Why homeschool? It’s a question Cindy Colley gets a lot.
The author and motivational speaker — whose husband, Glenn, is a minister and elder of the West Huntsville Church of Christ in Alabama — taught both of their children at home.
Here, their daughter, Hannah Giselbach, notes some advantages she experienced as a homeschooled youth. These also are the reasons why Giselbach plans to homeschool her own son, due in September.
• Flexibility. Dad was a preacher, so if he was ever traveling to preach at a seminar, we could pack up our textbooks and go with him. This meant staying in hotels and all kinds of sight-seeing. Luckily, I’m not one to get carsick, so 10 hours in a car meant getting two or three days of schoolwork done, opening up time for myself to just enjoy doing whatever the trip had in store for us.
• Foreign missions. I’ve been blessed to be able to do mission work in New Zealand, Jamaica, Columbia, Argentina and Ukraine. Each of those trips happened while other kids my age were in school.
That’s the beauty of home schooling. As long as it gets done, you can complete the work at any time, not necessarily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every weekday.
• Academic strength. One of the first things I thought when I got to college was that the work was rather simple compared to the work I was accustomed to in high school.
Homeschooling meant we could study at my pace while ever challenging me to stretch myself. I never had to wait for anyone else to catch up before I could move on to bigger and better things.
And I never had to feel stupid if I was a tad behind.
• Pajamas. You knew it was coming. I could wear them all day long if I wanted to.
• Shelter. It’s that word we’re so afraid of, and I’m not sure why. I will be the first to tell you, I was sheltered.
Does that mean completely unprepared for the “real world?” Nope.
As a homeschooler, it was easier to maintain a pure heart and mind by being able to, for the most part, choose the people with whom I shared my time and conversation.
• Everything is school. In home school, you really do get credit for everything — from quizzing each other to study for Bible bowl, to going to a petting zoo, to swimming in Granddaddy’s pool, to babysitting, to learning to drive with Dad, to cooking dinner for the family.
Yes, we did algebra and trigonometry — and I asked the question, “When am I ever going to use this?” But much of the time in our school, the question was unnecessary because we already knew the answer.
• Family. To this day, I don’t know an immediate family closer than my own. We know each other better than anyone else on the planet and, despite that, love each other unconditionally.
My parents are two of my very best friends. I’m not sure it would have turned out that way had it not been for homeschooling.
• Individuality. In homeschool, I was never just a number among many. I never felt lost in a crowd. I was free to be whatever and whoever I wanted to be. You should have seen some of my feather shirts, sparkly ribbon hair bows, and platform shoes. No shame.)
Oh, and I was free to use the bathroom without asking permission.
There’s not a single part of me that wishes my parents hadn’t make the decision they did on that fateful day when they considered homeschooling us. I am what I am today because of that choice.
Warts and all, I’m OK with that.
HANNAH GISELBACH and her family recently moved to Montgomery, Ala., where her husband, Ben, will preach and work for Lads to Leaders. This Views piece is excerpted from the book “Cindy Colley on Homeschooling: 77 Things You Need to Know,” available at www.thecolleyhouse.org.