Homeschooling is often rife with stereotypes.
Some might think that homeschooled children are bad at socializing, less intelligent, or both. This may be due to the lack of positive news the media presents on the topic of homeschooling, instead focusing on extreme examples that border on neglect.
It could also be due to the persistent myths within society that shun any type of learning that does not take place within institutional walls.
Many people might judge homeschooling as a concept without even having an idea of how a “school day” actually goes for these students.
MYP Humanities teacher Yarrow Ülehman, who was homeschooled for part of her academic life, says that one of the stereotypes she has confronted about homeschoolers is that they are “closed off in their own bubble, without any outside friends.”
In order to provide a fuller picture of homeschooling, The Bite wished to inquire about how this practice has affected the lives of AISB students, its faculty, as well as currently home-schooled children.
Day in the Life of a Homeschooled Student
Grade 9 student, Noah L., was homeschooled from ages 6 to 12. He reports that homeschooling was “very beneficial” for him.
His classes, he says, would consist of Math, Science, Grammar, Spelling and History, but he would also have extracurricular activities, like football and playing in orchestras.
The actual curriculums he followed were Saxon Math and Teaching Textbooks for math, Daily Grammar for English, and Sonlight, a Christian homeschooling curriculum, for the rest.
I could wake up at either 10 AM, 11 AM or even noon sometimes, and I would work on schoolwork for maybe four hours a day—Noah L.
The four hours wouldn’t necessarily be back-to-back, he says; he would generally work for three hours in the morning, do some other activities (such as practicing musical instruments) and then come back to finish his fourth hour in the evening.
Every second Friday, all kids part of the homeschool community that lived around Noah would gather at a nearby church and they would all complete four classes together.
Co-Ops, or cooperatives, are organized by local homeschool boards and they take place almost everywhere in the United States. They mostly consist of parents who are already homeschooling their kids. Children are divided into age groups and they have freedom over which classes they want to take.
Some of the pupils, including Noah, chose writing because their parents said that this way they won’t have to grade the papers themselves. Noah also took science and some creative writing courses through these co-ops.
Homeschooling in Romania
The story of Romanian student, Andrei A., is very similar to Noah’s. Andrei is 10 years old and has been homeschooled for two years now, starting in grade 3.
Before starting homeschool, he says, he went to a public school in Bucharest and decided to move because of some of the teachers in his school. Andrei specifically remembers one teacher as a “complete villain,” as some teachers from the Romanian public school system are known for the ways they enforce rules and policies.
Oana A., Andrei’s mother, says that the family was “already thinking about homeschooling” when the COVID-19 pandemic started, and that “with all the schools going online, [they] decided to bite the bullet and switch systems completely.”
Just as Noah, Andrei has online co-op activities, in which tutors connect and provide students with any help they need. This takes place once every two weeks.
One of the differences between Andrei and Noah is that because Andrei is actually enrolled in an “umbrella-school,” he does actually have a platform he uses for his classes, similar to Google Classroom, in which he can see who his colleagues are.
He spoke enthusiastically about how he’s friends with some of his co-op classmates on online platforms, like Discord or Whatsapp, and how they regularly play online games like Minecraft and Roblox.
At the end of each school year, Andrei has to take a standardized test at an accredited school that is in an agreement with his umbrella-school in order to make sure he actually understands the materials he learned throughout the year.
This exam also provides an opportunity for everyone from the homeschooling community to meet in person, which is always welcome, Andrei says.
A Teacher’s Perspective
When asked about the impact homeschooling had on her life, Ülehman said that she feels as if she’s more creative and independent in working.
She liked the fact that she could work at her own pace and that the curriculum was hand-tailored to her own interests, rather than the masses. This led to her developing a passion for learning in general, rather than just having favorite subjects.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Homeschooling
While homeschooled the majority of his life, Noah L. enrolled at AISB in the middle of his 8th grade year, so he is uniquely positioned to compare the advantages and disadvantages that come with homeschooling.
Noah loves the fact that he gets to meet with his friends from school almost everyday, but has noted that “it comes with both advantages and disadvantages” because he also has to meet people that he doesn’t really get along with.
While he was not behind with his classes while being homeschooled in any way, and got particularly good grades last year at AISB, he mentioned that there’s way more work that needs to be done in a traditional school setting on a weekly basis.
For example, Noah had some difficulty adapting to the concept of homework. He went from only having school work to do over the span of the week and having his weekends entirely free, to having papers and assessments to do in parallel to the seven hours he already spent in-school.
When asked about the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling, Andrei says that “there aren’t really any disadvantages; I really like waking up whenever and having control over my schedule.”
For example, he says: “Last week I had to learn something for math but I didn’t quite understand it and so I’m continuing to work on it this week.”
Andrei had a particularly hard time with fractions last year for the end-of-school test, but that that’s alright, he says, because he managed to learn it all during the start of this school year.
Andrei is able to wake up at any time and so he’s able to take extracurricular classes like kickboxing and judo right in the middle of the day, when the traffic is lighter than it would be after his last school’s schedule, and the tutors have free time.
We hope that this article broke some down some of the stereotypes that you readers might have had about homeschooling.
Tell us: What are some of your thoughts about homeschooling after reading this article?