Author Topic: Thinking of homeschooling....should I/shouldn't I? Any homeschoolers out there?  (Read 14695 times)

Trifele

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Just wanted to chime in again to say -- I agree that homeschooling parents need to be honest about what they can and can't effectively teach.  However with internet access, local groups, and tutors there are basically limitless resources out there now for homeschooling families.  A lack of expertise in a certain subject should absolutely NOT hold back a family from trying homeschooling.   Our DD, now 14, has been learning Spanish and Latin for the past couple of years.  Neither DH or I ever had those subjects.   She's driving it herself (using online tools and a tutor for Latin) and she's crushing it.  That's the other thing that happens with homeschooling -- the kids reach a tipping point where they know how to learn something, and they can drive the process themselves.  It's awesome to watch.   

We also did the "combo" approach for three years (homeschool, but kids took 1 or 2 classes at the public school).  For us that was the sweet spot.  The kids got to do things that are difficult to get when homeschooling (think orchestra or drama club), but got to do their academics at home, on their own schedule and their own level.  And avoid the negative aspects of public school.  It was really sweet.

Homeschooling has been the best thing that ever happened to our family, and I am grateful every single day for it.   

« Last Edit: June 10, 2017, 06:17:35 PM by Trifele »

mxt0133

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When I still taught college, the only time homeschool students had any real problems was when they thought they'd learned something and really hadn't because the parent was no longer competent in the subject matter and didn't get a tutor or find someone who was capable to teach the kid.  Know what you can do and what you can't.

I'm curious as to how those homeschooled students reacted then they had trouble, were they able to tackle and overcome the problem or did they continue to struggle or shutdown?

Would you say they were less prepared than traditionally schooled students at handling failure?

Lepetitange3

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It varied by student.  A lot of public and private schools now are very enabling.  By that I mean that they let whiny students and parents skate by or get their grades changed because Susie is special etc.  these kids went to traditional school and get to college and moms still emailing the professor, why the get a C, can you give them extra credit, etc.  Ah FIRE ...

In any event,   I would say honestly, which kind of schooling a student had had mattered very, very little in the end.  So much of college has an expectation that students will do self learning that I nearly always tell parents that's the thing you need to make sure they can do (yes there's also obviously a few other things that are useful, but a student who can figure stuff out can come at a skill they are missing as needed). 

Can they self learn/self teach (whatever you want to refer to it as)?  This can be taught or learned at school or at home or from wherever.  Some kids have it naturally.  Some learn it.  Some never get it for whatever reason.

catccc

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When I still taught college, the only time homeschool students had any real problems was when they thought they'd learned something and really hadn't because the parent was no longer competent in the subject matter and didn't get a tutor or find someone who was capable to teach the kid.  Know what you can do and what you can't.

I'm curious as to how those homeschooled students reacted then they had trouble, were they able to tackle and overcome the problem or did they continue to struggle or shutdown?

Would you say they were less prepared than traditionally schooled students at handling failure?

I don't homeschool, but the homeschooled kids that I know are exceptionally independent and great at problem solving.  Self motivated and able to execute multi-step projects that they dreamed up on their own, and take failure in stride.  Of course, it all really depends on the parent (teacher).  Of course, I don't think you can make blanket statements about either group.  My sample size is something like 4-6 kids from a few different families.

milliemchi

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Also, kids need to be separated from their parents regularly, and parents need to find something else to do all day, IMO. In the long run, that may be healthier for everyone, I think, and I'm speaking from a sample size of zero.

The image of keeping kids in the basement or home all day really is a tough one for people to get past when the word homeschooling is mentioned.

Oh, that's not what I had in mind. It's more that I think parents need to develop other interests besides their children.

Kathryn K.

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I skimmed through the responses and saw that they are overwhelmingly from people who were homeschooled, that most people recommend it, and that people worry about the social aspects mostly.

I would actually be worried about the academic part of it. In lower grades, kids are developing basic skills, and any moderately intelligent parent can teach that. That said, there are more and less effective ways to teach a given matter, and the professional teachers have a better grasp of that (or they should). In higher grades, it gets even more important. Math needs to be taught correctly for the children to grasp it as one connected subject. Without proper training, writing skills and research (literature) skills can only be taught to the degree you have them yourself. There is also the matter of collecting a wide array of social topics to teach on, which could be a lot of work, and teaching would depend on your personal interpretation. This may be actually attractive to parents, but is not impartial. I would feel very bad if my child missed out on some education because of my lack of teaching skills.

I do want to outsource kid's education. When done correctly, it can be a pretty standardized product that I can't improve all that much on, so why spend all the time? Plus, some kids take to outside authority more than their parents', and that can be a luck of the draw.

Also, kids need to be separated from their parents regularly, and parents need to find something else to do all day, IMO. In the long run, that may be healthier for everyone, I think, and I'm speaking from a sample size of zero.

Wanted to share another non-homeschool perspective.  My daughter just finished up kindergarten at our local public school and it was a really good experience.  There is something to be said for learning how to get along on our regular basis with people who aren't related to you and may come from a much different background, and my daughter also enjoyed developing relationships with other adults outside our family.

My daughter's school also had resources like an art teacher, music teacher, gym, etc. that would take a lot of time and effort to replicate at home (or require a lot more running around to seek out lessons or classes).  And while people on MMM are smart and elementary school isn't rocket science there is something to be said for the expertise that is developed by teachers who have specifically studied how to teach and have years of experience.  I volunteered to help with reading groups in a first grade class at my daughter's school 1x/week this past year and there a lot of strategies and approaches that the teachers use I certainly wouldn't have thought of or been aware of on my own.

And, LadyStache in Baja, how will this impact your ability to earn income/contribute economically to your family if that is something you need to do? Are there other homeschoolers in your area and how is homeschooling perceived in Mexico generally if that is where your family will be long term? Will be there be any issues with credentials if your kids want to go to college or other advanced schooling? How will your 2 year old do while you're working with the older kids?

mxt0133

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Oh, that's not what I had in mind. It's more that I think parents need to develop other interests besides their children.

Guilty as charged.  I do have other interests besides my kids but I have to admit when I talk to some parents that dont spend as much time with their kids or are not as vested in their education as my wife and I are,  recognize that we are outliers.  Even with other homeschooling families, when I try to pick their brains about teaching methods, age appropriate cognitive development, ect. they just kind of give me a blank stare.

To be clear i'm not saying that we love our kids more or care more about their education that others, I think it's the attitude that my wife and I have based on our public school education that lead us down our path.  Also having the time and financial resources because we chose to be a single income household and not fall into the consumerist culture that allows us to invest so much in our kids education.

I just dropped my son off to camp today and I have to admit watching him run after his group hit me that he is growing up so fast and becoming more independent.  I guess I might just lock him up in the basement for a few more years.  =(
« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 05:12:27 PM by mxt0133 »

milliemchi

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I think it's the attitude that my wife and I have based on our public school education that lead us down our path.

Maybe you just had a bad experience. My daughter is in the public system, and I am amazed at how good of a job they're doing. I could never do it that well, because I don't have the stamina (nor training). Plus, at her school they have a very dedicated music teacher, so she can now read music and play flute. They are also taught some basic art skills, and now she's moving to a good high school that happens to have a great art program. And it's all free! For gym, they actually learned rules for various games and tried playing, it wasn't just kids running around. Of course, standardized scores are very high.

Your time, on the other hand, is not free. You could be running a part-time Etsy business, like Mrs Money Mustache, having tons of fun and making $10-20K a year.  Or whatever.  It's worth something. So take a look at the public education you're offered and see whether it makes sense to put in ~800-1200 hours per year to get incremental benefits. Check out: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/12/26/cure-yourself-of-tiny-details-exaggeration-syndrome/.  Substitute time = money.

Anecdotally, I went to a school that was in some ways better, and in many ways worse than my daughter's (in another country).  Teachers were not dedicated, and enrichment was practically nonexistent. And yet, all of us A students went on to good high schools and did really, really well in life.

mxt0133

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I think it's the attitude that my wife and I have based on our public school education that lead us down our path.

Maybe you just had a bad experience. My daughter is in the public system, and I am amazed at how good of a job they're doing. I could never do it that well, because I don't have the stamina (nor training). Plus, at her school they have a very dedicated music teacher, so she can now read music and play flute. They are also taught some basic art skills, and now she's moving to a good high school that happens to have a great art program. And it's all free! For gym, they actually learned rules for various games and tried playing, it wasn't just kids running around. Of course, standardized scores are very high.

Your time, on the other hand, is not free. You could be running a part-time Etsy business, like Mrs Money Mustache, having tons of fun and making $10-20K a year.  Or whatever.  It's worth something. So take a look at the public education you're offered and see whether it makes sense to put in ~800-1200 hours per year to get incremental benefits. Check out: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/12/26/cure-yourself-of-tiny-details-exaggeration-syndrome/.  Substitute time = money.

Anecdotally, I went to a school that was in some ways better, and in many ways worse than my daughter's (in another country).  Teachers were not dedicated, and enrichment was practically nonexistent. And yet, all of us A students went on to good high schools and did really, really well in life.

My wife and I definitely did not go to a good or even decent public school system.  My incoming freshman class size was 900 students and the graduating class size was around 400, not even a 50% graduation rate.

I honestly believe that our kids will mostly likely end up as functional adults whether we homeschool or not.  As for the financial impact of homeschooling until all our kids are in school full-time, us paying for daycare and after school care, not being able to cook most of the time, ect we would be loosing money because my wife's earning potential is just not high enough.

Once all the kids are of school age then we might be able to make an additional 10-20K a year if my wife works full-time, but for now we prefer the additional time with the kids, I work flexible hours and can start late, leave early, or takes breaks in the middle of the day.  We also enjoy facilitating their education and letting them take the lead in their education.  We still do math, reading and writing but try to put it in a context that is relevant for them.  We find that when we do it that way they learn the concepts better than giving them worksheets or busy work.  We do and will continue to periodically asses their abilities ourselves and by third parties to ensure that they are, at minimum, tracking public school standards.  But we also recognize that all kids are different and all learn at their own pace.  At the moment my oldest who should be in entering 1st grade in the fall is currently reading past the 2nd grade level and is doing 2nd grade level math according to Khan academy.

But most of all we enjoy the freedom of not having our lives dictated by the school year schedule.  When we go on vacation we are not fighting everyone else that is off school to fly, book a hotel, or go camping.  Everything is cheaper and less crowded during the off season.  We go to museums, libraries, parks, and do our shopping during the week when it is less crowded and there is less traffic.  We can spend a month or more visiting family across the country or internationally and not have to worry about when school will be starting again.  The way I see it is one of the most Mustachian things we are doing to optimize our happiness, time and spending.

If one of them says they want to go to public school, we will have to re-evaluate as a family as it would have a significant impact on our current lifestyle.

You mentioned that you are amazed at how good of a job they are doing with your daughter, I assume your measure for that is her performance.  How much would you attribute that to the school's teaching methods vs your daughter's natural abilities?

milliemchi

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You mentioned that you are amazed at how good of a job they are doing with your daughter, I assume your measure for that is her performance.  How much would you attribute that to the school's teaching methods vs your daughter's natural abilities?

Not quite. My daughter is in the gifted program, and everybody there has good performance, and that's not really how I measure the quality of the school. I was going more by the breadth of the material covered, the engagement I see from teachers, the emphasis on critical thinking and ability to draw conclusions (though at 11, she's still far from mastering that), the job the school counselor is doing in character education, the distinction they made between experiment vs demonstration in 1st grade science, and so many other things. If she performed poorly in such setting, I would not pin that on the school, that would be on her.

As far as attributing performance... I would say that the school is a great environment for her to be given material to learn, that she is exposed mostly to what she needs to be exposed to, and most importantly that she is a very hard worker. Her performance is well earned, and the school pushed her to do that. I don't think I would have. I also have to say that most parents think the rigor in these programs can be too high, developmentally, especially in the early grades. I did agree with that in K and maybe 1st grade, but in later grades, not so much. It's just a lot of work.

Nudelkopf

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I'm a high school teacher. I have a 14 year old girl who was homeschooled up til HS. Sure, she gets straight As but she's not a very nice human.

She refuses to sit next to certain kids (the black ones).. and purely brcause she was raised in seclusion by racists.

Given our school is about 30% Indigenous,  this is ridiculous.  Of course, I make her sit next to certain kids on purpose.

So, don't homeschool your kids if you're weird.

frooglepoodle

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Reading this have been so informative!! I'm interested in homeschooling our son due to my own experience in public school (above average academically even in gifted/magnet classes and so never learned a work ethic until college, all my siblings were the same way) and my desire to avoid that for my own child(ren). My husband has serious reservations so we may end up with the hybrid approach someone mentioned upthread where we homeschool some years but not others.

Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences!


Lepetitange3

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Also, lets bear in mind that all public schools in the United States are not created equally.  So while I do combo and that works for me, it's only because the local school is decent, and the teachers are engaged and good with their students. If they were not, I would be full time homeschooling without hesitation.

 Plus if you child's in a gifted program, your view on public schooling will be really skewed.  My kid qualifies for gifted, but they don't have it as a program at school to even offer her until grade6,

Shane

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Thanks, everyone, for your comments! I've enjoyed reading through them all.

Our 8 year old daughter went to kindergarten and first grade at one public school in the US, then the first semester of 2nd grade at another public school, before we pulled her out to start slow traveling around the world in December, 2016.

Since our family started traveling, our daughter spent a month attending a regular public school in Japan, and now we've got her enrolled in a small English language international school in Vietnam for 2.5 months. In between short stints in school we've experimented with varying degrees of attempting to actively teach our daughter things and just facilitating her learning by exposing her to various experiences, reading to her every day and talking and playing together as a family.

In two weeks we're moving from Vietnam to Malaysia, where we're planning to try out some more home/unschooling ideas we've been reading about. Looking forward to following along with this thread to see what other comments MMMers have. I look forward to reading more about what adults who were homeschooled as kids have to say about their experiences, what worked, didn't work well, etc., and also hearing about the experiences of other home/unschooling families.

LadyStache in Baja

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Homeschooling has been the best thing that ever happened to our family, and I am grateful every single day for it.   

^^This. I've heard this from several sources. There's something to it that goes beyond just "Are we ticking off the academic boxes?" or "Are we educating the kids better than public school?"

I mean we can talk about socialization, or what learning environment is the best for kids, or whether or not a parent is able to teach algebra, but

It's like there's this other question that isn't being asked...

Something like...

Are we living our best life?

or What do we want in life? How do we want to spend our time?

I've heard that homeschooling families appreciate the strong bonds and experiences that come from enjoying all that time together. I know growing up my fondest memories were at "The Lake"...this cabin in Wisconsin that we'd go to every summer with all my aunts and uncles. We played a ton of board games and backyard volleyball. My mom's family had been going to the exact same location since she was 14. And then we all grew up going there.

I wonder if homeschooling is kind of like that. We could ask the question, "Is the Lake the best way to learn volleyball?" And I would say, well it depends what your goal is. If your goal is to play college ball, then no. If your goal is to advance your volleyball skills to the highest level, no. If your goal is to advance your ability to have fun with a group of people of mixed abilities, some who are superstars, and others who mostly suck, then YES, the Lake is the best way to learn volleyball.

I think the last one is actually the most applicable for "real life". I play volleyball now, on a casual level, with friends. My highschool training makes it damn fun to be skilled. And my Lake training means I can chill out and not have a melt-down when others screw up easy passes, and be able to laugh.

I think Life is like that in general....as a type A high-achieving, Top Student, the biggest thing I've had to learn after school is that no one gives a shit how smart I am, most of the time. But my ability to have fun while doing hard things with other people of different abilities is key.

So does this help shed light on what question we should even be asking? I know that the relationships I've cultivated with my aunts and uncles from having that week-long immersion with them are so much stronger and more rewarding than the relationships with the aunts and uncles on the other side of the family who we only saw for holidays.

At the end of the day, what's the most important? Algebra or relationships?

I'd argue the latter. Especially since we don't know what our kids will grow up to be. Of course we want to give them the academic foundation so that they're free to choose engineer, teacher or hairdresser. But really, the only common ground between all the possible life choices is relationships. Some may need algebra, some may not, but we will all need relationships.

Of course I fully intend on teaching them algebra, but are we gaining something magical that only homeschooling can give us, in the same way that that sweet, unrushed, unstructured time at the Lake as a family gave us something magical?





Psychstache

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So, don't homeschool your have kids if you're weird believe in racial superiority.

FTFY

Lepetitange3

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OP- you've hit the nail on the head.  The unrushed, magical time we spend learning together is a main reason I do the combo homeschool/public school.  I would love to switch to entirely homeschool some days but DD1 loves to socialize and it's taxing on her introverted siblings if they have to be all of the socialization ;) I taught college pre FIRE so I'm a big proponent of ensuring you're actually educating your kids when you homeschool.  But especially in elementary years where homeschool is easy, and relationships with your child are building that foundation that lasts forever- very worth it.

mxt0133

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I look forward to reading more about what adults who were homeschooled as kids have to say about their experiences, what worked, didn't work well, etc., and also hearing about the experiences of other home/unschooling families.

There is a blog that I follow that has a series of interviews about how unschooled kids turned out as adults.  Read it with a grain of salt as it is participants were voluntary and not a controlled longitudinal study.  I still found it a good read of how unschooled/homeschooled kids navigated secondary education and entered adulthood.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201406/survey-grown-unschoolers-i-overview-findings

Dicey

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So, don't homeschool your have kids if you're weird believe in racial superiority.

FTFY
♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

Shane

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I look forward to reading more about what adults who were homeschooled as kids have to say about their experiences, what worked, didn't work well, etc., and also hearing about the experiences of other home/unschooling families.

There is a blog that I follow that has a series of interviews about how unschooled kids turned out as adults.  Read it with a grain of salt as it is participants were voluntary and not a controlled longitudinal study.  I still found it a good read of how unschooled/homeschooled kids navigated secondary education and entered adulthood.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201406/survey-grown-unschoolers-i-overview-findings

Thanks, mxt0133. That article was interesting.

BTW, would you please post a link to the blog you mentioned?

Here are links to follow up articles by the same author describing results of the survey of unschoolers in more detail in case anyone in the group may be interested in reading them:

Survey of Grown Unschoolers II

Survey of Grown Unschoolers III

Survey of Grown Unschoolers IV

Have you or anyone reading this, by any chance, read Peter Gray's book, Free to Learn? Looks interesting, so I'm thinking of buying the Kindle version.

Here's a summary of Free to Learn... from Amazon:

Quote
Our children spend their days being passively instructed, and made to sit still and take tests—often against their will. We call this imprisonment schooling, yet wonder why kids become bored and misbehave. Even outside of school children today seldom play and explore without adult supervision, and are afforded few opportunities to control their own lives. The result: anxious, unfocused children who see schooling—and life—as a series of hoops to struggle through.

In Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that our children, if free to pursue their own interests through play, will not only learn all they need to know, but will do so with energy and passion. Children come into this world burning to learn, equipped with the curiosity, playfulness, and sociability to direct their own education. Yet we have squelched such instincts in a school model originally developed to indoctrinate, not to promote intellectual growth.

To foster children who will thrive in today's constantly changing world, we must entrust them to steer their own learning and development. Drawing on evidence from anthropology, psychology, and history, Gray demonstrates that free play is the primary means by which children learn to control their lives, solve problems, get along with peers, and become emotionally resilient. This capacity to learn through play evolved long ago, in hunter-gatherer bands where children acquired the skills of the culture through their own initiatives. And these instincts still operate remarkably well today, as studies at alternative, democratically administered schools show. When children are in charge of their own education, they learn better—and at lower cost than the traditional model of coercive schooling.

A brave, counterintuitive proposal for freeing our children from the shackles of the curiosity-killing institution we call school, Free to Learn suggests that it's time to stop asking what's wrong with our children, and start asking what's wrong with the system. It shows how we can act—both as parents and as members of society—to improve children's lives and promote their happiness and learning.

Dicey

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I look forward to reading more about what adults who were homeschooled as kids have to say about their experiences, what worked, didn't work well, etc., and also hearing about the experiences of other home/unschooling families.
When I cited The Frugal Girl upthread, I'd forgotten that she was homeschooled herself. She writes about her experience here:

http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2017/02/lunch-kristen-homeschool/

Shane

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I look forward to reading more about what adults who were homeschooled as kids have to say about their experiences, what worked, didn't work well, etc., and also hearing about the experiences of other home/unschooling families.
When I cited The Frugal Girl upthread, I'd forgotten that she was homeschooled herself. She writes about her experience here:

http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2017/02/lunch-kristen-homeschool/

Thanks Dicey. I'll check it out.

Trifele

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Also, lets bear in mind that all public schools in the United States are not created equally.  So while I do combo and that works for me, it's only because the local school is decent, and the teachers are engaged and good with their students. If they were not, I would be full time homeschooling without hesitation.

 Plus if you child's in a gifted program, your view on public schooling will be really skewed.  My kid qualifies for gifted, but they don't have it as a program at school to even offer her until grade6,

Bingo.   Schools vary widely. If you have a high-achieving kid and a gifted program in the public school, you are probably in a good spot.  Our district, on the other hand, was extremely anti-gifted.   Not only was there no gifted/enrichment program, but teachers and faculty actually refused to let our son work at his level.  It was against their philosophy.  We had a very bad year (2nd grade) before we gave up and pulled him out to homeschool.  In retrospect I am grateful, because without that we never would have homeschooled.


 

milliemchi

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Our district, on the other hand, was extremely anti-gifted.   Not only was there no gifted/enrichment program, but teachers and faculty actually refused to let our son work at his level.  It was against their philosophy.   

Wow...

ETA: It likely wasn't a philosophy problem, but laziness. Designing individualized curricula is a lot of work.  So maybe people do have  a point talking about teachers being lazy and inadequate. I never experienced that in my limited sample of two (selective enrollment) schools, nor have I heard people complain about teachers in regular public schools.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 07:50:50 AM by milliemchi »

Lepetitange3

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I'm not sure the teachers are "lazy" but more that their job is to do one set curriculum and teach the whole class.  It's not their job nor are they paid to spend their nights and weekends making extra stuff for a handful of kids.  Given that we treat and pay teachers very poorly, it's not like we are motivating them to make the extra time and effort AND unpaid at that.  If your boss asked you to do extra work for free, would you?

milliemchi

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I'm not sure the teachers are "lazy" but more that their job is to do one set curriculum and teach the whole class.  It's not their job nor are they paid to spend their nights and weekends making extra stuff for a handful of kids.  Given that we treat and pay teachers very poorly, it's not like we are motivating them to make the extra time and effort AND unpaid at that.  If your boss asked you to do extra work for free, would you?

Well, your question is beside the point as I regularly do extra work when my boss asks me to (and also when he doesn't). :)  But - my impression is that it's the norm for the teachers to spend the day in school, then the night grading or whatever. That's why it's a hard job. Individualizing the curriculum, to a point, is part of their job. Even (and especially) at gifted programs, students vary widely in ability. Teachers in our district average ~$70K though. We're in Chicago, and the school system allegedly performs poorly, so maybe the other half of the system is truly crappy.

Lepetitange3

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K12 Teachers in this area are the most highly paid in the state I live in and they make 35k.  There's also no tenure in this state, so all their contracts are year to year.  This make sure it difficult for even veteran teachers to get mortgages etc.  In terms of what the previous poster was referencing, where they had no gifted program so the teachers weren't gifted teachers just regular classroom ones, they would be taking time away from their family and their own time doing extra tasks to differentiate for that student.  Teachers who are passionate would probably do so, those who view it as a job like any other, probably more unlikely.  The broader point was we tend to expect teachers to do a lot for very little.  Chicago teachers might make more $$ but it's also a higher cost of living area.

Lepetitange3

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Google also tells me that Chicago teachers are the highest paid in the country!!  So hoping you're getting some bang for your buck !

Gin1984

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Just wanted to chime in again to say -- I agree that homeschooling parents need to be honest about what they can and can't effectively teach.  However with internet access, local groups, and tutors there are basically limitless resources out there now for homeschooling families.  A lack of expertise in a certain subject should absolutely NOT hold back a family from trying homeschooling.  Our DS, now 14, has been learning Spanish and Latin for the past couple of years.  Neither DH or I ever had those subjects.   She's driving it herself (using online tools and a tutor for Latin) and she's crushing it.  That's the other thing that happens with homeschooling -- the kids reach a tipping point where they know how to learn something, and they can drive the process themselves.  It's awesome to watch.   

We also did the "combo" approach for three years (homeschool, but kids took 1 or 2 classes at the public school).  For us that was the sweet spot.  The kids got to do things that are difficult to get when homeschooling (think orchestra or drama club), but got to do their academics at home, on their own schedule and their own level.  And avoid the negative aspects of public school.  It was really sweet.

Homeschooling has been the best thing that ever happened to our family, and I am grateful every single day for it.   
Would you mind posting what she is using?

Trifele

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Just wanted to chime in again to say -- I agree that homeschooling parents need to be honest about what they can and can't effectively teach.  However with internet access, local groups, and tutors there are basically limitless resources out there now for homeschooling families.  A lack of expertise in a certain subject should absolutely NOT hold back a family from trying homeschooling.  Our DS, now 14, has been learning Spanish and Latin for the past couple of years.  Neither DH or I ever had those subjects.   She's driving it herself (using online tools and a tutor for Latin) and she's crushing it.  That's the other thing that happens with homeschooling -- the kids reach a tipping point where they know how to learn something, and they can drive the process themselves.  It's awesome to watch.   

We also did the "combo" approach for three years (homeschool, but kids took 1 or 2 classes at the public school).  For us that was the sweet spot.  The kids got to do things that are difficult to get when homeschooling (think orchestra or drama club), but got to do their academics at home, on their own schedule and their own level.  And avoid the negative aspects of public school.  It was really sweet.

Homeschooling has been the best thing that ever happened to our family, and I am grateful every single day for it.   
Would you mind posting what she is using?

Sure -- for Spanish she has been using Duolingo for the past couple of years plus she gets her conversation practice in with other volunteers at the food pantry where she works :).  We're hoping to get her into a more structured Spanish class next year when she is age-eligible for the local community college.  For Latin she is in a class with other homeschoolers taught by a retired Catholic school Latin teacher.  I believe their textbook is Henle.     

Trifele

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Our district, on the other hand, was extremely anti-gifted.   Not only was there no gifted/enrichment program, but teachers and faculty actually refused to let our son work at his level.  It was against their philosophy.   

Wow...

ETA: It likely wasn't a philosophy problem, but laziness. Designing individualized curricula is a lot of work.  So maybe people do have  a point talking about teachers being lazy and inadequate.

Yeah, it wasn't just the teacher. We met with the school principal, and also a district administrator.   We were basically told "We have no program or resources for kids who need to work above grade level.  The teacher has 24 kids and cannot be spending extra time on your kid."    For the kids who were struggling, yes there were resources -- extra help and even some one-on-one tutoring.  For kids who needed more challenge on the other hand, nada.  So sad.  If we had had a private school or a Catholic school nearby we probably would have tried one of those, but we were in a small town.  Our choices were only public school or homeschool. 
 

FINate

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Interested because we are considering this as well. Kids are in 1st and TK. Their school is wonderful and a great experience so far. But I don't like the rigid schedule and my sense is that a significant percentage of the school day is wasted. Not the fault of anyone, just the realities of herding that many kids in classes of 30 students while keeping to the schedule.

The homeschooled kids we know are quite bright and, according to the parent(s) their schoolwork is done in 2-3 hours of intensive 1:1 or 1:2 time each day.

I'd also really like to incorporate travel into their education, especially as they get into California and US history in the 3rd and 4th grades, and hands-on science while out in nature - would much rather show them valley glaciation in person, the moraines left behind, and how species evolved to adapt, etc.

They get plenty of socialization at church and with extended family, so not worried about that part of it.

cookielover

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I don't intent to offend anybody.

However, personally, I never understand why someone would do homeschooling when there are many other options - moving to a better school district if you are not happy with your current school district, private schools, curriculum enhancement options,  etc. 

Dicey

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Our choices were only public school or homeschool.
You could always do both.

My cousins grew up in their father's homeland. Their American mom was always worried they'd get transferred back to the US. She tutored them after school, using her friend's children's American textbooks. It never happened, but both kids went to college in the US. Son got his bachelor's and master's degrees at Harvard and Daughter got into Stanford, but parents said no to "liberal" West Coast Schools, so she went somewhere on the East Coast (can't remember at the moment). She became an MD, joined the Air Force and rose to the rank of full bird colonel. As adults, they have traveled the world, each lived in multiple countries and speak half a dozen languages fluently. They sure benefitted from the extra attention.

Trifele

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Our choices were only public school or homeschool.
You could always do both.


@Dicey -- Yep, absolutely agree.  And we did -- see my other post above.  For three years we did the "combo" because the public school district allowed homeschoolers to take up to two classes.  That was great.  Also -- homeschooling is not a one-way street.  You can always send a kid back to public school if/when they want to go.

@Cookielover -- there were no other options in our small town.  There were no private schools or Catholic schools within a 25 mile radius.  Our only options in our small town were (1) the single public school district, or (2) homeschool. (Unless we had been able to move, which we were not.  Elderly/disabled relatives depending on us at that time).  We knew absolutely nothing about homeschooling, and fell into it in desperation as our only other option.   And it has been the biggest and best surprise of my life so far.   It's been wonderful. 

@LadyStache OP -- Yes.  You nailed it.  For us at least, homeschooling has made our family life so much better in the big picture.  It goes far beyond an educational issue.   It changes your whole family dynamic, frees you up from the schedule constraints of public/private school, brings you closer together, and teaches you things you never, ever would have learned otherwise. 

ETA, @FINate -- Yes, travel is also a big part of it!   We love to travel, and travel is superb education. Being free from the school calendar opens up all sorts of options.  Love it!         
« Last Edit: June 10, 2017, 06:38:12 PM by Trifele »

startingsmall

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I don't intent to offend anybody.

However, personally, I never understand why someone would do homeschooling when there are many other options - moving to a better school district if you are not happy with your current school district, private schools, curriculum enhancement options,  etc.

Those options aren't always practical options for everyone. In my area, we would have to move a considerable distance to get into a better school district and that is not practical at this time for a variety of reasons. There are a few private schools in my area, but they exist solely for the purpose of sheltering religious fundamentalists, not for providing a higher-quality education. I still doubt that my husband and I will ever homeschool, but we're actually researching some of the online schooling options for gifted children 'just in case.'

justchecking

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I used to teach high school and hold two degrees in education.  I have taught public and private and can honestly say that being an involved parent the two are extremely comparable.  I went to public school in a small town in the country and it was not the best, but I just graduated from an Ivy league school with my second graduate degree.  With all of this being said I would say that you should not home school your children.  Let me come at this from two different angles though that you might not have thought about.  My take on being MMM is that of efficiency and the division of labor is a huge part of that.  I would not expect someone to home doctor their children or spend time learning the glories that is waste water treatment so that they could do it themselves.  Allowing people who are competent and educated take care of a complicated task is something that is efficient.  Some of you may be saying well the MMM lifestyle is all about self reliance and being an autodidact.  To you I say that education is like becoming a master carpenter.  Of course you have to start somewhere, but your first set of wooden saw horses are not going to be nearly good enough to merit the confidence of someone looking to build a whole house.  The amount of reading and understanding it takes to be a competent educator is massive.  There is a reason that people go to school for it.  Even if you throw all of this learning out the window and say that you are a smart capable person who can roll with the punches and be above average, long term studies over several decades show that a teacher does not become a competent, let alone, a master teacher until they have 5-7 years of experience.  Are you willing to risk 5-7 years of your child's life while you figure out what works.  Let alone trying to shift each year to a new grade level and creating new lessons.  Why put yourself through the headache.  Be smart about it and choose good public schools and seek out good master teachers.  You are paying for these schools anyway why not use them.

pbkmaine

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Homeschooling with my mother would not have worked for me, but it would have been a blast with my dad. I was just SO BORED in school. I read the first grade reader the first day, and it was all downhill from there. I did not need to be taught - I just soaked it up. My dad found an extremely academic school for me for high school and I thrived there, but grades K thru 8 were a huge waste of time.

mxt0133

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The amount of reading and understanding it takes to be a competent educator is massive.  There is a reason that people go to school for it.

I agree with your statement but you assume that majority of teachers are competent educators.  Apparently you have never been to the schools I've been to, because the teachers I had did not fit the bill of these so called 'master teachers' you are describing.  The people I graduated with that went to college that could not get jobs in industry went into teaching because all you needed was a degree and a 6 week teaching certificate course that did not even cover the subject you were supposed to teach.  It covered class room management, rules, and regulations.  These were the C students and they had no business teaching at all.  The saying, "those that can't do, teach" applies to most of the teacher where I grew up with, think low performing urban schools.  Obviously there are great teachers out there, but what happens when you get a teacher that is not this "master teacher"?

For the competent teachers that are out there, how much time to they have to dedicate to classroom management, disruptive students, or students that have so much domestic issues that school is just not their priority?  What good is all that competency if they can't exercise it when the student to teacher ration is 1:25-30?


Even if you throw all of this learning out the window and say that you are a smart capable person who can roll with the punches and be above average, long term studies over several decades show that a teacher does not become a competent, let alone, a master teacher until they have 5-7 years of experience.
...
Be smart about it and choose good public schools and seek out good master teachers. 

Your argument is based on the idea that having master teachers is a necessity to have a good education.  I believe that it is also important to create an environment were a student can pursue their interests at their own pace and not be forced to follow a fixed curriculum that is tailored to the mean.  What if the student does better learning subjects when it is done for a whole day or a whole week?  How does it benefit him when he is forced to do english, then math, then history, then science for only 40 minute blocks.  How would you perform if you did not have autonomy at your job and they told you that in the morning you have to do task A for an hour, then task B for an hour, then task C next, even if you were not able to complete it or where in a middle of something important needed your full attention?

I would even say that homeshooling allows you to find that master teacher for a given subject where in a public school you are pretty much stuck to what ever teacher is employed at the school your child is attending.

Why put yourself through the headache. 

For some parents, teaching their child is not actually a headache but a pleasure.  Again it's not just only academics, for most it's about lifestyle and not having a prescribed school schedule to follow.  There is no right or wrong answer, there are just pro's and con's and it is based on the individual family and student to see what fits them the best.


As an educator, I would like to know your take on how for most of human history we did not have 'school' but yet we were able to still advance as a species?


GoConfidently

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Regarding this:
As an educator, I would like to know your take on how for most of human history we did not have 'school' but yet we were able to still advance as a species?

Not the previous poster, but as another educator I would say that the development of formal education systems is a huge factor in how we escaped the Middle Ages in the western world. I don't think you're really advocating a return to a time when education was a privilege reserved for the uber-wealthy and male population only.

For many many children, there is a right and wrong when it comes to school. Not all parents have the ability, patience, discipline, or resources to provide what their children need academically. And that's ok but only if those parents put their child's development above their own schedule and lifestyle preferences.

Shane

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It's not necessary to go back as far as the Middle Ages. As recently as just a couple of hundred years ago in the U.S., most Americans didn't go to school but, yet, somehow many of them seemed to learn more than most kids learn today. Have you ever read letters written and sent home by soldiers fighting in the Civil War? It's amazing how well they wrote back then compared to today.

Abraham Lincoln never went to school, but he sure seemed to turn out okay. From Wikipedia:

Quote
Abraham spent his formative years, from the age of 7 to 21, on the family farm in Southern Indiana. As was common on the frontier, Lincoln received a meager formal education, the aggregate of which may have been less than twelve months. However, Lincoln continued to learn on his own from life experiences and through reading and reciting what he had read or heard from others.

Shane

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Here's an excerpt from a talk given by Daniel Quinn called, "Schooling - The Hidden Agenda". Full text is available here.

Quote
Granted that the schools do a poor job of preparing children for a successful and fulfilling life in our civilization, but what things do they do excellently well? Well, to begin with, they do a superb job of keeping young people out of the job market. Instead of becoming wage-earners at age twelve or fourteen, they remain consumers only – and they consume billions of dollars worth of merchandise, using money that their parents earn. Just imagine what would happen to our economy if overnight the high schools closed their doors. Instead of having fifty million active consumers out there, we would suddenly have fifty million unemployed youth. It would be nothing short of an economic catastrophe.

Of course the situation was very different two hundred years ago, when we were still a primarily agrarian society. Youngsters were expected and needed to become workers at age ten, eleven, and twelve. For the masses, a fourth, fifth, or sixth-grade education was deemed perfectly adequate. But as the character of our society changed, fewer youngsters were needed for farm work, and the enactment of child-labor laws soon made it impossible to put ten-, eleven-, and twelve-year-olds to work in factories. It was necessary to keep them off the streets – and where better than in schools? Naturally, new material had to be inserted into the curriculum to fill up the time. It didn’t much matter what it was. Have them memorize the capitals of every state. Have them memorize the principle products of every state. Have them learn the steps a bill takes in passing Congress. No one wondered or cared if these were things kids wanted to know or needed to know – or would ever need to know. No one wondered or ever troubled to find out if the material being added to the curriculum was retained. The educators didn’t want to know, and, really, what difference would it make? It didn’t matter that, once learned, they were immediately forgotten. It filled up some time. The law decreed that an eighth-grade education was essential for every citizen, and so curriculum writers provided material needed for an eighth-grade education.

Lepetitange3

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I was a college professor before FIRE...homeschool kids do just fine, oftentimes better than their "traditionally" schooled peers when they reach that level.  Competency does matter, but especially in the lower grades, parents can be very capable.  Parents willing to find their children the right learning resources can handle most things just fine, regardless of how your kids are schooled.  I mean I hope if your child was failing algebra, you'd be finding them an online program or a tutor?  That's homeschooling.  If you're helping your child with homework at night, you're essentially doing some schooling.  If you find yourself having to re-teach what they should have been taught at school, you may even begin to possess a reasonable suspicion you're more competent than your child's teacher. Yes, true master educators are amazing and will do your child or any student a world of good.  But they are very rare, and you may only run into one or two in a lifetime in school. 

gaja

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Posting to follow! My son isn't 2 yet but I'm interested in the prospect of homeschooling him when he gets to school age.

Home schooling or not, you can work with a 2 year old and start doing amazing things.
Sign language can be taught at any age with ease.
Swimming is super easy
ANd even reading can be done by age 2. They may not speak the words perfectly, but they understand them.

Start teaching now, and cut  out TV :D

We didn't do sign language as my husband was concerned it would stunt verbal development (this is based a family member's experience, but the consensus is that the issue was the family member, not the sign language, but it wasn't my hill to die on!) but my son loves to read books and we're working on counting and colors in a very informal way as he grows his vocabulary.
These prejudices and myths have destroyed the lives of a lot of deaf people. For a long time, they were not allowed to use their language in school, and instead of learning the curriculum, they spent all their time trying to read lips and learning to vocalise spoken languages. There is plenty of research on this area, and everything I've seen points to the benefits of being understood, the benefits of trainting the brain to understand different languages, and the benefits of using and connecting larger parts of the brain (visual languages connect the visual part of the brain to the language center, while spoken languges connect the hearing center to the language center). The only time learning several languages can be negative for a child, is if they end up with not learning at least one language perfectly.

For hearing children, they get the spoken languages almost by osmosis. For them, sign language is just a bonus with no known negative side.

GoConfidently

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It's not necessary to go back as far as the Middle Ages. As recently as just a couple of hundred years ago in the U.S., most Americans didn't go to school but, yet, somehow many of them seemed to learn more than most kids learn today. Have you ever read letters written and sent home by soldiers fighting in the Civil War? It's amazing how well they wrote back then compared to today.

Abraham Lincoln never went to school, but he sure seemed to turn out okay. From Wikipedia:

Quote
Abraham spent his formative years, from the age of 7 to 21, on the family farm in Southern Indiana. As was common on the frontier, Lincoln received a meager formal education, the aggregate of which may have been less than twelve months. However, Lincoln continued to learn on his own from life experiences and through reading and reciting what he had read or heard from others.

Again, you're ignoring huge segments of the population that were uneducated and completely illiterate, whose lack of education prevented them from having any sort of socio-economic mobility (many times physical mobility as well in the case of so many slaves you somehow forgot in your good ole days comment up there). Stop romanticising the past.

frooglepoodle

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Posting to follow! My son isn't 2 yet but I'm interested in the prospect of homeschooling him when he gets to school age.

Home schooling or not, you can work with a 2 year old and start doing amazing things.
Sign language can be taught at any age with ease.
Swimming is super easy
ANd even reading can be done by age 2. They may not speak the words perfectly, but they understand them.

Start teaching now, and cut  out TV :D

We didn't do sign language as my husband was concerned it would stunt verbal development (this is based a family member's experience, but the consensus is that the issue was the family member, not the sign language, but it wasn't my hill to die on!) but my son loves to read books and we're working on counting and colors in a very informal way as he grows his vocabulary.
These prejudices and myths have destroyed the lives of a lot of deaf people. For a long time, they were not allowed to use their language in school, and instead of learning the curriculum, they spent all their time trying to read lips and learning to vocalise spoken languages. There is plenty of research on this area, and everything I've seen points to the benefits of being understood, the benefits of trainting the brain to understand different languages, and the benefits of using and connecting larger parts of the brain (visual languages connect the visual part of the brain to the language center, while spoken languges connect the hearing center to the language center). The only time learning several languages can be negative for a child, is if they end up with not learning at least one language perfectly.

For hearing children, they get the spoken languages almost by osmosis. For them, sign language is just a bonus with no known negative side.

I agree, especially having seen the benefits in my friends' children. I'll most likely use sign language with any more children we have. According to my MIL, the family member whose child had delayed verbal development hardly ever spoke to her child and any time the child spent time around other adults she made huge progress. She's a very difficult person and I think my husband tends to miss that SOME of the things she does are actually good ideas. :-/

Broadway2019

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Also, kids need to be separated from their parents regularly, and parents need to find something else to do all day, IMO. In the long run, that may be healthier for everyone, I think, and I'm speaking from a sample size of zero.

The image of keeping kids in the basement or home all day really is a tough one for people to get past when the word homeschooling is mentioned.

Oh, that's not what I had in mind. It's more that I think parents need to develop other interests besides their children.

I agree as well with you. When I was growing up two kids on my block were homeschooled and had trouble playing with others and such. They did not have social skills. There are a lot of resources today as everyone as mentioned, but why would you go through the all the trouble when there is a system in place? I don't see many parents who could possibly do a better job teaching every subject than what is already there. They may be strong in some areas but most adults I have encountered can (even in my financial job) can barely do math. Also, if you are concerned with the school system you could always be more involved to make the school better for everyone or more involved in your kids schoolwork. I just can't understand how parents would want to stay home, teach all the subject material (not just want interests them) for 8 hours a day, take the kids to socialize and events. The school system is already set up with teachers who teach specific grades/subjects, follow a curriculum, give time for socializing, and have extra activities (camp, aftercare, sports, etc.). I played sports and could not imagine not going to school.

Maybe I just was in great schools and lived in a good area, however, not sure why someone with 1 kid let alone 4 kids would want that burden.

Shane

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It's not necessary to go back as far as the Middle Ages. As recently as just a couple of hundred years ago in the U.S., most Americans didn't go to school but, yet, somehow many of them seemed to learn more than most kids learn today. Have you ever read letters written and sent home by soldiers fighting in the Civil War? It's amazing how well they wrote back then compared to today.

Abraham Lincoln never went to school, but he sure seemed to turn out okay. From Wikipedia:

Quote
Abraham spent his formative years, from the age of 7 to 21, on the family farm in Southern Indiana. As was common on the frontier, Lincoln received a meager formal education, the aggregate of which may have been less than twelve months. However, Lincoln continued to learn on his own from life experiences and through reading and reciting what he had read or heard from others.

Again, you're ignoring huge segments of the population that were uneducated and completely illiterate, whose lack of education prevented them from having any sort of socio-economic mobility (many times physical mobility as well in the case of so many slaves you somehow forgot in your good ole days comment up there). Stop romanticising the past.

Slaves didn't learn to read and write because it was illegal for anyone to teach them.

For sure, there are some cases where it absolutely makes more sense to send kids to a public school than to let them learn on their own at home under the guidance of their parents, e.g., parents are mentally ill, parents are illiterate, parents are racist sociopaths, etc., but my guess is most people reading this thread probably don't fall into any (many?) of those categories. lol.

Broadway2019

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I don't intent to offend anybody.

However, personally, I never understand why someone would do homeschooling when there are many other options - moving to a better school district if you are not happy with your current school district, private schools, curriculum enhancement options,  etc.

I 100% agree. There is a system already designed to give a broad education across different subject matter. Why put the burden on yourself? In this country, you can just pick up and move to any school district or go to charter/private schools. Not to mention the social aspect and learning to work out differences with others.

LadyStache in Baja

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Also, kids need to be separated from their parents regularly, and parents need to find something else to do all day, IMO. In the long run, that may be healthier for everyone, I think, and I'm speaking from a sample size of zero.

The image of keeping kids in the basement or home all day really is a tough one for people to get past when the word homeschooling is mentioned.

Oh, that's not what I had in mind. It's more that I think parents need to develop other interests besides their children.

I agree as well with you. When I was growing up two kids on my block were homeschooled and had trouble playing with others and such. They did not have social skills. There are a lot of resources today as everyone as mentioned, but why would you go through the all the trouble when there is a system in place? I don't see many parents who could possibly do a better job teaching every subject than what is already there. They may be strong in some areas but most adults I have encountered can (even in my financial job) can barely do math.

This does not speak well for our public school system.

Also, if you are concerned with the school system you could always be more involved to make the school better for everyone or more involved in your kids schoolwork. I just can't understand how parents would want to stay home, teach all the subject material (not just want interests them) for 8 hours a day,

Many homeschoolers say they're able to complete the entire school day in just 2-3 hours. This is because so much of school is shuffling people between classes,
 getting people into their desks, transitioning every hour from subject to subject, and of course just discipline issues of trying to keep 30 people on task. With 1 parent and only 4 kids, the kids don't to wait their turn after 20 other kids to get help and move past any blocks. Also, most homeschooled kids do a lot of self-directed learning. That means mom is maybe in the kitchen making dinner while kids are studying, and then mom comes and helps if kid gets stuck.


 take the kids to socialize and events.

I think this is mostly just life and what we do. So hang out with friends, family, and cousins. Not really a burden.

The school system is already set up with teachers who teach specific grades/subjects, follow a curriculum, give time for socializing, and have extra activities (camp, aftercare, sports, etc.). I played sports and could not imagine not going to school.

 Yes I agree, I loved school sports!

Maybe I just was in great schools and lived in a good area, however, not sure why someone with 1 kid let alone 4 kids would want that burden.

Not burden, but rather opportunity. I guess for the same reason I wanted kids at all. I mean you might as well say, "Life is great as a child-free couple,
why would anybody want to take on the burden of raising kids".
« Last Edit: June 11, 2017, 09:44:22 AM by LadyStache in Baja »