I think this thread has taken a very common thread -- many homeschoolers seem to believe that school is a big waste of time and that they can accomplish much more.
I was not a homeschooler when I reached this conclusion. I'd never even heard of home school. I was an A and B student. For me, sometimes the only relief from the utter boredom of hearing things repeated for the umteenth time was when a teacher said, "go ask Rose." When I was given the task of teaching a fellow student who was struggling, suddenly it became interesting, and the rest of the class could go on while I helped the struggler. I wasn't left out of anything, either, because that would be time for seatwork, silent reading, trying out the homework, something like that.
To this day, I abhor people telling me the same thing twice. I also abhor having to tell someone the same thing twice! The exception is when I am teaching, and even then, if I'm asked to repeat stuff, I ask myself, is this genuine need or just dodging the assignment? Do you remember the "gossip" bit from HeeHaw? "Oh' you'll never hear me repeating gossip, so you'd better be sure and listen close the first time." I think many people of normal mental capacity who insist on many repetitions are just not applying themselves. Sometimes the best thing for them is to let them know they will hear it once, and after that, they will somehow have to pay for repetitions.
When I was a child, I wanted to learn EVERYTHING. I remember thinking I wanted to try each profession by turns and know all there is to know. Now I know that is impossible, but I still want to know a whole heap of a lot, and there isn' tmuch I don't care to know. So, when in public school for 12 semi-wasted years, I had to listen to teachers repeating things I'd already gotten the first time, I tried hard to tune out and think of something else. I wanted to keep on learning, not sit around waiting for others to "get it." If I had not had to wait around so much, if perhaps I had just been allowed to read independently, I could have learned so much more. Some of my best teachers did let me read independently, and some even offered direction for my self-directed learning.
You might wonder how I got on so well with all the kids refered to me for me to teach them after the teacher gave up. Simple. Instead of asking what my student wanted me to explain again, I ask my student to explain or show how much s/he did understand. Most didn't need anything more from me but that bit of encouragement. And if there was some part that really had evaded my temproary pupil, I'd rephrase, give new examples, or whatever seemed right at the time.
I know many of you are thinking that I must have been an advanced student, a really bright kid, whatever. Of course I was, and still am. But I figured out lots of things about public school while I was still trapped in it, although at the time I felt priviledged to be in a place that was all about learning, like I was/am. I saw lots of the politics that happens between teachers, principals, other teachers, parents, etc. I learned a lot about teaching methods. I learned a lot about teachers as human beings. Most of what I learned about public schools is still not flattering.
In sixth grade I was released from regular reading time to work in the reading lab. I worked with younger children and with those "learning disabled." I made some good friends among the "retarded" kids, who are mostly just as shy and lonely as anyone else. (The extrovert? That's just a cover for feeling different and -- shy and lonely! I married an extrovert, BTW.) And all of the kids I worked with in special programs at different schools through my own school years just needed one-on-one attention in a non-competitive setting. Oddly, I was never a misfit in special ed, although I was rated a misfit by my so-called peers of my own age.
Another thing I found a total waste of time in public school was all the "social" stuff. Most of that was not social at all, just kids trying out what they knew was was wrong. Boyfriend and girlfriend garbage. Rebellion against adults garbage. Swearing and smoking garbage. Drug garbage. None of that gets you anywhere! At least, not anywhere that is nice to be. I skipped nearly all of that, and I got quite fed up with the teachers, guidance counsellors, etc, who thought there was something wrong with me for avoiding it. Most of them did mean well, and a little due deference make these sessions go more smoothly.
One teacher, a real sweetheart, a role model in nearly every other matter, got bothered that I wanted to play softball with the boys, rather than volleyball with the girls. She thought I was trying to get attention from boys. Yeah, I guess I was, but I spent many years on a farm with nothing but my brothers and my oodles of boy cousins, so I was a wee bit tomboyish. But it wasn't worth it to correct the teacher, so I played with the girls. "No harm no foul."
Sure, I was smarter than some of the adults, and I knew if I just avoided telling them so, it would go better. How different is that from not telling my classmates I was smarter than them? H D Thoreau says in Walden Pond that many people mistake the once-and-a-half witted for the half-witted, because they only comprehend a third of their wit. I find that if you are different, it is usually more tactful to keep it to yourself.
When I finally learned about homeschool, and chose it for my own children (K-12 and beyond), it was a revelation and a relief. It was a revelation because I realized that my suffering and boredom was not necessary or normal, just the result of people thinking there is only one way to have school. It was a relief because I had an alternative to inflicting that on my own children "for their own good."
My children are not quite the quick studies I was. One has a big problem with dyslexia, and used to say I was a mean mom. She was hardly my first dyslexic pupil; first there was my brother, and then I realized I have dyslexia too, i'm just high functioning. (Yes, ladies and gents, dyslexia is the "learning disability" for geniuses, like Michaelangelo and Edison and especially daVinci. Now I know I'm in such good company, I feel not at all bothered that I confuse right and left, or that I have a terrible time memorizing my phone number. Non-dyslexic people can't do a lot of things I can!)
I had a rather different goal for my children than to get all the same stuff all the public school kids get. Instead, I wanted to give them tools to learn whatever they want to learn, and that has turned out very well. They all read for the fun of it. They all have gone on to some kind of further education and none has struggled with formal settings or with trying to fit in. They all have jobs, even in this down economy, and they all have coping skills for "bosses from hell." The one who most rebelled against homeschool, who said I was mean, now is training in early childhood education. She says a lot of the stuff is easy because she learned so much of it from me. In a word, I raised three seemingly average kids to be autodidacts.
Let me leave you with a quote to ponder. It is from the collected sayings of Poor Richard. You may have to look up the context, such as that here "dear" means wildly expensive, but it is very apt to this whole conversation.
"Experience keeps a dear school, yet fools will learn in no other."