I believe the dynamics and learning inertia of a classroom could never be duplicated at home. The curriculum, manpower, and specialized teaching in certain subjects could never be duplicated by one or two people. Personally, I’d feel like I was shortchanging my kid and leaving them ill prepared. They might be ahead in some areas but not well-rounded.

I also wouldn’t want to deprive my child of some especially diverse and profound moments of learning and discovery that were due to the influence of many teachers perspectives and ideas, as well as those of other students. Of course, I had a very good academic experience and had some incredible teachers at my public school, so I’m biased. Mileage may vary.

(Oh, there was some nasty social stuff that I wish I wouldn’t have had to gone through, but I wouldn’t trade my quality education just for avoidance of that ugly part.)

I didn’t have time to read this whole thread, so I don’t know if this was mentioned, but my reason for wanting to home school my son stems from fear. Fear of the types of kids that go to this school system, and fear of my ex trying to pick up my son from school and disappear with him. That is a very likely possibility, and a risk I’m not willing to take. As for social issues, I plan to arrange playdates and gatherings with other children his age so he will be able to develop his social skills, but as for going to regular school, it just feels like I’m handing my son over to my ex, who happens to be a schizophrenic drug addict whom I don’t want my son to have anything to do with. So I have definite plans to home school my son, at least for the first few grades.

I homeschool, or more accurately, I suppose I unschool my 3 older kids. This amounts to all sorts of eclectic things - reading books together, watching educational videos, using the Internet, listening to tapes, exploring the world. My children function admirably well in public - I don’t know who these socially awkward homeschooled kids are, or what constitutes awkward - but they are as comfortable mailing a package by themselves, after standing politely in line sometimes for 5-10 minutes, as they are shrieking with laughter at a park with a brand new friend. Public schools, on the other hand, strike me as institutionalized segregation by date of birth, geared to the average child …but whose child is merely average?

My children are courteous, compassionate, gregarious little people. I’m sure they’d be okay in school. But I like what I see in them, and I see no advantage to sending them away from me, to be warehoused with a great many other children their same age all day, when what I want them to learn is how to get along in society? Society isn’t about being locked in a room with people just like you all day. It’s about dealing with the clerk at the pharmacy, the librarian, the postal worker. It’s about reading what you love, learning how math helps you understand the world, how science is fascinating, and how to be responsible. Of course, I’m only 2 years into this with my oldest, and the middlies are just starting out. I reserve the right to change my mind at any time.

This is not the thread to get into it, but you have NO IDEA how bad it was for me. I’m not chancing my kids, if I have any, going into that hell. I AM biased. I went through three years of living hell, and nobody did a damn thing about it.

And yes, private schools can suck as well, but like I said, it would depend on the school. Especially if I end up in Louisiana long-term – the public schools here tend to be awful enough there’s a good chance I wouldn’t want my kids in them anyway.

Both of my kids require special services at opposite ends of the special needs spectrum. This was something that I knew when they were at the preschool age.

I also knew that I personally didn’t have the time or skill to become an expert at both ends of the special needs education spectrum and provide a quality general education to them at the same time myself.

What I did was research the school districts in my city (I spent about a year doing this), and after cross referencing to real estate websites, visited the schools and neighborhoods in the areas I could afford. I chose the district that best covered both kids and moved there.
Some friends thought I was overreaching, but that is their opinion. It is and was very important to me that I get the best trained experts that I could find and afford.

There is a huge amount of information about school districts on-line and I took everything into account that mattered to us- everything from class size and demographics, to special ed programs, to test scores, to how long the teachers stay (and how much they get paid)… even extracurricular activities.

I followed all that up with making sure I am regularly involved with the school.

This has been a very good way for us to address the needs of both kids and I’ve have been very satisfied.

That’s correct. It was just the teacher. However, the principal backed up his actions, and the counsellor was strenuously advocating that I put her on meds. Not happening. Her teacher in the grade prior had no trouble getting her to do her work.
Incidentally; the district office recieved so many complaints about both the teacher and the principal, both were fired by the end of the year.

I’m not saying my daughter will never go back to public school. She will. Probably next year. But I wanted her to develop her love of learning back again. That, to me, is a bit more important that how good the school system is. And as someone pointed out the last time we had this discussion: public schools are designed to teach kids to conform and think a certain way. Who wants a conformist?

Er. Who wants to raise a conformist? :smack:

My friend homeschooled her son for a year in 6th grade because of issues with his behavior not fitting in, unchallenging schoolwork, hostile teachers, etc. I must say I was very impressed with what she did. She was extremely creative and went through a lot of interesting material with her son. So I’d say yes, it can be very good if done right, and it sounds that you will. Good luck!

I spent some time in Idaho Falls and there (and probably in most of Utah and many parts of Idaho) the public schools are essentially Mormon parochial schools.

Many non-Mormon parents home school their kids so that they won’t be taught a Mormon world view and have to endure seeing the Mormon kids get preferential treatment.

My daughter sang for 2 yeras in an all-city children’s choir (in Lafayette, IN). It contained a large number of home schooled kids as their parents used the choir as an extra-curricular, socializing activity. In both my and my daughter’s eyes, the home school kids were different. To make a sweeping generalization, they were more adult-focused and somewhat akward around their peers. Compromising with peers was something home schooled kids had problems with, no doubt because they didn’t get a whole lot of practice.

The socially awkward usually shows up when the ‘kid’ is middle aged and still living in Mom and Dad’s basement. Of course, the people I know like this are also the ones who were homeschooled to avoid to much exposure to nonChristian beliefs (and I know several public school ‘kids’ who are also still inhabiting Mom and Dad’s basement). I also know people who were homeschooled as kids for part of their school career (usually elementary +/- middle school) who you’d never guess were homeschooled. They all admit that the transition back to public school was tough. I think it all depends on your skills as a teacher and your ability to find materials that work for you and your kid(s). I think most people judge homeschooling on the antisocial recluses that it can produce if done poorly.

Whaaaat? The principal and counsellor backed up the teacher? A teacher who ridiculed children? There is something seriously wrong with that.

And I’ve spent 11 years in public schools, and I am not a conformist in any way, shape, or form. Neither are most of the kids I know.

As always, YMMV.

Thank you,ratatoskK, for the vote of confidence. And thanks to everyone else for their thoughts and ideas. What a mixture of perspectives. :cool:

I was partially homeschooled all the way through high school. I took between 2-3 courses at home from my mother, the professor. I took math, sciences, and extra-curricular subjects (like theatre) at the public school. It was pretty balanced. I had a lot of friends at school and I definitely do not fit the fundamentalist mode. Best of all, I was actually ahead of other students when I got to college because my mother was able to cover various topics in greater depth than is possible in a public school setting. Home schooling worked really well for me.

I can understand why parents would homeschool and I think it can be done well. I don’t think I’d ever feel comfortable homeschooling my own kids, though. A few observations:

In my previous job, I often worked with groups of homeschoolers. In general, compared to public and private school kids, the homeschoolers had a harder time with things like waiting in line, not interrupting adults or each other, and taking turns. These are not intellectually demanding or particularly fun skills, but they are useful to know as one goes through life.

Also, in this area at least, the public schools have a mix of different races, religions, backgrounds, and economic classes (although the very well-off usually send their kids to private schools.) The public-housing kids and the mini-van, white-picket fence kids don’t go to the same churches or participate in the same extracurriculars, but they do often go to the same school. In my experience, in this area, homeschooling families tend to hang with homeschooling families or at least other white, relatively well-educated and well-off families. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it does mean that homeschooled kids don’t get that continual, informal exposure to kids of different backgrounds.

I also think it’s healthy for kids to have a chance to build an identity away from their families. I know that most homeschooled families work hard to provide their children with opportunities for interaction with other kids, but I don’t think that can compare to the 30 or so hours that most kids spend away from their families in school.

Again, these are just my observations, and I know what applies in a small city in North Carolina won’t be the same things in California or Montana or New York. When it comes down to it, homeschooling parents, just like public and private school parents, want to do the best for their kids in the best way they know how, and that counts for a lot.

My mother is homeschooling both of my children. My son started when he was 13 (now 16)and my daughter at 13 (now 14). We started my son because of problems learning in public school. He has ADHD and had a hard time keeping up and needed extra time and attention. He now gets all the time he needs. We can also use different teaching methods. He is a visual learner so learning DVD’s from the library with back up worksheets is what works the best for him. My daughter on the other hand started middle school (7th grade) and she did great. Basically an A and B student but she could not handle the so called “social” interaction. She could not learn in a class of unruly children and teachers backed against a wall trying to keep a hand on the students. She started homeschool 3 months after starting 7th grade and is also doing well. She on the other hand learns very fast and does better reading and doing reports and worksheets. Both kids are basically homeschooled differently but at the same and at their own pace. This would not be possible if either of them were sitting in a classroom at the public school in my city.

This will sound snippy and I don’t mean it to be, but learning at their own pace may not be possible for the rest of their lives. I know I’ve never had a job where the things I had to learn were personalized in any way. I had to learn at the pace my bosses chose. To me, that’s one of the most important things about education–learning how to learn no matter how badly you’re being taught.

Does anyone else think this concern is valid?

I agree to a point but at this time they have to learn the basic’s. In a classroom setting they would not be even getting that. This is of course in reference to my two children only. Some children that are homeschooled could possibly do just as well in a classroom but then that is a matter of choice. Mine do not. At least in the homeschool setting they are getting a better chance at learning what they need to so they can get out into the world. I went through public school and graduated. I think I can say at 36 that there is not much I learned in school other than the basic’s that I use today. Most of my skills are self taught through work and life experiences.

I’ve seen homeschooling work and I’ve seen it fail. I think it’s an entirely situational thing. How well it’s going to work will depend on the kid, the parent, and the specific situation.

I’ve got a decent amount of experience with home schooled children. I’m sort of a de facto PE teacher for a “class” (about 13) home schooled children in this area. I’ve mentioned this in another thread but I’m a fitness buff and a martial arts instructor. It began a few years back when a woman I know was home schooling her two children. The woman was a public school teacher as was her husband and neither of them really knew much about the PE aspect of schooling but thought it very important their children receive some sort of physical training.

I’m pretty sure I offer a much better PE experience than any public school. My reputation (and the fact that I’m free) spread quickly from there and I’ve had a steady influx of students for a few years now. Aside from the fact that I just find it fun to work with the kids (the age group is about 12-17 typically) a lot of them have taken up being members of my dojo so it’s helped me expand my student base there as well.

I have never had any discipline problems with the kids. Maybe because I’m an intimidating figure or maybe because I just don’t hassle them. Anytime a problem arises my saying, “Hey, cut it out” is pretty much 100% effective.

Now some of the kids I’ve worked with have had rough stories that I’ve heard from the parents. A few of them were home schooled because they had such severe behavior problems they couldn’t remain in public school realistically. Some of them got into a bad group of friends in school and the mom wanted them out of that situation.

The only problem I would have with homeschooling is the math and science curriculum. A lot of smart people just won’t know HS level math or science if they haven’t studied it extensively. And teaching yourself can be hard for some people. Especially since I think you would need to at least be able to provide a first level calculus type education to the child since that’s what is typically available in HS, and really helps out in college.

There is also the parent who just takes a problem child out of the school and homeschools them so they get a HS diploma. And a good portion of these parents don’t pay a bit of attention to the kid and do the absolute minimum that is required to get them a HS diploma. I guess some states are different but here you don’t have to take any really rigorous exams to prove you’ve been homeschooled adequately.

Hi ggurl , another homeschooler with an Aspergers child doing a Masters degree (in psych) here, also a single parent. My son was exposed to the same socialisation as your daughter - he was suicidal at one point, not a good place for a (then) 10 year old to be. I am not sure what options are available to you in the States, but here in Queensland Australia we have Schools of Distance Education provided by the government system and available to homeschoolers. It means your child is still in the system wrt curriculum, state run testing, university entrance requirements etc, but you act as tutor in implementing the provided materials. This way there are no negative social experiences, there is no pressure on the parent in having to produce a suitable curriculum, and the work itself can be done in as flexible manner as you like, providing you stay with their rate of work return timetable. All this costs the princely sum of $70 a year.

I have found this method far more flexible than mainstream school, compacting the curriculum and acceleration have not been a problem for them to provide - whereas in mainstream school you would think they were having teeth pulled with no anaesthetic if you dared mention such a thing.:frowning:

Socialisation is a big red herring constantly thrown up by anti homeschoolers - I have yet to see any research that says kids who are exposed to 6 hours a day for 12 or 13 yrs, in a restricted environment, of interacting (in this time) solely with 30 of their age peers and one adult are any more socially adept than kids who interact with a wide range of individuals of different ages in different settings over the same period of time.

Good luck with your eventual choice, I just wanted you to know that academically and emotionally the choice was absolutely the correct one for my son.

I was homeschooled from 6th grade onward, and I’m 20 and in college now.

My mom didn’t want me exposed to the behavior in public schools. It wasn’t religion – we’re a decidedly non-Christian family – but she felt that kids didn’t stay innocent for long enough. And when she was in high school, there was a ton of gang activity, and girls getting stabbed in the bathrooms on a regular basis. When we moved to NVa, where she had grown up, I would have been going to the same high school had she let me go; I’ve heard from people around the area that at that particular school, they arrest you if you breathe wrong.

For a long time, we lived in a small town, and the only homeschool support group was Christian. I didn’t have anything in common with the other kids, who all went to church together, and I’m pretty sure that my mom got nagged to join a church. When we moved here (northern VA) we didn’t fit with any of the groups here, either. Misfits among misfits, I guess you’d say. We never had the money to spare for things like martial arts or dance lessons, so I didn’t get any social contact there. I was in a bowling league from 13-16, but I didn’t get a whole lot of socializing myself… I had a short-lived friendship and a dysfunctional boyfriend, but that’s about it. Since I was 13, I’ve gotten most of my social contact on the internet. Making friends just isn’t something natural for me, and I’m still very lonely.

For the educational part, my mom ordered distance-education courses – the material was sent to the house and I mailed off my assignments. By 9th grade, I was miserable and hated being completely on my own. I wound up getting a GED because I just couldn’t get the work done. The only reason I enrolled in the local community college was because I needed both hands to count the number of people who were nagging me to do it. Sure, I enjoy going to class now, but now I’m kind of the exact opposite of what I used to be… I stress myself sick over getting everything done and getting it done perfectly.

I feel I’ve missed out on developing my identity. It’s been in the past two years that I’ve started to think of myself as separate from what my mother wants, and it was a rather painful process. It’s been /very/ recently that I’ve stopped being a mommy’s girl. I still live at home 'cause I’m attending a community college, but transferring to a university in the fall (and really hoping I get housing). Living at home has made it difficult, until recently (talking within the past few months here), to see myself as “RFBlues, Whoever That May Turn Out to Be,” rather than, “RFBMom’s Little Girl.” I am still waiting for the day I know myself, and still dealing with the residue of arrogance… I told myself I was better than everyone else because I was different, to help me deal with the solitude.

Which isn’t to say that homeschooling would be a bad choice for everyone. And I’m not sorry, much, because I got the perspective on college that I have now. I just feel like I’m a long way from knowing who I am and how I fit into anything, and I still have lingering feelings of isolation.