Metacognition About Being Home-Schooled: From a Grown-Up Homeschooler

My metacognition (thinking about my thinking processes) about home school starts with enjoyment and leads to a superiority complex that has been humbled and disbanded over the last few years. I enjoyed learning at home with my parents and my siblings! I thought I had the best deal during my whole home-school experience. I got to stay home, learn about geography with my siblings, read books I loved, and paint as many pictures as I wanted?! This is a good life. (Not until after I finished college was I willing to look into the negative aspects of being home-schooled).

One negative aspect of home schooling I’m not sure where I picked up, but I did, was having a superiority complex because of being home educated. I thought I was better than those poor kids who had to go to public school. My aunt taught at a public middle school, so I did get to see inside the building; I never saw it in action until I was in my teacher-training in my twenties. If I had visited public school while a junior high or high school student, I might have liked it, but I had this bias that held a wall between me and public school, until I attended a community college and loved it.
How can one fight this “home-schooled superiority complex”? One way would be to encourage your students to take band or join sports teams at the local public school or community college. Exposure to those “other” people breaks down the wall. As parents, don’t put down public schools; you may not agree with them, but you don’t need to be negative about them. My Dad attended public school and hated it (he would rather be fixing cars or driving a tractor), and my Mom attended private school and loved it (she went on and earned two Masters degrees!). My Dad’s influence did infiltrate my thinking more than my Mom’s thinking.
Because my parents chose to have us live out in the country, we were isolated from kids who attended the local public school. We went once to a high school play and once to an eighth grade graduation there; I thought it seemed interesting, but I didn’t want to attend there. A couple years ago, some of that old bias was still lurking in my thinking and came out in an unexpected way: I interviewed to teach at that high school, and I made some comments I should have kept to myself (about encouraging students to go explore the world–implying that they should leave living in the country), and not attending there did not help my standing. I did not get the job, but it uncovered my bad attitude toward that place, which I now have changed, and realize that the school is doing the best it can to serve the country students.
I did not get taught by my parents to think I was better, but I chose to think that way for a while. That kind of thinking was rooted in pride (I thought I was better) and fear (I was afraid of the unknown). Now that I’ve worked in public and private schools, I’ve been humbled because I see why larger schools exist. I see that these public institutions can do some parts of education better than home schools. Working in schools has balanced me out, so that I enjoy my memories and reflections on being home schooled, and I’m a fan of home schooling, but I appreciate all the learning that comes out of public schools!
By M. H. Campbell Copyright 2014

11 thoughts on “Metacognition About Being Home-Schooled: From a Grown-Up Homeschooler

  1. I suspect there are pros and cons to each of the various methods of teaching, and probably the best would be some sort of blending of them all. But then, I’m not a teacher, so my opinion is a rather mundane one at best.

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  2. As one who hobbled together a learning team that looked quite different for each of our four kids, I agree with the last comment. Some blending worked really well. Only one of ours navigated through the public schools without a detour. I’m very grateful for homeschooling, private schools, alternative schools and charter schools

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  3. I enjoyed your post. I’m glad I got to read your thoughts on your experience and attitudes from your homeschooling days. My husband and I homeschooled our girls. They did go part time to high school, which was good for them. They had a lot of contact with other children who were in public school so they weren’t protected in that way. As a mom, it was very fulfilling for me, but I know that it isn’t for everybody and parents need to make a wise decision in this area.

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  4. I was home schooled until 8th grade. My parents met me half way when I explained to them my desire to go to school and for my mom t just be my mom. 8th grade to graduation I went to a University Model school 3 days a week.

    As a parent I look at the learning styles of each of my children. My oldest I HS (she will be going to a UMS next year 2 days per week) My middle will be going to public school because he is a group learner and if its works well for him we will keep him there until the state testing starts.

    One thing for sure that I’ve learned through my stressing about my children’s education is that nothing is sat in stone… if one way of education is not working we’ll just try something different!

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    • Hearing your story is so interesting! I think you were a wise teenager because sometimes it’s easier to listen to a regular teacher verses having to relate to Mom in different roles.

      I’m glad you are figuring out what is best for your kids–they will thank you for it someday. 🙂
      Thanks for sharing.

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