BAM Family

BAM Family

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Adult Homeschoolers Speak Out: Why I wanted to write this series

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.

I wondered: 
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 turned out fine. :) 

Not always "happily ever after" and not without some bumps, awkwardness, struggles, and obsticles on the journey to adulthood.

But, really, everyone turned out fine. 

Parents (ours and current homeschoolers), breathe a sigh of relief. 

And keep reading. 

You can look forward to personal testimony about topics such as (click to follow links of posts that have been published so far!):

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.  

New posts will be linked to Facebook or you can follow my blog to keep up with this series! Thanks to everyone who participated in this project!

Want more? 


Cheryl said...

What a great idea Brittany! I'm going to give this a +1 on Google plus, and share with others who will definitely be interested. Good job! By the way, you should join The High Calling blog network in the Family category. And check out Ann Kroeker dot com. She rocks!

Brittany said...

Thanks for sharing this, Cheryl! I'll check out The High Calling too. :)

Jennifer said...

Hi Brittany,
I wondered about the religious background of those in your survey. Did you collect that information?

Brittany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brittany said...

Jennifer, I actually did not (I should have)! I really wanted to focus on the academic and social aspects of homeschooling in this survey. However, the majority of the participants in the survey mentioned religion and faith and I will be exploring these issues throughout this series (especially in the upcoming post about reasons that parents homeschooled). I grew up in a very conservative Christian home and homeschool community and I know that many homeschoolers today also homeschool for religious reasons. The religious aspects of homeschooling would make an excellent follow up survey/series. Thanks for your comment!

Ann Kroeker said...

As a first-generation homeschooling parent, I'm looking forward to your series. I casually interview any adult homeschooled person I meet, to try to dig up the pros and cons of their experience in hopes of creating the best possible scenario for our kids (avoiding pitfalls, for example).

We have supplemented our home education with a co-op, where the kids receive most of their instruction, then I merely administrate and hold them accountable to accomplish it, serving as a resource. Did you break down approaches people took to homeschooling, or seek out primarily families that handled everything at home?

Well, you don't have to respond. I can just wait and see what you've put together!

Jennifer Springer said...

Wow! I could be you. I was HS'ed beginning in the mid 80's and eventually went on to being an English teacher in the public school system (on, the irony!). My oldest is 3, and we're starting to think about what we want to do for her and our other children for their education. Can't wait to see whet you end up posting on here!

Brittany said...

Jennifer, thanks for sharing! I hope you will share some of your experiences as this series continues, especially about what it was like teaching in the public school system after being homeschooled. My teaching experience has all been at the private University level. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for reading. :)

M.E. said...

I plan on reading this to give me some insight as I homeschool through highschool. Thanks for the ministry.

Brittany said...

You're welcome! Thanks for reading! :)

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