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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Mini Money Mustaches => Topic started by: ASquared on March 09, 2014, 11:12:54 PM

Title: Home Schooling
Post by: ASquared on March 09, 2014, 11:12:54 PM
I've noticed that many of you home school.  My daughter is very young right now, but we are considering the same.  Would love to hear your experiences, or know how you selected a curriculum (and what you use).  Thank you!
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Joan-eh? on March 10, 2014, 07:36:23 AM
Hello ZsMom,  there are many resources online and books about homeschooling and unschooling. You might wish to read about both. And take your clues from your children. For some school will be more rewarding for others, homeschooling, for others unschooling. And it depends later as they grow up, what their interests are. Some children will even go to school mornings only, or take one or two credits a year, come high school age. Some will want university, college or not.

Of course there are pros and cons and  the family, location, child context is everything. Personally I question strictly following a curriculum that replicates school.  The whole point, to me, anyway, is to self direct learning. We have schools in Canada that are based in that...they are wonderful. Best of both worlds, in my mind.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz on March 10, 2014, 08:35:53 AM
I'm actually not very interested in homeschooling, but one of our forum members blogs about it (among other things), so you might check him out: http://thegoblinchief.wordpress.com/
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: avonlea on March 10, 2014, 11:09:51 AM
I agree with the general vibe here that the style of homeschooling you incorporate will be based on what works best for your child.  Our style is eclectic homeschooling.  Also in agreement with Mom to 5 that being able to get your child out in nature often is one of the best benefits of homeschooling.  (This morning provided a great opportunity for us to do that.  Yay nice weather!) You might want to check out what type of community resources are available in your area as well--playgroups, classes offered during special hours for homeschooling students, museum events for homeschoolers, etc. 

As far as suggestions on textbooks: We are currently enjoying the Story of the World series produced by Peace Hill Press for my child's history lessons.  He loves maps and their workbooks provide lots of map exercises, as well as other hands-on activities.  We also like to supplement math by reading the Life of Fred series with both of our kids--it's pretty fun. 
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Thegoblinchief on March 10, 2014, 06:15:00 PM
I generally avoid structured curriculum. There is so much free stuff available through the web and via libraries!

When kids are young, math, reading, and writing are the key. Short bursts. Preserve free play, get them out in nature! Curricula don't necessarily help with that, IMO.

By the time my kids are older, I may feel the need to buy textbooks, etc, but not in early elementary.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: homehandymum on March 11, 2014, 12:51:37 AM
^^^  Everything that everyone else has already said.

One of my favourite homeschooling authors is John Holt.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Nudelkopf on March 11, 2014, 01:32:51 AM
You might like to check your state's requirements for home schooling as well.
I'm fairly sure in my state (although, different countries), you have to prove that you've planned a legit program. And you also have to submit a report each year (like, a report card... but it goes to the state)

e.g.
Quote
... Documentation is required about the proposed educational program or how the chosen learning philosophy is to be implemented to meet the child's education needs for the coming year.
and
Quote
You are required to provide an annual written report on the educational progress of your child.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: zolotiyeruki on March 11, 2014, 12:11:20 PM
My wife did a TON of research before diving in.  Our oldest is 9, with a bunch of younger kids.  We use Sonlight for some things, A Beka for math, and then some other things my wife has made up.

If you'd like to email her, shoot me a PM.  I'm sure she'd be glad to talk your ear off :)
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Gin1984 on March 11, 2014, 12:14:29 PM
You may want to research styles of education as mentioned above. I like some aspects of different ones. My kids and I have been gardening this morning, and we prefer things like that over a science curriculum, for instance.

For lower levels, I like Peace Hill Press products for writing and history, kumon workbooks for math, Artistic Pursuits for art,  and lotsa literature! Get them outside in nature and you have a well-rounded program.
Can I ask why you are not teaching science? 
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Briansmama on March 11, 2014, 04:11:05 PM
Hi Zs Mom,

We made the decision to homeschool when I was pregnant with our first. I worked with kids in the public school system while finishing college and I knew I didn't want a standardized approach for my own children. While in college I came across John Holt's work (Learning All the Time) and John Gatto's books/articles on how public school was harming kids (he was voted NY Teacher of the Year for several years before finally resigning and advocating for homeschooling).

I went on to study movement in learning and the Waldorf approach. I love literature so the lit-based approach used in Waldorf Ed really spoke to me. We started with that approach and although we have become much more unschooled as the years go by (our oldest is 10), I'm still so grateful to have given that foundation to both my children. Waldorf Ed promotes a developmentally-appropriate approach to learning that is sadly lacking in public schools today (and many private). The push to force earlier formal academics on young children and constantly asses their learning through standardized tests does not meet a child's needs, IMO.

My oldest took his first standardized test last year in 3rd grade (required by our state) and he scored 4 grade levels ahead in language/reading and a grade level ahead in math. He loves natural science (but that wasn't on the test) and he's currently reading a novel each week, as well as writing his own book. He's done all of this while training for his sport 7+ hours per day outdoors for half the year (he's very passionate about it).

Our youngest is very imaginative and spends hours drawing/creating/building with Legos and anything else he can get his hands on. He also spends hours outdoors and attends a nature-based field science program with other homeschooled kids one day per week.

In fact, my kids live and learn very similarly to this kid:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=h11u3vtcpaY

I'd recommend checking out John Holt's books and articles, as well as reading up on Waldorf Ed. I'd also look into John Gatto's work. You can google unschooling and Waldorf (Parenting Passageway is an excellent blog about developmentally-appropriate education written by a neonatal practitioner and Waldorf homeschooling mom).

I'd recommend you go for it- I've been researching educational approaches for years and alternatives to standardized Ed and nothing compares to the individualized approach and opportunities that homeschooling can offer.

In case you're interested in the current state of standardized Ed I'd also recommend reading The Smartest Kids in the World- it's written by a journalist who discovers that even the best and brightest in the most well-funded schools in the US school system are not receiving a quality education.

Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: ASquared on March 11, 2014, 07:37:14 PM
Thanks guys.  Love the links and recommendations. 

I am in the San Diego area, so homeschooling is fairly common, and there is even a home school program through the public school system that you can use (though don't have to). 

Love the nature recommendations as well - we already do this:)  and fortunately have a lot of opportunity for that around where we live.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Milspecstache on March 12, 2014, 05:30:24 PM
With regards to homeschooling, I always heavily recommend the Saxon math series.  I tried very hard to find a curriculum that encourages self-study yet does a good job of reviewing old topics and covering word problems.  Thanks to it my 11 year old is halfway through the Algebra II curriculum which he does on his own each day.  We did buy some supplemental materials to help him figure out some of the difficult concepts but I really believe in Saxon Math.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Bookworm on March 18, 2014, 09:54:50 PM
With regards to homeschooling, I always heavily recommend the Saxon math series.  I tried very hard to find a curriculum that encourages self-study yet does a good job of reviewing old topics and covering word problems.  Thanks to it my 11 year old is halfway through the Algebra II curriculum which he does on his own each day.  We did buy some supplemental materials to help him figure out some of the difficult concepts but I really believe in Saxon Math.

I have been pleased with this as well.  We use it for 5/4 and beyond (4th grade and up).

We also started with Saxon 54 after a quick "failure" at the K-3 levels.  I felt like the K-3 program did far too much jumping around from skill to skill every day to be an efficient way to learn.  It didn't help that the pages were IMPOSSIBLE to get out of the book without making jagged tears that violated my OCD tendencies, either.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: greaper007 on March 18, 2014, 11:18:33 PM
My hats off to you guys.   I'm a stay at home dad and can't imagine being organized enough to run the household and educate the kids.    It's hard enough to do laundry, cook, maintain the cars and house and getting the kids out for activities.   I can't imagine throwing school on top of that list.   I think I'd have to hire a housekeeper or tutors to stay up on everything.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: homehandymum on March 19, 2014, 12:12:52 AM
My hats off to you guys.   I'm a stay at home dad and can't imagine being organized enough to run the household and educate the kids.    It's hard enough to do laundry, cook, maintain the cars and house and getting the kids out for activities.   I can't imagine throwing school on top of that list.   I think I'd have to hire a housekeeper or tutors to stay up on everything.

Heh.  I have whole months where I can only manage 2 out of 3 of the responsibilities on my plate (housekeeping, cooking, schoolwork).  I just adjust for this, and try to double cook or menu plan to take the pressure off there, and some weeks it doesn't matter if nothing gets vacuumed (or, rather, only vacuumed to kid-standard).  I have to actively keep a lid on their activities to manage it all.  Life is by no means as well organised or smoothly run as I envisaged when I started, but it's a good kind of chaos.  I hope.  :)
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Briansmama on March 19, 2014, 02:29:17 PM
My hats off to you guys.   I'm a stay at home dad and can't imagine being organized enough to run the household and educate the kids.    It's hard enough to do laundry, cook, maintain the cars and house and getting the kids out for activities.   I can't imagine throwing school on top of that list.   I think I'd have to hire a housekeeper or tutors to stay up on everything.

Honestly, it's way easier than having them in school. We have typical Sunday family breakfasts every single morning instead of rushing out the door. The kids get so much exercise during the day that our evenings together are pretty calm. We are mostly unschooling (although I do spend a lot of time researching/selecting quality resources/apps/books to use) so the kids actually are interested in what they are learning, which makes it so much easier to work with them than if I had to oversee another teacher's homework after the kids have been in school all day. I loved not having to wake my sleeping toddler up to pick up my oldest from school in the afternoons. We are far past that stage but we still have an afternoon quiet time where everyone works on their own independent hobbies/interests/projects.
We go hiking mid-day when it's not crowded. I only grocery shop once per week so I don't have to worry about running errands with kids. Everything else i order online. It's actually a great way to keep from shopping or spending money running unecessary errands! 😆
I have plenty of time to get the laundry done. My boys learned early on how to prepare their lunches (as early as age 4 or 5 they could fix themselves a sandwich). We all eat together but this way they can prep what they want. They help with dishes and pet care, vacuuming, and grocery unloading/put away. We all work as a team (mostly...sometimes my boys do fight, but 90% of the time they are best buddies).
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Gin1984 on March 20, 2014, 10:58:17 AM
I was wondering something, what experience do you people have that make you feel competent at home schooling?  I don't mean this in a negative way.  The only person who I know that was home schooled had a mother who was trained as a teacher (who quit work to stay with her 4 kids).  I, personally, don't have the patients to home school, though I do plan to supplement.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: FunkyStickman on March 20, 2014, 11:14:19 AM
My wife and I have been homeschooling our kids since about 2004... maybe longer. I forget.

Anyway, she's a registered teacher, but stayed home to raise the kids. She started a blog a few years ago to document how we do school. It's fairly unstructured as schools go, but it works well for our 4 kids.

http://delightdirected.wordpress.com/

It should give you an idea of what some good days and bad days look like in our house.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: homehandymum on March 20, 2014, 02:11:38 PM
I was wondering something, what experience do you people have that make you feel competent at home schooling?  I don't mean this in a negative way.  The only person who I know that was home schooled had a mother who was trained as a teacher (who quit work to stay with her 4 kids).  I, personally, don't have the patients to home school, though I do plan to supplement.

There are two ways to answer this, really.

First, the people I know who are teachers and homeschool their kids say it was actually a disdvantage to them - they are so locked into the school-y mindset that it is hard to transition to the variable pace and 24/7 nature of homeschooling.  Also, a lot of their classroom skills are about crowd management and providing 'makework' that looks like learning but is actually about just keeping kids quiet.  At home, it's better to just say "yeah, you can play with lego now" than provide a colouring-in worksheet that happens to be about a day of the week or whatever.

Secondly, an engaged parent who is responsive to the needs of their child, and values education highly is all the teacher a child needs.  I've seen studies circulated where the test results of homeschooled and schooled kids were compared.  The results showed that the homeschooled kids out-performed the schooled kids (it was statistically significant, but not orders of magnitude better, iirc) - and this was regardless of income bracket, education levels of the parent, cultural background etc etc.  Basically any parent who is motivated to homeschool will likely do a good job.  (I'm sure exceptions to that rule do exist somewhere, but even then, it's impossible to know how those kids would have turned out at school - maybe better, maybe worse)
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Briansmama on March 20, 2014, 02:33:51 PM
I was wondering something, what experience do you people have that make you feel competent at home schooling?  I don't mean this in a negative way.  The only person who I know that was home schooled had a mother who was trained as a teacher (who quit work to stay with her 4 kids).  I, personally, don't have the patients to home school, though I do plan to supplement.

I studied child development in college and learned that the best educational approaches are deeply rooted in developmental research (Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio-Emilia) and look nothing like the standardized ed training currently taught in teaching credential programs.

Because we value an educational approach that is not standardized, I feel fully qualified to facilitate my children's learning. For parents who believe that standardized Ed is worth replicating at home (I'm not one of them), there is a huge supply of standardized curricula to choose from, and are even offered to homeschoolers these days through most local school systems. We homeschool so our children are not spending their precious learning time with standardized materials so this option does not appeal to us at all.

I hope that answers your question! Oh, and if you look at the data, homeschoolers outperform their public school counterparts in every subject on standardized tests- even when taught at home by parents who never finished high school. It's a myth that only credentialed teachers can help children learn. In fact, our current system continues to ignore the developmental research and sets many kids up to fail (or detest reading/math).
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: homehandymum on March 20, 2014, 03:10:37 PM
My wife and I have been homeschooling our kids since about 2004... maybe longer. I forget.

Anyway, she's a registered teacher, but stayed home to raise the kids. She started a blog a few years ago to document how we do school. It's fairly unstructured as schools go, but it works well for our 4 kids.

http://delightdirected.wordpress.com/

It should give you an idea of what some good days and bad days look like in our house.

Thanks for the link to your DW's blog!  I love reading homeschooling blogs :)  We're Charlotte-masony in our approach too, but at the more relaxed end of the spectrum, by the sounds of it.  Her quote "Self-education is the only possible education.  The rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child's nature" is on my diary/planner, and is one of my favourites.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: goatmom on March 20, 2014, 03:33:19 PM
To paraphrase Mark Twain - Never let school interfere with your education.  Education as we know it today is a modern thing.  For most of human history, people existed and learned without credentialed teachers.  The hardest thing I have taught my children was how to use a potty.  After that, it was all downhill. 
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: thepokercab on March 20, 2014, 06:24:22 PM
Really interesting thread..

My daughter is four years old, and she is pre-enrolled in kindergarten which starts in August of this year. She is right at the age cut-off, and frankly we've been thinking about potentially holding her out for another year.  She does pre-school three half days a week, but she can be incredibly shy, and I'm a little worried about getting her into a public school right now. I feel like she could potentially "fall through the cracks" so to speak.  My wife is a trained elementary school teacher and she tells me that crowd control can become an overwhelming part of the job, and that silent ones like our daughter, can very easily get overlooked just because they aren't throwing things or otherwise needing attention. 

Anyway, I haven't really thought of, or really considered the home schooling option.  So I think I'm going to give this some thought. 

One question I had was, how would folks describe the difference between home schooling and unschooling?   
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: homehandymum on March 20, 2014, 06:46:26 PM
One question I had was, how would folks describe the difference between home schooling and unschooling?   

The definitions will differ depending on exactly who you ask, but broadly speaking:

"home schooling" or "home educating" is what happens when you don't send your kids to a school, but do it yourself.

"unschooling" is a style of homeschooling.  It's called unschooling because it differs from 'schooling' in almost every way.  Other words I have used to describe it are child-led and delight-driven.  Basically there is no curriculum, no set work.  The parent works with and trusts the child to want to learn, and is basically there as a coach and 'strewer of ideas'.  Best place to start learning about unschooling is Sandra Dodds website  http://sandradodd.com/

Even within unschooling there are different flavours and subgroubs - from those who still keep a strong parental expectation of literacy and numeracy acquisition, even though no formal curriculum is followed, through to those whom I privately term 'unparenters', who seem to think the child can raise themselves without any, um, parenting (or at least, that's my biased and judgemental opinion :)  )

The extreme opposite of of unschooling is 'school-at-home', where families not only have a school-room in which to do their work, but strict hours, a full curriculum, marking schedules, testing etc - basically doing your own one-room-schoolhouse type of thing.  The extremists at this end are rumoured to have uniforms, a bell, salute the flag each morning, and their own school song.  (I've never met any who are that extreme though).

Most home educators fall somewhere in between the extremes.  I just googled and found this little list.  These would the main ones, but there are a host of others which are kindof a variation on this theme (as well as umbrella schooling, where you are basically a distance student of a brick-and-mortar school somewhere)
http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeschooling/2010/08/five-different-approaches-to-homeschooling/

Have fun finding out more!  One of the reasons we started looking into home education was that our eldest was a serious introvert and just not ready to spend 5 whole days at school every single week.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Bookworm on March 20, 2014, 10:06:35 PM
I was wondering something, what experience do you people have that make you feel competent at home schooling?  I don't mean this in a negative way.  The only person who I know that was home schooled had a mother who was trained as a teacher (who quit work to stay with her 4 kids).  I, personally, don't have the patients to home school, though I do plan to supplement.

It's very much just an extension of parenting.  For a reasonably intelligent person, it's not that difficult to impart knowledge of basic things, and we all do it naturally with our children who are younger than school age.  I will say that I have outsourced things that I didn't feel comfortable teaching, namely mathematics.  I have a linguistic mind and it's not terrific at math, so I start struggling when each kid gets to about middle school, and have to find resources elsewhere.  My oldest son is a 4.0 engineering student in his second year of college, so I guess the resources turned out to be okay. :)
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Joshin on March 20, 2014, 10:26:57 PM
I've been homeschooling my 13 yr old since he was in 2nd grade, and my 9 year old has always been homeschooled. I can write on this topic forever, so I'll try not to get too wordy :) We began for purely academic reasons after a few situations occurred at school, and then we fell in love with the freedom. I never found a secular, non-religious curriculum I liked, so I wrote my own. I've published 7th grade on Kindle to some glowing reviews and am working to get the rest edited and published, so I guess I did okay!

I am not a fan of Saxon. Tried with oldest and it was okay, but was way too repetitive for my younger, mathy son. He's a special case when it comes to math, though, and grasps math concepts exceptionally quick. Saxon does work well for a lot of people. I personally prefer Comprehensive School Mathematics Program (CSMP) if you prefer new math, or Mathematics Enrichment Programme (MEP) for a more traditional approach. We switched to Khan Academy exclusively for youngest for now, but will be moving him into Art of Problem Solving next fall. Oldest is now taking algebra through our public school virtual academy because it isn't his strong point and he benefits from the teacher support. For science we use the CK12 free online textbooks with lots of experiments and labs added in, although I have also used Mr. Q science in the past. KISS language arts is our grammar text of choice (also free through the university of the author).

My kids inherited my achievement-based, type-A personality, my youngest in particular. Man, can that kid network! he's already made the acquaintance of several astrophysicists and communicates with them regularly via email, he's an active outreach volunteer with a local astronomy club, and he is currently building a radio telescope in the backyard. He wants to be an astrophysicists and he isn't shy about walking up to someone after they give a lecture or class and introducing himself. I'm not sure if he would have that sort of confidence if he hadn't been homeschooled. He also would have less of these opportunities nor would he have the time to pursue most of them if he was in traditional school. My oldest is the quiet outdoorsy type, so he gets plenty of extra time to enjoy the trails or take outdoor leadership classes when other kids are in school.

We live in a barely regulated state, but we can take full advantage of public school classes, clubs and amenities. Both kids are taking music through a public school program, and my oldest is also taking Chinese through the school. My youngest belongs to Lego robotics team through the school. My oldest is planning on starting an early college program through the school in a couple of years. So although we homeschool, we also take advantage of outside teachers when those opportunities better fit the educational goals for the child. For us, it's been pretty inexpensive but my job is research and writing, so I'm pretty skilled at sussing out curriculum and opportunities for little to nothing.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Dicey on March 20, 2014, 11:12:45 PM
Kristen over at "The Frugal Girl" homeschools her four kids on a budget. Lots of good info there.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Gin1984 on March 21, 2014, 10:13:14 AM
I was wondering something, what experience do you people have that make you feel competent at home schooling?  I don't mean this in a negative way.  The only person who I know that was home schooled had a mother who was trained as a teacher (who quit work to stay with her 4 kids).  I, personally, don't have the patients to home school, though I do plan to supplement.

It's very much just an extension of parenting.  For a reasonably intelligent person, it's not that difficult to impart knowledge of basic things, and we all do it naturally with our children who are younger than school age.  I will say that I have outsourced things that I didn't feel comfortable teaching, namely mathematics.  I have a linguistic mind and it's not terrific at math, so I start struggling when each kid gets to about middle school, and have to find resources elsewhere.  My oldest son is a 4.0 engineering student in his second year of college, so I guess the resources turned out to be okay. :)
I understand teaching certain things especially when they are younger, but the certain more complicated things in middle school and high school, that is where my not feeling competent comes in. 
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: goatmom on March 21, 2014, 11:32:20 AM
I outsource anything over my head or if it is a good opportunity.  There are so many resources out there.  In our old town, we had a retired NASA physicist that taught upper level math and science.  We have had a vet teach dissections to a group of homeschoolers although we had to provided the animals. Yuk, I had to keep a few dead animals in my freezer for a bit.  Don't worry, they were animals that died on the farm.  So, the kids also got to determine cause of death.  I use the internet to connect with native Spanish instructors in Guatamala. Just some examples.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Briansmama on March 21, 2014, 03:02:47 PM
Yep, we outsource here too. Although our oldest is only 10, he works several grades higher in reading and language arts. My friend's son is studying quantum physics (he's 9). We both find the best resources we can to help meet our boys' learning needs. The best part is that my son gets to learn with instructors who are passionate about their area of expertise. He's taken science classes with scientists, not general Ed teachers using photocopied handouts and lecturing from desks. My son's science classes are out in the field, building, collecting, recording, etc, Engineering class time was spent building multiple structures and testing their strength. My son loves to write and spends a lot of time working on his first novel- instead of answering reading comprehension questions on worksheets containing a small passage of literature.
He's learning about the Civil War and post-Civil War America by reading books like Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and Across Five Aprils, in addition to looking up Civil War monuments and documentaries. He's reading a bio of Abraham Lincoln and really enjoys it. We don't use mind-numbingly boring textbooks for learning such exciting and interesting events in our history.
I don't see any of this changing as he enters middle school and high school. In fact, this is when I think education gets really personal and interesting...when kids have the time to really delve deeper into topics that engage them.
I don't consider myself my child's teacher. That would be so limiting! No one person has all of the answers to everything and already my son has developed interests in things I know nothing about (survival skills and how to use a bow-drill, for example). I facilitate his learning- meaning that it is my job to put him in contact with experts in his field of interest, or to find classes for him (he recently took an online class on Greek Mythology after reading the Percy Jackson series and loved it), and/or to order/borrow/collect resources for him (he now has a shelf and kindle full of Greek Mythology resources).
It really helps to talk to others who homeschool (or unschool) and read lots of current books on education without schooling. I recently went to a dinner with a group of homeschooling moms with children older than mine and every single one of their kids were doing amazing things. One teen was traveling across the US with his Nordic ski team because they kept winning regional competitions, two others were on a Lego Robotics team that has made the Nationals, yet another was courting scholarships for her musical talent after winning competitions with her high school band, another was living in Ecuador with a host family her second year in college, another is a competitive gymnast, and yet another has a son who is already a professional pianist (he's 16). Another is in college earning her AA degree at age 16.
None of these parents are teachers and none have their credential. Yet they all deeply love and support their children and believe in them. They've given their kids lots of time and space to figure out what they enjoy doing and what they are good at and let them practice.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Gin1984 on March 21, 2014, 03:18:43 PM
I have to thank you all for answering me and for taking the question in the manner it was intended. :)  I was worried when I posted that someone would think I was being judgmental, when I really just wanted to learn and understand the home schooling parent point of view. 
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Briansmama on March 21, 2014, 03:55:09 PM
Anytime! I love discussing alternatives to standardized Ed. So many parents before me helped me out by answering my many questions. It really is an incredible way of life and raising children, and one that I think lines up so well with the Mustachian DIY/high-quality-of-life view.

My favorite MMM post was about how people who ER find that they enjoy learning new things and often end up working on something because it doesn't feel like work- it's interesting, fun, and engaging. This really reminds me of education for kids too. Kids who are forced to read early readers they don't enjoy or at too young of an age often don't read for pleasure as they get older. Kids who aren't pressured and are able to learn to read when they are ready and are read to often about things they enjoy and find interesting/exciting often become readers for life.

Learning can be really fun and engaging!
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: thepokercab on March 21, 2014, 04:26:41 PM
Anytime! I love discussing alternatives to standardized Ed. So many parents before me helped me out by answering my many questions. It really is an incredible way of life and raising children, and one that I think lines up so well with the Mustachian DIY/high-quality-of-life view.

My favorite MMM post was about how people who ER find that they enjoy learning new things and often end up working on something because it doesn't feel like work- it's interesting, fun, and engaging. This really reminds me of education for kids too. Kids who are forced to read early readers they don't enjoy or at too young of an age often don't read for pleasure as they get older. Kids who aren't pressured and are able to learn to read when they are ready and are read to often about things they enjoy and find interesting/exciting often become readers for life.

Learning can be really fun and engaging!

Yes! We were at our daughter's kindergarten orientation session a few nights ago, and they were giving us lists of things they "expected" our daughter to be able to do once she got there.   It felt weird- i mean- she's 4!  She doesn't read yet, but we're already being told that she really should be starting to if not now "soon".  It just feels really rushed and unnecessary.   
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Briansmama on March 22, 2014, 01:27:42 PM
Anytime! I love discussing alternatives to standardized Ed. So many parents before me helped me out by answering my many questions. It really is an incredible way of life and raising children, and one that I think lines up so well with the Mustachian DIY/high-quality-of-life view.

My favorite MMM post was about how people who ER find that they enjoy learning new things and often end up working on something because it doesn't feel like work- it's interesting, fun, and engaging. This really reminds me of education for kids too. Kids who are forced to read early readers they don't enjoy or at too young of an age often don't read for pleasure as they get older. Kids who aren't pressured and are able to learn to read when they are ready and are read to often about things they enjoy and find interesting/exciting often become readers for life.

Learning can be really fun and engaging!

Yes! We were at our daughter's kindergarten orientation session a few nights ago, and they were giving us lists of things they "expected" our daughter to be able to do once she got there.   It felt weird- i mean- she's 4!  She doesn't read yet, but we're already being told that she really should be starting to if not now "soon".  It just feels really rushed and unnecessary.

I think it's great that you are looking into alternatives. You asked earlier about the difference between unschooling and homeschooling... Unschooling is a term coined by the late educator John Holt to mean "learning without school." This often includes learning without schooling at home. In other words, approaching education from a natural view and not trying to replicate the approach schools use in the home. This looks so different even amongst unschooling families though. For us, it means that while we don't do anything that looks like school (no workbooks, grades, tests, worksheets, or textbooks), we do cover math, language arts, music, and history or science most days even if my kids would prefer not to do any lessons at all. We use games, quality literature, documentaries, piano lessons, etc to cover these areas. We also let the kids run with their own interest if it present itself. When our youngest wants to play restaurant and is writing up a menu, that is his writing for the day. I don't make him stop what he's doing to do an exercise I've planned. When my oldest is working on his novel, I let him run with it and we edit together, so that's his language arts. We do a lot of read-Alouds and book discussions for history and science. My kids can choose between a math game app or a card game for math with mom or dad.
So, it looks very different from a school classroom and yet we are not as child-led or interest-only based in our unschooling as some. This works for us.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: zolotiyeruki on March 22, 2014, 07:01:17 PM
Kids who aren't pressured and are able to learn to read when they are ready and are read to often about things they enjoy and find interesting/exciting often become readers for life.

My wife and I have this theory that kids who succeed in school aren't necessarily always the ones who are smartest.  More than that, it's kids whose parents taught them to read at an early age.  Our kids (especially our 9yo high-functioning autistic son) have absolutely blossomed as a result.  We have a decently well-stocked library, and it's wonderful to see the kids pull a new book off the shelf and disappear for a few hours.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: 1967mama on March 22, 2014, 07:35:17 PM
A great place to view a lot of curric all at once is at a homeschooling conference or convention.  In addition to informative seminars there's usually many curriculum companies displaying and selling their wares. 
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: clarkai on March 22, 2014, 10:44:58 PM
Kids who aren't pressured and are able to learn to read when they are ready and are read to often about things they enjoy and find interesting/exciting often become readers for life.

My wife and I have this theory that kids who succeed in school aren't necessarily always the ones who are smartest.  More than that, it's kids whose parents taught them to read at an early age.  Our kids (especially our 9yo high-functioning autistic son) have absolutely blossomed as a result.  We have a decently well-stocked library, and it's wonderful to see the kids pull a new book off the shelf and disappear for a few hours.

As a former home schooled kid, and future teacher, what I've seen confirms this. I've been observing in a number of classrooms, and student teaching in two. Those kids who learned how to read before kindergarten/have parents who read a lot to them are the same kids who are seen as "bright" or "advanced", not because of inherent intelligence, but rather because they've received more practice at the skills that are valued in school.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Jules13 on April 13, 2014, 10:24:19 AM
I love reading all of these perspectives.  I actually think that I want to homeschool (we have a current 2nd grader and rising kindergartner), but at the same time I petrified of the thought of actually doing it.  I'm worried they won't learn.  I'm worried either I will hate doing it or they will.  I'm worried I will be screwed in terms of getting back into a decent schools if one of us changes our mind (we currently have a lottery system for the "good" schools).  I hate the idea of leaving the fabulous community that is at our current school...it's unparalleled...seriously amazing and wonderful and involved parents in a school of only 300 students in what feels like a neighborhood school as even though it's lottery based, the first "pull" is from the surrounding community "geographic preferred zoning".

But, despite the smallness and the amazing community, I really don't feel like my 2nd grader learns a whole lot.  It seems like most of what he learns is just from life and from what he reads (he's an avid, high-level reader).  And the amount of testing and test prep is ridiculous.  I have started opting him out of what tests I can opt out of, but that doesn't stop the test prep.  It's pretty pervasive.  Some changes involving testing and common core (which I also don't like) are in the works, but I am not yet sure what will happen.  My younger son is really excited about starting kindergarten next year and I don't want to take that from him, so we will see how that goes. 

There is actually a huge homeschooling community in my area too though.  I might have to take my kids to some events next year to see how they mesh with that group.

I like hearing about the successes of it all though.  I'm just so torn.  If I knew I could travel more, I would totally do it.  And that is sort of why I read this blog.  I would love to have the freedom to travel overseas more often and for longer, outside of traditional American vacation times (ie summer) and homeschooling would really be the only way to allow this.  I will keep reading and gathering info until then.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: zolotiyeruki on April 13, 2014, 09:23:12 PM
@Jules13 - We experienced many of the same feelings you have--we love the teachers, staff, and environment of our local elementary school.  Our oldest two still attend for "specials" (art, music, PE), and we have a great relationship with the Principal.  We were intensely frustrated, however, with the pace of learning.  We'd send our kids to school for 7.5 hours every day, and they'd come home with 1-2 hours of homework each day.  School was very easy for them, but very time-consuming, and it felt like they weren't learning.  Which was probably true--they're early readers, and our oldest is obsessed with math.

Now, our kids cover a broader range of subjects (math, science, language arts, history, religion, spelling, handwriting, practicing the piano, and I'm sure I've missed something), at a faster pace, and with far less time spent.  They start around 8:15, and they're done with all of school usually by 12:30 or 1:00, and are free to be kids the rest of the day.  We are free from the stress of dragging the kids out of bed and rushing them to get dressed, eat their breakfast, and do their chores before running to school.  We're free from the "witching hour" in late afternoon where the kids just got home from school but still have homework and everyone is tired and Mom still needs to make dinner.  The kids enjoy learning and still have lots of time to run around outside and ride bikes draw on the sidewalk with chalk and dig in the dirt and just generally be kids.

It's not a walk in the park by any means.  It's a lot of work for my wife--besides the school time, she also spends about an hour per day preparing for the next day.  It's not always fun--kids sometimes get grumpy or pouty or belligerent.  And it's not cheap--I think we spent about $1300 for curriculum for our first year, although with a year under our belts, I anticipate that we'll spend less next year.  But it has been soooooo worth it.  And those are my wife's words, not mine :)

It's a big leap to make, especially in the US where sending your kids to public school is so heavily engrained in our culture.  My wife and I are both products of the public school system, and both had good experiences growing up.  But we also see how much more potential our kids have when they're allowed to learn at their own pace.

If you're going overseas, you have to be careful about homeschooling.  Some countries ban it, and will go so far as to take your kids away from you if you don't send them to public schools.  Germany for sure is like that, and I think Sweden or Finland also has a similar policy.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Jules13 on April 14, 2014, 08:26:58 AM
Thansk zolotiyeruki.  Those exact reasons you shared are the very reasons why homeschooling appeals to me.  Schools is like herding cats which contributes to it not being as efficient and effective, especially when they are teaching to so many levels and are required to follow a specific set of standards and make sure they are prepared for testing...that is tied to their evaluations.  The whole thing is just a mess. 

And this
Quote
But we also see how much more potential our kids have when they're allowed to learn at their own pace.

That is a big one for me.

But yes...going to school being engrained in my psyche is something I'm having a hard time getting over for some reason.  Like they are going to miss out on something.  I don't know.   

The only country we'd probably stay in for any length of time (over a month) is Australia, where my husband is from, so that wouldn't be a worry. 

Thanks for your input!
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: thepokercab on April 28, 2014, 10:00:17 AM
It's a big leap to make, especially in the US where sending your kids to public school is so heavily engrained in our culture.  My wife and I are both products of the public school system, and both had good experiences growing up.  But we also see how much more potential our kids have when they're allowed to learn at their own pace.

This especially.  My wife and I are are also considering homeschools/unschooling but its so hard to get past the thought that somehow, going down this road would put them at a disadvantage.  We also went to public schools, and just about everyone else we know went to public schools as well.  It can be a little disheartening when I explore this topic with friends and family; they can't believe that we are considering it, and basically act like we're threatening our children if we decide to homeschool/unschool.  I especially always get the "you can't change the system if you just take your kids out of it!!  That's not the answer!". 

I know at the end of the day that we're going to do what we think is best for our kids, regardless of what people say, but its not quite like making the decision to live on one-car, or switch to pre-paid cell phones.   As I should, I feel a great responsibility to my kids, and want to do what is right for them.  It's just hard sometimes to know what that is! 
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Thegoblinchief on April 28, 2014, 10:23:45 AM
I typically get "good for you!" when I say I homeschool.

Though we do get weird looks and "oh, huh" when we're out and about and people ask why my kids are off school.

I really wouldn't worry about societal pressure one way or another.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: zolotiyeruki on April 28, 2014, 12:00:01 PM
  I especially always get the "you can't change the system if you just take your kids out of it!!  That's not the answer!". 
Here's a response: "The system takes years or decades to change, and often changes in ways that we disagree with.  My kids' education can't wait that long."

Our experience thus far is that schools have a lot less ability to accommodate feedback from parents now than they did in years past.  Between strictly-enforced district-wide policies and legislation/regulation/funding (like NCLB, Common Core, and state-mandated attendance policies), schools have a lot of top-down pressure to conform.

Besides, "the system" is there to provide a service to your children, not the other way around.  Your children are not there to provide funding for the school, nor are they there to raise the school's test scores or to be a good example for their peers.  Your children are there to receive a (hopefully quality) education.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Gin1984 on April 28, 2014, 12:34:40 PM
  I especially always get the "you can't change the system if you just take your kids out of it!!  That's not the answer!". 
Here's a response: "The system takes years or decades to change, and often changes in ways that we disagree with.  My kids' education can't wait that long."

Our experience thus far is that schools have a lot less ability to accommodate feedback from parents now than they did in years past.  Between strictly-enforced district-wide policies and legislation/regulation/funding (like NCLB, Common Core, and state-mandated attendance policies), schools have a lot of top-down pressure to conform.

Besides, "the system" is there to provide a service to your children, not the other way around.  Your children are not there to provide funding for the school, nor are they there to raise the school's test scores or to be a good example for their peers.  Your children are there to receive a (hopefully quality) education.
This is off topic but I HATE NCLB.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: zolotiyeruki on April 29, 2014, 10:51:06 AM
This is off topic but I HATE NCLB.
As do I, and I even have a child that it's supposed to help.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: momo5 on May 08, 2014, 06:38:59 PM
I was wondering something, what experience do you people have that make you feel competent at home schooling?  I don't mean this in a negative way.  The only person who I know that was home schooled had a mother who was trained as a teacher (who quit work to stay with her 4 kids).  I, personally, don't have the patients to home school, though I do plan to supplement.

I was pretty much teaching my kids when they were in school anyway. At least this way I teach what I feel they need to know (not just test prep) and on their level, at their speed and can cater to their interests and strengths. and we get to take days off from seatwork to go on some really cool trips with other homeschoolers.
I dont have any teaching experience, but you really dont need it to teach your own kids. I read a LOT about different learning and teaching styles, try to match to my kids as best I can. truth is, they are learning SO much more than they did at school even though I teach so much less than their teachers did.
I also do have the luxury of a good friend who is the educational coordinator at a school for struggling students, I bounce things off of her now and then and she always has great ideas if I'm stuck on something.
I'm not sure what we will do for high school though. I'm doing algebra now and I think I've reached my limit :) we may have to switch to online classes or coops or something, at least for some subjects.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Bruce on May 25, 2014, 04:22:09 PM
It's interesting that home schooling is such a big topic on MMM. I was home schooled K-12. While I received an excellent academic education and was well-prepared for college or independent learning, my feelings about home schooling are very mixed. The vast majority of home schooling parents that I know are primarily motivated to produce religious/political clones of themselves. During my high school years (early 2000s), over 75% of home schoolers were evangelical Christians. 83% of parents stated that the ability to provide religious and moral instruction was a primary motivator for their decision to home school.

I graduated high school never having had a non-evangelical friend, a non-white friend, a gay friend, or a politically liberal friend. A large number of home schoolers believe in young earth creationism and deny global warming. My history education was heavily reconstructed to support my parents' political and religious agenda. This is dangerous to society and unfair to children.

Here's my advice to anyone considering home schooling. Please honestly evaluate your motivation. I support home schooling if the goal is to give children freedom and nurture their natural curiosity and desire to learn. Unfortunately, many home schoolers are motivation by a "sheltering" mindset or a desire to control their children. Most of these parents want the best for their children but do not trust them to develop and grow into self-sufficient individuals. Trust your children. Give them guidance but respect them to choose their own path in life.

Personally, my wife and I will probably start our kids in public school but consider home schooling to allow for extended travel or other unique experience.

Here's an organization that is working to reform the current home school regulations. There's a significant amount of abuse and neglect occurring under the name of home schooling.
http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com/

Here's a link to the type of science propaganda I was taught:
https://answersingenesis.org/
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: zolotiyeruki on May 25, 2014, 08:34:14 PM
It's interesting that home schooling is such a big topic on MMM. I was home schooled K-12. While I received an excellent academic education and was well-prepared for college or independent learning, my feelings about home schooling are very mixed. The vast majority of home schooling parents that I know are primarily motivated to produce religious/political clones of themselves. During my high school years (early 2000s), over 75% of home schoolers were evangelical Christians. 83% of parents stated that the ability to provide religious and moral instruction was a primary motivator for their decision to home school.

I graduated high school never having had a non-evangelical friend, a non-white friend, a gay friend, or a politically liberal friend. A large number of home schoolers believe in young earth creationism and deny global warming. My history education was heavily reconstructed to support my parents' political and religious agenda. This is dangerous to society and unfair to children.

Here's my advice to anyone considering home schooling. Please honestly evaluate your motivation. I support home schooling if the goal is to give children freedom and nurture their natural curiosity and desire to learn. Unfortunately, many home schoolers are motivation by a "sheltering" mindset or a desire to control their children. Most of these parents want the best for their children but do not trust them to develop and grow into self-sufficient individuals. Trust your children. Give them guidance but respect them to choose their own path in life.

Personally, my wife and I will probably start our kids in public school but consider home schooling to allow for extended travel or other unique experience.

Here's an organization that is working to reform the current home school regulations. There's a significant amount of abuse and neglect occurring under the name of home schooling...
(WARNING: Wall of text follows!)
You certainly raise some valid concerns.  Our family is strongly religious, and religion is indeed a part of our curriculum.  Being able to provide religious instruction to our kids was one reason we chose to home school, but certainly not the only one.  One of our biggest reasons for homeschooling was that our kids' school had an awful math curriculum which caused them to actually *regress* in their skills.  Another major reason was the stress that elementary schools put on our family.  A large percentage of the time our school-age kids were at home was during a stressful part of the day; in the mornings, when we were waking them up, getting them dressed and fed and out the door, and in the afternoons when they came home from school with homework right when the little kids were waking up from naps and my wife was starting dinner.  (as an aside, if my 6-year-old is at school for 7 hours each day, why the heck does she need homework?!)

Another major concern we have is the moral education of our kids.  We try to live up to a higher (or just *different*) moral standard than is typically accepted in society, and certainly a far cry from what is portrayed in pop culture.  Public education has a fairly consistent liberal bias, from Earth Day celebrations to gay marriage to social justice to sex ed to hoplophobia.  Some of these we're indifferent to, and to some we object.  The authors of the Common Core standards have flatly stated that they fully intend to teach students that some things that we find morally reprehensible are "normal" or an "acceptable alternative."  We, as their parents, feel that it is not only our prerogative as parents, but our *responsibility* to teach our kids higher moral standards.

In terms of regulations on home schooling families, this is a topic that frankly terrifies me.  I can understand the motivation--you (and I) don't want to see kids grow up without any interaction with people outside their families.  We both want to make sure all kids have an opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills to succeed in life.  That includes academics as well as social awareness and skills, and yes, moral standards. 

Before we run off to pile regulations on homeschoolers, we need to quantify exactly what the problem is and what we hope to accomplish by these regulations, and also quantify the side effects of any proposed regulations.  It sounds like you were very sheltered socially, and were not exposed to other (possibly) opposing world views.  Do you feel that you were disadvantaged as a result?  When you say that this is "dangerous to society and unfair to children" can you be more specific about the dangers?  I'm not arguing that such dangers don't exist; rather, we need to be able to point at a concrete problem with a defined scope before we can effectively work towards a solution.  By the same token, what is the scope and depth of the "significant amount of abuse and neglect"?

For our family, we have determined that homeschooling will provide our children a better education.  Not just academically, but socially and morally as well.  They hit a broader range of subjects (math, science, history, language arts, spelling, penmanship, religion, music, etc) at a faster pace (the oldest two, who are finishing 2nd and 3rd grade, are probably about a grade level beyond their peers in math and reading) in less time (usually under 4 hours each day) than they had at our local public school.  On top of that, their enthusiasm for learning has blossomed, and my DD is constantly asking questions about things like "how do fountains work?" and "what makes a watch tick?"  Not only do we have the flexibility to say "hey, that's a good question!  Let's go find out!" but we also have the *time* to do so.  Our kids have hours to ride their bikes and run around outside, making rock collections and digging up worms and potato bugs.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: okonumiyaki on May 25, 2014, 09:43:30 PM
Homeschooling is illegal here (Hong Kong) though a blind eye tends to get turned to expats while they are trying to find school places.  A throwback to times when, for many families, educating girls was seen as pointless.  So it had to be mandated by the colonial authorities.

In the UK it is legal, but regulated (you have a legal obligation to educate your children, so homeschoolers are subject to inspections/ interviews etc. to make sure the children are actually being educated)

I was homeschooled by default for a couple of years when my parents were in a remote area of the world for work.  Didn't do me too much harm, but I was definitely a bit lopsided (almost no social interation with children my age or older, but that was more due to location than homeschooling)  My parents were strongly secular though - an early memory is my mother reading us stories from the bible & the illiad, telling us we needed to know the stories because they were the foundations of our culture, but we could decide if they were true or not when we were older. 

Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: waltworks on May 25, 2014, 10:37:16 PM
As someone who was homeschooled until middle school (that's 7th grade, or roughly 12-13 years old where I grew up in New Mexico) I can say this - the greatest challenge I faced as an adult was learning to socialize competently, make friends, and interact with people. I think most people who homeschool their kids can and do do a great job with academics, but IMO that's not actually the most important thing that the kids of MMM posters need to learn. Parents who read/post here are all well above average in terms of intelligence and accomplishments, and most of our kids are too. Academic subjects are not going to be a big struggle for the vast majority of them.

The problem is that social interaction in a school setting, IMO, is actually great training for functioning in later life and missing it for those years I was homeschooled caused me really terrible problems - social phobias, shyness, extreme awkwardness in social situations, etc. I still think, 20 years later, that the greatest struggle of my life was teaching myself how to interact with people when I left (a few years early, another mistake) for college. Was it the homeschooling? We'll never know since this is only my subjective experience, but I've talked with other adults who were homeschooled who feel the same way. Not all of them, but certainly a significant number.

My kids will get thrown in with the bullies, nerds, jocks, stomps (slang in the 80s in NM for kids who wore cowboy boots and dipped, ah nostalgia) etc and learn that shit. Then when they need some social ninjitsu to charm a cop into only giving them a warning, or getting a number from that cute barista, or cracking the right joke at the right time to befriend a business partner - they'll be ready. As for morals - putting my kids in an echo chamber with me is just going to leave them unprepared for the real world when they leave. I'm sure they won't agree with me about many things and that's ok.

-W
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: okonumiyaki on May 26, 2014, 01:50:29 AM
In general, children look to their parents exclusively for examples/ education up until the age of 5-7.  After that, peer group knowledge plus knowledge from other sources (books, teachers, internet etc.) comes as important, if not more important.  When puberty hits, well, parents know least... (it's an inbuilt thing, especially for boys, to rebel and seek to leave the nest)

So I think the danger of homeschooling comes if they are not given the opportunity to pick knowledge up from other, non parent filtered, sources, and decide for themselves how that fits in with the world view of their parents.  An analogy would be drinking.  It is standard in Europe to start kids drinking at an early age, before puberty normally, with wine diluted with water.  So there tends not to be the binge drinking/ glamour associated with alcohol - heck, you can buy beer at Mcdonald's in Belgium - that you see in the States.

And just because some things are morally reprehensible, doesn't mean children shouldn't understand that other people don't think that way, or be taught about it.  Slavery is morally reprehensible, but it is still important to understand how and why it was the economic bedrock of the Roman Empire, why most religions tolerate it, and why so many Americans died defending it.  Ditto gay marriage, it is important to understand how in a generation and a half we have gone from homosexuality being illegal to gay marriage being widely accepted, whatever your moral views on the subjects. 
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Thegoblinchief on May 26, 2014, 07:30:29 AM
It's interesting that home schooling is such a big topic on MMM. I was home schooled K-12. While I received an excellent academic education and was well-prepared for college or independent learning, my feelings about home schooling are very mixed. The vast majority of home schooling parents that I know are primarily motivated to produce religious/political clones of themselves. During my high school years (early 2000s), over 75% of home schoolers were evangelical Christians. 83% of parents stated that the ability to provide religious and moral instruction was a primary motivator for their decision to home school.

I graduated high school never having had a non-evangelical friend, a non-white friend, a gay friend, or a politically liberal friend. A large number of home schoolers believe in young earth creationism and deny global warming. My history education was heavily reconstructed to support my parents' political and religious agenda. This is dangerous to society and unfair to children.

Here's my advice to anyone considering home schooling. Please honestly evaluate your motivation. I support home schooling if the goal is to give children freedom and nurture their natural curiosity and desire to learn. Unfortunately, many home schoolers are motivation by a "sheltering" mindset or a desire to control their children. Most of these parents want the best for their children but do not trust them to develop and grow into self-sufficient individuals. Trust your children. Give them guidance but respect them to choose their own path in life.

Personally, my wife and I will probably start our kids in public school but consider home schooling to allow for extended travel or other unique experience.

Here's an organization that is working to reform the current home school regulations. There's a significant amount of abuse and neglect occurring under the name of home schooling.
http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com/

Here's a link to the type of science propaganda I was taught:
https://answersingenesis.org/

There's definitely that current out there, but I homeschool primarily to give my kids the freedom to be curious and engaged with the world around us. FWIW, I'm an atheist and bisexual.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: ASquared on May 26, 2014, 12:15:41 PM
As someone who was homeschooled until middle school (that's 7th grade, or roughly 12-13 years old where I grew up in New Mexico) I can say this - the greatest challenge I faced as an adult was learning to socialize competently, make friends, and interact with people. I think most people who homeschool their kids can and do do a great job with academics, but IMO that's not actually the most important thing that the kids of MMM posters need to learn. Parents who read/post here are all well above average in terms of intelligence and accomplishments, and most of our kids are too. Academic subjects are not going to be a big struggle for the vast majority of them.

The problem is that social interaction in a school setting, IMO, is actually great training for functioning in later life and missing it for those years I was homeschooled caused me really terrible problems - social phobias, shyness, extreme awkwardness in social situations, etc. I still think, 20 years later, that the greatest struggle of my life was teaching myself how to interact with people when I left (a few years early, another mistake) for college. Was it the homeschooling? We'll never know since this is only my subjective experience, but I've talked with other adults who were homeschooled who feel the same way. Not all of them, but certainly a significant number.

My kids will get thrown in with the bullies, nerds, jocks, stomps (slang in the 80s in NM for kids who wore cowboy boots and dipped, ah nostalgia) etc and learn that shit. Then when they need some social ninjitsu to charm a cop into only giving them a warning, or getting a number from that cute barista, or cracking the right joke at the right time to befriend a business partner - they'll be ready. As for morals - putting my kids in an echo chamber with me is just going to leave them unprepared for the real world when they leave. I'm sure they won't agree with me about many things and that's ok.

-W

Interesting story, thank you for sharing.  We are quite the opposite which primarily motivates me to consider homeschooling.  We are a very politically liberal family, spiritual but non-religious, Earth loving, tree hugging natural family.  Wholeheartedly support gay marriage.  Friends of all ethnicities.  We love Attachment Parenting and Alfie Kohn.  I don't like the emphasis on rewards in schools, nor the testing issues.  We also eat "real food" and I am not interested in my young child going to school with kids that eat garbage everyday.  I don't wish to normalize TV watching, fruit snack eating, i-thing obsessing.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Bruce on May 26, 2014, 12:25:03 PM
It's interesting that home schooling is such a big topic on MMM. I was home schooled K-12. While I received an excellent academic education and was well-prepared for college or independent learning, my feelings about home schooling are very mixed. The vast majority of home schooling parents that I know are primarily motivated to produce religious/political clones of themselves. During my high school years (early 2000s), over 75% of home schoolers were evangelical Christians. 83% of parents stated that the ability to provide religious and moral instruction was a primary motivator for their decision to home school.

I graduated high school never having had a non-evangelical friend, a non-white friend, a gay friend, or a politically liberal friend. A large number of home schoolers believe in young earth creationism and deny global warming. My history education was heavily reconstructed to support my parents' political and religious agenda. This is dangerous to society and unfair to children.

Here's my advice to anyone considering home schooling. Please honestly evaluate your motivation. I support home schooling if the goal is to give children freedom and nurture their natural curiosity and desire to learn. Unfortunately, many home schoolers are motivation by a "sheltering" mindset or a desire to control their children. Most of these parents want the best for their children but do not trust them to develop and grow into self-sufficient individuals. Trust your children. Give them guidance but respect them to choose their own path in life.

Personally, my wife and I will probably start our kids in public school but consider home schooling to allow for extended travel or other unique experience.

Here's an organization that is working to reform the current home school regulations. There's a significant amount of abuse and neglect occurring under the name of home schooling...
(WARNING: Wall of text follows!)
You certainly raise some valid concerns.  Our family is strongly religious, and religion is indeed a part of our curriculum.  Being able to provide religious instruction to our kids was one reason we chose to home school, but certainly not the only one.  One of our biggest reasons for homeschooling was that our kids' school had an awful math curriculum which caused them to actually *regress* in their skills.  Another major reason was the stress that elementary schools put on our family.  A large percentage of the time our school-age kids were at home was during a stressful part of the day; in the mornings, when we were waking them up, getting them dressed and fed and out the door, and in the afternoons when they came home from school with homework right when the little kids were waking up from naps and my wife was starting dinner.  (as an aside, if my 6-year-old is at school for 7 hours each day, why the heck does she need homework?!)

Another major concern we have is the moral education of our kids.  We try to live up to a higher (or just *different*) moral standard than is typically accepted in society, and certainly a far cry from what is portrayed in pop culture.  Public education has a fairly consistent liberal bias, from Earth Day celebrations to gay marriage to social justice to sex ed to hoplophobia.  Some of these we're indifferent to, and to some we object.  The authors of the Common Core standards have flatly stated that they fully intend to teach students that some things that we find morally reprehensible are "normal" or an "acceptable alternative."  We, as their parents, feel that it is not only our prerogative as parents, but our *responsibility* to teach our kids higher moral standards.

In terms of regulations on home schooling families, this is a topic that frankly terrifies me.  I can understand the motivation--you (and I) don't want to see kids grow up without any interaction with people outside their families.  We both want to make sure all kids have an opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills to succeed in life.  That includes academics as well as social awareness and skills, and yes, moral standards. 

Before we run off to pile regulations on homeschoolers, we need to quantify exactly what the problem is and what we hope to accomplish by these regulations, and also quantify the side effects of any proposed regulations.  It sounds like you were very sheltered socially, and were not exposed to other (possibly) opposing world views.  Do you feel that you were disadvantaged as a result?  When you say that this is "dangerous to society and unfair to children" can you be more specific about the dangers?  I'm not arguing that such dangers don't exist; rather, we need to be able to point at a concrete problem with a defined scope before we can effectively work towards a solution.  By the same token, what is the scope and depth of the "significant amount of abuse and neglect"?

For our family, we have determined that homeschooling will provide our children a better education.  Not just academically, but socially and morally as well.  They hit a broader range of subjects (math, science, history, language arts, spelling, penmanship, religion, music, etc) at a faster pace (the oldest two, who are finishing 2nd and 3rd grade, are probably about a grade level beyond their peers in math and reading) in less time (usually under 4 hours each day) than they had at our local public school.  On top of that, their enthusiasm for learning has blossomed, and my DD is constantly asking questions about things like "how do fountains work?" and "what makes a watch tick?"  Not only do we have the flexibility to say "hey, that's a good question!  Let's go find out!" but we also have the *time* to do so.  Our kids have hours to ride their bikes and run around outside, making rock collections and digging up worms and potato bugs.


Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I want to be clear that I am not against homeschooling and I think most parents are a better judge of what's good for their children than the large public education system. Homeschooling requires a lot of sacrifice from parents and I respect them for that. The problem is that organizations like HSLDA have gone overboard protecting religious and parental rights at the expense of children's rights. They also advocate raising your children to be the next generation of culture warriors for the religious right (look at the Duggars). I support religious and political freedom. Every form of education is going to include indoctrination of some sort. I think we should be honest with our children about that. At some point children need to choose their own way. In my experience, homeschooling often delays children from becoming independent adults.

Here are some articles about HSLDAs activities:
http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/a-quick-and-dirty-primer-on-hslda/

http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/how-american-homeschoolers-enabled-and-funded-german-child-abuse-the-real-story-behind-the-religious-right-and-the-twelve-tribes/

I'm not suggesting piling regulations on home schoolers. Many states have no oversight at all. I don't like standardized testing but some kind of assessment would be useful to verify that children are receiving an education. I have friends who were high school age and still struggling to read. My siblings and I have excelled academically. (We have several medical professionals and an engineer. I'll be completing a science-related doctorate next year.) I think the most important part of fixing homeschooling is education and awareness within the community itself. Self-policing will prevent the need for restrictive regulation. This is where Homeschoolers Anonymous is relevant. Homeschoolers Anonymous (HA) is primarily made up of first-generation homeschool grads. Some attended the conservative Patrick Henry College. There are hundreds of us. Our goal is recognize problems and improve homeschooling for future generations (http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com/about/).

I had a good amount of social interaction through my church, homeschool co-op, sports, etc. The problem was that all of these activities were full of like-minded homeschoolers. I had extensive worldview and critical thinking classes. We evaluated other belief systems but always from a position of superiority because we already knew "the truth".  I think I was socially disadvantaged during college because I did not have enough shared experiences to relate with my peers. I'm 10 years out of homeschooling now so it's no longer an issue.

Science denial is common in the conservative homeschool community. Teaching children young earth creationism encourages them to stop searching for answers too easily or to distort facts to support their preconceived answers. Why study anything when we already know the answer is "because God"? Fortunately, this doesn't have a huge effect on everyday life. It will make them look foolish in college but it won't kill them. Anti-vaccine groups and climate change deniers are much more concerning. I work in a medical field. We're starting to see the effects of the anti-vax scare through re-emergence of previously controlled diseases. My homeschooled siblings, cousins and friends have high rates of non-vaccination. I fear for their children in the event of an outbreak of whooping cough or measles. I'd recommend searching for Neil deGrasse Tyson's talks about climate change to see a well-reasoned, non-politicized explanation of its reality and potential threat.

Regarding your question about abuse and neglect, I'll just give you links to some resources. I don't think homeschooling is a risk factor for abuse. The concern is that it gives parents increased control and decreased accountability. This can be used to extreme harm by abusive parents.

http://www.responsiblehomeschooling.org/policy-issues/abuse-and-neglect/abuse-in-homeschooling-environments/

http://homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/of-peers-homeschooling-and-differentiation-by-gertrude-e-leigh/

http://www.secular-homeschooling.com/011/pearls.html

I like the final paragraph of your reply. It shows the freedom and love of learning that your home schooling can promote. My only concern is your emphasis on religious and moral education. Will you be able accept your children if they choose a different religious or moral path than you? What if one of them is LGBTQ? What if one becomes an atheist or converts to a different religion after honest questioning? Is your measure of successful parenting that your children all hold to your religious and moral beliefs? My family and homeschool community had no room for differences. I don't mean to project my experience onto your homeschooling but religious indoctrination and ideological control are big issues in the conservative homeschooling community. We need to promote awareness and support those who have been hurt by it.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Bruce on May 26, 2014, 12:33:41 PM
Thegoblinchief and ZsMom,

It's good to see the homeschool community diversifying. I think intentional socialization and peer interaction are still important for more free-thinking homeschool families.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Bruce on May 26, 2014, 12:38:07 PM
As someone who was homeschooled until middle school (that's 7th grade, or roughly 12-13 years old where I grew up in New Mexico) I can say this - the greatest challenge I faced as an adult was learning to socialize competently, make friends, and interact with people. I think most people who homeschool their kids can and do do a great job with academics, but IMO that's not actually the most important thing that the kids of MMM posters need to learn. Parents who read/post here are all well above average in terms of intelligence and accomplishments, and most of our kids are too. Academic subjects are not going to be a big struggle for the vast majority of them.

The problem is that social interaction in a school setting, IMO, is actually great training for functioning in later life and missing it for those years I was homeschooled caused me really terrible problems - social phobias, shyness, extreme awkwardness in social situations, etc. I still think, 20 years later, that the greatest struggle of my life was teaching myself how to interact with people when I left (a few years early, another mistake) for college. Was it the homeschooling? We'll never know since this is only my subjective experience, but I've talked with other adults who were homeschooled who feel the same way. Not all of them, but certainly a significant number.

My kids will get thrown in with the bullies, nerds, jocks, stomps (slang in the 80s in NM for kids who wore cowboy boots and dipped, ah nostalgia) etc and learn that shit. Then when they need some social ninjitsu to charm a cop into only giving them a warning, or getting a number from that cute barista, or cracking the right joke at the right time to befriend a business partner - they'll be ready. As for morals - putting my kids in an echo chamber with me is just going to leave them unprepared for the real world when they leave. I'm sure they won't agree with me about many things and that's ok.

-W

I definitely relate to your experience. This is why, if we homeschool, it will be for a limited time with specific reasons (travel, accelerated education, etc.).
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: waltworks on May 26, 2014, 03:55:10 PM
I also wonder about this. I was homeschooled for entirely secular reasons but I knew a lot of kids whose parents were very religious and suspicious of "pop culture" and what they saw as societal decay (this was the 80s, so I assume they were afraid of Alf, moonboots, and Guns n' Roses). One buddy of mine got in a CRAZY amount of trouble once for reading a Piers Anthony novel that had a very vague and PG-13 description of sex. And he was 16!

I stay in touch with a few of these folks and they almost universally have rejected their parents' worldview - to me, homeschooling because you're afraid that the big, bad world will ruin your children is basically just admitting defeat. Only the least inquisitive and intelligent kids will fail to question what they've been taught when they leave the nest and are exposed to the real world and people with different viewpoints.

Justin Bieber, iPhones, having a gay friend, and crop tops are not going to turn your kids into serial killers, just like the Lindy Hop didn't make your grandparents into drug addicts. In fact, violent crime (as well as property crime depending on how you feel about Wall St. and events of 2007) is WAY down in the last 20 years or so in the US (maybe it was the moonboots). There are certainly plenty of problems with public schools that could make homeschooling a good choice but if you can't give your kid a good enough grounding in your worldview so that they can handle an earth day celebration or reading a book about how Susie has 2 moms... you already blew it.

-W



I like the final paragraph of your reply. It shows the freedom and love of learning that your home schooling can promote. My only concern is your emphasis on religious and moral education. Will you be able accept your children if they choose a different religious or moral path than you? What if one of them is LGBTQ? What if one becomes an atheist or converts to a different religion after honest questioning? Is your measure of successful parenting that your children all hold to your religious and moral beliefs? My family and homeschool community had no room for differences. I don't mean to project my experience onto your homeschooling but religious indoctrination and ideological control are big issues in the conservative homeschooling community. We need to promote awareness and support those who have been hurt by it.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: ysette9 on May 26, 2014, 08:07:30 PM
I find this thread fascinating and I really respect how thoughtful and mature the posters have been so far. The thread caught my eye not because I am considering homeschooling any future children, but because I am strongly against it in my own personal life because my sister and I were home schooled for a few years when we were young. As a caveat, every experience will be different and I don't mean to imply that our experience was what home schooling now is like or how your own kids would turn out if you home schooled them.

That said, I completely agree with one of the previous posters about the challenges of the social disadvantage that being home schooled puts on a kid. I was only home schooled for grades 1-3 and during that time I had tons of unstructured time to play with the neighborhood kids, so it wasn't like I was locked up inside with only my sister to play with. Even still, once I went to a more "normal" school (albeit a conservative christian one, so still not truly mainstream), we both suffered dramatically in the social pecking order. Before I had even recognized that there was such a thing as a social hierarchy, I was firmly entrenched on the bottom and never recovered in that particular school.

I think part of that lack of social acceptance was due to the fact that the school was so conservatively christian so many of the kids had a very insular and unaccepting view of the world, which translated into being very judgmental. More so though I believe it was my own lack of social awareness that led to my miserable experience there. Thankfully I started going to regular school early enough that I was able to overcome those handicaps. As an exchange student after high school I remember one of the other exchange students I traveled with had been home schooled through high school, and I felt I could see that in her from across the airport terminal, her social presence was that "other" from the rest of us.   

On the plus side, all of that unstructured play time was fabulous as a young kid and something I still look back on fondly. Academically I did very well also (skipped a grade), though I continued to do well academically in regular school as well so maybe that doesn't have anything to do with the type of school I did (I have done home school, private school, public school, junior college, public school in another country, public university, & private university - phew!).
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: zolotiyeruki on May 26, 2014, 10:21:49 PM
I like the final paragraph of your reply. It shows the freedom and love of learning that your home schooling can promote. My only concern is your emphasis on religious and moral education. Will you be able accept your children if they choose a different religious or moral path than you? What if one of them is LGBTQ? What if one becomes an atheist or converts to a different religion after honest questioning? Is your measure of successful parenting that your children all hold to your religious and moral beliefs? My family and homeschool community had no room for differences. I don't mean to project my experience onto your homeschooling but religious indoctrination and ideological control are big issues in the conservative homeschooling community. We need to promote awareness and support those who have been hurt by it.
We certainly hope that our children will grow up with the same moral values and religious beliefs that we do.  We also recognize that our children have the ability to make their own choices, and there is a limit to our influence.  As such, we do our best to teach them correct principles, then let them govern themselves, stepping in when their behavior affects others negatively.

If one or more of our children choose a different path, we will certainly be saddened, but as they grow older, it truly is their choice.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: homeymomma on May 27, 2014, 06:13:05 AM
This is much less theological than the thread has tended towards, but here goes.

I currently have a 21 month old, and I'm due with #2 in a few months. I've always been fascinated by the idea of home schooling, and I think it could be amazing if I could do it well. My concern is that I might not do it well!! I'm very much a homebody (I'm probably overstating this as I've been sick at home with my pregnancy recently) and I'm not plugged in to any social networks at the moment. My husband and I are a great and close knit parenting team but he works all day, so the day time is up to me. We sleep in, lounge around, play outside when it's nice, and eat whoever looks good in the fridge. This is all ok because my kiddo is so young that all she really needs is loving attention and to be fed and clean. But I'm worried if I homeschool, with my introverted personality, I will over-shelter my kiddos from socializing and outside activity.

My optimistic side is convinced that as my kids get a bit older and actually benefit (i.e. notice) going anywhere other than our neighborhood playground, that I will take the initiative and expand their experiences accordingly.

We are an atheist family so we don't have a church community (something I miss from my own religious childhood). We're also living somewhere we don't like (HATE) for a couple of years so I've been having trouble finding the motivation to really invest in finding community here and plugging into any social resources.

Anyone have thoughts? Do I sound like someone who is capable of homeschooling or would my babies be better off in a classroom? Where we live now has great schools, but I like that homeschooling gives the option of moving somewhere with a lower COL and still maintaining a good academic environment.

Also I'm worried that if I'm too chicken to start off homeschooling from the very beginning, I'll get too used to having free time by myself during the day and I'll be reluctant to switch to homeschooling later.

My husband is not supportive of the idea, he feels that the academics are to a big deal in the early grades but school-based socialization is critical. He notes my homebody tendencies with concern as well. We are both educated beyond college but he is concerned with my ability to teach effectively in older grades.

Anyone do a homeschool-like ritual this early with their kids? Care to share? Abcs, etc?

Sorry my post become super rambling. Thanks to anyone who replies.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: avonlea on May 27, 2014, 06:19:45 AM
I like the final paragraph of your reply. It shows the freedom and love of learning that your home schooling can promote. My only concern is your emphasis on religious and moral education. Will you be able accept your children if they choose a different religious or moral path than you? What if one of them is LGBTQ? What if one becomes an atheist or converts to a different religion after honest questioning? Is your measure of successful parenting that your children all hold to your religious and moral beliefs? My family and homeschool community had no room for differences. I don't mean to project my experience onto your homeschooling but religious indoctrination and ideological control are big issues in the conservative homeschooling community. We need to promote awareness and support those who have been hurt by it.
We certainly hope that our children will grow up with the same moral values and religious beliefs that we do.  We also recognize that our children have the ability to make their own choices, and there is a limit to our influence.  As such, we do our best to teach them correct principles, then let them govern themselves, stepping in when their behavior affects others negatively.

If one or more of our children choose a different path, we will certainly be saddened, but as they grow older, it truly is their choice.

From what you are saying, it sounds like you accept the notion that your children might end up making different choices than your own.  But will you be accepting of those choices? I have a family situation that is similar to Bruce's.  I understand where he is coming from with his concern.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: avonlea on May 27, 2014, 06:23:11 AM
You are definitely capable of homeschooling your kids, homeymomma. :) I am typing on a phone now but will make another comment to you later when I can communicate more efficiently.

Edit: spelling
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: randymarsh on May 27, 2014, 07:24:47 AM
Another major concern we have is the moral education of our kids.  We try to live up to a higher (or just *different*) moral standard than is typically accepted in society, and certainly a far cry from what is portrayed in pop culture.  Public education has a fairly consistent liberal bias, from Earth Day celebrations to gay marriage to social justice to sex ed to hoplophobia.  Some of these we're indifferent to, and to some we object.  The authors of the Common Core standards have flatly stated that they fully intend to teach students that some things that we find morally reprehensible are "normal" or an "acceptable alternative."  We, as their parents, feel that it is not only our prerogative as parents, but our *responsibility* to teach our kids higher moral standards.

In terms of regulations on home schooling families, this is a topic that frankly terrifies me.  I can understand the motivation--you (and I) don't want to see kids grow up without any interaction with people outside their families.  We both want to make sure all kids have an opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills to succeed in life.  That includes academics as well as social awareness and skills, and yes, moral standards. 

When you say that this is "dangerous to society and unfair to children" can you be more specific about the dangers?  I'm not arguing that such dangers don't exist; rather, we need to be able to point at a concrete problem with a defined scope before we can effectively work towards a solution.

Yeah this is exactly why people want those regulations that terrify you. It sounds like you want to carefully control your child's education so they're only exposed to things you specifically approve of. Everything else will be tightly restricted and tainted with your disapproval.

"Dangerous to society and unfair to children". Kids who grow up thinking the Earth is 6000 years old are at a tremendous disadvantage when they enter college. Evolution is the foundation of modern biology, so count that subject out. Climate change is a real thing and it's hard to motivate people to take steps to reduce the damage it can cause when we're raising people to reject evidence and science. Or worse, aren't worried about it at all because they think Jesus is coming back soon.

BTW, I've never heard from anyone that Earth day is controversial. Can you elaborate on that?

Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: waltworks on May 27, 2014, 08:38:55 AM
Keep in mind that doing stuff like teaching your kids to read at 3 or whatever has zero positive impact on their later academic performance, and in fact in some studies has shown to have a small but significant negative effect.

Mammals *all* do unstructured social play when young. The more intelligent, the more they play. Think hard about that for a minute, and about how *dangerous* playing is - 1000 years ago, a broken arm or infected cut from a fall would most likely kill you. If your kids enjoy the ABC song, by all means sing it with them. But don't try to *teach* them any academic subjects until they're at least 5 or 6.

Here is a good summary of the research: http://www.easternct.edu/cece/documents/TheCaseforPlayinPreschool.pdf

-W

Anyone do a homeschool-like ritual this early with their kids? Care to share? Abcs, etc?

Sorry my post become super rambling. Thanks to anyone who replies.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: avonlea on May 27, 2014, 10:47:54 AM
If your kids enjoy the ABC song, by all means sing it with them. But don't try to *teach* them any academic subjects until they're at least 5 or 6.

Here is a good summary of the research: http://www.easternct.edu/cece/documents/TheCaseforPlayinPreschool.pdf

-W

I think we might be on a similar page, waltworks.  But to clarify what you were saying about "teaching" academic subjects, I wanted to post a couple of parts from the research paper you shared.

Quote
The logical (though faulty) assumption is that children who are not learning should be taught directly,
efficiently, and sequentially, even in the early years. Direct instruction advocates have argued
that this is the best way to provide children living in poverty with the learning experiences that
middle class children have enjoyed in their homes (Bereiter & Engelmann, 1966). Interestingly,
what middle class children experience within their families is just the opposite--spontaneous,
informal, conversational, authentic, literacy-rich, and playful interaction (Pungello et al., 2009;
Tudge et al., 2001). As demonstrated in studies cited in this review, children of low SES,
particularly boys, are likely to fare better in such playful settings

Quote
Over the years, well-designed play
programs have been confused with laissez faire teaching. Many child care and preschool
programs—touted as highly play-oriented--have lacked thoughtful planning, implementation,
and assessment. A sit-back-and-watch-development-occur approach is still prevalent. When such
classrooms fail to produce results, administrators and policy makers blame play. For play to have
its greatest impact, it must be situated within a theory-grounded, carefully planned, and
assessment-based classroom.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: avonlea on May 27, 2014, 11:02:24 AM
Hi, homeymomma.  I have friends who did 100% homeschooling during the preschool years, but since I did not, I don't really feel that I am the most qualified to comment on that part of your question.  I think that if you read to your kids, give them lots of play time (with different types of play), and do some fun educational activities, they'll be off to a good start.  I didn't start officially homeschooling until my child was in second grade, but I wanted to share this webpage with you.  It gives a brief description of different methods of homeschooling. http://www.home-school-curriculum-advisor.com/home-schooling-method.html 

If you are worried about social interaction, some communities have homeschooling groups that include families from many different backgrounds.  Also, some public schools are open to letting homeschooled students attend certain classes, like P.E., art, and music.  You can also sign your kids up for activities where children who attend school will be participating.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: avonlea on May 27, 2014, 12:17:23 PM
Homeymomma, I forgot to add that some children will have special needs no matter how well you prepare them during the early years.  There are exceptions to everything.  I was giving general advice. :)
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: waltworks on May 27, 2014, 12:32:29 PM
What clarification were you looking for? Yes, there's a lot going on - you have to separate the research on interventions for low SES kids who have been in a deprived environment from the studies on middle class ones. It's a review article so there is a ton of information presented very rapidly.

I don't think anyone is arguing that you should just ignore your kids. The point is that learning "academic" (ie reading, writing, mathematics) subjects in any kind of formal way is probably a waste of time (at best) or even slightly harmful in a worst-case scenario for preschool age kids.

What I take away from this for homeschooling purposes is that you are going to want to spend a LOT of your "home" schooling time away from home around lots of other kids where your kids can play make-believe, get in arguments over toys, see older and younger kids behaving in different ways, etc. In our situation it makes more sense to just do daycare/preschool where we know our son is doing those kinds of things because no matter how much I might want to, it's very hard for me to provide him that level of social interaction and stimulation at home.

-W

I think we might be on a similar page, waltworks.  But to clarify what you were saying about "teaching" academic subjects, I wanted to post a couple of parts from the research paper you shared.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: avonlea on May 27, 2014, 01:21:17 PM
waltworks, thank you for your response.  When I read your previous post,  I got the impression that you were against parents introducing pre-literacy, pre-math, and early science skills to preschoolers.  I see that you are saying they can be introduced to children in a non-didactic way.  That's what I was hoping to get clarification on.

And I just want to add my thoughts on this statement.  I think we agree but I'm not sure.
I don't think anyone is arguing that you should just ignore your kids. The point is that learning "academic" (ie reading, writing, mathematics) subjects in any kind of formal way is probably a waste of time (at best) or even slightly harmful in a worst-case scenario for preschool age kids.
My younger child was extremely ready to learn reading, writing, and math skills at age 4.  Her teacher saw that and taught it in a fun, informal way.  My daughter has not been hurt by it.  At age 8, she is several years ahead in reading and a year ahead in math. I see that you wrote "probably", though, so I am guessing that you agree there are exceptions.   My older child was not ready to start reading sentences somewhat fluently until he was 9 years old (And he still struggles with reading skills, probably always will struggle with speed.).  He knew all of his letters and their sounds at the recommended age, but his brain was not ready to use it for reading until later.  I agree that children should not be pushed to learn early if they are not ready.  Parents and teachers should read the cues from children and ideally teach them in an individually-based manner, which is something homeschooling allows a parent to do and I think is one of its best benefits.

What I take away from this for homeschooling purposes is that you are going to want to spend a LOT of your "home" schooling time away from home around lots of other kids where your kids can play make-believe, get in arguments over toys, see older and younger kids behaving in different ways, etc.
I agree that it's important for homeschoolers to have playgroups and playdates.  Thanks for saying this!
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: waltworks on May 27, 2014, 02:17:10 PM
Most likely (according to the science) your daughter would be where she's at now regardless of whether or not she learned to read at 3, 4, or 5 - the further out you go, the less learning academic skills early seems to matter. I'm sure she was not harmed as it sounds like it was entirely her own motivation. There are plenty of parents who are actively pushing their children into reading/writing/mathematics at 2 or 3 or 4 who are arguably harming (albeit slightly) their children's future intellectual development and that's what I'm trying to argue against.

There is a real culture of prodigy in western societies which isn't all that healthy or useful - google up Lewis Terman and some of his work for more (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_Studies_of_Genius). 14 year olds with perfect SAT scores going to Harvard are not exciting to me or particularly useful to society - 30 year olds who solve the structure of a protein useful in fighting Alzheimers are. And the evidence is that the 14 year old at Harvard isn't really any more likely to do that than any other moderately above-average kid who happens to be interested in science when their skills are finally to the point where they can use them to solve novel problems. I don't care about how quickly you jump through academic hoops unless you're not jumping them at all and need help - what I care about is whether or not you can contribute something new and useful someday, whether that's at 17 or 70. I think we lose sight of that a lot in the race to have our kids reading ahead of grade level.

Man, this is getting off topic. Sorry.

-W
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: avonlea on May 27, 2014, 02:26:29 PM
Most likely (according to the science) your daughter would be where she's at now regardless of whether or not she learned to read at 3, 4, or 5 - the further out you go, the less learning academic skills early seems to matter. I'm sure she was not harmed as it sounds like it was entirely her own motivation. There are plenty of parents who are actively pushing their children into reading/writing/mathematics at 2 or 3 or 4 who are arguably harming (albeit slightly) their children's future intellectual development and that's what I'm trying to argue against.

There is a real culture of prodigy in western societies which isn't all that healthy or useful - google up Lewis Terman and some of his work for more (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_Studies_of_Genius). 14 year olds with perfect SAT scores going to Harvard are not exciting to me or particularly useful to society - 30 year olds who solve the structure of a protein useful in fighting Alzheimers are. And the evidence is that the 14 year old at Harvard isn't really any more likely to do that than any other moderately above-average kid who happens to be interested in science when their skills are finally to the point where they can use them to solve novel problems. I don't care about how quickly you jump through academic hoops unless you're not jumping them at all and need help - what I care about is whether or not you can contribute something new and useful someday, whether that's at 17 or 70. I think we lose sight of that a lot in the race to have our kids reading ahead of grade level.

Man, this is getting off topic. Sorry.

-W

Yes, I agree with the general gist of this.  I know the type of pushing you are talking about.  I am not a fan of it.  And I completely agree with the sentence to which I have added emphasis.  My greatest hopes for our children are for them to be reasonably happy and for them to be caring, helpful members of society.

P.S. Sorry that I derailed the thread, too. :)
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: zolotiyeruki on May 27, 2014, 11:03:36 PM
Anyone have thoughts? Do I sound like someone who is capable of homeschooling or would my babies be better off in a classroom?
You've got a few years to figure out whether homeschooling is for you--it's good that you're starting the thought process now.  My advice is this:  read to your kids on a daily basis.  Then when they're ready, teach your kids to read.  Ours have all started learning to read at age 3-4, but yours may be different.  Then let them loose.  Give them have access to books, but don't push it too hard--let them discover the joy of independent reading and learning.  Over the years, we've accumulated a decent library of everything from board books to Magic Treehouse to Harry Potter up through JRR Tolkien, Oscar Wilde, Dickens, and Jules Verne, along with a bunch of non-fiction books on all sorts of topics, so there's lots for our kids to explore.

I don't have any objection to sending your child to kindergarten when he/she is 5 years old.  It can be a great experience for kids, and a lot of fun.  It'll give you a good chance to get a feel for how the school works, and to get to know the teachers and administration.  Our 5-almost-6-year-old would go into kindergarten this coming fall, but because his birthday is right after the cutoff, he'd be the oldest in his class, and since he can already read and write (DW did a kindergarten curriculum with him this past year), he'd be bored to tears.  So we'll send him with his siblings to the public school for their specials (art, music, PE).

From what you are saying, it sounds like you accept the notion that your children might end up making different choices than your own.  But will you be accepting of those choices?
I'm not quite sure what you mean by "accepting of those choices."  We will always love our children and want the best for them, whether they make good choices or bad.  This does not mean, however, that we will condone/rationalize/enable/excuse behavior that runs contrary to our moral standards.

Yeah this is exactly why people want those regulations that terrify you. It sounds like you want to carefully control your child's education so they're only exposed to things you specifically approve of. Everything else will be tightly restricted and tainted with your disapproval.

"Dangerous to society and unfair to children". Kids who grow up thinking the Earth is 6000 years old are at a tremendous disadvantage when they enter college. Evolution is the foundation of modern biology, so count that subject out. Climate change is a real thing and it's hard to motivate people to take steps to reduce the damage it can cause when we're raising people to reject evidence and science. Or worse, aren't worried about it at all because they think Jesus is coming back soon.

BTW, I've never heard from anyone that Earth day is controversial. Can you elaborate on that?
You are pretty much spot on in the first paragraph.  Yes, we want to control our kids' education, and the things they are exposed to.  That being said, we do not intend to prevent them from ever being exposed to things which we find objectionable.  On the contrary, we *do* want them to learn about all the different cultures, religions, political views, and belief systems.  But we want them to learn those things in the proper context and at the proper time.

We're not science deniers, either.  How do we reconcile evolution with Creationism?  We don't.  We accept that neither science nor religion give us a complete picture. Climate change...well, that gets into too much politics. 

Regarding Earth Day, I don't have any particular objection to it, nor to a lot of activities that surround it per se.  What I object to is the quantity of time and attention schools devote to it.  (It's not just Earth Day--that was just an easy target, an example of the many non-academic activities kids do in school that take away from time spent learning core academics).
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: zolotiyeruki on May 27, 2014, 11:14:51 PM
Most likely (according to the science) your daughter would be where she's at now regardless of whether or not she learned to read at 3, 4, or 5 - the further out you go, the less learning academic skills early seems to matter. I'm sure she was not harmed as it sounds like it was entirely her own motivation. There are plenty of parents who are actively pushing their children into reading/writing/mathematics at 2 or 3 or 4 who are arguably harming (albeit slightly) their children's future intellectual development and that's what I'm trying to argue against.
For us, one of the unexpected benefits (although in hindsight it should not have been) of homeschooling was a change in our kids' attitude toward learning.  Without the constraints inherent in a large class environment,* they can finish their work more quickly and have the freedom and time to explore topics they find more interesting.  The change we have noticed is a much greater enthusiasm for learning** and a curiosity about the world around them.  No longer do they need to sit silently and bored while their classmates catch up.

* - e.g. a schedule where each subject takes up X minutes each day for Y content, regardless of how fast your kid can get through it
** - It's not this way all the time.  Everybody has a grumpy day sometimes.  There may be less-preferred topics in school, but we seldom hear "school is boring," except in occasional reference to their specials they attend at our public school.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Richie Poor on August 01, 2014, 04:48:37 PM
I don't have children yet so I will not try to sell anyone on the merits of homeschooling. I just wanted to comment on socialization. I was introverted as a toddler, went to public school, and am now an introverted adult.

Some of us start out low on the social pecking order from the very beginning and every day in school feels like prison. I loved learning but hated the forced socialization. I'm still not good at making small talk or speaking to a group of coworkers, but I do have a good job. I did get married as well. I just really do not like talking to people who do not interest me.

With the wrong homeschooling parents I'm sure my social skills could have turned out worse. Although I would wager with the right homeschooling parents they might have improved. Public schools don't always produce social butterflies though.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Gin1984 on August 02, 2014, 06:43:23 PM
Anyone have thoughts? Do I sound like someone who is capable of homeschooling or would my babies be better off in a classroom?
You've got a few years to figure out whether homeschooling is for you--it's good that you're starting the thought process now.  My advice is this:  read to your kids on a daily basis.  Then when they're ready, teach your kids to read.  Ours have all started learning to read at age 3-4, but yours may be different.  Then let them loose.  Give them have access to books, but don't push it too hard--let them discover the joy of independent reading and learning.  Over the years, we've accumulated a decent library of everything from board books to Magic Treehouse to Harry Potter up through JRR Tolkien, Oscar Wilde, Dickens, and Jules Verne, along with a bunch of non-fiction books on all sorts of topics, so there's lots for our kids to explore.

I don't have any objection to sending your child to kindergarten when he/she is 5 years old.  It can be a great experience for kids, and a lot of fun.  It'll give you a good chance to get a feel for how the school works, and to get to know the teachers and administration.  Our 5-almost-6-year-old would go into kindergarten this coming fall, but because his birthday is right after the cutoff, he'd be the oldest in his class, and since he can already read and write (DW did a kindergarten curriculum with him this past year), he'd be bored to tears.  So we'll send him with his siblings to the public school for their specials (art, music, PE).

From what you are saying, it sounds like you accept the notion that your children might end up making different choices than your own.  But will you be accepting of those choices?
I'm not quite sure what you mean by "accepting of those choices."  We will always love our children and want the best for them, whether they make good choices or bad.  This does not mean, however, that we will condone/rationalize/enable/excuse behavior that runs contrary to our moral standards.

Yeah this is exactly why people want those regulations that terrify you. It sounds like you want to carefully control your child's education so they're only exposed to things you specifically approve of. Everything else will be tightly restricted and tainted with your disapproval.

"Dangerous to society and unfair to children". Kids who grow up thinking the Earth is 6000 years old are at a tremendous disadvantage when they enter college. Evolution is the foundation of modern biology, so count that subject out. Climate change is a real thing and it's hard to motivate people to take steps to reduce the damage it can cause when we're raising people to reject evidence and science. Or worse, aren't worried about it at all because they think Jesus is coming back soon.

BTW, I've never heard from anyone that Earth day is controversial. Can you elaborate on that?
You are pretty much spot on in the first paragraph.  Yes, we want to control our kids' education, and the things they are exposed to.  That being said, we do not intend to prevent them from ever being exposed to things which we find objectionable.  On the contrary, we *do* want them to learn about all the different cultures, religions, political views, and belief systems.  But we want them to learn those things in the proper context and at the proper time.

We're not science deniers, either.  How do we reconcile evolution with Creationism?  We don't.  We accept that neither science nor religion give us a complete picture. Climate change...well, that gets into too much politics. 

Regarding Earth Day, I don't have any particular objection to it, nor to a lot of activities that surround it per se.  What I object to is the quantity of time and attention schools devote to it.  (It's not just Earth Day--that was just an easy target, an example of the many non-academic activities kids do in school that take away from time spent learning core academics).
Except that climate change has as much support, scientifically, as evolution or frankly any other scientific theory.  And if you don't know something that basic (was taught in my high school biology), how are you planning to teach science?  From a textbook?  That does not sound fun.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Kepler on August 02, 2014, 10:12:30 PM
We're homeschooling our son (10 years old) as a trial this term.  Secular, science-oriented household with strong enough academic backgrounds that, if we decide to, we could comfortably cover academic content across the disciplines up through high school level.  We also know from a previous brief period of homeschooling on an overseas trip, in which - to my surprise as well as my son's - he raced through several years of math in a few weeks, having previously been told by his teachers that this was his "weak" subject, that the individual approach we can offer at home, works much better for him educationally...

For him specifically, I would not have wanted to home school from the beginning.  He is an anxious child, who struggles with, and prefers to avoid, social situations with other kids.  Although I don't think school is a particularly good social environment, and I don't think its social environment maps onto anything people are likely to encounter in adulthood (things like the It Gets Better project capture some of the difference well...), still, it does provide access to an intense social crucible - and I felt that he needed some exposure to that, for desensitisation purposes and to have an opportunity to try out different coping strategies.  For years, he spent many evenings curled up helplessly crying... But he also learned strategies for pulling himself together and going back the next day.  And at school, he functioned okay - he developed and sustained friendships and wasn't perceived as someone who was particularly struggling socially.

Academically, although it's ostensibly a "good" public school, this just reflects the socio-economic demographic of the neighbourhood.  The early years teachers were very good; after that, they've been terrible.  The only math he's learned in three years is what we covered in our trip overseas.  I've become increasingly anxious that he's falling behind and will struggle in high school as a result.  At the same time, he seems to have "mastered" the social aspect - he's become quite popular, and no longer gets really upset at home.  Instead, he's developed a sort of clinical analysis of the problems with how his teachers teach, and how they interact with other students and manage their classrooms (we're an academic household, so he hears us talk a lot about teaching technique and course design - he's picked this up and extrapolated it to his primary school...).

Because the social stuff no longer seems a source of major anxiety, and because I'm not impressed that he spends so much time in school, and brings home homework besides, while showing no noticeable skills improvements in two years (his grades are always off the charts - I think he's in the "too easy" basket - the school sees no reason to be teaching him more), when he proposed homeschooling last term, I was open to the idea.  One of us is always home anyway to take care of our two-year-old.  There are amazing materials available these days - homeschooled kids really can get access to their pick of some of the best instruction in the world, in any topic you could imagine.  My "condition" for the home school trial was that he be involved in a range of activities outside the home, that would let him associate with other kids - he's really thriving in these, and comes home with excited stories about what he's done.

I'll need to ramp up the pace a bit in some areas - he's complaining that the science and the comparative religions studies I originally designed, aren't demanding enough...  He wants more reading in both areas... :-P.  He also wants to add violin lessons to his arts study (the last few weeks, he's been doing a drama class at the local community art centre, and also using some apps to learn how to read music).  He thinks his economics project is too hard (I've tasked him with working out, with reference to a basket of common grocery items, which local store or market is least expensive, on average), but he's actually getting quite quick spotting the best value for particular items.  He's making progress with his math, although it's only been a few weeks, so we're just covering what his school ought to have already been teaching, but hasn't been.  He hates physical activity - he's not a coordinated kid - but that's no different from school, but he is gradually improving there as well.

But the biggest change has been in how much additional energy he has "left over" for the household.  School "uses up" so much energy, he comes home so tired - and then has other nonsense he's meant to do, while we're also trying to get dinner ready.  He can now focus hard on his study, work efficiently, and get it done - and then use his energy for other things.  He's taken to organising household activities a couple evenings a week - movie nights, board games, card games - and is currently planning an "excursion" out of town.  The change is remarkable.

The original plan was to do one trial term (9 weeks).  Personally, I'd be willing to let him finish out primary school on a homeschool basis at this point, but I am waiting a bit longer to discuss it with him.  High school is more complicated - again for social, rather than academic, reasons.  On the one hand, I think high school is often a horrific social environment, and one that lacks checks and balances that would exist in almost every adult environment.  On the other hand, he has a history of struggling socially, and I'm wondering if the various bounded social activities provide the same sort of social "practice" that high school would.  We're in the zone of a good public high school that, on the surface at least, seems to have a pretty vibrant nerd culture - it could be a really positive thing...

I should note, though, that this worry is specific to my son: I don't generally think that home schooling is problematic socially.  I was pretty indifferent to peer group issues as a kid - this put me in some danger at my high school, but there was no sense in which navigating that danger was beneficial, or equipped me for an independent adult life - quite the contrary...  But I was sufficiently self-directed that I think I would have done fine with no formal schooling at all.  My daughter, although still too young to know for sure, seems to be tending that way too.  If that continues, I'd likely let her make her own choice about whether she's getting something from school or not.  With my son, I just want to be careful to make sure his tendency to social anxiety doesn't lead him to isolate himself, which makes it a harder process to navigate...

Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Thegoblinchief on August 03, 2014, 06:33:10 AM
Kepler, really cool post!

As far as socialization during high school, what about having him get a part time job?
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: PloddingInsight on August 04, 2014, 09:18:17 AM
Imma bring the smack down in this thread.  I apologize for offending everybody in advance.

We don't homeschool but I'm a climate change skeptic and I am going to teach my kids my views.  What do you want to do, send the police to shut me up?
Yeah this is exactly why people want those regulations that terrify you. It sounds like you want to carefully control your child's education so they're only exposed to things you specifically approve of. Everything else will be tightly restricted and tainted with your disapproval.
Do you even have kids?  Of course people censor what their kids are exposed to.  Everybody does that.  Are you going to let your kindergartener watch a horror film?  Imagine laws saying you have to expose your kids to horror films.  Oh wait that's different.  Why?  Because letting a little kid watch that is out of alignment with your personal values.  Well guess what, lots of people out there have different values than you.  It's almost as if you are a fundamentalist.  I have no problem with people raising their kids according to values different than mine, but you apparently are too much of a puritan to allow it.  What happened to pluralism?  PLURALISM DOESN'T MEAN PEOPLE OF MANY COLORS ALL ACTING AND TALKING EXACTLY THE SAME.
Quote
"Dangerous to society and unfair to children". Kids who grow up thinking the Earth is 6000 years old are at a tremendous disadvantage when they enter college.
WHO CARES.  Lots of kids grow up in homes where there are no books, where parents don't value education at all.  And their crappy public schools can't even overcome those issues.  You want to storm those houses with cops and take their kids away?  Because I think those kids are at a much bigger disadvantage at college (if they even show up) than somebody with parents that believe in a super-literal interpretation of Genesis.
Quote
Evolution is the foundation of modern biology, so count that subject out.
Most kids leave high school without any understanding of modern biology at all.  Again, WHO CARES.  Why is it such a big problem that people are different from you?  You want to visit the horror of a police state upon families (because that is exactly what we're talking about) because of... biology?  Seriously?  Imagine somebody suggesting we fine and imprison parents because their views on nineteenth century literature or geometry was out of alignment with the rest of society.
Quote
Climate change is a real thing and it's hard to motivate people to take steps to reduce the damage it can cause when we're raising people to reject evidence and science. Or worse, aren't worried about it at all because they think Jesus is coming back soon.
It all comes back to Jeebus with you people, doesn't it?  You can't even live by the pluralistic values you supposedly believe in, because you hear somebody say Jeebus and you can't help it, you turn on the intolerance.  Nevermind that the computer models re: global warming are highly suspect and the scientists in the field mostly refuse to disclose enough data for their work to be reproduced.  Nevermind that the supposed "solutions" are more expensive and harmful than the alleged problem.
Quote
BTW, I've never heard from anyone that Earth day is controversial. Can you elaborate on that?
There is no such thing as a value-free education.  Earth day is the religious observance of a secular culture, and I oppose it as much as I would oppose any other religious indoctrination that isn't specific to my beliefs and values as a parent.  It is indoctrination, just like parents who teach biblical literalism are indoctrinating their kids.  You indoctrinate your kids, if you have any.  (Doubt it.)  Free-thinking, rationalist approach to the universe?  Indoctination.  The word is a pejorative form of the word "teaching".  True ideological minorities realize this.  Conservative Christians are now beginning to find themselves a minority, and they are beginning to realize this.  They're beginning to learn what pluralism and tolerance really mean, and they're beginning to appreciate them.  Secularists are riding high on a wave of inevitability, and they're accordingly abandoning pluralism and tolerance, which is a real shame.  If the word liberalism means anything, it ought to mean a preference for liberty.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Beric01 on August 04, 2014, 12:06:42 PM
Just found this thread, so I figured I'd cross-post my own positive experiences as a homeschooled through high school, now college graduate:

I was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school - that's full-on homeschooling, not charter schools. I then went to a community college for 2 years, and transferred to a 4-year university for the last 2 years. I graduated 2 years ago with multiple job offers lined up and have been working full-time in Silicon Valley ever since. My younger brother graduated this year with a job offer and is doing the same.

Agreed with rebel100 about the "socialization" myth. If anything, going to public school will give you the socialization issues! Think about all the bullying and illegal drugs in public schools! My parents wanted to avoid that.

Here's the thing about public schools: they're inefficient. It's fairly hard to learn slower or faster than the rest of the class (I was always 2+ grades ahead in all of my subjects). Public schools work as babysitting - they waste a lot of student's time. I completed most of my subjects daily in 3-4 hours tops (and remember, I was well ahead in my studies). Some studies have suggested that students do better homeschooled, but regardless, I definitely wasn't held back.

I fit perfectly into college - I was usually my teachers' favorite as I actually paid attention and asked questions in class. I was an officer in a club and a member in 2 more clubs, and I still had time to cook/play game/hang out with friends on the weekend.

I would say homeschooling is awesome - if you can have at least one parent home. My parents aren't Mustachian, but they're pretty frugal - my Dad supported our family on one income just fine, and he isn't even a manager - we just didn't buy BMW's. My Mom was the teacher.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Ybserp on August 27, 2014, 09:06:57 AM
I was homeschooled for a few years because it was the best educational option available to my parents at the time. It was hugely beneficial for me as a student. A few years later after a move, my siblings and I were in public schools. Most of us did well, but one sibling immediately drew two poor teachers in a row. My parents pulled him out of public school and homeschooled him to make up for the school's educational failures. After he had the skills to teach himself even with poor teachers, they put him back in public school for middle school and high school.

I am very supportive of laws allowing the parents to choose the best educational option available to them for their children. And I'd much, much rather the parents be the ones to choose what is bests for their kids than to have public education bureaucrats or local lawmakers attempt to do it for a district worth of children they don't know.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: rocketpj on August 27, 2014, 09:29:07 AM
I like the idea of homeschooling, but in practice I suspect I would end up being a grumpy dad fairly quickly.

As an aside, we are in the midst of an infuriating teacher strike/lockout here in BC which doesn't look to be ending in time for the new school year next week.  So it will be homeschool by default.

All well and good except that both parents in this house have full time jobs, like most families around here.  So basically we are all screwed.  We found a YMCA day camp for the older boy which will be fine, but the younger boy (who is about to start kindergarten) would not do well getting sent off to a big camp all of a sudden.

NOTE:  The strike is not because of nasty unions or any of that BS.  The gov't broke a contract 12 years ago, illegally.  They've lost 2 court cases about it since then, and are on their last appeal - before they have to admit they were illegal and unconstitutional in their contract breaking ways.  They have ZERO interest in negotiating before that court result comes through.  And the issue is not so much wages as class sizes and support for ESL and disabled kids (if they don`t have enough support they take all the teachers`attention and the rest of the kids lose out).
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: James on August 27, 2014, 09:47:20 AM
I was homeschooled all the way through until college, it worked fine, my mother put in countless hours making sure it was the best she could make it. I missed out in some areas and benefited in others, all in all it worked out.


We homeschooled our kids for a few years, then switched to a catholic school in town. It is pretty cheap and does a good job, but in hind sight we would have just switched to public school I think. Just need to find what works for you in your life and your situation.


Ignore anyone who says anything absolute about families, life, religion, homeschooling, etc. There isn't any one truth, any one "right and wrong", any one best choice for every family. Often those most helpful to homeschoolers are the ones with the worst advice, so buyer beware. :)


Best of luck!
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: randymarsh on August 27, 2014, 05:09:14 PM
guys we have to stop posting, we've been "smacked down".

Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: SF Semi-Mustache on August 28, 2014, 12:47:09 PM
Completely agree with you on people who profess absolutes, and also, as a parent of an always-been and always-plans-to-be (but-who-knows-what-might-happen) homeschooled kiddo, I always love hearing from real, live, functioning adults who were homeschooled for the whole deal!

I was homeschooled K-12, partially for religious reasons and partially due to the inner-city-warzone nature of our local public schools. 

I started college early (at a small public university -- very mustachian), and finished with a 4.0.  I attended a top 5 law school, and now I work at a large law firm.  Several of my classmates in my law school were homeschooled, and all did very well.

I had no socialization problems in college -- people didn't know I was homeschooled until I told them, and most seemed surprised.  I'm fairly introverted, but not shy.  If I have "social problems," I'm fine with them, as I generally prefer to be by myself or with small groups of close friends. 

I'm not sure I'd consider homeschooling for my own kids (which are 7-10 years down the road).  Perhaps for a time to allow for travel or a non-traditional educational experience (volunteering, etc.), but I don't have the same religious motivations and I believe in our local public schools.  I also think religious beliefs have to exist (and stand or fall) in the secular marketplace of ideas, and I want my kids to have faith because they really believe, and not because they've never heard anything to the contrary or had their ideas challenged.  That all said, I know my perspective is shaped by being a progressive/liberal gay guy living in San Francisco.  YMMV, depending on your own convictions and circumstances.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Gin1984 on August 28, 2014, 12:52:55 PM
Completely agree with you on people who profess absolutes, and also, as a parent of an always-been and always-plans-to-be (but-who-knows-what-might-happen) homeschooled kiddo, I always love hearing from real, live, functioning adults who were homeschooled for the whole deal!

I was homeschooled K-12, partially for religious reasons and partially due to the inner-city-warzone nature of our local public schools. 

I started college early (at a small public university -- very mustachian), and finished with a 4.0.  I attended a top 5 law school, and now I work at a large law firm.  Several of my classmates in my law school were homeschooled, and all did very well.

I had no socialization problems in college -- people didn't know I was homeschooled until I told them, and most seemed surprised.  I'm fairly introverted, but not shy.  If I have "social problems," I'm fine with them, as I generally prefer to be by myself or with small groups of close friends. 

I'm not sure I'd consider homeschooling for my own kids (which are 7-10 years down the road).  Perhaps for a time to allow for travel or a non-traditional educational experience (volunteering, etc.), but I don't have the same religious motivations and I believe in our local public schools. I also think religious beliefs have to exist (and stand or fall) in the secular marketplace of ideas, and I want my kids to have faith because they really believe, and not because they've never heard anything to the contrary or had their ideas challenged.  That all said, I know my perspective is shaped by being a progressive/liberal gay guy living in San Francisco.  YMMV, depending on your own convictions and circumstances.
That is an idea I have rarely heard expressed.  I know this might be a little off topic (so if you want to PM or move it to Off-topic), but could you elaborate on this some?
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: FunkyStickman on August 28, 2014, 01:45:04 PM
That is an idea I have rarely heard expressed.  I know this might be a little off topic (so if you want to PM or move it to Off-topic), but could you elaborate on this some?

I agree with this. It's not enough to teach your kids your religion, especially if you yourself don't fully understand it. When I explain things to my kids, I make sure to explain the thinking behind it as well, and let them see the process of thinking that went into it. I'm not trying to make them apologeticists, but I want them to at least think it through before coming to a conclusion, the same as I did.

You have to be honest with kids. Most of what people think or know was blindly absorbed, not thought through on their own. I want my kids to be thinkers and philosophers. And if they're smart (which of course I think they are), they'll come to a lot of the same conclusions I did.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: stealthrabbit on September 07, 2014, 06:50:21 AM
Quote
the greatest challenge I faced as an adult was learning to socialize competently, make friends, and interact with people.

Some good point here.

We are now 14 yrs BEYOND homeschooling and I could not be happier with the results.  It was a huge commitment and certainly not always the best choice, but... out kids have done excellent (as have most of the 90 kids in our Home school group)

Socially, homeschool was a huge plus for our kids.  We did lots of volunteer with seniors and worked in the public schools 2x/week as a family.  My Kids were asked to be tutors for adults when they arrived at college @ age 16 because they were socially fit .  They went on to teach / help others and have since garnered very prestigious and competitive community service awards.  (no thanks to me... I don't do politics well.., and have little 'grace / understanding' for the faint of heart (my bad))

My kids were farm kids and we all had businesses so they were used to dealing with business and adults and strangers and strife.  (We also lived overseas for ~3 yrs while homeschooling and traveled a LOT  (i.e. many 4-12 week field trips)

Kids were engaged and planned the travel and finances from day 1.  Curriculum was 'seat-of-the-pants' REAL education.  We did try curriculum's but I think it was a waste of time and money.  Teaching the kids to grow food, weld, build things, manage crops and animals, shop, pay bills... all is pretty valuable.

I am a big advocate of 4H.. though my kids missed that... too bad!  It can be really great!
Many of our homeschool group had their own businesses as kids, and sold them to their siblings or other homeschoolers.  At least 50% attended college (for Free), instead of wasting their time in High School (Running Start... available WA and HI)
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Thegoblinchief on October 01, 2014, 10:20:33 AM
Thoughts on memorization of the times table versus using it as a cheat sheet when teaching multiplication?

To my chagrin, my girls are great at memorizing things like 1,000s of Pokemon names/types, but math...not so much :P
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: tbcg12 on October 01, 2014, 12:19:55 PM
Not trying to be rude, just want to see how you all combat this.

I went through public school as well as my little brother. Throughout the years I have met many people who were home schooled whether it was through church, college, sports, or work. However, I never met a kid who had been homeschooled who was "normal" ie. they could jump in and make friends, hold a conversation, network when preparing for interviews, etc. It just seemed like the years of socializing with peers and being around adults who were not family stunted their social awareness and growth.

again, just curious.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: waltworks on October 01, 2014, 12:45:45 PM
I personally loathe and despise Pokemon but recognize that those monster-memorizing skills are probably just as useful as memorizing anything else. Good for their brains and more fun than a lot of other stuff.

-Walt

Thoughts on memorization of the times table versus using it as a cheat sheet when teaching multiplication?

To my chagrin, my girls are great at memorizing things like 1,000s of Pokemon names/types, but math...not so much :P
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: 1967mama on October 01, 2014, 12:48:07 PM
However, I never met a kid who had been homeschooled who was "normal" ie. they could jump in and make friends, hold a conversation, network when preparing for interviews, etc.

Tbcg12,
You haven't met my kids then <wink> . I have 3 adult children functioning well as adults. They were homeschooled K-12. Two are working full time in salaried positions and one is in university. You would never know they were homeschooled unless they told you.

Edited for
Typo


Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: mxt0133 on October 01, 2014, 12:54:32 PM
@tbcg12  I don't know how many homeschooling kids your basing this opinion on but on an anecdotal level I have meet many homeschooling kids that have no problem socializing.

Let's examine the word "socializing" for a minute, whenever I hear that phrase used in the context of homeschooling vs schooling, I hear conditioning.  As in teaching kids how to interact in an environment where they are supposed to do whatever they are told by a teacher in a classroom setting and behave in a manner as to not stand out and be different from everyone else, otherwise be labeled not "normal".  So in that context I would agree with you that homeschooled kids would not know how to be "normal" around people that have been socialized in a school setting. 

I would counter that with the possibility to being free to express yourself without fear of being labeled. Having the opportunity to interact with people of various ages, not just a group of same aged individuals. In various social settings, not just a classroom setting.  With a diverse range of cultures, actually promotes social awareness and growth and not stunt it.  I would think that being kept in an environment that limits social interaction, like a classroom, with the same cohort for a year would be the situation that limits social awareness and growth.

That is how I view homeschooling, are there others that homeschool to isolate and protect their children from different points of view or experiences, sure.  But I think they are the exception.

Again the main misconception of homeschooling is that kids are prevented from interacting with peers and adults that are not family and are kept in the basement all day.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: La Bibliotecaria Feroz on October 01, 2014, 12:58:36 PM
@thegoblinchief--This is just my two cents, but I think being able to do basic multiplication in your head is an essential mental skill. You don't want them having to whip out their cell phones to use the calculator every time they want to double a recipe.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: tbcg12 on October 01, 2014, 01:55:49 PM
appreciate the thoughtful replies. Very good points!
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: zolotiyeruki on October 10, 2014, 10:26:50 AM
Not trying to be rude, just want to see how you all combat this.

I went through public school as well as my little brother. Throughout the years I have met many people who were home schooled whether it was through church, college, sports, or work. However, I never met a kid who had been homeschooled who was "normal" ie. they could jump in and make friends, hold a conversation, network when preparing for interviews, etc. It just seemed like the years of socializing with peers and being around adults who were not family stunted their social awareness and growth.

again, just curious.
Growing up, I didn't know *anyone* who was homeschooled.  I think I met my first homeschooled person when I was in college.  Nothing unusual about them, from my perspective.

Now that I'm an adult, and now that homeschooling is becoming more mainstream, I've met a lot more homeschooled kids.  They all seem pretty normal to me. Well, no, I take that back--most of them are *better* in social situations than their public-schooled peers.  Of course, that might be a correlation rather than a causation, but that's what I've observed.

Homeschooling today is completely different from what it was 20-30 years ago.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Druid on October 10, 2014, 09:06:15 PM
I am a 32 year old with no children, but I am planning to have 1 or 2 kids in the next few years. I feel that most of my public school education was a waste of time and I had to make up for it later in life. Ideally I would like to send my "future" kids to preschool and kindergarten and then start home schooling my children until high school. I think during the home schooling phase I would like to keep my kids involved in sports or other activities where they are around kids. Maybe find neighborhoods with kids in the same age group. Or maybe send them to summer camp.

I do want my kids to experience high school. I am hoping that by this age that I have distilled a strong work ethic and good morale compass. I think one strategy of home schooling is to get your children to a level of intelligence where they can excel in a real school environment and develop above average self esteem. I would also like to have my children have their wild social phase before college, where I can monitor it. It seems like letting them loose when they go to college may have dire consequences. Either they will make up for lost time or be socially awkward from missing high school.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: zolotiyeruki on October 13, 2014, 01:28:01 PM
I am a 32 year old with no children, but I am planning to have 1 or 2 kids in the next few years. I feel that most of my public school education was a waste of time and I had to make up for it later in life. Ideally I would like to send my "future" kids to preschool and kindergarten and then start home schooling my children until high school. I think during the home schooling phase I would like to keep my kids involved in sports or other activities where they are around kids. Maybe find neighborhoods with kids in the same age group. Or maybe send them to summer camp.

I do want my kids to experience high school. I am hoping that by this age that I have distilled a strong work ethic and good morale compass. I think one strategy of home schooling is to get your children to a level of intelligence where they can excel in a real school environment and develop above average self esteem. I would also like to have my children have their wild social phase before college, where I can monitor it. It seems like letting them loose when they go to college may have dire consequences. Either they will make up for lost time or be socially awkward from missing high school.
Our kids go to public school for specials (art, music, PE), and we also have them signed up for activities through the local Parks 'n' Rec.  The nice thing about homeschooling is that you don't HAVE to decide everything now.  We decide year to year whether/how much our kids will attend public school.  It's entirely possible that they'll go to HS, but we don't have to make that decision now.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: KES on October 27, 2014, 08:35:03 AM
I'm thinking about homeschooling my kindergartner next year: she's not being challenged and I feel I could do a better job at home.
However, my newly-developing mustachian reflex clenches up at the thought of what this will do to us financially in the long run.
I'm at home now with the kids, but we always planned for me to go back to work when they are in school. If I homeschool, we lose that future second income.
Am I looking at this the wrong way?
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: Druid on October 27, 2014, 11:22:37 AM
@KES

I think that you need to ask yourself what you value more. Early retirement or having the extra time with your daughter and her potentially having a better education at an earlier age. You then need to find the right balance for your goals. You may want to homeschool her for just a couple of years and then start saving money for your early retirement. Or you may feel that 10 years of homeschooling will best prepare your daughter for life, and as a result you may have to work until your 70. Chances are the best thing for your daughter is somewhere in between. Alternatively you could find a part-time job or work full-time and provide additional education to your daughter on the weekends.

Really this is a question about the timing of your "retirement". Most people have to work in life and the usual pattern is you work hard and then get to quit working at the end of life. However a person could technically have a 10 year "retirement" in the middle of their life to spend time with their children, and in exchange have to work to a later age later in life. Obviously 10 years of time off earlier in life will cost you 15 to 20 later in life, because retirement savings are smaller and not compounding.

So again you will have to ask yourself if taking time off now will be more valued than time off later. A family focused individual would probably take time off now. A career/earlier retirement focused individual would probably take off time later. A family focused person would probably provide more emotional support at an earlier age to their children. A career focused individual could potentially provide more financial support with colleges and the odd life event. Only you can decide.

I am planning to have some kind of sabbatical when my child is between the age of 8 and 14. I personally think that your daughter would benefit from a structured homeschool system more in the later elementary school or junior high years. I would choose to go back to work for a few years and let your daughter have the typical goofy social child education which is lower grade elementary school. I would then spend a few years with my child when she had the foundation to begin more advanced topics like basic math, algebra, grammar, and more complex reading.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: mxt0133 on October 27, 2014, 11:45:50 AM
Can you elaborate on what you mean by not being challenged?  I think kindergartner to 2nd grade is mostly about getting kids used to the school setting.  Learning how to sit, listen to instructions, and learning how to get along with other kids.  Some academic "learning" does take place but it is mostly repetitive until the later grades.

Some countries don't even start formal schooling until much later, ie. 7 years old like Finnland.  There seems to be a lot of emphasis on having kids get a head start and to cram as much material as young as possible, in the name of competition for good jobs.  Have you seen the film "Race to Nowhere"?  The film covers the stress kids are currently going through in the name of getting into the best universities to get the best jobs.

I myself plan to homeschool, particularly unschool, because I think forcing a child to learn something just because they are in a particular grade without context or interest is inefficient and destroys their natural curiosity.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: KES on October 27, 2014, 02:42:04 PM
Sorry, I haven't figured out the whole quote thing yet.

Druid: You make awesome points, and you're probably right, it might be better to pull her out of middle school than elementary school. There are so many cool things we could do then with her any way. Although, we have two younger children as well and are thinking about a 4th.

mxt0133: She's not being challenged in that she's reading fluently (in two languages, I might add), and brings home worksheets with the assignment to "find the letter F." Also, at home she's working on adding and subtracting (can multiply and divide on the abacus, not in her head yet), and is bringing home worksheets asking her to list "what number comes before 8". You are right in that it doesn't necessarily do anyone any good to start cramming stuff into them early. We've just been taking our cues from her and if she's interested in learning something, we help her out. Math has just been interesting to her since age three. My husband is from Eastern Europe and they don't start until 7 there, too. I've looked into the unschooling a bit, and in general have been approaching my time with her at home after and before school like that.
Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: mxt0133 on October 27, 2014, 03:23:53 PM
KES: In that case then yes academically your child will be bored out of her mind if he is way ahead of her class.  You can cultivate her academic curiosity outside of school, and when the time comes have her skip to a grade level where she is being challenged, but then that might introduce issues not related to academics like social and maturity issues, if she is significantly younger than her peers.

I think in your situation, homeschooling might be an option for your child.  Something I will leave you with, there are successful and unsuccessful kids that come out of public, private, and home schooled backgrounds.  The take away is by having parents that are involved and sensitive to each child's education needs then they should reach their academic potential.  Take into account what would be best for the whole family and not just the child. If ER is important to your family then sacrificing potential income to be a stay at home parent to homeschool could cause potential resentment, unreasonable expectations, or unintended pressure on the child.

Title: Re: Home Schooling
Post by: zolotiyeruki on October 28, 2014, 12:33:18 PM
@KES - Whether to homeschool is a personal decision--Druid's response is spot-on.  In my opinion (for what that's worth), unless your family will be severely financially strained by your staying home, finances shouldn't be a major factor in your decision whether to homeschool.

And if they *are* a factor, keep in mind that your second income likely won't be nearly as profitable as you'd like it to be--taxes and childcare will take a fairly big chunk out of what you're earning.