Reasons to homeschool?


#1

I hope this is not too vague or contrary to the purpose of this forum. I am in a place where my oldest daughter will start kindergarten this fall. I am curious what people think are good reasons to homeschool. My wife and I have not been able to come to a firm conclusion on whether or not to homeschool (vs. send to public school). Our daughter is a social butterfly, and likely dreams about getting on the school bus with all the other kids and heading to class.

Side note, I was homeschooled through 8th grade, but we are still having trouble sorting out what to do. Based on my experience I do believe the academic quality will be higher at home. I also have some vague notion of increased power to shepherd our children, but that loses a bit of its steam when I realize the main goal of public school is not to turn my child into an atheist with evil ideas like evolution. I am interested in the non-fundamentalist perspective.

What are people’s reasons for homeschooling?


Introductions Thread (Come say hi.)
(Christy Hemphill) #2

Personally, I homeschool because we live in a remote area out of the States and the only other viable educational option would be boarding school, which is cost prohibitive and hard on families.

I think some good reasons for homeschooling include:
Wanting to meet exceptional needs of an individual student who would not thrive with less individualized instruction or the constraints of a classroom environment.
Believing you can provide a higher quality education than the one that is available at local brick and mortar schools.
Wanting to personally invest and spend time in a mentoring relationship with your children.

The reasons that make me feel squirmy are the ones that have to do with trying to isolate children from the wider culture and exist exclusively in an entirely different subculture. (For example, where gender roles are really strictly enforced and girls get a different level of education than boys and basically prepare to be housewives and mothers, or where things like Common Core are viewed as a sign of the apocalypse and there is no attempt to meet ‘godless’ mainstream educational standards, or to shelter kids from exposure to sex ed or evolution or certain political ideas.)

My daughter is a social butterfly too. She went to public school for kindergarten and LOVED it. There are other ways to provide social outlets for kids, but this is an important consideration. Unless you live in a really rural area there are usually co-ops and support groups you can join that offer regular field trips and ‘classroom experiences.’


(Casper Hesp) #3

I just wanted to express my surprise that homeschooling appears to be such an important topic in the US. Maybe I’m not completely suitable for interaction on the topic of homeschooling, because in my country people don’t do homeschooling.

Reading the discussions here has made me aware of the fact that homeschooling could be a more optimal way for stimulating the development for children than the schooling system that we have. Maybe we can throw in some evolutionary reasoning? It seems probable that the human species has never been placing their offspring with numbers of about 20-30 in small enclosed spaces for seven hours a day. So, it does not seem natural for us to place children in such situations and we can’t expect it to be an optimal environment for social, intellectual and spiritual growth.

A similar reasoning applies to the phenomenon that we are trying to maintain more relationships nowadays (via social media et cetera) than our systems can ideally handle. The maximum number of social relationships for adults (called Dunbar’s number ) was estimated to be about 150 (including everyone you know). This number is likely to be much, much smaller for children who are still developing socially.


#4

We homeschool because we feel we are able to provide a better education for ours kids. We know our kids better and therefore can better know what works best as far as teaching. Raising my children is one of the most important things I will ever do, and I don’t want to send them off to be taught by strangers. I also do want to shield my kids from topics like sex ed, until they are better able to understand and deal with the information. Things like that are for me and my husband to decide not a school system. I also feel that history has been revised to the point that children aren’t learning what they need to know so we don’t make the mistakes of the past. And although it wasn’t the reason I wanted to homeschool, the ability to teach the Bible and talk about spiritual things has become very important to us. I could go on and on…but I won’t.

My daughter is very social and so we do try to be involved in church and homeschool groups so she gets that social time she needs. My son is not so social but he needs that interaction, too. There are lots of programs and groups for homeschoolers so you can be as busy socially as you want to be. I’ve had to learn to say “no” to some things because we were too busy and having a hard time getting our school work done;)


#5

I don’t think you need a good reason to homeschool. It’s just a choice, as is sending to public school or private school. There are benefits and drawbacks to any choice. You weigh those for your child and family and go with what you believe to be the best option.

I think the benefits and drawbacks vary by individual and family.

For me:
Benefits:
I began homeschooling just to better meet the needs of an atypical/special needs learner. I was a public school teacher when we made the choice, and I knew he’d get a better education at home.

I think, so far, both my kids are getting superior educations. You just can’t hardly beat one on one teaching and individualized instruction. I’ll give one example, though we are way past this now. In our former school system phonics instruction was whole word (not learning sounds/blending). This will swing back toward phonics as some point if it hasn’t already. But I saw a lot of older kids with horrible spelling as a result. I loved teaching my kids to read in the way that I felt best for each of them.
I could say the same thing about math and many other subjects.

It’s really nice to be able to let your kids get enough sleep without early morning school schedules. Kind of similarly, vacations when everyone’s in school are great!

My kids have had a lot of time to just play, enjoy each other, pursue hobbies/interests etc.

Socially is trickier. I think there are pluses and minuses in that area, depending on the child and community (homeschool, school, extracurricular–the whole thing). For one of mine, I’ve not doubt the plus outweighs the minus socially. The other I think is better off socially homeschooling too, but I’m not 100% confident this will remain true as we approach high school with him. We’ll see.

Depending on the homeschool parent’s sociability and community/homeschool options, it could be hard to meet the social needs of a social butterfly. School can still have it’s social drawbacks for those kids too, but taking the child’s personality into account is important.

Finally, no decision is permanent. We all just make the best choices we can and adjust as we go along.


#6

I would agree with mmytoboys that homeschooling is a choice and would encourage you to weigh the costs and benefits, just like any other decision. We have three kids (ages 6, 4, and 2). We identified a few benefits for our family:

  1. We believed that we could provide them with a higher quality education than was available through the public or private school options locally available. We very much appreciated the opportunity to tailor curriculum choice and instruction to each child.
  2. We enjoy spending more time together. My husband works from home, so our paths frequently cross during the day, and we value experiencing the mundane parts of life together.
  3. We appreciate the flexibility of homeschooling. We take our family vacation in October when there aren’t lines at area attractions. We schedule appointments in the morning when our doctors have more availability. We can school year-round (so the kids don’t forget as much material or get out of the routine of doing school). We can lighten our load when a kid is potty-training or having a rough day.
    Homeschooling also has its disadvantages. For us, those have been:
  4. Social outlets. Our oldest has some social anxiety so we feel that it’s important for her to get opportunities to spread her wings. Extracurricular activities, co-op, church, and playdates have helped.
  5. Limited extended family support- neither of our extended families have been thrilled with our decision. We ended our most recent school year with a grandparent’s night when they could look at the curricula and the kids could show their work, but our families still have some reservations.
  6. The workload- planning and executing a day of school is a lot of work. And because everyone is home all day, we have a full day’s worth of messiness. This has been especially hard with littles who can’t help much. We work hard on school in the morning, and then after quiet time the kids free-play (giving me a chance to unwind, do housework, etc.). Sometimes, though, I wonder what it would be like to have the house to myself for a few hours.
    It helps me to remember that there’s no perfect schooling option, and that we can always investigate private or public schools in the future. Best wishes as you make your decision!

(Amy Chai) #7

I am not good with little kids, so I did not homeschool until my kids hit 6th grade. I started homeschooling for two main reasons 1-My kid was kicked out of gifted and talented program and was constantly angry. (super high IQ not fitting in) and 2-In middle school, the bus comes before I would consider getting out of bed, ever. I certainly would not impose a non biological sleep wake cycle on my children at a physiologically important phase of their lives.

My oldest is still mad that I did not take him out of school earlier, but what was done was done. But hopefully he will not have time to get bored next year. (he is starting med school). I would also home educate for physical or psychological safety, for family fun, for superior education, and for sticking it to the man.

Whatever you do, be sure to read the textbooks. You might be extremely surprised at the biases and outright untruths that you find by omission or emphasis of certain ideas. Houghton-Mifflin was a big offender. I taught my kids that if they see something that feels off, check out the original research or source documents. We did this for several sections in some of the books and it was quite enlightening. Don’t feed the hive mind.


(Amy Chai) #8

I also had the disapproval of extended family, that is so hard. Even my husband did not think I should teach 6-12. (I did public school K-5). Actually, my “teaching” was more mentoring and guidance, not pedagogy. But after I won the US Presidential Teacher award from the Dept of Education, their minds were forever changed. Now I go on speaking tours in China talking about home education. True story.