Who is homeschool best for and for who is it not? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 08-13-2011, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My friend (who's meant to be a mentor of sorts to me) has some major misgivings about my son attending public kindergarten. Where she is coming from, she seems to think only certain people shouldn't homeschool, pretty much school is best only for kids with moms who are struggling with mental health issues, or are abusive, or cannot possibly stay home rather than work. Anyone who does sends them when it's not the lesser of two evils is just asking for trouble and is giving up on their kid.

 

I am of the opinion that certain personalities, like my son has, crave a lot of structure and want to be offered stuff to do all day, and chance at interaction with a lot of people every day. The school offers that and they *want* me to stay involved and that's my plan. He's been home with me up to now. At this point, as it has been going, giving him that direction and time with other children without school would be an immense challenge and denying him it leaves him wanting and sullen and discouraged, with outbursts I know come from loneliness. I know people's concern "but what about socialization?" is often misguided, not everyone needs constant socialization and many families find abundant outlets for it outside school. But my son is an extrovert and high energy, I'm the opposite and have very few friends with time for us.

 

When we homeschool, as we likely will grades 1-5, I'd like to work with a co-op so I make sure some other people have time for him weekly, and hopefully keep in touch with his kindy friends too. My friend doesn't want us in a co-op either she thinks being an isolated family unit and making him play only with his little brother is best, that this desire for interaction with people is there to get him into trouble and lead away from our values. She homeschooled their 5 kids every single year of their education and insists (suddenly the week before school begins) that we need to pull him out right now. I never thought I'd send him to school for any year before 6th grade, that I'd consider private school then, but after learning who my son is and what the school offers I'm actually at peace with letting him go there for this year.

 

(TL;DR) Basically I think a child's personality, not just home situation and the mom's abilities, factor in to the choice for or against homeschooling. What do you think? Is it best for everyone barring a bad home situation? Is it about what the child wants? Or about reading their personality and deciding what they need? What grades/years/stages are most important to keep a child home? Is it for everyone to choose for themselves and family and friends to butt out of?

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#2 of 17 Old 08-13-2011, 06:40 PM
 
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I think it's fine to offer other opinions, but your friend seems to be pushing the boundaries of polite debate.  What other people think matters insofar as they might have some good ideas and information that you can use.  Hypothetical school is not a bad choice.  Sometimes school ends up being bad for a child, and it's debatable whether it's the best choice.  But if you have good recommendations for your local school then it is not going to be a *bad* choice to make.  

 

Often the best choice is only discerned after the fact.

 

 


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#3 of 17 Old 08-13-2011, 09:48 PM
 
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Well, I don't really have an answer for you, but oftentimes people can get so passionate about something that they forget that life choices are not a "one size fits all".

Homeschooling was such an easy choice for us. Neither of my boys want to be in school and are happy to have a less structured day that they can do some of their own directing of.

 

I would offer the opinion that no one loves your children the way you do, and no one knows what is best for your children the way you do. Yes your son will learn things from other kids if he hangs out with them, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

 

For us, we will likely homeschool all the way through. But I am flexible enough that if my children ever say that they want to try PS, I would let them. The main reason why we homeschool is to keep our kids parent-attached. Many kids / teens / young adults become so peer-attached and don't have adequate mentoring. My husband used to work with youth (ages 12-18) and he saw how intertwined and messed up they *can* make each other. But honestly, that is not just because of public school. If a child has a strong parent-attachment (which is the responsibility of the parent to maintain) there is no reason why a child can't have that and go to school. You can still teach your values to your son. Millions have done it successfully. It's when parents are so hands-off and uninvolved in their kids lives that they get lead astray, in my opinion.

 

Parents need to be free to listen to their own hearts and intuition. Advice is nice when delivered with gentleness, but if anyone tells me what I *have* to do with my kids, they can just stuff it.

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#4 of 17 Old 08-14-2011, 04:24 AM
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In my experience, school can be very frustrating with high-energy extroverts.....and also for their teachers. They might put up with it a bit in Kindergarten, depending upon the school....but most schools (starting with first grade) are "stay in your seat, be quiet, do your work."

 

I can't tell you how many times I was told, in school, that I wasn't there to socialize. I don't know why people always bring up socialization as a reason to use schools.

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#5 of 17 Old 08-14-2011, 11:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post

Basically I think a child's personality, not just home situation and the mom's abilities, factor in to the choice for or against homeschooling. What do you think? Is it best for everyone barring a bad home situation? Is it about what the child wants? Or about reading their personality and deciding what they need? What grades/years/stages are most important to keep a child home? Is it for everyone to choose for themselves and family and friends to butt out of?


We have been very committed to homeschooling over the years. I have amassed 30 child-years of official homeschooling in raising my four kids. But even I believe that the child's personality and needs play into the issue, and not always in ways you can expect or predict. Those factors are part of the equation and homeschooling is not always the best choice, even for a loving, well-functioning family. I don't think you can make categorical pronouncements about what's best for children in general, or even what's best for a particular child. Sometimes you have to experiment, or go with the flow, or take a chance and see how it works out. 

 

For my own (very attached, precociously academic) kids, it seemed important to keep them out of school from KG-2nd, as they found separation from home and family stressful, and were way beyond the need to be taught reading and basic math. I also liked that they stayed out of school during the socially tumultuous middle school years. We have a public high school that is exceptionally innovative and flexible, so in our case that seems like the best time to use their resources, while still allowing us to do the extensive travelling that our remote location and my kids' specialized interests required. But different kids, a different home situation, a different school ... other choices might have prevailed. 

 

Your "mentor" sounds rather dominerering. This is your child. It does not serve you or him well to have someone make pronouncements and put pressure on you in this manner at this point in time. 

 

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#6 of 17 Old 08-14-2011, 12:12 PM
 
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While I do think that many kids thrive being homeschooled who would not do so in regular school, I think that in this case you should take a hard look at what this woman is saying and consider whether or not you want to look on her as a mentor.

According to her, only "certain people" should send their children to school. People (women) should send their kids to school ONLY if:

- mom is mentally ill
- mom is abusive
- mom is too poverty-stricken to stay home

Now, I'm not a hs'er, but I do enjoy reading this forum. And I have never once heard anyone here make those claims. Parents who decide on school are giving up on their children? Yikes! The fact that someone would say these things would make me pretty much dismiss everything else she has to say about parenting, too.

It sounds to me as if you have given a great deal of careful thought to your particular son and what will be best for him for now.
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#7 of 17 Old 08-15-2011, 05:28 AM
 
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I agree that your friend is pushing a little too hard.  But (and this is not always a popular opinion) I think that giving a child what they want at a young age simply because they want it is not always the best thing--and that includes schooling.  I'm also agreeing that an extroverted, high energy child has potential to have a very rough time in a classroom.

 

And what will you tell him when he wants to go back for first grade and you say "No"?

 

I have that kid.  He has spent 8 hours playing with the THIRTEEN kids on our block where we rented for a year and come in crying that he "barely got to play with his friends".  And I think that you're seeing school as an easy way to satisfy that when you COULD satisfy it in other ways keeping him at home--it's just not as easy.

 

Also, the schools love to have you "involved" until you're not following their ideas.  I know because I was a teacher (in a great, high-ranking district) and saw plenty of that hypocrisy.

 

If you know that you're not keeping him in school, I'm not sure I would put him in at all.  It's akin to letting him eat french fries or candy for a year and then saying "Well, you can't have this again forever" (which is what 5-6 years is going to seem like to a 5yo).

 

I'm not sure I can comment on the child's personality being a factor in homeschooling.  I have a social beast of a child (who no longer lives on a block of 13 kids and only did so for a year) who NEEDS structure to function.  We homeschool.  I guess if you have a child whose needs you are unable to meet at home, school should be considered like every other alternative.  But I don't think it's as cut and dry as "the child's personality is the decision-making factor".  There are too many other things involved.

 

Oh, and you mentioned your family values.  If this is a very important factor to you, I would ask who would be instilling them in your child for the 6 hours/day he will be at school.  Not you... at a point when your child's foundation is being built.  Who will be supervising him carefully enough to know when he is veering off-track or being involved/exposed to things that you feel he needs to be a little older to deal with?  And even if nobody intervenes, how will you know to visit those topics with your child after-the-fact if you don't know they even occurred?  Do you think your son will remember?  Or feel it's even worth bringing up?  Do you think the teacher is going to catch wind of it?  And know that this is even a topic that is concerning to you?


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#8 of 17 Old 08-15-2011, 09:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post
(TL;DR) Basically I think a child's personality, not just home situation and the mom's abilities, factor in to the choice for or against homeschooling. What do you think? Is it best for everyone barring a bad home situation? Is it about what the child wants? Or about reading their personality and deciding what they need? What grades/years/stages are most important to keep a child home? Is it for everyone to choose for themselves and family and friends to butt out of?


I absolutely feel that my child's personality, needs, and her desires (to a degree) are a major factor in choosing to homeschool.

I think homeschooling is a wonderful option for every family to have. I think it is a wonderful way for many children to learn and grow. I don't feel like everyone should homeschool unless they are mentally ill. There are a lot of options that might fit a child or family's needs.

If I had to choose to homeschool for only part of my child's education I would choose the younger years. It may or may not be regrettable to send your ds to school for kindergarten when you want to homeschool later. It may make things more difficult for you in future or it may not make much difference at all. You can ask people who have gone that route what their experiences were.

You've made your informed choice- family and friends should butt out.

I'd honestly find a new mentor. This one seems to not be a homeschooler the way you want to be. While experienced she seems pretty extreme and inflexible in her views. I foresee many future clashes over how you do things.


Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#9 of 17 Old 08-15-2011, 02:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post

.

 

IMy friend doesn't want us in a co-op either she thinks being an isolated family unit and making him play only with his little brother is best, that this desire for interaction with people is there to get him into trouble and lead away from our values.


This statement is very concerning to me. How would isolating your child from the whole world prepare him or her to be a well-functioning adult? Are you sure this "mentor" jives with YOUR values?

 


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#10 of 17 Old 08-16-2011, 11:56 PM
 
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I would advise to do what you feel is best for your child--not out of fear for what your friend will think of you or out of a desire to win her respect. This is a decision between you, your husband and your child. I would say: thank your friend for her genuine concern, and then take the proactive approach and make the decision you feel is best.


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#11 of 17 Old 08-17-2011, 02:48 PM
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Unsolicited advice is not typically something I welcome from friends. Why is she trying to tell you how to raise your kid?

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#12 of 17 Old 08-17-2011, 06:50 PM
 
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I think it might be wise to think about what you are looking for in a mentor.  My understanding of mentoring is that the mentor should help the mentee make decisions, they shouldn't tell the mentee what to do.  

 

Honestly, it sounds like she is giving you advice about things that are outside her experience.  She has never had a child in school, so she can't advise you about that.

 

I haven't had a child in school either, but your plan sounds fine to me.

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#13 of 17 Old 08-21-2011, 10:20 AM
 
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In my opinion, each family needs to do what is right for the whole family. If homeschooling feels right, do it. If you'd prefer that he try a regular classroom, that is alright, too.
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#14 of 17 Old 08-23-2011, 01:26 PM
 
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While I do not think homeschooling is the only viable choice, or that is something is not right with sending children to school...I guess I do believe that homeschooling has so many options and variations that it really can be made into a structure that fits all different personalities and lifestyles.  

 

 


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#15 of 17 Old 08-23-2011, 02:18 PM
 
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I am a huge advocate of homeschooling, but goodness, your friend is being a bit of a bully here!  Sometimes when we are truly passionate about something, it can spill over, but if you have voiced that you've made your decision, for now, it is time for your friend to step out of it. 

 

If you need to, you can certainly remind your friend that your child CAN be pulled out of school if it turns out not to be a good fit. Really though, it isn't her choice and she's already voiced her opinion, so  her pressing the issue is disrespectful to you. 

 

We did two years of public school before homeschooling.  If I could go back I would probably do things differently, but I don't regret it.  I simply know now that DD thrives in this environment, and didn't in a classroom. There is no one-size fits all approach here.  If your child thrives in public school and it works for your family- that's great! A friend would certainly be able to respect that. 

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#16 of 17 Old 08-23-2011, 02:29 PM
 
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Quote:
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We have been very committed to homeschooling over the years. I have amassed 30 child-years of official homeschooling in raising my four kids. But even I believe that the child's personality and needs play into the issue, and not always in ways you can expect or predict. Those factors are part of the equation and homeschooling is not always the best choice, even for a loving, well-functioning family. I don't think you can make categorical pronouncements about what's best for children in general, or even what's best for a particular child. Sometimes you have to experiment, or go with the flow, or take a chance and see how it works out. 

 

For my own (very attached, precociously academic) kids, it seemed important to keep them out of school from KG-2nd, as they found separation from home and family stressful, and were way beyond the need to be taught reading and basic math. I also liked that they stayed out of school during the socially tumultuous middle school years. We have a public high school that is exceptionally innovative and flexible, so in our case that seems like the best time to use their resources, while still allowing us to do the extensive travelling that our remote location and my kids' specialized interests required. But different kids, a different home situation, a different school ... other choices might have prevailed. 

 

Your "mentor" sounds rather dominerering. This is your child. It does not serve you or him well to have someone make pronouncements and put pressure on you in this manner at this point in time. 

 

Miranda



^ I like this, a lot.  I was homeschooled during the elementary school years due to issues that my older siblings were having in school (so my parents pulled us all out).  I hated it so much.  I did NOT want to be home.  The funny thing is, I'm pretty reserved and absolutely an introvert.  But I wanted nothing to do with homeschooling.  I wanted to go to school everyday, see other kids, have some independence.  I guess my point is...homeschooling is not for everyone.  But even with the experience I had (hating it), I don't presume to tell people that NO ONE should homeschool.  I think you need to do what is best for your child.  Your friend is wayyy over the line (and out of line) in my opinion.

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#17 of 17 Old 08-23-2011, 02:37 PM
 
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Well, I did fall into one of her categories of people who should be allowed to public school (couldn't afford to stay home - we'd have been homeless in less than three months). But, I think your "mentor" is totally out of line. DS1 actually did thrive in public school. (I think he'd have thrived in a homeschool situation, too, as I'd have made lots of social contact a high priority for him.) It worked out well for him, and he was a very involved student. (He just graduated...over his school career, he was involved with drama including the school musical this year, choir, gymnastics up to team captain, Ultimate team, peer counseling, service club, volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club. He was voted to give the speech to the parents at the Grad Banquet, and asked to perform at a fundraiser for a school in Uganda. His picture appears at least 15 times in the annual this year. He was known for his enthusiastic participation in all the Grad Spirit Weeks and other grad events. He was voted "Class Artist", "Best Personality" and "Most Likely to Win an Oscar" in the grad poll...and actually won three other categories on votes, but the poll authorities have a limit of three categories per person. He arranged a goofy/sentimental farewell gift for a teacher - who didn't end up leaving, and says that he has part of it framed on his wall, and has never been so touched. His writings were selected twice for school-printed books about inspiration. And...I'm truly not bragging, especially as I don't even feel responsible for most of this - just trying to show that he fit into the school environment very well, and absolutely shone there.)  I think ds1 would have enjoyed homeschooling, too...but he's also a huge performer, and I think having the whole school as his audience really worked for him. We could have found outlets at home for that, of course - but as a socially anxious introvert, it would have been extremely stressful for me, yk?

 

I'm not a big fan of public school. I love that I can homeschool my younger kids. But, public schools do have their benefits, at least for some personalities. I definitely think a child's personality, overall family situation, interplay of personalities within the family (eg. the "introvert vs. extrovert" thing ds1 and I have going on), etc. are all very valid factors to consider when making educational choices. There are also the educational options themselves - are alternative public schools availabe? Are the public schools in your area good, healthy environments? Is there good homeschooling infrastructure (other parents, co-ops, etc.). None of those things would be my only reason for deciding what to do with a given child, but they all come into play.

 

And...I'd find a new mentor. The one you're talking about sounds way, way too narrow for me.


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