I think it is very important for kids to be home 100% for ages 3 a down..but since this was about schooling I picked 5 - 12 because I feel those are the school years that are best to build a strong foundation of independence and love of learning.
I feel right from the start. In the older years (high school) I think it will be their choice whether we want to keep them home or not. But those early years are so important as their self esteem is so easily ripped from them. So is their love of learning if it's not presented right. By the time they are older, they have a pretty good idea of who they are and can deal with the crud life throws at them.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. My mother (now a public Montessori school teacher in the South, ah the irony) says that K-2 is easy to teach, but by 3rd grade, the kids really hate school and their teachers and anything and everything you ask them to do. So...hmm...
I chose no age more important, because every child, family, school, and situation is different. I don't believe that homeschool is necessarily a better option than school. We choose to hs because it is best for my child and family. I can not say what is best for someone else's child and family.
I put 5-12... under 5 there are many options for schooling that are very part-time and often a whole lot of fun (a lot of the homeschooling families I've known have no problem with preschool-age kids attending preschool a couple mornings a week, just as older kids may attend coop classes) and because many kids this age aren't in school and aren't homeschooling either... and after 12, again IME, many kids want to try some sort of school, and there are again many more options like community college classes or alternative high school programs. Ages 5-12 seem like the years with few options other than fulltime school or homeschool programs, which really are still homeschooling...<br><br>
There is no age that is more important. Learning is lifelong.....it starts at birth and ends at death. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
I feel that the elementary school grades would be most important because those years are the foundation of learning and developing self esteem. I feel that after homeschooling in those years (assuming it was a good experience) then the child would likely go into their teens so much more capable and confident.<br>
I had heard an opinion recently from a homeschool mom that she would pick the early teens as most important because of hormones, etc. and I guess I can understand that pov a bit.
I feel that all children under 6 should be at home but I don't feel they should be homeschooled. I admit I started homeschooling just before my oldest's 5th birthday but I am older and wiser now and didn't make the same mistake twice. With the understanding of the tremendous pressure to send children to preschool I would say it is important for all ages to homeschool. But more important is the child and what is going on with the family at the time.
I voted under 5, but really I think it should be at least until 8 or 9, or ideally into the teens. I really do believe that the institutionalization of children at earlier and earlier ages is a disturbing trend--when universal public education started to become popular in the 19th century, school started at 1st grade usually at age 7-8, later 6 became the standard age, then there was universal kindergarten, then preschool, and today there is pre-preschool ("early Head Start")... maybe our grandchildren will be schooled in the womb. It is unnatural in my opinion to inflict schooling on kids so young.<br><br>
But I think by the time the child reaches the pre-teen or teen years, if he has been raised well, school could be a positive supplement to (not replacement for) independent learning.
I picked no age. I like that my dd can learn her material fast or slow. She is 7 and reading has just *clicked* for her. I am not sure she would have been ready(or able to cope) with the pressure to learn this earlier(at 5). For the upper grades I think being able to have a choice about what they want to learn is important. We shall see what happens when they get older.
I picked other. I think it is *most* important to HS thru 3rd grade. By then, most dc have good reading and writing skills. And they have a good sense of who they are, and their family values.<br><br>
For us......we are planning to go thru till highschool. Then it will depend on our dc and family circumstances.<br><br>
I voted that no age is more important than any other, because they're all important for different reasons:<br><br>
Under 7, kids love learning. It's very important to keep that spark alive, and I think that it's damn near impossible to do in a school setting.<br><br>
Early teens... well, last night my mother was telling me that a family friend was saying that he really firmly believes that junior high would be a horrible place for my niece (he's a substitute teacher), and I reminded my mother of what I said after less than a week in junior high school: "The person who came up with the idea of putting 30 12-year-olds in a room together for 8 hours a day was some kind of sadist. I hope they're slow roasting on a spit in hell for all eternity." She thought I was being a bit melodramatic at the time, but I still feel that way... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shake.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shake"><br><br>
My husband says the thing about school that bothers him the most is that he graduated from high school and had absolutely no idea what he enjoyed or what he wanted to do with his life, because he'd never had the time or energy to pursue his own interests. When it came to applying to colleges and declaring a major, he felt totally lost and says he honestly had no opinions on the subject in the beginning. In fact, he spent a fair amount of time in two different majors, and at the end of his senior year decided that he'd wasted all of his time in college; when he graduated, he continued working in masonry for at least two years, because he couldn't think of anything better to do. So I'd say that the later teen years, following which society expects you to have some idea of what you want to do, are very important for home/unschooling, because without the freedom to explore who you are and what you enjoy at that point, how the hell are you supposed to know what you'd like to do? Then again, if you haven't been home educated up to that point, you'd have to spend time learning how to pursue your own interests (you'd be amazed at how many schooled people are completely lacking this skill!), and quite honestly I think that's best done when it comes naturally, between the ages of 5-12. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"><br><br>
So I think it's important the whole time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">