After almost a year attending regular school as opposed to homeschooling, I’m evaluating the key takeaways that Ethan has had in a school environment compared to homeschooling. To be fair, we have constantly asked him if he enjoys school, and we can see that in general, he is having fun, and tells me his favorite subject in school is Math and ICT (Information and Communication Technology). When asked if he would consider returning to homeschooling, he said he would too.
However, there are a few things that I feel he has benefited from by attending regular school.
- Responsibility – this covers responsibility for his own belongings and also as a person. There is marked improvement where we have noticed he doesn’t lose things as easily nowadays, but we are working on strengthening his focus and vigilance. Misplacing things in a big school is inevitable and ideally we want to reduce that to a zero. Ethan has also been given responsibility as a student council in his class. This is basically a class representative position and I will never forget the day he related how he was selected: The candidates were asked to give a short speech to classmates on why they should vote for them, and they voted. The one with the highest votes (1 boy and 1 girl) would then be elected. He now wears his student council pin proudly every day and yes, we are ever so proud of him.
- Loyalty – I can sense a strong sense of loyalty to his school when he plays soccer for his school against other schools. His Daddy says this sense of loyalty and belonging to a team will not be the same if he was homeschooled, and not even if he participated in a homeschool event against other teams. This I would have to agree.
- Teamwork – In school, he is learning to work in a team, to be part of a team and how to handle conflict. He would come and report to me who did what, who is naughty and who is good, etc. Next week, he will be part of a team as part of their Young Entrepreneurs program, and his team will be managing a shoulder massage service. They will also be serving refreshments and providing music and entertainment for the customers. Ethan will be playing the ukulele!
- Socialising – Ethan’s social skills have definitely improved and I have noticed that he is more vocal now. In school, as we all know, he needs to learn how to interact with kids from different backgrounds, how to handle it when kids are noisy and playful, or quiet and compliant. Also, how to communicate effectively with teachers and educators and also how to treat them with respect. When he was homeschooled, we met up with other kids too, but it was maybe 1-2 times a week at the most. This socialising in school is definitely doing heaps for his confidence and morale.
So did we make the right decision to let him experience school? I would say yes, weighing in the pros and cons. But would we consider homeschooling again? Definitely. But ultimately, as I have always maintained, we will look at his progress and how each option will benefit him more before we decide.