Sunday, November 11, 2012

Homeschooling

Question: Did you ever do any homeschooling? When and why? What's your opinion of homeschooling?

Summary:

Several of the parents here homeschooled one of their kids for a year or less. Other than that they went to public school. One home schooled for certain subjects and arranged for their son to be at public school the rest of the day so he could be part of the social aspects of school. Several mentioned the importance of social learning as well as dealing with challenges outside of home. Several mentioned people they know who homeschool and that they admire them.

Answers:

Cynthia (and Brad)
No, I never did. I always felt that the schools that my children went to were good. If a child has a special need, then that is probably a good option, if none other is available. Or, if the schools available were inadequate.  However, I have observed several families who have home schooled, and their children seemed quite isolated. I am sure there are lots of different opinions on this, but I always felt that any bad influences they encountered at school could be countered by good training at home. After all, we all have to live in this world at some time or other and we might as well learn to cope with that. 

Karen (and Lance)
We never did homeschooling. My husband was in education and thought that that was good enough for our children, and that they would have to learn from others. He had confidence in the system. Our oldest child was born in 1946 and the youngest was born in 1965. They have all grown up to be responsible adults and, at that time, there wasn't as much conflict as today. Our children have to learn to make decisions in their lives. We can't always protect our children from the world as they have to someday be where things happen in real life. As much as we want to protect them they will one day be where we can't do that as parents.

Marsha (and Richard)
I didn’t do homeschooling though I admire those who do.  With a large family it was all I could handle to do my job as a mother and I appreciated the schools for doing the formal teaching.  I think home schooled children often learn more academically and their time is used more effectively that in traditional schools but I feel their social development is as important as their academic development.

If a child is not doing well in the traditional schools, it is a very good option for a mother to home school them for a while to be sure he progresses academically.  I would think that those who do home school would want to consider having their child go to school for some of the activities or classes.  Again, I feel that dealing with other students in a classroom setting is a form of social education necessary to becoming an adjusted and effective adult.

Rachel (and Bennett)
We did not consider home schooling, but in today's environment, I think I might consider it.  Our public schools are really failing our kids - teaching way below what they could learn.  I also think a lot of time is wasted.  A home school parent could teach in a half day what the schools teach in a full day, and then you would have a half day to play to have an interesting outing.  It is a lot of work for the parent, however.  A parent also needs to organize play time with other parents, so that the children learn good social skills.

Abigail (and Martin)
I homeschooled my youngest for a short time when he was in the fourth grade.  He was in an accelerated magnet program during elementary and middle school. He had the same teacher for second and third grade and she really liked him.  He had some little quirks, like needing to stand up while doing his work and he had really bad handwriting.  He had a cute sense of humor and was very bright.  Things changed drastically in the fourth grade.  He had a new teacher who not only didn’t understand him, she didn’t even like him.  She regularly called him out in front of the whole class for having a messy tote tray, (imagine that; a nine year old boy with a disorganized tote tray).  She would dump his belongings on the floor and tell him he had lost the privilege of having a tote tray.  He had to keep his things on a counter in the back of the room.  She criticized a science fair project in which he evaluated the effect of wingspan and fuselage length on the gliding ability of airplanes as a “non science” topic.  When he had called home sick or felt too sick to go to school enough times I finally decided it was time to make a change.  I had tried to find out what was going on by speaking with the teacher and was getting nowhere.  The principal wasn’t willing to switch him to the other accelerated teacher, so I took him out and home schooled him for the rest of the year.  It was wonderful.  We covered all of the state requirements and then were able to explore in great detail many subjects in which he was interested.  We took field trips and I was able to get his eyes tested for some special colored reading glasses that helped his reading as well as attend a learning techniques course to help him with his slight ADD.  When it was time to decide on fifth grade, I was reluctant to give up the home schooling because it had been so enjoyable.  We talked to the district about moving him to a different magnet school.  He and I went to talk to the two fifth grade teacher to see if he had any residual qualms about entering a school.  The teachers were as nice and could be and his fifth and sixth grade teachers loved him.  He regained his self confidence and performed fabulously in school.  He graduated valedictorian of his high school and earned many honors and scholarships. I have always wondered what the deal was with that fourth grade teacher, but probably will never know.

As far as home schooling goes, I loved doing it.  I felt like we were able to go over so much more material in a lot shorter period of time.  However, there is something to be said for the social aspects of attending school.  My son has several very good, close friends that went through that advanced program in elementary and high school and then attended his high school.  He was able to participate in athletics, musical programs and other clubs because he was attending public school.  He would not have had that opportunity had he remained home schooled.

While I am not happy about the events that precipitated our home schooling adventure, the time I spent with my son was one of the best of my life.  Because of all of the experiences, he became a much stronger person.

Jane (and Samuel)
Home Schooling?  Yes.   About 4th grade we realized that one of our sons was really struggling and that he was not getting his math facts.  At that time decimals just seemed out of the realm of understanding.  We arranged for him to go to school for lunch and PE and Science and Music in the PM.  In the mornings we did reading and arithmetic with as many hands on activities as we could figure out.  His self esteem improved and so did his math.  Reading continued to be exhausting but we learned ways to help and keep him going.  We continued to read with him clear through high school. He served a successful mission.  He now has a college degree, a good wife, a good job, and darling children.  I think the home school year and the other things we did to help him learn in his own style made a difference.

I think it is hard to home school and do a good job.  My brother and his wife have done it part of the time and they have helped found a charter school.  They started it when one of their daughters was being bullied in the California school by the Mexican girls who were jealous because the Mexican boys liked her.  This was in early grade school. All of their children have done well.  My brother is quite ADHD and so are some of his chldren so this has helped them get educated with more flexibility.

One of my daughters Home Schooled last year with a Charter school program that the chldren could participate in  once or twice a week.  They now go every day to that charter school.  They did it because one of their daughters was having some social and learning difference problems and they wanted her to repeat a grade but did not want her to go back to the neighborhood school to do that.

A neighbor of mine homeschooled ten children.  As far as I know they are all doing quite well.  Some were home schooled because they had extraordinary talents which they were pursuing but others because the parents didn't like the social situation and negative influences of the school.  In spite of their efforts to teach moral and religious principles in their home as well as life skills some of the boys had trouble competing fairly.  They had to win at all costs and I hear continue to sometimes be offensive in their self proclaimed rightness.

Mary (and Robert)
Homeschooling was never an option for us.  If you didn't send your kids to school someone came knocking at the door to find out why.  But I have a daughter and daughter-in-law who have home schooled their children for a period of time.  They have each found other solutions since then but at the time, home schooling was the best option for them and I admire their dedication and patience.

Next week's question: What part of a mission did you pay for vs. what your kids paid for? If they paid part, how did you encourage them to do that? At what age did they begin to save, how much did they save, etc.?

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