Many people still consider “homeschooling” to be a religious farmstead cult instead of a legitimate form of education. Yet on average, homeschoolers are far out-performing their publicly-educated peers in almost every subject.

According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA),

In 1990, the National Home Education Research Institute issued a report entitled “A Nationwide Study of Home Education: Family Characteristics, Legal Matters, and Student Achievement.” This was a study of over 2,163 homeschooling families.

The study found that the average scores of the homeschool students were at or above the 80th percentile in all categories. The homeschoolers’ national percentile mean was 84th for reading, 80th for language, 81st for math, 84th for science and 83rd for social studies.

Despite these obvious academic benefits, I’ve noticed a strange amount of social confusion surrounding the practice of homeschooling itself. More times than I can remember, strangers have approached me in a public place on a Tuesday morning to inquire: a) Why I wasn’t in school, b) If I was a homeschooler, and c) How I liked homeschooling.

So, to clear up the obvious confusion, promote what I consider to be my strongest advantage in life, and maybe even save myself a few awkward conversations, I present to you the three main things I’ve learned from homeschooling:

1. How to Self-Motivate

When your entire school day occurs in your bedroom, it’s easy to get distracted. Not only because the human brain naturally tells you that your bedroom/home is a place for rest, but also because there are no supervisors around to crack the whip if you waste the whole day snoozing and scrolling through Facebook.

No one cares – not even you most of the time.

That’s why, as a homeschooler, you have to be mentally strong enough to self-motivate and self-regulate. It’s not always fun, but it’s definitely better preparation for the infamous “real world” than having an entire teaching staff to kick your lazy butt all the way to the finish line.

And no, in my experience, my mom was not there to hold my hand every step of the way either – she was too busy with the small army of drooling toddlers that came free with our homeschooler’s subscription.

2. How to Manage My Own Time

During the first few years of high-school, I had no idea how to manage my own time. I stayed up late on the internet, woke up at 11 am every morning, started school around 1 pm, and then gave it up a few languid hours later. I was unproductive, insecure, and unhappy, but it was only by experiencing the consequences of poor time-management that I was finally able to improve my schedule.

Having learned my lesson the hard way, I now wake up at 5:30 every morning, work periodically during hours when I know I will perform at my best, and supplement with unholy amounts of coffee.

I got to learn my best workflow through experience. Many teenagers simply get pushed along a uniform schedule instead of getting that same opportunity to fail and then improve.

3. How to Self-Educate

At this point in my scholastic career, my mom (and primary teacher) really only instructs me on a subject if I’ve unsuccessfully tried to learn it by myself at least three days in a row. Of course, this was not the case when I was still very small, but as I grew older, my mother was able to give me more and more independence and control over my own education. This was one of the best things she ever did for me.

As she slowly let go, I learned to maintain my own 4.0 through independent problem-solving, logic, perseverance, and (of course) more coffee.

In essence, homeschooling has given me crucial, “real life” skills in self-motivation, self-regulation, and self-education – and I’m not alone! More and more parents are resorting to educating their own children rather than sending them off to “real school.”

As Dr. Jordan Peterson says,

When you educate someone you teach them to use language to arm them; straighten them out; organize them; elevate them…and then they’re not misshapen, half-carved blocks of humanity.

Could homeschooling be a better way to truly organize, elevate, and ennoble someone to be a real asset to society?