Wednesday, August 10, 2011

i'm torn on my feelings about homeschooling.

A timeline of my feelings about homeschooling.

5 years ago: 100% against.

3 years ago: Mmm?? 

Presently: I see both sides so clearly that I have become completely neutral.


My original ideas about homeschooling were harvested mostly from some children I grew up with and attended seminary with way back when. These children, while they had some excellent skill sets and were academically educated, were just different. They were socially awkward, and unable to accept moral or political differences in anyone. Ironically, for as much as their parent's tried to keep them innocent in a wicked world, once it became time for them to stand on their own two feet -they just couldn't handle it. Like the tree that gets too much water, the world's winds pushed them right over. 

After teaching in a public school for a couple of years my mind began to changing a little. I taught sixth graders. Here are some of the things that were going on with the sixth graders in my highly performing, not-title-one school located in a nice middle class neighborhood, in a nice middle to upper class town. There were girls with eating disorders, boys with porn problems, boys with sexual offenses against younger children on their records, mean girls, girls who took pictures of themselves in sexual poses for myspace pages, girls who took pictures of themselves with the boy's cameras, girls who made suicide attempts, children with depression, and a boy in my class and a girl in my class had a baby together.
Sixth grade. Twelve year olds people. In a good school, probably pretty similar to any other school.

Knowing full well what goes on in schools, and yet knowing that they'd be missing important growth opportunities if they were kept home, I find myself stuck in the middle. On the fence, so to speak. I don't have to make a decision anytime soon, but when I do: it's one I'm going to think and pray over very carefully.

What are your thoughts? Have you chosen a side? What made the decision for you? I'm just curious.


Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

I am not a home schooler. I just couldn't handle that! But I am all for it. I've been so impressed with my homeschooling friends.

I think homeschooling is so much different that it use to be. My friend says she has regular outing with other homeschoolers so the kids still get plenty of social experiences.

Ashy said...

I definitely know that going to a public school was difficult. I went to a high school that was over capacity (110%), heavily supported sports and side-stepped the arts (which is where I was) and worst of all, we were on the "No Child Left Behind" program. I had friends who got pregnant, who were lesbians, who cussed up a storm, who had different boyfriends every week, who drank on the weekend... But at the same time, I have to agree with you, the friends I had who were homeschooled were super super nice, and perhaps a little socially awkward, but they weren't too bad. A couple of my friends who were homeschooled would get permission from the school to attend classes that their mom couldn't teach them, like orchestra.

In my opinion, for all the grief it gave me I'm almost grateful for that experience. Because my parents were behind me 100% and kept the principles of the Gospel rich in my life, and because I knew I was a daughter of God and that all of those things were bad, I didn't have as much of a hard time with it. My friends started to understand that "Hey, don't swear around the Mormons"- they understood that we were different, and while I got teased about it a little, I didn't take it to heart. I knew they just sort of didn't understand entirely.

I guess it does take a lot of reflection, pondering and praying. Do you think that you can raise your child strongly in the Gospel so that they can withstand the evils of the world? I feel like my sisters and I were such a great example to my friends as we were growing up. Even if all my friends did were ask a few questions every once in a while, I feel like that was enough to show them, Hey, I have something cool and I'm not going to get beaten down by the world.

I don't know if this makes sense, and I'll be happy to discuss more if you like. My high school career was definitely interesting! Sorry this is so long; don't stress about the decision too much!

Kaylynn said...

I think it all depends on why you are homeschooling--if you are doing it to wrap your child in a bubble and protect them from the world--then it might not be the best choice, for the child, or for the world. The world doesn't get the benefit of your child being in the classroom. If it is to give them a better education, by exposing them to many, many things, not worried about taking 5 tests a week, or the stress of all the standardized testing, and allowing them to develop their imagination and thinking skills--then yes by all means homeschool!

Tamsyn Spackman said...

I would rather have my children be in the first camp than the second. I was homeschooled, and while I certainly was a child with child-ish perceptions when I was younger, like all children, I grew up. Was I sheltered? Probably. Do I regret it? Absolutely not. I am 100% behind the homeschooling movement. Especially when our not-so-wonderful modern public schools are the alternative. Of course there are a lot of private and charter schools that fill in the middle ground.

Wendy-n-Jason said...

I think sometimes it has to do with each individual child. I know some people that home school one or two of their kids, and not the rest. And that works for them. Others will home school once the child is out of elementary school. Some are just the opposite and home school until junior high or high school. Some go year to year depending on how they feel and what the kids want too. I agree with praying about it, but maybe praying each and every year as well.
I always used to think I would never be able to stay on the kind of schedule that home school children need. But the older I get and the more aware of public school problems I am, the more I am considering it for my kids. Ideally, I would like to find other home schooled children in my area (if I choose to home school) and swap with them so my kids are around other kids often and learning from different teachers.

Tracie said...

I was not home schooled, Most of my husbands siblings were. His siblings have had a hard time holding jobs because of their lack of people skills and the ability to conform to a schedule. They were very sheltered and once they entered "reality" most have gone away from the church, got in to drugs, and had several children out of wedlock. Some drink and have tattoos. And most have not got their GED and if they do it was not until they were in their twenties. They were not prepared for the real world. I believe that children should be taught in the home about values and the consequences of Good and Bad behavior, to respect ALL adults especially those in a position of "power" so to speak. Then send them to school so they can know the good from the evil and make their own choices. Practice being be respectful to others. So they can benifit from a structured schedule that will teach them time management and work ethic. Basically how to function in a society not just in the home. They need to be taught right from wrong and then given the opportunity to choose. Isn't that why we are here on Earth?

Laurie said...

I think if YOU chose to homeschool, you would be aware of the social stuff, so you would involve your kids in lots of activities. Where we are, there's a whole LDS homeschool group and a school for homeschoolers to go to once a week. It's through the public school system, so it's pretty much public school one day a week - where they get social stuff plus PE, music, computers, etc.

You know where I stand on homeschooling. I was SO nervous that I couldn't handle it. But when you get that prompting, you don't go against it. And now that I've let go of some of the pressure on MYSELF, it's so great! For example, we're on a road trip right now, instead of my kids being at their 2nd day of school! :)

I'm long-winded on this subject. Sorry!! But yeah, I don't think public school will get any better, socially... I'd rather have "awkward" kids than kids around all those influences. I get the whole "my kid could be the one to make a difference," but I'm not going to chance it. What if it goes the other way, you know? But yes, my kids will probably go to school for orchestra and specials. But when they're old enough to judge characters better.

I could go on and on. Email me if you have any questions. :) Oh, I also have an awesome DVD called Celestial Education. I love it! :)

Kaci said...

Oh wow, I'm torn on that. Good luck with your choice.

AudreyO said...

It's a very tough choice indeed. My kids both went to public school. I was as involved as I could be. My house was open for after school play dates (elementary school), homework study session (junior high), sleepovers (high school) etc. I also was a room parent, drove carpool often so I could hear conversations, was involved in parent committees etc. I wanted to know who my kids friends and what they were doing. Very few kids I've met who were homeschooled have the social skills I always wanted for my kids. But as you said, my kids were exposed to friends who had eating disorders, friends who got pregnant in junior high and friends who attempted suicide. Wow...very tough choice.

Kristi said...

I am on the fence too. I'm going to start out with public schools because I think it needs to get a lot worse out there in order to pull my kids out of it, but I think it's easy to give your kids social situations if you are conscientious about it. Sports, dance, music, etc. There are many places to get those social skills if homeschooling is what you decide. But seriously, my home-schooled friends were wacko too. But their moms might not have thought too much about it. If you're worried about it, you'll make sure it works out for them. I used to be against it too. But now I'm thinking about how grateful I am to have a background in education and be able to teach my kids just about anything required through high school. They'll have to get some of their electives elsewhere, but the required stuff, I'm good for. What a blessing! I also think the church would organize a curriculum and make it part of callings if schools got so bad that the church asked us to pull our kids and home-school, which is also a big blessing.

Kristi said...

A co-op would be fun. Do PE & Health with this mom, Math & Science with me, English & Music with this other mom, etc, and you kind of create your own school. Like Joy School, but all the way through. It could work, but you have to have a lot of talented and willing to work hard for the children's education mothers to join you to do it that way.

The Remodeled Life said...

My husband is a youth pastor and you are totally right - it blows me away with the things these kids are dealing with. We have dealt with pretty much all of that over the past several years. I'm like you, I always felt against it, then starting working with teenagers and now I understand why people do it. Although I will say we have some amazing wonderful teenagers as well. I think if these kids can go through public school and be surrounded by so much peer pressure and craziness and be totally grounded, remain pure and seek after God then I would pray that mine will too. We have a 9 month old so we haven't had to really start deciding these things yet but I think praying about it is the right approach. I'll be praying for you too, I know it's a tough decision.

heather said...

I have really appreciated all the comments on this one. You all make some very excellent points.

Her Royal Highness said...

I have 3 in school (public) right now. And session starts in 3 weeks. And I'm dreading it. I have been debating back and forth on if I should homeschool for different reason and I still just don't know.
My #1 begs to be homeschooled but even just one day of catching up homework put us both over the edge.
So it's back to debating for me.
Maybe I should just take the plunge and try it out for a year.

Tamsyn Spackman said...

For those of you sitting on the fence, here's a suggestion. Pretend for a few days that you are going to homeschool. Just pretend. Most homeschoolers don't do public school at home. Look into the different styles and methods. Eclectic is a combination of whatever works for you, and is very popular. There's Classical education (a branch of it is the Thomas Jefferson Education). Charlotte Mason and Waldorf are very nature friendly. Montessori uses a lot of different manipulatives. 4-H can give kids a lot of recognition for their work (you can do it all through 4-H). Timberdoodle is my favorite homeschooling company. ( "Math projects you can build at home" is a really fun math book, and there are more out there like it. There are a plethora of curriculums out there for all of the major subjects. If you're in Utah, check out Washington online. It's public school at home, and you don't have to pay for anything. Honestly pretend that you are going to homeschool for a few days, explore the possibilities, see what your local homeschooling group is like and what they are doing, and give yourself a true picture of what homeschooling would be like for your family. Now you can really compare apples to apples on your debate between homeschooling and public school and can make a better choice. It really is a matter of prayer. Homeschooling isn't for everyone, but more and more people are trying it, and with this influx has come an increase of resources to make the transition easier. Homeschooling is very different now than it was in the 70's.