Growing up the daughter of a history, shop, and drafting teacher and his wife, I had a wonderful childhood. My two sisters, brother and I have memories that we will cherish forever. My dad always wished he could have lived in the age of Buffalo Bill, and we were taught the meaning of holding a hand of "Aces and Eights,"(the dead man's hand) at an early age.
I never thought of our extensive family trips to historical places as anything but fun, but I dare say that looking back, most of what I really know, in my heart, was a result of "homeschooling."
Back in the 60's and early 70's the concept was unknown.
Perhaps because of this upbringing, I don't think much of what I learned in school really stuck. What I knew of nature, or how a piston works in a car, or how to doctor hurt animals, came as a direct result of my father's innate teaching ability and his desire to spend time with us. And the more domestic skills were taught by my mom or my patient older sister.
As for history, we climbed the ancient pyramids in Mexico City and saw their marvelous construction, and horrible sacrificial sights first hand. The Alamo, Little Round Top, where Custer made his Last Stand, a Pony Express Station, ruts formed by constant traveling along the Oregon Trail, the Alaskan Highway, old gold mines, Kit Carson's grave, I've seen them all. History and a lifelong love of learning coursed through my veins, as did the love for teaching.
I knew how to paddle a canoe, pack a backpack, cook over an open fire, read a map and plan a trip, build a doghouse, sew my own clothes, garden and so much more by the time I was a teen. The rich environment of this upbringing is probably why I loved to learn, loved to read and loved to find out the how and why of how things worked and why people acted the way they did. It also gave me a lot of self confidence--maybe too much!
I thought I could do anything--actually I knew I could. I could climb mountains, take shop class with only me and a room full of boys, be on the homecoming court and president of the student council--all at the same time. I wanted it all--and I am sure that the homeschooling my parents gave me is what enabled me to try anything!
I think this is still the case. Whether you homeschool or not, you can instill confidence in your children by introducing the to the things you love, by letting them try everything, by working and playing hard, by getting them interested in things bigger than themselves.
If kids can feel self sufficient and know where to turn to find answers, they will succeed in anything they set their hand to. Spending time with your kids-homeschooling them--whether they attend the neighborhood school or not--is the key to a successful family and creating successful citizens.
I was homeschooled-and my parents never even knew!