Homeschooling, The Tool My Parents Used Well
By Shaney Lee, HARO Board Member
I see homeschooling as a tool.
Like a gardening hoe, when used correctly it can help bring life and vitality to living things. Homeschooling is not an end in and of itself; rather, the end is for parents to raise healthy, well-rounded human beings. But used incorrectly, a tool can harm the very things or people it’s meant to help thrive.
My parents were two individuals that I believe used the tool of homeschooling well.
Thanks to their efforts, I was given a solid education that enabled me to get into a well-known university on a full-tuition scholarship and graduate from that same university four years later with honors. I had a wide variety of experiences while homeschooled that I believe contributed to the well-rounded person I am today. And I grew up learning to be comfortable with being the “odd one out” when there were no other homeschoolers around, which I think at least partially contributes to my willingness to risk how others may view me in order to do the right thing.
I also have many memories of things I may not have been able to do had I not been homeschooled: volunteer projects I did during school hours, exploring subjects not typically offered in school, getting to set my own pace.
Would I have received these same benefits had I gone to public or private school, instead of being homeschooled? I’m not sure. I think I probably would have, because I believe that my parents would have taught me many of the exact same things regardless of where I went to school. Even those things I wouldn’t have been able to pursue in school probably would have been pursued in a different way outside of school.
But that’s not really the point I’m trying to make. I don’t feel any need to prove that it was “homeschooling” specifically that contributed to the many positives in my childhood that made me who I am today. The point is that, in the hands of my parents, homeschooling was a tool that they used well (even if they did occasionally make a mistake here or there). Homeschooling wasn’t the only positive experience I could have had. But, it is the positive experience I did have.
And my positive experience with homeschooling is exactly why I chose to become a founding member of Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (HARO).
I know that many people see my decision as a sort of betrayal against homeschooling. They assume I must think homeschooling is deeply flawed and dangerous.
But that’s not it at all. It’s precisely because of my positive experience with homeschooling that I believe every child has a right to an equally positive experience. And just like any educational method, homeschooling is a tool that can be used for good or for bad. In the hands of abusive parents, homeschooling can be downright torture. In the hands of good-hearted, well-equipped, healthy parents, homeschooling can provide a child with an excellent education, and potentially open doors that wouldn’t be opened otherwise.
So I am excited for this week of positives.
I think it will show that neither Homeschoolers Anonymous nor HARO are anti-homeschooling. Rather, we are a group of individuals who have a wide range of experiences with homeschooling, but strongly believe that all children have the right to a positive educational experience.