Opinions on homeschooling?

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  • #27163
    jenni4476jenni4476
    Participant

    My husband and I are seriously considering pulling our two children out of school and homeschooling them…I’ve done a lot of research but I haven’t talked to anyone except close friends and family and I’d like to hear your opinions on this….

    Details:

    My kids are 8 and 9, very bright and having awful troubles in school. They’re bored with their academic work and are having social and emotional problems. I’ve talked to them about it and they are very enthusiastic-I’ve done some preliminary work at home with them and their “attitudes” vanish when I work with them-they’re eager and want to learn. Conversely, at school, their teachers describe them as not putting forth effort, having behavior problems, etc. My husband and I spend so much time now dealing with the negative effects of school that it seems it would take less time to just teach them ourselves. And then there’s the additional benefit of being able to adjust the family schedule to fit what we need…

    As far as my capability goes, I’m currently in first year of premed studies and doing very well. If we would do this, I would wind up stretching out my undergraduate work over five or six years, and then delaying med school admission until they’ve graduated. I’m more than willing to make this sacrifice for their sakes and think I can come out of it pretty well, though I’m worried how adcoms will view it and if it means I’ll have to give up my dream totally-I’m not sure if I’m willing to do that… We’ve got a lot of support from grandmothers, friends, etc, who will be able to help us as far as time commitments, various subjects, etc…

    This is getting long (sorry!)…anything you can think of will be very much appreciated…it’s a tough decision and we’re trying to think it out as best we can…

    #27164
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    Hey, Jenni. It’s funny how you brought this up today, a professor, friend, and I were just talking about this today too.
    My sitter homeschools her youngest son. He had learning disablilities and was having problems with schools accomodating him, and taking his abilities into consideration. For this reason, she took him out. He is doing much better. He interacts with other children in his neighborhood as far as social aspects go. The only concern that I may have in my opinion, is after having home schooled a child for the most part of his or her education, will he or she later have problems adjusting to the rigors of college? I dont know the answer to that one, I dont know anyone who has been homeschooled, then attend college.
    I have this 9 year old kid in my alg/trig class. He has a younger brother who may be 6 or 7 is doing algebra and chemistry. They are home schooled. If a child is not challenged enough in the public school system, they maybe able to excel more if home schooled allowing for more individual attention. This may all sound great academically, but as far as those kids I just mentioned, it was told to me that they do school type work 12 hours a day. Makes me want to ask where is their childhood? But I guess that’s another topic!

    #27165
    myimd_dup1myimd_dup1
    Participant

    I think homeschooling sounds great, but it does seem like lots of work on your part. My only concern would be the curriculum, and my ability to *teach* it to my child(ren). Specifically, the advanced math classes…I don’t think I remember a single thing about trig or geometry. I guess I could go back and try to relearn it, or hire tutors to make up for my defiencies. Also, I think a little bit of “friendly” competition, and the formation of “study groups” is a plus for the school system. Finally, what about afterschool activites such as JV cheer, or Varsity vollyball? Not to mention the *boys*…I had such fun in high school…

    But seriously, if your kids aren’t doing well in school (and that’s not surprising in my opinion, afterall, how can *anyone* do well in our schools today?) I say “go for it.” You can always reenroll them in school if things don’t work out, right? And if they do well…then they can experience all of the other “social” advantages in a different capacity. Afterall, isn’t the educational/behavioral aspect as important as (or moreso even) the social?

    #27166
    DreyDrey
    Participant

    One of my very good friends was homeschooled, and she is now attending college for political science. She is extremely bright, and I don’t think her education lacked anything. If anything, she had a lot wider range of cultural and in-depth studies than those of us in the school systems (even having attended a private school myself). Her family does all kinds of neat things, like getting their pilot’s licenses together and owning horses. It’s also an advantage, because you can take family vacations according to the schedule that suits the parents instead of a school schedule.

    I do however think she was a little behind socially. She is an only child and never had any exposure to guys her age, so she’s extremely self-conscious around guys and still hasn’t dated anyone even though she’s 20 now. She’s having fits at the thought of me getting married. 🙂

    Also, homeschooling almost guarantees that one parent has to stay home (my friend’s mom worked from home as a freelance graphic artist) or you hire tutors. This can make it difficult to have a life outside the home.

    Little bit of good, little bit of bad, just like everything else in life. Go with your intuition.

    #27167
    jenni4476jenni4476
    Participant

    Thanks for your responses…you bring up a lot of good points, things that I’ve been concerned about too. The support means a lot to me, though. Just the fact that you don’t think I’m crazy!

    Time commitment…that’s what scares me the most. My kids are, thankfully, bright enough that I can often just explain something and then let them go on their own. I do want to have a lot of discussion with them, though, b/c I think that’s the best way to get them thinking critically about what they’re doing…and that takes time.

    Overall, we’re pretty much leaning towards doing it. We just have to work out the logistics of it…thanks again!

    #27168
    dawnbkdawnbk
    Participant

    I am also interested in homeschooling my girls age 13 and 10 years old. We often take weekend trips to the museums, plays and other entertaining activities. I am constantly purchasing workbooks for them and helping them to excel in school. However, their schools are low performing schools and the environment is one that tries to appear together. When I look at my children’s school work it looks as if they are doing just the bare minimum – spelling, grammar and other writing skills are are not a major concern. I recently purchased a book by Sherri Linsenbach “Everything Homeschooling Book – Take charge of your child’s education.” It costs $14.95 US $22.95 in Canada.
    Homeschooling does not have to be a home confining experience – learning in the home is a continuous environment – even on trips to the grocery store – math. Museums, broadway shows, neighborhood local church concerts and plays, summer park concerts, storytime at your local library, or bookstores can be a learning and fun filled environment for the entire family.
    Good luck on your decision……

    #27169
    bekagainbekagain
    Participant

    Well, as a former homeschooled child – I thought I should add my :twocents:

    I was homeschooled for everything except 8th and 9th grade when I went to a small private school. I skipped 1st grade or I guess actually did 1st and 2nd grade together in the same year.

    As far as being able to handle college – I think most the homeschoolers I know were able to handle college level work better because we were used to planning out our time and working more independently. Definitely no problem there. Plus, homeschooled high schoolers can always start taking college classes.

    I think I would have been extremely bored in school, I was the two years that I went. I loved the social aspect, but I hated sitting in class and hearing stuff that I could just as easily read for myself and then going home and needing to do homework. I was very interested in music and that really influenced my decision to come back to homeschooling in high school. I was able to devote several hours a day to practicing and start a teaching studio. It could have been good, but I wish that I would have taken college classes. It wasn’t as common then as it is now, so I guess no one thought about it.

    My biggest concern is the social aspect. I certainly did not lack for peer contact – I was vry active in my churches youth group and a touring music group. But, after observing the experience of myself and other homeschoolers at college, I think something important about peer ineraction is learned in school. I never learned how to work in groups – I am great independently, but have trouble not doing everything in groups. It is a hard thing to explain, and if your children are closer in age , I don’t think it would be as big of a deal. I would encourage some kind of outside class where your children can interact in an academic setting. I think it really sets the basis for working with peers.

    I see my mom as totally devoting her life to her children. She was home with us 24/7. Obviously this does not have to be the case, but it was for us. I wish that I would have seen her have a little of her own life, it would have made it easier for me to realize that I could have my own life.

    I was adamant that I would never homeschool, but now I have a four year old reading 2nd grade type books and understanding addition/subtraction. She is a very active, busy child and I am worried that she will not be challenged and get in trouble for not paying attention, etc. So now I am not sure what to do! :confused:

    Anyway, sorry this was long – any questions feel free to PM me. I would be happy to tell you more of my experiences. 😉

    Bekah

    #27170
    rockfeverrockfever
    Participant

    some states have online charter schools. so basicaly the kid stays at home and work on classes online but it is public school. i heard of this on focus on the family and if i find the link i’ll post it.
    i originally had very negative ideas about homeschooling especially because of social development but actually kids have more opportunity for scocial development with play groups with other homeschooled children, extracurricular sports and in looking for activites for my child i have run across some that say that they are exclusive for home schooled children such as the suzuki music program and some other physical eductaion classes at the community center for home schooled kids. also, my neighbor home schools and when her oldest got to the high school level, there was a progrma set up at her church thta provided science and math courses by eitehr retired teachers or teachers who wanted ot work in that situation.
    anyway here is the link to the pennsylvania virtual charter shcool. other states do have it but it is a good alternative to you having to teach them everything. and there might be other links to other virtual charter schools.
    http://www.pavcs.org/

    #27171
    FPmommyFPmommy
    Participant

    Clearly your children’s current school environment is NOT OK for them. My first thought is that you might want to look for other schools, though. I have to admit I have never really grappled with the idea of really home-schooling, so I don’t know about that, much, but lots of gifted children get bored and don’t do well in regular school. Do they qualify for something else?? (Do you have a gifted program in your area? Can you ask to get them tested?) Could you deal with private school? It is a lot of money for 2 kids, of course, but the lost-opportunity cost for you being unable to work is significant too. Might it be worth trying to move to another neighborhood to get them in a different school? It is at least worth considering other alternatives to home-schooling. Good luck! (Maybe you have gone through all of this already.)

    #27172
    CynthiaCynthia
    Participant

    I teach at a community college and have a few homeschooled kids each term come through my courses. For the most part they are bright, funny, socially adjusted kids…..just like any other student. They do seem to have one advantage over their peers….almost without exception they are “very focused” on their education. By that I mean they know what it takes to be successful and are great students. Another observation I’ve noticed (and it may just the students that have come to my classroom I don’t know), is that they are almost always polite, self-confident, and engaging. Their peers love them….most people are drawn to those with self confidence and kindness.

    Addressing the social issues: It has been my experience that sometimes (certainly not all the time) children are homeschooled BECAUSE they are having trouble socially….certainly that is the reason that we have considered homeschooling our own son! Would it be any surprise then, if he had trouble socially as an adult? Would it be because of the homeschool experience?(should we decide to homeschool him) CERTAINLY NOT! It would be because of the way my child is created.

    Addressing the MD vs. homeschooling issue: A few years ago I read the personal statement of a mother who had just been admitted to med school. I was surprised to find that most of her P.S. dealt with her experience as a full time homeschooling mom. She related that because she realized how little time there would be after she began med school, she and her husband had decided to homeschool their children for several years in order to give their children the very best start. She related how the homeschooling experience had allowed her to have a major influence on the lives of her children and how she hoped as a physician to be able to influence her clients in the same positive way. She also used her status as a wife and mother to explain how she realized more than her younger peers the sacrifices involved in obtaining an MD degree and that now that most of the decisions concerning husband/home and children were made, she could truly devote herself to her studies without the distractions that other students face. It was a compelling P.S. …..and she was admitted strait out of full time homeschooling!!! It’s all in how you package yourself!

    #27173
    jenni4476jenni4476
    Participant

    You’ve brought up some very good points-it took me a little time to think about them….

    Part of the reason we want to do this is b/c my kids are having social problems in addition to being academically bored. I spent the last two years trying to get them into the gifted and talented program but the school only has a part-time g/t coordinator b/c of budget cuts and she spends all her time basically coming up with ways to enrich the general curriculum within the classes instead of working with individual kids…

    Also, in our school district, they operate on a “balanced class” policy, where the kids are evenly distributed between classes based on ability levels-this just results in every teacher spending so much time helping the kids that are behind b/c they are in every class-instead of separating by ability level…there are pluses and minuses for this rationale as applied to the student body as a whole-I’m not totally knocking it but it’s just not working for my kids! So switching to another public school won’t work and we definitely don’t have the money for private-I already don’t work b/c I’m in school full time…

    My son came home crying on Friday b/c his teacher reprimanded him for finishing an in-class assignment “too soon”. He’d finished it in five minutes (they were given twenty) and like any eight-year old boy he began to get restless, asked if he could read a book while he waited, and the teacher told him “you couldn’t possibly have finished that already and done a good job-go over it again.” Without even looking at it. So my son went over it quickly, couldn’t think of anything more to add (it was writing a few sentences about a story-they were only given one piece of paper and he’d filled it), and asked again. The teacher told him to “stop disrupting the class and sit quietly” for fifteen more minutes. So he got fidgety, of course, and she responded by moving his desk to the corner of the classroom! And this is just one example-I’ve had similar stuff happen before with both my kids, different teachers, etc….

    OK, sorry for the rant. I’ll get back on track. My kids are already rejected by most of their peers b/c the social atmosphere is such that it’s not cool to be enthusiastic and “want” to learn. Most of these kids (in grade school!) are more concerned about what new video game or piece of designer clothing did you get? My daughter gets made fun of b/c I don’t buy her all the Calvin Klein and Limited Too stuff that we can’t afford. My son gets told he sucks b/c we only have a PlayStation and not a PS2. Also b/c I won’t buy them Pokemon cards. I’m trying to raise my kids to “truly” not be so materialistic. What I mean by that is: good example-my Girl Scout troop-we take our thirteen little girls to the food pantry with donations to help out-they’re all dressed in their cute little designer clothes and talking about the newest Bratz doll and we have to remind them that they’re there to work-they then complain and want to leave….their parents pay lip service and say it’s a good thing but then I see these girls’ real attitudes and I think they have to be getting it from somewhere….

    And they don’t work well in groups already b/c of this factor, also b/c their ideas of what is a “good job” usually are on a higher level than the group…they always want to take charge…that’s something I think I can temper a little

    Anyway, as you can probably tell, I’m about at the end of my rope, esp after Friday… I did some preliminary testing this weekend and found out that neither of my kids knows what a noun or a verb is. All they have ever been taught about history, besides cutesy little stories about the Pilgrims and Indians, is that “they didn’t have calculators and computers back then.” Since they were taught to read using the whole language method, they can read beautifully in level-restricted books that are carefully controlled in terms of what words they contain. But if either of them sees an unfamiliar word, they can’t sound it out. My son said “starlight” (a word he just learned last week) when presented with “staircase”. Neither of them can spell very well despite getting A’s in spelling (the teachers give them a week to “memorize” the words they’ll get on the test), again, if they get something unfamiliar but even following the same pattern, they have no idea where to start!

    I’m really sorry this got so long but I’m just so frustrated. About my med school pursuit-I’m willing to put it off a few more years for this and I hope adcoms will see me similarly to the woman referred to in the above post….I’m also going to do some checking into social-type activities…

    Sorry-I’m fully aware this turned into more of a rant than a real reply to your points but it really helps to just “get it out”. I’m just so frustrated and I kind of need to get over it to move on…problem is things keep coming up and I feel like I’m always responding to one crisis after another with no time in between to recharge and attack it proactively. Maybe i just need to stop being scared and pull them out and start- I just don’t know whether or not I’m being unrealistic-these are my kids and I agonize so much over every decision I make regarding them….ugh..no one said motherhood is a picnic!

    #27174
    DONOTDELETE ****DONOTDELETE**
    Participant

    I am a 30 year old college student who was homeschooled and I am also currently homeschooling my children (ages 2 and 5) and plan to do so for as long as I can.

    My mother took me out of school when I was in the 7th grade and let me tell you it changed my life for the better. I do not miss a THING about public schooling. Once I got out of school I began to actually enjoy learning and started to find myself (cliche I know but it was true for me) and realized there was a world out there beyond high school. I became actively involved in political causes I belived in, did volunteer work for a teen crises hotline and started reading a lot. Being homeschooled was the best thing my mother ever did for me. And no, she didn’t have to give up her life to homeschool us either and I taught myself most everything I needed for college. In fact I was the first homeschooled student to go to my college and they didn’t know what to do with me….lol I have always done well in college.

    Now I am homeschooling my oldest (who is 5) and I also have a 2 year old at home. I am a full time student as well. My husband works full time and he is also in school part time. Homeschooling is not as time consuming as some might think and the older the kids get the easier it is because they can do more on their own.

    We are involved in many social activities from science classes, art, sports, etc. My children are certainly not lacking socially and neither did I growing up (and I was homeschooled back in the 80’s when no one was homeschooled).

    My oldest loves school and is always asking to do her schoolwork and she loves to learn! I think that is so important no matter where your kids go to or dont go to school is to foster a true love of learning and also to be able to learn independently.

    If you ever want to email me feel free to do so!

    Marilyn

    #27175
    amykamyk
    Participant

    wow, Marilyn, that sounds awful. I went through similar things all through school, and my parents and teachers tried various fixes — putting me off to the side in reading corners, trying to get me skipped a couple of grades (the school district wouldn’t go for it), sending me to the next grade for some subjects. Finally my parents pulled me out of public school and put me in a parochial school where half the day was spent in another language, just to make sure I had to use my mind during the day. Misery all around, and three years later I was back in public school, way behind in math. By 9th the teachers had given up and let me just wander off to the library at will; I just cut out altogether after 10th grade and went to college.

    If I could go back and design my perfect school, it’d be a very mixed-track, small school — learning-disabled through super-gifted — with a very high teacher-student ratio, a learn-at-your-own-pace philosophy, a lot of interaction among kids of various abilities, and a culture of respect. You might be able to simulate something like that by including a lot of LD/intergenerational work in your curriculum.

    The single benefit I can think of from public school was that it’s very like the world after college, so it pays to get used to it early. The kids, teachers, and administrators were entirely representative of what I’ve met outside of hiding places like universities and other nerd collections. Useful to understand, since in most of the world it’s not the nerds running things.

    amy

    #27176
    DONOTDELETE ****DONOTDELETE**
    Participant

    I would have to disagree- my time in public school taught me *nothing* about doing well and adjusting in college at all.

    I am doing much better than most of my peers in all my classes and I never went to “school” past the 7th grade. And somehow even though I didn’t have any advanced math while being homeschooled (just wasn’t interested in it) I am doing quite well in it now and didn’t have to take any remidial classes to “catch up” either.

    Most of my science teachers are always talking about how very unprepared high schoolers are anymore for college (specifically science classes). Of course I can only talk about my school but we get students from all over the country….

    I think doing well in college has to do with your determination to do well and your study skills (and I think you learn those pretty fast…lol)!

    Marilyn

    #27177
    amykamyk
    Participant

    =) Marilyn — I was talking about the world after college. In college, I’d say you’re right. But after college you’ve got to face the whole rest of the world you had a break from for a while. I think it’s best to know how to get along with those people.

    We expect Liesl will get very little book-learning in school; that’ll happen at home. Public school, to us, is about social education. One of the continuing arguments against vouchers.

    amy

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