August 13, 2012

Why Would You Not Send Them To School?!


I recently read an article about a family's decision to start homeschooling. More accurately, it was one woman's story of how she went from saying things like "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard! The bus stops right here! It takes them away for eight luxurious hours of the day! Why would you not send them to school?" when she learned their new neighbors were homeschoolers to becoming an active proponent of homeschooling herself.

We only made the official decision to homeschool within the last year and although it was something we were strongly leaning towards for years, I wasn't always on board and Joshua REALLY wasn't sure of it. In fact, to say we were both anti-homeschool would be an understatement. Words like those kids, overly religious, under-educated, and freaky were tossed around like they weren't insulting, ignorant and rude. 

My first serious exposure to homeschooling came when I worked for a family with 10...yes, TEN children who technically practiced what's called un-schooling. I didn't like it. I saw deficiencies in their education but surprisingly, I also saw what it did for them as a family. I saw how close they were and how mature the children were. I saw how secure the parents were-they were totally open with me and I with them. I tried to be tactful about it when I told them I was "unsure" of the whole thing. I didn't understand it and didn't expect to do it when we had our own children. 

I was concerned about "socialization" because growing up in the public school system had taught me that my children HAD to be with other children of the same age. That gave them more "real-world experience" because they'd learn to work out problems with others in the classroom. Now, I see that being locked inside a school, forced to be silent for hours and unable to do the most basic things like go to the bathroom without first raising their hands does nothing to show them the real world. And in our son's case, it would have only led to bad behavior marks...he's an active four year old boy who needs the freedom to be able to study for a bit and then go outside, run, play, yell...basically, just be a child.

My next concern was what about subjects you're not (meaning the parents) naturally good at?--really I was wondering what I would possibly do with a child who needed to learn complex mathematical theories when I struggle with them myself. But eventually, I learned that the basis of homeschooling is to teach your children to teach themselves. To be independent. If there's a subject they need to learn that you're not comfortable with, you work through it together, or you find someone who can teach it to you both. It fit with our perspective of parenthood. We believe it's our job to prepare our children for the world-a world which is unfortunately putting America to shame academically.

I learned that despite spending more and more money-on average over $10,000 per year per student, America ranks 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math (source: 2010 PISA). Homeschooling gives our children the academic advantage they desperately need in a global economy...

(graphic from homelifeacademy.com with source documentation HERE)

I also learned that a parent's dedication and hard work can overcome a lack of specialized training...


I began seeing children behaving in despicable ways. Talking to their parents with absolutely no respect. They weren't bad kids. They had good parents but they would go to school to be "socialized" and ended up just like everyone else...which I guess is one of the reasons people send their children to school. But it's not something we want anymore.

Deplorable behavior and inexcusably low test scores were only enough to make me seriously consider homeschooling. I still thought about ways we could avoid homeschooling because it scared me...we'd live in a "good" school district and I would supplement their education...we would be strict and would fight the negative influences...light inside the dark and all that but once we had our children and looked them in the eye, we realized that we couldn't accept something that wasn't the absolute best for them. Sending them to school wasn't the best academically or socially. It's not always easy and there are days that I think I'm in over my head but it's worth it-our kids are worth it and that's why we don't send them to school.

Whatever you decide to do, just remember before you say you could never homeschool, I said the same thing not too long ago and now, I wouldn't have it any other way.

10 comments:

Alison said...

We will be homeschooling our daughter too. I've always known that's what we would do, and there are at least 15-20 solid reasons why. Most importantly I believe her education is my responsibility...while that doesn't mean I'm anti-public schools. I think every parent is responsible for their child's education, even if for them it means being active in their public school education.

I considered the unschooling method a few years back, but have done more research and feel a classical education will be best for us. I'm following the Well Trained Mind, and my 4 year old is learning to read!

I think homeschooling is also a great opportunity for military families who move a lot and have unusual schedules (trainings/deployments/etc...). When my husband returns from deployment and has a month block leave I want to take advantage of it rather than worry about missing school.

Good Luck! I don't think any parent who homeschools their child will regret it.

Morgan Neal said...

I'm your newest follower and a mil wife too! Come say hello and follow me at starsstripesandamilitarylife.blogspot.com

xx-Morgan

Jen said...

I don't have any children but the moms I do know have said wonderful things about homeschooling.

JG said...

You don't need me to say I'm 100% in agreement with you. Well-said.

Sarah said...

We don't even have school-aged kids yet, but I know that I'll be homeschooling them for mostly the same reasons you listed. My husband and I both are teachers, so we at least have that going for us, but neither of us are any good at math. My husband was home schooled, which is really how I came around to the idea of it myself. He's said from the beginning he wanted our kids to be home schooled, but I wouldn't hear a word of it until the last year or so. And after having our first child, I realize that it's totally feasible for me to do it. Not only that, it's a much better alternative than having her go off to school and come home talking and acting like the belligerent teenagers I see every day. I went to public school, my husband was home schooled and I'll tell you easily that my husband tests far better than I could ever dream to. And that's because he was taught how to teach himself. I wasn't. I know how best I learn, but sometimes it's hard for me to learn things on my own. I envy that sometimes. His family is also VERY close. I go without speaking to mine for weeks sometimes. (Of course, that has more to do with our relationship than the fact that I wasn't home schooled.) I believe that there are far more benefits to home schooling than there are to sending them off to be guided by the world for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Chantal said...

Thank you so much for this post! I'm a new follower and came across your blog on Pinterest, of all places. Our daughter is 8 months old but already I've been considering homeschooling. It just feels right, you know? I've already started looking at potential curriculum. I'm actually getting excited to do it! My biggest fear is that she, and any other children we have, don't want to do it. I'm hoping if I put it in her head early enough then she will!

My largest obstacle so far is my family. They fall into the "socialization" argument all the time. It's hard to change their minds, but I know we're doing what's best for our kids.

Chantal said...

BTW, I totally wrote a blog post this morning about homeschooling and my thoughts on socialization. It isn't much, but it's something!

www.scatteredseashells.com

Bailey said...

I was public-schooled as a child and I have to agree with your posts. Through my classmates, I learned curse words and stuff like that. I was also horribly bullied from 4-8th grades and don't want my future children to experience the same thing.

Manda said...

I've been homeschooling my two kids since my son was in 1st grade. He's now going into the 4th grade and I STILL get the "WHY???" or the socialization questions. We are also a military family and that was something else that we took into consideration when we made our decision. Homeschooling is not for every family, it's not for every child and nobody should feel guilty no matter which schooling method they choose. There are many positives to homeschooling (also negatives) and from our experience our children, especially our son, are much more self-confident than their peers. Before we started HS'ing our son was insecure and it broke my heart to see how much he struggled.

Anonymous said...

I SO want that "village not raising my children" on a bumper sticker! lol