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#1 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I would really like to know the ropes here. This forum does not have any guidelines so I am asking. I am a former teacher, now at home with a 2 yr old dd, thinking about different types of schooling and considering homeschooling. I am familiar with many types of classroom schooling but literally know absolutely no one in real life who homeschools.
  • Is it best to just lurk for a long time and wait to post until you actually start homeschooling?
  • Does my teaching experience qualify me to offer any ideas? I have taught in private and public schools, large and small, in a variety of settings. I have a masters of education. Or, would that seem threatening? I certainly would never tell anyone what to do, just offer ideas.
  • Is there a way to politely dispel school stereotypes without appearing to be against homeschooling?

I live in a city where the public schools are in crisis and literally 33% of children go to private schools. Not sure about homeschooling percentages. I taught in these schools and I am pretty sure that I not only do not want to return but I definitely don't want my child to attend most of the schools in the city. (a few are ok) So, I am exploring options. I love to share ideas but if that would appear threatening, to have a teacher who is not currently homeschooling but interested in it, sharing ideas, then I will refrain.

I am most sincere in my request.
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#2 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 08:04 PM
 
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Well, I hope I'm not overstepping MY bounds, as I don't homeschool yet.

I've been lurking here for a long time, and posting occasionally when I have something to say. I think it's fine to post here if you don't homeschool yet, as long as you're here to learn and not flame anyone for their choices. So yeah, go ahead and post as you're learning about your different options.

You can go ahead and offer ideas, I'm sure they'd be well recieved. But don't think that your qualifications make you more qualified to offer ideas than any other homeschooling parent here. Most, I'm guessing, don't have education degrees, and are just as successful at homeschooling as someone who does.

I think it would be ok to politely dispell stereotypes, but most of us have had experience with public schools, if not from a teachers point of view.

Of course, I don't speak for anyone here but myself. But I think it can be useful to have a teacher's pov, especially one who has decided to homeschool.
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#3 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 08:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
  • Is it best to just lurk for a long time and wait to post until you actually start homeschooling?
  • Does my teaching experience qualify me to offer any ideas? I have taught in private and public schools, large and small, in a variety of settings. I have a masters of education. Or, would that seem threatening? I certainly would never tell anyone what to do, just offer ideas.
  • Is there a way to politely dispel school stereotypes without appearing to be against homeschooling?
i think many people post before they start homeschooling. i have seen that experienced homeschoolers get sick of being guinea pigs for projects, but i think if you have honest questions people are happy to help.

you are welcome to offer ideas imo. i wouldn't go waving your degrees around though. people who preface everything with their education can get annoying. (not saying you would do this! just a general suggestion)

the word threatened doesn't really sit well with me though--i don't see people being threatened by teachers being on the hs board. it really depends upon what you are suggesting, why you are suggesting it and all... what are your motivations on the forum?? if you are here to help, ask yourself if people need your help. if you are here to learn, then lurking and educating yourself is a good thing to do.

why do you want to dispel stereotypes about the public schools? how can you know they are stereotypes and not what people experienced. i homeschool, but mostly lurk in this forum. i would not want someone trying to "correct" my perceptions about public schools in this forum. that's is just my opinion.
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#4 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 08:17 PM
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I don't think the issue is that offering ideas is threatening; it's that they're often just not relevant to homeschooling, and many teachers get defensive when people tell them that.They are many teachers and former teachers here - I'm one of them - and IMO having a background as a tecaher is more often a liability than an asset.

As far as what you're calling stereotypes... nearly every poster here has first-hand experience with schools, as a student, and many also have experience as a teacher and a parent of a schooled child. When we talk about schools, we do know what we're talking about. If you're experience of schools differs, that's fine and I think you're welcome to say that, but it's not okay to dismiss others' experiences as stereotypes. If you have an investment in your identity as a teacher, I can see how some posts here would be difficult to read, but becoming a homeschooler will definitely require you to rethink some of your assumptions about school, imo...

I don't think you have to wait until your child is school-age to start posting, no. It would probably be wise to do a lot more reading than posting in the beginning, though.

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#5 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wolfmama
what are your motivations on the forum?? if you are here to help, ask yourself if people need your help. if you are here to learn, then lurking and educating yourself is a good thing to do.
I am here to learn and participate in discussions. Perhaps I should participate just a person and not as a teacher, kwim? I guess I assume that my experiences are just as valid, not more or less, than the next persons.

Quote:
why do you want to dispel stereotypes about the public schools? how can you know they are stereotypes and not what people experienced. i homeschool, but mostly lurk in this forum. i would not want someone trying to "correct" my perceptions about public schools in this forum. that's is just my opinion.
I would never tell someone that their personal experience is right or wrong. But when people generalize about anything which I have experience with, it irks me when they generalize completely to the negative. To me anyone who uses stereotypes, be they about race or ethnicity or where you live or how bad or good schools are, is just asking for someone to dispel them. I have literally taught in 40 or 50 schools, most as a sub, both private and public, so I have experience in this area. Just as I like to dispel stereotypes about the French, since I used to live there, I also think I am qualified to dispel stereotypes about schooling. And, that is very, very different from trying to tell someone not to homeschool. However, if this is absolutely not the place to do that, if that would come across as inappropriate or threatening to someone's ideals, then I will refrain.
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#6 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 09:09 PM
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Why do you have a need to believe that homeschoolers are *threatened* by schools and teachers? You keep using that word. Really, the opposite tends to be true, and your insistence on defending schools from even the possibility of criticism supports that idea.

It's very difficult to look critically at an institution that you've literally been part of for decades, as a student and later a teacher. If you're just here to defend schools, I'm not sure you'll get anywhere with that. I think you'd be better off listening and really thinking about what you hear, and realizing that your perceptions of schools have been shaped by years of propaganda and assumptions about learning that just aren't true. I would read John Taylor Gatto, too, the former New York State tecaher of the year: http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/index.htm

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#7 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 09:18 PM
 
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Word. I'm not "threatened" by anyone, especially just because they are/were a teacher. All of us here are teachers; many of us are formally trained teachers.

We are a diverse bunch, and we don't all agree all the time. A disagreement does not mean we are threatened by you; it just means we disagree. Of course your experiences as a teacher are valid, just as all of our experiences as teachers are valid. I don't know how applicable public school classroom management technique is to homeschooling. You share, and we'll let you know if we agree or disagree. But you don't get any sort of special weight on your opinion just because you are/have been a public school educator.

I would see someone coming to the homeschooling forum to dispel myths about the public school forum about as inappropriate as someone coming into the breastfeeding advocacy forum to dispel myths about formula, or the circumcision forum to dispel myths about circumsizing. Because there is an assumption there- the assumption that I don't know what I am talking about and that my opinion about the public school system are somehow invalid and I need to be "taught" the correct answer.

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#8 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 09:21 PM
 
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I think the people with the most challeneges toward homeschooling thier children are professional teachers. It is just two different worlds and it is hard to see home education as something completely and totally different than classroom educations.

I don't think being a teacher makes you insights invalid and appreciate your input. I for one enjoy a teachers perspective on some things.

If you are at home with your child and they are not in school then you are already homechooling and you experiances and insights are just as valid as anyone eles.

As for dispelling myths about PS i wouldn't even worry about trying. not a receptive audiance. and most of us have good reasons. Your classroom was probably great and you were probably a great teacher but it was still a classroom not a home and you were still a teacher and not a parent. many of us have problems with the whole classroom and teacher model of education.

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#9 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 09:41 PM
 
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It was my experience as a teacher and what I saw happening in public school that led us to homeschooling. I don't want my children in the public school system. Except for a few local battles when we've gone up against the school system and my "inside knowledge" has been useful, I've found being a trained educator to be a PITA. My dd thrives in a more relaxed, unstructured environment, so we lean towards unschooling but sometimes it's hard for me to ignore that nagging "teacher" voice in my head. I know families who do school at home and their kids don't enjoy learning any more than my child did when she was in school, so it's been very important for me to step away from my vocation and focus on my child instead.

I think everyone has something to contribute at every stage of hsing, but it's important to remember that true learning at homeschool looks very little like school at home or in the classroom. It follows a much more natural sequence than a forced curriculum.
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#10 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 09:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
[*]Is it best to just lurk for a long time and wait to post until you actually start homeschooling?
I think, for most message boards, it's better to read a bit and get a sense of the board before posting, but that's just me. Lots of people jump right in. Certainly many people (including myself) posted on hsing boards before actually starting to hs.


Quote:
[*]Does my teaching experience qualify me to offer any ideas? I have taught in private and public schools, large and small, in a variety of settings. I have a masters of education. Or, would that seem threatening? I certainly would never tell anyone what to do, just offer ideas.
I've certainly disagreed with some posts, but I've yet to find any threatening. I'm not even sure where you're going with with that idea. Everyone offers ideas here, when they're asked. We don't ask for anyone's "qualifications." I do think it would be a problem if someone began posting as an "authority" simply because they are a teacher. It would sort of be like a conventional MD coming to a natural/homeopathic/herbal health board and offering ideas, I think.

[/QUOTE][*]Is there a way to politely dispel school stereotypes without appearing to be against homeschooling?
[/QUOTE]

School stereotypes? I'm trying to think if I've ever come across those here. As has been noted already, most of us have experience with schools. Most here have gone to schools and many have had our children in school for a time. Many of us discuss our experiences with school, so we're talking first-hand. School isn't some unknown where all we have to go on are stereotypes, but if you see any, go ahead and post. Maybe we can dispel some of the stereotypes *you* hold. I'm always up for a discussion.

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#11 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 10:04 PM
 
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I thought I was done.


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Originally Posted by boongirl
I am here to learn and participate in discussions. Perhaps I should participate just a person and not as a teacher, kwim? I guess I assume that my experiences are just as valid, not more or less, than the next persons.
Well, since this is a homeschooling board, I'd think participation as a person, rather than as a teacher, would be a good idea. Your experiences are just as valid as the next person's, but your experiences are with SCHOOL, which is very different from homeschooling.

If you re-read your posts here, and imagine that they're coming from a homeschooling parent and being posted on a teacher's bulletin board, how do you think they'd be received?

(for instance) "Does my homeschooling experience qualify me to offer any ideas? I have homeschooled all my children, throughout their school years, in a variety of settings. I have a masters degree. Or, would that seem threatening? I certainly would never tell anyone what to do, just offer ideas."

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#12 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 10:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by annettemarie
Word. I'm not "threatened" by anyone,
:

AM you crack me up. WORD.

I don't mind hearing about stereotypes the OP feels are being tossed around. If they're unfair generalizations, let's hear them. I'm really curious.

Course, seems like most of the rest here don't want to hear them, so maybe a PM. Or the others can skip?
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#13 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 10:36 PM
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I want to know just what stereotypes the OP is referring to. I don't think I've ever seen one posted here other than in jest.
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#14 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 10:38 PM
 
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I am kinda curious about these sterotypes too. I would like to know what they are.
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#15 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 10:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Missy
It was my experience as a teacher and what I saw happening in public school that led us to homeschooling. I don't want my children in the public school system. Except for a few local battles when we've gone up against the school system and my "inside knowledge" has been useful, I've found being a trained educator to be a PITA. My dd thrives in a more relaxed, unstructured environment, so we lean towards unschooling but sometimes it's hard for me to ignore that nagging "teacher" voice in my head. I know families who do school at home and their kids don't enjoy learning any more than my child did when she was in school, so it's been very important for me to step away from my vocation and focus on my child instead.

I think everyone has something to contribute at every stage of hsing, but it's important to remember that true learning at homeschool looks very little like school at home or in the classroom. It follows a much more natural sequence than a forced curriculum.
:
I am finding it very important to deschool and distance myself from my teaching experience!

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#16 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 11:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jessicaSAR
I am kinda curious about these sterotypes too. I would like to know what they are.
Come to think of it, so would I. :

I suspect, however, that any "stereotypes" on this board are actually people's real life experiences. I mean, I hardly see public educators or schooled children as a marginalized group suffering persecution.

But hey, if I am stereotyping I want to know about it. I certainly don't want to be party to creating an oppressive environment to those who don't choose to homeschool. :LOL

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#17 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Very interesting comments. I can now understand how coming in with a title "teacher" was offputting. I never thought of that. As for seeing things through my own frame of reference, well I don't think I am ever going to get away from that. I have been a teacher. I was a student for a long time before that, all in public schools. I can't remove myself from that frame of mine. I can only ask questions and learn from others as I explore new ways of thinking.

I think what I am realizing is that my perspective on schooling, be it in the public schools or private schools, is not that negative. I do not fully appreciate all the schools in my area because I do not think they have the funds to really teach the students right. That is the only reason I would consider homeschooling, to give my child a better education than the schools in my city can currently offer. But there are schools out there, even in my city, both public and private, that I think are awesome. I have seen some bad school situations but nothing so bad as to make me give up completely on schooling. So, perhaps my perspective is a bit too pro schooling and not enough pro homeschooling for this forum. Good thing to find out.

As for threatening, perhaps I am not using the right word. I do perceive that my posts have been taken offensively and I now understand why. It would be like a person who is kind of pro vaccine, kind of not, coming into the vaccine forum and saying "vaccines aren't that bad." KWIM?

I am not going to take your valuable time to list what I percieve as negative stereotypes of schooling I have seen in this forum. It would be kind of a "you say potatoes, I say potahtoes" kind of discussion. I have already realized I think differently and that this is not the forum for me. I think need to find a forum about alternative schooling, one that includes homeschooling but is not focused exclusively on it.

A sincere thank you to all you who took the time to help me understand why I was having trouble understanding this forum. I really appreciate you taking the time to do that. I means a lot to me to finally understand why this is not a place for me.

To the rest, well I am sorry I took some of your time.

Cheers!

Kathleen
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#18 of 28 Old 07-12-2005, 11:48 PM
 
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Kathleen,

I would say your perspective is different simply because 1. you're not homeschooling and 2. your child has never been in public school. You don't have a real frame of reference yet. Public school and homeschool are two very different worlds. As far as walking away from your experience, it can be done. You do whatever works for your child.
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#19 of 28 Old 07-13-2005, 12:09 AM
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For me, the issue really isn't good schools vs bad schools. I know some people start homeschooling to avoid "bad" schools, but homeschooling isn't at all like sending your child to a "good school", so it really requires an entire paradigm shift. So, yeah, if you want to discuss homeschooling and lump it in with Waldorf schooling and Magnet schools and other alternative programs, it won't really work.

I would love to hear CityMomx3's (I think I got the username right) take on this...

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#20 of 28 Old 07-13-2005, 12:12 AM
 
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Well, it looks like you've already decided not to hang out on this forum, but I, for one, am interested in your perspective. I don't like the way the homeschool community and the public school system seem to be at odds with each other, and I think the only way to relieve some of the tension is through communication and understanding.

(I also have a grandmother who is a retired teacher...I haven't told her I'm homeschooling yet so your perspective might help to prepare me for that conversation!)
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#21 of 28 Old 07-13-2005, 01:36 AM
 
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I think it is just hard for formal teachers to seperate themselves from classroom setting teaching sometimes. It is almost impossible to understand that teaching a classroom is vastly different than homeschooling, you just can not even compare them.

I would be lost trying to teach a classroom, I couldn't do it! LOL But I can homeschool my kids just fine because it's just not the same thing. What works in a classroom is not (most times) going to work at home and vice versa.

Homeschooling is not something any of us "do", it is a natural part of our lives. Sometimes when people ask me "so how do you like homeschooling?" I am not even sure what to say because it's not something I "do", it is just who and what we "are", it would be like asking me "so how do you like your family?".....ughhh? LOL.

If you are considering homeschooling you have to realize that it is something totally different than traditional schooling. For some people that is a hard thing to realize, that their teaching degrees don't mean the same thing when it comes to homeschooling (or unschooling...LOL)...I know way to many former classroom teachers who have told me that who now homeschool their own children.

I also have to add that it does irk me when someone assumes that because I hs I have no experience with public schools, I have a LOT of experience with the ps. I just don't care for them, I don't like them one bit, I have no desire for my children to go there. It's as simple as that.

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#22 of 28 Old 07-13-2005, 02:30 AM
 
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Of course it would be fine to post in this forum. I don't think it would go over too well to run around throwing around your teacher qualifications in every post :LOL that would seem out of place. But the best way to get to know the feel and tone of any board is, imo, to read for a bit.

Your experience as a teacher of course is welcome. It is your experience. If someone posts that htey are studying xyz subject and wonders if there are some cool ideas for tehir kids, it would be completely appropriate to chime in with book sont he subject you've found that kids respond well to, ideas for projects that your students ahd fun with and would translate well to a home environment, etc..

I htink the two things that are alittle off putting in your original post are thinking that the homeschooling parents will somehow be threatened or put off by your teaching experience when really, it's simply irrelevent, and making vague comments about stereotypes. if you are reading a thread and see people htrowing around stereotypes you feel to be false then by all means provide correct information. It just seems weird to be alluding to the idea here rather than tackling it in the threads you see it in.

But hten of course what the heck do I know, my baby is only 19 months old so it's not like I'm some super experienced homeschooling mama. I do feel free to participate here even though my son is not 'school age' yet and I'm just posting based on the general tone that I feel here.
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#23 of 28 Old 07-13-2005, 07:45 AM
 
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yea, to what Missy said. When it's your own kid facing some of the realities of school, even "good" schools, the perspective probably changes again.
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#24 of 28 Old 07-13-2005, 12:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahNH
If someone posts that htey are studying xyz subject and wonders if there are some cool ideas for tehir kids, it would be completely appropriate to chime in with book sont he subject you've found that kids respond well to, ideas for projects that your students ahd fun with and would translate well to a home environment, etc..
I agree. I think that part of the problem was that you were talking about classroom management, which is a non issue for homeschoolers. We are just moms who, rather than managing a classroom, parent our kids.

I could never teach school, but I'm doing a good job raising my kids. There isn't a point where I stop being the mom and start being the teacher.

I personally think it is a good idea to hang around homeschooling boards before your kids are school aged. I did it It gave me a rich background in the options in homeschooling, which made it easier for me to figure out what worked for my kids.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#25 of 28 Old 07-13-2005, 12:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move
I think that part of the problem was that you were talking about classroom management, which is a non issue for homeschoolers.
...
There isn't a point where I stop being the mom and start being the teacher.
This hits the nail on the head, for me anyway.

My oldest won't be school-aged until 2006-07. I think there are lots of us here who have little ones and who have never homeschooled a "school-aged" child.

I can visualize it much better now than I could a year or two ago, however. And I have considerably less jitters about it. When my oldest was a toddler, it was hard to wrap my head around the idea of HOW to hs. Like Linda said in the last line I quoted, I really imagined switching hats and being like, "Ok, now. for today's history lesson, we will be discussing the French and Indian War. Does anyone have questions about yesterday's lecture? Good. Don't forget to turn your paper in on Friday." I worried about how I would switch roles like that and how my child would respond to me taking on that role. I wondered if I would do it abruptly when he turned 5, if he would take me seriously, and how I would determine grading. I mean no offense to those who choose to do "school at home" in a similar way, but I don't think it's very common.

Over time, as my child grew and began to learn all kinds of amazing things, I realized that I was his teacher, in a way, since he was born. Just like he learned to talk and walk with some help from us, he was also learning colors, shapes, and then writing, math through real-life usage, kitchen science, all kinds of things. Sometimes he picks things up by himself. Sometimes we have little discussions based on a question like, "where does rain come from?". Sometimes those discussions lead into more advanced topics like evaporation and then we might do an experiment too. Sometimes, we get books on these subjects and sometimes there's just no interest there on his side so we do nothing. But, he's learning so much and it really boosted my confidence and changed the way I viewed homeschooling. In many ways, I think the term is a misnomer.

Of course, we approach things from an unschooling angle, so this is just one flavor of homeschooling. But even in the other types, I would imagine that very few don't flow smoothly like this. There are no issues of getting to know the "students" in terms of their personality, strengths and weaknesses, because those things have been learned over time. There's no fixed schedule to adhere to, because if it doesn't work, it's simply changed. There's so much flexibility.

I think your presence here is valuable, but I, personally, would not take much away from the "classroom management" or "formal teacher" angle. In my very limited experience, it's been like Linda desribed, "parent/teacher", not one and then the other. However, in the toddler years, I didn't realize this as much.
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#26 of 28 Old 07-13-2005, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nurturing Mama

(I also have a grandmother who is a retired teacher...I haven't told her I'm homeschooling yet so your perspective might help to prepare me for that conversation!)
I would just tell her. I know some teachers are vehemently opposed to homeschooling but I think it is because they don't understand what goes on there or they feel like homeschooling is a threat to public education. Just talk to her.
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#27 of 28 Old 07-13-2005, 08:29 PM
 
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Boongirl,

Glad to see you back

Did you see the new issue of Mothering, it has a lot of stuff about homeschooling in it I thought and was thrilled to see it!

Your child is still very young, I would take the time now (like you are) to read and talk to homeschoolers, see if it is something that would fit your family and lifestyle. I personally love homeschooling. I was in fact homeschooled (unschooled to be more exact) myself--that was one of the best things my mother ever did for me and my bro and sis was to pull us out of school. I now have children of my own I am homeschooling (I have no plans for them to ever attend school, even once I am working full time) and am a full time college student myself (Bio/Chem dbl major, going to grad school next year).

Another thing I always mention to parents considering homeschooling: all parents homeschool their children until they send them off to school....right now you ARE homeschooling, homeschooling starts at birth, it only ends when/if you send your child off to school. Homeschooling is not a seperate thing from your normal day to day life, it's parenting, it's helping your child learn and it never ends

Marilyn,psych RN. Homeschooling mom to Taylor (12) and Lauryn (8)
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#28 of 28 Old 07-13-2005, 11:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks marilynmama, I did see the issue. That is what got me here! You have some good points.

Boy, am I glad I stuck around. I had a rough start but thanks to all of you, and especially lindaonthemove, I am a better person now and will stay here and learn a lot.



Kathleen
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