I am just curious-why do people homeschool? I am a teacher at a public school and went to public school all of my life. I think schools are a wonderful place for children to spend thier days learning and developing friendships and relationships with adults other than relatives. I am not trying to defend public schools-I am just trying to understand this homeschooling trend. Thanks!
In our case, first and foremost, I love my kids and I love learning...it seems natural to combine both!
My oldest is not a "school kid". He is bouncy, possibly ADHD, but I want him to learn with his personality, not have it crushed out of him. He can be a handful to deal with, but he is so smart and able to learn so quickly. I know that he would be labelled a problem child in school and would not thrive, where here, at 6, he is able to read chapter books (classics, like The Borrowers, not the Easy Readers), and is able to do multiplication, negative addition, etc.
My youngest (son), wants to be a musical actor (like the Phantom of the Opera and Cats, etc.) when he grows up. I don't want him to change his dream unless he really wants to change it...but how many years do you think HE could last with that goal in school?
The school system harshly failed both my husband and me. I was the classic bored kid who need enrichment, but had to provide it myself outside school hours. My husband was a "bad" kid...labelled so from the first year he started here (grade 3, or so), he was encouraged to mark time until his 16th birthday, then leave. We still live in the same place, the kids would go to the same schools, still run by the same people, but with an ever changing staff of new teachers, who leave after about 4 years.
Oh, I should say, I have a very good relationship with several of my former teachers still. They are all very supportive of, at least, my choice to keep the kids out of the system.
And so, there are positve reasons and negative reasons. But I would say that the joy of teaching my kids is the biggest reason for us doing this.
I hope I am not part of a "trend!"
My oldest son, now 21, was a wonderful, sensitive, gifted student and loved school. He was well behaved, got great grades and his teachers always said great things about him. There were no problems at all with the classroom setting. He was an only child for 11 1/2 years, so any enrichment he needed we provided. He did skip first grade, and later I taught afterschool science classes for the gifted students. Then middle school started. He went to a highly recommended, back to basics, with a years long waiting list school. He was a self-admitted "nerd" and was picked on all during 6th grade. The gifted classes were only the electives and no different instruction was given, just that all the gifted were in the same class. Woodshop, spanish, and drama. Hardly what he needed. Oh, in 4th and 5th grade he was in therapy for depression. He was a perfectionist and stresses terribly over his report cards, even though he would get As. So, middle school was terrible. The kids were mean, and he gained weight eating the ala carte offerings. He still got As. I had a baby the summer he was to start 7th grade. 2 weeks into the year the abuse he was enduring reached a point where we couldn't let it go on. We met with the vice principle who told us
that the kids "don't know what they are doing" with what they were doing and saying to him. That was unacceptable! These are middleschoolers, teenagers some of them. They were grabbing at his chest (remember he gained weight, and at that age boys have a little breast too!) and said sexual things embarrassing to repeat to the faculty. When the VP stated what she did he never went back. We had found our district has a homestudy program, and at that time there was no waiting list. He says that homeschooling "saved my life' which in his case I believe it literally did. He continued to do well in school, on testing, SATs etc., skipping half of 8th and 9th grades, graduation at 16 only 5 units from an AA. He was able to concurrently attend college. When he graduated his sister was preparing to enter Kindergarten. Having seen the wonderful program of K-12, it never entered our minds to send her to the classroom. I do not say public school, since we are a public program, in a district. She is now in 4th grade, with a first grade brother. We have a large group of involved parents who go on field trips and plan workshops. Being in the district we are able to attend the local school for extras, such as band for my daughter, and speech therapy for my youngest son. He was born in Oct. and we started Kindergarten when he was still 4. He needed another year, which homeschool easily provided. Unlike the post before mine, my 7 year old is "slow" or even "behind" the classroom children, but I know he is making great progress. In my state Kindergartners are expected to read and write. I know that it wasn't that way when my older son was in K, so I am not pushing. I also know that in a few years you won't be able to tell an early reader from a late one! Homeschooling fits the needs of any child, from the profoundly gifted to the slower student. They do meet many, many other children and adults other than family members! When my son graduated from HS he invited his Kindergarten teacher and she came! He had stayed in touch with her by helping in her class when he was in homeschool. He was an internet docent at the public library. My children now attend gymnastics, homeschooling classes at local museums and other things. Our community has many resources for homeschoolers. This is our 10th year homeschooling. My children learn about the things that interest them. The classroom 4th graders all study California Missions and have since time began I think! We skipped that and did Explorers, the Middle Ages, Native Americans and Greek Gods for social studies. My oldest son didn't study ancient Egypt until 6th grade, we did it last year with a 3rd grader and a K. I know what my 7 year old is ready for, and what he isn't and skip the math chapters he isn't ready for. We can do it another month or year, or never! I could go on and on, but I had better not!
Thanks for sharing your stories! As teachers, we are often only exposed to those "homeschoolers" who pull their kids in and out of the schools. They aren't serious about it, or prepared to homeschool. The kids are out for a year, then return after not being taught anything for that entire time. The people we don't deal with are you--the ones who find no need to return the kids to the classroom.
I taught at Sylvan Learning Center for a time, and we had several homeschooled kids. One in particular used Sylvan for the child's only education. She was 13 years old, and on about a 3rd grade level. When I'd ask her about her day, she would always repond with something about laying around and watching tv.