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for a non-hs'er: The Top 5 Reasons I HS

782 Views 19 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  QueenOfThePride
Let me start off by saying that the purpose of this post is to educate myself. It is not to antagonize or criticize or anything of the sort.

For a variety of reasons, I will not be hs'ing DD. Those reasons include the fact that I am a terrible teacher, I know a lot about a few things and not much at all about most things, and DD's gregarious nature. My guess is that lots of people pondering hs'ing have these same hesitations.

So please tell me, what do you see at the Top 5 reasons you hs? What does it give your child that you feel would be missing at an "institutional" school (for lack of a better word)? Is there anything you feel your child will be missing by not attending an "institutional" school?

Thanks so much for helping me understand. I respect what you do and want to know more about it from those on the front lines.
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Ok, I'll play.
First off, I should mention that we unschool.

We unschool to:
1) encourage our child's creativity and love of learning
2) spend more time with our child and be the major influences in his life
3) let him experience life in the real world with people of all ages and various backgrounds
4) allow our child to learn how to find out information on his own
5) have fun!

I feel that he would be missing much of the above in an institutional school setting.
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Thanks for the opportunity to type this out. I think it's a great idea to remind myself from time to time why our family has made this choice.

1) I believe I can do a better job educating my children than an institution can do.

2) Our opportunities for travelling are not limited by school vacations.

3) I believe that learning occurs best in real-world settings & communities.

4) Institutionalized values aren't necessarily my family's values.

5) I value the time spent with my children.

And a bonus . . .

6) Homeschooling is proving to be a journey that is calling each family member to their highest self.

What do I suspect my children might be missing?

1) Sometimes I flip through educational catalogues, and feel a twinge that I'll never be able to afford all the gagets that a school can. (Although, many gagets can be borrowed or found in hands-on museums).

2) My husband worries that the children won't have that "shared experience" with the majority of people in the nation.
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Fun thread!

1.) We love the family and community lifestyle that homeschooling provides.
2.) My children recieve a much better education than in a school enviorment.
3.) Homeschooling provides more freedom and flexability in our family schedule.
4.) Our whole family lives a lifestyle of learning.
5.) Our children's needs are met and they were not met at school.
1. I was homeschooled and loved it. I want to give my kids the same experience.
2. Individualized attention. You simply can't get the same 1:1 ratio in a school.
3. Go at their own pace. Miss A would be in kindergarten right now. She is reading on a 5th grade level and has almost completed third grade math. Mr. Man is learning how to read (his choice) and likes joining us for school. He is 4 1/2 exactly today. Due to arbitrary cut-offs he would not enter kindergarten until fall of 2007.
4. Instilling a love of learning. Public school tends to miss the mark on that one, particularly with the NCLB crap. In our state they are very open about teaching to the test. But that's okay because they still get 3 weeks for fun at the end of the school year?!?!
5. Flexibility. We school year round and take time off as needed. My grandmother died in February. The kids and I went to Florida for the funeral. Miss A would have missed a week of school. When we got home we all got very sick. She would have missed at least an additional week of school.
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1. Provide a 100% customized academic plan. In school, there will always be busy work and learning specific things in a specific format b/c it works for most kids. OTOH, I can give my kids exactly what they need/want and none of what they don't. There will be no fluff.

2. Real-world learning. This will not be relegated to occasional field trips or summer camp.

3. Control. I have seen family members wrestle with the school over control of their own kids. The school says the kids can only miss a certain number of days in a certain period and if the parent doesn't follow this, the school sets up a meeting and threatens family court to enforce attendance. If the parent wants to take their own kid on vacation for a longer period of time, the school says that's not Ok. The school tells the parents how their kids will spend the bulk of their evenings. It seems to me that the school sets up the schedule that the parents must follow. It seems like the parents have to ask the school for permission and that seems backwards to me.

4. Travel. We have the ability to travel a fair amount and we like day-trips too. This is similar to #3. We will have freedom over how and where we spend our time.

5. Miscellaneous? I can't think of a big one for #5. I have socialization concerns wrt school, specifically the social pressures on conformity to mainstream ideals. I don't want my kids to be overly concerned with "cool" or "uncool". I don't want my kids to be teased for what they wear, for what they eat, for what music they like, for what they are interested in and for what cool "in" toys/gadgets they don't own. There is peer pressure everywhere, but it's harder to avoid in a group of 30 children who are with each other all day long.
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1) Socialization. I believe the socializating in schools is poorly supervised and the ratio of children to adult is far too low. Homeschooling allows us to have more of a wide variety of socializing and socialization in our lives and a higher child-adult ratio, which leads to adults being around to help sort out any difficulties that come along, which is a great learning experience for our young ones. Homeschooling can lead to much deeper and productive socializing (longer lengths playing cooperatively, for instance) without the constricts of not being able to speak in the class, short recess breaks, needing to sit near children according to alphabetical order, etc.

2) Safety. The safety of my children not to be bullied, not to be beaten or hurt by other children with no intervening adults (poor supervision, yes we have experienced this). The schools in this area tend to be open-area schools, easily entered by people with ill-intentions. There have also been far too many news stories and incidents in this area with molestation of students by people in education, which is a lesser fear, but one nonetheless.

3) Quality of Education. I don't feel that parents need to have teaching degrees (or any degrees) to be able to answer their children's questions when they are young and by the time some parents would not know all the answers, the children would be old enough to learn how to research what they are curious about. There are plenty of resources available to assist children in their quest for knowledge and learning. I also believe that children learn much more quickly when they are learning about things that interest them, at that very moment and they retain it longer and better. Schools are unable simply due to size of classrooms, to specialize the education of the children so much as to be able to take advantage of this natural learning.

4) Love of learning. I find that my children love to learn and our brief foray into school did not assist with it. My children have much more time to learn now that we don't waste time in school.

5) Family togetherness. Our children are incredibly close yet they still have many friends. They are still quite young, but remembering what it was like between myself and my sibling when we were young, and how being different ages in school separated us and made us want to hang out together less, I believe my children will be closer far longer than they would have been if we didn't homeschool. And we just love spending all our time together.
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Because the teacher is mean.
Because there are too many rules.
Because it is boring.
Because I want to be with Mommy.
Those reasons include the fact that I am a terrible teacher, I know a lot about a few things and not much at all about most things, and DD's gregarious nature. My guess is that lots of people pondering hs'ing have these same hesitations.
Actually, ds's gregarious nature is one of the reasons I want to homeschool. We visited many public and private schools, and all of them were very controlled environments, with a lot of rules about when you could talk. And really, a school setting has to have those rules or it would be chaos with 15-30 kids talking all at once. Ds loves to socialize with different ages of kids - at any particular day at the playground he might play with a 2yo or an 8yo, and except for a once a week buddy program at some of the private schools, he would not get the opportunity to socialize with kids of other ages if he were in school all day. He makes friends very easily, but likes to pick his own friends, not necessarily the ones in his classroom. For instance, he plays very well with all the kids in his preschool, but his two best friends are kids who aren't in his class.

I have had worries about not knowing enough to teach him - heck, I've flipped through What Your Kindgertner Needs to Know, and I as a college graduate don't even know some of those things! But you know, as I flipped through the book, I realized they were pretty easy things to learn. And a teaching credential doesn't teach you every fact possible - it teaches you how to teach to a group of children. Most teacher's manuals have the answers and instructions because you can't expect a teacher to know everything. And since my sophomore year of history in high school was taught by my P.E. teacher I figure I can read from a book just as well as he could.

My reasons for hs have already been mentioned, but here they are in no particular order:

1. I don't believe it is healthy for my ds to be separated from his family for 30 hours a week at such a young age.
2. I think that the traditional educational system as we know it inhibits true learning and passionate exploration. All these schools say that they encourage individual learning, blah blah blah, but it's inherently impossible for them to do so unless they have one teacher for every one to three students and no set curriculum.
3. I don't like the socialization of school - I don't think it's healthy for young children to be brought up by other young children for the majority of their day. I don't like the peer pressure mentality and the need to conform in order to be accepted.
4. I want our family to be in charge of what we do when. I don't need someone else telling me when we can take a vacation, when we can go to the zoo, when we can stay home and watch movies, when we can go to work with daddy, or when we can sleep in late.
5. I believe being home and spending time with extended family and friends is an invaluable experience. Ds's grandparents are only going to be alive for so long, and I love the idea that he will get to see them so much more than if he was in school.
6. I was an A student my entire life and retained pretty much nothing. I always studied to the test, and used the system to get ahead. I went to top public and private schools for pretty much my entire schooling career, and am embarassed by how much I don't know. I don't want ds to "learn" this way. I want him to be inspired and excited about what he is studying, and to be able to pursue it in whichever way and timeframe works best for him.

There are more but I've only got about 10 more minutes of free time and so many things I need to go do!
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Originally Posted by griffin2004
So please tell me, what do you see at the Top 5 reasons you hs?
1) My kids want to hs.
2) I enjoy being with them.
3) I like how it's made them closer to me and to each other than when the oldest was in school.
4) They are able to explore whatever interests them for whatever length of time it interests them.
5) They are free of the school's rules, requirements, oversight, schedule, etc. and able to live their own lives.

What does it give your child that you feel would be missing at an "institutional" school (for lack of a better word)? Is there anything you feel your child will be missing by not attending an "institutional" school?
Overall, hsing gives them control of their own lives. We haven't found that they're missing anything by not attending school.
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What does it give your child that you feel would be missing at an "institutional" school (for lack of a better word)? Is there anything you feel your child will be missing by not attending an "institutional" school?
I forgot to answer that part: I think they might miss out on certain activities and projects that we won't do or that are easier to do when you are with a group of kids each day, but then again, if they go to school they will miss out on certain activities and projects that they could only do if they were home. And I might miss out on having a built in community of other parents, but I'm hoping to find that within our homeschool network.
1) an education customized to each individual child
2) time to embrace childhood
3) an abundance of family time
4) real world social experiences
5) enough time to explore their own interests
1. I love that my dd is spending VASTLY greater amounts of time outside, happy, creating things, being together with family....

2. I love that she reads LOTS and lots and lots all the time, because she wants to, and not to meet somebody's requirement, or to win points for some reading list accomplishment.....

3. I love the HS group/cummunity we belong to 2 days a week where the kids and adults sit together at meal time (A mortal sin in reg. ed settings)

4. I love the multiage, real life socialization that my dd is getting that does not involve competing with, or ONLY socializing with, 27 other children exactly the same relative age for 7 hours a day 5 days a week month after month

5. freedom in scheduling,.....getting up late, early, making waffles together instead of rushing out the door, late evenings snuggling and reading together....

what she misses:

the traffic light in the lunch room that turns yellow when the kids are getting a little too loud, red when theyve blown their chance and now need to stop talking altogether. (so much for the all important socialization they are supposed to be getting.....)

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Thanks everyone who has taken the time to reply so thoughtfully and from the heart.

I'm learning, and since I'm reading this at home, I guess you all are homeschooling me on homeschooling!
1) I hate the Institution: testing, program cutting, one-curriculum-fits-all mentality, and the punishment.

2) Flexibility. Being able to travel when we want, learn when they want, and how they want to do it. We are military, and we don't have to worry about schools and times of year to move.

3) I believe my children will get a much better, fun, well-rounded education at home. If my kids have trouble learning one way, I can change what we do so that they thrive.

4) I am setting my kids up better for life since they are homeschooled. They go out with me during the day, so they see me interact with various people.

5) I think it is healthier to homeschool. They get better lunches, better physical activity, more fresh air. They are happier.

What they miss:

The peer-pressure in schools. I grew up seeing so many gang fights, witnessing drive-by shootings, stabbings in the hallways, and cliques. Children do not get the education they could when they are worried about getting beaten up, shot, and fitting in.

I want my kids to grow up finding out who they are without worrying about popularity.
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Disclaimer: we unschool, and I am *very* prejudiced against institutional schooling as a concept. These are my main reasons for hs'ing, but there are others.

1) Unjust Captivity--confining/institutionalizing non-criminal people against their will is against my moral values. This is the most important reason I support hs'ing. My children are not prisoners and do not deserve to be put in the captive environment that is formal school unless *they* choose it.

2) Respect--related to point #1. I have tried very hard to treat my kids with respect as sovereign individuals. It wouldn't make much sense for me to spend the 1st 5 yrs of their lives treating them respectfully, non-coercively, and as sovereign individuals, and then subject them to an institution that I can guarantee will *not* treat them this way.

3) Values--I want my kids to be firmly "anchored" in our family values *before* they enter the full-scale propaganda assault of pop culture, peer pressure, and educational-establishment doctrines. I also want to protect them, at least while they're still small and vulnerable, from the harassment they would inevitably receive from peers and quite possibly teachers for being non-mainstream.

4) Educational Quality--I don't think even the best institutional school can provide as much educational quality as a mediocre homeschool. A student in a class of 30 is by necessity not going to get much individual attention, work at his own pace, or study what interests him. Not only does the teacher have to teach to the level of the class as a whole at the expense of an individual, he also has to rush through a ridiculous amount of material to cover "state standards" and teach to the standardized tests (thank you No Child Left Behind). The vast majority of state curriculum is fluff, but it *must* be taught. Teachers are skipping over history and science to cover things like flag etiquette and tooth-brushing technique (not that people shouldn't know those things, but adding them as requirements to an already-overburdened curriculum is ridiculous). I can respect those who see the value in a formal curriculum that makes sense, but state curricula simply *don't make sense.*

5) School Ideology--related to the other 4 points. I don't agree with most of the ideological and philosophical ideas that go unchallenged in a school environment, such as: blind obedience to authority as a virtue; adults as morally superior to children; punishment, especially physical punishment; age segregation; conformity; "effort" being more important than results (work for work's sake); dividing people into "good" and "bad"; "citizenship," aka nationalism; conflation of things like health, sociability, and long work hours with moral virtue; and everything implied by homework and testing. I also don't believe that the stressful, regimented, labor-intensive school environment is developmentally inappropriate for young children.

6)--Bonus: I enjoy being around my kids, and they enjoy being around me! We have a lot of fun together, and our relationship isn't strained by the adversarial relationship schools try to impose between parent and child. Learning is fun, and my kids wouldn't have it any other way.

The main thing I worry about them missing out on is the cultural experience of school. The school experience is so central to our culture that, assuming we continue hs'ing through high school, they will always be a little bit outside the social fabric. Of course, I expect/predict that they'll go to college, so they won't be entirely without school experience, but that still isn't the same.
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1. My children can learn to read, add, subtract, multiply, divide when THEY are ready, not when the STATE says they are ready....even if that means they learned Egyptian Hieroglyphs FIRST.

2. Freedom to pursue our own interests for as long as it pleases us...even if Organic, Biosustainable Gardening isn't on the TEST....

3. My children can learn according to their own strengths and abilities vs the one way to learn in institutional school.

4. My kids can learn in their own way and on their own schedule without a that Gifted, ADHD, Learning Disabled or whatever labels they are applying to kids these days.

5. learn what, where, how, and when we want

Bonus: My kids don't see learning as separate from living....its not something to hurry up and get through so you can go outside and play.

What do I think they'll miss? Nothing i think they are better off without.

PS We unschool.
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The Top 5 Reasons We Homeschool

I'd classify ourselves as eclectic homeschoolers, but almost into the unschooling camp.

5. Education: I believe that my children will have a more well-rounded education learning at home with me than they would if they went to school. I don't mean that I will pack them full of more facts, but that they will know HOW to learn whatever they want. I want them to have a true understanding of the way that the world works, not just a brain full of (IMO) useless, random facts.

4. Socialization
Yep, that's right. I don't want my kids exposed to the nasty socialization that takes place in school, or on the playground at school. Yes, they've encountered bullies just playing at the park. The difference is that I am there with them to help them handle it. I am also there to jump in if they are acting inappropriately. I want my kids to learn MY morals and values, and not be educated on these things by peers, or by a teacher who may or may not share my values.

3. Safety
I don't feel that schools are safe places to be: physically, emotionally, socially, or spiritually.

2. No Government Interference
Call me a rebel, but I just don't want to hand over so much control to the government. It's not up to the State to decide what my kids learn, when they learn it, how they learn it, and what happens if they don't comply. It's my job. Period.

And the NUMBER 1 reason we homeschool:

1. Love
I love my children, and I love being with my children, and I can't fathom the idea of sending them away to be taught by strangers, especially at young ages. I also want them to LOVE learning, and I don't want them to get the idea that "learning" equals "schooling," and that you only learn "important" things, or that you only learn things to get an "A" on your report card. I want them to learn for the sake of learning, not for a tangible reward.
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My reasons right now are very focused on Kindergarten:
1. Children are being pushed in schools way too early to give up childhood- there isn't nearly as much play time as we had as children, some kindergarten's here don't even take a recess. I want my child to have all the childhood she needs.

2. I want my child to learn at her pace, whether that is faster or slower than 20 other kids would do it.

3. I don't want my child to be yelled at for talking, not standing straight in line, not following dumb instructions (like 'color the duck yellow") and other things children are yelled at and talked down to at school for.

4. I don't want my child to suffer the emotional damage that school often causes- screw socializtion! My dd is the most social child I know, and she's never done preschool or day care.

5. Elementary school here is from 9-4! And i think getting out of school at 4PM is just too late for a small child.

I am lucky to live in an area with an active homeschooling community, so I don't worry about what dd will miss out on at school.
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1. I believe grading and testing are harmful to a child's self-image. Children should not be compared to each other and ranked by intelligence.

2. I believe grading, testing, and mind-numbing assignments snuff out the love of learning. I do not believe grades are an accurate assesment of a child's ability to learn. Children learn best when they are allowed to follow their own interests and teach themselves. I have absolutely no faith in the government's standard of education.

3. I know I will LOVE being a homeschool mom - being with my child, teaching him, watching him learn. I want to foster the importance of family and community. I don't want someone else to raise my child. I'm kind of bookish and I love science. I think I am well cut out to homeschool.

4. I want my child to be self-motivated, keep his bright sparkle, and to be free of worry and stress about school. Children just should not be worried or stressed. I don't believe punishment works (in the form of bad grades). And I don't want my child ever verbally punished by teachers or peers.

5. I want my child to be free to form his own intelligent beliefs and ideas about the world. I believe in AP/NFL/MDC-ish beliefs, and those are most certainly different from mainstream beliefs. I don't want DS to imitate the 'cool' kids and lose himself.

(I go to college, and a while ago I was sitting in the cafeteria and overheard a conversation nearby. A whole group of seemingly normal, average college men were joking about sexually using dead animals. If that's what public school socializes little boys to talk about, I'll pass thankyouverymuch. Unfortunately I've overheard conversations like that myself in public school starting from first grade. FIRST GRADE! I'll spare the details.)
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