HOMESCHOOL

July 8, 2013

Last night I got caught up in the terrifying world of high school girls on Facebook. One post from a cousin of mine led me down a spiral of who said what to who, who likes what, and the horrifying way in which high school aged girls talk to and treat one another. I came downstairs in somewhat of a panic as I told Nick about what I was reading. The thing is, these girls weren't even being as mean or cruel as you might think- they were just being high school girls. Even before Ruthie was born we talked a lot about homeschooling our children when the time came and I think the first thing I said to Nick last night was, 'Ruthie is not going to school.' Do I want to shelter her? (yes) No, absolutely not. I want her to be exposed to all sorts of people, cultures, kids her age and friends. Do I want to be the one who's giving her information on drugs, sex, violence etc first? Absolutely. Do I want her to be challenged academically and socially? Yes. I want all the same things parents of kids in "normal" school want, I just want to do it a bit differently. 

It's funny how things work. I just got an email from a friend considering homeschool so I figured this was the perfect time to talk a little bit about my feelings on it. First off, Cincinnati is a city rich in homeschooled families, resources and co-ops. I've talked a little bit before about where I teach part time which is the perfect example of a wonderful program and resource for homeschoolers. It's a school for homeschooled families so basically kids can come for a class or 6. The program can be used and tweaked based on each families needs. Kids are getting regular socialization, academics are being fulfilled and parents are still doing their part at home to enrich their child's education. I could go on and on about how wonderful my school is but for now i'll spare you. I will say though, the kids at this school (preschool - high school) are the most kind, warm and overall wonderful kids I've ever been around. I think that alone says something.

Homeschooled kids get such a bad rap generally. People uneducated about today's homeschooled families typically think they're all super religious, plain, and sheltered. I think the modern homeschooled families are anything but. (Not that there is anything wrong with being those things!) They're adventurous, family centric, smart, appreciative, balanced, cultured, creative and happy. Something about having control over how and where my daughter learns is so enticing to our family and as a professional teacher, I'm excited to apply my skills in my own home. I love the idea of our home being where the majority of trial and error, learning, creating and playing will take place for our kids and I also love that we live in a city where we can take frequent trips to museums, parks, the zoo, the theater, art galleries, etc. 

If you homeschool or are thinking about homeschooling what are your reasons? If you are dead set on traditional education, I'd like to hear those reasons too! The beautiful thing is that we can all decide what is best for our kids and families and not all agree that what we might choose is what you should choose too. And know that i've taught in several traditional schools and have nothing against them :)

14 COMMENTS:

  1. the only kids i know who are/were homeschooled were the kids at my church and boy oh boy were they the most socially awkward kids around. i realize that's such a small sampling, but it really turned me off of the whole idea. i had a pretty great high school experience. although apparently my high school was not very typical. there were no 'mean girls' i never saw a single instance of bullying, people were generally friendly. sure, there were moments of anxiety for me, but i think going through those experiences made me a much more outgoing person. i was terrible shy growing up and high school was where i kind of broke out of my shell.
    i love the idea of homeschooling but i honestly don't think i could do it. we'd end up getting ice cream and playing at the park instead of learning :) better leave the teaching to the professionals for me.

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    1. Hi Bri! Yeah, when I was growing up that was how I viewed homeschool kids too but as I've gotten older and been exposed to the community, that couldn't be farther from the actual truth. I had a really wonderful high school experience too and was never bullied or bullied myself. I just think our HS experiences are so rare these days which is such a shame. I'm of course not saying all schools, all kids, etc are mean and will have a negative effect on our kids (not at all actually) but I see the advantages of homeschooling far outweighing the advantages of traditional school. :)

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  2. This is great Linz. Not only do i think that Homeschool has a bad rep, but also being sheltered. I think there can be different ways of being sheltered that don't have to be a bad thing. We can chat more. I, too, judged Homeschoolers, but now, I get it. ...just seeing if it's a fit for me/us.

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    1. I think it's a good idea to explore options no matter where it leads. Being educated about your choices is never a bad thing :)

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  3. Linds I am so excited that you are deciding to homeschool! As a former home schooler I can obviously relate to the stereotypical assumptions of our social capabilities haha but I also know the absolutely fabulous parts of homeschooling. The thing I miss most is the freedom to explore--whatever I wanted and how I wanted to. There is NOTHING about exploration that is not academic, as you know from your Montessori stuff! I felt so much more positively about what education was when I was homeschooled. The museums and "field trips" we went on are memories I have not only because I learned so much but also because I spent them with my family! I remember going to visit old Indian grave sites, or houses that were part of the Underground Railroad--those are the things I look back to when I think of things I want to incorporate in my own classroom.
    I think that if children are homeschooled the right way, and for the right reasons (which your babies will be!) the case will certainly NOT be that they are sheltered, but rather that they are exposed to far more than they could ever be inside a classroom with 30 other kids. National standards are so restricting, and I think that homeschooling is such a great way to expose kids to EVERYTHING our world has to offer--and what they have to offer the world--while still being on target with other kids their age. You are so inspiring, and I can't wait to see how you and nick impact your kids lives!

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    1. Kels, thanks so much for this thoughtful response. I love what you said about exploration being academic. I totally agree. I also agree that showing your kids the world exposes them to way more a classroom could. It's also nice to hear the perspective of someone who was homeschooled, not just other moms who homeschool their kids. You will be an amazing teacher and those kiddos are so lucky to have you! Thanks, Kels!

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  4. Some of my closest friends homeschool, as well as both of my sister in laws. So in many ways I feel like the strange one, but I do not plan to homeschool. Our oldest needs OT and Speech support as well as behavioral adaptations for being on the spectrum. I admire moms who can do it, but at this point it would be too challenging. But I will say that we plan to take schooling a year at a time, and if challenges arise we will certainly consider other options!

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    1. I love your attitude about taking one school year at a time. And if it continues to work well for your son, fantastic! Thanks for your input :)

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  5. I couldn't agree more with all of your points. I pray that my husband's and my schedule and our income will allow for our children to be homeschooled when the time comes. I am willing to sacrifice so much in order to make it work. I just can't see myself feeling comfortable with sending our children to traditional school for so many reasons. It's so nice to know others feel this way too and see homeschooling for what it really can be. I went to public school and it was ok for me, but I believe the education system in the US is deeply flawed. And since being exposed to the many ways education can be viewed, I want more for my kids and I feel like taking it into my own hands is the right thing to do.

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    1. Thanks for your input, Lori! And good for you! I hate that so many parents don't take control of their child's education simply because they don't know other options exist. I hope for you that it works out how you want it to!

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  6. I don't know if it's worth throwing in my perspective because I'm not a parent and I've only just finished University so my head is a long way from earlier education right now, but I thought this post and the comments above are really interesting and I wanted to stick my nose in too!

    On the one hand, I think home-schooling would have lots of virtues, chief amongst them that no where near as much time would be wasted. I spent most of my day on buses, in tutorials, waiting around in corridors and attending assemblies. All that time added up is a huge waste in traditional schools, I think! Second, the curriculum (at least here in England) is really restrictive. I didn't get the opportunity to study the periods of History that I wanted to for example. It doesn't mean that I've completely missed out as I'm now teaching myself, but it would have been nice to have been given the opportunity. Similarly, not being taught how to cook very basic and nutritious meals was a big failing of schools, even though they have Food Technology classes - they don't have the time or equipment, and no one teaches you about budgeting or how to approach market vendors if you want a better deal..! These things can all be better taught at home than at schools and they really are essential life skills to have, in my opinion.

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    1. On the other hand, traditional schooling was really good for me. Although I hated the high school girls and the cattiness of it all too (and fortunately only suffered one year of falling out with the 'mean girls' before I found a way round it all), it really taught me valuable lessons about courage, integrity, recognising when to keep my head down and when to raise it above the parapit - especially in defense of someone else. These are the kinds of skills I don't think I would have learned at home, and finding the right balance between being kind and looking out for the unpopular kid VS avoiding being the one picked on yourself is a really key life skill to develop. I know it sounds cruel but school is so much about survival of the fittest. I know thats exactly what every parent wants to protect their child against, but I think there's a lot to be said for letting kids learn what kind of a person they do and don't want to be and how far they are prepared to see someone bullied before they intervene. No matter how much your parents try to instill those qualities in you, it really is experiencing it that solidifies the whole thing.

      Traditional schooling also taught me some important independence, even when I was between the ages of 5-11. My mother put me on the bus with my older brother (we lived a long way out) so I wasn't on my own, but it did mean that I got used to travelling without my parents, interacting with bus drivers and learning the discipline of time keeping, if only insofar as I had to go to the right meeting point to get on the right bus at 7 years old. Later on in my education it meant I experienced getting on public buses with every kind of person imaginable, being responsible for my day running as it was planned, and my own safety too.

      Ultimately I guess you guys will have to make a decision that feels right for you. All kids face bullying and hating days, months, even years of school. Whilst there's a real scale of extremes, I do think its healthy and a good thing to experience a bit of what school is like, no matter how much you want to protect your child from it. I know I'm not a parent and I don't wish to come across in a patronising-blogger-kind of way, but I think a parents job is to guide and teach a child so that they are prepared for rest of the world as an adult. I think the cattiness and bullying and needing to rely on well-learned social tricks to survive it all is just as necessary at work as it is in the playground, and respectfully, I do wonder how much of this can be taught at home.

      I hope this just adds another perspective and I'm sorry its so long, and I'm sorry too if it is patronising or in any way offensive. Just what I think!

      Flora
      www.twowithseven.blogspot.co.uk

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    2. I really appreciate your insight, Flora. And I agree with most of your points. I think the way I'm approaching schooling at home is a little bit more liberal than what most people think of as homeschool. I still want our kids to be involved in organized, structured education experiences but I just don't want it to be their full time learning environment. For example, I'd like for our daughter to attend a co op or enrichment type school a few days a week while the rest of her learning is done at home or at the museum, park, art gallery, etc, which I hope will give her a chance to experience all of those traditional type learning experiences including the social aspects plus something unique in being able to learn in a comfortable, at her own pace sort of way at home. Does that make sense?

      Again, thanks so much for contributing to the conversation. It's so nice to hear different perspectives!

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  7. Linz... I have always been an advocate of homeschooling. I have spent a lot of time letting other people influence our decision on where our children attend school but the best decision I ever made was the decision to homeschool them. I took a lot of grief from just about everyone but the time I had at home with our 3 children was incredible. I really got to see our daughter excel beyond all of our expectations. I got to be a part of the really important "formative years" for our boys. However, an opportunity arose for me to go back to work in a time of financial need so our children are going back into a traditional school environment this year. I am still a HUGE supporter of homeschooling... I believe a co-op/enrichment type school is an incredible tool that more families should utilize... but I also believe that not every family is the same, nor are the children in it. Homeschooling our oldest would have been a walk in the park compared to homeschooling our youngest. But what works one year may not work the next. It's all about being educated about your options & making the best choice for your family overall. Good luck in the hard decisions you make over the next few years... but cherish the sweet moments that you have now with your little one! (I know you do)

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