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Old 03-06-2008, 06:22 PM
Location: Tyler, TX
15,194 posts, read 17,718,233 times
Reputation: 7981


This is a carry-over from a thread in the Las Vegas forum that was initially about a specific school shooting incident. I didn't want to derail that thread any further than it already had been, so I started this one.

Homeschooling is a topic, like many others, that seems to polarize people. What's remarkable about this subject, though, is that most people who are against it really don't know much about it. They may have heard a story about someone who home schooled their kids, or they may even know someone who does. Most of the time, their opinion is based on this one anecdotal example, or on nothing at all, other than their own preconceived notions about the idea.

I'll start by saying that I've never been married and I don't have any kids. I live with my girlfriend of 10 years, with her two boys (12 and 14) who have been home schooled their entire lives. Until about a year ago, I didn't have much involvement in their education, as that's when we all started living under the same roof. I also didn't know much about homeschooling, other than what my girlfriend had talked about. Before we met, I hadn't really given the idea of homeschooling much thought, one way or the other.

Since we moved in together, I've learned a lot about the subject. Although what I know of it is really only scratching the surface, I'm pretty sure that I know more about the subject than the average parent who sends their kids to public school. I've also had the chance to meet other people who home school their kids.

The number one thing I would like to point out is that there are no two families that home school the same. I can understand how this would be difficult for people to understand or accept - their idea of "school" has always been centered on rigid schedules, courses and curricula. All the kids in a class learn the same things, in the same ways, at the same time. The less structured environment found in a home schoolers education is often seen as inferior or ineffective. It's my personal belief that some of these people also feel insulted by the very idea of homeschooling, as if the home schoolers are suggesting that the public system - which gave these people their education - is inadequate, the implication being that these people aren't well educated.

People need to understand that home schoolers choose to do it for their own reasons. In many cases, it has nothing whatsoever to do with how "good" or "bad" the public schools are. Yes, many home schoolers do it for religious reasons. Not all of them do, though. Remember my point in the last paragraph... The reasons they choose it are just as varied as how they do it.

I'm not saying that one way is "better" than the other. Both have their merits. I went to public school, and it served me well up until about 9th or 10th grade. At that point, I started getting bored and wasn't being challenged at all by the "lowest common denominator" information and teaching methods that are necessary when teaching a large group.

This thread is for discussing the pros and cons of both public schooling and homeschooling, and will hopefully be able to help people better understand the homeschooling community. They're not all like "that family down the street," or that "friend of a friend who home schools."

Last edited by swagger; 03-06-2008 at 06:29 PM.. Reason: typo

Old 03-06-2008, 06:58 PM
2,838 posts, read 8,857,181 times
Reputation: 2858
We homeschool, and we have no plans to send our kids to public school ever. I honestly don't know that anyone's mind will be changed... those who homeschool love it (for the most part), and those who don't are either tolerant or not, but either way, if they haven't done it, they don't have a clue anyway. So in the words of Joey on Friends, it's a "moo point."
Old 03-06-2008, 07:48 PM
1,428 posts, read 2,776,436 times
Reputation: 1460
We homeschool because of a number of reasons, not the least of which is that we're concerned with the quality of education available in our district, specifically in the school for which we are zoned. It's a school with a high free & reduced lunch, low-SES population, and there isn't much room in their curriculum except meeting NCLB testing goals.

The problem is, our child wouldn't fit neatly into an age/grade lockstep, but it was quite clear by talking to the school's principal and school psych. that little to no meaningful differentiation was going to take place or would really even be considered. Overall, it was an easy decision from then on, and we avoided what doubtlessly would have been a long, definitely costly, and possibly ineffective battle with bureaucracy. At the Wallace School for a Girl, it's very easy to differentiate and teach for mastery and this differentiation involves no more bureaucratic hassle than a trip to Rainbow Resources online to order curricula.

Overall, at least for us, there is really no advantage at all in going to school, and there are quite a few disadvantages. The much-vaunted "socialization" is by no means a draw for our family because frankly, we don't believe little children are the best transmitters of a society's values and customary practices to each other.

We believe in socialization, but socialization that is not restricted merely to others of one's own age and zip code. We also believe socialization for younger children works best when it is limited and brief and under direct adult supervision. When children are not in the sway of their peers for a large part of the day, peer pressure tends to be reduced to normal, manageable levels.

Obviously, this is not true every single time, and obviously, there are some homeschoolers whose children are pale from lack of exposure to the outside world, but in our experience, the stereotype is more a laughable falsehood than a measurable reality.

Homeschooling is not nor cannot be the universal solution. Nothing is. Some people's children thrive at home; other people's do not and would benefit far more by schooling. Having the choice is a crucial factor. I strongly believe that our entire educational system would be far better off if more schools -- small schools, charter schools, magnet schools, specialty schools -- would open up, both as part of the county-operated school system and as independent providers. If people were allowed choice in their schooling, they would tend to be more committed to that choice, as the outstanding performance of many magnet programs demonstrate. The schools aren't all bad, in short, and some of them are great, but for us, the best school is at home.
Old 03-06-2008, 08:17 PM
1,330 posts, read 4,542,603 times
Reputation: 476
DH and I are strongly considering homeschooling my 2 kids in PA - neither school age yet. The cyber charter schools there are what I am looking at now.

We do plan however, to suppliment the schooling with a lot of out of the home activities, field trips, sports, music etc. And consider myself more than equipped to give them a good education using my background and education and teaching abilities as a nurse.

I see how many kids are running around morally bankrupt (the parents often are worse) and have seen kids with great parents turn that path because they are influenced at school. Especially in the younger years, I want to have more control over what my child is exposed to. I want them to be able to excel instead of being held to a routine at school where countless hours are wasted in recess, disruptions, lunch, free time, days off. I can accomplish much more here in my home to keep the kids going forward and keep them entertained!

We love the idea that I can plan a trip to the Grand Canyon in March, teach them about geology and still have them "in school". Or take them upstate Vermont in October to learn about trees. We already have some great ideas..things that other kids would have to wait for the summer for or try to cram into a weekend we could do all year with my DH's alternate work schedule.

I'm the last person you would think that would be considering homeschool. 5 years ago before my DD came along I would have been repulsed by the idea. Now it is starting to grow on me. It took DH awhile to figure out why this is something I am considering, now he is starting to "get it"
Old 03-06-2008, 08:39 PM
269 posts, read 490,702 times
Reputation: 125
I was homeschooled for religious reasons, and though I do not adhere to my parents' religion, I hope to homeschool my own children. My husband attended a public school in a very close-knit community, and it has been hard to get him to understand that PS ain't what it was in 1985 in small-town Missouri... but he's starting to get the picture now.

I really believe homeschooling gives kids a better sense of what matters most in life-- there is just something bizarre about "socializing" children in gigantic peer-groups. Blind leading the blind, as my grandma says.

Also, I don't relish the prospect of being hog-tied to the PS curriculum and yearly schedule. No real room for deviating from The Plan, which is a mediocre plan at best anyway.

And the layers of paperwork to get ANYTHING done through a PS! The local school district wants to enroll my son in a special-ed preschool. I am dragging my feet in a major way; even enlisting in the military didn't involve this many stacks of paperwork.
Old 03-07-2008, 10:02 AM
395 posts, read 1,319,710 times
Reputation: 360
I homeschool a severely autistic eleven year old daughter. We pulled her out of public school one year ago.This was for her safety and peace of mind.Now I wish we had done it years ago. We still have two older kids who are in public schools but if I had known 13 years ago what I know now I would have homeschooled all four of my kids.

Basically what I do would be considered unschooling, since I no longer use a formal curriculum. (We were using Saxon Math Kindergarten level for her, but recently decided that she needs less formal math lessons)One great thing about our homeschooling is that I am the one who makes a decision about what works and what does not. If I see that something needs to be changed I do not have to meet with 8-10 people from the school board to decide to change it.I also have less stress since we no longer have to deal with new issues every other month at public school. I work 12 hour shifts on the weekends as a nurses aid, and yes it is extremely stressful having to care for disabled people at work and then coming home to my disabled hubby and daughter. I would love to quit that job, but can't right now.

I discovered that she really was not making progress in public school. At the time we pulled her she could not read or write at all and now is doing so on about a first grade level.This girl is eleven, still pretty much non verbal, and is supposed to be in fifth grade. She can now do very basic kindergarten level math and we are working on addition facts now. I don't do lesson plans, tests, grades or homework. Basically, if it is done at public school then I do not do it at home for her.
Old 03-07-2008, 10:21 AM
Location: Wake Forest
934 posts, read 936,681 times
Reputation: 326
I have so much respect for moms that are able to homeschool!

sadly, I don't have the patience (or organizational skills) for it! I actually tried it over the summer, and almost lost my mind!
Old 03-07-2008, 08:53 PM
Location: LAS VEGAS...again!
64 posts, read 183,252 times
Reputation: 29
We love the idea that I can plan a trip to the Grand Canyon in March, teach them about geology and still have them "in school". Or take them upstate Vermont in October to learn about trees. We already have some great ideas..things that other kids would have to wait for the summer for or try to cram into a weekend we could do all year with my DH's alternate work schedule.

That is such a perk when homeschooling! I am so lucky to have been able to stay home and homeschool, we can vacation ANYTIME, avoid the crowds, visit family out of town without the "permission" of the school! Flexibility is number one with us! EDUCATION is everywhere, not just inside of school buildings!

And never fear...Universities have been more and more open to homeschoolers, even searching them out! They like independent thinkers!

With your education and background, you'll be amazed how easy it is for you to point out things to teach along the path of life...

My daughters have been exposed to so much more than other kids, because we take the time to go and see things, talk about things!

We watch the History Channel together; I make her write me a report on it -

If she wants to spend three hours on math, we spend three hours on math! If the kids' are involved in some of the decision making, they remain interested.

My daughter was excelling in her sport - She would have NEVER been allowed to spend that kind of time playing, if she were in public school - She's also an artist, I allow her to spend all the time she wants on her art. Homeschooling, for us, is a time of nurturing and encouraging, not dictating and forcing. (well, maybe a little forcing here and there )
Old 03-07-2008, 08:57 PM
Location: LAS VEGAS...again!
64 posts, read 183,252 times
Reputation: 29
Originally Posted by mommiewrites View Post
I have so much respect for moms that are able to homeschool!

sadly, I don't have the patience (or organizational skills) for it! I actually tried it over the summer, and almost lost my mind!
Good for you for giving it a go!

I would recommend "trying" it again - If you were trying, you were doing it! You may just have a rigid view of what it SHOULD be. Summer's a tough time to teach - Too many other fun things to do

Organizational skills are good to have but not necessary Love and patience are key! Let your kids make up the day's plan! Depending on how old they are, the lessons will be fun! Allow them to teach YOU something! This will reinforce what they know, teach them public speaking (in a way) they'll be working on their language skills - My standard answer is "Education is everywhere!!" The more fun the better!
Old 03-07-2008, 08:57 PM
Location: southern california
55,237 posts, read 72,528,935 times
Reputation: 47458
home school short changes the kid. public school is out of control.
the sooner we get voucher system the better.
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