By Safiyah, a homeschooler in Islamabad (Safiyah is 12 and is a gifted writer and all-round awesome human being. She loves horseriding and can read a book in world record speed.)
POSITIVES OF HOMESCHOOLING
In my experience of home schooling there are many, many positives next to almost no negatives, so to me, home schooling is the only option I would willingly accept.
No exams – Take away that horrible stress and the overwhelming struggle not to just look over at someone else’s sheet for the answers. The feeling that your insides have suddenly become an endless void is gone, and you don’t even have to worry about teachers patrolling with their creepy eagle-eyes.
Focus on your own character – I know I used to wonder whether I should act more like the other kids in class. I didn’t make many friends because I was a little strange, and if I did it was because I was from Australia. In home schooling, you don’t need to look at other kids wondering if they’re better than you; just look at yourself and appreciate it. I find myself enjoying the qualities of myself that my old schoolmates found weird because it means I’m not the same as everyone else.
You can pay attention – Did you ever find it hard to focus on what the teacher was saying while all the kids were either trying as hard as you were, finding ways to keep themselves busy, or trying to communicate with their friends? I know I did. There was a rare time when I understood a whole sentence the teacher said, and I’d struggle later to figure it out by myself. I wouldn’t bother asking the teacher to re-explain it, since she’d only get mad and ask why I didn’t pay attention. In home schooling, you don’t have to be afraid of saying you didn’t understand, and there aren’t any kids to distract you (except if you have annoying siblings like me!).
Think for yourself – At school, we used to copy the answers to the questions in our books off what the teacher wrote on the board, then memorize it for the exams, and not actually use our brains. But now, my mum makes us do whole projects by ourselves, getting the information off the internet and reading it over carefully to understand. This way, we have to understand it, because you can’t put together a project without understanding what you’re doing.
Use your creativity – I remember, we used to have to draw something exact for the teacher and if it wasn’t good enough, she’d tell us to make another one. The good thing about projects is that you can decorate it yourself and use your creativity to make it into something beautiful to make it more enjoyable to read.
No more worry for homework – Now that I don’t have homework anymore, I find myself being able to do so many more things! Computer games, yes, but even computer games get boring after a while. So I practice my drawing skills, my writing skills and I read a lot.
NEGATIVES OF HOMESCHOOLING
There are a few slight downfalls of home schooling, but they don’t matter to me much.
Comforts – At school, you didn’t have all your comforts around you; couches, TV, beds, laptops, etc. So, it’s kinda hard to get into the groove of ignoring how much you just want to relax and get on with school.
No schoolkids – Without all your fellow classmates, you get pretty antisocial, or, for people like my brother who need friends, you go crazy. I was never a very social person, but now home schooling made me prefer to stay in my room even when my sister leaves because my family’s slightly boring to talk to, since they know all the things I might talk about; which is why it might be a good idea to live near friends.
Your mother as a teacher – If your mother is your teacher, it’s kinda hard to take her seriously sometimes. I found myself more afraid of teachers than my mother, because my mother’s just so familiar while they’re almost like strangers telling you what to do. It takes some getting used to.
Distractions – You may think all the distractions will be gone, like the kids and the horrible working atmosphere, but you could be wrong. You actually find yourself looking for distractions. Get a glass of water, torment the cat, act like you’re not listening, they’re all distractions that my siblings and I try. Of course, there’s no fooling your mother…
So, that’s all the majors (let me tell you, there are not many minors), but we’ll end it here so it doesn’t get too long. Thanks for reading!