy and satisfied? Did they wish for more?
- Were they prepared for college academically and socially or were they scared, unprepared and awkward?
- Are they stereotypes of homeschoolers true? (homeschoolers are brainy/stupid/socially stunted/well rounded/fill in the blank?)
I spent hours on the internet, trying to find articles, blogs, anything written by former homeschoolers about their homeschool experience. I was disappointed by what I found (or the lack there of). Either I found stats about how homeschoolers are successful (with no personal testimony involved) or personal testimonies that I distrusted because I thought they were too “Pollyanna” in nature. I wanted to read about the honest experiences of adults homeschoolers, the good and the bad, the advantages and disadvantages, their thoughts on their academic experiences and the issue that homeschoolers everywhere never seem to escape:
“What about socialization???”
So I put together a short survey and and used the wonderful world of social networking to launch this blog series. I received 42 responses from adult homeschoolers from all over the USA (childhood friends, people I went to college with, friends, and friends of friends).
I am excited to share the data I have collected with you: adults who were homechooled, parents who are homeschooling their own children (and may be wondering, “Am I doing the right thing? Am I messing up my kid? WHAT ABOUT SOCIALIZATION????”), or anyone else who is curious about the lives and experiences of homeschoolers.
Here is a little sneak peek at the end of the story: Everyone [that took my survey] turned out fine. **
Not always “happily ever after” and not without some bumps, awkwardness, struggles, and obstacles on the journey to adulthood.
But, really, everyone [that took my survey] turned out fine.
[Some] parents, breathe a sigh of relief.
And keep reading.
You can look forward to personal testimony about topics such as:
- Why first generation homeschool parents decided to homeschool
- The academic and emotional experience of homeschoolers in grades K-8
- The academic and emotional experiences of homeschoolers in grades 9-12
- Do homeschoolers pursue higher education?
- Were they truly prepared academically?
- Were they truly prepared socially?
- What is the best thing about homeschooling (so many people said the same thing! amazing!)
- What former homeschoolers wish was different about their experiences
- The inside perspective about the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling
- Do former homeschoolers plan to homeschool their own children?
- The homeschoolers perspective on society’s thoughts and opinions about homeschooling
This series will be honest in every way, exploring the good, the bad, and everything in between. While my posts will primarily be focused on the results of the survey, I will also share my thoughts and experiences as they relate to the survey results.
I hope that this series inspires conversation, stirs up memories (for former homeschoolers), incites conversation, provides insight and information, and ultimately encourages those who read. Please feel free to comment, ask questions, and share your own thoughts and experiences.
To be continued.
I, too, was a “first generation homeschooler.” I look forward to reading the results of your survey(s). Many of those with whom I attended college and some family members are homeschooling now; however, they were not home-schooled themselves. I am now a public school teacher who leans against home-schooling due to my personal experiences and the sheer unpreparedness of home-schooled students who have entered my classroom. In sixteen years of teaching, only one has been reasonably prepared in reading and English; however, he was seriously lacking in science and math. Parents need to understand their limitations and their children’s needs fully prior to making a home-schooling choice.
Karen, thanks for your comment! I hope you enjoy my series and continue to comment on your experiences as a former homeschooler and now, teacher.
as a current homeschooling mom Im looking forward to this survey…..
Brittany- you took the words right out of my mouth!!! As a first generation homeschooler I was also interested in learning about others like me and their story, how they turned out, did they struggle the same way I did etc,. I have been searching for a forum like HA for a long time. I am soooo glad to have found this blog and I’m really looking forward to the rest of your series.
Thanks for reading Michelle!
I was a 1st generation homeschooler, I’ve just found this blog and find it interesting. I’m neutral on my experience growing up. I’ve also decided to take a different approach as a parent with my own children.