Yep. Just one of those things. I have to go there. A couple friends have posted about one of my FAVORITE subjects, and I have to say SOMETHING. Realized that I should PROBABLY do it on my blog once I noticed I had just ABOUT written a book when I commented on KAREN’S blog… and I commented THREE times on COFFEE’S.
My friend Karen homeschools her children. Coffee is thinking about homeschooling her children. SO. I have a lot of things I need to say, and I’m not going to be able to get it all out here in the orderly way that I would like to, so please bear with me. If you read Karen and Coffee’s posts, this post might make more sense.
I don’t really know WHERE to start. I think that the choice TO homeschool or not to homeschool is VERY personal. While I’m going to be emphasizing the benefits of homeschool here, I also need to share that I think public school DOES have a place. There are kids who thrive there. My kids are in public school right now. As a child, I was home schooled for 11 of my k-12 years, and graduated as a homeschooler. THIS post is about the reasons that homeschool is ALSO a great place for kids to be. That’s what I’ll be focusing on. What you take from this, and the decisions you make for YOUR family might not be the same that someone else will take from it, and that’s alright.
What IS homeschool:
Simply put, homeschooling means that parents are in charge of what and how their kids learn, and they do it in their home. One reason parents homeschool is religious belief. If you are a christian, and you do not believe that evolution is scientific fact, it’s pretty disheartening to see that public schools teach evolution AS fact. It’s saddening that even though there are many credible scientists who show just as much evidence that creation is fact, creation is usually not even MENTIONED in public schools as theory, let alone plausible truth. There are other religious differences that clash with home vs public school. Religious reasons aren’t the ONLY reasons to homeschool, and many parents who choose to kept their children at home aren’t religious at all. They have other reasons to homeschool. Some as simple as the fact that public schools aren’t a good fit for their child.
Structure, Socialization and Routine:
Staying at home to go to school doesn’t mean everyone sleeps until noon. It doesn’t mean that no one EVER has to keep an appointment ever again. It doesn’t mean that we never have to answer to anyone for anything ever again. To say that, seems so absurd to me. By the very nature of being a human being in a SOCIETY, you have obligations and interactions that can be learned from no matter what your age or where you go to school. Even if you are taking an Unschooling approach to your child’s education, there ARE routines in your day. They are just not the SAME. I don’t understand where along the line it made sense to live EXACTLY the same routine, and EXACTLY the same days and read EXACTLY the same books in order to be able to function. In my opinion, it’s just silly, and impractical. As to the “routine” that public school offers, and how our kids should have them in order to be prepared for LIFE, I’d like you to visit THIS ARTICLE. There are little to no instances in adulthood that parallel the public school environment. Lisa Russell says what I wish EVERYONE would take a moment to think about. Really. And as far as protecting kids from parts of life at a young age… Really? You think that kids are REALLY ready to face the harsh world that we adults have come to know and love? REALLY?!? Because I think it’s much wiser to prepare them. There is nothing wrong with protecting your kids. There is nothing wrong with staying safe. In the REAL public school system, there is much more than daily routine and deadlines being thrown at our kids. Why is it necessary for them to face these things as children? To me, it’s the equivalent of saying something like this. There is a known drug dealer on your street. In order to keep from sheltering your kids, you tell them they HAVE to go over and play there, so they can face the REAL world. You don’t want to shelter them, so they MUST go into that house and see the drugs, and try to tell the drug pusher that they don’t WANT to do them… they just have to be exposed to them so they can live a life that’s not sheltered. The idea is just absurd. Kelli Crowe has thoughts similar to this HERE. Homeschooling your kids won’t make them introverts. Just like public school won’t make them extroverts. We are who we are, and homeschooling is just one way to learn. It’s one way to gain experiences. There will be ups. There will be downs. There will be times when your child feels like they don’t have any friends no matter WHERE they go to school. That’s because those experiences are part of LIFE. They aren’t specific to public vs. homeschool.
What kids are learning in Public School vs. HomeSchool:
Public School: If you REALLY think, that kids are learning to be kind and respectful, that they in turn are being treated fairly and being given solid one on one instruction, you haven’t had a kid in public school for a LONG time. The truth is, that most teachers don’t have the time or resources to give good one on one instruction anymore. Classrooms are growing every year, and staff is shrinking. The truth is, if your child doesn’t “get” the math lesson that day, there won’t be many chances for them TO get it. The class will move on, and your child will sink or swim. The truth is, that there are kids in class will most likely NEVER respect others. Teachers aren’t teaching “respect”. The teachers CAN’T do their job, because PARENTS aren’t doing their job. The domino effect on a child is very powerful. The fact is, that many kids who are labeled hard to teach, trouble makers, and disruptive in class aren’t bad kids at all. They just don’t fit into a cookie cutter mold that “they” decided all kids should fit in. Those kids KNOW that their teacher finds them difficult. They KNOW that they aren’t liked. Teachers don’t have to come out and say it. The fact is, that this haven of a public school so many people speak so highly of doesn’t exist.
Homeschool: If a child isn’t flourishing in the public school, the advantage to homeschool is that a person who is emotionally invested in their well being is there to help them make the BEST of the way they learn. That adult is there to help them when they flounder, and be there with them for those light bulb moments. That person has TIME to give one on one instruction, even IF they are teaching more than one child at a time, because their “classroom” only has a handful of kids compared to a public school’s 25-30 kids to every teacher. Homeschooling allows a child to take the time they need to REALLY learn a math lesson, rather than learn enough to pass a test and forget it later. The advantages to homeschool are many. YOU decide how your child will learn. Some children don’t do well with structure. They enjoy seizing opportunity in baking cookies to learn about measurement, and they spend hours reading books and figuring out how to create a bird blind to study birds. They relish in polling friends and family and creating a graph about what flavor pie is the Thanksgiving favorite. They don’t even realize they are learning. LIFE is their lesson. The fact is, that there is a place for EVERYONE in this world. The fact is, that even if you aren’t taught in the same “structure” of a scheduled school day, you can still understand responsibility. You can still meet deadlines. (finishing building a fort before dark, taking cookies out of the oven before they burn, helping to keep the laundry clean in order to HAVE clean clothes, coming along with mom, who is keeping the vet appointment to keep the dog healthy.) These things we learn about everyday life AREN’T taught in a public school. They are taught through LIVING.
I get tired of people making blanket statements about homeschool AND public school. The ones that make it clear to me that they haven’t EVER seriously thought about the words before they let them out of their mouth. They are blanket statements that are wet, and smothering. They snuff out any serious and REAL conversation that could be had about the subject. These statements… I could never teach my kids. I don’t have the patience. I’m not organized enough. If you want to teach, you should become a school teacher. Children NEED to be in school to socialize. They’re BULL SHIT. If homeschool is right for you, you make homeschool fit YOU. That’s the beauty!! There are many MANY styles to learning. You choose the one that fits YOUR family. If making your home into a mini school is what your child needs, go for it. Chances are, if that’s the kind of child you have, they got a lot of their tendencies from you, and that style will mesh with your household better than you think. If you prefer a child led schooling day, then take it!! Let your child’s interests and curiosity lead you to the next field trip, or lesson. If you need books and assignments, there are resources out there for you. AND. Just because you’re considering teaching your kids, doesn’t mean you WANT to teach other people’s kids. It’s kind of like saying, “You want to have kids? You should just do DAYCARE.” It’s not the same thing. One of the downfalls to public school is that it ISN’T flexible.You either do well there, or you don’t. If you don’t, the options aren’t very great for you to find a way to succeed there.
When I was a child, I had THE BEST education. The best one for ME. I was interested in horses. We went to the library, and read just about every book I could find on them. My dad talked to a co worker who owned horses, and even though we never owned a horse, I can RIDE. 😛 I was interested in being a vet. My mom talked to a vet at our church, and I got to sit in on several spays and neuter procedures, count blood cells and parasites on a microscope, help a calf be born, and watch the vet inspect cattle at auction. I learned to train dogs and how to “speak” dog through 4-H and more books. I had my own dark room as a kid. A KID. I was 12 stinking years old, and I had my own dark room. One summer, we set up an old travel trailer near a pond on my grandma’s property, because we wanted to study the wildlife. We used to pack lunch, and go visit the pond, and draw pictures of the fish we saw. One summer, I took an impromptu trip with a church high school choir and toured with them into California for a couple weeks. All things that I probably wouldn’t have had time to do, if I had been in public school. My little sister didn’t learn like me. Her homeschool experience was totally different than mine, and yet we spent our days together. My mom made that happen. SHE made sure that both our needs were met. She did all this back when there was question about whether homeschooling would officially be legal. Back when curriculum companies didn’t usually SELL to homeschool families, and she managed to do it. It was moms and dads like her that paved the way for what homeschool has become today.
I took Ian (my 14 year old at the time) Out of school for his 8th grade year. The move here to our town wasn’t easy for him. The boys at school were harassing him, to the point that we could have called the police dept. and pressed charges of sexual harassment. To the point that other kids he considered his FRIENDS stopped talking to him because they couldn’t handle the things that Ian was dealing with from those other kids, but Ian couldn’t get away from himself. He was stuck. It was beating down his spirit, and I could see it. I could see my happy, kind, and easy going son losing himself a little more each day. He was a good student, and hard worker, and still, was coming home with homework that took him so many hours he was falling behind. It was consuming him, and it was frivolous. The work that was being sent home was filler. As if spending 8 hours a day in school wasn’t enough time to learn what he needed to learn. As if our FAMILY didn’t need to spend time together AFTER school. So I took him out. We relaxed the whole year. I didn’t worry about what he did or didn’t get done. I just let him decompress, and repair his spirit. He went back to school this year, and is doing GREAT. But what he NEEDED was to come HOME for that year. To sit back, and take a BREATH. When he went back to school, there wasn’t one hiccup. The boys that gave him such grief had moved on. He’s happy and whole. I know I did the right thing for HIM.
What Homeschooling has become today:
Still with me? If you’re still here, THANKS!! If you’re thinking about homeschool, and would like more information, there are endless possibilities just here on the net!! I suggest the following links.
What about College?
It is increasingly easy for homeschool students to gain entrance into presidious colleges. HERE is a good link with information about life after homeschool in relation to college.
- Charlotte Mason
- Classical Education
- Waldorf Method
- Computer Learning
- The Moore Formula
- Textbook Learning
- Unit Studies
Homeschool Legal Defense (great place to research your state’s laws)
The Homeschool Mom
Growning without Schooling
The Teenage Liberation Handbook
Online schools with free public schooling from your home:
The choices and options are endless. No matter WHAT your budget. No matter HOW well you think you can teach. Whether you want a Christian approach or a Secular one. There is a choice out there for YOU. Don’t let someone ELSE make your decision for you. It’s YOUR choice. It’s as personal as the day you decided to HAVE kids. It’s as personal as the choice of church you do or do not attend. It’s not up to someone else. What another person thinks about your choice shouldn’t matter. They aren’t YOU, and they don’t live in your convictions and your day to day. You can always change your mind. There are no laws saying that once you decide one thing, you can’t decide to take a new or different path. It’s called a JOURNEY, and if you don’t take the scenic route once in a while, you’re missing out on a LOT.