Why not homeschool? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 61 Old 01-01-2006, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why did you choose to send your child to school?

Is it because of the education or socialization? Is it because you have to work? Did you send your child to school because it is customary, and you never considered homeschooling? Are you happy with your decision?
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#2 of 61 Old 01-02-2006, 12:59 AM
 
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Hi Cinnamon. I'm not sure the phrase in the opener is necessarily the best for getting perspectives, because many of us using education outside the home see it as fine, not as an alternative to homeschooling. Is there a fairer way to state the question?

We chose public school for a myriad of reasons, and are very happy with the decision. I'd be glad to get into them if I'm clear on where you are coming from and why you take the stance of comparing it to homeschooling. Fair enough?

 
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#3 of 61 Old 01-02-2006, 06:36 AM
 
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Well, I went to public school in Russia and my borther was homeshooled/unshooled. He is very smart.....never graduated form college, never actualylwas able to enter one, he never held ajob for longer than a year, had many problmes with addictions, 2 marriages,a child he enver see, at age of 30, despite his inttelcet, he is wihout a job, real means of support, he couch surfes etc etc
I went to a great university, I have job I love, family.....from the point of my brother my life is ...boring and unberable becuase I have to get up at 6.30 am to get my kids up and to get to work...but it is fine with me
I feel that public shcooling worked great for me. WHile it is true that I learned many thing on my own simply by spending tons of time in the library, it is in school that I learned that : a) sweet are the uses of adversity b) soemtime you ahve to learn boring crap to get to the intersting staff c) 905 os sucess is in showing up d) effor is jsut as importna as talant e) there is not useless subject, even bigoraphy of K. Marx can be handy at some point f) there is vlaue in learning how to dela with people I do not like or who do not like me g) life is not bowl of cherris
So, I feel it was fien path for me and it seem to be fine for kids.
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#4 of 61 Old 01-02-2006, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Lauren that's fair enough.

I'm a former school teacher. Now I'm a SAHM to my 9 month and 2.5 year old babies. I am considering homeschooling. On the other hand, I am also I'm also thinking about returning to work and putting my children in school (in a couple years, of course). I always read things on the internet about why people do/should/can homeschool. I never read about why people send their children to school. I'd like to know why. It's kind of like "weighing both sides of the issue."

I am not going to criticize your reasons, or try to change your mind.

Alenshka's response was great.
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#5 of 61 Old 01-02-2006, 10:11 AM
 
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#6 of 61 Old 01-02-2006, 10:43 AM
 
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Very interesting thread!! Thanks to the OP for starting this, I am VERY interested in reading all the replies!! I am currently on the fence myself. My 2 sons are in public school & I HATE it. The reason they are there is that I feel inadequate to teach them myself. They WILL be homeschooled, I just want them to get the basics down 1st is where I stand right now. I think 2nd grade is going to be the "limit" & last yr. they go. There is NO doubt in my mind my DD (age 3) will NEVER go to school, I think it would harm her. She's WAY too attached to me & I encourage that...among other things.

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#7 of 61 Old 01-02-2006, 11:48 AM
 
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I work full time so that plays a big part in my decision. However, I remember when ds was 3 going round and round in my head about all the options out there, what would be the right thing to do, etc. After much soul searching my dh and I finally sat down and said "We moved to this town because of their good schools. Let's give them a try. If it is not working we can always change." My oldest is in 2nd grade. He loves school. So far, I have been happy with his teachers and his experience.

Granted it is not all peaches and cream. There are things I do not like. However, they are mostly things I can not control. Like the fact that I do not like the way most of the other parents parent and how this affects his classmates. His class has been dealing with a bully and so far nothing is working great. Last year I had my son in the after care program at school and he hated it. I went to observe and I hated it. This year I have a sitter who picks them up.

I am active in the PTO because the reality is the more involved you are in the school the better your childs experience and I do supplement their learning at home with stuff I find interesting. Learning is a 24/7 experience.

Kathy-Mom to Blake & Mikaela
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#8 of 61 Old 01-02-2006, 01:41 PM
 
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Cinnamon, I didn't mean to sound touchy! THere were some issues here recently in which homeschoolers come to the public school forum and comment, stating "that's why I homeschool" when debating problems in public ed. Some members were quite offended.

It is great to hear where you are coming from.

We used to think we would homeschool. Our first child's temperament was such that we quickly realized it wouldn't work for us. He didn't want us to teach him anything! (even something silly like mini golf) Had to figure everything out for himself, even if that meant doing it the wrong way! Very into power struggles. I imagined day after day of trying to teach him that way, and decided I wan't the right person for the job. He has done really well with public school because he thrives on structure and routine, which we would not have had at home. He is doing great academically, and social issues have been minimal because we have a great school in a rural area with small classes and a terrific, responsive administration. I'm not sure what choices we would have made if we lived in a more crowded area with lower quality schools. My dd has also started public school and she is doing quite well also. FWIW, I also work outside the home and public schooling has worked well for this as well.

I have siblings that homeschooled and things did not always work out peachy keen for them. This was not part of my reasoning however.

 
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#9 of 61 Old 01-02-2006, 02:15 PM
 
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In my case my children were all homeschooled (my son until 6th grade and my daughter's until 2nd). After I got divorced and started working I continued to homeschool for 2 years until I had to get 2 jobs. At that time I enrolled my children in school. I promised them that if they went that year, they could choose the next year whether they were homeschooled or went to school. They went that year and then at the beginning of the next year my son decided to go back to homeschooling and my daughter's decided to remain in school. I plan on leaving the choice up to them every year.
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#10 of 61 Old 01-02-2006, 03:06 PM
 
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well, i'm not sure i where i fit in as my dd goes to an awesome part time school. she goes three days a week half day now as a kindergartener and then three days a week full day from "first grade" on. since it's only part time we will register dd as a homeschool student. this situation for us works out better than homeschooling alone would.

she attends a small school (~50 students age 5 through high school) where she gets to interact with kids of all ages as well as adults. it's so fun to see my 5yo out at recess playing tag with a big group of kids including teenagers. and in school everyone works at their own pace in mixed age groups. dd1 is quite social and i would have a hard time meeting her needs to be around others with my younger dd's need to have quiet alone time. plus, like lauren mentioned dd does best when learning in a more structured environment from a teacher besides me. not that i don't supplement what she learns at school, or don't think our time together is a learning experience, i just don't want to be her only/primary teacher of "the basics".

in my mind this situation combines a lot of what i consider the best of homeschooling (flexibility, individual curriculum, chance to be a kid longer, lots of family time, being around people of all ages instead of just the ones the same age as you) with some of the best of schooling (learning to fit into a group outside of your family, chance to learn from multiple teachers, etc.) and we are quite happy with the arrangement.

Mama to three sweet girls (a dramatic, chatty 10yo, a bouncy, dynamo of a 7yo, and a delightful, whimsical 3.5yo)
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#11 of 61 Old 01-02-2006, 03:21 PM
 
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Many reasons but perhaps the biggest is: I need a life separate from my kids for at least a few hrs a day and I believe it's the same for the kids. They really benefit from being apart from their parents for a portion of the day and building strong relationships with other adults, especially as they grow older.
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#12 of 61 Old 01-03-2006, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses. I read some good reasons I had never thought of before. For instance

Having more than one teacher
structure
learning things that are boring to you (prepares you for college and employment)

I never thought of those as positive things about school, but it makes sense.

The responses were all different and it was really interesting to read them.

Any more replies?
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#13 of 61 Old 01-03-2006, 11:56 AM
 
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this is very interesting! I'm sitting on the fence, too- both my kiddos are under school age yet, but could be doing preschool if I chose this year. I have thought I would probably homeschool, we live in big city, and there are wonderful thriving homeschoolers group's around here to get into....but just this week, our community newsletter had info about our elementary school being changed to an InterBaccalaurete school, which i know on the high school level is very prestigious, but I don't know much about what that means at grade school levels...so that will take some research. I liked hearing some of the reasons PP's had to give...around here my acquaintances have much more of the "what else would you do" and "oh, I have to have my 3 hours away from my kids when they are in preschool- how can you STAND being with them all day?" attitude, so we never really get to a good conversation about the why fors- thanks, everyone!

Brenda- Blessed wahmama to Sara(7) & Alex(5) 7/10 & 9/10 Living the crazy life with dh David & Charlie on our little urban farm!
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#14 of 61 Old 01-03-2006, 01:52 PM
 
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Well, there is the practical reality that I need to work, so that makes homeschool difficult at best. But I could make it work if I really wanted to. I don't want to though. For several reasons:

1. While I am well educated, I am not a good teacher. I have tried as a volunteer at several points in my life. I'm lousy at it. On the other hand, my DS goes to a school where all the teachers are really good.
2. I want my children to have more than my (or my and my DH) perspective on the world. If they only hear my voice, then how do they learn tolerance, evaluating different ideas etc. And how do I avoid passing on my ignorance or opinion on things that they should make up their own minds about? I have blind spots, like any other person, but I don't necessarily want to pass them on.
3. I have a limited amount of patience for my children. I am a great mother for about 6 hours a day. After that, I'm a witch. Who wants to learn from a witch?
4. I believe that kids need to learn from both adults and peers. I could be one, but its sort of impossible to be the other. School teachs not only reading and math, but also social relations and social behaviour. Yes, that could be learned in other ways, but why make life more difficult than it already is?
5. I could never provide the wide variety of learning tools that my DSs school has. Computers, sure. But science labs, music rooms, art studios, sports fields? Not possible. Ditto for number of teachers and their expertise.
6. Children need to learn to work with structures and groups. We can't always move to our own drummer in the wider world, sometimes we need to move with a group. School is a way to learn to do that more smoothly. Sometimes we have to wait for others to catch up, or move more quickly to keep up with others. Sometimes we have to do X when we want to do Y. Those are skills that should be learned early.

Now, I will confess that we chose a small private school for our children where they can get some of the individual attention, academic flexibility, and extra subjects that strike me as the positive points of home schooling, so we are trying to get "the best of both worlds".
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#15 of 61 Old 01-03-2006, 05:10 PM
 
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Two reasons,

1) I don't want to. Call it selfish or whatever. I'm not a good teacher and the thought of homeschooling terrifies me.

2) We have good schools here and ds' experience has been very positive.

I am open to the idea of homeschooling. I have friends that homeschool. One does it because they live in a terrible school district. Homeschooling wasn't her first choice but she looked at the options and decided they weren't acceptable and that homeschooling would be best for her kids. The second friend has always wanted to homeschool. She could live next to the best schools in the country and she'd still homeschool because she loves it. She's that kind of person.

I am like my first friend. If none of the other schooling options (public, charter, or private) are feasible at some point for whatever reasons I will suck it up and homeschool. It'll be scary but if it's best for my child I'll do it. Right now it's not the best option. I am NOT like my second friend. I swear she gets a high from planning lessons and field trips. The very idea makes me shudder. I'm thrilled for her, and glad I don't have to do it.
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#16 of 61 Old 01-03-2006, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've read about parents qualifications to homeschool but this is something I don't hear about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom

While I am well educated, I am not a good teacher. I have tried as a volunteer at several points in my life. I'm lousy at it. On the other hand, my DS goes to a school where all the teachers are really good.

My ex's cousin went to college to become a teacher. He was my friend and when we talked he rambled, got totally off the topic, acted silly and immature. When he was teaching my Sunday School class he was even worse. It was bad. He thought he was okay and didn't want to improve. He ended up failing student teaching. Nice guy, but bad teacher.

My friend wants to homeschool. She says she isn't a good teacher because if her "student" doesn't understand right away she gets impatient, like, "Duh, why don't you get it." She also fights the tempation to put unfair expectations on her second son. Her first son walked at 4 months and spoke in sentances at 5 months. Okay, not really, but he was advanced. Her second son is normal, not advanced. She is working on changing herself.

Knowing subject matter and being a parent doesn't = a good teacher.
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#17 of 61 Old 01-03-2006, 09:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CinnamonDeMarco
My friend wants to homeschool. She says she isn't a good teacher because if her "student" doesn't understand right away she gets impatient, like, "Duh, why don't you get it."

<snip>

Knowing subject matter and being a parent doesn't = a good teacher.
That's why for me as well. But I don't like DD's school here in CO, so I'm rethinking options now. Her last school in AZ I loved!
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#18 of 61 Old 01-03-2006, 11:37 PM
 
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Pondered the same subject matter lrecently myself.....

Currently where we live, there is no free public preschool unless your child has an identified disability, so the only options are homeschool or private.
I live in rural area with no other little kids around. I did my darnest to set up a consistent playgroup where she could develop a circle of friends.......but the inconsistency with participation was horrendous. I was so disappointed.
I decided to do a combo approach of half day only in school. She attends a Montessori school. She now gets all the benefits that everyone has already posted.
Looks forward to seeing her friends on a consistent basis.
We do things at home and I am very involved in her school.
I guess my thoughts are you make the best and the most of the situation you are in, live in, believe in.................IT's ALL GOOD.
Good luck in your choice and allow yourself the opportunity to change your mind.
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#19 of 61 Old 01-04-2006, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhTheThinks.....
Good luck in your choice and allow yourself the opportunity to change your mind.
Thanks. I have a lot of factors to consider.

The schools with the best reputation are so expenisive my entire pay check would only pay tuition. If I had another child I would have to take them out of the school. I just don't think it would work.

The public schools have serious problems. They use corpral punishment a lot, like if you don't turn in your homework you get slaped on the hand with a ruler. The children are way below "grade level."

I want to get out of debt someday. I think I should look at some mid-priced private schools. Maybe I'll find a great one I never knew about. I'm also thinking about homeschooling and working. I need an easy, nonstressful, part time, work from home job. It could happen right?
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#20 of 61 Old 01-04-2006, 11:00 AM
 
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We don't for several reasons:

1. We want the best for our dd, almost 4. I know I'm not the best teacher. Technically, my I.Q. is very high, but I use my teaching energy to teach her the things I know about. There are things I don't have any clue about. I want an EXPERT teaching dd about each subject.

2. (I know I'm going to get slammed for this, but it really is a reason.) Dh is a university professor and he tells me that the homeschooled kids that succeed in his classes are so bright, they need no structure to learn. They are natural learners - they are smart enough to go to whatever resource they need to learn. He has also had many homeschooled kids who just don't have the necessary background because the parent couldn't teach the subject (maths, for example).

3. We have, and I'm not lying here... 4 young adults in my immediate family that were homeschooled that never graduated.

4. We found for and Dd attends a private (full-time) language immersion school that has an IB program. The average teacher to child ratio is 7 to 1. In her current class it's 5 to 1. The teachers all have degrees from abroad and the curriculum is WAY beyond the average US curriculum. Her degree will allow her to attend any university in the world (assuming its primary language is one of the 4 she will be speaking when she graduates).

5. I'm a perfectionist, dd is easily frustrated and I simply don't have the patience to homeschool.

All of that being said, dd will be 4 next month and is already starting to sound out words, which I help her with when she wants it. She's doing simple addition and subtraction. All of this was from being taught at home at her pace and level of interest. So, I'm not saying parent involvement isn't important. It is. And can make up for anything lacking at school. Dh is a university professor of math and computer science and even he doesn't feel qualified to homeschool, though.
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#21 of 61 Old 01-04-2006, 02:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CinnamonDeMarco
The schools with the best reputation are so expenisive my entire pay check would only pay tuition. If I had another child I would have to take them out of the school. I just don't think it would work.
Don't let the money stop you before investigating your options. The private, expensive school my DS attends has scholarship funds available, but you have to ask. They don't have enough to advertise it, but they do have enough for 2-3 kids in each grade to get some or all of tuition paid for. We are paying 1/3 of the tuition, plus doing some in-kind work which would be about another 1/3. None of this would have happened if I hadn't asked about it. ASK before you ASSUME -- you might be really pleased.
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#22 of 61 Old 01-04-2006, 02:39 PM
 
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I was contemplating homeschooling my oldest, but he is in our local public school and the main reason is that after applications and interview we got into a wonderful Sudbury-esque school-within-a-school at our highly rated public school that's 3 blocks away. The program is a dream and we are very lucky.

Additionally, my son loves school and the friends he makes there and we are extremely fortunate in that he has 3 teachers who are kind, loving and very, very qualified to be his alternate authority figures.

However, there are still aspects of institutional learning that I don't like--such as standing in line to go here and there, but dh has a good point when he says a lot of that is just part of life and it's good to be able to do those things. Who knows.

We will see what happens when he is in 3rd grade and there is some differentiation based on the results of the GATE test, but for now I'm very happy.

Jen, former attorney and now SAHM to 11 yo ds and 8 yo ds

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#23 of 61 Old 01-04-2006, 05:51 PM
 
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My oldest ds is in public K. I am still considering homeschooling because I miss him and I really enjoy teaching him things (I think I am pretty good at it, but have also worried about my lack of an education in education)

Thus far we have elected to send him to ps for a number of reasons.

DH and I went to ps - we really enjoyed it and each had positive experiences in really different environments...we feel that the constant exposure to people who were so different was an important part of our life journeys.

DH and I each had a few really amazing teachers that sparked interests in us that our parents just didn't get DH and I met in college history classes - we have similar academic strengths and interests....I like the idea of the kids learning math/science from people that liked it enough to study it in college

We live in well-performing, diverse school district and feel happy (thus far) with what we have observed at dss school.

We like the idea of community - of being part of our community school.

We are personally uncomfortable with the concept of private school - we understand why people use them and do not criticize this choice in most cases - but having spent time in a third world country where public schools were essentially nonexistent has left a long-term impact on us...

Finally, I have a strong personality. DS is super quiet though very social...he likes to be part of group activity though he isn't much of a talker. Until he started school, I made his friends for him. I would start to chat with a mom at the playground or wherever find out we were on the same page about this that or the other and eventually start doing stuff with the kids on purpose....since ds has started school he has picked his own friends - he actually likes them better

I think there are probably an endless number of reasons for going either direction - good luck deciding - I hope these responses are helpful.

BJ
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#24 of 61 Old 01-04-2006, 06:45 PM
 
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My son is in public school and my daughter will be, too, when she's old enough.

- We live in an excellent school district with very skilled teachers. I have a professional degree and have "taught" in various contexts, but I don't think that I have the level of skill that these teachers have.

- My son is more receptive to some subjects when they come from someone other than his parents. We tried working on his handwriting over the summer at home, and it was a big source of conflict. Within a couple weeks of school beginning, his handwriting had improved dramatically. I don't want my son's home life to be full of conflict and, for us, I think homeschooling would create a lot of conflict.

- My son is super social. Although most homeschoolers seem to make great efforts to build a social network for their kids, I think my son is happier with friends he sees for a long period on a daily basis. He has been able to develop much deeper friendships at school than he ever did in all the playgroups and classes we have done.

- We still have many, many opportunities to learn at home. We do a ton of trips, projects, games, and other "learning" activities. I have a lot of curriculum materials and do a lot of research on homeschooling. But we are able to focus on the things that most interest us and have fun, rather than feeling pressured to complete a curriculum.

- My husband, daughter, and I have also benefitted greatly from being part of a school community. We have made many really good friends and, the great thing is, they all live in the neighborhood!

- I enjoy working part-time.
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#25 of 61 Old 01-04-2006, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Goodness, these posts are giving me so much to think about. I am going to print them out, read them, and really think about them. I'm too tired to do it right now. Thanks Mamas.
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#26 of 61 Old 01-05-2006, 11:27 AM
 
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I don't have much to add that others haven't already stated, other than I'd rather set fire to my own hair than homeschool. Personally, if others want to homeschool, that's fine with me, but it is totally not what I want for my kids. Unschooling is not a philosophy I buy into at all. If I did, maybe I'd consider homeschooling, but otherwise I don't really see the point.

We live in a great district. We bought our house because of it. Both dh and I are products of public schools and we got a fabulous education, so I don't have the overwhelmingly negative opinions of ps that many do. I also have 19 nieces and nephews at present count and most have been happily public schooled.

One of the things I like very much about public school is that my kids are exposed to much more diversity than they would be if we homeschooled or private schooled.

I don't mean to imply that we find public school to be perfect. I can't think of too many things in life that are--certainly homeschooling can have its share of problems, too. I have a friend who spends $20,000/year to send his nine year old to a very exclusive private school and it's not perfect either.

We are very involved in our children's education, and we supplement a ton at home.
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#27 of 61 Old 01-05-2006, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd rather set fire to my own hair than homeschool.
Woah!
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#28 of 61 Old 01-05-2006, 04:00 PM
 
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The last thing I'd do is barge in here and try to proselytize for homeschooling - no, no, no - but for those who do have some questions, this is an article by a college professor and editor of Paths of Learning magazine - a magazine that covers all paths of education - that articulately addresses some of the concerns brought up here: Am I Really Qualified to Teach My Own Children? Some Thoughts on This Common and Provocative Question, by Richard Prystowsky. Again, I'm not here to debate, but just to offer another point of view for those who might have some misconceptions about what homeschooling is/can be... I don't think homeschooling is for everyone at all (and I like the sound of that Sudbury school, by the way), and there are obviously perfectly good reasons for people to choose schools of various kinds, but I would hate to see misconceptions stand about the homeschooling choice.

My own feeling is that children, being people, are their own best teachers even in school situations. A parent or teacher doesn't need to be an expert on a subject in order to assist a child's learning it. It's a wonderful and exhilarating thing to provide the means and freedom for a child to research and absorb things in his own best way, and I think a good teacher is simply someone who can best facilitate that. My son is in college now, and one of the points he made in his application essays, which were highly regarded by at least one admissions director who commented on them, is how important it was in his own development to be able to have the experience of having that kind of freedom in learning. Lillian
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#29 of 61 Old 01-05-2006, 05:03 PM
 
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Thanks for the responses. I read some good reasons I had never thought of before. For instance

Having more than one teacher
structure
learning things that are boring to you (prepares you for college and employment)
I never thought of those as positive things about school, but it makes sense.

The responses were all different and it was really interesting to read them.

Any more replies?
I am having a very hard time seeing this as a positive.
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#30 of 61 Old 01-05-2006, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This thread was on the right track and I don't want it to take a wrong turn.

I wrote in post #4 "I am not going to criticize your reasons or try to change your mind."

Some Mamas laid their cards on the table and I don't want them to regret it. I want this to be safe place to share their reasons for sending their children to school. I don't want them to feel like they must defend themselves or get ready to debate.

If you, homeschoolers, were discussing why you homeschool on a thread, you would expect support. You wouldn't like it if someone wrote "I don't think that is a good reason. Rethink that." It would be extra irritating coming from someone who sends their kids to school. No matter if you said "I like homeschooling because my kids wear pajamas until noon." It's one of your reasons. (a nice perk if you ask me) You shouldn't have to defend it because someone who promotes schools picks it out just to make a point.

Please don't use this thread to promote homeschooling. And don't think you can hint, and word it in a friendly way, and then no one will know what you are really doing.

And when I post on the homeschooling boards don't flame me. I like those boards too. Lets all be friends, okay?
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