Author Topic: Home Schooling  (Read 34791 times)

ASquared

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Home Schooling
« 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!

Joan-eh?

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #1 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.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #2 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/

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #3 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. 

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #4 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.

homehandymum

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2014, 12:51:37 AM »
^^^  Everything that everyone else has already said.

One of my favourite homeschooling authors is John Holt.

Nudelkopf

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #6 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.
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... 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
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You are required to provide an annual written report on the educational progress of your child.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #7 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 :)

Gin1984

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #8 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? 

Briansmama

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #9 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.


ASquared

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #10 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.

Milspecstache

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #11 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.

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #12 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.

greaper007

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #13 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.

homehandymum

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #14 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.  :)

Briansmama

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #15 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).

Gin1984

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #16 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.

FunkyStickman

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #17 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.

homehandymum

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #18 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)

Briansmama

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #19 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).

homehandymum

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #20 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.

goatmom

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #21 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. 

thepokercab

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #22 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?   

homehandymum

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #23 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.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 06:49:18 PM by homehandymum »

Bookworm

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #24 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. :)

Joshin

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #25 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.

Dicey

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #26 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.

Gin1984

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #27 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. 

goatmom

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #28 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.

Briansmama

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #29 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.

Gin1984

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #30 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. 

Briansmama

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #31 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!

thepokercab

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #32 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.   

Briansmama

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #33 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.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #34 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.

1967mama

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #35 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. 

clarkai

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #36 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.

Jules13

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #37 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.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #38 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.

Jules13

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #39 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!

thepokercab

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #40 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! 

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #41 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.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #42 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.

Gin1984

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #43 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.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #44 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.

momo5

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #45 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.

Bruce

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #46 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/

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #47 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.

okonumiyaki

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #48 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. 

« Last Edit: May 26, 2014, 01:23:28 AM by okonumiyaki »

waltworks

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Re: Home Schooling
« Reply #49 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