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#1 of 57 Old 07-25-2002, 02:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am fairly new to these boards but have found many interesting topics. I have read some threads here in the homeschooling section but am still trying to understand. It seems many parents want more control over what their children learn, and less time spent in school per day. I have many questions.
*Do your kids ask to go to (traditional) school?
*Do you plan for them to go to traditional school at any point? High school? College? At what age would you let them decide?
*Did you have a poor PS experience and HS based on the assumption that your children would have this same experience?
*Have you looked into alternative public school options?
Our older daughter (now 6) just finished kindergarten at a multi-age elementary (75 kids in grades K-5 on their own freestanding site paid for by our tax dollars). We have been so unbelievably happy with this! I went to traditional PS from K through 4 years of college and loved it all. I appreciate that not everyone has a good experience. But there are other options out there besides the black and white of PS vs. HS. We are a very small district and have one of these multi-age programs. Also a multi-age middle school. A neighboring district has three multi-age programs. I could not find multi-age mentioned anywhere but we have been so very happy with it that I would like to toss this thought out for some who are going back and forth between Montessori and HS. We checked out a Montessori preschool for her when she was 4 but it was so not for her! After one hour there she told me it was a "bad school" (she refers to it as this to this day - her friend loved it and went there three years. Kids are so different!) and she "did not choose it!" For us it was too rigid and did not allow for the social aspect (sharing toys vs. "doing your own work" at the preschool age). Anyway, sorry so long - I am just very interested in how people came to choose HS. Not trying to ruffle any feathers - just trying to understand.
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#2 of 57 Old 07-25-2002, 02:49 AM
 
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Hi Kirsten, welcome to the boards!

I'll try to answer all of your questions that I can.

Do your kids ask to go to school?
yes, my 6 yr odl who is homeschooled, asks to "go to school" He had been in preschool, and so I assume his idea of "school" is like the preschool as he has never been toan elementary school.

Do you plan for them to go to traditional school at any point?
I guess that depends on what you consider "traditional" school. I think that in high school, they may be ready to take community college classes, and I would love for them to attend college, but I do plan on homeschooling through high school. For my son, I don't know if he would be ready to make that decision until he was past high school age (ie 18), but for my daughter it may be a little different.

Did you have a poor public school experience.....
I had a thirst for knowledge, and a lot of quirks in school. Public school didn't quench my thirst for knowledge, but it also didn't allow me to pursue it the way that I wanted to. I also assumed that my children would be at least somewhat like me socially, and that influenced my decision to homeschool.

Have you looked into alternative public school options?
Yes I did- I visited most of the public charter schools in my area, and several of them I liked quite a bit. My son has special needs and would require services and an IEP from a public school and the schools that would accept him could not really provide the services that he needs (despite the fact that they have to legally anyway), and the others just didn't want to have him. Either way, we couldn't find any one school that met all of our criteria.

It's true that there are becoming more and more choices in public schooling, but I think that many homeschoolers have problems either with the beurocracy of a school system, or the government providing education. Personally, I couldn't deal with all of the *crap* that goes with having a child in special education. He went through the special ed preschool program, I had to fight tooth and nail to get him a decent program and we have 10 separate IEP meetings, I filed several differen compliance complaints, etc, and he was still just barely getting the minimum of what he needed. By homeschooling I have cut out 90% of my stress and increased the one on one instruction time my child receives, as well as many other benefits.
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#3 of 57 Old 07-25-2002, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Khris,
Thanks for your thoughtful reply to my post. I know some people who HS but it is difficult to discuss it as we get too emotional/defensive/etc. Here I can erase and retype something that sounds wrong.
In college I babysat for an Amway family (both parents gone quite a bit to meetings, etc.). I was probably with the three kids 30+ hours a week. That was the beginning of the "bad taste in my mouth" re: HS as the oldest girl (8 at the time) could not read. She was a very bright child and it took me a little while to figure it out as she had memorized every kid book they had and had interesting ways of avoiding reading other stuff. One day she said "boat" when the story said "ship" and I figured it out. When I told her mom I was going to try to work with her during the time I was there, she was surprised and asked me "oh, do most 8 year olds read?" I was horrified that she seemed honestly to think this was OK. This was a smart kid who picked this up fairly quickly as I started to work with her. We wrote letters to her gramma, baked cookies (she wanted to read that recipe!), etc. When I asked what they did for school, she said her mom gave her piano lessons and she had a workbook they used for 30 minutes a day. Now this is only what the child told me so could be less than accurate but I really feel that that child was not being served.
I know there are very committed HS parents out there but this was my closest experience. Bad apples in any bunch, etc. I just wish that someone checked HS progress once a year maybe? Just to make sure that things like this don't occur. What hoops must be jumped in order to HS? Your opinion? Oh, and I love your CCBB quote!
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#4 of 57 Old 07-25-2002, 02:02 PM
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Kirsten-When I was working as a paralegal, I worked on a case involving Amway. The way you have to live your life to be involved in Amway is not compatible with attachment parenting IMHO. I do not HS, but I know many homeschooling families IRL. I would definitely not use an Amway family as a model for a homeschooling family.
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#5 of 57 Old 07-25-2002, 02:28 PM
 
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Kirsten,

The hoops you have to jump through vary from state to state in the US (and country to country) I am in California, and here, "homeschooling" as an entity is not legal. (of course I always get flamed for saying that, but what I mean is that you can not just inform the school district that you are homeschooling, like you can in some states). Homeschoolers must either form a private school and file a private school affidavit with the state, hire a qualified tutor or become qualified as one, or register with a public or private independant study program. Or else go underground. Some states require parents to submit their plans to the school district for approval, etc. I think there is a lot of questions about homeschooling that there has not been any answers for yet- there is a group who do not want ANY kind of regulation or monitoring, and while I support that idea, I also worry about the children's rights to an education. Last year we didn't have to do anything, since my ds was only K aged and not of mandatory schoolign age in Cali, but we filed the private school affidavit anyway, just to be safe. This coming year I will be enroling him ina private ISP that I found, I don't want to be burdened with the paperwork of keeping track of everything.
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#6 of 57 Old 07-25-2002, 04:20 PM
 
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I know of alternative forms of public schools but for me homeschooling is still the best choice. Homeschooling is more of a way of life than a schooling option. Homeschooling ADDS to the family. It allows for more family time by not having the whole family have to schedule its time around a 8-3 school day schedule. The family can rise when it wants to can spend time during the day together and not worry about unneccessary schoolwork/homework.

I read your Amway family example and it does seem that the family was not that connected with their child however there are many homeschooling families that don't do "bookwork" and that is fine (as long as the parents are involved and attached to their children). That is the type of education I think that children do best with on the whole. Something that isn't sit down bookwork but instead fun activities that the kids enjoy doing so that they learn better. I don't think that the latter is a disservice to a child. In fact, I think that sitting in a classroom for 7 hours a day, doing bookwork, not being able to socialize with friends when they want, and having to go home and do MORE busy work is a disservice to children. Children should be out playing and doing not sitting and listening. They should be able to play with a WIDE range of kids (like in your multi-age group) and should be able to come and go as they please. They should be able to pick and choose their own interests and follow them as they'd like. This is the type of childhood every child deserves. So that is my problem with public school. And while alot of alternative public schools alleviate some or many of these problems, only homeschooling IMHO alleviates them all.

Good for you for coming and trying to find out for yourself. Too many ppl who don't understand homeschooling just walk around with misperceptions instead of coming to the ppl who do it and enjoy it and try to learn about it. I commend you for that.

Oh yeah, BTW...I know of many 8 year olds that don't know how to read yet and I think that is fine...but it seems that the one you mentioned did have a problem if she was trying to hide it and her parents didn't seem involved at all.

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#7 of 57 Old 07-25-2002, 06:54 PM
 
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Hi Kristen. I'll try to answer your questions.

Does your child want to go to school?
Ds went to a Montessori kindergarden, then 2 years of ps. He never wanted to go to school in the first place, and I deeply regret forcing him (I'm a single mom, and it took me a few years to set up my life so I could work part time, make enough money to live off, and also hs.) Ds still avoids even walking down the street his school was on, and given a choice of playgrounds to visit, will avoid a school playground, because "they all look like prisons." Given the choice, he would prefer to never set foot in a classroom setting again in his life. Given that I have to work, and have little support (my parents were immigrants, have almost no family in this country), that might not work out for him. I wouldn't mind him joining an hsing program in a school setting, as long as they truly understood unschooling, and were willing to work with us as a family, and to view the program simply as a tool that we might, or might not, use.

Do I plan to send him to traditional school at any point?
LOL, see above. No, unless circumstances were totally out of my control (ie: work situation), I wouldn't put him back into anything that resembled traditional school. He would fight tooth and nail, anyway. It really is my son's choice, though, as it's his life and his education. If he wanted to go back, that would be his choice to make. I seriously doubt his ever making that choice, though.

Did I have a poor ps experience?
Yeah, but, unfortunately, mine was probably a better one than most. I attended a small, french language school, that was very academically rigorous and challenging (even though we only studied English, or were even allowed to speak English, 4 times a week, 45 minutes a class, our school was consistently in the top 2% test scores in English. ) The school was very disciplined, and had vitually no bullies or fights. I have Tourette Syndrome, and was the "odd" kid for 10 years, and while I was pretty miserable there, and got singled out a fair bit for teasing and what not, it never got to the point of being physical, or even really serious, compared to what I see routinely happening in english language schools here. I hated every moment I was in school, largely because I was bored and frustrated. My son pretty well feels the same way as I did, but comes by his opinions honestly. If asked, he has plenty of his own examples of wasted time, mean, ignorant or disrespectful adults, and routine humiliation (ie:"you can't go to the bathroom until you've recited you're times tables")

I dearly hoped that ds would have a better experience than I did, but in many ways (he's a boy, also has TS, but has louder and more noticeable tics) his was far worse than what I went through, and I kick myself for letting it go on for as long as I did.

Have I looked into alternative programs?
There is nothing in this city for elementary kids. We don't have charter schools, virtually all private schools are religious, mostly Christian, which we are not, and neither ds nor I have any interest in a religious education. There is one private school that is not (wholly) religious that accepts boys in elementary, but it's a high end prep school, and tuition is about $10,000/year, way out of my league, and still wouldn't offer him exactly what he needs and wants. Why would I chose any school, though, when he wants to be home, needs to be home, and is getting an education that is tailored to his needs. For us, though, the effects of hsing spill over into all aspects of our lives, and have improved and inriched it in every way.

Not to be rude, too, though, I've noticed that the people most often posting with this sort of question (not only here, I've seen it on some e-mail groups, too) have young children, under grade 2 age. I pulled ds out of school after one month of grade 3, and I noticed some big differences in the way things were done by that age, compared to pk or K. Even in grade one, though, he was getting an average of 1-2 hours a night of homework. By grade 3 ds was assessed, by the school's resource teacher, as reading beyond "testable limits", meaning that he read at an adult level, but the teacher refused to allow us to substitute our own books for the class "home reading" program. Ds had to slog through books written for a level 10 years or more behind him, that he had already read a dozen or more times, because "that's the rules and everyone does it." So even more of our family time was taken up by work that we both viewed as meaningless. If he didn't do this reading every day, he lost "priveleges" like snack time (something I thought was a basic human right, the right to eat, but apparently, in ps, it's a privelege.) If he had too many gaps in his reading sheet, he would lose field trips and recesses. Even though his math skills were assessed at a high elementary/junior high level, he had to complete every single problem assigned to him, and sit quietly with his hands in his lap if he finished before the other kids. He was often expected to sit quietly for 20 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a day, during different subjects, and if he didn't would lose recess, snack, play time, etc. The school division we are in (the largest in the province) doesn't have any gifted or enrichment services, until grade 7, so we were told he just had to "stick it out" and that it would make him a better student. Frankly, I thought it would destroy any passion or curiosity he ever had, and wondered what kind of fool would think that 6 years of mind-numbing boredom would do anything else.

Around here, the homework thing just keeps getting worse. Neighbors who have kids in junior high say their kids have about 3-4 hours a night of homework, more on weekends. No teenager in my building has a part-time job. None have any time for it.


We are an unschooling family, meaning that I do not assign anything to my son, nor do I "teach" in the traditional sense of me talking and him shutting up. Most of our "work" is done through long discussions, reading silently or out loud to each other, field trips, and through helping others, either volunteering or just helping a neighbor get something done. I don't think that the Amway family is pretty typical of hsing, and unschooling families, but, I have to add that 8 years old is not an age to worry if someone is not reading. Loads of kids, hsing or in ps, don't know how to read at that age, and 50 years ago, a child who could read under that age would be seen as odd. The age at which children are expected to do certain academic skills, like read and write, has been getting younger and younger for many years, under pressure from parents and teachers who want to prove a theory or technique, or just plain show off. I have yet to see any research that shows any corelation between the age a child learned to read, and their intelligence or learning ability. I learned how to read very young, mostly because I was the youngest of 4 kids and was surrounded by early readers. My son couldn't recite his alphabet reliably at 6, but covered 12 years of reading skills in 2. My brother, who was premature, couldn't read fluidly and easily until he was in his 20's. He now has a masters of Engineering and reads literary novels voraciously. You never really know what a person's interest, talent, skill will be, and it's all largely up to them.

Ali
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#8 of 57 Old 07-25-2002, 08:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kirsten

*Do your kids ask to go to (traditional) school?
One did before she went to PS for 2nd grade. She doesn't ask about it anymore (I homeschooled last year- grade 3.). My younger daughter does not like PS. She went one year also.

Quote:
*Do you plan for them to go to traditional school at any point? High school? College? At what age would you let them decide?
Yes, next year actually. My 2 older children will be attending PS.

Quote:
*Did you have a poor PS experience and HS based on the assumption that your children would have this same experience?
Yes, I had a hard time in school, but that is not the only reason I have homeschooled my children. There were many reasons involved.

Quote:
*Have you looked into alternative public school options?
Like what? The only alternative I know about is private school and it's too expensive.

Quote:
I appreciate that not everyone has a good experience. But there are other options out there besides the black and white of PS vs. HS.
What's so wrong with homeschooling? Seems that you see it as black and white, as in any other option but homeschool.
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#9 of 57 Old 07-25-2002, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,
Thanks for all the replies. I am glad I have not gotten anyone too upset. My background is that I have been very pro-PS and anti-HS but am trying to be more open minded. Not that I would change what I feel is best for my own kids but just to be more accepting of choices that others make. I think this may come from the fact that I am really into natural birth and am saddened greatly when most people I know are so against it that they don't even want to hear any info. I feel like if people only knew how incredible it is, everyone would do it! From the passion I hear on this board and others, I assume you feel the same way re: HS.
To respond to comments made...
Kylix, you mentioned learning through doing as opposed to book work. I agree for the most part. I think this is easier to apply in the younger grades. The first example I think of is math. I can appreciate showing fractions for example with playdough rolled out then cut in half, thirds, etc. But what about when you get to percentages, etc.? That is one of the things I love about our multi-age elementary - there is much learning through doing. They have a nature trail with trees and plants marked with signs of their species, mature height, etc. Down the trail there is an outdoor classroom - benches with backs that fold down to form desks. (The signs and the benches were made by parents of kids in the program. 60 volunteer hours a year per family are required and so many neat things come from this.) Other examples I can think of off the top of my head are the science program and the play the kids did for Martin Luther King day.
Ali, thanks for clearing up unschooling for me. I have been reading that term here and not fully understanding it. Your son being teased and forced to "work" so far below his level is awful. This is another thing that is great about multi-age - each child works at their own level in each area. At our school, he would never have been held back from the next level of learning. On the teasing, I had assumed that this happened everywhere. I was so pleasantly surprised this year to see the kids help each other in instances that I fully expected to see some teasing. I now see that it is how the teacher and the school in general deal with the social aspect of school. Our school is very big on responsibility and kindness, etc. I believe they use some ideas from the Kids for Character theory. (Two great videos for young kids - KfC and Character Counts)
AnnMarie, I had previously thought that there were only a few B & W options - public school, private (often religious and always expensive) school, or HS. I have since (luckily) come to find out that there are options within the PS system that would fit in with the ideas that many people on these boards have. They go by different names in different parts of the country but ours are called alternative and multi-age. Some places may call them charter. Your public tax dollars fund them just like the traditional PS. You asked what I think is so wrong with HS. I think that the loss of the social group is one for me. I know that HS kids have friends - not saying they don't. I like the concept of HS parents getting together to form their own schools as I think the real world is mainly groups that individuals must work with (jobs for example). Honestly, I loved school, thought it was interesting and fun, saw my friends there, learned and was proud of my accomplishments, participated in many different groups, clubs, activities. It was good for me to see the different styles of teaching that each teacher had, to learn to work in different groupings, etc. I think it prepared me for adult life. But I was lucky to have many good teachers, very little peer pressure, advanced classes so I wasn't bored, etc. Off topic - I totally agree with you on circumcision!
At my daughter's school, the parents being so involved has led to some wonderful things. One mom teaches the kids sign, the parents of one boy teach chess club after school to anyone who wants to learn - my daughter was in this at age 5. I didn't even ask her when the note came home as I thought she was too young. But she found out about it from friends and I agreed she could join. They are not assumed to be too young for anything - if the child is interested, they go ahead. Two moms stepped in when we ended up without a PE teacher (budget negotiations fell apart somewhere apparently) and taught them to walk/jog, then run; they learned about stretching, nutrition, hydration and over Thanksgiving weekend the entire school (teachers also) ran in the Seattle Kids Marathon! It was incredible! There is a school garden. The kids sang for the veterans at the Senior Center for Veterans Day. Each child has a weekly job to help the class run smoothly. Two kids each week are problem solvers. If a child has a problem, they go to the problem solvers first. It is amazing how many times the kids (all K and 1st graders) can help each other without requiring an adult to intervene. I have just been so happy with everything.
The reason I bring all this up is that I too thought it was the black and white of PS or HS. I was so lucky to find that there were alternative programs going on quietly in my own town! If anyone is interested, go to your local school districts website and look for a listing of alternative programs or schools.
Thanks for all your input in helping me understand.
Kirsten (just checked message length - sorry so long!!)
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#10 of 57 Old 07-26-2002, 12:25 AM
 
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Kirsten, was that a final wrap-up, or can I add my .02?

The alternative program you have there sounds like it's working wonderfully for you. That's great! We have nothing remotely like it here. Even if we did, I doubt dd would want to be involved...your program undoubtably requires students to show up on a fairly regular basis in the morning. Dd is a nightowl, sleeps late, wanders around in jammies playing with the cat in the morning. We don't follow anything remotely like a Sept.-June schedule. She'll probably end up in a career that fits her schedule (MIL is also a nightowl, and a highly successful realtor). Sooo...dd has little interest in going to school. Maybe in a few years she'll feel differently.

I LOVED school. I was very good at it. Teachers liked me. I rarely studied, but was extremely good at taking tests. In retrospect I've found amazing gaps in my factual knowledge. I also wonder how I would've developed if I had been challenged or inspired.

DH also loved school. However, he thought the entire process was ineffecient (he, too, was one of those who spent most of his time waiting for the rest of the class to catch up). So he supports homeschool from that standpoint. He also likes that we can go on vacation whenever we want.

I also LOVE homeschooling...because I'm still learning so much myself! Part of it is filling in those factual gaps (like the Stele of Hammurabi, which my mother had learned about in her little podunk school years ago, but was never mentioned in my "modern" education). Part of it is learning about the educational process and child development, learning styles, etc. It is SO COOL when your child says their first word, takes their first step, figures out subtraction, reads their first sentence, writes their first story AND YOU"RE THERE to see it...it is SO COOL when dd says, "I want to learn about China," and I can say, "okay! Let's see what we can find out!"

Dd is such a fun person to be around. I'm glad we get to spend the best parts of our days together, rather than just getting those leftover dregs at the end of the day. I'm also incredible thankful I don't have to get her out of bed every morning by 7:30.
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#11 of 57 Old 07-26-2002, 02:25 AM
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My oldest, who is almost 7 now, has never been in school or preschool or daycare. Neither has his younger 3 yr. old sister. We're unschoolers. No, I don't ever plan on putting them in school. If when they hit their teen years, they decided they wanted to try school then I'd help them to find the best alternative school I could (if free or affordable), but otherwise no.

Like Ali, we don't DO school though. My kids learn what they want, when they want, how they want. I have no intention of "teaching" them anything unless they want my help. My son taught himself to read when he was 5, and quickly went to adult reading level. My other 2 kids may not read until they're 8 and that's okay, too. I agree with everyone else that the Amway example was not a very accurate example of most homeschooling or unschooling families. Also, not to sound defensive, but I always find it at the least - uninformed - when people question how "we"(meaning the government I assume) can make sure that no homeschoolers slip through the cracks, when illiteracy, among other things, is so high in the public schools.

Have you ever read any of John Holt's books? Or "Dumbing Us Down" by John Taylor Gatto, or "The Teenage Liberation Handbook" by Grace Llewelyn? I would recommend any or all of these if you are interested in where home and unschoolers are coming from.

The main reason that I choose to unschool our kids is because I believe in people's natural ability and drive to learn, that they don't need to be force fed information in order to learn, and that in fact that is far from the ideal atmosphere in which to learn. I think school is a major hinderance to any child's potential, and I don't want to take the chance of it crushing the spirits of my children.

(Written without any anger at all!) - Kelly

Handmade dress shop owner and mama of five - our littlest just born in December! ♥

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#12 of 57 Old 07-26-2002, 04:15 AM
 
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kristen, when I first read your post I thought it was a little like going to the homebirth forum and trying to sell them on hospital births (LOL). Since you seem sincere about learning more, I would like to share my thoughts.

#1. My ds was in a public school that had a combination kindergarden/first grade class. Even though he could read 7th grade level he would come home discouraged because he was painfully aware that his artwork was not as detailed as his classmates. During the school year we moved to a new city with a huge school district. The gifted program that was the only thing close to meeting his needs consisted of shipping him across town on the bus for two hours once a week, something that would not work well for my ds. He loves homeschooling and does not want to go to PS. My twin dd's are not interested in PS.

#2. I plan to take my childrens homeschooling one year at a time. I will re-evaluate each year to see how things are going.

#3. I did not have a bad PS experience. Although, I do not feel that it prepared me for real life or helped me discover my purpose in life (which in my mind is the reason for learning). I thought High School and most of college was a waste of time. My husband who loved PS and who has three college degrees (including a Masters degree) is totally supportive of HSing and feels that it is the absolute best option for our family.

#4. I have looked at several alternative options for public school and felt that none of them would replace homeschooling. There is no way a teacher with 30 kids in a class (or even 10 for that matter) can know my child the way that I do and understand what motivates him to the extent that I do. A teacher is educated to teach a classroom of children. As a mom, I know my children and I understand their ways of learning. I find a balance between following their lead (what interests them) and things that I feel are important for them to learn. The thing is, I can take something that might be boring for them and relate it to them in a personal way. I certainly would not expect a PS teacher to personalize their education in this way.

My ds is currently very interested in Lego Robotics. He is learning how to computer program on his own at the age of seven. This is nothing that I am pushing, it is his interest and desire to learn. My twin dd's who are almost five love artwork. They are not interested in reading. Can I trust them that when they are ready to learn to read they will? I encourage them and they know all their alphabet letters. However, just like I did not push my ds's artwork, I will not be pushing my dd's to read. I want them to enjoy the process of learning. I want them to remember things that were interesting to them and not just memorize facts to short-term memory to pass the test!

I live in Alaska where there are no regulations for HSing. In fact, you do not even have to notify the school district that you have children. For our state, this makes sense because there are so many families that live in remote areas. More importantly though, our legislators understand that the majority of homeshoolers are very involved with their children and that most HS'ers flourish. Will there be kids who fall through the cracks? Unfortunately yes. Will it be any more than are slipping through the cracks of PS? I doubt it. I don't feel that any regulation is necessary. I think the majority of parents can be trusted with creating a great environment where their can kids learn.

If you are interested in learning more I would recommend reading "Family Matters: Why homeschooling Makes Sense" by David Guterson. He was a homeschooling father who was also a high school teacher in Bainbridge Island, WA. I think understanding the history of public school will bring some additional light.

I hope that your path leads you to place where you are able to release your anger and judgement towards the family that you babysat and that it helps you to attain the open-mindedness that you are seeking towards HSing.

You might consider posting about your childrens multi-age school on the public school forum. It sounds like it is working great for your family and that you are passionate about it! I hope more public schools will offer such a great alternative in the future!

BTW~Welcome to the mothering boards!!
~Jill

edited for clarity (typed late last night)!
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#13 of 57 Old 07-26-2002, 09:09 AM
 
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Lots of good info here already, but I'll add our personal answers--

*Do your kids ask to go to (traditional) school?
My oldest two went to school and asked to be homeschooled. We pulled my oldest out in 3rd grade and our dd after Kindergarten. For their individual reasons, a school envirnment did not "fit" them. They were not thriving there.


*Do you plan for them to go to traditional school at any point?
High school? College? At what age would you let them decide?

I feel it's their decision. At this point they are certain they will never return to school. If they wanted to return it would be their choice. They have both mentioned college, but they're still young so it's not an real issue right now. I sincerely believe that they need to live their own lives, not the life that I (or anyone else) has picked out for them.

*Did you have a poor PS experience and HS based on the assumption that your children would have this same experience?

I DID have a poor ps experience, but thought that my own children's experience would be different. (They are not me, after all.) I'd read a lot of John Holt's books before they were school-aged and somehow believed that my ideals of child-led learning and public school could be combined. Some of their early teachers even seemed to be on my wave-length. I was wrong.

*Have you looked into alternative public school options?

I have---but only as theories as there are not any ps options in our area. The only type that might, possibly fit our needs would be a free school, but even with that, the family component is missing,

As far as the government checking up on homeschoolers--I am very much against this idea. The government is not responsible for educating my children and therefore should have no involvement in that regard. I do not want the government or district coming into our family to measure or dictate what my children know or when they should know it any more than I want the government to tell me to vaccinate my children or wean them or put them in a crib to sleep.

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#14 of 57 Old 07-26-2002, 10:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kirsten
*Do your kids ask to go to (traditional) school?
*Do you plan for them to go to traditional school at any point? High school? College? At what age would you let them decide?
*Did you have a poor PS experience and HS based on the assumption that your children would have this same experience?
*Have you looked into alternative public school options?

Here are my questions:

Do your kids ask to be homeschooled??

Are you ever planning on Homeschooling them?? At what age would you let them decide to be HS?

Did you have a poor homeschool experience ( or know someone who did) and now chose to public or private school your kids based on the assumption that your children would have the same experience??

Just wondering, and trying to understand. Oh BTW, I know a family that sent their kids to a charter public school where they were exposed to guns, violence, teasing and drugs. They didn't learn to read until they were 8. I was horrified! How could the school let that happen??

Just trying to understand......
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#15 of 57 Old 07-26-2002, 12:23 PM
 
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Originally posted by Kirsten
[B]
AnnMarie, I had previously thought that there were only a few B & W options - public school, private (often religious and always expensive) school, or HS. I have since (luckily) come to find out that there are options within the PS system that would fit in with the ideas that many people on these boards have. They go by different names in different parts of the country but ours are called alternative and multi-age. Some places may call them charter. Your public tax dollars fund them just like the traditional PS.
We don't have any other options here. I pay over $1,200 a year in tax JUST for PS, yet they don't have any special programs. I can't even afford HS this year, never mind private school.

Quote:
You asked what I think is so wrong with HS. I think that the loss of the social group is one for me.
PS is not real life socialization. In what grown up situation do you know of that only adults of the same age are together most of the day, have to raise their hand to talk, to go to the bathroom, etc.? PS is not real life. I remember it well. People form groups, and if you aren't one of the popular ones that watch out, your life in PS could be hell.

Not only that, but you have no control over what kinds of people your children are around all day. That goes for the other children and the adults. You don't even really know the adult that is caring for your child all day. That's a scary one for me, especially seeing how my kids are going to PS this year.


Quote:
Off topic - I totally agree with you on circumcision!
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#16 of 57 Old 07-26-2002, 12:26 PM
 
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Originally posted by Arduinna



Here are my questions:

Do your kids ask to be homeschooled??

Are you ever planning on Homeschooling them?? At what age would you let them decide to be HS?.............
Those are all great questions Arduinna! I do the same thing when meat eaters ask why I don't give my kids the choice to eat meat, and if I would let them if they asked to. I ask them why don't they give their children the choice to be vegetarian, and if they would let them if they asked. :LOL
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#17 of 57 Old 07-26-2002, 03:33 PM
 
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Kel said
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The main reason that I choose to unschool our kids is because I believe in people's natural ability and drive to learn, that they don't need to be force fed information in order to learn, and that in fact that is far from the ideal atmosphere in which to learn. I think school is a major hinderance to any child's potential, and I don't want to take the chance of it crushing the spirits of my children.
Exactly, Kelly! You said it so much better than I could. This is exactly why I want to homeschool.

As for the social group thing, I feel like children learn more and better social skills from the real world not from a classroom full of peers of the same age or same academic level. Homeschooled kids have more time to interact with people of all ages, people of all different races and religions and they can come and go as they please. They learn real world social skills instead of the public school dog eat dog mentality..."follow the crowd" "if you're different, you're wrong" etc. etc. I feel like homeschooled children have the potential to form real friendships because they have nothing to lose whereas in public school I often "befriended" people I hated because they were popular or cool. I was stabbed in the back so many times in middle school and high school. And I wouldn't even say I had that bad of an experience! This was commonplace in public middle and high schools! I don't want my kids to grow up with the type of socialization that kids get in public school. It seems to me that public school once you get to the upper levels is nothing more than a social club. That's not what school is supposed to be about. I don't want that clouding my child's education.

The social group argument is a poor one for me. Socialization, believe it or not, is one of the main reasons I want to homeschool my kids.

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#18 of 57 Old 07-26-2002, 03:39 PM
 
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Ann Marie, excellent point!! I wonder why most parents don't ask their kids if they want to eat meat?? Or go to church?? Or... well you got the idea, lol.
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#19 of 57 Old 07-26-2002, 04:40 PM
 
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*Do your kids ask to go to (traditional) school?
NO, they actually pity the kids that go get locked up all day.

*Do you plan for them to go to traditional school at any point? High school? College?

If they want to go to college they will go. My oldest takes some college classes.
At what age would you let them decide? He is 13. He choose to take the ACT last spring and applied on his own.

*Did you have a poor PS experience and HS based on the assumption that your children would have this same experience?
No, we hs because public school was Not meeting our kids educational needs. We homeschool for reasons such as socialization, personal safety, and self esteem also. My children are all very different and have different learning styles and interests then I do, plus we live in a different school system and state then I did.
Most parents my age realize todays public schools are nothing close to the ones we attended as children twenty plus years ago, for example my middle school I attended did not have lock downs, no one came in and gave Dare talks or taught the 'pillars of character', teachers were not policemen etc...

*Have you looked into alternative public school options?
Sure, we have Waldorf, charter, Montessori, Catholic, Jewish, Christian and a Liberty school near us. Also the local community college and the Y has classses, there are also correspondence and online schools. Homeschooling was the best choice.

And please post again if you have any more ?s on homeschooling or email me for more information. I am not offended easily and welcome the chance to share information.
WE love homeschooling!!!
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#20 of 57 Old 07-26-2002, 04:45 PM
 
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Kirsten, I'm wondering. If you spent an entire day in your child's classroom and wrote down everything new that she learned, how much time would it take you to teach her the same thing at home? If you removed lunch, recess, snack time, story time, circle time, lining up,etc. how much actual time would she have spent learning something new (for e.g. reading)? If you condensed down the learning times would it really be more than 30 minutes? And of that 30 minutes, how much of that time would be one on one with the teacher? And during that thirty minutes is her learning about something that she is passionately interested in? Is it something that she is going to remember because she wanted to learn about it? Would she be able to get individual piano lessons?

I would love to hear your response and would like to say that I don't see HSing as better, it's simply different approach to learning.
~Jill
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#21 of 57 Old 07-26-2002, 06:56 PM
 
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Kristen, math has been one of my biggest anxiety spots since we started hsing, and I started out pushing math more formally. I learned very quickly, though, that the structure and sequence of math as it's taught in ps is very unnatural and needlessly complicated. Ds has figured out fractions, and percentages (I have to point out that percentages are fractions, they are a number out of 100. This is a great example of the artificial boundaries inserted in "formal" education.) Ds has learned math from cooking, sewing, lego, from everyday experiences like wanting to know how far we are from where we are going, how much distance we have already covered, and the total distance. He's learned graphing mostly from becoming deeply engrossed in his atlas and almanac, comparing data from different countries and areas. He's learned some basic algebra from math trick books, and from watching my work during a construction electrical course (algebra is vitally important in electrical installation. It was the first time that it actually made sense to me, when the answer was not just an abstraction, but an actual measure, and one that might lead to physical injury if I got something wrong!)

We have done things like measuring the height of trees and buildings in the neighborhood based on the length of their shadows and some angle measurements (trigonometry). We do puzzles together (spatial relationships), we do number puzzles in the Dell variety puzzle books we get at the grocery store (basic arithmetic, logic, pattern recognition.) We make things, furniture, costumes, household items like curtains, Halloween decorations and props (we take Halloween very seriously around here, LOL), ds has lately had a passion for measuring things, with different tools and scales, and for comparing Imperial and Metric (we're Canadian) measurements. He's lately discovered ratios in many different forms, the latest of which is to compare size to weight.

And every time I have an unschooling panic attack, and start looking up math programs, and start giving him placement tests, I discover that, in the absense of any "work", he's continued to learn all that he would be required to know for his grade level and beyond. He's figured out his own way of doing things, and can do most of his everyday calculation needs in his head (up to 5 digits adding or subtracting, 3 in multiplication or division.) None of this has been taught to him, in fact he finds working on paper, with typical school book examples to be painfully confusing.

I'm not afraid (usually, lol) of teaching him algebra, trig, calculus, because I've learned that we will learn this stuff together, and that it will make sense when we really need to perform a task. I don't consider it my job to teach math, or any other subject, but to figure out why we need a skill, and find interesting resources or information about it.

Allison
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#22 of 57 Old 07-28-2002, 06:45 PM
 
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Well, I am new here, but will tell you that I did attend public school, I had an ok experience, but because of the poor state of the schools where we have lived we homeschool. My husband is military and we move every few years. This also helps my kids with continuity of education as I know what they have covered and haven't, so there are no gaps. Now, I will say that many homeschoolers don't believe that their kids have to read by age 5. My first did, my second won't. She may not read until 6 or7 <gasp!>. I have reasearched this, I have read many books, talked even to public school teachers. Most will agree that by 4th or 5th grade you can't tell who was an early reader and who wasn't. The benefit to this type of homeschooling, is that yes, I am doing my job to teach her something, it may not be reading, but when she is ready to read, she will. If she went to public school and she wasn't ready, she would simply be left behind and left feeling stupid. Surely you can see the harm in this! By the way, every state's requirements are different in what is required from homeschoolers. SOme have strict laws, some have none.
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#23 of 57 Old 07-29-2002, 09:03 AM
 
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Hi,
Everyone has very well thought out and written responses to why they Homeschool.
Something that came to my mind that I wanted to respond to is when Kirsten mentioned about the 8 yr old HS child that could not read. What about all the Public School kids that are much older than that and they still can not read or write?? Kirsten mentioned something about that leaving a bad taste in her mouth the 8 yr old that couldnt read so I would think with so many public school kids graduating that can not read or write (or so I have read) that would be as equally upsetting to her.

I am NOT saying that its ok for a 8 yr old to not know how to read anymore than its ok for a high school graduate to not know, but what I am saying is as long as something can be found wrong with the public school system, then no one should be critical of Homeschool. There is pros and cons with BOTH public school and Homeschool and as long as there is then neither should be critical of the other. Its up to each responsible parents/parents to decide which one is best for their child/children! After all we all do what we feel is best for OUR children.

The only reason I feel parents that Homeschool would get upset telling the reasons why they do so is because of how critical some can be no matter how good the reasons are.

I felt ok when I was in public school but if I would have had a choice I would rather had been Homschooled, However, when I was in public school if a parent went to the teachers/principle with problems about how boys were treating their girls etc then it would have been dealth with when I was in public school. I have heard of so many instances now where parents have gone to teachers and principles over how boys are harassing their girls and NOTHING would be done about it.

We as parents can always go back and forth why one is better than the other but the bottom line is there are legitimate reasons why parents choose the one they do, whether Homeschool or public school so I think all parents should just be respectful to those reasons and not be critical of each other!

Just my two cents worth! LOL

LinsMom

Oh, should have thought to add this! I was not saying anyone HERE was being critical I meant those that I have came across that are critical but did not mean to imply anyone here is!
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#24 of 57 Old 07-29-2002, 09:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by LinsMom
[B]Kirsten mentioned about the 8 yr old HS child that could not read. What about all the Public School kids that are much older than that and they still can not read or write??
Good point, and one that I should have picked up on seeing how I used to tutor a friend that can't read. He went to public school. He's 45 years old and still can't read very well. Unfortunately, he never stays with a tutor long enough to learn what he should know.
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#25 of 57 Old 07-29-2002, 10:53 AM
 
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Why do people find it disturbing that an 8 year old does not read? At what age "should" a child be reading and why?

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#26 of 57 Old 07-29-2002, 10:58 AM
 
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Originally posted by Joan
Why do people find it disturbing that an 8 year old does not read? At what age "should" a child be reading and why?
My guess is it depends on where you live, and only because that's the "norm" there. Doesn't mean a child really NEEDS to know by 8 IMO.
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#27 of 57 Old 07-29-2002, 11:58 AM
 
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quote from above<<<The only reason I feel parents that Homeschool would get upset telling the reasons why they do so is because of how critical some can be no matter how good the reasons are. >>>


This is so true. And honestly, why should I (any of us) have to justify my choices for MY children to anyone? I used to feel I had to justify to my family, dh's family, etc. Now I just keep my mouth shut and walk out when I need to. I have considered purchasing "The Endangered Mind" for each of them for Christmas however. rofl.

To the original question asker, I do know public school kids in my neighborhood who are in 4th and 3rd grade, at two separate schools (we have schools of choice here) who can't read. The schools reply to this? Hire a tutor. Here, we will give her an aide who will read the questions for her and put down her answer. WHAT?!?!? They have no interest in actually teaching her to read, just put a bandaid on the problem. ugh.

Socializing? Well I must say that my kids socialize daily with neighborhood playmates, church pals, homeschool friends on field trips, ballet class and soccer teams, and even elderly people when we deliver meals on wheels weekly. They are experiencing real life socializing with people of all ages, not just their own age, and that is real life. Plus, their peers seem to have a lot of bad habits that their parents find acceptable that I would not, so for us, it just seems to work better to choose our friends carefully, and be around them more than if they were in school 7 ours a day, 5 days a week.

I have to add that my children have not asked to go to public school, my son feels sorry for kids who go to public school as they are there all day and then have homework on top of that. I doubt they will ever attend a public school until they go to college, if that is their choice.

I also find it amusing that the original poster is a natural labor advocate and not homeschooling. So many of those into natural labor see homeschooling as a natural extension of parenting and well, NATURAL.
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#28 of 57 Old 07-29-2002, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Firstly I would like to thank all those who tried to help me understand why they HS. It is obvious that I have gotten a few people defensive. That was not my intent. No one has to justify to me why they HS - I was just trying to get more info. I tried to phrase questions/comments in a neutral way (although in hindsight I could have done better with the "horrified about the 8 year old not reading" part - until your reply posts, I honestly did not think there was anyone who would disagree with that).

To answer some questions posted to me - no, my children have not asked to be HS - although I can see the upside in not getting them up in the early a.m. each weekday! No, I would not let them choose to HS - to be honest, at any age. I believe strongly in the multi-age program we are involved in. If at some point in their future education/schooling there were problems, I would be open to moving them to another class/school/program if other attempts to rectify the issues were unsuccessful. Do I see myself ever choosing HS for my family? No. Do I understand more why people choose it for their family? Yes.
Do kids fall through the cracks in the PS system? Sadly, I am sure there are some who do. I have seen this firsthand as I have recently become certified to tutor adults in learning to read. The kids who fail in the PS vs. kids who are not properly HS reminded me of a public forum on out of hospital birth. One of the panel members was a nurse and made a statement about a baby dying at a home birth. Of course no one can guarantee you a healthy, live baby at a hospital birth either! So I understand your point and remember my anger when the nurse made that comment.

Oh, almost forgot the last question posted to me - I do not find it odd that I am passionately into natural birth and yet send my kids to PS. Those are two very different issues. On each issue (birth, nursing, vaccinations, sleeping, discipline, schooling, nutrition, etc.) I look into the options and together with my husband, make a decision. Of course each of us on this board brings our prior life experience into each of these decisions. I highly respect people who choose to be vegetarians for example but do not make that choice myself. I think we can respect other parenting choices even if they are not what we decide for our own family. That is exactly why I asked the original questions.

Thanks to those who suggested books. I plan to look into Dumbing Us Down.
Kirsten
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#29 of 57 Old 07-29-2002, 07:36 PM
 
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Here is my feeling on govt intervention into homeschooling. when they get it right in their public schools, and have no kids falling through the cracks, when every child graduates reading, then they can come into my home and tell me what i am doing wrong. Until then, well, they need to stay out of my business.
I feel the state has no business mandating homeschooling when they can't do well with public schooling.

You might not want to read Dumbing Us Down, it might make you decide to homeschool. <said tongue in cheek>. Endangered Minds is another good book.
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#30 of 57 Old 07-29-2002, 08:03 PM
 
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We homeschool. I value the certain amount of freedoms I have during the day. I assume dd does too. I would have better feelings abt school if it wasnt mandatory to be there 7 to 8 hrs a day 5 days a week. Reminds me of jail. lol! There are many many reasons we homeschool, here are a few more:

freedom to take classes in whatever interests us, whenever it does (ex, gymnastics, pottery, music), and the freedom to not learn st when it doesnt interest us. In school there is pretty much no choice. If the class is learning abt dinosaurs, then you must too.

Free time. I dont know how families who have kids in school all day find time to chill with each other. I'm sure they do, just saying for me, i like a slower pace than a school schedule allows.

Quality of education. Life is learning, learning is life. Learning from the real world, instead of being in a classroom all day.

Age segregation. Dont agree with this at all.

There are many more, but thats what comes off the top of my head. I do resent having to inform the school district at all abt my hs. I feel like its none of their business. Imo, schools do far more damage than good, they have no right telling me anything abt how to educate my child.

As far as the 8 yr old not reading. She'll read when shes ready.
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