Friday, February 8, 2013

Are You Planning to Homeschool?

I get asked that question a lot since I was homeschooled. It resurfaced again after the elementary school shooting right before Christmas. "Children would be safer homeschooled!" is what many people posted on social media sites. I disagree. There's no way to protect kids/people from everything. The same has happened in colleges, movie theaters, malls, even people's homes! So that poor argument aside, do I plan to homeschool? No, and I can't offer too much advice on what other families should do. The reason being it depends on too many factors. 

For us, we moved into an area with very good schools. We pay high (really high) taxes towards the school. I plan to take advantage of that perk of living in this area. Secondly, it depends on the child. Unfortunately when it comes to homeschooling I find it's all about what the parent wants (I want my child learning this and not this) and that's good, but what about the child? I think learning style is a HUGE factor in deciding how to educate your child. I can already see Christopher is just like Chris, a social learner. I was not. I was an individual learner/self regulator. Last, I work and I plan to work for the next few years. My hope is to get a job at our elementary school. That would be perfect since that's where my degree is AND I could be so involved with the boys' education.

Short term (as in Kindergarten through 4th grade), we plan to use public school. Long term, Chris and I would like to have the boys attend a private prep school for high school if we can afford that. I know from my experience at college that students from prep schools were extremely well prepared for college. It made an impression on me. I do plan to supplement learning at home, especially with religion, reading and writing. 

Did I like being homeschooled? Yes and no, honestly. I think my parents did a decent job with selecting books and materials, but most of the homeschoolers I saw did not. Many barely had books or did much teaching. A lot were slackers sadly. I think states need to provide oversee into homeschool families and their performance. I like how PA regulates homeschooling. They are required to give yearly portfolios, standardized tests and list of books and work samples. I think that is reasonable.

What was your educational experience like and what do you plan for your child(ren)? 

12 comments:

  1. I, like so many other parents, thought about homeschooling after Sandy Hook. It's something that's crossed my mind still, but I don't think it would be the best option for my family. Public schools where I live are so-so at best, or so I hear, I have yet to deal with them first hand (other than attending them, but I don't really remember how well the education part was, I was a kid and not concerned with it at the time). I wish we could afford private school but that doesn't seem likely. I am going to try my best to educate Natalie and make sure she values education.

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  2. I would never in a million gazillion years homeschool. I think it's too sheltering.

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    1. It can be if you're not careful. However, there are families that make it work without being too sheltering.

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  3. The prep-school grads in college also made an impression on me. If we stay in central PA, there is not a huge difference between public and private in the suburbs. It will all depend on where we are when E starts school, I guess. I don't think I could home school...I just wouldn't have the patience!

    Great post!

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    1. Haha! Yeah, I remember in the honors program watching the "prep students" whip out A+, 10 page papers the night before they were due. All the while I'd be working weeks on the same assignment that wasn't as good. Lol!

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  4. WOW! Does your mom still homeschool your younger siblings?

    I personally find that Catholic/privately educated children have better manners and grammar. That said, I don't know many homeschooled children so maybe they can fit in there too! :)
    I think that "regular" school allows for socialization skills that come in handy later in life. I understand that the state of PA has homeschooling networks that allows for a "normal" (for lack of a better word) experience. I think that's awesome.

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  5. For us, public school (I work and don't feel qualified to homeschool). We want to give them a choice for high school. I attended our local catholic high school and felt very well prepared for college. I also attended public school k-8 and like that I had a choice.

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  6. I attended a small, public school where I received (or at least I think I received) a top-notch education.
    I intend to send my children to public school as well. The schools in our district are some of the best in the State and I, like you, would like to take advantage.
    I must say though, I don't have children yet (first is due in July) and could change my mind! :)

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  7. I loved hearing your thoughts on this. My best friend has 7 kids and home schools them all and does a fantastic job. I would never do it, but at the same time kind of feel like I do home school. I don't rely on our schools 100%, they are great schools but I supplement a lot at home with Spanish classes, homework, religion, reading and more, so I get what you're saying.

    My experience wasn't the best as I grew up in a very shoddy part of town. I think parents have more of an impact or as much as the school does, unfortunately my parents didn't take the time to do that.

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  8. I have been meaning to come back and to comment on this all week.
    THANK YOU for expressing all this so well!

    Moms at my church who are feeling guilted into the idea of homeschooling are always shocked when I, a formerly homeschooled K-12 kid, say I will not be homeschooling.

    I just think there is this temptation for moms that the promise of homeschooling is "your kids will have less struggles" or less temptations, or less unpleasant, character-challenging experiences.

    Sadly - this is just NOT true. My family was educated well, we grew up with very little TV, had great friends, a family we love and parents who are still very close to each of us, we were very involved in our church... and I have watched all my siblings struggle with all the same issues as schoolkids... drugs, alcohol, cutting, eating disorders, bullying, etc.

    I don't think homeschooling caused this, by any means. However, I am tempted to think that some of my siblings would have done better with all the healthy distractions that a busy life with a routine and going to school provides. I also think they wouldn't have gone quite so crazy in college.

    I think there are people who do homeschooling really well... this depends solely on the mom's attitude. If she genuinely loves it and truly enjoys teaching her kids (and teaching them well)... then its generally a really positive experience.

    If she feels like she "HAS" to do it, whether she is enjoying it or not, the kids will be able to pick up on this. My mom loved homeschooling until highschool - and at that point, she couldn't deal with teenagers very well - and we basically got ourselves through highschool and into college. She was out of her league but wouldn't admit it. It was really rough on our relationship and I still wish she had seen this at the time. It took us a full 7 years to recover, and there are still some struggles in our friendship. I see history repeating itself as each of my younger siblings has reached puberty and I WISH I could just tell her what I see, but she gets really sensitive and angry about the topic. She sees homeschooling as really her only option, and her reasons are mostly out of fear of the school system.

    My relationship with my kids is too important to me. I know I do not particularly love teaching, and I further know that I really love an active busy lifestyle OUT of the house. I don't think the premise of homeschooling that causes many moms to do it anyway despite their lack of enjoyment of it is at all true. And I think its just hurtful to the relationship with the children if you grit your teeth and do something out of fear or guilt.

    Wow. This comment was an essay. So sorry!

    I just think it takes a lot of compassion and courage to speak out against the false impression many people have of homeschooling and I'm really grateful you did! I still haven't figured out how to do this on my own blog without severely offending many friends and probably my mom. But you handled it really well... Good job!

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  9. Fortunately, we live in the one of the best school districts in Virginia (which worked out for us because we weren't even thinking of the school systems when we bought our house 4 years ago!). Like Marie said above, I don't and won't rely on the schools 100% and will be doing a lot of supplementing at home. I feel like I'm already doing a lot of supplementing and my oldest is only in preschool!

    As far as home schooling full time - I just don't think I have the patience! My biggest fear with public schools is honestly the bus ride there and back. I hear horrible things about kids being bullied on the buses (across the country, not just here) and there's not much the driver can do about it while he's focusing on the road.

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  10. Great post! I love your perspective and understanding of your children and their needs. My mom home schooled my brother for two years because he needed one on one focus (he was at a 2nd grade reading level in 5th grade). The Catholic school he was at didn't offer much in terms of extra help. Luckily, my mom's passion for teaching and her understanding of her son's needs fixed his reading issue in two years. I do remember the requirements that PA had in place and they followed through on them. It was impressive. My mom was part of living bridges - home schooling group - where they had mass, religion, science, gym, and other classes so that the children could interact with others and so that everyone could partake in large experiments. I was able to go when I wasn't in school and I loved it! Home schooling is for some children, but not for all. We have tossed the idea around for our future children and are both open to it, but it will depend on the children's wants.

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