Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Homeschooling Promotes Health

"Scientific studies conducted by Dr. Leonard Sagan, a medical epidemiologist, ... show that social class, education, life skills, and cohesiveness of family and community are key factors in determining life expectancy. Of all these factors, however, education has shown to be the most important. ...Hope, self-esteem, and education are the most important factors in creating daily health, no matter what our background or the state of our health in the past." Christiane Northrup, Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom p 27 (emphasis in original)

Since homeschoolers tend to get a really good education, grow up feeling confident in their skin, and are often a part of a dynamic, diverse, and tight community, by homeschooling, you are benefiting your children's health and life expectancy.

On self-esteem: "In addition, several studies have been done to measure homeschoolers’ 'self-concept,' which is the key objective indicator for establishing a child’s self-esteem. A child’s degree of self-esteem is one of the best measurements of his ability to successfully interact on a social level. One such study was conducted by John Wesley Taylor, using the Piers-Harris Children’s Self-Concept Scale to evaluate 224 home-schooled children. They study found that 50 percent of the children scored above the 90th percentile, and only 10.3 percent scored below the national average." -HSLDA

The article from HSLDA goes into socialization and connection with peers as well.

So there you go. Homeschooling promotes healthy kids. Obviously there are many factors involved here, and a family can homeschool and be totally abusive or isolated or not do a good job educating their kids, but for the most part, homeschooling families are connected, dedicated to education, and homeschool because they want their kids to grow up strong and healthy.

Keep up the good work!

The De-Schooling Process (for Mom) is a Long One

My kids have never gone to regular school. My daughter spent three miserable days in a preschool till I said "Enough" and never went back. That's it. She's nine now, and her brother is five. Mostly we unschool. But I still find myself needing to shift my thinking away from the schooling mentality.

I am getting my teaching license, but through an alternative program so I can teach for a homeschool enrichment program that my kids attend weekly and is offered through the public schools. As most homeschooling moms, I have looked at the local schools' websites to see where my kids might just fit in. I feel that professionally and as a member of society I always have one foot in the schooling door. However, any time I think about teaching full-time in a regular school, or enrolling my kids in school, I quickly come to the same conclusion: Nope. I am fully committed to homeschooling. I love the freedom my kids have to become themselves. I love that more than half of their education is internally motivated. I love that they are comfortable in their skins. Those are more important to me than feeling normal, though sometimes the desire to feel normal and have a normal life is very tempting.

I've never been a particularly normal person. I'm really okay with that. But sometimes the safety a "normal" life pretends to offer is really tempting. Because of that, I find it hard to completely divorce myself from the normal world of American public schooling.

Yesterday on the way to the library we drove past one of the schools I could imagine teaching at and sending my kids to. It's a public magnet arts school for grades 6-12. Many of the homeschoolers we know who decided to go to school at age 11 or so went there. Then down the road a ways we passed the public magnet science school. I inevitably imagine teaching there and sending my kids there. What would that life me like? I wonder. The order of school entices me. It's one thing I loved about school: new pencils, papers formatted just so, a regular and predictable schedule that is mandated by someone else.

But into my mind flashed a moment of homeschooling grace: Stop comparing your life to that life. This homeschooling life is not just an alternative to schooling. It is a whole different way of life that most people can't even imagine. The kids and I are a team. We do things together. Almost everything. Rather than measure that against the mainstream idea that I need a break from my kids every day all day, let that be a joyful gift. Simultaneously I need to be aware of and arrange time to myself and self care, but those are not mutually exclusive. Maybe the reason parents are so afraid of spending all their time with their kids and never getting a break is that they don't know how to ask for their own needs. Since the schooling world is all about being told what to do, where people are sometimes (frequently) not allowed to ask to go to the bathroom unless it is an emergency, we grow up being afraid to ask for what we need. We have to create emergencies to do so.

When I step totally out of that mentality, we work as a team to get everyone's needs met. Whining happens, for sure, but all of us, kids and parents, are learning how to identify and ask for what we need and want. When I frame our life this way, I no longer always compare the homeschooling life against what I might be missing (or might lose) by buying in to schooling. I just honor and appreciate where we are now, journeying together as a family.