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Guest Lucy

Homeschool

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While it might not be an immediate solution, perhaps getting a teaching certification, *then* homeschooling could be an option. It's interesting... I excelled, throughout school, in all subjects. (Yeah, I was the nerdy one who'd be picked on.) And I did a lot of tutoring of my peers in a number of subjects. But I know there's a lot I don't know about how to teach. It's a skill in and of itself, and not always an easy one, from my limited experience with tutoring! (And I know that hardly scratches the surface.) Again, I realize that approach has a number of issues (particularly when it comes to the next few years), but it's an option as well.

I think any parent who loves their kids, is willing to learn with them, and is not going to completely stress out about the "school" aspect can be a great homeschooling parent. A teaching credential has little to add except maybe confidence. NOONE knows everything their child might need to learn. Kids aren't little vessels to be filled with facts, they are human beings who are exploring the world. Truly great educators don't just impart the knowledge they have... they model and facilitate learning.

My kids seek out mentors in areas I can't help them. They learn research skills by watching and helping me find the answers to questions they have that I can't answer. They

learn problem solving and critical thinking when we work through problems together, and when they struggle through on their own. These are the foundations of a good education, and they don't require a teaching certificate.

Just in case anyone was wondering... I mean no disrespect to teachers, and I do value their profession and their professional credentials. My partner has been a professional tutor and is almost done with her Masters of Arts in Teaching. She is about to start her student teaching and plans to teach high school math, physics, and chemistry. We have many friends who are excellent public school teachers of various grades. One thing is perfectly clear to me, though... the education these teachers received were not the source of their skills in educating others, and are not required for homeschooling.

Here is an interesting article that speaks to the education level of homeschooling parents and the effects on children:

http://whyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2007/10/home-schooling-reduces-impact-of-socio.html

and the peer reviewed study pdf:

http://www.fraserinstitute.org/publicationdisplay.aspx?id=13089&terms=Home+Schooling%3a+From+the+Extreme+to+the+Mainstream+2nd+edition

Nice quote:

"Poorly educated parents who choose to teach their children at home produce better academic results for their children than public schools do. One study we reviewed found that students taught at home by mothers who never finished high school scored a full 55 percentage points higher than public school students from families with comparable education levels."

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We've been homeschooling for about 8 years now - started at Kindergarten. I view public schooling like the public bus system. It's great for those who need it, it can really work for some people and give them exactly what they need, and it can be a total disaster for others. It can also be something that we choose to use, or not, simply on desire alone, not necessarily because we think it will work or not work, if that makes sense?

I think for homeschooling to work, it has to work for the whole family, we parents AND the kids. For me and my kids, homeschooling has been something I'm glad we did. If my mother had attempted to homeschool me? We would have murdered each other inside a week. We just don't have the personalities to make it work. ;)

Now, even though I'm happy with what we've done, it hasn't always been easy, especially because both my kids started developing emotional problems with gluten, the few years before diagnosis. But I have enjoyed it more often than not.

There is SO much support for homeschooling right now in most places. Socializing isn't difficult, but it does take, hmmm, thought and a little effort, I guess would be the term. Most towns have at least one homeschooling group (usually more) that meets weekly, which usually has groups and clubs as well. My two groups have a lego club, a PE class, a gal who teaches japanese, another who teaches spanish, a retired math teacher who does upper level math, a gardening club, an acting group that puts on plays once every couple of months, field trips galore - there's lots and lots available. Sometimes the offerings are for a small fee, sometimes it's free, like with our spanish teacher whose son did better in groups, so when she was teaching him her native language, she offered to teach everyone else, too. There's a lot of give and take like that in the community, usually.

One thing I like about the socialization in these groups is the variety of experiences. The kids interact with a variety of ages, so they have to learn more about being helpful to younger kids, and get to see more interaction among older kids who don't exclude them just because they're a year or so younger. There's still rude kids and sweet kids and all that sort of thing, of course - it's just a group of people, so there's a little bit of everything.

For social stuff, there's also scouts, group classes at with the county, sports, choir, church - all sorts of group activities outside the homeschooling community. And I do think having a few of these are important. I've known two homeschooling families in the time I've done this who thought that socialization would just 'happen,' and both their sets of kids were really, really unable to interact with other people. They didn't get much chance to do it.

In a little village, where you have to walk to the village market everyday and play with kids in the street on the way, maybe that would work. In today's society? Not so much.

Educational materials are everywhere, as well. There are curiculums for every type of subject, free lessons on lines for hundreds of subjects, including lessons from a lot of the government websites, national parks, civil war reenactors, PBS, other teachers - it's stunning how much is out there, usually for free, although it takes some research time on mom and dad's part.

Another thing that you find out pretty quickly is that there's not one 'right' way to do it. Just take a look at a few different countries around the world, and you'll start finding numerous different opinions on how to teach, what to teach, and even when to teach it. There's a country in Europe (I believe it's Denmark, but wouldn't swear to that) which doesn't teach the alphabet until the age of 8, for example, although they stress parents reading to kids up until that age more than we do in the USA.

I guess, in the end...it's great if it works for your family. The times I've seen it fail have usually been family dynamics, personalities of the children or adults, or other issues that affect the ability of the child or parent to homeschool.

I know a mother who had MS come on strongly and suddenly, and could no longer homeschool. They sent the kids back to public school. Another mom who HAD to do everything just like the school, with lessons at the desk and worksheets and such, and her child was one who learned best doing it in a completely different way. They ended up finding an alternative school where the child could learn the way he needed, and the mother didn't lose her mind trying to teach that way. :)

Since I've been doing it, we've shifted how we homeschool a number of times, as we've learned more and as the kids have grown. Recently, we've had to cope with homeschooling when the kids and I are healthy, as my daughter gets very ill when she's glutened, and my son has memory and retention issues from the same problem. Not real conducive to any learning, as you can imagine!

If you're curious about checking out some sites that have a lot of links to homeschooling stuff, feel free to send me a message. I can pass 'em along so you can check it out some more, see if it seems like it would be interesting to you, or really not your cup of tea. :-)

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Well, I wouldn't expect people who chose to homeschool to acknowledge the negatives. That's like admitting they made a bad choice. There is a defensive reaction to chosing something that isn't considered "the norm". Sometimes that is manifested in an impossibly perfect description of *reality*. I find the over the top, wonderful stories about how great homeschooling is a little suspect. Nothing's perfect. I did it for a year, but I'm not opposed to *a good* public school, either. Homeschooling wasn't a major ordeal, but I disagree with those who say socializing isn't a big deal when you homeschool. It IS clearly easier to expose your kids to more socializing in a public school. Of course, there's a lot of negatives that go along with some of that "socializing". There are some characters out there. BUUUUT, it's a good way to learn how to deal with those bad kids.... Either choice has good points as well as bad points. As I mentioned in a previous post, my two friends have chosen to homeschool. I'm not against homeschooling, but I don't think it's a cure-all for the negatives of the public school experience. Plus, one more thing -- and this will surely ruffle some feathers-- I have a teaching degree. I don't agree that being a parent is qualification enough to educate children. This may not apply to the younger grades, but it certainly applies to the higher grades...fifth and up. This isn't a debate board, so I won't engage in a heated controversy over my opinion here. I'm just responding to your post. There are negatives to homeschooling. You've clearly begun considering the negatives of public school but to be fair, you should actually go to the school in question, state your concerns and find out how they would address them. Maybe this is all over nothing and you'll find your school is more than happy to address your concerns in a way that totally satisfies you. Most importantly, keep a realistic expectation of homeschooling. You don't want to be overwhelmed by the task simply because you didn't get well-rounded advice on what to expect. I agree with the -pray about it- advice.

I agree with what you are saying here. I am kind of an odd duck in that I was homeschooled for 9 years myself, went to school, got a teaching degree, and now homeschool my kids. I have no problems telling you some of the problems that I have had with homeschooling.

My children are 11, 8, 6, and 4. I will start by saying that your experience will depend on your personality, the child's personality and how he will respond to your instruction. Some children will butt heads with mom and "schooling" will become a battle of the wills. That said, children need to learn to respect their parents and this battle will take place one way or another even if it means they wait till they are going through their teen years.

As a homeschooler myself adults were always amazed at me and my sisters maturity, ability to have relationships outside my grade, and our confidence.

I was sheltered. I hated when schooled friends told me that but I admit it now. I had a basic Christian knowledge of sex, drugs, alcohol etc. but my group of friends and I had no desire to experiment with it. I was shocked when I did my student teaching to see that young children today now know more about sex than I did - till I got married!

Now for the negatives? I think the first couple years - teaching the child to read, write, and basic math is the hardest. I have learned to lower my expectation, be more relaxed so that my children can learn at their own speed(I am not an unschooler though and my children do meet the state standards for their grade) I struggle with meeting each child where they are and challenging them to grow at their level. I have one gifted child, one Learning disabled, one normal, and one 4 year old who wants to learn to read and is working on it.

It does take more work for socialization but it can be done.

It can be hard to be the only person responsible for the child's education. Sometimes I wish my kids could go home and have a different perspective on a problem instead of it all being me.

To do it right, it is a full time job. At least it is for me. It wasn't when I only had 1 kid. Everyday I look back and wonder were my day went. You have to work really hard to have time for yourself, and I have recently concluded, the kids need more chores :)

Expect your house to be messy. The kids are always home and if your kids are small and don't pick up after themselves........and honestly after school I often don't want to follow through with the kids and the house(I am getting better).

Those are the biggies for me. I love homeschooling. I watch my 11yr working exponents, my 8 yr old solving reading adult books, and my 6 yr old discussing anatomy and I think.....I taught them this! I love going outside and having bike races and doing math with sidewalk chalk. And I am learning, that my kids are just cool and I want to spend as much of their childhood with them as I can.

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I agree it's not all roses and chocolates - but no parenting style is. Good parenting is rewarding but hard work whether the kids are in school or not!

Some children will butt heads with mom and "schooling" will become a battle of the wills. That said, children need to learn to respect their parents and this battle will take place one way or another even if it means they wait till they are going through their teen years.

I think it's really true that each child has a different personality and each parent has a certain personality and sometimes those things are more compatible than others. It was very difficult for me when the kids were smaller and my son was very extroverted and my daughter had extreme social anxiety. Balancing those differences with my need for adult interaction was very difficult. However, those things would have been issues no matter what school choice we made.

I don't think homeschooling has to become a battle of the wills. Some kids are more headstrong that others, but we are the adults. We have a greater capacity for getting perspective on the situation and modifying our personal style to be compatible with our children's. Children do need to respect their parents, just as their parents hopefully show respect for all people, including their children. My observation is that when I find myself in a power struggle I can usually see in hindsight where I've misstepped to set myself up for that. I'm not one of those people who lets their kids do everything they want, but I also pick my battles, and try to approach them in the way most likely to work to my advantage. Since I haven't thrown down arbitrary rules all over the place, the ones I care about are easier for me to stick by.

As a homeschooler myself adults were always amazed at me and my sisters maturity, ability to have relationships outside my grade, and our confidence.

This is one that comes up a lot - and it is true for many homeschooled kids. I almost made a comment about this in my previous post but now I want to. It hasn't been my experience that my kids are more mature or socially more confident than school kids. I do know homeschool kids who are, and I do know homeschool kids who are socially inept. I think you find the same variety among school kids, though homeschool kids often have more ability to practice those skills with adults. What I do notice is that my kids and most other homeschoolers we know are much nicer to younger kids and much more able to see adults as people rather than just authority figures to be bucked.

Now for the negatives? I think the first couple years - teaching the child to read, write, and basic math is the hardest. I have learned to lower my expectation, be more relaxed so that my children can learn at their own speed(I am not an unschooler though and my children do meet the state standards for their grade) I struggle with meeting each child where they are and challenging them to grow at their level. I have one gifted child, one Learning disabled, one normal, and one 4 year old who wants to learn to read and is working on it.

I think that relaxation and meeting kids where they are is key to the whole process :)

It can be hard to be the only person responsible for the child's education. Sometimes I wish my kids could go home and have a different perspective on a problem instead of it all being me.

I really don't see myself as the only person responsible for the kids' education. We have friends and other family members, as well as community mentors who we can turn to if we are stuck.

To do it right, it is a full time job. At least it is for me. It wasn't when I only had 1 kid. Everyday I look back and wonder were my day went. You have to work really hard to have time for yourself, and I have recently concluded, the kids need more chores :)

Expect your house to be messy. The kids are always home and if your kids are small and don't pick up after themselves........

So true!!! It is a full time job but that doesn't mean sitting at the kitchen table with workbooks all day every day. It means you are interacting with your kids, always bringing things in, finding things to do, facilitating lessons. I have worked part time and full time and I have been a stay at home mom, and I've got to say it's possible in any case but there are things that will slide. I've had years where the school part of homeschooling mostly dropped out and years where my work seriously suffered.

Since we are home so much and our house is small it has been hard to keep it clean, and I only have two kids. We also have all that "educational" stuff hanging around, projects in process, and all that. Since the kids are home more, though, they can also have more responsibility around the house. As they get older this gets easier and easier.

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Well I am new here but we also homeschool and LOVE IT! I have a ton of reasons why we choose this path but most of them have been expressed by previous posters. :). We are dealing with multiple life threatening food allergies, celiac, autism, apraxia of speech, expressive language disorder and sensory processing disorder but we are THRIVING! I can't imagine it any other way and neither can my boys. The best part so far (our first year) is that I can take immediate action if my son is struggling with something. We can keep at it until he is ready to move on.

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