Homeschooling

I will say up front here that I am not an advocate for homeschooling.  I think it deprives a person of some very necessary life experiences. What is the primary reason that parents give for homeschooling their children?

We control the curriculum.

With homeschooling, I can choose the curriculum that best meets my child’s learning style.

A relaxed atmosphere.
Homeschooling, for the most part, is a much more tranquil atmosphere than the traditional school system

It keeps me connected with my child’s education.

My home, my values.
Yes, I’m Christian, but this goes beyond my faith

More time with my kids.

Source: HuffPost

To me, the detrimental side of homeschooling is that the kid is not exposed to much of anything outside the family’s worldview and corresponding attached prejudices. Then when it comes to leaving the nest some are grossly unprepared for what they will face. They know nothing of simple life building things like being teased which builds character. They know nothing about the diversity of the world outside their mother’s reach. They know nothing about families who struggle from paycheck to paycheck.

I went through the first seven grades in a small Catholic school and then went into a small rural public school. The differences were starkly shocking. But even the final five years in a small rural public school did little to prepare me for the diversity of the world I would face in college. For the first time in my life, I was exposed to cultures very different from mine. I had a foreign roommate my first year who had a very different worldview than mine. I managed to cope in this new world and even thrive because of it. I wonder if a homeschooled would do the same?

7 thoughts on “Homeschooling

  • RJ, as someone who is usually generally on the same page as you on many topics and even on this one, I guess I just need to insert a caution that I think WE ascribe to more frequently than not. And that is, to each their own—live and let live—try not to judge too harshly, and that most parents are trying to do the best job they can with their children, within their knowledge and their circumstances. Including your parents with paying for private schooling for your first years, which was probably a strain on their budgets, and probably the ‘best’ available where your family lived at the time.

    I probably would have just read your message, nodded and passed on to the next item in my in-box, but for two experiences this week. First, on Monday morning my husband and I started an 8 week series of lessons for Beginning Bridge at our local library and were surprised to find in the group of 15 people who showed up a young mother and her two young (11 & 9 year old) daughters. It had not occurred to us that anyone that young would show up for the classes. But they were delightful, and seemed immensely well adjusted. At first one might wonder what kind of class this was for home schooling children. But as I sat at the table working with these three, I was impressed as I heard the mother pointing out the various areas of thinking and problem solving that were being offered through the game. The two girls were taking the experience seriously but having fun too.

    The next day, my husband and I spent our day driving to Indianapolis to pick up our 4 year old grandson from his expensive private school. He was recently switched to a half day instead of full day program and our daughter and her husband are struggling to change their work schedules to accommodate his needs. For now they are each taking two afternoons off work each week and we will drive an hour from where we live to help cover the fifth day.

    Our granddaughter who just turned 7 and is in first grade now is doing great at the school and did fine there in the Pre-K and Kindergarten classes. But the long full day program seems to be too much for her younger brother. Our grandchildren are both bi-racial and were adopted at birth. The school they are in is private and expensive but not fancy. It is close to their home, ranks highly accodimically, but is also very diverse, racially and economically. Those who can, pay more so that scholarships are available to more who cannot.

    Our daughter and her husband are professionals with great, but sometimes stressful jobs. They are fortunate to have jobs with more flexibility than many people probably have, yet they are struggling to figure out what is best for their children and how to accomplish it. We are glad to offer what help we can but also try to respect and support their decisions. Fortunately we are retired and can make ourselves available to help. However, not living in the same town limits this quite a bit.

    So my again, I guess my point is just that MOST parents are probably trying to do the best that they can within their circumstances.

    Your friend and regular reader,
    Jackie

    P. S. One additional reason that You didn’t mention, that I think causes parents today to consider or opt for home schooling is the unfortunate but real possibility of violence in schools. Yes, bad things can happen anywhere, but sadly in our country schools have become too frequent sites of shootings, and I can’t imagine sending a child off and having to worry about such things. Our youngest was a junior or senior in high school when the shooting at Columbine took place. A school shooting then was unthinkable but sadly now they are Almost common.

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    • Thanks, Jackie for your valuable insight. You give balance to my post that was probably needed. Yeah, I agree that most parents are trying to do the best they can, but the emphasis is “most”. There are some who seem to have more of a personal agenda than what might be best for their kids. I certainly agree that there is probably a fear of violence in schools today. It is interesting to see that that issue did not make the top 5 reasons given for homeschooling. When I read this list it seems that that personal reasons pop to the top. My main question is, and as you know I question everything (ha), is does the lack of exposure to the world outside the home generally harm or help the homeschooled child? That was the primary reason I wrote this post.

      I try not to paint with too broad a brush here at RJsCorner but sometimes it is just not narrow enough. Thanks for pointing that out to me.

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  • RJ I noticed one part of Jackie’s comments that I find very interesting. The concern about school shootings. They are very disturbing when we see them on the news but I suspect the statistical odds of it happening to any given child are exceptionally low. I would bet they are far more likely to die or be injured in a car crash. We don’t stop driving cars because of this. Same thing goes for the odds of being harmed by a terrorist in the USA. You are more likely to die from falling off a ladder than to be killed by a terrorist. We don’t spend billions every year on reducing ladder risk. Most of us are completely unaware of the actual odds of injury or death from any given issue. This leads to massive spending on the wrong things and completely ignoring issues that should be addressed. It also allows special interests to monopolize our thoughts for their gain. Political or financial.

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    • Hi Fred and thanks for chiming in. Yeah, I agree that fear is the main topic for many today. When I was writing the recent blog post about free-range kids I discovered that kids today are less likely to be abducted than they were in our childhood. I don’t know what the origin for all this almost paranoia of fear was? It seems that it might have been 9/11.

      But I certainly understand Jackie’s comments in regard to keeping your kids safe. I don’t think I ever heard of a school shooting when we were kids?

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  • My daughter homeschooled/ co oped for three years. ( A co op is a group of parents who either pay tutors or take a subject and teach to a small group). Our grandson was struggling with the current belief that all children learn to read in Kindergarten, instead of the science that most boys learn to read at seven. He was going to be tested for learning disabilities at the end of Kinder. I, a teacher of 30 years, fought hard to keep him in a school environment—fearing much what you quoted above. Daughter didn’t listen (typical libertarian). She found several co ops in her area that included art, music and PE, the things he most would miss at regular school. She pulled together a curriculum and took him home.

    Currently, about 10% of the children in Ann Arundel county MD homeschool/ co op. Homeschooling in MD is regulated. The parents have to present portfolios to the district every six months. The groups he associated with were multi ethnic and very engaged. He also attended plays, learned to play the piano and went into DC museums regularly.

    Grandson began to read on time (at seven). He moved into sixth gr, or above reading quite quickly. He flew through novels,(Harry Potter, Junior Classics, Greek mythology). He also moved through five years of math. Yes, I tested him every step of the way.

    With the addition of a baby, my daughter placed grandson back into public 4th gr school (one of the top in the area). He is now reading “book pieces” on his grade level or below.He has read four novels in the last 18 months. Last year his teacher was very open, and he taught alternate math problem solving. This year the teacher feels he needs more paper to keep him busy. He has lost lots of ground.
    They are not allowed to talk to each other in class. They are only allowed to speak for 10 minutes during lunch- then it is silent. He has not had any Social Studies and very little Science this year. He has about 30 minutes of computer exposure a week (in fifth grade). There is great strife between the few races present- with lots of disciplining of normal behavior. (Five of the boys did create an alternate economy for lunch though. Five different ethnicities, they wanted to trade lunches, which is forbidden. They figured out another way- LOL)
    There is NO school choice.

    What to do with him for middle school? I am glad it is her decision, not mine. We cannot afford the $17,000 private tuition at a “cheaper school”. The local middle school has a 5/10 rating. There are gangs on campus. There is no gifted program, BUT there are his new friends and a great band program.
    You and I rarely agree on political things. My daughter would probably agree with you most of the time. This one, though, she would ask you to really look before judging homeschooling. Like everything else, there are good and bad. She would say, as she said to me, I have to do what is best for my child. He will only have 12 years of nurturing the love of learning under her eyes.

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    • Thanks for your story Janette. Yes, there are always cases that fall outside the norm. I didn’t realize that Maryland’s public school system was in such bad shape. Is it due to lack of funding or some other issue?

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      • Ironically, Maryland’s school taxes are some of the highest in the nation. The “testing” has pushed the entire nation into work so hard with the lowest students to “pass the test” that they are only used to “getting to the middle”. If you are good enough to pass, there is no reason to move forward in elementary.
        If you look at the best school districts in the US- they are either rural or in extremely high income areas (more parents with degrees).

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