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Old 12-11-2007, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A dear (well-intentioned) friend told me recently that when she was a kid, she felt really sorry for homeschooled kids who (she felt) didn't get to have friends and who were (she felt) always under their mother's thumb; she loved school, principally the social aspect. She had lots of friends and thrived on them.

A friend of a friend went to an alternative school growing up, and reportedly felt like she had a lot of catching up to do when she went to college; she felt her alterna-school didn't adequately prepare her socially and academically.

Anybody out there homeschooled themselves, or know others who were? (Besides the occasional homeschooling book author, and besides famous people). I would like some hs-positive anecdotes in my head to offset these ones.
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Old 12-11-2007, 01:55 PM
 
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Well, I would ignore the first person's opinion, because her perception of homeschooling as a child is irrelevant. You, as a parent, are capable of assessing whether or not your child is happy.

As for the second one, I found myself poorly prepared for the social pressures of college, and I attended a totally traditional high school. It's easy to blame an alternative educational choice for stuff like that, but there's no way to know if the type of schooling was the issue, or of it had to do with individual characteristics of the student, KWIM?

Generally, homeschoolers have the reputation of being excellent college students because the social and academic life of a teenage homeschooler is more like college than high school. At least, that's the impression I have, my oldest is 7.
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Old 12-11-2007, 03:25 PM
 
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I was homeschooled and I felt sorry for myself at times because I had so few social outlets. However, things are so very different now. I was involved in church youth groups as a kid but I was always the one who didn't quite fit in as all the rest went to the same school. My kids and I are very active in a co op that has approximately 90 homeschooled kids. My kids do not feel odd or unusual at all I don't believe. They have a group where they fit in and are comfortable around their peers and just like others in that way. I love that. You just have to keep in mind how different homeschooling is today than it was for this child your friend knew.

As far as college, I had few problems adjusting. The first week or two was hard but after that, I was fine. My public school friends had a harder time than me. One was part of that youth group I mentioned earlier. We ended up at the same college. She struggled with her grades and with juggling everything. My grades were very high and I adjusted to the schedule and requirements rather smoothly I think.
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:47 PM
 
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I've homeschooled my son who is now 18 from the beginning. He attended ps for about 3 months before I pulled him back out in the 2nd grade.
He has a job at an upscale clothing store and gets along with his peers, can do the job he is assigned and has had no problem adjusting.
He will be starting school next month to become a fitness trainer and is looking forward to it. I do not see him having a problem adjusting to holding down a job and the workload of school.
I don't believe he has ever felt sorry for himself because he was homeschooled. He has friends from since he was 4 years old and has made new ones along the way. He never really felt that he missed out on much either.

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Old 12-11-2007, 05:24 PM
 
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I was homeschooled. My mother has a PhD in education and is very intelligent, caring, and thoughtful. I have two Bachelor's degrees and am working on two Master's degrees from two different universities.

Despite all of the above, I am opposed to homeschooling and would not ever homeschool my children.

On the several occasions when homeschooling parents have asked my opinion, being honest has done nothing but provoke argument from them, during which time they explain the myriad of ways in which their children's experience is different from my own. While I acknowledge that each child is different, if you are just going to argue about how my experience is irrelevant to you, why ask?

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Old 12-11-2007, 05:41 PM
 
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Jenn- I'm sorry you had such an unpleasant experience with being homeschooled. I wonder if there were things your mom could have done differently to make your experience more positive, and some way we could learn from your experiences to help avoid making the same mistakes with our own children.

I don't mean "never ever homeschool them" but rather "listen to the child and if it comes to a point where HSing isn't working well anymore, re-evaluate everything and change the way we approach the HSing or consider public or private school at some point."

Also Jenn, I see from your sig that you're expecting your first baby any day now- so either you're not a parent yet or you have a brand new little one and you haven't had time to update your siggie. I think many of us have said "I'll never XYZ with my kids" before we had kids or when they were newborns, and found ourselves eating our words a few weeks, months, or years later. Certainly your experiences will be a factor in however you decide to educate your child(ren), but you may change your mind about "never homeschooling my DC" by the time your LO is school aged.

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Old 12-11-2007, 05:48 PM
 
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I was homeschooled. And I am so thankful I was. I received a wonderful education. I always tested at least two grades above. And I went onto college with no problems. I also had a lot of friends and involved in alot of differant clubs. And never felt like I lacked socially.
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Old 12-11-2007, 06:11 PM
 
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Hi Ruthla -

First, I want to say that I come across posts from you often, and I appreciate your wisdom and gentle spirit.

My little one is not yet earthbound. While we all excitedly await her arrival, she is not yet ready, despite what my EDD says. I think we have another week, and she will be ready then.

I also noted after I posted that the OP was asking for support, and not criticism. If what I post is not supportive, I am happy to delete if the OP wishes.

I should note, additionally, that I DO beleive in homeschooling in the sense that parents should be actively engaged in their children's learning and foster a sense of wonder and excitement for obtaining knowledge and utilizing imagination.

However, learning full time in this sort of environment did little to help me prepare for the "real world." While some of these issues may well just be my own personality glitches coming through, I tend to assign some of the "blame" to the homeschooling environment:

1. Schedules and deadlines are irrelevant to me. In most cases, they are artificially set by society and have no real merit. LOL, try telling that to a college English professor when the essay isn't done because the student got wrapped up in exploring something else discovered during the research phase, or the Department of Motor Vehicles clerk when spending the beautiful weather in the park sounds so much better than standing in line to get a license plate renewal.

2. Cliques and clubs leave me clueless. I have no idea how to deal with groups of people and I play social games poorly. I am very judgemental and suspicious of others in that I question and critique them rather than engage them on a personal level.

I'll just give one more example since I could go on forever:

3. The thought of working full time depresses me beyond belief. I do not have competitive spirit when it comes to academics or employment; I am very commuistically (is that a word?) minded, which does not play well in the corporate (or even upper level academic) world. To realize that most full time careers (I am a scientist and an economist) require one to work towards one's own advancement over the advancement of others is really, really bizarre.

Okay, one more:

4. I grew up thinking I was a special, unique individual, only to discover that there isn't space in this world for everyone to be unique. I entered mainstream school in high school, and I remember the first time I turned in a homework assignment. I had written my name, "Jennifer" at the top. The next morning in class, I was berated in front of the entire class for only using my first name (and a popular name, at that, LOL!), when I was just one of many faceless students being processed through the system. I was totally unprepared for this idea. In this society, in this country (USA), societal norms are incredibly important. To encourage a child to pursue his or her bliss in their free time is a wonderful gift that all children deserve to be granted. To completely free the child from all societal expectations during childhood, IMO, is irresponsible. Schooling with one's peer group prepares a child life in a socially structured system.

Wow. I swear I'm not really this depressing IRL.

ETA: I am not attempting to come across as whinny and blaming my own failings on others...I just tend to associate my development of these propensities with my homeschooling experiences. Just to be clear.

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Old 12-11-2007, 06:24 PM
 
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Well, I would ignore the first person's opinion, because her perception of homeschooling as a child is irrelevant. You, as a parent, are capable of assessing whether or not your child is happy.
ITA with this. My DD is only five and participates in weekly gymnastics, a HS science project "playgroup," and will be starting soccer in January. In addition, I run a weekly open playgroup--a bunch of her little friends just left here not 20 minutes ago.

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As for the second one, I found myself poorly prepared for the social pressures of college, and I attended a totally traditional high school.
Same here. I was completely unprepared, especially for the academic challenges, but also for the social aspects. I muddled through, but that's only because my roommate happened to be destined to be my best friend for life. We bonded instantly and are best friends to this day (hi Jen! ) Without her, I would probably have been a lonely, weird nerd, living in a single. My grades would likely have been much better though

Traditional high school had nothing to do with preparing me very much for college. In fact, that is one of the key reasons I choose to HS. I want my girls to be better prepared than I was, all around.

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Generally, homeschoolers have the reputation of being excellent college students because the social and academic life of a teenage homeschooler is more like college than high school. At least, that's the impression I have, my oldest is 7.
Yes, yes, yes.

IMO, there are far more resources for HSers these days than there were 20 years ago. Heck, there are far more than there were five years ago! If you know where your priorities are WRT HSing issues, you can work at meeting those priorities to your satisfaction. I wouldn't let these two people derail your plans to HS (if that is, in fact, your plan). And every kid is different. Some kids thrive on school, some feel beaten down by it. I think it's something you have to decide for yourself.

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Old 12-11-2007, 06:33 PM
 
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MoreThanApplesauce, were you an only child? You sound SO much like me, and I attribute a lot of those traits in myself to being an only child of two working parents. (And I'm not critiquing your argument in any way--I'm honestly just wondering. Those attributes in myself are the reason I wanted more than one child!)

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Old 12-11-2007, 06:41 PM
 
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Jenn, I appreciate your input here. Dd is homeschooling presently, and we are all happy with that choice for now--but I find these critiques of homeschooling (by people who've actually homeschooled) thought provoking.

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3. The thought of working full time depresses me beyond belief.
I have to admit, me too I remember being kind of stunned the first summer I had a fulltime job, when I realized that I would not get the summer "off"
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Old 12-11-2007, 07:22 PM
 
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To the OP, I agree with others who have said that traditional high school did nothing to prepare me for college. Academically I felt completely unprepared even though I graduated high school with above a 3.7 GPA and honors & AP courses under my belt. Socially I was a bit adrift too. And, I had no idea how to be responsible for my studies without a teacher telling me daily that I had X, Y, and Z to read/complete/turn-in. So, I don't believe that traditional schooling does any better or worse than homeschooling in terms of preparing, and if I had to choose one, I'd lean towards the "does worse" side of the argument.

Jenn, reading your list, especially #1-3, sound so very like me, even though I was not homeschooled and attended the local public schools from K-12. I'm not very big on deadlines/schedules/commitments, unless I have designed them and chosen to participate. If it is an externally-imposed deadline/schedule/commitment, I fight tooth and nail and try to figure out a way out of it. I am socially awkward in many ways and don't get cliques and clubs. I did, though, grow-up on the receiving end of emotional bullying thanks to the many cliques and clubs at my local schools. And, I *hate* working full-time, at least in the areas where I have previously worked. I think many of us could say the same things without it being linked at all to how and where we schooled as children. Don't get me wrong; I am not trying to prove you wrong in your feelings or reasons to not homeschool. But, I am saying that your list is not exclusive to homeschooled children nor indicative of what will happen to one that is homeschooled.

I have three boys; all will be homeschooled until they go to college/trade school/get a full-time job/become adults. (I wanted to cover as many choices as I could think. ). And each of them have very different personalities. My first is rule-orientated. It's not that he always follows them, but he is inclined to play by them more often than not. I see him being the one that has the full-time job, does it with pleasure (or at least not really hating it), and yet probably a bit more awkward in social settings, and always wanting to believe people have the best of intentions - a bit naive if you will. Ds#2 is the free-spirit and our thespian. He, just based on what I have observed, might be more likely to be like Joey on Friends in terms of full-time employment. I see him finding alternative ways to make money that doesn't include 9-5, M-F. He is social and engaging to those around him. I think he'll end up with the largest friend-base. My third is my fireball! He is a lot like me in his stubborness and rebel-ness, though he doesn't hide it like I do (just see my siggy - I look like the mainstream yuppy mom next door but am much more radical in my thought and life than that ). He will buck the system. He will hate being stuck to someone else's schedule, someone else's commitments, and someone else's deadlines. He is very independent in his ways and wants to do things his way even if he's not old enough or ready to do so.

Being homeschooled won't change any of them from who they probably would be if they went through school except that I see them being able to embrace and utilize their individuality and uniqueness rather than having to squelch it to fit someone else's mold. And, I think that is why there are the horror stories from teachers and people who "know someone who was homeschooled." We don't fit into pre-established molds. Homeschooling allows us (obviously there are exceptions but I'm speaking generally here) to really figure out who we are and where we want to fit in this world. Traditional schooling tries really hard to make us all fit in the same round whole.

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Old 12-12-2007, 12:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses. MoreThanApplesauce, I too must say I share the issues you listed and tend to attribute to homeschooling, although I attended public school throughout. It seems natural to attribute our struggles to our particular life circumstances. So perhaps it does have to do with how individuals are; I don't know.

Perhaps this should be a separate thread, but: does anybody have any insight on the intricacies of friendships or close relationships with others whose kids are schooled? I believe it simply comes down to "different things work for different families, circumstances and kids". How do we talk about school or homeschooling as it relates to everyday life, genuinely avoiding apparent contentiousness, and even be supportive of the other's choice (which I am)?
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:57 AM
 
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My ds#1's best friend started public school this year; he had been homeschooled previously. Ds still has a hard time when I tell him his friend can't come play because he's in school or that he'll have to wait until winter break to get together. When he asks why he's in school, though, I simply say that his friend being in school is what works best for his friend's family. I don't get into it, especially at this age. When my boys are older, we will get more into the why's of why we homeschool versus traditional schooling, but for now, I just aim to keep it really simply and easy ... it's what works for their family.

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Old 12-12-2007, 02:54 AM
 
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I've been visiting with my grown homeschool grad son for the past day or so. We somehow got to talking to a friend of his this morning about his school experiences in 1st grade. He was telling how he was the only one who wouldn't cheat in the phonics workbooks by looking at the answers, so he took longer, because he was actually figuring out the answers - and the teacher would try to humiliate him by grumbling to the the other kids that they were having to wait for him to finish so they could go out to recess.

I got angry all over again at the teacher, and was telling him how I still feel bad about not getting him out before that school year was over, but that I just didn't know much about homeschooling at the time. He laughed and said he can't understand why I still feel bad about that - he said he knows lots of people who were unhappy for 12 years of school, and he got to have all those happy years homeschooling (our story is in this article that I wrote and interviewed him and his dad for).

I know a whole bunch of homeschool grads who had a great time homeschooling, and whose social lives were really busy during the teen years especially. As for the academic preparation, I guess I have a hard time understanding this notion of not "being prepared" - getting prepared is something you can do for yourself with a certain amount of common sense modeled by the adults who've been in your life, and the ability to research. I haven't personally known homeschoolers who felt they couldn't just take it upon themselves to go about doing whatever they wanted to do.

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Old 12-12-2007, 11:28 AM
 
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Perhaps this should be a separate thread, but: does anybody have any insight on the intricacies of friendships or close relationships with others whose kids are schooled? I believe it simply comes down to "different things work for different families, circumstances and kids". How do we talk about school or homeschooling as it relates to everyday life, genuinely avoiding apparent contentiousness, and even be supportive of the other's choice (which I am)?
Our neighbors send their kids to public school (where their mom works), and it's a non-issue, aside from the difficulty we have sometimes in fitting into their busy schedule. I don't treat them differently than I'd treat homeschooled kids, and I trust their parents treat my kids well too.

This particular family has such nice kids, and they live so close to us, that I really value the relationship, and I think that comes through to their parents.

However, we don't hang out much with the parents, just the kids (they're old enough for that).

ZM
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:55 PM
 
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Perhaps this should be a separate thread, but: does anybody have any insight on the intricacies of friendships or close relationships with others whose kids are schooled? I believe it simply comes down to "different things work for different families, circumstances and kids". How do we talk about school or homeschooling as it relates to everyday life, genuinely avoiding apparent contentiousness, and even be supportive of the other's choice (which I am)?
Hi Melissa-

Ds has 3 super-close friends that are public-schooled, we see these kids easily several times a week. For the kids, hs-ing is a complete non-issue-- except sometimes the kids say that ds is lucky. And one of these kids, we are close friends with the family. I do think that the parents wonder about our reasons for hs-ing, they have made several indirect comments over the years, but they have never asked directly.

So, exactly, I don't discuss the merits of hs-ing with them. I offer much sympathy, when they are sad, at the level of homework their son has, empathize with their frustrations over timed math tests, celebrate the good grades their son gets. And, I keep my own editorial in my head about how I truly feel about each of the issues because if the situation was reversed, I would want a good friend rather than someone that felt the need to espouse philosophies (or suggest alternative solutions) to me.

And to your original query, I have met several IRL hs-ers that had very socially active, happy high school years. I am not so concerned.

And the last thought on this, as this has been happening much more recently, and this is in response to "being under the mother's thumb". Ds (at 8.5) has recently been wanting more separation from me-- he asks for it (Can you just drop me off at karate like the other moms do?) I think this is now my job, to respect that need--assess when there are safe places and times to allow for the separation, and assess ds's maturity to handle that. It can be tough and very counter-intuitive to my own feeling as the mom, but I also feel that navigating this very need will also be what allows ds to function within our society. Likewise, allowing ds many different social experiences (not just homeschool ones), and even ones that I am not completely thrilled by, helps him to understand cliques, and a broad range of other kids. I have really had to accept that it is not my job to control and allow only "perfect" situations for my child that would prevent emotional pain and/or rejection, but instead it is my job to help ds learn if/ when these tricky social interactions occur.

Ok-another final thought. You can always talk to your kids about the hs journey. I asked ds one day if he missed being at school and playing on the playground. He said it really wasn't always that much fun playing on the playground, but sometimes he misses it. It was a great conversation about that there is never a "perfect" educational/ social situation (neither hs or institutional school).
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:02 PM
 
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Perhaps this should be a separate thread, but: does anybody have any insight on the intricacies of friendships or close relationships with others whose kids are schooled? I believe it simply comes down to "different things work for different families, circumstances and kids". How do we talk about school or homeschooling as it relates to everyday life, genuinely avoiding apparent contentiousness, and even be supportive of the other's choice (which I am)?
We had lots of friends and acquaintances whose kids went to school, and our son had plenty of friends who attended school. Because we were doing something so different, we didn't even tend to get into discussions about it, nor did the kids - there just wasn't any particular reason to. We talked about the things we had in common - but not because we were avoiding talking about the things we didn't have in common.

Like Elizabeth, I did empathize and brainstorm with friends whose kids were having problems of various kinds with school, but homeschooling wasn't part of that.

There were times when people asked us about homeschooling when they were considering the option for their own families. One couple pulled their daughter out of school, and she homeschooled all through high school, which was a perfect situation for her - but her brother stayed in school all through his teen years, which was perfect for him. One other family pulled their sons out of school a couple of times to try homeschooling (at different times), but in each case, they were just following assignments from the local public school, which their boys hated, and weren't getting out and around to know other homeschoolers, so it just didn't work for them and they went back to school. And others had no interest in homeschooling at all, so the subject just never came up.
-Lillian
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Old 12-12-2007, 08:41 PM
 
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A friend of a friend went to an alternative school growing up, and reportedly felt like she had a lot of catching up to do when she went to college; she felt her alterna-school didn't adequately prepare her socially and academically.
I don't feel that my large public high school prepared me well socially for college, either. College is so much different than high school, no matter what high school one attends. I also don't think it is the school's job to provide social preparation.

So many of us seem to analyze our childhoods and past experiences and then point to this or that situation, as a causal factor for the way we turned out. If our parents did something in particular that we perceive as different than the mainstream, we blame that. If we were schooled differently, we blame that. If we moved a lot, we blame that. Anything that is different, seems to get perceived as the cause or major contributing factor, for something about ourselves that is perceived to be different, or not good enough because it is not what we think 'everyone else' is like. I have done it plenty of times, myself. It is only as I have gotten older that I realize so much of who I am, is just ME and I really don't know what in my past would have made a difference, or not.

I do worry that my kids will at age 20 or so, look at something that they don't like about themselves, and blame it on something I did or didn't do, or even blame it on homeschooling, because homeschooling is still different than the mainstream. But, I think that's just part of being a parent.

BTW, before having children, I said I would NEVER homeschool my kids.
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