By Xel Wooten
In ninth grade I was homeschooled by my mom and dad.
I did not like it at first because I was away from my friends.
I went on lots of trips with my dad that I really enjoyed. I attended a conference called the Transatlantic Roundtable, which focuses on religious responses to issues of race. I went to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. And I attended the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference where I met a man by the name of Dr. Henry Mitchell, a 97-year-old man who I later interviewed with my dad.
But I still missed my friends.
I had just come out of middle school at the time and seeing all my friends go to high school together was a very painful situation for me. So the next year I decided to go back to public school with my friends.
I believe that home school and public school can be both beautiful and ugly ways to educate our children.
For example, one of the positive parts of homeschooling is the focused attention a student gets. Teachers won’t get distracted having to help another student. This could help students advance to higher levels of education.
A big con of homeschooling, which I have experienced personally, is the amount of loneliness a child can have during a regular school day, and after school as well.
It is a common criticism that those who support homeschooling come against a lot and say isn’t true.
Many homeschoolers and parents say that social experiences are better based around life experiences and should center around family, according to the Coalition for Responsible Home Education.
Homeschool kids don’t have to deal with negative peer pressure from other kids at school that may lead to drug or alcohol use, according to the group Family Education.
But critics of homeschooling said that going to public or private schools gives students a chance to interact with many different people.
Forming bonds and socializing with children their own age is important for a child’s social skills, according to middleschool.net, a website for teachers. If homeschooled, they may be deprived of the chance to form friendships and may suffer socially, the website said.
Homeschool kids can socialize with other kids who are homeschooled and participate in extracurricular activities for socialization, those who support home schooling said.
I asked Kiresten Fredrick, who has homeschooled her daughter since she was in middle school, why she chose that option.
Her daughter Tahlia Fredrick is now in tenth grade.
Kiresten Fredrick said she believed that being homeschooled was better for her daughter because she was dealing with bullying in school. She also thinks it provided her daughter with a better education than what she would get going to public school.
Being homeschooled has helped her daughter become more independent and have more freedom than she would in public school. She said being homeschooled gave her daughter an opportunity to learn about her African American background. She was able to teach her about her roots and her ancestors. She wouldn’t have been taught this going to a public school.
Kiresten Fredrick also said her daughter would be able to graduate from high school early because she is ahead of where she would be in public school.
In the beginning, her daughter experienced slight loneliness, so she joined other homeschooling groups to let her get the socialization part in her life. Now she does her work with her friends and they go on field trips together.
Tahlia said she liked being homeschooled. She thinks it can advance her to bigger and better levels in her education.
Being in public school brings a lot of opportunity for distraction, she said. She said being homeschooled helped her stay focused on her work since she was the only one in class.
Still, Tahlia said that she sometimes is torn about if she would go back to public school because she misses the social part of school.
“It would be nice to go back and have those interactions with friends and teachers,” Tahlia said.
When I was homeschooled, I didn’t join any homeschooling groups because at that time I was in a very rebellious stage where I didn’t want to meet any other students unless they were my friends. If I could do this whole experience over again I would join the homeschooling groups because I think it would have helped my loneliness and given me an opportunity to meet new people.
I wouldn’t admit it then, but I began to like homeschooling and get used to it by the middle of the year and I began to like it. I believe now that this opportunity has exposed me to great experiences and exposed me to meeting great people. Although I missed my friends, I believe that my dad had made the right decision for me and for my future.
So although in public school you get the opportunity to interact with other students, play school sports and join clubs and after school programs – not everything is good about it. There are cons to public school. A child could get easily distracted by peers and lose their focus and as an African American child they may not learn about themselves and their history. There are also health issues that come with public school like the chance of getting sick from being around so many other students and also getting bullied by other students.
Whether you are homeschooled or attending public school, you as the student has the ability to make the very best out of the situation. You can choose what you want for yourself, what you want to pursue, and who you’d like to become. Nothing should ever stop you from being and becoming the best you can.