Thinking Through Homeschooling: Is it right for your family?

in education •  2 years ago  (edited)

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(Pic from www.homeschool-life.com)

I started thinking about school soon after my first was born. Before kids, I dimly assumed I'd send my kids to private, religious school, although I toyed with the idea of homeschooling because I saw several of my friends trying and loving it with their kids.

They must, I told myself, have some talent that I didn't have, right? What training did I have to think I could do this? And would I be stuck indoors all day, everyday, needing to keep school hours in my home between 8 am and 3 pm? What if my kids missed out on things like having heaps of friends, going to prom, or having access to decent science equipment? Secretly, I was also nervous that my kids might turn out weird or they'd end up hating me. It was overwhelming sifting through these worrisome factors.

But the reality of our situation was this: public school was not an option for us. Decent private school was too expensive, which left us with homeschooling by default.

Public school simply wasn't an option because I refused to delegate my kids' moral training to the state. "State morality" is in my opinion, an oxymoron. I remember attending a reputable public school when I was 7 years old and being made to play "lifeboat," a utilitarian ethics lesson disguised as a game. Yeah, no thanks.

So, why didn't I just get a job and pay for their private education? Because I'd attended private schools for 7 years and can attest it's a whopping waste of money, for the most part. Teachers get hired for one expertise, and then have their schedules rounded out by classes in which they have no proficiency. In my high school, there were a few teachers so lazy they just gave study hall every day. Another rarely mentioned reality of private school is it's a dumping ground for public school expulsions. Seriously, private schools are crawling with Side-Show Bobs. The exception to the above is finding a private school that has a stellar reputation, but be prepared, it will have a tuition to match. It's the same cost as college, which for us wasn't feasible.

Therefore, we started homeschooling by default, and it turned out to be the best corner I'd ever been painted into. I talked to my homeschooling friends and got encouragement and inspiration that it wasn't as hard as I'd thought and I could change my mind at any time. Kindergarten was like 30 minutes a day, they said. I went to a homeschooling conference and gained conviction and confidence in the merits of our decision. The vendor hall was a place I spent hours putting my hands on various curricula, getting a feel for this new world containing endless options. It was overwhelming, but I was beginning to have a framework and a vision for what I was undertaking.

Earnestly embracing my new role as my kids' teacher, I dutifully embarked but felt heavily burdened by the responsibility. With each passing year, however, I relaxed more and more and found a real joy in it, even as subjects got more numerous and arduous. It took several years, for example, to let go of the idea that I should be trying to duplicate the classroom experience in my home. One of the biggest benefits to homeschooling is its flexibility and customizability, so if I wasn't taking advantage of that, then what was I doing?

So, I stopped worrying that my kids were getting the exact same grade level instruction as their public school peers, and I realized that if I drummed in the basics, and imparted a love of learning and focused on creating opportunities to learn, my kids would sufficiently thrive academically. That's the bottom line, right? In the end, you want your kids to love to learn so they develop a life long habit of doing it.

It's cliché for kids to hate school. And mine find some of it a drudgery. But we tackle the dread together, or find ways to make it more palatable and then move on to something they like. One year, because of her daily tears, I decided to change my middle daughter's schedule to alternating English one day, math the next. The result was it took most of the stress out of our school day, my daughter learned just as much as if she was having both subjects every day, and we were able to go back to having both subjects every day the following year. Customization is the bomb.

Without exception, every single one of my kids' public school friends has at one point asked their parents if they can be homeschooled. No joke. And I get a little chuckle every time a parent tells me their kid asked to be homeschooled because they heard my kids have NO HOMEWORK. That's right. This is one of the huge perks of homeschooling. We have family time every night and weekend. We can go on vacation (during the school year) and not have projects or make up work hanging over our heads. I believe my kids are less stressed than their peers, get more sleep, and that our family is closer because of it. We do take our vacations during the school year, when it's cold and we want to get away somewhere warm. Prices are cheaper, crowds are thinner, and we can go away as long as we want. We can even go overseas for months and take our school work with us. And when we return, we can sleep off jet lag, and take a personal day if we need it. It's a beautiful thing.

I'm not saying homeschooling is right for every family or that there are no downsides. You have to evaluate your priorities and the risk/reward of each option, and decide what's right for you. If you're on the fence, I would encourage you to try homeschooling first, because I think it's harder to switch from school to homeschool than the reverse, though I've witnessed many do that successfully too. Some people want to homeschool up to high school and then go mainstream from there. I often get asked, "What about high school?" and though I'm not there yet, it is my intention to go as far as we can or my kids will let me. Another resource high schooled homeschoolers have is their local junior colleges, which usually offer dual high school and college credit for classes. We are planning to make use of that option, and it saves me from turning our kitchen into a science lab. Consider how much ahead of the game this could put your kid if they plan on doing post graduate degrees.

I believe the future is tailored schooling. The modern school system is a broken and failing program that parents are rejecting more and more because it hasn't lived up to its promise or kept pace with the future. In this age of cryptocurrency, self driving cars, and decoded genomes, where is our individualized schooling that doesn't take up our kids' entire day, plus evening? The schooling dinosaur needs to go the same way as printed newspapers and corded phones. It's outdated!

It remains to be seen if my kids turn out weird, but so far, I love my weird kids. They are good weird. They are friendly with people of all ages, look adults in the eye when they speak to them, and are generally kind to others, which is a rare commodity from what I observe of regular schooled kids. I have met the painfully shy, odd kid who dresses like it's 1900, and has homeschool written all over them. That's not the norm anymore. Mainstream, hip people are homeschooling, and the kids of these people reflect that normalcy. Most people express awe or admiration or a little jealousy when they hear I homeschool. They quickly add that they could never do it themselves. I usually answer that I assume they already are homeschooling. It's called homework help. Real homeschooling does not require much more time than they are already putting in, it's just shifted to daytime hours, which is awesome.

If you are considering homeschooling and have questions, post them in the comments and I'll try to answer.

My last blog post: Funny true story when I accidentally bumped into the Queen of England!

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AWESOME!!! Well deserved debouched :) SUNSHINE247

Thank you!

My pleasure - Have a GREAT start to your Wednesday!! SUNSHINE247

@debouched, my wife and I choose to homeschool because we lived overseas. Now that we are back in the States we still homeschool. We feel that we are the best educators for our kids. And when you homeschool, everything and everyplace is your classroom.

@sumatranate I couldn't agree more! Parents are their kids best educators!

How did you manage to do it while you lived overseas? We are considering moving abroad and this will be our option. What program did you follow?

Really interesting text! Our education system is really confusing and doesn't create the effects that it should. I was reading this article here: https://steemit.com/freedom/@thomasmmaker/article-a-thought-about-freedom-and-education-03
I think it complements what you have said! :D

Although I don't have any kids, I'm in the middle of an book about home schooling titled By Heart: A mother's story of children and learning at home (Author: Kathleen Melin). Between this book (which I highly recommend to anyone currently homeschooling or on the fence) and your thoughtful post, I am convinced homeschooling is a wise choice.

Thanks for this. We are also planning to start homeschooling our 3rd grade soon. He was in traditional school since KG to 2nd grade but I feel as a mom a lot of my child's potentials are untapped. Teachers always moan about his "behavioral issues" which he does not manifest at home. We want t try homeschool and see how far we can go. Both hubby and I are working and we are expatriates here in the Middle East. It should really be very challenging but I. Want to be able to say later on that "at least we tried" or "we tried and we loved it".

Wow, I applaud your determination! You have several challenges but it seems like you have really prioritized your son's needs to make it work. I wish you all the best. I want to encourage you that there is no one right way to homeschool and to make your school as crazy or creative as it needs to be to suit you. :-)

I am really praying this will work - get the desired outcome for our son and for the whole family as well. 😊

good posting.
in my country indonesia the homeschooling sometimes being dilemma of parents for the best of their children.

Thank you!
Is it difficult in Indonesia to homeschool?

in big cities, it's not difficult, but in small cities or in villages the homeschooling is still something strange for parents.
I myself familiarize with "homeschooling" when I was studying at university. I had never heart that kind of school before because I am from a small city in Aceh, Indonesia.

That's very interesting. Thank you. I wish you all the best.

I am really interested in you post. I am waiting your next post especially about education.
nice to meet you here @debouched

Thanks! Nice to meet you too!

I can totally relate to the description of your kids as being able to look adults in the eye and most of all being kind. My 9-year old has trouble understanding why other kids are sometimes mean. It was hard for me to explain to him that's what they learn in public schools, pack mentality, if you're not one of ours, you're the enemy.
I must admit we gave up regular planned lessons long ago, not to mention that my son insists we're now on summer break even though he doesn't go to school. Hopefully, we'll resume our lessons come September!

Sounds like you're on an unschooling track? There are a lot of things that attract me to unschooling and I incorporate the philosophy to an extent. I love student led learning. It's just normal life. We're all learning day by day. :-)

Great post! I have four girls my eldest suffered yrs of bullying threatened to be stabbed. School said they couldn't keep her safe and said it was best she left they made no attempt to deal with the bullying. I made several complaints but felt like i was bannging my head off a brick wall nothing was getting done, in the end the stress was too much and she had to leave before exams. Shes now at college and doing fantastic. My 2nd eldest hates school has had slight bullying every now and again but no where near as bad as my eldest shes doing exams next yr and plans to go to college also. My 2nd youngest daughter hates school. Shes suffered bullying teasing its just silly things shes only just turned 8 but its really upsetting her and its daily. Girls forming groups and leaving her out of games and being really nasty to her. She is desperate to be home schooled.My baby is only 9 months and the thought of going through it all again just fills me with fear. My partner isn't really for it iv mentioned it a few times over past cpl yrs n he loves the idea but he still thinks you need exams to get anywhere in this world. Apart from the bullying issue iv noticed a huge change in the education system since my eldest two started in school it, was very easy going then, when we still had some of the old school teachers around. Now your lucky if they are over 20 yrs old ! We have the curriculum for excellence here (nothing excellent about it) carbon copy of common core. There has also a legislation passed here in Scotland thats called named person (state guardian for every child) this involves constant snooping and data collecting into the childs family life to ensure their wellbeing needs are being met. Alot of their schooltime is now filling out government surveys (some very sexual questions included in these surveys). I just feel totally suffocated buy the whole thing Your post has given me inspiration to give it a go i really want to do it. Im going to let my partner read this tmro and see what he thinks. Its got to be better that what we are experiencing now im dreading the thought of schools going back after break . If you have any links to curriculums or any sites that may be helpful it would be greatly appeciated x Thank you for taking the time to write this its brilliant you have my vote xx

Wow, I'm so sorry about the bullying your kids have experienced! My heart goes out to you. It's totally unacceptable that its tolerated. Persistent bullying makes school such a drudgery that it might as well be prison! I sure hope you and your partner are able to come to an agreement for your little one. You'll need his support. Please message me if I can be of any further help to you guys. Check out the "Class Dismissed" documentary too. http://classdismissedmovie.com All the best to you!

Hey again, I wanted to add that we heard about that "Named Person" policy when it was in the works and we were all shaking our heads thinking that was not a good development in Scotland. Very sorry you live with that.

And here's a few links you might find useful:

thank you and for the links will check these out x

Homeschooling has been on my mind for a long time too now..especially now that i plan on getting married soon. I came across a book about this topic that was really interesting and it did not seem so hard, especially as children grow so will the homeschooling time increase. It it is a great idea to home-school because public schools are not good at all and to think if the money the government is pumping into this stream(*i even to wonder what the ministry of education is doing about this) also i think it brings the family together, just like you and your family go on vacation.

Did you also know that in japan they do not give children homework and they are taught the ethics of good morals throughout their first years in school (from interaction to feeding). I will make it a point to finish reading that book i have about home-schooling and discuss it with my fiance too.

This be a great post and thank you very much for shedding more light on this matter.
I wish you all the best and i will be in touch

Thank you for your touching response and for seriously considering homeschooling! I wish you all the best in your upcoming marriage!

^_^

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the future of learning is self education
i'll be happy if check my recant post and tell me what do you think
https://steemit.com/science/@mostafa1/optimal-modes-of-thinking-for-optimal-learning-whatever-you-re-learnng-learn-more-effectively

Thank you, I read your blog post and upvoted it. It was very interesting!

My kids are excited to go to school, social butterflies and all. However, like you, I have my reservations about the 'system'.

Hello! It's that time of week where I go through my new followers and follow them back out of support. I also like to bump and cure an original post and this is the one I have chosen. I'm @enginewitty, founder of #thealliance (a small growing #steemit group) and trainer of @killerwhale (our pet). I look forward to seeing what you have to offer my feed! Until next time :)

I think that homeschooling is not right for every family - especially if you come from a family that has low intellectual levels. I don't want to come off sounding harsh but - it's probably not a good idea to have a mother/father who have a grade 7 education homeschooling their child. It's not fair to the child and it isn't good or fair to the society who'll have to deal with the outcome of a likely underdeveloped person when they reach adulthood.

I homeschooled for a decade and it was a great decision for our family. So many great memories and such enjoyable freedom! My kids learned so much, as did I! Always happy to "meet" another homeschooling Mom. Upvoted and followed. All the best!