Monday, January 23, 2012

Aspects of a homeschooling life

Homeschooling is more than merely teaching your children how to read, write and do their sums.  It is a way of life.  Our oldest daughter is seventeen.  She will be going off to college this fall.  None of our children have ever taken a public school class. 

I've been thinking recently about how homeschooling families differ from families which send their children off to government schools.  A couple main areas jump out:

Responsibility: Homeschoolers take complete responsibility for the education and welfare of their children.  When parents send their children to public schools they surrender many decisions to teachers and school officials.  And if the parents disagree too often the courts say tough.  Homeschoolers make the decision to be in charge.  They may hire someone else to help with certain subject, but we have the final say.

Freedom: It is so cool to be able to do things when you want.  This can range from the subjects the children study, the order of the subjects to how long you spend on a subject.  But there is flexibility beyond education, for example we love being able to go on vacation when everyone else is in school.

Character: We are not in a constant battle with dozens to hundreds of conflicting messages which tell our children to ignore their parents on issues like integrity and honesty.  Our children have never been pressured to cheat on a test.  They are not being constantly told to experiment with sex or alcohol.  With homeschooling we control the turf and the message.

Homeschooling is a challenge.  At times it is a lot of work.  Overall I think we put in about the same amount of time as parents who use the government schools.  But even if we spend more time I'm glad to do it. 


Anonymous said...

I also home school and agree.But why then do you want DD to go to college. Isn't that allowing the same conflicts as the earlier grades just in a higher level? Most are just businesses not centers for knowledge. We could learn outside these institutions as well.

Anonymous said...

Why stop at allowing your kids to go to college. Never let them get jobs either. A child has to leave the safety of his/her home sometime. Hopefully it will be with the training and character instilled at home.

I do agree that college isn't for everyone. I'm sitting on a mountain of student loan debt from my MA, but choose to stay at home and school my children. But, learning at institutions at some point is an unavoidable thing if one wishes to be recognized as legitimate. I want my mechanic to have been to some kind of vocational program, as well as my stylist, and the people in the body repair shop.

Kiki said...

These days an times one needs a college degree to succeed in life. Yes, many colleges and universities are out there to make money. However, sending one's child to a small institution of higher learning maybe the way to go. At least there, your child's professor knows their name. I have attended a small university and I must say I am grateful for the experience. I have learned a lot and experienced a lot from many neat people from all over the country and even some from overseas.

Overall, I thought this article was a good article. I agree alot of what the writer shared.

educator said...

I like your article. I would like to add that teachers are now the biggest influx into the home school venue. Their reasons are also interesting:
Thinking About Home Schooling? Teachers Are

jugglingpaynes said...

I can only speak from my family's experience, but I do think if your child is a good fit for college, they should go. It won't be a waste of money if the child is interested in learning. With college, what you put into it is what you get out of it. If you enjoy what you are learning, you will excite the professor. As with entertaining, the relationship is symbiotic. Good crowd = Good performance. Apathetic crowd = mediocre performance. And the great thing about college is that if the class is truly awful, you have the freedom of dropping it and trying something else. This is a freedom you do not have in public school. At least, I never did.

Peace and Laughter,

Sue Santore said...

I was a public school teacher for over twenty years in a small-town conservative area. Many, many teachers are brainwashed by their liberal college professors.

If you have conservative values, teach them at home! I wish I had.

Henry Cate said...

1st Anonymous - I agree that many colleges have similar issues as public schools, but the difference for me is the age of our children. A 5-year-old has little chance of not being brainwashed in the government schools. An 18-year-old who had been grounded in basic principles can recognize the liberal bias and hopefully not be swayed.

educator - It is fascinating to me that public school teachers as a group are always more likely to pull their children from government schools. A study several years ago found that public school teachers pulled their children about double the percentage at which average parents pulled their children from public schools. If the school district was pretty good and about 5% of the parents pulled their children from the schools, then school teachers pulled their children about 10% of the time. If the school district was horrible and average parents pulled about 20% of their children out of the schools, then about 40% of the public school teachers would pull their children.

Cristina - you make a great point. One big difference between public schools and college is with colleges we are in the driver's seat. We can to choose.

Sue - thank you for sharing. Comments like your confirm that we made a good choice in going with homeschooling.

Karen said...

A nice, brief overview of homeschooling...Thanks!

Henry Cate said...

Karen - thank you for the kind words.