April 10th, 2012
06:18 AM ET

My View: Why I chose home schooling

Courtesy John GardinerBy Bethany Gardiner, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: Bethany M. Gardiner, M.D., is a pediatrician and author of “Highlighting Homeschooling,” which guides parents through the educational options available to them and their children.

As a pediatrician, I was a dedicated career woman and never thought much
about the schooling options of either my children or my patients. I was a product of public schools and assumed the traditional schooling model was fine.

However, as I listened to my patients and their parents, I realized there was a theme being repeated many times over in family after family. They were stressed about their fast-paced lives and the futility of being forced into a box of expectations for a life that they did not fit into. Whether it was fighting against a system that penalized sick children for too many missed days, trying to challenge children that are bored in class, arguments about an ADHD diagnosis, to the hours of homework and busywork that intruded upon family time, parents were feeling overwhelmed and out of control, and these feelings were being transmitted to their children.

The more I considered these facts, I realized that I myself was losing a family-centric lifestyle, struggling against the demands of an outside system while trying to balance a career and my family. I knew that to impact my family and children in the most positive way possible, I needed to take control of my children’s education and tailor it to meet their needs and those of my family. By participating in their education, I could teach a love of learning and a passion for education that I saw missing in most of my patients that went to traditional brick and mortar schools. And while meeting the needs of my children, I could also improve my family life by adding to the time that we spent together rather than taking away from it.

If you are like I was in the beginning, you might be attracted to the idea of
home schooling for the benefits, but still worried about whether it is for you. You might be worried that you are not a trained teacher, or patient and creative. Rest assured, I quickly learned that I was not very patient or creative either, but all I needed was the already present love for my children and the desire to see them reach their fullest potential. You might be worried that it would take too much time and that you could not continue working on your other pursuits. Well, it does take some time, but when you think that you don’t have to wash uniforms, drive back and forth to school, or participate in school fundraisers, it isn’t all that much more time and add in that you will be able to meet the needs of your children better than any institution ever can. I was also able to continue working with minor adjustments to my schedule.

Home schooling becomes a lifestyle that will draw your family together, while
traditional schools are a separating force, from the physical separation during the school day to the hours of homework at night. With home schooling, you can tailor the work time to fit in with the family instead of making the family conform around the needs of others. There is still work to be done and lessons to be learned, but they can be fit in whenever it is best for you and your children. Learning can be extended effortlessly into all aspects of life from errands to vacations. Also, extending learning outside of traditional classroom resources leads to practical applications and real world experiences that are hard to achieve in brick and mortar schools.

Aside from the family and lifestyle improvements that home schooling fosters, the
removal of the one-size-fits-all classroom mentality leads to a highly tailored educational experience for your child. There is time for side trips according to their interests. These side trips help spark intellectual curiosity as well as promote the development of critical thinking and self-directed learning. Colleges complain that many children come to them ill-prepared for collegiate level studies and have begun to actively recruit home-schoolers, realizing that home schooled children have the skills necessary for independent learning because they are built into the home schooling lifestyle and educational model by its very nature.

After over a decade home schooling, with one child now in college and another in
high school, I can truly say it has been the best experience of my life and the best choice for my children and family. As a home-schooling parent, I became a cheerleader, facilitator, mentor, and role-model. I also have the knowledge that we are a tighter knit family unit because of the experiences we shared and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Home schooling might not be a journey for everyone, but I feel fortunate to have taken the trip.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Bethany Gardiner.

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Filed under: At Home • Homeschooling • Policy • Practice • School choice • Voices
soundoff (875 Responses)
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  6. Sheila Leavitt MD

    Me: MD with 4, now-adult, "secularly home schooled" kids. Two in medical school (one about to start a residency in internal medicine). One a dental assistant and mother. One a freshman science major at the Ivy League college of his choice. The latter, after 14 years of "home schooling" chose to go to his fancy-assed suburban public high school; upon graduation he received the "Ideal Student" (or, as we called it, the "Evil Eye") award. This was by vote of the faculty and entire student body. Just saying: the boy appeared well socialized.

    We who choose to help our kids find their own paths to adulthood, who are fortunate enough to be able to make this choice, should not necessarily be lumped in with some for whom home education is synonymous with home-indoctrination.

    April 16, 2012 at 10:39 am |
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  8. havoc315

    Quite a heated debate. What's being lost, is it is really dependent on:
    1– The reason a family may be considering home schooling. (academic? Religious?)
    2– The quality of the available public school or private school options.
    3– The resources and capabilities of the parents.

    That said, I think the ideal is an education provided by professional educators, SUPPLEMENTED by parents at home.
    I see many home schoolers talking about the value of the field trips they provide to their home schooled kids- even with my kids in public school, I have about 150 days per year to take them to museums, farms, and other field trips.
    And yes, a failing of public school– is often teaching down to a baseline level. Which is why I challenge my children with extra assignments at home.

    But at the same time, I would never imagine replacing the professional educators in the school, especially secondary school. In our public high school, 100% of the teachers have PhDs or Masters in their field. Class sizes are ok - about 22 kids per class. I can't imagine that I could teach physics, or literature, or foreign language - as well as professionals with advanced degrees in the field. I think I'd be doing a disservice to my children if I tried to teach them advanced calculus from a text book, instead of allowing them to be taught by a professional educator with a PhD in mathematics.

    But really, why can't we give our children all the benefits of a professional education AND the benefits of parental involvement at home??

    April 13, 2012 at 7:16 am |
    • Susan

      You said you view an education by a qualified professional supplemented by a parent...to me that sounds like a child who gets 7 hours of public school and 2-3 hours of homework with a parent. All I have to say, is no wonder our kids hate school by the time they are in HS. Most of us don't go to a job for 10 hours a day and on top of that we are expecting that time commitment from kids NOT an adult. I do "light" schooling 5 days a week, for 12 months a year. My K-5 kids do school for 2.5-3 hours a day. If you look at how much time that Professional spends one on one with your child you will realize they likely don't even get the time I spend. I tell parents, if they do homework with their kids, they have homeschooled. Public school parents do not give themselves enough credit, by thinking they can not do it. THEY are doing it. I just don't think my kids need a 9-8pm school day (minus, lunch and dinner time). Then add sports and other activities on top of it.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
      • havoc315

        Susan, no offense... but that sounds like laziness. I work 10+ hours per day, and most of the people I know work 10+ hours per day. And as you yourself said, much of the school day isn't truly academic time. The 6 hour school day (my childrens' elementary school is 9:15-3:15), includes lunch time, recess, arts & crafts, phys ed, etc. So, the school day is about 4 hours of academics. And that's only about 200 days of the year.
        And as to the parent supplementation - some of it is academic. But some of it, as home schoolers are advocating, are "field trips" like trips to museums, community service, etc. I don't need my children spending hours in front of the TV and X-box.
        So really, the "in school academics" of 4 hours per day, for 200 days of the year, and parental supplementation of another 2-3 hours per day on the remaining 165 non-school days, plus about 1 hour per day on the school days - That's hardly overwhelming.
        I try to be respectful of all different opinions. And I'm sure a home schooled child can turn out just fine. But as a parent, why wouldn't I want my child to have both? If the professional school isn't perfect, why wouldn't I just supplement it? Surely, we can all agree– that the vast majority of schools can provide SOME benefit to the vast majority of children. So if they are getting some benefit from the regular school, why would we take that away?
        I don't see anything that is being done by a home schooling parent, that can't be done IN ADDITION to a regular school.

        April 13, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • donna

      In your three points, you missed the most crucial one:

      4) Needs and and abilities of the individual child.

      There is a wide variety of resources for home schooling parents. It's not either professional and structured OR home school. There are plenty of programs where parents are supervised by professional educators. And there are plenty of intelligent, capable parents who are capable of educating their children well.

      Just because you think you would be satisfied taking the back seat for your child's education, that doesn't mean everyone else has to. Parents know their children better than anyone, whether they've got a PhD or not.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
      • havoc315

        There are plenty of educated parents who can certainly provide a good foundation for their children. But at least in my neighborhood high school, a student can be taught by individuals with PhDs in chemistry, physics, mathematics, literature, foreign language - Are you telling me that many home schooling parents (or human beings on earth) hold advanced degrees in every academic subject? (Between me and my wife, we hold 3 advanced degrees, but wouldn't be qualified to teach 90% of the high school cirriculum)
        Yes, the home schooling community has support available to get through these tougher subjects -
        But that's my point - that's a home schooling parent, supplementing with "professional education"..
        And that's really not much different than a "regular school kid" getting home supplementation. It's just a difference in the proportion of each.
        But what I'd like to hear, from home schooling parents - Is how they feel their child would be hurt if they got both the regular school, and the "home support" with it?

        April 13, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
      • donna

        havoc315, having a PhD in no way means you are more qualified to teach k-6 (or even k-8), unless that PhD is in early childhood education. The skills needed to do that involve primarily working with children and teaching basic skills, not doing academic research, or working with expert level concepts.

        And I know many PhD's, my SO is a neuroscientist at Berkeley, I've taught high school and I home schooled my daughter in elementary school. So, I can say with complete confidence that it doesn't matter that most HS parents don't have higher degrees. I know plenty of PhDs who have no people skills, so I'm not dazzled by the label.

        Regarding secondary education, most home schoolers I know who are in high school take classes at the community college. My daughter's teacher advised her to leave HS, take her proficiency exam and go to community college because her high school didn't offer the advanced science and English classes she needed. My ten year old nephew has surpassed elementary school math. To supplement, he watches lectures from TED, Hawking, and college lecture series from Great Courses. I just got him the one on Game Theory, and I can guarantee you that he wouldn't get that in his local 5th grade class.

        When I pulled my daughter out of our in grade school, it was because her entire district went to a 2-core curriculum because of NCLB. They dropped all of the social science and science standards for kids in k-6 and spent their whole day on SCRIPTED math and English programs. They aren't tested in science and social science until middle school, so NCLB provided that they did not need those courses until then, if they were in a struggling school district. What do you think it does to a child's mind to put them in that type of environment for six hours a day? Are you a cognitive scientist? Care to take a crack at educational psychology and learning theory?

        Also, you are way off to suggest that home schooling isn't a professional education. Many programs provide that an professional oversee the education, if the instructing parent doesn't qualify. And many programs include supplemental classes with teachers in foreign language, science , art, etc. What is your complaint about that?

        April 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
      • donna

        *To be clear, I used HS to refer to both high school and home school. Her high school teacher/advisor advised her to leave public high school (she was not in home school at that time).

        April 13, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Sheila

      You can't be serious! LOL I want school names and teachers names that are teaching K-12 with a PhD. I call your bluff on this one. A parent can teach a child better than a school teacher can. Did you send your kid to a school to walk, talk, potty train, count, sing the ABC song, colors, letters of the alphabet, letter sounds, etc? If you're a decent parent your child knows ALL of this before setting foot in a school. If you can read you can teach your kids. Homeschool kids have access to college level curriculum in elementary school. Poor elementary school kids get put in the one size fits all category and are taught to test. PERIOD. I respect both sides but don't live under the false pretense that people who went to college for an Education Degree are better teachers than parents who may or may not have a degree as well. SMDH

      April 14, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
      • havoc315

        Sheila,

        I am not "bluffing." Most of the K-4 teachers in my district have at least a Masters. Middle school starts with grade 5. From 5-12, most of the math/science teachers have PhDs. All have a minimum of a Masters. The majority of the non-math/science teachers have at least a Masters.
        And yes, my kids did much of their potty training in school. They learned their ABC song in school, etc. They have been in full-day programs (private until Kindergarden, and then public) since they were 3 months of age.
        I never said a parent can't give their child a strong foundation. Nor did I say it was impossible for a home schooling parent to do a good job teaching their child.
        But maybe I'm spoiling my kids - I want my kids to have the best possible education. So if they can be taught 11th grade chemistry by me, struggling through a text book - Or by a PhD in Chemistry– which is better for my child?
        For those who homeschool saying that they do use professionals to teach the maths and sciences - they do send their children for some "professional" classes - I have no qualm. That is mixing a professionally taught education, with parent supplementation. Or its primarily a parent-taught education, with professional supplementation.
        My objection - Is parents who leave the education 100% in the hands of the school, and don't supplement at home. And my objection is those parents who think they can/should completely replace the school, and that a field trip to a farm replaces high school biology.

        April 19, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Sheila Leavitt MD

      Please see my post, above.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  9. Kate C.

    I am also a college professor and I have found that homeschoolers are not only more knowledgeable in the subject I teach (history), they also seem to be the only students that can write grammatically and technically correct papers that are actually coherent. I also have been impressed with their higher order thinking skills. They are able to make connections and understand cause and effect better than their peers. They tend to be more engaged in class because they come prepared.

    I have only come across one student (so far) that was homeschooled that lacked sufficient knowledge and skills and really struggled in college.

    While I commend the excellent job most homeschoolers are doing, may I make one suggestion? Homeschool students tend to get defensive if you challenge their views are question their assumptions. I understand most homeschoolers teach for religious reasons. However, college is for exposing students to things they would not normally be exposed to and teaching them to think on a higher level. You can't really know what you believe until you know why you don't believe something. This is part of the experience of college – when a student's beliefs become their own and are no longer their parent's. Some HS students struggle with defending their beliefs because, I assume, they have never been exposed or have any knowledge outside of their family's world view. When you challenge them, they take it personal and believe you are trying to indoctrinate them or telling them they are wrong. That is not the case. I want my students to understand why they do and do not believe something. Just my $.02.

    April 13, 2012 at 3:45 am |
    • donna

      There are a lot of home schoolers who do it for academic reasons. It probably depends on where you live. Most people I know who do it, do it for academic and social reasons: generally for kids who weren't having their needs met in public schools. Lots of exceptionally gifted kids are home schooled so that they can get challenging coursework and participate in other programs beyond what the school can offer.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  10. homeschool mom

    the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so to speak. Where do homeschooled students end up after they graduate? For my family's part, we have an air force officer, a youth minister, an office worker(financial), another office worker(technical ), and a nurse. Two of those are pursuing master's degrees. BTW- I do not have a college degree.

    April 12, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  11. donna

    Wealthy people do homeschool too, HSmom. Most people I know who homeschool do so because it is the best thing for their child, and not because they can't afford a private school. My sister's homeschooling community has a very large population of wealthy families. They can be just as interested on being hands on with their children's education as anyone else.

    April 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  12. teach

    So, D Lorenz, the home schooling will prevent the kids from embezzling a skating club? So much for parental influence.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • D. Lorentz

      What on earth are you talking about, teach?

      April 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  13. HSmom

    Did someone really post that homeschoolers come from rich or middle class families? Apparently that person hasn't met many homeschooling families. Rich people send their children to private school. I know many homeschoolers and very few of them are even upper middle class, although almost all of them are highly educated. They give up income to give their children a good education.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • activeparent

      @HSmom, Is the only reason that you homeschool, because you can't afford a private school?

      April 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Sheila Leavitt MD

      Please see my post.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Sheila Leavitt MD

      Did not send kids to private schools. see post.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  14. ErinB

    I don't think one is better than the other. I'm a product of public schools and loved it. I think the quality of a child's education has a lot to do with the involvement of the parent....that applies to both home schools and public schools.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  15. SNAPPA

    I wish someone would do a study on modern life and how the fabric of society is slowly being dismantled. Pretty soon there will be no interaction between people at all. From sitting in front of your computer and keeping your kids home instead of participating in society eventually there will be no coherent sociatle structure. From workers being let go in favor of technology such as new kiosks being used in banks instead of people or the department of motor vehicles replacing people with kiosks there will be no more interaction with others. How do children learn to interact with others when they are sheltered in the home almost 24/7? How do they learn about others who share their world objectivley?

    April 12, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • j

      Wrong. Most homeschoolers interact better than those in the padded cement public walls and are way more equipped for life and what it throws at them. Most nonhomeschoolers can't think for themselves and wait for someone to tell them what to do! Most are not even learning math and reading in public schools anymore it's social indoctrination and video games. Well equipped I tell yeah.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Sue

      When you home school children.. you do not have to stay home 24/7... there are events out there especially for home schooled children for instance YMCA offers kid fit for children being home schooled. They have outings to the zoo or park. So children will only be home 24/7 depending on how the family runs the program but it doesn't have to be that way.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:52 am |
      • Char

        True, Sue. The kids who spend quality time training at the ice rink, quality time at the barn getting good life lessons dealing with horses and refining their riding skills, help out at the public library, help volunteering at the animal shelter, visit art museums, do a little work at a soup kitchen, etc., are most likely home-school kids who have the schedule flexibility to participate in these educational and constructive undertakings. There are many things that one could worry about with home-school kids, but a breakdown of society is not one of them.

        April 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Mom

      As a homeschooling mom of 5, I can tell you that my children spend much more time interracting with society than their traditionally schooled counterparts. They carry on conversations with the docents at museums and historical sites rather than stand impatiently waiting to be ushered to the next exhibit. They respond kindly and genuinely when adults speak to them. They know the people in our neighborhood because they have mowed their lawns, raked their leaves, and cared for their pets. My children are more involved with our world because they have time to experience it rather than bieng forced to read about it in a text book. Our school systems are guilty of sheltering children, not the homeschoolers. Outside of K-12 schools, when are people segregated into same-age groups and given limited options as to their daily activities and learning opportunities? The answer is rarely if ever. Schools as we have come to know them are (historically) a new phenomenon. Children have learned effectively for centuries by simply growing up and investigating their own interests.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • donna

      Snappa,
      If you read any of the homeschooling posters descriptions of what their kids are doing, none of them even come close to sitting around the house all day. You have a narrow view of what home schooling is. You should learn more about it, rather than perpetuating inaccurate stereotypes about it.

      April 12, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • calimom

      Homeschoolers are by no means sheltered in their homes 24/7. Homeschooling is actually growing. We had nearly 400 homeschooling families where we used to live, and multiple children in each family. We had a variety of experiences that those families brought to the table. Not to mention regular field trips to see what they learned in a real life environment. Homeschoolers have come to be a support network for each other. The big difference between the socialization of homeschoolers vs public schoolers is that public schoolers are limited to social experiences with their peers of the same age, and a few teachers. Homeschooled kids, however, are offered a variety of social experiences with children and adults of multiple ages. You can actually see the difference in their behaviors, because they have learned how to interact with such a variety of ages. My kids experienced less conflict, and more mutual respect in the kids of the homeschooling community than they ever did in public school. That goes for the adults as well.

      April 12, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • hoopla

      Let's see - this week.... 2 homeschool YMCA classes, for group sport, 2 regular YMCA classes for boy's gymnastics, an afternoon in an animal tracking class, and an afternoon at a nature center looking at all the seeds the kids had sprouted at home. Add two sunny afternoons at the play ground, some outdoor play with the homeschooling family down the block, and 3 evening swims with a regular pal group at the Y. Yes, my cheery, friendly boy is so protected and kept at home! He loves to drop by the senior center and play pingpong, and to go to the playground when every other kid is toddlers and be "big brother". By being out and about, my kiddo ends up interacting with more and more varied people. Sitting in a classroom with 30 kids exactly your age is not how humans have lived in history. Call me old-fashioned!

      April 13, 2012 at 7:44 am |
  16. ken

    IMO, most people are not qualified to be teachers. Not only do they lack the knowledge in specific areas, the lack the knowledge of how to teach. Some are, good for them. Most likely have one side of the equation....

    April 12, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • j

      Wrong.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Tracy

      Ken, who taught you how to drive? Was it a relative? My Dad taught me how to drive. I learned a lot more from him than I ever did in driver's ed. I also learned a lot more from doing it myself. What I am getting at is, I know how to read, write and I am decent at math. My husband is a CPA. He'll teach our kids math and accounting. It's just been indoctrinated in us to think that we can't do it. Parents know and love their kids better than anyone. Who better to teach them?

      April 12, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  17. Maggiee01

    As a public school teacher for the past 10 years, I find myself wishing I could come up with some easy response to everyone who's posts I have read. To be honest, homeschooling is all about the effort you are willing to put in at home, as a parent. That being said, regardless of where the education occurs, parental involvement is a key factor in education, and most of the parents who home school their kids are highly involved. Most of the kids who do well in public schools have parents who are highly involved. What many public schools, including the one I teach at, are struggling with is how to get the parents who we can't reach, who don't return phone calls, emails, who don't respond to guidance counselors requests to come in and meet with the teacher. How do we get them in?
    As far as what kids are learning, when you have to teach to the test, what you do and the time constraints placed on you to cover material in a limited amount of time make it difficult. If you are teaching to the test, you are focusing on specific points, and not necessarily looking at larger concepts that tie things together. In a society so focused on grades, and getting good grades in school, did you ever wonder what a straight A student might be missing, educationally, in getting their straight A's?
    Also, lets face it...many good teachers become bad teachers because they are overwhelmed. The red tape is a massive issue, because quite frankly we (teachers) spend more and more time dealing with the red tape, and less time focusing on what we know needs to be focused on, which is the actual education of kids itself. Also, teachers are not the enemy here. Teachers mostly care. Yes there are bad teachers out there, but most do care. It is absolutely ridiculous that there is, at times, this adversarial relationship between parents and teachers. When we call because a kid is somehow messing up, it's not a condemnation. Kids are kids, they make mistakes way more than adults do, and adults make a lot of mistakes. Teachers just want help, we don't want to hash out who is at fault, we just want to make things better for the kids. Teachers are more than teachers. We are shrinks, parents, friends, mentors, etc. to our kids in the classroom. Not only is this a stressful, time consuming occupation, but it is emotionally taxing.
    Public education needs a massive overhaul in this country. But this isn't something that can be easily fixed. There is no one size fits all solution, and quite frankly its going to cost money, which people don't want to spend on public education in the form of higher taxes. The public education system needs to be more accountable to tax payers, yes, because quite frankly I don't think the money is being well spent in a lot of districts. But at the same time, the public education system should NOT serve as venue to launch political careers on the local level. The school board should not have more power than the people it hires to run a school district. If there is one area where politics should not dictate who gets hired/fired it is in the educational setting.
    Last but not least, teachers deserve respect. A lot of it. An earlier post mentioned that public schools can't simply kick out the bad students. They have to go somewhere.. Charter schools and private schools have a luxury that mainstream public schools don't, it's called getting rid of the kids who are excessively disruptive, dangerous or who refuse to work. But we don't do that. We try to help everyone. The kids who are disruptive, dangerous, lazy, etc. need more individualized attention, for whatever reason, because they probably could do well, we just need to figure out how to help them. But tell me, how can I do that when my only free time to help a kid is 30 minutes at lunch? If a kid lives 5 miles away from school, and has a parent that can't, for whatever reason, pick them up if they need to stay after school, how do we get that kid home safely?
    We have a system of mainstream education. To get people through as efficiently as possible. Public Education has become a business that is concerned about the bottom line, and not other factors. We are extremely limited in what we can do, due to many constraints, limitations, etc. that most people don't take into account.
    I believe that a good solid public education is a necessity to have a successful society that upholds the ideals of a democracy. But if society doesn't want to do their part in education, be it through time, money, general respect for the profession, then how can you expect it to succeed? If teachers have to work one or more part time jobs during the school year to financially support themselves and their families, do you honestly think we are able to devote the time we would like to what we went to school for and what we are passionate about?
    Homeschooling is definitely an option for those who can afford it (time-wise, financially, etc.) but it is not the solution to a failing public education system.

    April 12, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Whitney Adams

      That was perfectly and concisely said. Well done, and I hope people will read your entire post. Both of my parents are teachers (one retired elementary special reading teacher, the other a high school calculus teacher), and your thoughts completely echo theirs. Realizing there is a problem that requires a total overhaul of the system is a tough message to convey, and even harder to initiate change. Teachers like you speaking out can do nothing but help, and I'm glad you wrote. Thank you.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Ted

      Maggiee01 you gave a lot of reasons to home educate.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • Sheila Leavitt MD

      I agree, and thank you for teaching! I come from a long line of wonderful public school teachers. Many in the greater Boston home schooling community are/were teachers. They know what's not working, despite their best efforts.

      April 16, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  18. RoundDaddy

    I agree with the article. My duaghter and I sit around all day eating and watching soap operas and when we are ready we read some doctor suess. I am a well prepared home teacher. My kid wants to grow up and be a mechanic and she is onyl 18! How many high schoolers out there already know that?

    April 12, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • r00t

      You make your kid watch TV, Soap Operas to boot and you call yourself a teacher? I'm all for home schooling, but be a parent and don't let the TV define your childs paradigm. If you continue like this your child will end up being a lazy mind with no original ideas, don't let this child become what you have allowed yourself to become.

      April 12, 2012 at 9:23 am |
      • Fitmama1972

        I think he was being sarcastic.

        April 12, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  19. Jennifer

    I'll be homeschooling my child. He is now 2 and reading, because I (no one else) take the time! I have a drive to see my most important person to me succeed, where he'd be lost in the public school system (originally started for poor kids). You can be the dumbest parent on the earth and still have a very highly achieved children because the parent wants them to succeed where the public system could care less. Not only that, there's material and resources out there that is ENDLESS for home schoolers, you really do not need to be educated yourself for this (media puts such bunk out there about homeschooling because they do not know themselves)! http://vimeo.com/13912103 . Oh, "Socialized" is that a joke? What do I want my kid to be "socialized" in? I think it's awesome more parents are thinking for themselves instead of believing the public system! My kid is beyond social interaction making him well prepared compared to a kid that sits in a cement box all day!

    April 12, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Burns

      You sound really misguided. Did you have friends growing up? If yes, would you want to deprive your child? If no, don't take it out on them. Being properly socialized and being able to pick up on personal and group cues is very important to success. And what do you mean about no one else taking the time to teach your 2 year old to read?

      Please put your child in school. You sound like a sick, and potentially controlling individual.

      April 12, 2012 at 8:49 am |
      • D. Lorentz

        Burns, just to correct your previous post about homeschooling families being "rich" – that is completely false. Most are actually middle class (many on the lower end of the class), including our family. Also, your response about socialization is in fact, quite misguided. It's a myth that homeschoolers are unable to pick up on social cues, etc. I find the stereotypes about homeschoolers so blatantly false that to me, the people making the statements seem "socially awkward". I mean, seriously, with what other group would you make such statements? Oh, you're lawyer, well, all lawyers are... Oh, you're gay, well, all gays are... Oh, you're a Muslim, all Muslims are... And, the statements you're making are insulting as well as unfounded.

        Socialization among peers is a completely made-up "need". Do you honestly think that any child who is homeschooled only ever sees their parents and/or siblings? Ridiculous! My kids have more interactions with more people than any public schooled child. They have peers, but they also have many other adults in their lives, and other children both younger and older. To me, that is a much more realistic socialization. My children are not peer-oriented – which is apparently a great fault of homeschooling as they are not learning how to "fit in" – and I celebrate that. Nowhere in the real world will you replicate the "classroom" socialization so in that sense I am better preparing them for the real world.

        April 12, 2012 at 9:13 am |
      • Sheila Leavitt MD

        And you, I'm sorry to say, sound like you didn't read the author's post.

        April 16, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • MSB

      @Jennifer - which public schools were started for "poor kids"?

      April 12, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • janbel

      I hope that your comment is not an example of your knowledge of grammar, or your kid is going to get rudely surprised once college entrance tests rolls around. And, whenever I see a mother boasting about a 2 year old reading I shake my head at the silliness. Decoding words is a mechanical skill. Children are not at an advantage doing so early. All the research shows this. What's important is that you read to your child at an early age, not that he can read.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  20. Larry

    I used to think home schooling was not a good idea, but I have since changed my mind. I am a club high school boys coach and have met many home schooled young men. I have to tell you they are well manored and better prepared for the world that most of the boys that have attended public school. On top of that I am not in agreement with liberal/progressive/democrat indoctrination the public school children are receiving. Also it is tough enough as an adolescent and then to have to deal with threats and punks the likes of Trayvon Martin on a daily basis is just not worth it.

    April 12, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • Brian

      Not commenting to anyone in particular...

      I can say this without looking at any statistics – Our prisons are NOT full of homeschooled students. Anyone want to argue about the social benefits of going to public school?

      April 12, 2012 at 8:11 am |
      • Burns

        Brian- home schooled children tend to come from rich or middle class families. Convicts come from poor, single/troubled parent families, mostly.

        April 12, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Dave

      If you really work at a public school, you would have to work at maintaining this type of ignorance. Or you are in the wrong career.

      Thanks for knocking down my faith in humanity a notch.

      April 12, 2012 at 8:22 am |
      • calimom

        Burns, I am not sure where you get your statistics, but most homeschooling families are not rich. Homeschooling is across the board as is public school. In fact you have to consider that most people that homeschool give up a career to do so. Not to mention we have to fund our child's education without grants. I would say a majority of homeschoolers are middle class, yes, but rich, hardly.

        April 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • CC

      Great, they have a racist as a coach. Good for them. You have no idea what happened that night.

      April 12, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  21. Loyal Northern Democrat

    I have tried many time to sucessuflly hire scholled at home. Over and over it has been their partents had no business to teach an many cases did not even have high school degrees of any kind. Time and time again I have had to fire almost 100 young men and women trained by their parents who excelled in watching TV and complaining. Zero benefit to the company/ If you do not want to send your children to a public or private scholl and your are not a certified teacher.... then do your future kids a favor and get neutered. No one will want your thughs.

    April 12, 2012 at 5:28 am |
    • K

      Check your spelling!

      April 12, 2012 at 6:45 am |
      • proofpositivity

        Or sentence structure! This is a horribly written piece and doesn't sit well with his case against homeschoolers.

        April 12, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • JoJo Deengulberree

      R yoo thee teepical Deemocrat?

      April 12, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • Franklin

      You fail, troll. Your argument against homeschooling would be slightly more coherent if you could spell and punctuate sentences. Whether your education was public, private, or otherwise, it certainly failed you. Perhaps a homeschooled parent might take you on as a special project.

      April 12, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Jorge

      Assuming that you ARE in reality a business owner, you spelling, logic and redaction skills suggest that perhaps you should look inward to resolve your human resources problems...

      April 12, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • calimom

      We have hired two recent public school high school graduates. Both call my husband to help them add or subtract on a regular basis. My 10 year old recently helped me volunteer in a snack shack at her softball opening day. The lady in charge had her 2 14 year olds there. A man ordered a ton of food, and the 14 year olds stood there lost and counting with their fingers to figure out the total. The man jokingly handed my daughter his money and said I will let this young lady help me. In just the time it took her to turn around she not only figured out the total, but got his change and counted it back to him. On top of that she didn't brag about it. I was so proud of her. BTW my daughter is home schooled.

      April 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  22. TJlaw

    I was homes schooled up until my 10th grade year and can say I hated every minute of it. It wasn't that I did not learn, my mother was an english teacher, it was that me personally needed to socialize with other people. Being an outgoing and non-influential guy the transfer from home school to private was easy. But for someone like my sister it was not. I am not against home schooling but if you going to home school your kid you need to have some educational background. Also I think it depends on how your child is. If they are influenced easy maybe public/private school is not right for them. Because trust me everything that goes on in the public school system happens in almost every large private school.

    April 12, 2012 at 4:49 am |
    • JoJo Deengulberree

      Falsehood. I have personally witnessed a mother who barely passed high successfully educate her children and prepare them for college. No particular type of education or training is necessary to home school. Omnia vincit amor – lover conquers all. The liberals would have you believe differently.

      April 12, 2012 at 7:28 am |
      • CC

        Love isn't worth a damn in the real world, this isn't the Notebook. You want an qualified person teaching your children on either side of the argument.

        April 12, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  23. Vince

    Since becoming a public school teacher my opinion on homeschooling has changed drastically. I am now considering homeschooling or at least private school when my 3.5 year old starts school. It's not because I do not have faith in my fellow educators that they would do their job. Rather, I worry about exposing my daughter to the other students present in a public school. The disruptive students who call out, don't do homework, etc. not only go unpunished, but often have the assistance of a special teacher. The administrators at public schools are unable to kick out those kids who are causing issues.

    April 12, 2012 at 3:32 am |
  24. Evelyn

    I am a former public school teacher and I decided homeschool my two kids. One my daughter did go to public school for half her years. My son on the other hand is being home schooled all the way through. Both my kids were ahead, way ahead in all subjects. My daughter in fact graduated her high school years with 9 college credts by the time she was 16. Both my kids are well socialized and very happy.

    As for the years I spent in the public schools. I went through over 5000 students taught and those that were homeschooled were the ones that were ahead of all the other students. Most parents put the kids in public schools because simply the kids wanted to experience it. Most did experience and left. Most on their SAT tests tested post high school by the time there were 12 years old.

    If you heart is into it and you have a diverse learning household which I do homeschooling is wonderful! I am an artist, musician, web designer and a teacher. I painted, do pottery, draw, create and sell portraits. My husband is a historian and teaches economics, law and American government. He also is a guitarist and performs throughout the community. Through homeschooling we were able to teach our kids all of this.

    Ironically the most sited complaint and question we hear from mostly everyone that finds out we homeschool our kids is – How can you stand teaching your kids? We can't stand even helping our kids do homework, no patience. Sadly but true I have heard this hundreds of times!

    April 12, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • calimom

      Unfortunately we hear parents say all the time they do not have the patience to homeschool their kids, and don't understand how I can stand it either. A close friend of mine is one of those people. Yet her son is bullied in school every day. She spends so much time in the office dealing with this, as well as his frustration with the material. She recently came to me to ask if we could have study group with our two kids. Ironic that she thinks I should get my kids into public school, where her son is miserable, and then comes to me to host study groups for our kids. Hmmmmmm.

      April 12, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  25. parent

    I homeschool my 4 kids. I am considering public school for them in the fall. I've spent time meeting with our local public school administrators. This has been an eye-opener for me as a homeschooler. I think after getting to know me, some of the administrators have felt comfortable enough to share their experience with homeschoolers with me and to ask me questions about my experiences. Unfortunately, they have had very negative experiences with homeschoolers in the past. I don't know these homeschooling families to which they are referring because they are not the ones who join our homeschool group activities, who participate on message boards, who organize the field trips, etc. I only know the homeschool families who are active in the community and who are clearly doing all they can to give their kids a good education.
    I agree there should be some amount of reporting and accountablity required of homeschoolers. All the families I know have nothing to hide and have no problem with the accountability required in our state. Still I have no reason to disbelieve the administrators I've talked to who have seen children who were not well served by home education. It is a difficult situation, but the answer cannot be taking away a parent's opportunity to choose what is best for their child.
    The claims that not everyone is wealthy enough to homeschool are just pure nonsense. I know families of all economic backgrounds who homeschool. The claims that a child should stay in school and learn to deal with bullying are pure nonsense as well. Yes, a child needs to learn to stand up to an occasional incident of bullying. However, a child dealing with constant ridicule and abuse can't be expected to take care of that on their own in school. We're talking about children here with limited options, not adults. In my public school decades ago there were two young men with medical issues over which they had no control. They were teased relentlessly. One became a cutter (long before we had a word for that), and the other committed suicide after high school. Would you really fault their parents if they had chosen to remove those kids from school?
    I will freely admit I don't have the answers. I'm glad I have the opportunity to choose homeschooling, and I'm glad I have the opportunity to choose a public school as well. I don't think throwing more money at our public school system is going to do any good unless a child has a stable home life to begin with. We're asking teachers to do the impossible when we ask them teach kids coming from chaotic home situations. Sometimes they manage to do it. It shouldn't be that way though.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:39 am |
  26. okgirl

    I find it funny that so many parents who are homeschooling their children have hours on end to argue their beliefs on a comment board. I wonder how many home schooled children had "independent learning day" today because mommy was glued to the computer to argue pointlessly with strangers.
    It doesn't matter if your kids go to public or private school or are home schooled- parents need to be involved in their children's education.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • KJ Lewis

      It shouldn't take a reasonably educated person (presumably the case for homeschooling parents) more than 10 minutes to read and respond here. I am doing so as my students slumber, in my free time while my husband is away. That said, we are also free from much of the ridiculous red tape that ties up many hours of a public school teachers' (and students') week, and our commute time is 0, so all that saved time can be spent in a variety of creative ways.

      April 12, 2012 at 2:01 am |
      • KJ Lewis

        Regarding your final statement, while I agree with your point, this article was explaining that she considered that to be an insurmountably difficult task for her family in her public school system, as have many others, myself included, and that the choice to home school worked well for her.

        April 12, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • jud

      that had to be the most rediculous comment ever.

      April 12, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • JoJo Deengulberree

      okgirl – You are clueless about homeschooling.

      "Independent learning day" can see a child accomplish more in one day than a week at public school.

      Homeschooling is not dependent on a particular schedule–not time of day nor time of week. Mommy can spend time on the computer when she wants and teach children when she wants because she isn't tied to a rigid and onerous schedule.

      Look at the timestamp on most of the messages – they are not during the "normal" school hours.

      You have as much time to comment as anyone else, so what's your point?

      April 12, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • proofpositivity

      It takes approximately three hours to homeschool. 6:00 AM Breakfast, 7:00 school time reading, 8:00 Math, English, Spelling, 9:00 history, science, geography. I'm not even including lessons through out the day that I have nothing to do with which means it's self-initiated. Those things are learning HTML, learning about building operating systems, ice skating, and robotics will soon be added. Homeschool can be a long day or short day and there are certainly moments when the student is doing work because they need to learn to work on their own too.

      April 12, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • D. Lorentz

      Don't make silly judgements based on things you know nothing about okgirl. I'm sitting here with my coffee while my kids are still sleeping. My day will start in a little while here, but what I choose to do with my free time doesn't indicate a lack of parental involvement. sheesh.

      April 12, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • calimom

      Well I do have the answer for you about why this homeschooler is online responding. Homeschoolers tend to need a babysitter less as they are very independent, and have a love of learning. To sit over a child's shoulder while they work is pointless. To be there when they have questions is what is important, not to mention to check on their progress. My kids have always asked for homework on weekends and sometimes after dinner. They also have been known to suddenly want to research a subject to get answers. Besides, the public schools in our community are out for Spring Break, is there any logical reason why we shouldn't be out as well? Ignorance is bliss, pinning labels on a particular group that one has no experience with is a great example of this.

      April 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  27. Gradeschoolstepdad

    I have a 4th and 6th grader (step kids) and in math, none of the 6th graders know their simple math tables from public schooling. Blame me of course in part, but with 6 other 6th graders visiting my house, all are the same. California schools don't force the basics enough.
    I would home school the kids if possible, though the ex wife (the mommy dearest) won't allow it.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:21 am |
  28. Zack

    Now in grad school, I've met a decent amount of home school kids over the years. I guess it started becoming a fad when I was a kid. I can say two things about them: They are usually very well educated and talented in some skill (an instrument or a sport), and they are a bit weird. Also, when you talk to them they often speak about FINALLY getting away from their overprotective, perfectionist parents and discovering themselves. I hang out in pretty educated circles, so my selection is biased, but I really have noticed a pattern. The "social awkwardness" claim is not without merit.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • JoJo Deengulberree

      Zack – your views *are* biased. I've met or observed hundreds of homeschoolers, and on average they are 10x less weird than the kids I see in public school.

      April 12, 2012 at 7:36 am |
      • Anti Sara

        Why so hostile, Dingleberry? You're ridiculously defensive.
        Like schools both public and private, it works for some and fails miserablly for others. Many start off with noble intentions but get in over their heads. Of my friends who home school, several use religon backed lesson plans aand teach currrent events from a biblical perspective. They spend tons of cash on tutoring centers for math. To be honest, the science units (when not conflicting with religon) tend to be the most practical. Growing plants, studying isects, etc. It's no secret the GOP would rather mothers stayed home and taught their children. Republicans see public education as nothing more than a money suck.

        April 12, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • D. Lorentz

      Even if it is true – big if – is being "a little weird" that bad? When I think of what I want for my kids, or for any kids, actually, the list has things like kindness, character, honesty, integrity, happiness, success, etc. I know LOTS of "kinda weird" people who are all of those things, and were never homeschooled.

      April 12, 2012 at 9:21 am |
      • calimom

        I have found that being a little weird/different does not fare well in a public school setting, so in that case being weird is probably a great reason to homeschool. Why not? Do we really need to make cookie cutter replicas out of our kids, or should we let them be who they are naturally?

        April 12, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • calimom

      I pulled my son out of public school in the middle of 2nd Grade. He was bullied, and to the kids a little weird. Fast forward a few years and he is diagnosed with OCD, and is gifted. Social akwardness is often associated with gifted kids and adults. So you must be lucky enough to have been exposed to some very exceptional kids! I work at an after school program after our homeschool day ends. There is a huge difference between my home schooled kids, and the public school kids at the program. The difference is that my kids are well behaved, respectful, and tend to not be influenced by their peers. My kids will actually comfort kids who are distressed or upset. My son (13) was told by one of the kids there that he was the most honorable kid there, and it was mentioned in a complimentary way. My daughter has made several friends there, and they have all praised her for being such a good, kind friend, unlike most of the kids. There is even a kid at the program who cusses a ton. Now he will ask my son before speaking if it bothers him, or if it is ok for him to cuss in front of him. So in a sense my kids have become a positive influence on their public school peers. I have to say I am proud of that. My kids are confident in themselves, and not so easily influenced by their peers.

      April 12, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  29. TFoster

    After reading several of the posts negative about homeschooling I am abliged to point out something. Since many of the parents you ridicule for homeschooling were predominately public schooled are you trying to say that public schooling is so inept that it can't even produce someone who is capable of passing on the same knowlege they received in said public school? Then to make fun of spelling, punctuation and grammer as if public school students are just such geniuses. Most can't even spell past texting level these days. Did you know that in the 1700's and early 1800 we had almost a 100% literacy rate amoung white citizens and 80% amoung African Americans in the 1800's? Or how about that most children, upon arriving for the first time in school after compulsery schooling was started, were expected to have already learned how to read and write because it was deemed one of the easiest things to learn? Yet here we are today with more money then ever being flushed down brick and mortar toilets to produce less and less real education. Oh, and they only went to school for about 12 weeks a year yet produced far superior results waaay back then. One last things, Home EDUCATION is an education DIRECTED by parents. If there is a subject we're not as good at we find someone who is to provide the instruction when needed, however, children who are taught HOW to learn instead of how to accept factoids for regurgitation, are generally better equipt to actually learn things on their own. It's how our countrys founding fathers were able to learn and do the things they did.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • Zack

      Did you know that 83% of statistics are BS, especially the one about 100% literacy in the 1700's. Were you home schooled or public schooled...because whoever told you that should be fired haha.

      April 12, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • Caryl

      You can't spell.

      April 12, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  30. DK

    I love how when every time I tell anyone i'm home schooling my kid, I generally get lectured how without public school my kid wont be "socialized". Please.. when you solve the problems with kids bullying each other, and ending up killing each other in columbine like massacres, feel free to give me a lecture about how great society is doing on our children! Personally I think society has credibility issues to solve before you tell me how to raise my kid.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • AJT

      The person lecturing you about how your child will not be "socialized" is as about as weak as you using the "Columbine" excuse. I am a public school teacher and I think it is great that you do what you think is best for your student, because a lot of parents don't give two s**ts about their students education. I would like to think that all public school employees are doing everything possible to challenge and enrich students lives but I know it isn't true. With that being said, don't group all public schools in your generalizations. I am sure that some home schooled kids have done some pretty messed up stuff in their lives it just doesn't get publicized.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • JFritz

      You're right, DK. Schools don't "socialize," they teach peer conformity. Friends and families socialize! Kids who go to school are "schooled," not educated. All you have to do is keep your eyes and ears open when young people, most of whom were "schooled," are around. Yikes! This is what the professionals accomplish?

      April 12, 2012 at 2:38 am |
      • CC

        Being with your family can hardly be considered being social.

        April 12, 2012 at 8:52 am |
      • calimom

        CC then you have not met my family. My son attended public school up until 2nd grade. In 2nd grade he was clinically depressed. The teacher had her classroom arranged so that the students desks were in groups of 4. However, my son, and one other boy were separated on their own in the back of the classroom. Because of the classroom segregation they were bullied on the playground. To me that is not the best socialization scenario I can think of. We socialize with more than 400 homeschooling families in our area. We also socialize by visiting the Seniors in our community. They share their life stories with my kids, and my kids are amazed by it. The seniors are always in aw of my kids and how well behaved they are, and how genuinely interested they are. We also volunteer in the community. My kids hold doors open for people, help pick up items that are dropped by random strangers. My son will approach a screaming toddler and entertain them so that Mom can pay for her items at the store. I am proud to say that my kids are socially well rounded.

        April 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
      • calimom

        Sorrry meant to type "awe", not aw.

        April 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  31. sarah

    I tell you what. If I had been given the option to be homeschooled when I was young my life would be so different. School was so boring and seemed a waste of time. I would day dream through most of it. I thank god for technology today that we didnt have years ago cause I do think my child in 2 hours of work he does a day learns more then the 6 hours they stay in school. Sadly in those 6 hours the teacher is so overwhelmed she cannot help most kids who she doesnt have the time to help. Those kids will be 3 years behind etc. Kids suffer when they dont get the help they need. Plus I look at it as one on one time with my son.🙂

    April 11, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  32. sarah

    bob go crawl back in ur hole. u sound very uneducated. I home school and my sons grades have improved from D's to all A's. With science and history you can take them to places and actually show them things instead of yawning in class while teacher bores u to death. If you dont know what your talking about shut your mouth. Very good article and I feel the same way. My son proudly tells everyone I'm his teacher and how much he loves being at home.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • CC

      Well of course he is doing well, you are doing the grading. I bet you anything he would fail the what the difference between your and you're. Oh wait ur.

      April 12, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  33. Alex

    My observations as a public school teacher are that home-schooled students often enter a small middle school or high school environment with excellent skills in one area and huge gaps in others. Most often, they tend to be well-spoken and very well-read but are often one to three grade levels behind in math and even further behind in science. Many of the parents I've spoken to finally enrolled their child in a public school because they realized they weren't up to teaching the higher level math and science classes to their student anymore, and also weren't thrilled about alternative distance learning or charter organization 'home'-schooling.

    I think there are valid points being made on both sides of the debate. Teachers have specialized training, content area expertise, and experience to draw on which parents do not. Parents have close personal connections with their kids and can leverage larger amounts of time throughout the year to do 'real world' exploratory stuff. Ideally, our educational system would make use of both.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  34. Jeff

    As a math professor, I find that homeschooled children are generally more prepared for math and science than those coming out of the public school system.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • sarah

      you made me feel even more confident that I am doing the right thing by homeschooling and my son is not missing out on anything. Thank you

      April 11, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  35. Bob

    It would seem difficult for students to receive sufficently rigorous math and science training at home unless the parent was a sceintist or engineer. In the future, unless you have STEM (science technology engineering math) skills you'll have a low level service job (or become a bankster).

    April 11, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Timodeus

      Yes, because elementary teachers are scientists and engineers. Please...basic math is just that...basic, anyone with an understanding of that can teach it.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • lt

      Bob how dumb are you? Its spelled scientist. None of my public high school teachers were scientists or engineers. You are just like most of the poster on here. Too dumb to teach your kids so you send them to the public high school scientists and engineers. LMFAO

      April 11, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • D. Lorentz

      I agree with your first statement to a certain degree, Bob (although I question the need for "rigorous" training until college level studies in the student's chosen area of specialization). But this is what people miss in the equation. If I am "unqualified" to teach a certain subject, I will certainly call in the experts. There are many options that fall within the homeschooling spectrum, it doesn't entail that mom or dad is the "teacher" for everything. For example, my kids take music, various sports, and language from "experts" while still being homeschooled. And, let me also point out that there are many, many careers that fall outside of the STEM spectrum, other than low-level service jobs!!

      April 11, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Stacey

      You'd be surprised at the quality of materials available for home schooling families today. There are many professionals with tutoring materials available on DVD, and even live online classrooms. In addition, most science classes in high schools aren't taught by scientists, nor are most math classes taught by engineers. A teacher may or may not specialize in the subject area in which he/she teaches. Many classrooms utilize teachers on computer programs anyway due to the lack of time to effectively teach 30 students. It's high time people realize that home schooling is a viable, if not superior, option.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
      • D. Lorentz

        agreed!

        April 11, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
      • AJT

        Stacy, what is the difference between your child watching DVDs and then talking to you & going to class then coming home and getting support from you? Teachers, at least in the Pacific Northwest, have to be Highly Qualified to teach subject matter in their classroom. Public education is what you make of it. You can choose to excel or you can choose to sleepwalk your way through. My friends and family all have been through public education systems and their jobs range from successful business owners and nuclear engineers to lawyers and college professors. Excuses made by parents and schools is what is limiting progress and success in our country.

        April 12, 2012 at 12:56 am |
      • CC

        Ah so the DVD and the internet do your job for you. So your children should be considered internet schooled not home schooled. Maybe mommy watches her stories while little jimmy watches a DVD about long division.

        April 12, 2012 at 8:57 am |
      • donna

        GREAT COURSES Rock!!! Though they're pricey. My 10 year old nephew has done a couple of math series from them and he loves them. For those who don't know- they are college level lecture series. There's no public school that would show them to kids this age, because it would be over most of their heads.

        April 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
      • calimom

        CC the point of homeschooling is not that all of the curriculum comes from the parent, but that the parent will guide their child and recognize where they are, and move them forward at their own pace. Just as I was able to take satellite courses in my public high school, my kids are able to take DVD, satellite courses, and more online in our homeschool. It does not change that we are homeschooling. Not to mention we do not limit ourselves when it comes to learning resources for our kids. The curriculum in public schools is the same for every child attending, in our homeschool we use a wide variety of materials and customize it to each child and their particular learning styles. You seem a little insecure , which is the most likely reason you would focus on attacking something you don't understand. We have done the public school thing, we have done the private school thing, and now we are doing the homeschool thing. My only concern right now is that my son is aging out of the local sports programs. As he enters high school I don't know how else to get him onto a sports team other than through the public schools. So we are torn. We (my son, husband, and I) don't want to put him into public school, but he loves basketball, and at this point we are weighing our options. Homeschooling has served us well.

        April 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • lha

      I believe you might benefit from looking into how conscientious home schooled children are trained in advanced math. I don't know how it compares to public school results but I do know several whose children have excelled in stem who have a home schooled education.

      April 12, 2012 at 6:17 am |
    • JoJo Deengulberree

      Bob –
      ... or become a wealthy salesman, or a real estate mogul, or a successful entrepenaur, or...

      I was fully public educated and took the tradional route through tech/math-laden college and Corporate America. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have wasted my time. You don't need high tech to be successful in this life and, in fact, it is easier to be successful via alternate routes.

      April 12, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • spellingbeeteam

      People like Bob just refuse to understand. I have a music degree and my homeschooled 4th grader is currently doing 8th grade math and is scheduled to start Algebra in the fall. She rarely misses any problems and that's because her answers are the same as the answer key, not because I inflate the grades. Additionally she has no problem interacting with other kids and adults. I've had people in stores talk to me about homeschooling and how to start after observing my kids.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Jorge

      Bob, most regular curriculum grade school math and science teachers have little or no working knowledge of higher mathematics or applied sciences, those who do are either transient and on their way to higher-paying jobs (I was one of them) or bored retired folks. If your child is gifted at STEM skills and is eligible for magnet school enrollment, then public is the way to go. If not, regular curriculum public school is not going to make a Werner Von Braun or John Nash out of him/her.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:36 am |
      • Len

        CC My son learned to play the gutair on the interenet because his teacher was horrible, he learned adobe photo shop on the internet. There called tutorials and they learn on there own and there own pace no pressure. My other son is studying for his certificates for IT. You can study for Contractors License, Real Estate Lic. Parents are way better teachers then you think if you love your children you get books, field trips, meet others in the field they like etc.It's hands on care. No bullying, no drugs, no funky dressing, because your showing and teaching them, working with them.

        April 12, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  36. ridiculous

    So I am going to be a pediatrician. I won't attend any classes, I may read some things on the internet and some books to learn how to be a doctor and I will go ahead and buy a stethoscope. I really care about my patients – but I've never been licensed. Who wants to be my patient?

    Exactly

    April 11, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • John

      Maybe you failed reading in school. This had nothing to do with her doing homeschooling to be a pediatrician. It was about her children being home schooled though high school. Guess going to public schools didn't help you learn.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
      • D. Lorentz

        I think he's referring to us "unqualified" folk tryin' ta give our young un's an ejacashun at home. gosh darn if my little un's didn't larn ta read after all! ITSA MIRACAL!

        April 11, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Stacey

      Typical ignorance. It's not as if a home schooled child does any less studying or reading than a public schooled child; often they do much more. I can't imagine any public schooled seniors I'd want as my doctor.

      The home schooled child is going to have to attend the same medical school as that public schooled child if he ever wants to perform brain surgery.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
      • ridiculous

        The ignorance is all yours to think (unjustly so) that just because an untrained parent wants to be a teacher, that they are equally qualified. So maybe all of you who misread my comments could have learned how to "read for meaning" before you proved me right.

        No other profession gets this disrespect. No one else thinks they can be a firefighter, a cop, a doctor, a dentist, an engineer, or a plumber without training. So many of you are so self-absorbed that you don't even acknowledge that if you had supported your public schools the whole country would benefit.

        April 11, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Annie

      Ridiculous, you are correct in your belief that formal training is very helpful when dealing with a group of children in a classroom setting. Classroom management strategies are a huge issue. Also, it is common to have an incredible range of abilities in the same room. For example, a third grade classroom may have one child who reads on a kindergarten level, one who reads on a tenth grade level, and others at every level in between. Multiply this by all of the varied subjects taught, throw in some serious discipline issues, learning disabilities, difficult or absent parents, and it's enough to make one's head spin. HOWEVER, home schooling one's own children is NOTHING like that. It is more of a tutoring situation. Two of my kids have never experienced anything BUT homeschool and one just got a 730 on SAT reading section as a 7th grader!!!!! That's well within the range for high school seniors accepted to Harvard. (She took the test with high school seniors as part of Duke Universitie's Talent Identification Program for gifted 7th graders.) Admittedly, her math score was lower because we haven't covered much of the material yet, but I really do think that National Merit Scholar is NOT an unreasonable goal. One of the young men in our homeschool group achieved this honor a couple of years ago and his mom....eeegad...was NOT a certified teacher either....just a lil ol nurse. What's more, it's off base to say that homeschool moms just maybe read a couple of books about it. The truth is that many parents devote years to studying teaching techniques, learning styles, curriculum options, etc. and are constantly researching and networking in order to provide their child with the best possible education.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
      • Annie

        Ugg...stupid type-o. I do know it is "University's". but can't delete and repost.

        April 11, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  37. HSmom

    My first 3 children went to public school and my 4th child started there. I am now homeschooling my younger children and will continue as long as possible. When my 4th child went to school, he spent most of his days being teased for being "too smart", listening to his teacher yell at students, and putting up with a teacher who had less science knowledge than him and regularly taught incorrect information (first grade!!). Most of the "socialization" he got was constant teasing and he would go days without talking to more than a few people because he didn't want to be teased about a health issue he had or because the stupid kids didn't understand his extensive knowledge about science. He started developing tics and other problems from the stress. Since I started homeschooling, his tics have gone away, his social skills have improved, he's been able to do in depth studies of things he's interested in (animals, history, geography, reading), he regularly reads excellent literature, and he has time to play. He gets plenty of social time with people of all ages at homeschool P.E. classes, Sunday School, Scouts, sports, music classes and other activities in the community. He invites other homeschooled kids over to play in the afternoons. My highly motivated oldest son is doing well with his public school education, but he regularly tells me how much time he wasted by going to school instead of being homeschooled. My second son also graduated from PS and told me I should take son #3 out of high school and homeschool him "so he'll learn something before he graduates". That tells you what they think about the education they got from professionals versus the education they see their younger siblings getting. I've been an involved public school parent for many years and I am currently a homeschool parent and I prefer the latter. The benefits are many. I believe that homeschooling is a viable option for many families and can be equal to or even superior to public education.

    April 11, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  38. D. Lorentz

    This can be a heated topic because it involves things we hold dear – our children. Why not rejoice in the fact that parental freedoms exist, rather than attack people who have made a choice different than you might make? Interestingly, I see most of the "attacking" is being done by public school defenders (although to their credit there are a few who aren't being nasty!). I support public school. I support homeschooling. Most of all, I support parental choice!
    Rather than communicate the many and varied reasons that we homeschool, let me just correct a few misperceptions:
    1. Not all h'schoolers do what they do in order to "shelter" their children, or for religious reasons. The reasons to homeschool are different for every family.
    2. We don't do it to get out of standardized testing. I won't mention how well my children do because I've seen the response that's received when people have stated the successes of their homeschooled children. My children take tests. They do just fine.
    3. Homeschooling families still pay school taxes for the public system. As do people without children, or with grown children. It makes no difference either that my child is at home. The school board still gets funding for every child either in school or registered to homeschool.
    My kids might be in public school someday, and I hope that when they are, people will respect MY choice to educate them in this way. Until then, people should respect that I, as a parent who values my children above all, have informed myself of the options and settled upon the best choice for our situation at this time and am providing them with the best education possible. That is also what I am teaching my children, which, judging from some of the comments, is not being taught very well in public school. Respect for others' choices and values.

    April 11, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Deacs86

      Couldn't have said it better! Great stuff.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
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