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Better education

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 

If your dc attend school.....


and If you were able to hs them AND you hypothetically:


have enough $ to buy any supplies, pay for classes, hire tutors

have enough patience to be with your dc most all of the day

have a educational enriching home environment

could drive to many educational places

have  hs support groups in your area

partner is supportive of hsing

relatives are supportive of hsing

you don't mind not working



Do you think your dc would receive a BETTER education than they receive at school?

Edited by jeteaa - 11/20/10 at 11:40am
post #2 of 46



We've done it both ways.  My kids started school at 10 and 12, and they are enjoying developing independence and having teachers who are passionate about their subjects. There are only so many places you can go when you are driving to all of them, and they get to do far more each day at school because of the "one-stop shopping."


There really is a limit as to what mommy can do, even when mommy can write lots and lots of checks and has a house cleaner.

post #3 of 46

In some ways yes, in other ways no. It's always been in our power. We've always had the support. We have tons of friends who do it. We used some of the curriculum at times and were seriously considering it. However, it's just never been what my kids have wanted.


For DD (13, 9th grade), homeschooling would have saved her a lot of repetition and a lot of the "trial and error" it took for teacher's to figure out who she was and what she needed every fall. However, she's quite accelerated. By 10 she was ready for Algebra and I barely remembered any of it! She craves interaction with other adults and always managed unusually strong bonds with her teachers. One has become a true mentor and I'm suspecting it's a life long friendship. She's also been in excellent schools that gave her SO much opportunity to lead, to create, to shine. Many doors have been opened from her connections to the school system that wouldn't have been there otherwise. Certainly, I think she'd still have been great had we homeschooled but I can't say she hasn't turned out great with the public school system.


For DS (10, 5th grade), no, I absolutely couldn't have given him what he's gotten at school. He's in a trilingual school and I can only speak English. Even if I hired a tutor, he wouldn't be a strong in Spanish and Mandarin without the daily exposure he gets in school. He's found a passion in film making and editing which I wouldn't have thought to expose him to. He's also intensely social while I'm not. Yes, I could have taken him to a homeschooling group every single day but then "I'd" be a wreck. Public school hasn't been without it's negatives. He had some bully issues in 3rd grade but the school did turn them around (though it did leave a scar.) DS has some writing issues I could have probably handled better at home. Still, all in all, he's happy and learning and doing great. Can't complain.


post #4 of 46
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post



We've done it both ways.  My kids started school at 10 and 12, and they are enjoying developing independence and having teachers who are passionate about their subjects. There are only so many places you can go when you are driving to all of them, and they get to do far more each day at school because of the "one-stop shopping."


There really is a limit as to what mommy can do, even when mommy can write lots and lots of checks and has a house cleaner.

I'm not sure Linda if the "you" in statements reference to a general global you or your specific experience.


My oldest spent K and part of gr 1 in school. We homeschool now. I would say that his education, and that of his siblings is far richer, more experiential, broader, more grounded in the real world and more specialized to their particular needs/learning styles than it would be in our neighbourhood school system, based on his time there and what we see with our neighbourhood friends, cousins etc. That was confirmed for me when I recently volunteered with an organization which does an enrichment program for public schooled kids to help them develop a connection to nature through photography.


I don't believe that homeschooling is limited by what a homeschooling parent can do. The world is a rich place to learn from and as kids grow and take on more responsiblity for their education the world opens up to them in amazing ways. However I do believe that a creative, enthusiastic parent or teacher can make all the difference in how kids learn to access that world,  be that in school or at homeschooling. 

Edited by Callimom - 11/21/10 at 10:18am
post #5 of 46

I dream that I could do a better job.  I'm able to understand and meet his academic needs better. 

post #6 of 46

I would say that is our situation.  Logistically, we are well set up to possibly HS, but we send DS to school.  Though we have the resources and support available to do it if we wanted, I am not an early childhood expert.  Frankly, though I think little kids are delightful and what-not, I don't really get them.  I love DS to pieces, but I don't understand how teachers manage to listen to a dozen little kids like DS talking away constantly without their heads exploding.  Being an early childhood teacher takes a certain personality, and I don't have it.


I am very happy that we can keep HS as a back-up plan just in case we need it, but I'm also very happy that DS gets to go to a school 5 days a week where he can hang out with other kids, interact with adults who get kids his age in a way I don't, and learn to be independent.

post #7 of 46

It really depends on the school and the child.


I was going to be a teacher and have been reading up on education for years; I have a certificate in adult education, and I worked as an ed assistant for 3 years and taught Saturday school for 2.  Between my husband and I, based on our educational backgrounds, we should be able to cover off most subjects really well.


That said I have no real experience with curriculum development, extended lesson planning, or the kind of feedback you get when you have spent 5 years teaching 20 kids with all different learning styles and backgrounds, seeing how they have absorbed (or not absorbed) the material and going back and reworking it for the next year. I mean that's 100 kids in just 5 years, plus the benefits of staff room discussions and (in a good school) mentoring and experts.


When I was in my 20s I thought I would homeschool when we had kids. I also thought, when I came into my workplace, that I was the cat's pyjamas and that my hard work and enthusiasm more than outweighed the experienced fogeys in my field. In my 30s I deepened my appreciation for the way experience helps in some ways. I saw how many times I made mistakes that I didn't even realize were made or what the consequences would be. It took making them to get it. I learned how when people really really become experts at what they do, they automatically, without even having to think about it, focus on priorities and make the critical decisions/adjustments that make a difference. 


Also, I work in a creative field with a group of people. I learn so much from others around me - both new people and more experienced people. I love having meetings where we brainstorm ideas. I love it when our competitors do better than us so we know what to aim for. My son is a bit of an extrovert too and he gets energy from working around other kids.


So...a good, experienced teacher with yes the challenges of the classroom but also the wisdom to know what to focus on and what to let go, which things really spark learning in which kids and so on? Combined with other kids learning and sharing stuff? Add in art and physed and music...it's priceless. Will you get that every year in a public system? Probably not, but if you get that + decent...there's no way I can match that at home. If we had a problem and we needed to take our son out, I'd do it. But without that - no way.


Also when I actually had my son I realized how much I value being his family and his parent. Because I work FT he's been in daycare/school and I have to admit I think it is a really nice balance that he goes there and is challenged (gently; it's a Montessori) to see how his peers are doing things and learn how to do that, get exposed to different things...and then come HOME and have home be a place of yes, learning, but also refuge and care.


Not that homeschoolers aren't able to do that, but for me it's that I don't have to worry about where my role is as much. I'm responsible for my child's education but I don't have to get stuck in the minutiae and it's nice and freeing.


post #8 of 46

No.  My dd enjoys more success and less frustration with someone other than a parent in the "teacher" role.  She also enjoys me more as a parent (and I enjoy her more!) when someone else is in teacher role.


I guess I could hire out everything to tutors and classes, but I can't justify the work and expense when the school already has such a system in place for free.

post #9 of 46

No.  My preteen is so much happier having access to a wider world than home, on a consistent basis.  I think the middle school teachers are really quite amazing.  This is a challenging age to teach, and yet I find that my dd has sincerely respectful and caring bonds with her teachers.  In our situation I can see the benefits of my child mastering relationships and having an identity within her school community that just wouldn't happen in a homeschool situation.  And yes, we would have the resources OP mentioned.

post #10 of 46

I have homeschooled before and I know I could give them a better education, at least in their elementary school years. However, I don't think I could provide a better experience overall. They are learning to work with children and adults of all different backgrounds that they may or may not get along with. They are learning to navigate the world on their own. I think that is at least as important as academics (assuming their schools aren't just completely failing).

post #11 of 46

No. There is something special about the classroom dynamic that could never be replicated via a homeschool experience. My child's classroom is very diverse (ie. 3 native languages, kids from several different countries), and he sees these kids on a daily basis. The ability to interact with and connect to a wide variety of people is an invaluable education. Also, there is an innate competition or "peer pressure" among the kids that spurs them all to learn math, reading, science, etc... My child would not feel as compelled to learn these subjects at home w/ just me, for seeing his peers take an interest is what sparks his desire to learn something new. Additionally, my child's teachers are obviously well educated in teaching theory and have extensive experience, and that can't be matched by my utilization of subject books at home.


I'm very happy w/ the school experience.

post #12 of 46

No way.  We couldn't begin to offer at home what DD has available in her magnet school.  I know we are very blessed, but this school is phenomenal.  Her teachers (K and now 1st grade, will also be her 2nd grade teacher) have been wonderful.  She's in Spanish and took a science class last quarter, is taking a class on animals and their habitats this quarter (complete with frogs, turtles, guinea pigs, rats, snakes, birds,geckos...all in the classroom!)...it's just amazing.  She has so many options, can make rather big decisions for herself (without my input which would be hard to keep to myself if she were at home!) every day.  She's also gets to do an out of school activity with her grade every Friday - they've been swimming and bowling, done outdoor games, in January they'll get to learn how to do ice carving.  We adore her school!


Could we do a great job here at home given what you listed?  Absolutely, but I don't think we'd do as well as her school is doing now.



post #13 of 46

I know I couldn't duplicate at home what my son is getting in school in terms of learning to communicate and build a community with a wide variety of people.  He is extremely social and for the most part does very well in school.  Not only that, but he has a broader view of adults as role models, which I think is important.   He goes to a very good school.

post #14 of 46

DD is currently in a Montessori preschool, and there is absolutely no way to replicate that experience at hom.  Even if I spent the $20k to buy all the works, and went through a Montessori teacher training course about how to teach them, there would be no way to replicate the social aspects of Montessori, which I think are a major component.  Montessori classrooms have large mixed aged classrooms, with only 1-2 teachers for 20-30 kids.


In elementary and middle school, yes I do think that I could provide a better education than they'd be getting at our local school.  Right now, my plan is to homeschool them for these years.


For high school I think the will be able to get a better overall education elsewhere.  Someone above mentioned one-stop-shopping for opportunities, and that is part of it: at that level I'd rather they be taught by experts in the specific subjects, and I guess I could drive them to specific tutors, but I'd spend all day in the car.  I also think that peer interaction is important at that level: in a well run classroom at a somewhat advanced level, different students should be able to contribute different viewpoints and ideas and be able to discuss them with eachother.  I also think that at the high school level, I'd rather they have a lot more social interaction with peers than I could provide.

post #15 of 46
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post

It really depends on the school and the child.




Also when I actually had my son I realized how much I value being his family and his parent. Because I work FT he's been in daycare/school and I have to admit I think it is a really nice balance that he goes there and is challenged (gently; it's a Montessori) to see how his peers are doing things and learn how to do that, get exposed to different things...and then come HOME and have home be a place of yes, learning, but also refuge and care.


Not that homeschoolers aren't able to do that, but for me it's that I don't have to worry about where my role is as much. I'm responsible for my child's education but I don't have to get stuck in the minutiae and it's nice and freeing.


This is my position, as well (especially the bolded part).  I feel that DD thrives a lot at her current Montessori and when she comes home, our lives at home compliment her schooling and add to it.  Oddly, I really liked school when I was growing up, and home was a place where I could be more creative and explore my own interests.  It was a nice balance for me - the rigidity of school which forced me to be a little more disciplined and the freedom at home where I could spend time on developing other skills.  I feel that we are giving that to DD and it works well.  I don't think a "better education" is defined by whether you go to a school or if you learn exclusively at home.  I view education as providing certain tools by which a child can learn and grow.  I think home learning is important but it doesn't have to be all at home in order for it to be superior.  Even if all the hypothetical circumstances in OP's post were true, we would still continue to do it the way we do it now.  It works really well for us as a family and I feel that DD gets the best of both worlds.

post #16 of 46

I also have kids in Montessori and feel like they are much better off there than homeschooling.  Even if I had all the materials and training to give lessons, and even if I had a couple extra kids thrown in there for dynamics - I don't feel like they would be of an advantage over their current schooling situation.  I mean, I have homeschooled (when DD was in Kindergarten) and feel like it was far more ideal than our local neighborhood school at the time, but compared to their education now, I'd be doing them a disservice.  And that's assuming I all of a sudden gained a ton of patience and understanding and love for teaching four wild children ;) oh, and plenty of money for 'field trips' and childcare so I don't get burnt out.  That all said, there may very well be a time when I do homeschool again - thinking about my DD who is in 4th grade; it's something we will strongly consider when she is in middle/high school if it appeals to her.  At that point, I believe the benefits will outweigh any downside to homeschooling... but only time will tell. 

post #17 of 46


Different, yes. Better, no. 


In another thread, I wrote recently about my dc's marvelous experiences at an arts high school. They are enjoying a creative, supportive learning environment at a school that has been ranked #1 in our city for academics. I don't particularly care about the ranking (and I don't actually think it's accurate), but there's no doubt that they are getting a solid education in core subjects while attending a school that provides daily arts instruction. 


As I wrote elsethread, there is simply no other environment (and particularly, no homeschooling environment) that could replicate this experience for them. Every day, they are immersed in an arts education of the highest quality and they participate with other enthusiastic, motivated, incredibly talented students. For years, they've taken private music lessons, played in ensembles, signed up for drama groups and art classes and all sorts of extra-curricular activities that happen on a once or twice a week basis.  While those activities were valuable, they just can't compare to a consistent, daily exposure to an arts experience with a wide variety of students who have different interests and specializations and knowledgeable, skilled instructors.


For most of their elementary years they attended gifted programs, where divergent thinking, critical thinking skills, and experiential learning were encouraged.  They were exposed to many different methods of instruction and information gathering. Learning is one thing, but effective communication is another. The ability to communicate is critically important and many people flounder or fail because of poor skills. My dc's teachers have excelled in nurturing communication skills in many different media. My dc have prepared oral presentations, video documentaries, photo essays, poster presentations, essay and narrative writings, science reports, business and marketing plans, and blogs.  They may have done some or all of these things while homeschooling, but I don't think these communication skills would have had a similar priority. I doubt that they would have been developed to the same degree and with the same facility and natural integration into an educational program. After all, if you only have a couple of people in the home to communicate with, there isn't a pressing need for a skillfully produced presentation on a subject, and even less opportunity to observe and learn from others' attempts.  


Whatever school setting they have attended, they have been part of a diverse multicultural community.  They have learned on a deeply personal level to integrate happily with people from different cultures and to respect and appreciate other heritages. They are mindful of different beliefs about food, dress, and traditions.  After years of co-existing on a daily basis, they don't even notice the natural adjustments they make to accommodate each other. It's a little like the difference between being a tourist as opposed to actually living in another country.  


It's possible that some attitudes and behaviours are easier to develop if a child is in an independent learning situation outside of typical schools. I'm thinking of divergent thinking, internal motivation, and experiential learning born from curiosity and experimentation. The oft-heard criticism against schools is that they don't do a good job of encouraging these things, thanks to standardized testing, grade obsession and rigid curricula. I don't think it's impossible or even difficult for a schooled student to develop these traits and I don't think they are well-developed in every home learner either.  My dc enjoy learning with other students. They are motivated and inspired by their classmates. Since much of their schooling has been project-based, they've learned immense amounts of fascinating material from their classmates' projects and presentations.  At the same time, they've developed leadership skills, communication skills, and project management skills, and aren't lacking in divergent thinking, internal motivation or experiential learning. 







post #18 of 46

I have noticed that many of the above have children in private or alternative type schools - which makes me wonder if your answers would be the same if your only options were your local public school.  Of course, if you are wealthy in first place - your local public school may not be that bad.


It is interesting (and I hope not too OT) that a criticism often levelled at HSing is that is often for those of privilege.  


Not one person has said here that they would HS if they had all they needed - yet I know there have been threads on the HSing forum where people admit they would try school if there was an awesome school nearby.


I am speculating as I write that there are 3 levels at play here:


1.  have to pick local school (for good or for bad)

2.  Has the resources to HS or pick local school

3.  Has the resources to pick local school, HS or private school.


I bet satisfaction goes up as choice goes up. 


post #19 of 46

I think my dd was getting a better education at home than she is getting in school because she was learning at her level and didn't have to wait for anyone or follow a standardized curicullum.  We didn't need a lot of supplies, the library works very nicely for most things, we had a scholarship for the Y and were able to do many classes there, and we got math workbooks from the dollar store until dd moved beyond their level and I had to write math problems on a piece of paper (not a difficult task).  I also love the school she is at now though and I think she does better there than she did at home in many ways because she has a steady group of friends in a very enriching environment. 

post #20 of 46
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post


I bet satisfaction goes up as choice goes up. 


I think there is a lot of truth in that statement.  A learning environment that fits the child is crucial. Choice means it's more likely one will find a good fit. I also think it allows schools to develop a special niche, so they don't have to try to be all things to all people. The arts school that my dc attend would be a bad fit for a student who wants to pursue an intense science, technology and math program. There are schools that offer that kind of education for those kids. As well as schools for language immersion, social justice and community activism, trade and apprenticeship programs, religious schools, gender-specific schools, I could go on.  


Parents in my city are lucky to have so many choices. I don't know anyone who takes it for granted though; everyone I know is very grateful. We all know there isn't such a variety available everywhere. 


Choice can create problems for parents and students though. There is a streak of perfectionism at work. Many parents want to find the perfect educational environment for their children. It's understandable and hey, I've gone through the process myself. It becomes very stressful for families as they try to work out the "best" choice, rather than focusing on just finding a good fit.  The "best" choice is supposed to be perfect from the get-go. It sets everyone up for disappointment when they realize there are still issues to be worked out. A good educational fit is a little like a good dress - it will look and feel great, but may still need a little adjustment or some accessorizing. I think that's true whether the choice is traditional school, alternative school or independent learning outside of school. 




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