I’m on the verge of homeschooling my 12 year old daughter. Please share your thoughts on, and stories about (if you have them), homeschooling, so that I can see things from more than just one Doper’s perspective.

Thanks!!! :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

I don’t understand the reason for home schooling. It seems so sheltered.

Part of going to school, public or private, is not only to learn academics, but also learn how to interact with different types of people and different types of situations. And to share and have a social life with other students too.

To each his/her own, but I strongly believe home schooling is a huge mistake.

The majority of home schoolers around this area are right-wing christians who are homeschooling to preserve their children’s ignorance, not to be sure they learn better. I trust that, as a doper, you’re not one of them … but some people will look at you funny and wonder if you are.

The other main reason for home schooling, which I have seen be very effective, is with parents who are professional educators, and who have kids whose special needs are not being met by the public school system. These parents knew exactly what they were doing and why, and did it very well.

A third option I have heard parents speak highly of, but cannot offer direct testimony to, is an independent study program where the students remain connected to the public school and check in regularly with a teacher, while completing their schoolwork at their own pace.

Most importantly, my experience tells me that teaching is a much more highly skilled profession than it is often credited with. Unless you fall into one of the first two categories above, I would strongly recommend looking for a good independent study program before taking on the huge responsibility of teaching your child entirely on your own.

Well I’d certainly home school my child if the schools were trying to teach creationism or anything else that I thought the school had no business meddling in. Other than that, though, I agree the social aspects of school is pretty important.

We plan on homeschooling our girls. The oldest is four, so we’re not ‘official’ yet, but we do a few things. I plan to go independent and do our own thing, and while I will most likely do a bunch of different stuff, my main help for now is The well-trained mind, which is the classical approach. Quite geeky and historical, I love it. If you even do half the stuff they recommend (no human could do it all, and they’re vocal about saying that), the kids will end up with a great education. (Story: I told my younger brother (who has no kids) last week that we had decided to homeschool. To my surprise, his response was “Thank you! I was hoping you’d homeschool them!” Gee, I didn’t know he cared!)

A friend is doing the independent-study-through-the-school thing with her 10-yo daughter; she took her out in 2nd grade when she wasn’t learning to read well. The daughter has done great and soon got up to grade-level, but has a touch of dyslexia and will never be Super-Reader. This mom likes the program and feels that she isn’t confident enough to go out on her own. You get a supervising teacher and free materials. Not for me, but some do like it.

The homeschooled kids I’ve known have been pretty great kids and in no way lacking in social skills. One thing about homeschooling is that the kids usually get the work out of the way in the morning, and have a lot more time for other stuff. So there’s plenty of room for athletics, music, clubs, apprenticeships, theater, travel, and whathaveyou. Many homeschoolers feel that public school is too restrictive a social environment, forcing kids to associate only with others of their own age and background. Homeschooled kids are frequently reported to be comfortable with and good company for all ages.

–A phrase I read recently that I liked said that homeschooling offers both more freedom and more security for kids, so that they can feel good exploring all kinds of things without fear.
–A friend told me that I would need a backbone of steel to do this. There is a lot of opposition (though I’m lucky, and my own family is quite supportive.)

There are tons of options out there now, and I’m sure you’ve done lots of research, ggurl. Feel free to email me if you want to know anything about the research I’ve done or stuff I like, but I am doing the young-child thing for now.

I’m a little torn about it. I used to feel pretty strongly about wanting to homeschool, now I’m much more on the fence; the pros and cons are pretty dramatic, and I’d really have to know a little more about my situation and school system (I’m 25 and single and in no way is this a pressing concern for me).

For me the benefits are mainly a personalised education, as well as a stronger sense of community (when done right). That might sound weird, so let me explain. No, is not enough time, let me sum up.

One of the big failings of public schools currently is, IMHO, the lack of connection between the classroom and the rest of the world. School is such a sheltered and singular environment, and I think it’s a shame that kids can’t learn to interact with adults in a much more realistic, positive, and constructive way than they do in most teacher/student classrooms. Now, I don’t have an answer, but that’s my thoughts. Of course, the important part of that is to allow and help find those interactions; as folks have said (and as I’ve observed first hand), homeschooling when kids don’t interact with other kids/adults beyond their immediate families leads to some socially-lacking and flat-out weird individuals.

I think if done right though, it can be a wonderful experience for all involved.

I pulled my (then) 14 yr old out of public high school two years ago.

Since that time, he’s more polite, more attentive, less rushed.

He’s enrolled in a correspondence high school, the American School. He works at his own pace, and while in public school his report card was full of D’s and F’s, he currently has a 99 in English II and an overall 3.5 plus/minus.

Just because it works for my Wiggles doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. But, if asking for personal experience, I wish I’d pulled him out years ago.

My daughter, OTOH, completed public school and excelled. It depends upon the child.

I homeschooled M for 4 years – he’s back in school now by his choice. He flourished at home and he’s flourishing at school. When he went back he was at grade level or above despite some fairly serious LDs.

The major reason I was happy with him going back into the system was that socially he was isolated. On my side of town the majority of hs’ers were girls and they were fundamentalist Christian which socially was a disaster for him. I didn’t do too good on the stuffing of envelopes with anti-abortion literature afternoon either.

If you’ve got your ducks in a row and if you are flexible, it’s not hard. You certainly do not need to be a trained educator to do an effective job with one child.

There’s some excellent email lists out there. Home-ed is one of the oldest and is very supportive and useful.

Thanks for your replies all. Yes, one of the reasons I am considering pulling her out of school is that she has serious special needs that are not being addressed (she has all the symptoms of nonverbal learning disability and Asperger’s syndrome, but no one has ever officially diagnosed her - she’s in special ed for math at school). The other reason is socialization - ironically, the only socialization she gets in the public school system is peer abuse. I’m halfway through my Master’s degree in special education - I’m still in the thinking stages, but I figure I could probably give it a try. Thanks again everybody, I’m still looking for thoughts and opinions! My friends and family are divided on the issue, not that I’m taking votes or anything!


A note for homeschoolers who use the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC) for Math and Science (a source for curricula and other resources for the teaching of all sciences and mathematics): their funding by the US Dept of Ed ends in September, so they may not exist much longer.

If you use resources from their site, I would recommend downloading/printing copies now in case your access is cut off later.

I used to be pretty against homeschooling, but have come to respect it more. Mainly because I did an in-depth article about four families in my area that homeschool. I was able to see that homeschooling really works for these families. It was really interesting to see how each family has adapted homeschooling to its own schedule/interests/needs. If you’re interested, I could e-mail it to you.

Good luck!

yellowval, thanks for the offer. My email is in my profile - Thanks! :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

M’s dx’ed as PDD NOS presently along with an alphabet soup of other dxes. One of the major reasons we pulled him from school was that all the socialisation that was happening for him was negative. I don’t know how he was supposed to develop social skills when all his peers were modelling bullying behaviour to him (and he was learning fast).

That said, I do think it is important kids on the spectrum to have positive socialisation experiences and it can be easier to achieve this with homeschooling as long as you have access to a variety of socialisation experiences. However you’d pretty much have to keep her in a barrel not to have socialisation happening :wink:

If she gets a diagnosis, would that change things for her in the school setting? A lot of kids with NLD or ASD do not flourish in school no matter what.

My social experience in middle school was so horrible that I’m not letting a kid of mine set foot in a public one. Private, possibly, depending on the school. Homeschooling would be a possibility as well. But not a public middle school. No way.

I knew a girl who started college at 16 who was homeschooled for much of her academic career. She did great, got along with everybody even though she was two years younger than anybody else.

My brother and SIL are contemplating homeschooling because they think their daughter is being exposed to terrible influences in the local parochial school. This sort of isolationist impulse is one of the major vibes I get from most homeschoolers, and that scares me. I fear for my niece’s future, honestly, not because of homeschooling but because of the reasons her parents want to do it.

It’s a relief to see, in this thread, that most homeschoolers aren’t like that.

I lived in middle-o’-nowhere IL (outside of Kankakee) for a few years. The public school there was sooooo bad, and the only private schools were Catholic, so the folks pulled me out for two years of homeschooling. This was for 5th and 6th grade.

I got a bit ahead in math, and was able to take precalculus when I started highschool.
I had lots of time to read, play, etc.
I had lots of time for “extracuricular” activities. This allowed me to associate w/other kids.
I wasn’t drowning from boredom in the local schools.

I was a bit screwed up when I went back to “normal school” (a snooty private school around Princeton, NJ) in 7th grade. I was already a rather odd little boy before homeschooling, but I’m not sure I developed socially as well as I would have had I had more interaction. Keep in mind that this was a very rural area, so the density of kids my ages was pretty low.
My parents didn’t put as much time into educating us as I think they should have. I excelled at math, but I lagged behind in everything else. I guess no one did much in real schools in those other topics for 5th and 6th grade, because by 8th grade I was back on track.

It all worked out in the end, since I’m at Yale now and quite happy with my education. I am still a little socially awkward, but like I said, I was always a bit odd.

My recommendation:
If you have some sort of means of keeping your kid(s) in contact with other kids, if you have the time, if you have the very basic knowlege that kids normally are taught in school, go ahead and do it.

My daughter has been home schooled for the past three years. Her fourth grade year was absolutely miserable. She went from being happy the summer was ending so she could go to school to crying every morning, begging me to not make her go. I couldn’t believe the turnaround. Her teacher was insufferable. He made fun of her in front of the rest of the class, and when she got flustered, he’d tease her until she cried. The principal refused to do anything about it, saying if we’d just agree to put Sam on meds, she wouldn’t have these problems with paying attention. I was also told I could not go to the school board, that I was required to go through at least four meetings with the teacher, two meetings with the teacher and principal, and then another with the counsellor. I told her to get stuffed, went to the school board anyway, and we put her in the charter school that’s attached to our local school system. She’s doing great, and goes to a class there once a week, so she’s not totally separated from classroom atmosphere. She’s entering Jr. High next year, and I am considering re-enrolling her in public school. She’s such a social butterfly (yes, she still sees her friends plenty, and talks with them online as well), but I’m worried not being there during jr. high and high school may hurt her a bit socially. We’ll see.
Currently she’s studying the same things as her brother, who is two years older.

We’re going to homeschool if we can afford to have me as a SAHM. My husband is training to become martial arts teacher, so at the very least they’ll meet a lot of other kids in class. :smiley:

Neither of us had any really good school experiences until college, and we were both socially miserable until high school. We might start our kids out in public school, and see how they do, or start homeschooling, and then ask them at intervals whether they want to be in public school. It’s a bit nebulous right now, since it’ll probably be a few years until we have children, let alone school-aged ones.

We live in a big city, and we’re going to find out about children’s activities and homeschooling groups. Some of our best friends were homeschooled, and they don’t think there’s any socialization problems with well-rounded homeschooling. Most of the homeschooled kids I know (granted, only about ten I know well) are exceptionally socially adept.

To echo Eonwe, grade school is the only time in anyone’s life when you’re rigidly separated by age. I’d rather have my children interacting with kids of all different ages.

(Some snippage)

My daughter is more than a touch dyslexic. She was not diagnosed as such in a public school, but by a psychologist. We kept her in public school, but also took her to a reading tutor three times a week for a few years. She now works in a books store, spends most of her discretionary income on books, managed to graduate cum laude from college, and is now a grad student who is also working full time. She loves to read, but she did need that tutoring early on to help her learn how to learn.

I’ve had very mixed experiences with homeschooled kids. Some are great, but some are appallingly ignorant of how the world works, and subjects that their parents didn’t see fit to instruct them in. Around here, many homeschooling parents choose that route because they don’t want their kids to be exposed to “evilution, homos, and femnazis” as they put it. So homeschooling success depends almost entirely on the parent.

My personal choice was to keep my child in public school, and get a tutor for the area that she had great problems with. I think that this way would work well for most kids. Even after she had learned how to cope with her dyslexia, I still helped her learn how to learn. For instance, when she had to do school research, I’d show her HOW to do research, but I wouldn’t do it myself, despite the fact that I could have spent 10 minutes in finding the materials that she needed three hours to find. I think that this paid off in the long run. I also assigned her projects on my own…told her to go look up such and such, and tell me about it. It’s the same way with housework, I taught her how to do her own laundry, and then how to do the general laundry, so that she would know how to cope on her own.

Honestly, if I ever have kids I will never home school them. All of the homeschooled kids I’ve ever met were seriously screwed up socially. They just had no idea how to interact with other people in an appropriate manner.

And whiterabbit, I think saying, “Oh, my middle school experience sucked, so my children won’t go to middle school,” is kind of biased. I mean, unless it is the exact same school with the exact same teachers and administrators as you were there (which I doubt), then it will be a different experience. As for the public vs. private issue, I’d like to point out that I attended private school for a year, and it was much worse than the public school I attend now. It was full of cliques, the academics were a joke, and it was more oriented on sports than academics. YMMV, but I thought it sucked.

Whoever’s daughter had a problem with the teacher, that is just the teacher, not the school system.

I will admit to a bias, though. I am a huge advocate for well-run public schools and charter schools, because I have had a good experience with both. My younger brother has some learning disabilities, but the charter school he goes to really helps accomodate him.

I don’t really know, though. I don’t have kids. As a student, though, I would NOT want to be home schooled. I think it would drive me crazy.