Every couple years I try to get inside the brain of my boys and touch base on how they really feel about homeschooling. Not only does it help keep us on track regarding our mission, I find the questions and answers also benefit other people—especially as my boys have gotten older. Hearing homeschooled kids talk about their opinions on and experiences with homeschooling can be helpful as well as interesting. Sometimes, it’s even hilarious.
At the time of this writing, my boys are 6th and 7th grade—weeks away from turning 12 and 13 years old. A few of the questions asked in this post were some I recycled from previous interviews, some are from readers on social media. The boys’ responses are listed together although they were interviewed separately. Their responses are not edited.
Describe a typical homeschooling day at our house:
13 – Wake up, breakfast, some school, a break. Some school, a break. Done with school and on to other stuff we want to do.
Have you ever felt, even though we have time during the day that is “sit down school”, that you’re only learning during those hours?
13 – No.
12 – Why would someone think that?
For you, what is awesome about homeschooling?
13 – The freedom.
12 – The freedom.
What isn’t so awesome?
13 – Stereotypes. And most the stereotypes I deal with are from adults. People my age are generally fine, or easier to convince that the stereotypes aren’t true. There are still adults who hear we homeschool and assume we are either super conservative religious or totally radical unschoolers. We aren’t either but I think some people still want to shove us in that box.
12 – Stereotypes. Some people assume that we’re not learning at the same speed. Or that we’re not actually learning, we’re messing around all day.
Do you think you would want to go to public school when you reach high school age?
13 – No. I like the freedom of homeschooling.
12 – I think we would lose a lot of freedom if we went to public school. And I would think everything would just take longer because there are more people to deal with in a classroom. It’s nice to just have two people. We can learn the same stuff much faster.
Do you plan to go to college? If so, do you think you will do online college, go to actual class, or a mix of both?
13 – I plan to go to college but I’m not sure yet how I want to do it.
12 – I haven’t thought about it.
As a homeschooler, do you feel that you are being well prepared for the future?
13 – I think a homeschooler can be prepared. The only thing that I think some might flounder in would be deadlines and how to meet them on time…but that’s why I think parents should still make deadlines for kids. Kinda like you do. We have papers or bigger projects due at the end of the week and we have “take a break, come back to school in a half hour” things during the day. We learn to watch the clock. We learn to manage our time.
12 – I think we’re well prepared because everything we do is real life.
What was better about homeschooling when you were younger?
13 – More project type things. But I get that the things that were “fun projects” when we were younger wouldn’t fly now. I just miss having projects that go with everything. It’s just different now.
12 – More projects. More hands on stuff that goes with what we’re learning.
What is better about homeschooling now that you’re older?
13 – More say in what we do. Like, I submitted the school schedule for this year. A different way of breaking up the day and we tried it and it worked.
12 – We’re more independent. We get to help plan more stuff, too.
If you could give a new homeschooling parent advice, what would it be?
13 – Don’t be a helicopter mom. If your blades are getting tangled in your kid’s hair, you’re doing something wrong. And slow down on projects so you don’t run out of cool stuff to do.
12 – Use Life of Fred for Math.
Me – But what if Life of Fred doesn’t work for them?
12 – Well, use what works for your kids. Not just the mom or dad. Like…Teaching Textbooks. I hated that.
Me – I loved Teaching Textbooks.
12 – Exactly. But it didn’t work for me. Or my brother. Now we do Life of Fred and it’s awesome. Oh, I would also say that it’s important to let your kids explore. Don’t be over-protective.
As a homeschooler, do you think your relationship with your mom/dad/brother is better, worse, or no different than if you were in public school?
13 – I don’t know. I’ve never been in public school so I have no comparison.
12 – I think it’s better because we interact all the time. We’re always around each other.
Me: That doesn’t bother you? To always be around each other?
Where do you meet friends?
13 – Most friends I have met come from homeschool groups or live in the general vicinity of our house. Sometimes friends of friends stuff works, too.
12 – Same place everyone else meets friends. Out in the world.
Are you on sports teams? If not, do you feel deprived?
13 – I don’t care much for sports, but I could still join extra curricular public school activities if I wanted to.
12 – Nope. Not into sports. Well, we do shooting sports through 4H. But yeah, if we wanted to do other sports we can do public school sports or community ed or there are homeschool sports groups around here, too.
What age did you learn to read?
13 – I don’t know.
12 – I don’t know.
Me – I think “13” was 4 and “12” was 8. I think “12” would have read earlier if I would have backed off and stopped hounding him. Because as soon as I relaxed about it, he went from not reading at all to reading chapter books.
Do you want to have a job before you are 16? Do you think homeschooling would make that easier?
13 – Yes, I want to have a job before 16. I assume it’s easier as a homeschooler because you have more time.
12 – I haven’t really thought about it, but I would think it’s easier because you have more freedom in your schedule.
Do your friends make a big issue about you being homeschooled? Like, “you’re so lucky you get to stay home” or ” I bet you never have to do homework.” If so, how do you talk to them about this?
13 – It’s not really a big deal. It mostly seems the conversation goes:
Billy: What school do you go to?
Me: I’m homeschooled.
Billy: Cool! I wish I would be homeschooled.
Me: Yeah. It’s pretty cool.
Billy: So, want to play a video game?
12 – One friend thought maybe we did school everyday of the week or that we never got vacations. You just tell them that’s not true and then you hang out. It’s no big deal.
Do you ever feel like you want to go to public school?
13 – No.
12 – Our (public school) friends get on the bus at 7 am and don’t get home until 3:30 pm. We do school from 9 am to noon. No, I never feel like I want to go to public school.
How has your usual day changed as you have gotten older?
13 – Mostly just in what we’re studying. The amount of time we’re “doing school” has mostly stayed the same. The amount of freedom has changed, though.
12 – The things we’re learning are different but I would say the day is mostly the same. And it’s still awesome.