Friday, February 19, 2010

Snow Days and Home Schooling

All the days my kids were out of school because of the snow made me think of home schooling – not doing it – just thinking of others who do.

During one of the “snow days,” a friend, who doesn’t have children, asked if I’d “lost it” yet because the kids were home a lot.

“No, surprisingly,” I replied, “They’ve been home so much that it’s beginning to feel like summer vacation.

It prompted me to imagine what it would be like to have them home all the time; to home school them.

It was a fleeting thought...very.

But it did make me think of friends who “do” home school. I began to meet them when my second daughter started taking piano lessons at a studio. Because she was not in school yet, we went during the morning. Older children were there, too; they were the "home-schooled kids. "

I met several home schooling moms at the piano studio over the years; and even one of my girls’ piano teachers home schooled her three daughters.

Another place where I met home schooling moms was at my church. For a few years, while many of us were having babies, I was on the baby shower circuit, and discovered that a few of the new moms planned to home school, and they’re currently doing so.

Before I met these dedicated moms, I don’t know that I gave it much thought. Didn’t wonder why or how, just figured they had their reasons and “nerves of steel.”

Friends who were opponents of home schooling would always mention the “lack of socialization.”

As I began to spend time with home schooling families, I saw some of the most well-behaved, well mannered kids. Not that other kids aren’t, but proportionally, they seem to have more in the “good kids” ranking.

Academically, I’ve only known a few old enough to go to college. They seem to have fared like other kids - some went to the best colleges, some went to average local colleges, one got married, and one went to work.

It’ll be interesting to watch the path of the younger ones – the ones that are the peers of my kids – not that it’s a big deal. I think the home schooling hoopla is over – or is it?

What’s your opinion of home schooling? Do you home school? Do you know others who home school?
More thoughts on multi-level marketing? Page down to the previous post, "The Opportunity."


gal walker said...

A book on Christian conservative home schooling (the main type of home schooling), "Write These Laws on Your Children" got me thinking that there are significant problems with some aspects of home schooling. These concerns are not always related to socialization, except in cases where families live too far from home-school sports and clubs. No, the concern revolves around having only one teacher (most often the mother, rarely the father) for the K-12 years. In this information age, it is extremely difficult for one person (even two) to be expert enough to teach adequately in all the disciplines of education (art, music, history, science, math, language, English composition, information technology, etc) and in all the developmental stages of education, each year from kindergarten to 12th grade [even with purchased curricula]. In addition, when a parent has a specific deficit (like I am no great shakes at math) the child is exposed to year after year of that same deficit. The other concern I have is the narrowness of views taught to the child in many such settings. I believe children should be exposed to a depth and breadth of opinions and beliefs in order to form their own ideas and sense of identity AND to be able to get along in the world as an adult. Simply parroting back what a parent has told them is not true learning: this requires examining and questioning. [I in no way intend to imply that public or aggregate schooling is perfect or even consistently better- it has its faults too).

Anonymous said...

Homeschooling is something that I am going back and forth with in my heart and mind.

My husband would rather them go to school for "socialization" but like you said, these childre ARE well rounded.

I know alot of people who do homeschool are very religious, and quite frankly I am not, but still considering it. Theres a great blog called Dont Blink, this girl, hubs and their 5 kids are on a cross country road trip, she has homeschooled them and still homeschooling but on this journey they are on, she finds differences is what is real and what is being taught in the schools as far as American History goes.

She is pretty darn inspiring!

Great post for all to think about!

Cindy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cindy said...

I'm a big fan of it. I won't take up your comment space to do so but I can refute every point gal walker points out with facts that say otherwise. They are the same old arguments that people have made for decades but the success of the majority of homeschooled kids compared to their public school counterparts tells a different story.

I homeschooled our youngest daughter from sixth grade through graduation who struggled with dyslexia and was falling through the cracks at public school and was grateful for the choice.

Socialization was never a concern because socialization begins at home and to be honest, if the school's version of socialization is what is preferable, they can have it. Children who learn to be respectful and polite with their own family have no problem being respectful members of society as adults.

I had access to everything needed to teach my daughter that any teacher did at any grade. I didn't need a degree in education because I didn't need to learn to teach a subject to a classroom full of kids from many different backgrounds and with different needs. What I didn't know I learned then taught her. That's what any teacher does when they start out.

Sadly, kids in public and private schools aren't usually encouraged to have an original thought if it goes against the beliefs of a particular teacher or the agenda of a school curriculum. Ask any student who questions the theory of evolution. Most kids learn early on to parrot back what the school teaches them so as not to become a target of disapproval.

Bernie said...

I don't think they can really appreciate a snow day if they are home schooled.....only teasing. I am a fan of home schooling, I find more quality time and energy is put on necessary subjects. The one on one goes beyond compare to what a child receives in school. I wish I had done it for my children. Social skills can be learned by play dates, Sunday School, learning sporting skills and even piano and art classes.....many ways really to learn social skills.
Have a great weekend....:-) Hugs

Anita said...

GAL WALKER - Thank you for commenting. I see that you already have feedback from CINDY.

TRISH - Best wishes and blessings in making your decision. Remember, you can always change your mind if one method doesn't turn out to workk for you. :)
The blog you mentioned sounds interesting...I've have to Google it.

CINDY - Thanks for telling us of your personal experience with home schooling. Passion and belief in it are certain to contribute to your success and the success of your daughter.

BERNIE - Yep, those snow days wouldn't be a big deal, would they? :)
I love hearing from you and knowing your thoughts. Thanks...Hugs back to you. :)

Tabor said...

I lived overseas and had to home school my daughter for two years. I have also been friends with parents who home school for the full time. I think that like most things there are pros and cons . It works from some children and for others it is not the best idea. That also goes for the parents. But you don't know until you try in your own situation.

Rebecca S. said...

Thanks for following my blog, Anita! Anyway, homeschooling...such an emotional topic. I am planning to write a post on it soon because I did it for four years and lived with all the ups and downs and politics with people over it. My attitude toward school, in any form, for each of my children has been, "One year at a time!" But I must say, living in the wilderness and homeschooling from Kindergarten through grade 3 was good for my family - but we were all ready to move on eventually.

Joanne said...

I did not homeschool my children, but have a respect for those parents who choose this route. I'd imagine the commitment is immense in many ways, and admire their willingness to take it on. The homeschooled children I've seen are always well-mannered, polite, and sociable, and agree with Cindy, that socialization does begin at home.

Unknown said...

I know several Catholic and Christan homeschooling moms. It's not for me. I don't have the patience. I've never wanted to do it.

Menopausal New Mom said...

Home schooling is a debate my husband and I have for our 3 1/2 year old. I want her to go to regular school for the socializing it encourages since she is our only child. My husband wants to home school her and travel.

Stay tuned to see who wins. Right now he is threatening to pull her from her preschool 2 afternoons per week because she spends more time being sick than being healthy.

Nakamuras on Saipan said...

If I had to do it over again I would home-school my kids. I'm a teacher, my daughters are teachers and I have many friends who are teachers. I think a lot of parents don't realize what teachers have to deal with in the classroom. Sometimes you get lucky and have a really great group of kids and other times you end up battling the whole year-where does that leave the kids who really want to learn? Many times teacher's hands are tied because of all the red tape-and not to mention the burned out teachers who just want to get through the day. My own personal opinion-parents who home-school do it because they truly want to give their children the very best and will strive to do so. There are so many resources available to support home-school families now a days! Home-schooling is a great way to go if you are able. And as far as socializing goes-kids can socialize in other ways. Kids can join clubs and civic organizations. The socialization that goes on in some schools isn't worth it. Been there done that. Many times the classroom is a dumping ground for unresolved issues at home and the teacher is left to try and deal with it all. Yes, if I had to do it again-I'd home-school. Actually- I did a LOT of supplementation when my kids were in school because I saw that what they were getting in the classroom was inadequate.I was one of those parents who went to the class and checked to see what was going on-parents-you would be surprised sometimes. Sometimes your kids are better off being taught at home.

Nakamuras on Saipan said...

...and by the way...I've seen far too many people go out and earn a degree in education who are totally unfit to be in the classroom-don't depend on the "degree" to make the teacher!

Chapters From My Life said...

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Midlife Roadtripper said...

A dear friend of mine homeschooled - not for religious reasons -- but because she lacked confidence in the local school district. I shared her concern, although I sent mine to public school. Pulled my kids out of school often to partake in activities with her home schoolers. Probably should have pulled one of mine out all altogether -- he didn't read until 3rd grade. The school had a dismal prediction of his future. He graduates in May from college with a degree in Biology. So....

As to socialization? What? They learn how to stand in lines? So many better opportunities for socialization in this world.

Hmmm. Guess I don't have an opinion on this at all.

Unknown said...

I homeschooled for 12 years. My oldest graduated from homeschooling, although she did go to school in her kindergarten year. My youngest was homeschooled up to the middle of her junior year and then decided to head to a public school and graduated from there. She was far beyond her peers and graduated at 15 years old from high school.

I disagree with gal walker as well because the beauty of homeschooling is not teaching what everyone else expects you to teach but what you feel that it is important for them to know. I felt that in my daughters' cases, they needed to know more about Black history as well as other cultures which isn't taught in a regular school setting. They also were taught a Biblical foundation from the very beginning.

Most schools have funding issues which prevents the kids from going on field trips and even exploring subjects that I was able to when I was a kid so the beauty once more was that I could create a curriculum and run with it for my kids.

Socialization wasn't even an issue. They not only got together with other homeschooled kids but also youth group, gymnastics, dance and friends in the neighborhood and more. If anything, they were more social than if they had been in a regular school setting.

My number one reason that I have no regrets is that they both excelled very well and I knew their learning strengths and weaknesses better than any teacher did. You have to remember that in most classrooms, a teacher has 32 students. It makes it almost difficult to get to know each student and their individual learning abilities.

I can write a novel on this topic because the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

andrea said...

I homeschooled my oldest when we lived in Los Angeles simply because the schools were so bad!! It did not work out well for us but for many it does. I live in Ohio now and there is a program many people use---it is an online public school. The child is schooled from home but it is done by online teachers, not the parent. Something like this might be an option for those that wish to homeschool but lack confidence in their ability to do so, or for older students. (I know I wouldn't have a prayer of understanding, let alone trying to teach, my oldest daughter's high school level math!!)

Robin said...

I don't really know too much about it except that some kids with questionable homes may fall through the cracks as far as identifying depression, child abuse, mental health issues, and or other issues a family may try to hide..I know, Ive dealt with these...but as far as socialization..please!! schools they are not taught manners or how to treat others..but more how to find and/or sell drugs, learn the newest sexual trends and follow those who bully and torment others...these things need to be addressed by each and every parent/family...I direct an after school program, and this is where we are teaching kids to respect themselves and their peers, issues of self esteem, bully prevention and other life-skills...schools do not excel in the area of least not nowadays..

Unknown said...

I could never home school my twins. I am going insane as it is and I'm a SAHM and they are 4. I only know 2 moms who home school---one is a blogger I've never met IRL and the other just started homeschooling her one son who is I've had little "exposure" to it...I also think my kids would not respect my authority as their teacher--they have a hard enough time respecting me now!

Anonymous said...

There will be an award waiting for you at my place in the morning.

Theresa Milstein said...

Children who are home schooled, unless there is a lot of effort made to have them around other children (besides siblings) are often awkward around their peers. I have only seen a few, but I have noticed this problem.

I'm a mother and teacher, and I would never want to teach my children. My kids need more than my teaching style and point of view. They need to learn in a place that fosters debate, where they confront real-life situations. I want them to be out in the world part of the time, so when they enter it full-time, they'll be prepared.

Stephanie said...

I admire Mom's who homeschool, but am also very happy with the school where my kids are now!

Tracie said...

I don't homeschool my kids. I don't have the patience for it. Another problem is that my kids know more than I do in regards to so many subjects I don't know how much I would be able to "teach" them.

Annie Z said...

I wouldn't home school. Just my choice though. I can certainly see the advantages of it as well as the disadvantages - which is the same for sending them to school. Everything always has both sides to it.

Being a teacher though, I can see the amount of experiences and opportunities and resources that school children receive. Plus the wonderful friends they can end up having for the rest of their lives.
Big plus in that!

Georgiana Daniels said...

We homeschool! And we also have one in public school. I think the trend is growing, at least in our area as school budgets get cut and parents grow restless with the choices they are given at public school. I love the ability to select exactly what my kids will learn and the freedom to go a pace that's right for them. There are about 3432894 other reasons I love it too, but I realize it's not for everyone, nor for every child. Just glad it's an option :D

Anita said...

THANK YOU EVERYONE! You have proven to me, once again, that there is so much to be learned by blogging. Your very personal, heartfelt and honest opinions and experiences are have gone far beyond what I expected from this post.
Each opinion is different from the next, and I have found ALL to be interesting and fascinating.
To those of you that have to make the home schooling decision in the upcoming years, I wish you well. I hope that these comments will give you more to think about towards making the decision.


Anonymous said...

i want to home school but i also want them to get that social bug so they are well rounded!! im new to this blog thing,im gonna follow you and hopefully get some tips on the way, haha. i hope you decide to follow me too... by the way what is a friday following and how do i join in the fun, i see it everywhere.... comment on my page.

thank JACQUI

Anita - test 1 said...

This is test 1 for my next post.

Anonymous said...

Last test.

Hilary said...

I know someone who home schools her 5 year old and 2 year old. I don't know for how long she plans to do this, but she has the patience of Job. In my peer group, more of the moms are engaged in the public vs. private school debate moreso than homeschooling vs. outside the home schooling -- the above case being the exception. I think, like with everything else, you have to do what is best for you and your child. Kudos to the moms that homeschool and kudos to the moms that choose otherwise.

Sohailah said...

Interesting topic: Back in the 90's, when I was leading hundreds of high school kids on month long mission trips around the world, home school kids were the easiest to spot. Slightly maladjusted, but very sweet. But line up 30 kids and I could pick out the home schooled ones in a flash. I believe because it was a "newer" thing, there wasn't a focus on socialization.

As a teacher, HS kids seemed to fall into as few different categories:

1) They wanted to be at home to get their "work" done so they could play video games ( highly unstructured Home Schooling)
2) They hated working in groups because they preferred to do it their own way.
3) They were serious rebels and had been home schooled to try and curb the "bad" behavior.

However, THESE days - MUCH has been done on the Home School front - and the kids are just as you say.

I think it all boils down to time and boundaries - home schooled or not.

Anita said...

HILARY - I've been in certain circles too, where the private school issue is a big topic of conversation.
And now that I have a child headed for high school, the college topic is major!
I try to stay grounded, because hindsight always tells me that I stressed too much over an issue.
Okay...sooo, that doesn't work. :)

SOHAILAH - Thanks for your interesting comments; for telling us of your personal experiences and observations.
It reminds me of being told years ago that my five year old would have to be home schooled. The acquaintance at church knew my daughter was smart, but also shy, and thought home schooling would be perfect for her. (She was home schooling her children.)
I have nothing at all against home schooling, but it didn't feel good to be told that...I was perplexed.
Well, my 11 year old is now in middle school, has been in the GT program since 2nd grade, LOVES school, participates in numerous activities, has a group of 8 or so girls that she loves socializing with, etc.
I respect everyone's personal decisions about how to educate their kids, and that whatever method it is will produce an adult capable of all the responsibities of being an adult.