The Homeschooling Post

I have been trying to write this post for a while, but literally frightened of the backlash that could ensue. So, I would like to preface this post with the fact that I really am not intending to bash homeschooling in general and that I know homeschooling is a terrific option for a great many people, so obviously demonstrated by many talented and dedicated blogging moms around the Net. (That’s me meekly declaring: don’t taze me, bro!)

But the seeds of this post started on a really personally level, as I have watched someone close to our family use homeschooling as way to manipulate the system. Essentially the child gets no schooling at all (and no friends as an extra special added benefit) and the parents have the freedom to travel as they please. Sure, that is the extreme example of what can go wrong with homeschooling and I realize the bulk of homeschooling is not like that, but it is really hard to not walk away with a bad taste in your mouth.

Then, a few weeks ago at SXSW, I was sitting at a round table discussion about games for kids, and the group was filled with ideas and the juices where flowing. We were talking about the the problems you encounter teaching kids with activities (and of course I was shooting my mouth off since we make a bunch of health ed sites for kids). The lady sitting next to me really impressed me because she was a stay-at-home mom who was only attending the conference because building web sites had become a hobby and she came to that particular session solely because of her kids and wanting to learn more about how making games for them worked.

But then, she kind of killed me when she earnestly and self-righteously said, “Well, you all are saying this and that about all these things that don’t work with teaching children, why doesn’t everyone homeschool their kids??”

Talk about a question out of left field.

The whole group stared at each other for 5 full seconds, wondering if she was serious with her question? What exactly did she mean? Did anyone think a few hurdles in education were a reason to just give up and homeschool?

And then I realized she was dead serious.

And of course I opened my big fat mouth.

“Well, first of all, to homeschool or not is really a whole ‘nother discussion, but let me just quickly say in the context of this meeting here, there is a lot to be learned in a group forum. Just look at all we have learned today. [leaning forward, whispering] And also, I am a big fan of public school.”

But it really goes beyond that for me. Not that I want my child to learn to serve “The Man,” but there is a mastery of politics that comes along with being in a public school setting. Both within their peer set and their elders. Much like what happens in an office later.

And I have to admit (and please remember I do NOT apply this broadly to all homeschoolers) but the sense of arrogance gets my goat. I have met some homeschoolers who think they should be the only ones who mold their kids precious minds. That no. one. else. can touch that lump of virgin clay, and the school system will taint it, and goddammit, THEY are going to mold it into a pristine sculpture that has only seen butterflies and mountains and happy fluffy clouds!

What happens when those kids get a job with an asshole boss? They may be brilliant and creative, but will they be tough enough to stick it out? Will they have enough experience and depth of education to deal with it on a daily basis?

I know my child is only in Kindergarten and been in his current school for 2 years. And I know all schools are different. But I am impressed as hell. The things these teachers think of? I could never come up with.

Did you know my 5 year old son came home from school last week and announced that Alfred Nobel invented dynamite? And that they had a project in class where they broke up into groups and devise their own Nobel prizes and present them to the class. Then they all voted on them. Declan’s group won with the “Love Prize.” (Collective awwww.)

My point being, I am thrilled to have these other people shaping my son’s virgin clay. And sometimes I don’t even agree. But I keep a close eye and we (meaning us and Declan) talk about it.

Would I ever homeschool? If the situation presented itself and it was the best option for our family, sure. Which is what I know the talented and dedicated homeschool bloggers are doing.

But not as an easy way out, and not as a way to avoid the bad stuff.

Because you learn from the bad stuff too.

This article has 57 comments

  1. Mr Lady

    One: I ain’t nevah been a first comment. Props.

    Two: Two is coming after I get the kids to school.

    Three: Just you wait. You’ll get MORE impressed the longer Dec is at that school.

  2. villanovababy

    Well, I’ve wanted to blog about the same thing for a while, but I can’t because my Mom reads my blog. I was a homeschooled kid until I was 15. I have to say there were definitely some pros and cons. (I’ll have to write about this now…just cause there is so much to say.) But in my opinion, it really depends on the school and it is up to the parents to remain involved and not just go on autopilot when it comes to their child’s education. And as a homeschooled kid, I want to say that what I really missed out on were the social activities. When I finally did go to public school, I was ill equipped to deal with all the social stresses that come with being a teenager.

  3. jessica

    i’m completely neutral on this subject, as i’ve worked with children in both public school and home school settings. (most with special needs.) you’re right. we, especially children, do learn from the bad stuff. NEED to learn from the bad stuff. no doubt about it.

    that said, i think when it gets to the point that the bad stuff gets in the way of the rest of learning, the math and the phonics, parents have to choose their battles. some children are just not suited for the setting of a typical public school.

    isn’t great that we live in a country where we can make this choice for ourselves?

  4. daisybones

    Geesh. The first thing that popped into my head when I read that homeschooler’s question is, “Holy shit! Are there people so self-centric that they don’t realize that most families in this country have to have (at least) two incomes to maintain a functional family?

    I encounter a lot of subtle and probably not intentional economical elitism in the homeschooling crowd in my town. For various reasons, I have found that the moms I have most in common with have higher incomes than I. Maybe I am the brokest college educated mom in Appalachia?

    I was bummed out when I was pregnant that we couldn’t afford to homeschool, because the system here is lacking in a lot of things important to me. After some reality checking, I think the social things you mentioned will be a great asset to my Little Bit.

  5. Sister Honey Bunch

    THANK YOU! Two of my closest friends send their kids to private Christian school and one of my sister’s homeschools. They have no problem talking about how much further ahead their kids will be for not going to public school. While I’m sitting there with a kid who goes to public school. UGH!

  6. Julie

    I am so tired of that attitude that some homeschoolers have — that they are better than the rest of us. You get the same attitude with people who don’t own a tv.

    I don’t find the idea of homeschooling appealing at all. My kids have had some amazing experiences that never would have happened if they weren’t in public schools. They have learned to deal with idiots and bullies, and not to believe everything they are told. They have learned to get along with people who don’t have the same beliefs and opinions.

    What I find is that homeschoolers never seem to care that they are offending us, the idiots who send our kids to public schools. So why are we so cautious about offending them?

  7. Autumn

    My 15 year old step-son was home schooled by his mother up until this last year when he started going to high school. Thank god she sent him to high school. The kid is bright, very bright. But now he is struggling. He doesn’t have any friends because he tends to try to parent other kids. I could go on for days about how she has failed him… it is so sad. (BTW our court system sucks because my husband could not stop her from doing this.. that’s another story!)
    On the other hand I have a neighbor who home schools her girls and she does an amazing job. She has a degree in education and makes every effort to put them in all sorts of group activities. They are smart, outgoing and happy.
    No one can say one way is the best way… every situation is different.

  8. Manisha

    I know several children who are being homeschooled because the schools don’t know what to do with them. These kids are extremely gifted. One of them is barely 11 and is already taking college courses. Would I or could I do the same thing? I am far too lazy and unstructured to homeschool my daughter. I did consider it when she was in 1st & 2nd grade and she was literally learning nothing in school. That’s wrong actually, the only thing she was learning was social skills. It changed when we moved to the Boulder area and while there is so much that could be better, the public schools do an incredible job. I would never take her out of school, even if I had the patience and wherewithal to homeschool her.

  9. lauren

    Interesting POV’s, all of you.

  10. Ali

    i love love love reading other peoples’ thoughts on this.

    i don’t judge…each family needs to do what feels right for them. personally, it doesn’t and wouldn’t feel right for me to homeschool my kids. i certainly don’t have the patience for it!!!

  11. Andie

    I couldn’t agree with you more. If your tax dollars are paying for the education, use it! Why let it go to waste?

    I’m all for public school.

  12. Gretchen

    As a daughter of a public school teacher, I do indeed have thoughts on this.

    If done right, homeschooling can be a wonderful thing. So can public school.

    Is it hard to let go of your kids- turn them over to someone else for a large portion of their day? Hell to the Yea.

    Would I ever homeschool? If the public schools weren’t an option. When we moved, we chose our neighborhood specifically for the school district. It was carefully researched, and for the most part we have been very happy with it.

    Have there been a few issues? Of course. But that’s part of life.

  13. Mayberry

    Great post, Aimee, and I couldn’t agree more.

    Especially the part about “please don’t kill me.”

    no, really. That, but also so much more that you covered.

  14. Nat

    Good points for debate. The Boy is in private school. We never thought we’d have a kid in private school but there it is. Like many we both work, we need the cash. The private school stems from a whole other problem around here which is lack of daycare spaces. (Kindergarden here is half days which is its own special hell for wprking parents.) Once he was, there didn’t seem to be any reason to change him. (The public school was a bit nightmarish on the day I went to visit.)

    Class sizes are small until Grade 8. They have dedicated science, art, music, and a gym teacher all things that have been stripped from the public system here.

    Turns out it was a good decision. The Boy has a slight learning disability. It was caught early and we have learning strategies in place. That kind of small class dedicated level of attention has been worth it all. Tutors (qualified teachers as well) are assigned to help him with the things he needs help with.

    How do you know, if you’re home schooling that your child is getting the skills he needs? (I always have doubts, this way, I look at what he is learning and I can compliment. That’s what I worry about.

    Maybe if you know what you know.. it’s easier eh?

  15. Anonymous

    I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  16. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Interesting AD, I don’t agree with you, but I see your points. Of course, I may feel differently as Declan gets older and the bullying aspect increases.

  17. Dawn @ Coming to a Nursery Near You

    Just like abortion, immunizations and circumcision, the decision to homeschool is a very personal one, and one that will likely spark debate, particularly if we feel that we’re being debased for our decision (no matter what side you’re on). I personally do not understand how the people who live where I do can possibly send their kids to school, as I can see how they ACT – when they come home. They’re little hooligans at 8! So if someone else is in a great school system, with teachers who care and PARENTS who care, then that’s awesome! I would send my kids to school there too. However, life isn’t perfect, and so we, personally, homeschool our children in the hopes that they turn out better than the kids that run around thinking they own the place.

    Of course, just my opinion ūüôā

  18. Jenny

    Just wanted to say BRAVO! — so well said Aimee.

    Fear no tazers.

  19. Miss Britt

    I like what you said about not letting anyone else near their precious minds.

    I have a friend who does NOT homeschool but does think that. She doesn’t want teachers talking to her kids about ANYTHING except reading, writing and arithmetic.

    There is SO much out there our kids can learn from. It’s a shame to have them be sheltered from that I think.

  20. Jodi

    I don’t have children of my own, but I do work with kids. My opinion on the subject leans toward yours, but I think as someone else said the key in any situation is the parental involvement and caring. If that’s not there, disaster will ensue. I’ve seen it in all situations–public school, homeschooling, private school, etc.

  21. The Casual Perfectionist

    Like you, I’m wary of stepping on toes…that being said, I’m glad you brought this up.

    I’ve always wondered how you can effectively teach your child how to get along with a large group of other people, who aren’t related, when they are all being asked to follow the same task (whether they want to or not)…at home. I was raised in a state where the public schools were literally in the top tier of the list for the nation. The thought of home-schooling or even spending the money to go to private school (which is a whole ‘nother debate!) wasn’t even considered. Why keep the kids home when the public schools were stellar? That being said, even when the public schools aren’t at the top of “the list,” there is SO much to be learned in the classroom. Like you said, the business world (or the world in general) can be a brutal place, and I can’t imagine trying to navigate so many situations in the outside world without the skills I learned in school.

    I cut my daughter’s hair, even though I’m not a trained stylist. But, when she gets to the point where she’s going to want something more than the equivalent of learning her colors, numbers, and manners, I’ll send her to a professional. I don’t have a problem with that.

    I can apply band-aids, do basic CPR and know the proper home-treatment for all kinds of ailments…but when she fell and split open her head, the professionals put in the stitches. I don’t have a problem with that.

    I’m not a licensed teaching professional, but I’m really good at teaching her things (if I do say so myself). Sending her to school won’t stop that. I can still have my influences on her and leave her book-learnin’ to the professionals. I don’t have a problem with that.

    Disclaimer: Just my two cents. No hard feelings intended toward anyone reading this comment. ūüôā

  22. Mrs. Fussypants

    Quick thoughts off the top of my head-

    I can only speak for myself and my family. I homeschool my boys. To think that homeschooling protects them for the world is a joke.

    Socially -The boys are very popular and friends are constantly here to hang out with our family. They play on football teams and spend all afternoon/weekend with friends in the neighborhood. They learn the politics of social groups. We have the jerks and bullies in the neighborhood, too. They learn when to ignore, who to walk away from, stand up to, or throw down with.

    Are homeschool parents smug? Seems awfully judgemental to pigeonhole an entire segment of society.

    Homeschool families have enough to deal with trying to fight the “weirdo” image. Now we are smug, too? Sheesh! We can’t win. LOL!

    I do think talking about it is important. Happy to share my thoughts.

    Much love to ya, Alli

  23. Anonymous

    My experience hasn’t been very good, thanks for writing this.

  24. Builder Mama

    I have to echo what Jodi said – I think any situation can work as long as there is parental involvement. I’ve seen good and bad homeschool situations, good and bad public school situations, and good and bad private school situations. Personally I’m a huge advocate of the public school system, but I do believe wholeheartedly that my child’s success isn’t merely in the hands of the teachers – it’s our responsibility as his parents as well.

    Great post, btw. And the comments have been really interesting to read.

  25. Beckie

    This is a touchy subject and you did a great job with this post. You articulated what I haven’t been able to say on my blog. BRAVO!

    I run into what Sister Honey Bunch expressed almost on a daily basis and I have to say it is getting VERY old for me. I am so tired of being the bad parent for sending my kids to public school. I am an involved parent, we talk, I know what they are learning.

    Thanks for letting me vent in you comments!

  26. Wonderer

    Bravo on the subject matter & post thoughts.

    My post grew so long, I’m embarrassed to post it so I decided to make it part of my own rant today. Nothing like stealing good material … thanks ūüôā

  27. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Missy, your last comment cracked me up.

    And thanks all, for adding to a very interesting discussion.

  28. carrie

    Great post Aimee.

    I often struggle with finding the words for the bulk of the homeschoolers in our community who feel like because of their CHOICE, the rest of us should pick up the slack in the form of extra support, facilities and tax dollars for their “enrichment” programs.

    While some of the homeshoolers around here are well-educated and qualified and don’t rely on the school district to fill in the gaps, I feel the rest of them are totally out of their minds.

    (I am not trying to offend anyone, it is just my personal experiences)

    If you choose to homeschool, than I believe you are choosing to take your child’s learning into your own hands and should not be funded by our government. Our schools are struggling as is and we don’t need the homeschooling parents sapping any extra funds for buildings and activities. It kind of defeats the whole purpose of homeschooling to be relying on other people to be teaching your child, doesn’t it?

    Yes, there are private homeschooling groups who do this. Bravo to them because they aren’t asking for school district dollars. But these other ones? Gimme a break!

    All in all, I’m glad people have choices. But I don’t want to pay for other people’s decisions to not accept the public school system that is offered to them (which is wonderful).

  29. sassy

    I dunno.. I had some friends growing up that were homeschooled, they were always ‘different’, seemed more innocent than us, the hellion public schoolers.

    My cousin has nine kids who are homeschooled (yes, er, NINE, and no, he isn’t in a cult). They, on the other hand, seem pretty well rounded/adjusted. For now at least… maybe it has something to do with interaction?

    I do aggree with you, however on the whole ‘asshole boss’ thing. I’m glad today for those ‘asshole teachers’ that taught me how to deal with mine !

  30. Ashmystir

    I totally agree Aimee. You miss out on very important learning that is not from the books when homeschooled. Great points can be made for both sides.

    Good post!

  31. soccer mom in denial

    Darling. You always say it right. And my kids are in public school classrooms with other children who are developmentally delayed. I got more comments from folks who were “concerned” that their academics would suffer being “lumped” with “slow” kids.

    Both boys are reading and doing math on a higher grade level and are incredibly kind when interacting with people (children and adults) who have different abilities/skills/talents. I consider all of us very fortunate to be part of in these classrooms.

  32. Alpha DogMa

    Ah. Nothing like the smell of smug-self-absorption to ruin a perfectly nice SXSW experience. That woman puts me in mind of this quote from the Philadelphia Story: The prettiest sight in this fine pretty world is the privileged class enjoying its privileges. Some people just don’t get that for the majority of the population it is not feasible to homeschool. Period. End of discussion.

    The person you reference in paragraph 2: a nut. One of those wacky ‘unschoolers,’ I assume. In my experience bad homeschoolers are in the minority. But man, the damage they do…

    In my province, I can homeschool AND have my children in public school: the boys will enrol in an online academy, be given curriculum that meets ministry standards, be assigned a teacher, take tests and receive report cards. Plus they get a thousand dollars a year so we can enrol them in extra curricular activities and camps of our chosing.

    But I’m going to call ‘crap’ on the idea of school being the only place where a child can learn to manage social adversity. Because kids don’t encounter conflict at the playground? In hockey camp? In the church choir? At boy scouts? In their own families?

    School is a modern construct, a hot house of peer pressure, emotional and physical bullying, sexual tension and competition that is not replicated anywhere else. Other than the baboon exhibit at the zoo.

    I think high school (and increasingly junior high) is an unnecessary trial by fire that adults over value because they ‘survived’ it. We rationalize that painful phase by saying it made us strong and romanticize the value it had on creating our adult selves.

  33. Loralee Choate

    I am disappointed (though not surprised) that there are not many pro-homeschooling comments here. I would be a little afraid after reading some of the comments, but I also understand the frustration.

    I think that homeschooling can work if it is what is best for the family and the student. I am a big fan of public school as well, but have opted to put my children in a Charter School. (Still public but we take less public monies to be our own district and have more control over stuff). Personally, I would not opt to homeschool because I know that I could never give my children the structure or knowledge that they need.

    That said, I have seen the public school system woefully fail some students or not be able to keep up with others. I have seen homeschool save kids that were not making it or were withering away in the public school environment.

    Sadly, I think that some parents do homeschool to enhance their own laziness but most are just doing what they think is best for their kids.

    I think both camps can be guilty of smugness and superiority. The name calling and speculation on what the children of BOTH kinds of education will turn out to be is quite appalling, actually.

    My opinion? Do what is best for your kid, go with your gut and just be respectful of other people’s decisions.

  34. missy wiggins

    What a great topic!Ii have a niece and nephew who were “home schooled” and now they are REALLY paying for it!
    They don’t make friends very easily. They don’t really even know how to read well and they are in high school and have two well educated parents! It is appalling to me that they let this happen to their children. Now they have two anti-social, depressed teens and they can’t do anything about it.
    On the other hand, I know a few moms out there who chose to home school and it worked out brilliant!
    But I would personally do public ed. because the world is a big ball of disappointment and where better to learn how to deal with all the BS than in public school?

  35. Sarcastic Mom (aka Lotus)

    John and I are having an ongoing conversation about this very thing. It’s becoming a very difficult decision for us to make! We sit down and we can both list very important pros and cons for each outcome (homeschooling Braden or sending him to public school). I think one of my big fears about homeschooling is that I wouldn’t be able to give him an adequate education. You kind of touched on that in your post. Currently, I’m leaning towards sending him to public school but being as involved as I possibly can. Did you ever consider homeschooling/private schooling Declan, or did you always know/feel public school was right for him/you?

  36. apathy lounge

    Former public school teacher (now back in the trenches), mother of three and resident of Texas. “Bravo” for saying what needed to be said. In our state, homeschoolers and “unschoolers” (like those you’ve described) make strange but convenient bedfellows and a powerful voting block. If you want to declare your home a “private school” you can certainly do so and not only do you not have to be a certified teacher. You do not need a college degree. Or even a high school diploma. I remarked to a homeschooling mom that it appeared to me one could essentially drop out of school as a 2nd grader, grow up to reproduce and still be allowed (under our present laws) to attempt to “teach” your kids in a homeschool environment. Here I thought I was describing an educational travesty and this woman grinned up at me and said, “Yeah…isn’t that great?”

    Uh…no it’s not.

    For as much as I appreciate that I don’t have to ruin our schools with their fundamentalist attempts to censor/ban library books and teach creationist theory as science, I really think that potential homeschooling parents ought to be required to have a college degree at the very least. I don’t know how it works in other states, but here? It’s just pathetic. Don’t get me started on why the public schools are failing. Until we pay these professionals a competitive wage and begin requiring accountabiilty from the parents who brought these kids into the world…nothing’s going to change.

    Are there good homeschoolers out there? Yes, but not because the system under which they function requires them to be so.

    Can you raise good kids in a public school environment who are polite, hard working and very intelligent? Yes. I have three of them.

    P.S. I would pit my kids’ science background against the background of any kid who attended a fundamentalist homeschool or Christian private school. Just saying.

  37. robin

    I wish that all parents who put their kids in public school were more like you, rather than like miss brit’s friend…it would make it MUCH easier for the teachers! Not to say that all public school teachers are wonderful, but most of us are just doing our best to work around the bureaucratic BS, the lack of funding, and some not so supportive parents (among other things) in an attempt to leave a lasting impression on some kids. And maybe teach a little something, too ūüôā

  38. Geggie

    I don’t have children, so that may completely invalidate my opinion, but I totally agree!!

  39. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Lotus, Bryan stayed home with Declan for the 1st two years, but even with that we never thought homeschooling was an option (for us).

    As I mentioned, I know homeschooling works for others, but we personally do not feel qualified to do it. And then at the time when school started we were both back working fulltime, so that was in the mix as well.

    As for the private/public issue, we have a wonderful school in our area, and knew about it a long time ago because we started getting involved with parents whose kids went there even before preschool becuase of a neighborhood babysitting club, so there really was never any question in our minds that he would go there.

    But earlier, before we even seriously started thinking about having kids, we did always say that public schools would always be our first choice but private an option if we absolutely had too.

    The other thing we have here in Denver than changes things is school choice, so if our neighborhood school was so bad we were not willing to send Declan there, and not willing to help make it better (and snaps to Mr. Lady because she was one of the parents who did help turn our school around), but there are several other excellent public schools around Denver that people are allowed to get on waiting lists to “choice” into. That would be our next step before private.

    As I mentioned, there are many reasons for homeschooling, but the most likely for *us* to consider it would be a special need on Declan’s part that the school system could not fulfill and/or a major bullying situation.

  40. Dana

    I have two sons, one in first grade, another who is of pre-school age.

    I homeschool (we’re not rich either) and I chose to do so for a variety of reasons. This is also a touchy subject for me, considering that at J&J camp I sat behind a plant from the Washington Post who shocked me with her bigoted “sheltering them and homeschooling until they’re 30” comment in a public forum.

    I joined a huge collective of homeschooling families (hundreds) and I’ve yet to see a freak. The freaks get all the attention because they play into and confirm stereotypes. There are wacky homeschoolers out there just as there are wacky state-educated families out there. There are homeschooled kids who fall through the cracks and there are state-educated kids who fall through the cracks. Oddly enough, statistics show that homeschooled students rank higher than state-educated students in every subject, yet I still meet criticism. That’s not to slight anyone’s preferred method of education; rather I employ that fact to say that homeschooling is a viable, alternative form of education and if the goal is truly our children’s education, I fail to see the concern. Something else also: there are wonderful public school teachers out there but – speaking for myself and other homeschoolers I know – no one knows my child, understands my child, and wants the best for my child MORE than myself. I will kill myself to make sure my kids get the best education and if and when I cannot ever do that, I will take them to someone who can. The biggest failing in our public school system is that they don’t claim the same. Not the teachers mind you, but the SYSTEM. The BUREAUCRACY.

    That aside, how a family educates their kids is, as was said here earlier, VERY personal. Each family needs to choose their own path according to their lifestyles. I don’t think all public schools are bad (I can safely say that without reproach for my district here in St. Louis City, though); public schools just aren’t for us. Homeschooling may not be for you. That’s just how it goes. No other family should take another’s choices as an affront to their educational method.

    I meet arrogance (and a lack of knowledge on homeschooling) pretty routinely: like how dare I attempt to teach my kids, how dare I think I know more than someone else, et al. One of my friends has a PhD in microbiology; when she removed her third-grader from public school to stay home and teach him she was told “I fear for your child’s educational future.” It was ironic to me seeing as the person who told her this has less education than she has. So I think the arrogance definitely goes both ways and it is really sad to me that it does.

    Sorry for the long comment. I have to say that this is one of the most unassuming and open-minded posts I’ve ever read by someone who chose not to homeschool. I appreciate that. Thanks!

  41. EatPlayLove

    I believe the biggest detriment to a child that is homeschooled is sheltering. Which to me, stems from a parent wanting to shelter their child from particular “thoughts and ideas”.

    I also believe, instilling confidence in your child is a beautiful way for them to stay true to what your family values when they are on the path of learning to think for themselves.

  42. MB

    The world of homeschooling is complicated and vast and the truth is, with online learning growing as it is, schooling from home is getting bigger and bigger…and more complicated.

    Here’s what I have seen: there’s lots of legitimate and very effective homeschooling happening. There’s also a lot of manipulation. In Colorado, you’re supposed to register your student as a home schooler. I saw a HUGE amount of parents who registered their student this way because they simply could not get their kid to come to school…designating the kid as a home schooler got around attendance laws. They aren’t all that way – I just saw it happen a lot.

    With online content, parents – or whomever, really can deliver state of the art content. I know lots of home school networks that give their kids the social piece through regular gatherings. So I think it can be done well…I just don’t think it always is.

    I was one who always thought of home schoolers as “those crazies,” but it’s changing. Anyone who chooses to pursue a high school diploma online will be a “home schooler,” even though he or she doesn’t fit the profile of what we all think. As parents become more and more paranoid of public settings and schools, they’ll flock to alternatives, scary or not.

    For anyone who cares, I have been a public educator for 15 years and will continue this path. My daughter will go to public school. If we don’t get what we need, we’ll supplement at home. I believe in our system, with all its flaws. This is, of course, MHO.

  43. Sarcastic Mom (aka Lotus)

    Hey, Aimee, thanks for answering my question so thoroughly! There is a town with an excellent school system not far from here, and John and I have already considered looking for houses there when we’re ready to buy sometime in the next several years. Of course, it actually raises the prices, but, like anything else when your kiddo is concerned, it’s likely worth it.

    Thanks again!

  44. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Yes, the schools I mentioned that people want to choice into, their houses are at least $50k higher even though they may only be a few blocks away.

  45. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    And Dana, MB and everyone else – thank you so much for your thoughtful and insightful comments.

  46. Anonymous

    Interesting discussion., y’all.

  47. Kali

    Interesting topic. My husband and I own a tutoring center and for the most part the homeschool parents we see are great. But then there was the one mother who was homeschooling her three children and her idea was to learn about Mongolia by taking a field trip to the Mongolian Barbeque. Some parents really don’t have any idea what goes into to teaching your children at home.
    Now….on the other hand…..my sister-in-law homeschools her three girls and she does a great job. They have a bedroom that is set up like a classroom and they follow a curriculum and times.
    I think the parent who decide to homeschool their children and do it the right way are to be commended. I couldn’t do it…..for my sanity my two boys need to go to school.
    Whew…….long first post! Love your blog…….I read every day but just lurk.

  48. laughingatchaos

    I had totally planned to homeschool my kids…until A was born. Then I realized we’d kill each other; I think he was maybe 2 months old at the time. Now I’m counting down the months until J is in kindergarten. I’m not strong enough to homeschool my two boys, and I have teaching certificates in two states. I just can’t do it, for the very reasons you state. I can’t be the only teacher they have, they MUST have others. I want them to know how to deal with other people and the world at large, without me there all.the.time. A goes to a fantastic school that I love to the ends of the world and back; I, too, can’t believe the things he’s learning there in 1st grade. Certainly not things I learned at that age, and I was in an incredible school district. For some people, homeschooling is the best option; for us, not so much.

  49. Flower Child

    Our niece was homeschooled for several years because she has severe allergies and the school she was to attend had serious mold problems. She was so drugged up that she couldn’t learn. Her homeschooling was really quite good – her mother had an approved curriculum (from a major university (props to my alma mater)) and many many activities with other kids – field trips, sports, etc. Once the family moved she went to the public school (no mold!) and is thriving there. So while I’m not necessarily a fan of homeschooling per se I did learn that it can be done well and for reasons that are truly valid. I was rather impressed at how well it worked. That said, I really appreciate your comments about learning to deal with an a-hole boss – I sure remember some mean teachers (I was in private school) as well as some pretty amazing ones.

  50. emma

    I homeschooled for a year and spent most of the year defending public school from other homeschoolers. Now the kids are back in public school, I find my self defending homeschooling to all the other public school parents. One’s view really does depend on where one is sitting.

  51. Shalet

    I could NEVER homeschool. My kids would learn nothing. Their brains would be mush. They are incredibly intelligent beings but WOULD NOT listen to or learn well from their mother.

    They may, however, tear each other’s hair out, suffer a few sibling induced punches and bruises and otherwise cause mayhem. Then what do you do? Suspend them from home? I think not. I’m sticking to public school.

  52. k

    bless you for having the guts to post this. i second everything you said!

    i’ve only had 2 in person run-ins with homeschooled children. but in one family, the children (3 of whom were pre-teen or teens) couldn’t even read. they were illiterate! and in the other family i never saw the girl doing any school work at all. i think her mom used it as an excuse to keep her kid home so she wouldn’t be inconvenienced to get her sick (i use the term loosely and nicely…) self up in the morning to take her daughter to school.

    i realize those are probably 2 very extreme situations, but since they’re the only ones i’ve ever witnessed it really left a bad taste in my mouth.

    i now live in a part of town that is not known for its fantastic public schools. but, thanks to some parents who have bonded together, they’ve created some wonderful charter schools. i am very excited for my daughter to start attending one of these charter schools this fall.

    i grew up in a wealthy town with famously wonderful public schools. i know i was lucky. and not all kids are. but i also feel like the lessons i learned, the people i met, were lessons & people i never would have met if i’d been homeschooled. i would have felt cheated.

    and don’t even get me started on school vouchers! ūüôā

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