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)
  1. Amy

    Those in support of government schools often amaze me with their lack of knowledge and willingness to push their OPINIONS onto others. They must not have learned (in public school) that one should examine DATA when formulating hypotheses and theories. As a ps student, I did very well academically......because I had a stable home with two loving parents who expected me to. In my upper-middle-class high school, the accelerated students were "isolated" in AP and college prep classes. When I had to take a general ed course, I was horrified and irritated by
    the apathy and disrespect for education that I discovered, and couldn't wait for the hour's conclusion. On occasion, we were given group assignments in which the smart student did all the work because they wanted the A, and nobody else put forth any effort at all. Great socialization opportunity. One result of the "isolation" for the advanced kids was that there were virtually no druggies, smokers, drinkers, Marilyn Manson types, etc. among our peers. Yes, I learned about socialization in public school–avoid the people who make bad choices or you will become like them. I also learned that although I had a few excellent teachers, the vast majority in my "Blue Ribbon" schools were mediocre, and some weren't even good babysitters. The day after I graduated I married my sweetheart. We both wanted to homeschool our children, so I began college in pursuit of a degree to become "qualified". After doing my own research (gasp) I discovered that homeschooling laws vary from state to state, and those states who had the most "oversight" did not have better homeschooling outcomes in comparison to the states where they had less oversight. A parent's educational attainment also did not have a significant effect on the student's success on standardized tests. We are all conditioned to believe that a teaching degree means knowledge and ability to teach, but the reality is that almost anyone can follow a curriculum k-8. I scored in the 99th percentile in reading and English on the ACT, but I still had to learn how to teach phonics......and I did. Without a degree, with less than $500 per student, I am doing a better job with my pupils than the ps would. Next month, we travel to Duke University where my 12 year old will be recognized for academic achievement that places her in the top 2% based on her ACT scores of 31/30 in English and reading. So, how did she obtain a better score–at 12–than 93% of college-bound juniors and seniors, with instruction from an uncertified teacher? Some have asked how homeschoolers can know that their students are excelling.....when this same daughter taught herself to read at age 4, I knew she was ahead. When she completed high school spelling and vocabulary books at age 10, I knew she was ahead. When I had her take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills in 5th grade just to get an idea of where she stood comparatively, her 95th percentile composite gave me evidence to support my own evaluations, but I ALREADY KNEW she was ahead. Now Duke University knows it. When she goes to MU with a year of college credit under her belt, and then to vet school, and becomes a very young veterinarian(her plan), everyone else will know it, too. In response to those who believe that homeschooling is a hotbed of abuse, HSLDA has shown that there should statistically be a certain number of abuse/neglect deaths per year among homeschooled students in comparison to the average population if it were a true issue, and it is nowhere near the norm. Unfortunately, many in our society castigate home educators or would even take children away from good, law-abiding, responsible parents because of stereotypical prejudices. Do the research–study Brian Ray's comprehensive statistical data. Analyze our ps system by comparing our low ranking worldwide despite majorly outspending other nations. Adolph Hitler believed all Jews were trash because of his own subjective experiences with them. It's called prejudice. It's also ignorance.

    April 11, 2012 at 1:54 am |
  2. GeeksNFreaksatHome

    This lady is home schooling her kdis because they are continuing their line of being intraverted fat kids. She probably has them locked in the basemet and they are not allowed to leave the house.

    April 11, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • MT

      I bet they can spell, though.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • pbsat

      Why assume that everyone is like you?

      April 11, 2012 at 1:49 am |
  3. LouAz

    . . . and when my children graduate from my home schooling, I'm going to give each one of them a job right here in my own home, because that way I can be sure that the wonderful education I have provided them will match the work experience that I provide. Oh, I am just so wonderful !

    April 11, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • LouAz

      Oh, I forgot to tell all of you how gifted all my children are. I know this . . . because I am their Mother, and Mothers know these things.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:07 am |
      • Jennifer

        So unnecessary...

        April 11, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Coolmom9

      what is your problem? You sound pretty bitter. Maybe homeschooling isn't for you, but it worked for this family. And it certainly worked for ours.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • MT

      All the formerly homeschooled adults I know are now college-educated professionals. Why would that mother have to give them a job in her house? I don't understand...

      April 11, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • pbsat

      So vain.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:50 am |
      • Todd

        So what if she's proud, are you proud of your public schooled kids?

        April 11, 2012 at 6:45 am |
  4. Leah

    I agree homeschooling is not for everyone, but it works for us. I am a graduate student working on my MA and I have experience teaching high school. I homeschool my 8 yr old for a myriad of reasons, but mainly because he's extremely gifted and our public school experience was a disaster. We pulled him out after realizing they were not going to help him since he was so far ahead. He went to a private school for a year and half and it ended up in disaster (bullying, lack of instruction, little academic progress, etc.). Since we've homeschooled him, he is now officially two grades ahead and yes, he really is. I give him standardized tests every year. He does schoolwork on average 4-5 hours a day and interacts with people in the 'real world' every day. I'm not raising my son to learn how to interact with a group of kids, I'm raising him to learn to interact with adults. He goes to college with me, he has church activities and he's getting into sports.

    To those who say public school is the best option, maybe it is for your kids but its not for mine.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Yes, but....

      I think it is a little different if the parents have training in teaching...I have a six-year old and I teach high school age students. I think his teacher has a much better understanding of learning for his age group than I do.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  5. Secularhomeschooler

    I find the lack of understanding of why people homeschool to be shocking. I am a credentialed teacher with 10 years of classroom experience and a credentialed public school administrator with 3 years as a vice-principal. My son is homeschooling this year after three dismal years in public school. He was stagnant, stuck in a dark classroom, with a dimwitted teacher and 29 other kids who were just hoping to get through their 180 days of boredom.

    School systems are not equip to deal with children that are three or more years above grade-level. To the fool that said no child can read at 5th grade level in Kindergarten, you need to read a little more often yourself. My son is 9, has repeatedly been tested (both by public school and private psychologists) to function academically at a high school level. Each teacher's answer was "There is nothing we can do for him. He just has to wait." Wait... for 6 years.

    Do we have a full chemistry lab in our house? No, but neither does our local high school which is underfunded, overcrowded and has a dropout rate of 27%. Instead, we spend hours in science museums, workshops taught by actual scientists, and reading piles of books.

    Socialization is a myth developed by the American school system in favor of public schools. My son spends more time working with a variety of children now than he ever did in a classroom where he was supposed to sit still and be quiet. He has friends of all ages and a variety of races, religions and colors. He spends time with adults more frequently and has grace, manners and a wicked sense of humor that most posters here would not even begin to understand.

    Anyone who believes that there is socialization in the "No Child Left Behind" classroom hasn't spent time there. Our local elementary just canceled recess for a month for test prep. Lunchrooms are quiet because lunch is 15 minutes and there is no time to chat. 3rd graders have an hour to two hours of homework every night and fall asleep before their heads hit the pillow.

    And just for the record, I'm a well educated, atheist homeschooler giving my child a proper science education. It's not all about buns and prairie skirts.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • boulderbubblemomblog

      Good for you! Good luck with your endeavors.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • riley

      Well said. its the same reason my sister is home schooling her 10 year old. She has a Masters in Science and spends about four hours a day with him on school work. She was told that her son needed to learn how to pace himself vs the school giving him challenging work to complete.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Coolmom9

      Couldn't have said it better myself! Where did this foolish notion that forcing children into groups with only others their own age was the "real world"? Where else in the real world, if you get hit and protect yourself, you get suspended too? Public school is not the real world, in any sense of the word. Loved, loved, loved your comment!

      April 11, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • pbsat

      Well said! All the best with your endeavor.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • Kathryn Freeman

      Buns and prairie skirts! I really enjoyed your post; we've had many of the same experiences homeschooling a gifted child. I am consistently amazed that people still think all homeschoolers are religious whacks–now you've provided me with a buns-and-prairie-skirts visual that will be hard to shake!

      April 11, 2012 at 3:35 am |
      • SWbeth

        Those "religious whacks" pioneered the homeschooling trend here in the U.S., paving the way for the rest of us to be able to educate our children the way we see fit. Perhaps they weren't as "whacked" as one might think. Good luck in your endeavors with your children.

        April 11, 2012 at 6:54 am |
  6. lm

    My problem with homeschooling is that it's not regulated in any way. At least not in my state. I was homeschooled for most of my teen years, and in my case and of the other homeschooled children I knew, it was a way to isolate and enforce extremist religious views. It was also used to cover up abuse with several of my friends. In my case, the parent was not in any way capable of homeschooling and was doing it out of religious fear and emotional problems. And I didn't have it nearly as bad as some of the kids who were actually physically abused. We went to occasional homeschool groups, but were never allowed on our own and the children I knew were almost always children of my parents friends, who were going through the same or worse than me. I remember for about 3 years before I was actually "allowed" to go to a local youth group, I probably saw about the same 3 children and 10 adults. I'm female, and I remember thinking at 14, "I wonder if you're supposed to talk to guys differently than girls". Because I had not talked to a guy anywhere near my age in a social context since I had been in private school at 11.

    I certainly think homeschooling can work for some kids, but there needs to be at least some state oversight. When I did it (which I didn't get a say in despite the fact that I always excelled in public and private schools despite being moved every year or two), all you had to do was sign a paper saying you were homeschooling your child and that was it. Truancy laws are gone, the child has no contact with the outside world unless the parent says so, and no one knows if you're actually being taught and no one is around to notice any signs of abuse. Homeschooling for children who do not do well in the public school system or do better with less structure is totally fine, but we need at least some loose oversight to ensure that children are actually being taught and that abuse is not occurring. I had a friend growing up who barely could read at age 10 simply because her parents called her homeschooled without ever actually teaching her, not because of any learning disability. That shouldn't be allowed; it's the same as not sending your children to school.

    So I think something needs to be done about the people that abuse it. Once your isolated like that, there's literally no one you can turn to for help. You're locked up with the parent homeschooling you and there is no escape. I remember thinking as a teen that the only reason I wouldn't kill myself was because eventually I would be 18 and could go to college/get a career and not be locked in my house with a parent who screamed at me for no reason. And even though my parent did actually get curriculum, I learned almost nothing especially in the maths/sciences. I was lucky I was sent to a private school for my senior year and could catch up a little. College was stressful not only because I was trying to adjust socially and deal with all the stuff that had gone on at home while homeschooled, but because I had to work twice as hard at learning all the chemistry and math that was review for other students. Sad thing is, I was smart enough to do it despite stressing myself out to the level of a breakdown, and had I had public or private school courses that weren't just on religious dvds (and gave incorrect science anyway), I would've probably been able to get into any college I wanted. It seriously hurt my academic goals because I simply didn't have the opportunities. I may be in the minority of people who excel in structured academic environments, but that's the point. Everyone is different, but in my case no one cared about how I learned best. They only cared about isolating me from the world for their own reasons and there was no one to step in and even attempt to alter those decisions.

    So rambling aside, homeschooling is just as viable as any other method of education, IF it is done for actual educational reasons and the quality of the education is maintained and social isolation is avoided. And even if this does happen sometimes as many commenters say is their experience, it often doesn't, as was my experience and the experience of most of the homeschooled children I saw. And that shouldn't be acceptable for abuse to so easily be hidden by a loose legal system, regardless of whether its the minority. I will support homeschooling when there's follow up to make sure that student education is remaining at grade level and that children are screened for signs of abuse to try and prevent at least some of it.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • riley

      i was anti-home school for the reasons you mentioned. Several of my good friends in middle school were home schooled for religious not academic reasons and sadly it was extremely difficult for them to pass the GED exam. However, after seeing public schools in action with my 10 year old nephew I changed my mind. I don't think he is gifted, but he is not below average and that is what the schools teach to.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  7. Chris

    Here's a short list of homeschooled social misfits.

    Artists- Claude Monet, Grandma Moses, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Peale, Athletes Michelle Kwan, Jason Taylor, Tim Tebow, Serena Williams, Venus Williams. Authors- Agatha Christie, Alex Haley, Beatrix Potter, C.S. Lewis, Charles Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, Hans Christian Anderson, Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Atwood, Mark Twain, Phillis Wheatley, Pearl S. Buck, Robert Frost, Virginia Woolf. Businessmen- Andrew Carnegie, Colonel Harland Sanders, Dave Thomas, Joseph Pulitzer, Ray Kroc. Composers Felix Mendelssohn, Irving Berlin, John Philip Sousa, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Entertainers Alan Alda, Charlie Chaplin, Christina Aguilera, Dakota Fanning, Hanson Hillary Duff, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Justin Timberlake, LeAnne Rimes, Louis Armstrong, Whoopi Goldberg. Explorers Davy Crockett, George Rogers Clark. Inventors Alexander Graham Bell, Benjamin Franklin, Cyrus McCormick, Eli Whitney, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright, Wilbur Wright. Military Leaders Douglas MacArthur, George Patton, John Paul Jones, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Matthew Perry. Photographers Ansel Adams Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, George Washington, Grover Cleveland, James Garfield, James Madison, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John Tyler, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, William Henry Harrison, Woodrow Wilson. Religious Leaders Brigham Young, Dwight L. Moody, Joan of Arc, John & Charles Wesley, William Carey. Scientists Albert Einstein, Blaise Pascal, Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, Pierre Curie. Statesman Alexander Hamilton, Daniel Webster, Patrick Henry, William Jennings Bryan, William Penn, Winston Churchill. United States Supreme Court Judges John Jay, John Marshall, John Rutledge, Sandra Day O'Connor. Women Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, Clara Barton, started the red cross, Florence Nightingale, nurse, Martha Washington, wife of George Washington Susan B. Anthony, women's rights leader Famous Homeschooling Parents Lisa Whelchel, Kelley Preston and John Travolta, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith

    April 10, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • My 2 cents- make that 3

      Impressive list. Out of curiosity I pulled 2 names out of the list. Sandra day O'Conner seemed to have gone the whole
      school route. Ansel Adams was a misfit, but rich parents got him some outstanding private tutors and he resumed
      to an 8th grade private school.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • LouAz

      You left out Jeebus !

      April 11, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Briana

      Please notice that the people who lived 200 years ago like Mozart and Da Vinci and did not have access to schools. Same goes for those who grew up in American rural areas like Abe Lincoln. Also, individuals like the Williams sisters, actors and actresses, and singing artists like Justin Timberlake were homeschooled because they were already professional entertainers or professional hopefuls at 13 and parented by stage moms. Actually, Mozart was parented by stage parents too. Same thing with olympic ice skaters and gymnasts, etc. The idea is that they will make it well enough to do well in their given field. That's why all those little girls cry as much as they do at the Olympics. It is everything they do. Thus, they never get schooled at all. They work on their given field, not on any other education. Which is so incredibly dangerous- what if it doesn't work out and everything the kid knows disappears before their eyes? Then he/she is just another a regular Joe without any skills.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Blahblah

      Chris,

      Please edit your list for people born after there was compulsory education. Also, would you mind if I made a list of famous and important people who attended real schools?

      April 11, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Yes, but....

      most of these people had private teachers and tutors...not the best evidence.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  8. Common Sense

    I do not need to read this article to articulate my objections with homeschooling. I think that it is in most cases a poor decisions to keep your child from public schooling. I believe that interactions among peers in the most central aspect to human growth. To keep your child from going to public school because they were bullied/ did not fit in/ ect.. Is to simply shelter them from the ills of society. But that does not mean they will not exist if you child is not exposed to them.

    April 10, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Gracie

      I realize a number of people will disagree, but I think that children should be sheltered from the "ills of society" – that's sort of the whole point of childhood, isn't it? You protect a child's innocence, as best you can, until they have the maturity to handle it, a bit at a time, as they are developmentally able. Childhood should be a time of curiosity and exploration and optimism and joy – who wouldn't want that kind of childhood for their child? Who would willingly trade that for years of fear, anxiety, bullying, and boredom?
      Let me also say that schools now aren't like they were. My neighbor's son in kindergarten knows all about stuff I hadn't heard of until highschool, and I'm just not interested in explaining what a BJ is to my four-year old. Am I sheltering him from the "real world?" You betcha.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
      • leigh

        I taught Kindergarten for several years before having my own children. I cant agree with you more! I had 5 year olds explaining to others what bj's were in the classroom. These kids know things that most of us didnt know until at least middle school if not high school. I homeschool my 3 children now. My 7 year old is reading several hundred paged chapter books and loves it. Are they misfits? I think not. They interact with other children and adults on a daily basis. They have many friends and easily make friends everywhere we go. We love the freedom it gives our family and the unity it brings as well. I know exactly what my child is being taught since I'm the teacher. After teaching for many years, I realized that I would stroke if my children had many of the other teachers from the school. Many of them showed obvious favortism to those "pretty" children with lots of money, the ones who brought them gifts, the extra smart ones who never needed help, etc. and seeing how many talked to the children was unbelievable! So many teachers now days hate there jobs and it shows. They have to follow so many guidelines that are ridiculous and just takes the fun out of learning. All they're able to focus on is numbers anymore. As far as socializing...my nephew is in public school in 4th grade. Many days they have no recess b/c of time demands to have test prep, etc. My sister complains of them having to eat lunch in silence b/c of time restraints. They've cut P.E. and music in a lot of schools b/c of money, etc. I know my children are much more socialized than that! Many could do it, but dont want to put forth the work and effort it requires. It is very rewarding and I dont regret one bit my family's decision to homeschool.

        April 11, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • abjones

      "sheltering them from the ills of society"...."does not mean they will not exist if your child is not exposed to them"....???
      Do you advocate letting murderers and molesters run elementary schools so the children can be exposed to these "ills" and therefore become educated? Please help me understand your, and others, socialization argument. If the education of children is intended to prepare them for adulthood how exactly do other uneducated children provide a benefit?

      April 10, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Nur

      As a former homeschooler myself, I find that many people automatically assume that we are deprived of important interaction with peers. However nothing could be farther from the truth. I have also attended public school, and I find that as a homeschooler I was given just as many if not more opportunites to interact with peers. As a homeschooler, I attended classes, traveled the us and the world, and interacted with both other homescoolers and public schoolers. So people are making unwarranted claims when they say that homescoolers are sheltered from society and are not given the opportunity to interact with people.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • boulderbubblemomblog

      Please learn to write and spell correctly before giving all of us your "common sense".

      April 10, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • MT

      I hate the term "homeschooling". We're actually not at home that much between the playdates, classes, field trips (homeschoolers have a vast network of friends), and traveling.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  9. Gretchen R

    So...are public school defenders SAYING that 30 kids in a classroom is GOOD because it allows for socialization? If public schools went down to 5-10 kids per teacher, would the country be all in uproar for the lack of socialization that would provide? What if the government provided one on one tutoring? Would that be detrimental as well?

    People who talk about socialization as the main reason not to homeschool are showing their lack of education. Scientific stuides have been done over and over on this topic, and have shown that homeschool students do as good if not better socially *on average than "traditionally" schooled children. This argument is pure prejudice.

    I've done both homeschooling and public schooling with our kids. Our public school teacher was fantastic. I still keep in contact with her. Unfortunately for her, my daughter showed up at kindergarten reading at a 5th grade level. Looking back, it was stupid of me to teach her to read before she entered public school if I had wanted her to succeed in that venue. In fact, many public schools are now asking that parents not do so, and leave that to the "experts." It's not about being an "expert." It's about the fact it's easier to manage 30 kids when they're all on the same level. My daughter started doing terribly, and we had meetings and conferences...meetings with the librarians...meetings with the principle...meetings with the teacher...emails with the teachers. At one point, I realized that it does not take 7 educators to change a light bulb, so to speak. My life is simple now. No meetings, no emails. I can just give my child a book challenging enough to keep her interested. Her education has skyrocketed since then. We now have TIME to have her in choir at the center for the arts in our community, and gymnastics, and scouts without it robbing our family of time together. She has time for horse back riding. (We live in the country, and so she can go to the neighbor's house to ride.)

    Our "school time" takes me about 2 hours a day. It's not so hard to believe when you think of how fast tutoring can be. Then she's off. She reads mostly in her spare time. She's learning Chinese online (because it interests her) and spends time at the Chinese restaurant in town because the owners are native and love having them help out in exchange for help with her language learning. She does chores. She volunteers IN THE WORLD (gasp!) I'm so proud of her.

    She's preforming 3 grade levels ahead in all subjects except math. She's only 1 grade level ahead there.

    I'm not saying everyone should homeschool. That's a silly idea that one size fits all. Nor would I say that public school is for everyone. I'm just saying, that don't make assumptions out of ignorance, and above all, this prejudice shown here in the other comments needs to stop! It's ignorance and prejudice of some of the worst kinds! I know my public school education did not teach me to judge people with terrible stereotypes and disregard all science and logic. I'm not sure where they learned that.

    April 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Gretchen R

      Correction...for clarification her reading level was 5th grade...comprehension 3rd grade, and math was below average.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
      • JR

        LOL, yes they can. That would be my MENSA husband. I was reading at college level when tested in 5th grade, myself.

        April 11, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Drito

      Kindergarten age children can not read at a 5th grade level, please get real.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
      • bjmiller

        Yes, some can. Not close to the majority of them but some can. Of course, yours can't because you believe it's impossible and so never tried. Just because your child lives down to your limited expectations doesn't mean all children do. Get real!

        April 10, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
      • Hamartia

        Oh really? I did.

        April 10, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
      • MadGOPer

        My son was reading on a 2nd to 3rd grade level in kindergarten and is now reading around 4th-5th in first grade. My sister and I had similar reading ability as my son's. It happens.. More power to those who can...

        April 10, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
      • Gretchen R

        The book "Well Trained Mind" describes this happening quite often, in fact. The book is co-written by a teacher and college professor, and has nothing "religiously conservative" about it. It's in the first chapter. Just look at 1st grade primers from 1700. Most high school students today can't read it. If you ever pick "Well Trained Mind" up at the library, you'll learn all about it. Again, let's focus on science and facts, and not prejudices based off of ignorance and blanket statements. We are all individuals still, aren't we?

        April 10, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
      • goodgirlsdo

        Who says kindergartners can't read at a 5th grade level??? I did and so did my son. Tested by (drum roll) PUBLIC schools.

        April 10, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
      • Kay

        One of my children read at 8th grade level while in Kindergarten. The testing was done by the school. It is possible and there are children who have even more extreme capabilities out there. Please don't judge what you haven't seen or do not understand.

        April 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
      • Leah

        My son could read at 2. When he started kindergarten he was at 6th grade level in reading, could add, subtract, multiply and divide. Four different elementary teachers told me "By 3rd grade everyone else will catch up and everyone will more equal." !?!?! My response "So all these kids will be reading at least 6th grade and my son learns nothing for the next 4 years?" Well by 3rd grade his reading level was at 10th grade and he was doing high school geometry. And he was never pushed – exact opposite – very little instruction from anyone. We had to discipline for reading too much and too long into the night. A score below 97% – 98% on any standardized test was odd. However he had to remain in public school and barely graduated – because he was so bored and didn't care.

        April 11, 2012 at 1:32 am |
      • Ann

        Actually, when I was in kindergarten and my brother was in 6th grade, I used to read his school stuff. You couldn't get my nose out of a book. Wish I still had that kind of free time.

        April 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  10. mattynuggs

    Yeah, homeschooling is cool ... not!
    The good parts of homeschooling is that you will always get straight As, be around your family all the time, and not have to interact with other people. Just imagine not being able to meet friends or find girlfriends/boyfriends. Imagine not having the opportunity to participate in team sports. Imagine not having to compare your progress with fellow students. The social implications are huge. You are only as intelligent as your instructor. If your mom/dad is not versed in algebra, calculus, biology, history, and grammar, you are screwed! I am glad Rick Sanitation is not going to be president!

    April 10, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • MadGOPer

      I'm not fond of Home-schooling but there is something to be said about avoiding the stigma of the "social" interactions you mentioned. Being bullied is a big one, the stigma of being the only one raising your hand with the correct answer. Playing sports you could care less about and/or have no ability for, learning inappropriate behavior, etc. My parents took me out of private school and put me into public school due to money issues. How that go... It sucked, I was eaten alive by my peers and their "worldly" ways. All the while I was kicking their ass by being on the Honor Roll all year

      April 10, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  11. carolyn

    Why do we homeschoolers bother answer homeschooling questions by ignorant individuals who don't know or have the experience of homeschooling. I homeschool my Black 9 year old boy, because he doesn't fit into the school system of europeans. I homeschool him because he is a bright boy, I homeschool him because he was being bullied at school, so instead of myself fighting with the schools, which I most definitely would have. I homeschool my Black child because no school teaches the true history of America, it's all watered down, and has been watered down for the past 50 years, that's how old I am 50. I homeschool my child cause, I was quite tired of all the useless work sent home. With homeschooling my son doesn't have to fit into your European world of sit still and be quite. He gets to be who he is and not be forced into something he is not. He can do what activities he likes: which includes chess class, soccer, swimming, karate. He gets to go out and explore the world and use the world to be taught. He can learn what it is he wants to learn and what I feel he needs to learn. not only that this is a conversation between my son and our neighbor boy. Neighbor boy "so how do you like homeschooling/" my son "it's awesome." neighbor "really/" my son, "yeah. I get to learn what ever I want. you should homeschool."

    April 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • hopemac

      I hope your son can compete with those European educated people when the time comes to get a job.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
      • christiem8

        Her son will be your son's boss! 🙂

        April 10, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
      • hopemac

        christiem8 This is the kind of arrogance that I find difficult to stomach from some in the homeschooling community. Fact is this woman's son is not likely to be my son's boss. My son is an adult now and has an international company that is doing very well and if I were to name the company, you would more than likely recognize it.
        As for your comment, it proves the arrogance of some of the homeschooling parents. The belief that somehow, because your child is schooled at home, he is smarter and will be the overseer of those poor uneducated low class public school children, is just plain ignorance. If this is the education you give your child, shame on you. Homeschooling is not for everyone and I commented on a post of a woman who clearly feels that everything in public (European) education is wrong. Not so, it is just different and variety is a good thing, but if you spend all your time telling your child that his education is better than public education and everything that is taught there is wrong, your child may have some difficulty competing in a job market where he will think that he is better educated than the other people who he will work with. Public, private, or homeschool, it doesn't matter. Choose the correct education for you and your family. But please don't assume that you and your child are better and smarter because of it. Intelligence is not determined by whether a child is homeschooled or not. And success in life isn't either.

        April 11, 2012 at 12:19 am |
  12. KM

    Thank you Dr. Gardiner!

    This is so much my own journey. I very much enjoyed your article. I too am a pediatrician who has been homeschooling for seven years. I know other pediatricians and other physicians who also chose this "road less travelled", and they too have found the same satisfaction you describe.

    April 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  13. Maya

    Homeschooling is great, as long as parents don't use it as a means to religiously brainwash their children. If you can't give your kid an adequate SCIENCE education, you aren't giving them an adequate education at all. The last thing the world needs is more morons who think the earth was created in seven days.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Pinochos98

      No, you're wrong! The last thing the world needs is more morons who think that the world evolved from some primal ooze or a big bang some trillion-zillion years ago.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
      • DrSteve

        I agree with Maya.

        April 10, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
      • nelsonnaturalist

        The author presents homeschooling in a seemingly reasonable, positive light.

        Unfortunately, what she neglected to say is that she's far from typical: 90%+ of homeschoolers are evangelical Christians that are force-feeding their children religious, anti-science propaganda.

        If you'd like to give the American Taliban more power than it already has, support homeschooling.

        April 11, 2012 at 2:38 am |
      • CC

        You should not be allowed to have children. All that science mumbo jumbo pffff. Come on dude. Religion is the bane of humanity.

        April 12, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • christiem8

      LOL! That is SIX days. The seventh day God Rested! 🙂
      And yes, home schoolers teach BOTH sides. In order to do well in science you need to know all of the theories and the facts. Evolution is a theory that tries to understand our origins. There is no fear in teaching it. Then there is Intelligent Design, where they teach that God put into place the processes of evolution. There are "Old Earth" creationists who believe God did not use the evolutionary process but also it was not created in six literal days. And finally there is the Young Earth, Creationist who believes it was created in 6 literal days.
      We teach them ALL..... for a well balanced education and make sure the children are not brainwashed.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Gretchen R

      Yes, let's all send our children to government run schools to make sure they are learning the right way to think, and not the "wrong way" their parents do. Let's not risk individual families passing on their beliefs, and make one state run way of thinking and looking at the world.

      That's a brave new world you dream of.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • MadGOPer

      Thank you for pointing that out. America is falling behind because of certain people's fear of "science". I'm afraid of the consequences if we don't reverse this dangerous trend.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  14. Chris

    So proud to be the Dad of 3 homeschoolers. Like others, I never imagined homeschooling our children. But what a great decision it has been. All of our fears about education and socialization were unfounded. My 7 year old is reading at a 6th grade level...and loves reading. Not only are they well adjusted, they are down right outgoing. The best part has been designing our own curriculum. We've gone back to the past and are using traditional methods that stress, reading, writing, grammar, latin, and math skills. Our kids too have grown incredibly curious and want to learn about everything. And to echo the author's point, homeschooling has brought our family together in ways I couldn't have imagined.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Brian

      You're children are going to be the most awkward out of place people in the world.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
      • Phillip

        Whether they'll be awkward or not, at least they'll be able to choose correctly between "you're" and "your."

        April 10, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
      • Jen

        With all due respect, at least my homeschooled children know the difference between "you 're" and "your". But actually, no, they aren't awkward or out of place. They have friends from many places and are great kids. If we sheltered a seedling, no one would question our motives, but heaven forbid we try to keep our young children from seeing/knowing about the evils of this world for a few years. Unfortunately there are some really bad things that go on in the world, and I want to keep my kids from knowing about them for as long as I can. What's so wrong with sheltering them and knowing who their friends are? If they were in public school there would be no way for me to really know who they were spending time with, let alone all of the time I'd miss with them, the boredom in the classroom (my children are above grade level like other homeschoolers who have posted comments). We don't need to argue over which choice is right. I know this choice is right for my family. The benefits we enjoy are numerous. We vacation when others cannot, it's awesome! I am very thankful I have the freedom to homeschool and I have a great curriculum to do it!

        April 10, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  15. mary jones

    Home school.come is good because older teenager the ones that are trying to finish school say that schools are unruly noisey being bullyed sick of idiots that in school that should't be in school at last you acn settle into in your studies

    April 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  16. Gracie

    My parents (both school teachers) homeschooled me and my siblings, and I'm so thankful they did. I have been with the same law firm for seven years, and I work part-time from home now so that I can homeschool my own children. (You will note the implication that 1. I'm not ignorant – I work for a law firm, and 2. I've managed to successfully interact in the real world well enough to be successful professionally and in my personal relationships). My sister is an environmental engineer, my brother is an Army Ranger – both extremely successful in their chosen professions too, and neither lurking, pasty-faced and terrified, in our mother's basement, as you might expect if you knew absolutely nothing about homeschooling.

    I have to laugh when people slam homeschoolers as closeminded and backwards and ignorant and insular, yet offer no data – just an ugly slam. If that's the sort of tolerance and openmindedness one can expect from a public-school education, I'll pass, thanks. If you're going to offer an opinion, at least back it up, especially if your opinion is that everyone who disagrees with you is ignorant.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • hopemac

      My only complaint about home schoolers has been the tendency to feel somehow better than public school students. You like your schooling method, fine, but don't slam those who choose otherwise and don't allow your children to do so either. The fact is, there needs to be variety in education and this is not for everyone. The author of this article happens to be a highly educated doctor. That is not the case with many people who make the decision to home school. I have met a number of parents who home school their children and often these people have weaknesses in their own education. One mother loved to read and write and was able to teach her children to do so up until the 5th grade level. Then her skills became became weak in that subject area and her math skills were much lower. When she got past multiplication tables, she was lost. She did not know how to do long division and fractions were out of the question.This is basic math! Needless to say, there was no algebra learned. How do I know? We are members of the same church and she asked me for help in explaining this math to her daughter. I found that the mother was explaining it incorrectly and neither she nor her children were coming out with the correct answers. But she and her children were quick to criticize the public schools that my children went to. I had similar experiences with other parents in our neighborhood who home schooled their children. I am a public school teacher and many times, I have been asked to augment the education of children who were home schooled. Home schooling is not for everyone and parents should not undertake this task if they do not hold a college level education. Algebra is beginning at 7th grade now. Pre-Algebra starts in elementary school. By high school, children should be taking Algebra II, with Geometry already under their belts by 8th grade. Even if a family does not go at this pace, they will eventually have to cover this curriculum. If the parent is not proficient, the child won't be either. The parent should have a better education than the high school student they are teaching. Good luck to all who make this choice. May you be successful. But please remember, it is not for every child and not every parent has the kind of job that will allow that flexibility. There are many parents holding down two and three jobs just to put food on the table.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  17. ytuque

    My two half-sisters were home schooled, and now, they are social misfits. A lot of socialization takes place at school, and replacing that isn't so easy.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • sharon

      There are enough misfits and trouble makers at the public school too.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • donna

      It's actually really easy to replace it.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • GOD

      @ytuque

      Just because your two half-sisters were home schooled doesn't mean that is what made them social misfits. They may have turned out to be social misfits regardless of what type of school they went to. There may have been other variables that truly caused them to be social misfits. I went to public school most of my life. There are PLENTY of social misfits there.

      Also, there are many social activities available to home-schooled students. Many local and community groups exist for them. It's up to the parents to make sure their children have the opportunity to participate.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
      • Yes, but....

        homeschoolers can't argue that the sisters would have turned into misfits anyway and then congratulate themselves on their own successful kids. That would mean that their kids would have done well anyway....

        April 11, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  18. Lisa

    We're making the switch from public school to homeschooling in June. My kids are excited, as am I! We researched a lot of companies and settled on our curriculum and now we're just counting down to June. After researching homeschooling here in New Jersey, I was stunned to see the sheer numbers! The amount of coops and groups is astounding. Homeschoolers here still have science fairs and proms and field trips. They even have their own sports leagues that compete with other high schools. It's pretty amazing when you really look. I found two fine arts schools nearby that only offer classes during the school day and a local ice rink offers 1/2 price during the school day for homeschoolers. A local gymnastics class runs a class just for homeschoolers. It's amazing what you can find and how much more out of life your kids can get.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  19. Lisa

    We are making the switch from public school to homeschool this June and we are so excited. My 3rd grader is starting a computer based curriculum and my 1st grader will be working in a workbook curriculum. They have friends that are homeschooled and a number of people that are in school now with them are making the switch. Looking around has opened my eyes to the HUGE amount of opportunities for my kids that they would never have staying in public school. It's not for everyone, but if you can do it and you think you may want to, I urge you to try it. You've got absolutely nothing to lose.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  20. nodat1

    nothing wrong with home schooling it has its advantages
    easy to identify the teacher who molested the student
    PTA meetings are a snap but the split personality teacher parents may cause problems)
    less soccer moms on the hwy in the morning
    able to monitor what your child eats for lunch
    no worrys on your child walking home
    never late for school
    and on and on
    again nothing wrong with home schooling just remember to keep your socially maladjusted little freaks out of my neighborhood

    April 10, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • laura

      Gladly as you are the epitome of grammatically-challenged normal.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • GOD

      @nodat1

      At the risk of feeding the troll...

      Never mind.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  21. Aunt B

    I was homeschooled. Every evening and on the weekends my parents were my teachers. They reinforced that which I was taught at the public school and added much subject matter not taught at any school. I am a well educated Certified Public Accountant with two Masters degrees. I can perform basic electrical and plumbing work, conduct a reasonable amount of building construction tasks, kill and field dress my own deer, turkey, and squirrel. Plant, tend and harvest my owrn garden. I can prepare all of the previous for well rounded healthy meals and preserve the excess for off season meals. I play five musical instruments and can dance both with a partner or without. I can manage my own finances and live debt free. I (usually) make wise decisions and live with the consequences of those decisions without directing blame to others. I know three languages (English, Spanish and ASL). I, too, homeschool my children. I homeschool them everyday after they arrive home from school (and me from work) and almost every weekend. During occasional weekends they go on trips with our Church or spend time with friends or family; where they are also "schooled." I am a single parent (widowed) of two boys and two girls.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • GOD

      @Aunt B

      I see you have the help of the community (Church, Friends, other Family) in raising your children. Good for you.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • hopemac

      Your kind of home schooling is to be commended. If every parent in this country did the same as you, our public schools would no longer need remedial programs. We would be looking for ways to provide more advanced classes because our students would be ready for them. You are wonderful. Keep up the good work.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • hopemac

      Great job! I only wish all parents would do what you have done. Keep up the good work.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  22. G&TNana

    So glad to be a part of the homeschooling community. Have a great group of all ages who participate in a co-op two days a week covering everything from 1st grade through high school. This is where I get help in areas I'm not as comfortable teaching. I have a B.A. degree in English and French, play musical instruments and love history. My husband has a Th.B. and covers science and Bible. My daughter has a MBA and covers math and art. At the co-op my grands have choices like Chinese they probably wouldn't have in a traditional school (and at the elementary level). In college I had professors (e.g., in Art, Biology, History) who could not write a sentence if their life depended on it. They were good in their field, but not in every field. The same is true of all teachers. There are some who love English and languages and literature, but muddle through history and art. It doesn't mean they're ill-prepared, just human. We have loved homeschooling and are blessed to be able to be a part of our grands' lives in an ongoing way. Our grands are included in all the activities of the neighborhood and our church, which includes children of several races, ages and both public, private and homeschoolers. This is what has worked for our family but is certainly not for everyone. They were happy in public schools in grades 1-4 but our G&T was falling through the cracks and was bored. He's never bored in homeschooling because the curriculum is tailored to where he is in his learning. And, behold, the younger one is G&T also, but is a much more lively person and his learning needs are very different. We have offered for them to go to public school or private school or a Christian school, but they want to be homeschooled. They tested well above the national and state level in the year-end mandated testing. Bless every parent who is trying to do the right thing for their children and family, no matter where they are schooled.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  23. laura

    Glad to know that the public schools are full of socially adept, well-rounded children and that the bullying issue has completely disappeared. Good to know that teens are no longer killing themselves over social issues in school.

    Anyone who knows many homeschoolers (not just the stereotypical spelling bee champ), knows that homeschoolers are especially well-equipped to deal with social issues b/c they don't just deal with their peers. They deal with all sorts of people all day long.

    And, I can get the best teachers in the world for my students in this electronic age, if I ever feel like there's a subject I can't teach.

    BTW, I have 12 years post-secondary ed (my first major was education), and feel more than adequate to teach my children–moreso than any ps teacher I might turn them over to. I saw what amounts to a teaching degree in this country and it's more about classroom management than being a subject expert, esp. at the elem ed level. Do you know how much time is spent in teaching how to set up a bulletin board. Egads.

    Keep your blinders on. Homeschoolers will start to make their mark very soon.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  24. s

    there are pros and cons to any sort of educational instruction. what is most important is that parents are active in their child's eduction, i think we all know that. what i think is far more important is to raise a CURIOUS child, and by gum start on it before you ever have to worry about whether you'd like to home school or go the traditional route. expose your kids to a variety of things, whether they can grasp all of what you're showing them or not; the things that they seem most interested in, take the time to help them find out more about them, but don't limit it to that. i spent the first 5 years of my kid's life telling her,"you'll learn more about that in school", talking about everything from how and why ants build anthills to how much we end up using math in our daily lives (mostly centered around cooking activities in the kitchen), to how storms form and why they sometimes end up spawning tornadoes ( 2 years of spring tornado warnings in TX, yay fun). when i had exhausted all means of explaining things to her at her level of understanding, and/or couldn't answer any more questions for my own lack of knowledge, i would tell her she would learn more about it in school. she started kindergarten with the expectation that she would get answers to her questions and learn things she didn't already know, and she went in WANTING these things. now, in 2nd grade, i often expand on her homework, telling her things about geology that they don't yet study in school, or tossing a little simple algebra at her, if it can be in any way connected to her current math homework. we read "Bad Kitty For President" and talked about what i know about our admittedly convoluted political processes. she went to school the next day and instigated a classroom president election, right down to having all of her classmates registered to vote! every minute your child is with you, there are learning opportunities all around you, you just have to tailor them to your child, which is something that our schools don't always have the luxury of being able to do. i think that a lot of ppl don't stop to think about it, but simply sitting down and watching sponge bob can be an opportunity to teach them about ocean environment, climate, pollution, any number of things, and using something they enjoy, the cartoon, is likely to keep them more focused on it at a time when dry words on a page are really just... boring. the lack of social interaction with home schooling may be a problem IF those parents don't make a point of putting their kids into social situations with other children and seeing to it that they develop those skills. it is something to consider, and we did, since we agreed that our daughter WOULD NOT be going to any kind of day care. we went out of the way to take her places that we normally would avoid like the plague (most notably Chuck E. Cheese bleah) just to get her out with other kids, teach her how to interact with them, including dealing with the bratty bullying types. we didn't want to suddenly send her off to school one day and there she would be in a classroom full of other children, and no clue how to deal with them. i think that when we talk about how important a parent's role is in a child's education, we think that means we have to fill their head with knowledge, facts, figures; what we would be better served doing is to make them interested in GAINING knowledge. look your monitor, ppl, and tell me how many of you have the faintest idea what exactly are the materials it is made of. idk either, but if i call my kid over here and ask her that question, we'll spend the next hour or so finding out, and from that we can get the table of elements and subatomic particles, i guarantee it, AND i can do it without boring her to death. when we, as parents, do decide to try to teach our kids tings, like why the sky is blue and what makes a rainbow, we seem to want to wait until they can grasp every technical term associated with the topic. don't wait, tell them the sky is blue because of the air and the sun and rain how they work together, and leave it at that. when they are older, you can always talk about it again! here's an easy one: you can talk about the water cycle, rain to dew to water vapor to clouds to rain again. you can demonstrate with a pot of boiling water when you're making spaghetti and the steam on the bathroom mirror after a hot shower. you are smarter than you think you are, parents, you CAN teach you kids, and you can make it fun and interesting, and most importantly, you can make them WANT to learn. it matters not a whit if you home school or send them to school, education begins and ends with parents.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  25. Stella

    Thank you for this beautiful and gently stated personal account of homeschooling.

    I am a product of the public school system as well, with undergrad and grad degrees in violin performance and music education. For the first 14 years of my teaching career (private studio) I had the unique privilege of teaching a variety of public, private, and homeschooled children.

    I have nothing bad to say about public or private schools, as I am a product of all they offer... However, there was a striking difference in my homeschooled students. Musically, these kids are expressive (I'm not talking about robots). They are curious. (how does this instrument work? Ok let's talk about the physics of sound and vibration). It has given me a view of homeschooling that is entirely positive, especially in the world of art.

    The goal of education has a basic function... We want well educated citizens because we want a productive society. Once a person is productive, the goal has been accomplished, and that is where so much of education stops. But the better goal of education would be to create hungry learners, like these homeschool students I teach. For in that, there is productivity, and also creativity, academic honesty, beauty, and happiness.

    Sorry, I started dreaming there for a minute...

    April 10, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • mattinthehat

      @lilarose,

      All right, I am a homeschooled student. I am happy to know that I know more than you about taxes (yes, homeschoolers DO pay property taxes and income taxes.)

      I also go to the local school swimming pool. Since my family pays regional taxes we get a discounted rate. It makes for a great PE program.

      "If someone comes to me looking for a job and tells me they were home schooled, I would be afraid to hire them (and I would be looking outside to see of mommy is waiting in the car)."
      What you are saying there is no less than illegal discrimination. How is that any different from not hiring based on race or religion? Sure, there may be a conflict of interest with a self-issued diploma, but most homeschool students I know (including me) take standardized tests to eliminate problems.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
      • Ron

        I don't know that I see it as illegal discrimination. Homeschooling is a choice, race is not. If two job candidates walked in for interviews, the interviewers would have to find a way to decide which one to hire. Sometimes it might come down to education and quality thereof.

        Having said that, I would not automatically pick the homeschooled candidate or the public/private schooled candidate based on that one factor. I've met several h'schooled kids that are as well adjusted as anyone; I've met public schooled kids that are just as well adjusted. I've also met kids from both populations that are complete basket cases for whatever reasons.

        April 11, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  26. lilarose1941

    And so many of us who are paying taxes on public schools really RESENT these parents who can't let go of their kids but want to use our facilities for free....swimming pools, football programs, tennis courts, gyms, science facilities, typing classes etc. Parents should not provide the entire education for their children. Kids need the variety of learning other ideas from people outside their family, even good or bad. If someone comes to me looking for a job and tells me they were home schooled, I would be afraid to hire them (and I would be looking outside to see of mommy is waiting in the car).

    April 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Michelle

      lilarose1941...we pay taxes too...we just don't utilize the teachers that are paid with them...why couldn't we utilize facilities we paid for? what does that have to do with anything? don't be so selfish!

      April 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
      • lilarose1941

        I am a retired high school business course teacher. I had one heck of a time getting the parents to allow their kids time to do their accounting homework. I don't want one red cent of my property taxes here in Oregon going to parents like that. Again, I don't know anyone who is qualified to home school their kids. They can barely spell or write themselves. You home school, you dang well pay for it!!!!!!

        April 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • paige

      Wow, how closed minded can you get? I doubt seriously anyone who was homeschooled would come to you for a job. They usually end up in higher careers than you provide. No one I know who homeschools wants to use your pool or your facilities. And for your information, we pay the same taxes as you do, whether we send our kids to the schools our taxes pay for, so you better get over your resentment. You sound like you are jealous no one thinks as highly of your public school educated child as they do of mine. Who by the way owned his own political consulting business at 19 and at age 21 he has represented 3 Congressmen, 3 Senators, a Public Service Commissioner, 1 Gubernatorial Candidate, a Presidential Candidate, is at the moment being sought after by 1 Gubernatorial Candidate, 2 Congressmen and a state Representative. And yes, Mommy is his secretary. Paid secretary, because he can afford it. Plus he is a junior in college, and studying for his LSATs. My other 2, who are homeschooled also, are part of his staff and so are 11 other homeschooled students. Yeah, homeschooling is a way of life and family togetherness. By the way, none of these kids have tattoos, drink, smoke, curse or do drugs but they do tend to break out in serious Christian Pop songs every 15 minutes or so, and when they sing hymns it makes the neighbors cry with joy.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • SteveW

      You keep spouting off about being a taxpayer and how home schooled children use your facilities without paying taxes for them...

      Huh? Do you realize that home schoolers pay for their own books? Their own lab materials? Their own teaching aids? All the things you get for your tax dollars, we pay for....oh and we still pay taxes as well. Why SHOULDN'T home schooled kids get to use 'your' facilities? It's actually BETTER for public schools when kids are home schooled, because they get the tax money but don't have to use it. People who cry, 'Taxes' whenever they talk about how unfair home schoolers are to their public schools really have no idea what they're talking about. But in my own case let me address your concern this way: I spend 80.00/month for the YMCA local to me so that my children can have all the facilities (and better) that you have in your public schools...without having to deal with your public school mentality to use them.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • donna

      What a hostile and bitter person you are lilarose1941. I pity you.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • christiem8

      Why so BITTER? I wouldn't want a bitter person teaching my children.
      We pay our taxes too! PUBLIC remember? We are a part of the PUBLIC.
      I would love to pick and choose where MY tax money goes! If I had 15,000 a STUDENT for MY classroom, we would GO TO the Great Wall of China to learn about it. We would have the best equipped school in the world!
      But no, my taxes go to pay for bitter old ladies to teach and rub off on the children, and then we have to pay for our own educational materials too.
      AND no, they are not tax deductible. But they should be.

      What a bunch of ignorant, ill informed people.
      And if you think Homeschoolers only teach ONE SIDE? Think again. We teach our children to THINK. That is why they do so well in college.
      We had several professors talk to us at an honor banquet, asking us where our sons were schooled, because they were very impressed with them.
      There are all sorts of emotionally challenged, socially challenged people from all walks of life, INCLUDING Public schools too! But nobody says anything about that.
      Frankly, true socialization IS NOT sitting in a classroom several hours a day surrounded by everybody who is exactly your same age.
      True socialization happens in the "Real World", with young, old, and all ages in between, learning how to relate to and communicate with and accept those who are different than themselves.

      Frankly, most of the venom in here is not about the article, but about somebody's choice that is different. Remember, "the other side?"

      April 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • nathandf

      As a public school teacher, I would like to submit a list of students I think should be homeschooled...but that probably wouldn't be nice...

      April 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
      • christiem8

        I would love to take those students and prove that they can learn and be successful!

        April 11, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • Hills

      im not sure why you say "those of us paying school taxes resent....." ... Homeschooling parents also pay just as much in taxes and dont use nearly as many of the public resources (even if their kids participate in a sport or two). Secondly, most statistics show homeschool children on average score higher in nearly every catergory from academic to social. Thirdly, we aren't necessarily the only ones that teach our children. They benefit from experts in every area, from a carpentry class taught by a local contractor to a pottery class at a local store. They can even participate in classroom discussions online or in homeschool family groups. The main difference is that we take an active role in organizing, participating and customizing their education to best suit their strengths and weaknesses while also modeling the morals and character qualities we want them to develop. They are amazing independent learners and have more real world experience because of the nature of homeschooling, they arent restricted to the classroom environment. This typically makes them better employees, not worse.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • janeway

      Do you forget that homeschooling families also pay taxes for public schools but do not use them most of the time? as far as not hiring a homeschooler that's your loss. is it that you are looking for someone who will be a sheep? It has been shown that homeschoolers are selfstarters more often than their public school counterparts.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Tracie

      You do realize that parents that home school pay taxes exactly like you do?

      April 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Gretchen R

      I don't think you mean to sound mean, but I believe you have based your opinions out of ignorance and assumptions. This woman obviously works, so someone obviously takes care of her kids during that time. Homeschooling parents pay as many taxes as public schooling parents. In fact, not only do they pay taxes for schools that they do not use, they pay out of pocket for their own curriculua without government help.

      As for my kids, they have a choir teacher (not at the public school, but the community arts center) meet people at my husband's work as they tag along. (He owns his own business so he has the ability to bring them along when they want to, and their "schoolwork" is done.) Many homeschoolers hire tutors for certain subjects. I've found that homeschool kids are able to relate to people outside their situation, and age group much more than public school kids who are only exposed to people of their own age group and 1 teacher...in a box...with no windows...and few field trips to see the actual world.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • GOD

      @lilarose1941
      I’m not sure what laws and restrictions you have in your state. All I know is that I pay my taxes, which pays for public education. If I want to use facilities that I helped pay for, then I should be allowed to as a tax-paying citizen. I’m not using the facilities for free if I paid for them, right? Why do I have to have the teacher go along with it as well?... unless your school only gets additional funds per student enrolled? I’m not sure what system you have in your neck-of-the woods.

      Parents are trying to use those facilities so that they don’t provide the entire education all by themselves. They are using the resources they paid for. They are going outside their family to learn new things. It’s too bad you didn’t see that in your comments. Parents are trying to do the very thing that you claim they ought to… with the resources they paid for already.

      You sound bitter and upset. I’m glad I didn’t have you for accounting. I’m glad you are retired too. I couldn’t imagine wanting to do my accounting homework for a teacher like you.

      OH, and FYI… I graduated from college top of my class in business with triple honors.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • kd

      Sadly, too many people are of the same mindset as you. Perhaps you don't know that there are homeschool co-ops everywhere! Children are getting instruction from several different teachers, with children of many different backgrounds and ages. They also get instruction from music teachers, recreational sports coaches, church leaders and more. Homeschool parents work twice as hard to make sure their kids get 'exposure' from different sources. We pay taxes, just like you, only we also have to pay in addition to that fees for books, field trips, and other learning resources. We pay double! We pay for the public-schooled kids and our own. And for some to ask to participate in school – well golly, gee, don't you want them to get instruction from 'other places'?

      Perhaps someday you can open your mind and your heart to be accepting of all children, regardless of where they were schooled.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • NyteShayde

      Clearly you're not at all versed in home-schooling. We don't just keep our kids home and shelter them. They are exposed to several opportunities to socialize outside the home. My daughters participated in team sports, music, art, and martial arts with their peers. I do not utilize anything in the public school system and yet my property taxes still pays for the public system in my neighborhood. Should I *want* to utilize their sub-par facilities, I would do so. My children are productive and were far more prepared for the real world and for college than any PS student was. Aside from basic academics, they were taught how to run a home, balance a checkbook, the ins and outs of credit management. All of that and not a single incident of bullying or BS superfluous social problems to distract them from what their lives are supposed to focus on.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • s

      hrm, let me see: for the first 5 years after my child was born, i paid taxes, and never once set foot in a school. i spent the time of her life before she went to public school teaching her at home; in other words, home schooling. and i still paid taxes. she went into 5K already knowing how to read and write, while i paid my taxes and home schooled her. the child can keyboard like a mad mother at 8, without benefit of my taxes or yours having paid for a typing class. we pay to use the pool during open swim on top of what we pay in taxes to the school district. when my daughter comes home in the afternoon from school, every weekend, all summer long, she is learning, i SEE TO IT that she is, and i don't use a lick of your almighty tax dollars, or mine for that matter. that may explain why she has always been ahead of her peers in every subject her school grades her on, no? who is it that's not paying taxes and using YOUR precious facilities? you know what, never mind... if you're so all fired worried about it, let everyone know who you really are and we won't send ANY of our kids to you for a job, home schooled or not. it's ppl like you that make parents think they are somehow inadequate and give teachers a bad name all at the same time."You home school, you dang well pay for it!!!!!!" really? but didn't you just say YOU were paying for it? o, i see, parents wouldn't allow their kids time to do the homework for YOUR class, (because it's not remotely possible they had homework from other classes, not just yours, and it's not remotely possible that you gave too much homework, and it had nothing to do with what parents ALLOWED or that the kids hated your class, didn't care, were lazy, etc.), your tax dollars shouldn't be spent on those kids. our tax dollars paid your salary, how exactly do you feel when i say i don't want one red cent of MY tax dollars spent on paying a horrible teacher like you? see how that works? perhaps your mother SHOULD have home schooled you; you would have run away and quite probably not be inflicting your idiocy on the rest of us tax payers, and more importantly, on our children.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • lmichelle

      Why don't you educate YOURSELF a bit.... I home school my children AND pay taxes. So what is there for you to resent??? It should be that we resent all of the children that are using our tax dollars to attend public schools -that I AM PAYING FOR- and their parents are not paying any taxes. Correct?? What kind of person thinks that you get out of paying taxes if you home school your child??

      April 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Amommymoose

      @lilarose

      You are what gives teachers a bad name and lack the intelligence that drives parents to homeschool. I'm absolutely stunned at your comments. I suspect you must be an alternate route teacher that did not finish the Master's degree because there is not a teacher in this country with an MAT that can honestly say that they learned anything relevant to teaching 1-5 kids at a time, let alone your own children (since a chunk of that education is learning how to interpret socioeconomic differences so that you can objectively view your students... at least if you're in a good teaching program).

      I was also a former high school business teacher. I now homeschool my kids. And I found that my former coworkers (at every grade level) who were secure in their capabilities and knew their craft were thoroughly supportive of removing my child from the school and knowing that he would fare as well if not better for the experience.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • mo

      But that's the point. Homeschooling families pay the taxes for the public schools just like everyone else. Then we pay for all the curriculum on top of that. Not that we mind. Participating is sports, taking classes, getting involved in other ways is completely legit.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Candi May

      Since when do we homeschooling parents not also have to pay taxes? Maybe we should inform everyone who pays taxes but do NOT have children in the government schools (homeschoolers, private schoolers, empty-nesters, not-yet-parents, etc.) that they you no longer need their financial contributions. Good luck paying for your child's education without our help. Kinda interesting that private schoolers and homeschoolers manage to contribute to your child's education AND to fully fund the education of their own without your help. Think about what you say before you say it. You would save yourself a lot of embarrassment!

      April 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • MT

      School funding primarily comes from property taxes which we all pay.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • M

      I have no children yet have to pay school taxes and cannot use the facilities I help pay for (the weight room & pool would be nice). My parents are retired, all their children have graduated out of the local school system, and they still have to continue to pay school taxes. Every household in a school district has to pay school taxes regardless, so what's your point? Why shouldn't all children of the district be allowed to use the facilities their parents are paying for, whether they are in the classroom or not?

      April 10, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • goodgirlsdo

      I do PAY to use those things. I pay a small fortune in taxes for other people's use of those things. I pay and my child wasn't allowed to use those things. Heliocopter parents usually aren't homeschoolers. I would hire an homeschooler any and every day over a 'public' schooler. We teach our children to work hard and be responsible for themselves.

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

      lilarose1941...You're a high school teacher? And you teach business courses yet you don't even understand that homeschooling families ARE NOT exempted from paying all kinds of taxes?! Amazing!!!

      FYI, not only do we pay for all required taxes, we also pay for all our study materials, lab and art supplies, PE and music classes, etc. Also, no FREE LUNCHES or FIELD TRIPS.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  27. cc

    "As a pediatrician" I think that says it all-if the average family, with an average salary and average working conditions (i.e. can only take time off at your boss's whim) tries home schooling you wind up with uneducated kids that are pretty much out of control-and often reflect their parents bigotry besides. Public school, with its exposure to children from all areas of society, is the best education of all.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • paige

      No, I managed to homeschool 3 biological and 3 non biological without a college degree and their father is a shrimper. See above comment to see what a non professional can accomplish. So can you.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  28. jim

    Every child has different needs. Some children learn better in public schools while others will perform better at home. I think we must avoid generalizations regarding home schooling and public schools. Unfortunately, home schooling is just not an option for the majority of families due to economic reasons. Both environments offer advantages and disadvantages.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Kerry

      Well put, Jim. Every child is different, and every family is different. Everyone has to do what they think is best for their family. I would encourage families to try not to let economics rule out homeschooling as an option, though. There are many families where both parents work who homeschool. There are also many books about how to homeschool on a shoe string budget.

      If you don't feel called to homeschool, that is fine, but if you think it is what your children need, but not sure you can afford it, do some research into financial options. You'll be surprised what you find.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • NyteShayde

      Jim, my husband and I pull in about $75k a year and I was homeschooling well before we reached that level. It's not as hard as you would think.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  29. JeramieH

    How does a single individual provide the same depth of knowledge to teach calculus, physics, chemistry, biology, history, English, etc at the same level as people with degrees in those fields? Do you have degrees in all of those fields too?

    April 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • GOD

      @JeramieH

      Why do you think that a single individual needs to know all those subjects?

      Anyone who home schools knows to rely on a group of people and many forms of resources to educate their children. The trick is knowing where to get the information. In very general terms, no one expert, no matter how profound their knowledge, will beat a crowd of individuals who can gather the same information from many different types of sources, and then produce it in many perspectives. Like the maxim states: "It takes a community to raise a child."

      Please study crowdsourcing and see how it applies to education.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
      • Aunt B

        It DOES NOT take a community to raise a child. What it takes is ONE; but, PREFERABLY TWO GOOD PARENTS.

        April 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
      • lilarose1941

        Exactly, God. Don't pay your share for public schools but get your resources from them, which happens in my community. I would have run away from home if my mother home schooled me.

        April 10, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
      • GOD

        @Aunt B
        No doubt parents should have a final say in how children are raised. But to ignore the impact of the community in raising children shows a lack of understanding of how society works. No set of parents contain all the knowledge in the world to raise their children. They must reach out to other sources of information. I hope you aren’t raising your children or home schooling them in a vacuum. That is not how to home school children. It is also how you create those socially inept children that those who are against home schooling fear. You must reach out to all forms of community, including online of course, to help educate children.

        @lilarose1941
        I’m not sure what you are talking about when you say “don’t pay your share for public schools but get your resources from them”. I pay my taxes like everyone else. When I say rely on resources, I’m mostly thinking of online resources; forums, blogs, and free educational tools like MIT OpenCourseWare. The online community is powerful and diverse. The main point was to answer how a single individual does not need to know everything, just know how and where to find it. It’s a team effort.

        Once again….
        Please study crowdsourcing and see how it applies to education and home schooling.

        April 10, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
      • lmichelle

        @lilarose.... you really are uneducated, aren't you??? How would we get out of paying for public schools if we pay our taxes??

        And your comment about your mother explains your hateful remarks. All the children that I know from homeschooling, come from loving and wonderful families that LOVE to spend time with each other, learning and growing. It's a shame that you didn't have the same.

        April 10, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Mike in Oregon

      Most teachers have a degree in teaching – not math, science, history, etc. Anyone with an MD is going to have taken higher levels of coursework in mathematics and especially science than the overwhelming majority of public school teachers.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Andy

      They don't.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • QOB

      co-op's! there is a qualified teacher for EVERYTHING! If you can't do it or don't feel comfortable there is a qualified teacher available. Classes with many students, usually 20 participating too. (socialization-critical thinking-dealing with peers problem solved) Also depending on the curriculum you choose there usually is a teaching assistant on hand for you. We use Calvert a secular, "school in a box" curriculum. It's a win-win! Teach what you can, in our case Science and Math and send them to classes for English and writing. Along with the many other extra classes they take every week. In our state the kids need to take the same EOG's like their peers. As long as they pass and aren't freaks I don't understand the hostility towards choices! I mean kids ARE OUR FUTURE. in our case ours may just employ your honor roll student 🙂

      April 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
      • lilarose1941

        BECAUSE we taxpayers ultimately end up paying for your home schooling and the mess that often results. I don't know anyone who is qualified to teach their kids, well, maybe to sort their clothes for the laundry.

        April 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • paige

      No, we have really good curriculum. And for some classes we use homeschool co-ops, online classes and alot of kids do their high school courses at the local college, called Dual Enrollment.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Steve in Denver

      @ JeremieH

      Go and check your average high school and tell me if the math teach has a degree in math, the history teacher has a degree in history, the chemistry teacher has a degree in chemistry, the science teacher has a degree in engineering, the PE teacher has a degree in physical education, the english teacher has a degree in english etc and report back. What you will find is that they all have degrees in 'education' or 'liberal arts' with a teaching certificate mandated by the school and its bloated structure. You, for the most part, will not find math teachers with mathematics degrees or BSME/MSME science teachers or BSCE/MSCE chemistry teachers. Why? because the union and its collective bargaining scheme won't allow for differential rates of pay for these positions. As such, you have a guy with an 'education' degree teaching chemistry.

      When my daughter goes to school (she's 7 months old), I want people who studied CHEMISTRY teaching her chemistry, not someone whos studied education.

      In order to ENSURE this happens (and it's MY CHOICE), I either need to pay for school twice (pay for public schools via property taxes and for private school with my after-tax income) OR home school and pay for a school I don't use. Both choices suck.

      This situation is an interesting lab study to see just how hard teacher unions fight to protect their racket. On the one hand, they complain about bad pay (whish is an absolute red herring that distracts one from the entirety of the compensation package and working schedule for which I would kill). But, when presented with an opportunity to rise above the collective bargaining marasse and make more money in the form of differential/performance based pay, they will fight tooth and nail.

      The resistance to vouchers and home-schooling can be summed up in one sentence: when forced to compete we're screwed.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
      • Amommymoose

        @Steve,

        While I COMPLETELY agree with you about why there is resistance to vouchers and homeschooling (let the market system close the crap schools and expand the good ones for those that opt to school) I have to say that NCLB forced a set of standards on teachers that actually does require them to have significant content education at the upper grades. I know in NJ, a middle school teacher has to have at least 15 college credits in content and a high school teacher has to have 30 college credits in their course-specific content. For most, at the high school level, that does equate to a full-blown degree in the subject they're teaching. I'm not sure if those numbers are state or federal–hard to remember.

        None-the-less, I homeschool my own children and I don't foresee them getting any less than the education that you are describing; but I do admit that at some point, it may include dual enrollment at a brick and mortar school if they happen to have someone who is qualified like that AND a capable facilitator of learning rather than a disseminator. And I think that is more the difference: the mindset about what a "teacher" is and what their role is. Even when I taught (high school) and put my self in the role of facilitator rather than disseminator, it was disturbing how profoundly uncomfortable my students were with that scenario. When I told them to pitch their own ideas for how to demonstrate their learning vs. my giving them all the same assignment, they were dumbfounded–and then griped that it wouldn't be fair. My greatest peeve with the school is the indoctrination of... I don't want to say "robots" because that's too harsh, but they are certainly learning to work a system that prevents them from some of the more fluid jobs that are now the core of the jobs of this era.

        And that is concerning.

        April 10, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • MT

      I'm not my kids' only teacher. I outsource math, computer programming, and writing. "Homeschooling" is a misleading term. I actually don't know a homeschool mom who does all the educating. It's more about picking and choosing what is right for my children instead of letting a state bureaucracy do it.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  30. Natalia

    When touring the public and private schools in our area, we were at a loss! The public schools spend $11,000 per student/year and none of them are academically rigorous, let alone focused on producing well-mannered, diplomatic students. Reluctantly, we decided to try homeschooling and found many truly classical, academically rigorous curricula options. We have come to LOVE homeschooling and our children are excelling by at least 2 grade levels beyond their public school age peers. I attribute this to the freedom of tailoring an education to a child's individual learning style and the 1-1 instruction we are able to offer. In most cases home educating can be a superior option, so I would encourage any family to give it a try. YOU CAN TEACH YOUR CHILD!

    April 10, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  31. James

    Pretty strange for this article to cite Family Centric as a case for Home Schooling.

    Home Schooling requires the parents to devote more time to their child's education. It make it seem like that Parents could not devote that sort of time and effort if their children attended public school.

    Family Centric or not Family Centric, that has little if anything to do with which education system you choose and more to do with how the parents chooses to prioritize and spend their time.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Laura

      It's not so much that it is Family-centric, for us it was a choice of prioritizing our time with our children. We could either send them away for 9hrs/day and then spend the any "free" time reviewing/reteaching what they had spent all day learning...or...we could spend 3-4 hours actually teaching them the same concepts ourselves and actually spend the rest of our "free" time going to museums, field trips and spending time with our children.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  32. Maggie

    I would just say that whatever you do, don't put your kid into Public Schools. Thank God I could move my daughter to a private school. I work night shifts to pay for it but well worth it. Public Schools is one big Lord of the Flies. So sorry for the kids who have to go there. Time to admit that Public Schools/PERS Unions have destroyed our school system.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  33. jj

    Home schools result in isolated kids who are often taught only one point of view. It doesn't prepare them to live in the world.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • christi

      Realistically, you can't pick homeschoolers out of a crowd. Most of them are actually better equipped socially than those taught in peer segregated schools. As further only being taught one view, most religious schools fall under the same school of thought. You won't find a Muslim school teaching about Judaism or vice versa. Your arguments are weak and uneducated.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Pathfinder Mom

      While it may be true that some homeschoolers isolate their kids, I've found that to be very untrue of the homeschoolers that I know. We are out with out kids, taking classes, seminars, camps, participating in sports and all sorts of activities in our communities. Isolation is definitely not a pervasive problem.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • GOD

      Unfortunately for you, your supposed public education only taught you one point of view about home school. Too bad you weren't home schooled where a flexible and dynamic environment allows for the discovery of multiple perspectives.

      You clearly don't understand the home school culture and how the community teaches and raises students. It's really disappointing that you were so isolated in an overly bureaucratic public school that they never taught you that.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • paige

      You know nothing of homeschoolers. Please try to meet some. Until then, do no denigrate a whole group of people with an ignorant point of view.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Laura

      I've seen the viewpoint the public school kids have...not interested!

      April 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • MT

      Not true. Would you think the same of a person who worked at home part time? My kids are international travelers and have tons of friends who receive their education from public and private schools.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  34. kamiBmom2three

    there are plenty of kids that have grown up well homeschooled. there are plenty of kids that have grown up well public schooled. a good point was made that it may not be financially feasible for many parents to homeschool, myself included. I work full time and I am very involved in my children's education – i simply could not provide for them physically if i homeschooled.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  35. Blahblah

    Weirdos homeschool weirdos, creating generations of ill-prepared.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • paige

      You know this why? From your vast experience of being around homeschoolers?

      April 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • MT

      Do you mean not prepared to write a grammatically correct sentence?

      April 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  36. Sun

    I taught in public schools. I chose to NOT homeschool my child after seeing the socially ill prepared kids that come out of it. We are social animals, and to deny a child the group experience is doing a huge disservice to those kids. Learning to deal with bullies and other people is part of life. Consider what will happen to those kids should their homeschooling parent die, and they are thrown into the school system. Unless your child is so profoundly retarded (Yes, I said it.) or has some sort of uncontrolable anger/outburst disorder, then put them in school and teach them to deal with life, not run away from it,

    April 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • donna

      You are extremely ignorant about homeschooling.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • christiem8

      WOW! And you are a TEACHER??? You are EXACTLY WHY we home school!
      FOR YOUR INFORMATION.... kids who have learning disabilities CAN LEARN... they just can't learn from fools like you, who allow them to be bullied! I'll tell you now, that there is NO WAY ANY adult would put up with what some children are forced to put up with. NOR would it EVER be allowed in the workplace.
      Not only are our children well educated. They are socially well adjusted, college educated with full scholarships based upon ACADEMICS and NOT sports, and know what is important in life.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
      • Blahblah

        I'm very excited about everything you've just told me. Now I know that my socially prepared, publicly educated children will be able to steal your children's jobs.

        If you'd like, they could apply to work for them.

        April 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
      • christiem8

        Ummm Blah Blah, it is quite the opposite. Our kids are in thier 30's and I think others are working for them!

        April 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • jake

      Yeah, public school teachers think learning to deal with bullies is part of a good public school education. I'm glad you're not teaching anymore. You are part of the problem with bullies in our schools today.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
      • CC

        Bullies have been around forever. It is a good lesson to learn. Stop trying to shelter your kids. It isn't helping. WE live in a harsh world, stop trying to hide it from children. They need to know what they are dealing with.

        April 12, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • carolinagirlkim

      So, your saying the rational for sending my children to public schools is to make sure they don't get "thrown into the school system" in the off-chance that I might die while they are school-aged? Really? Wow. Well, in the off-chance that I do die while my children are young, I think they might consider themselves lucky that we got to spend so much time TOGETHER as a family.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • homeschooler

      I also taught for many, many years and teaching in the public school system is EXACTLY why we decided to homeschool. Most schools are not for the gifted child who thinks outside of the box and is a creative problem solver....these are the kids who are constantly falling between the cracks in the public school system and are going to be the adults who employers are going to be begging for. I get extremely tired of the ignorant people out there who obviously have no idea what a homeschooler's day looks like – homeschoolers get more social interactions with large groups than most public school kids do. Public school does NOT allow for social interactions – you can't interact in class, you can't interact in the hall, you can't even interact in the lunchroom or the playground (if your school still actually allows playground free time)...you must remain quiet at all times, you can not speak out, you are lucky if you have a group "project" where they actually get to work together more than 30 minutes once a week in a real, genuine group setting. Unless the school systems start figuring out how to meet the needs of ALL children, we have no desire to return to that nonesense

      April 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
      • Sarah

        Well said. I currently teach in a public school but once I have children I will be homeschooling. The students at my school aren't supposed to talk at lunch and there is no interaction with anyone besides their classmates, and occasionally their grade level at recess...if they don't lose recess time for messing around in class or not getting their work done. I'm all for behaving well and having consequences, but my experience teaching in public schools tells me that students are segregated into groups based on ages and often abilities.That is not how the real world works.

        April 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
      • CC

        If you're a teacher and home school your kids. you should be fired.

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

      Give me a break, the socially unprepared are those in the public schools. Home schooled children learn respect, have better listening, reading and writing skills. We don't have to add character education to a home school child. My children interacted "socially" with the neighborhood public school kids and learned the "f" word and how to graffiti. Keep your socialization. If more parents took time out to be involved in the children's education you wouldn't have all the social ills that plague us.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
      • Aunt B

        @Joe: What is the "T" word????

        April 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • QOB

      @ SUN

      Really? as an adult you work only with people your own age, that fit into the same ole tired groups? really? the jocks, the cheerleaders, the druggies, the goths, the nerds and the "others" really? in my professional life I worked with many different ages but they pretty much did the same thing since we worked doing the same thing. However, I do get what you are saying. I have seen in my homeschool group kids who are going to be totally screwed up. totally. Then I see kids that are perfectly well adjusted and have "made it" and are productive members of society. Personally, I was the popular cheerleader at a public school. My husband went to an all boys private school. He got a pretty good education and went on to receiving a couple of ivy league degrees whereas I learned how to look cute and sling weed barely passing with a 2.5 gpa. It all comes down to if you suck as a parent. plain and simple. you can suck as a homeschooler or suck as a public/private schooler. I have to agree with a PP that schools just aren't the same as they used to be 20 years ago and I went to a pretty tough school back in the early 80's (one of the first to get a metal detector, so proud) Parents don't parent anymore. daycare does. and daycare workers don't care (I wouldn't either if I got paid $9 an hour) Teachers should be given medals and paid a minimum 6 figure salary dealing with the kids they deal with!

      April 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • MT

      Exhibit A for homeschooling: A teacher who thinks being bullied is a good life experience for a child.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  37. Diane S

    While it is wonderful that the author has the ability to home school her children, it's not really an economic option for a lot of families. It's easy to say that public schools aren't doing a good job of educating our children, but for many Americans it is the only option. Wouldn't it be better to work towards a public education system that actually educates? Otherwise, it appears that only those with sufficient incomes will be able to educate their children and the poor will just be out of luck.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • homeschooler

      We are a homeschooling family. My husband makes less then 40k a year, when we started he made just over 30k. We own a small home. We drive older, paid for cars. We try to avoid debt. We go on vacation to a cabin in the summer, the vacation costs around a thousand. We buy most of our clothes at thrift stores, but they look brand new, most are name brands, and we get a lot of compliments on our clothes. We cook most of our meals. We are involved in a homeschool co-op, basically a group of moms helping other moms teach, and the kids get tons of time with other kids. You do not have to rich to homeschool, but it helps to be frugal. For us it has required sacrifice, prayer when unexpected bills arise (God always provides), and had great benefits of time with our kids watching them learn.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  38. MartyinLA

    Ok so maybe a doctor like your self would be a great teacher, but most home school Moms are crazy whack. The kids only learn from one perspective, and never learn how to be involved in their community cause Mom & Dad never got involved in school PTA etc activities. Also, why on earth did you become a medical doctor and throwing away the contribution you should be making in that field and instead wasting your time teaching kids? I'm sure you're a great mom, but what a waste of an education, one that a more dedicated person should have had instead.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • carolinagirlkim

      MartyinLA,

      Did you actually read the article? The author says she was able to continue working with some changes in her schedule.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Athena

      Obviously you have no idea what it takes to become a Physician?
      signed
      a whacked out homeschool mom

      April 10, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Jennifer

      What a strange comment – do you imagine that education is a zero-sum commodity where someone receiving it must be taking it from another? What a ludicrous, but completely leftist idea. This is the same way that liberals talk about money, opportunity and success; if you have a good deal of any that must come at the expense of someone else's, which is flat-out wrong.

      Since you seem to think there is only so much education to go around then rather than being upset by it you should be pleased that my smart, creative, artistic, socialized, independent homeschooled children are not taking up precious seats in the public schools that my tax dollars, like yours, fund nonetheless.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • MT

      I've observed that the proportion of "crazy whack" homeschool moms isn't any higher than any other moms.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  39. Challenged

    I'm sure it varies according to the skills and availability of the parents, but I see some home schooled kids in our neighborhood. They are outside playing all the time.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  40. Yvonne

    I homeschooled my only-child daughter from K-6th grade. She graduated with honors from the College of Williams and Mary, offered full scholarship through Master's and PHD, is now 28, working full time and loved by her employer; is highly connected with friends and community. Proof is in the pudding–she is awesome despite my mothering mistakes and being homeschooled...

    April 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Aunt B

      @Yonne: While it is WONDERFUL your child has done so well; that is not what I have observed of Homeschooled children in my life. However, it is important to recognize your child was only homeschooled through the sixth grade. Where I have observed the failure of homeschooling is with girls who are homeschooled through the twelfth grade and earn only a GED. I know too many who have completed thier homeschooling and now are dependent unpon men for everything. Many of these have bounced from man to man, bearing children of numerous different men only to be left to find the next. Perhaps that which I ahave observed is not the overall norm; but, it is reality to me.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
      • Jennifer

        Aunt B – it is not true that children homeschooled through high school earn only a GED. Children can and do earn diplomas while homeschooled that are every bit as legally sound and accepted by colleges, the military and the government as any public or private school.

        April 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
      • MT

        That's a really awful story. I've never met a homeschool educated adult with those horrible problems, but I have met many adults with those same issues.

        April 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
      • Candi May

        @Aunt B, stop and think. To logically blame homeschooling for these girls who go from man to man, you would have to be claiming that it is not the case with government schooled girls. If you think that it does NOT happen with oodles of girls regardless of where they go to school, then you are naive. If you do realize that it happens all the time with government schooled girls as well, then maybe you just didn't think through your comment.

        April 10, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  41. roderick charles

    i did home schooling too but my parents didn'nt know it. most of the time was in the park playing football and breaking intto empty buildings.

    rc, m.d.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  42. Tpamom

    I would worry how this translates into the work world. Like it or not, productive working members of society do have to follow structure and impositions on their personal time. If kids are taught that the day (world?) revolves around their needs, how would they ever handle the pressure of accountability in a job? Seems like a hard path to set someone on.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • donna

      Tpamom, why do you think home schooled children have no structure and don't have "impositions" on their personal time? Perhaps you should take some time, and read about what many home schoolers describe about their activities here in these comments. You are relying on a stereotype that isn't accurate.

      And the real work world is far more diverse than what kids experience in a traditional public school.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
      • Bored

        I disagree, Donna. Public School teachers work every day to improve themselves and their curriculum; they genuinely care about students, and attempt to create nurturing environments where everyone can and does learn. All children learn in homeschool is the same nonsense that their parents believe.

        April 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
      • donna

        Bored, You responded to claims I didn't make about public school teachers. Then you made a degrading generalized about a widely diverse group of people. That doesn't make you appear to be a very good authority on education.

        April 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Gretchen

      Tpamom: Interesting you look at it this way. As a homeschooling Mom, I see the opposite. I see children in school not learning self control and initiative. They are being controlled all day, whether through routine, or through medication or simply peer pressure. They aren't really all that accountable themselves. The structure, the teachers and the parents (or their medication) are made to be responsible for keeping them in check. The homeschooling kids that I meet have much more self control and initiative because they are (most of the time) made to be responsible for getting their work done. This, I'm sure, contributes to the fact that colleges so love getting homeschooled kids. I don't think that homeschool families are imposing something unfair on their kids. Quite the opposite.
      I love this article and the discussion it is generating. When I started homeschooling people unanimously thought I was nuts. Now some of the leading members of my community are pulling their kids out of school and doing it at home. It really is working and more and more people are seeing that.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
      • Bored

        Gretchen: All I got out of that was "blah blah blah, I'm going to repeat back every generalization and stereotype I've ever heard, because it makes me feel good about my bad choices...blah blah blah".

        April 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
      • Gretchen

        Bored: I volunteer weekly at the local public school. I actually know what I'm talking about. I am not repeating stereotypes. I relating my experience. I love the teachers there. They work really hard. They have a hard time maintaining order and don't really have the authority anymore to make children responsible for their actions. I am a homeschooler who is very supportive of improving public education. My children will grow up and be living among the kids coming out of these schools. I would like to see the attention payed to them that they deserve, but I'm not willing to subject my children to the experience of them because I am know exactly what goes on there.I spend way more time there than most parents of the children attending.

        April 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Pleased

      Thank you for saying it! That's the best argument against homecloning I've ever heard.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • MT

      That's hilarious. My kids definitely aren't under the impression that the day revolves around what they want to do, because it doesn't. Of course there's structure. Why wouldn't there be?

      April 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  43. Bill Walden

    What ever happened to polite comments, or perhaps the old adage "If you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all". Perhaps they missed that in public school, maybe the anti-bullying classes take too much time out of the day. Why do you feel a need to attack someone who goes a different way....oh wait you had a public education, you are used to working in a group mentality.
    Perhaps you didn't know that the national average time on task in public schools is 1 hour and 30 minutes....FOR THE WHOLE DAY!!! I am surprised that people who are criticizing homeschoolers about socialization, are acting like a pack of crazed hyenas. If your public school was so good, why can't you comment in a constructive way, not to mention the poor level tolerance for people who live a different way. Pathetic, and absolutely astounding...and we wonder why the rest of the world sees us as a country of backwards barbarians. Instead of accepting and trying to understand people, you criticize and insult what you don't know. My children are 10 and 12 and they have a better grasp of this than you, but after all they are home schooled and have been taught tolerance. Something your hallowed public school apparently forgot to add to the curriculum.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • christi

      Well spoken, Bill!

      April 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  44. mtngoatjoe

    The only problem that I have with home schooling is that some of the people I see schooling their children are complete idiots. They can't do any math above addition and subtraction, and have no grasp of the English language. I know some home-school parents who are excellent teachers, but some are not. And I know one family that doesn't teach their kids anything (and by that, I mean that they don't teach their kids ANYTHING).

    April 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Bill Walden

      You mean like some teachers are great teacher and some are not?

      April 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Jeff

      Funny, I was just about to complain about the public school teachers I see so often that can't do math either.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • MT

      It's because the media showcases the nuts. They're actually extremely rare. I'm in tons of homeschool groups and haven't met any, but I've seen them on TV, too.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  45. My 2 cents- make that 3

    Just a few slightly off topic comments: Homeschooling would depend on the parent ( obviously) as some
    of it would depend on the school, teachers, etc. A dedicated parent has the advantage of a much smaller group- that can make a big difference ( class control in a public school is half the burnout for a teacher). A parent would have more
    time to study the strengths and weaknesses of a child ( even across years). Again, as mentioned, this would depend
    on how dedicated a parent would be to engage their child.

    That said, students need to be adept at the new computer age. I find it disheartening that they are able to navigate
    a computer only to produce bad/ poor grammar in lovely type.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  46. The_Mick

    "...all I needed was the already present love for my children and the desire to see them reach their fullest potential..." So, in order to teach children one does not need to be skilled in geometry, algebra, trig, calculus. One doesn't need to know how to analyze a piece or literature. Or how to transform an idea into a work of art. One doesn't need the scientific method. And one doesn't need to evaluate how effective the students learn kinesthetically, by reading, by hearing, or by seeing or how dimensions of learning should be involved: rote memory vs abstraction, etc. And, most of all, let's make sure the kids are not exposed to a diversity of opinions.
    As someone who spent my career teaching the gifted and talented chemistry and physics programs at Maryland's largest high school, let me say that few home-schooled kids were placed in them. In general, the home school kids were weak in math and science compared to the publicly or privately schooled kids and less comfortable competing and interacting with other teens. I'd never want kids to go through such a blindered early lifestyle.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Athena

      Mick

      You expressed my fears exactly. You say that you run a G&T program so you above most should know what is out there for G&T kids and their normal peers.

      I had my two youngest in a private accelerated school, however it wasn't enough for my 5th grader. With the encouragement of gifted and talented program I researched homeschooling and various methods. I did this for a year before I jumped into it.

      There are so many programs and so much help that I can understand a teacher at a Brick and mortar school feeling threatened.

      John Hopkins University center for talented youth; Stanford University education programs for gifted youth and Duke University talent identification programs are a few of the programs my children are using as part of their homeschool curriculum.

      There is online instruction, email questions and workbook and computer based testing to make sure concepts are understood.

      I think you shouldn't worry so much about what "higher" level courses Homeschoolers will have. They are there if they want them. My son is looking at taking AP world history as a 7th grader. He is starting HS Algebra and Physics. Instruction and most testing is online. We pay for a lot of our courses however there is a lot of free courses available to all homeschoolers.

      It's a whole new world out there Mick...You should check into doing some online teaching, I hear there is up and coming market for it.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
      • Aunt B

        @Athena wrote: "I hear there is up and coming market for it."

        Is this an example of the English Grammar you are teaching your children? Perhaps you should reconsider the homeschooling of your children.

        April 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • GOD

      @The_Mick

      Most of the things you mention can actually be learned in home school. Most teachers are teaching by the textbook anyway. Most teachers end up teaching to the test. And, most teachers aren't even following the advice given about learn domains either. It's just theory, not practiced in the classroom. You also forgot to mention Bloom's Taxonomy model on learning. And I find it strange you still are teaching that learn styles exist.

      If I don't know Calculus then I can use an online resource such as MIT's OpenCourseWare. I can go on forums for home school and see what other parents have done. If I need to analyze a piece of writing, I can go online and find out multiple methods. YouTube has plenty of videos on just that too.

      Why should I listen to one "expert" when there is a vast crowd of people who can offer many different ideas and ways of learning anything. Heard of crowdsourcing?

      I don't wait for some teacher or expert to help me learn something new. I can do my learning on my own from a plethora of sources. A teacher is just another source among many, many others. A teacher isn't the be all, end all of information and learning.

      Finally, I'll have you know that my 16 year-old brother is starting Calculus in the summer, after taking a year off since his college trigonometry class last summer. He also finished his home school physics class with flying colors.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Gretchen

      No you don't need to know all that. Luckily for the public schools! The materials that I plow through to find something appropriate for my homeschooled kids in science are really poor. Much of it has many errors in scientific method and fact. (A friend of mine was studying this very problem at Harvard a couple of years ago) I can do math and science well (I am an engineer), but guess what my kids are starting to excel at through self guided study and extra curricular activities... Performance art, music and writing. (As you can tell from the post.. I'm not very good at writing) It is FANTASTIC that the school you worked at had you, a great teacher. The reality out there is that great teachers are undervalued and teachers are rewarded for sticking it out. A lot of public school teachers are cruddy. I think that more and more studied outcomes will contradict detractor's anecdotal evidence about homeschooled children. It will show that on average they do at least as well as public schooled children in ALL categories (including competing with and relating to peers) and better in most.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Amommymoose

      I think this speaks volumes about what this country has come to define as "successful". Math, science or writing skills being very high equates to "successful". Having other skills–in the arts, in personal relations/counseling others, etc. is seen as "unsuccessful". And that is yet another reason people pull their kids out of school.

      I remember having a conversation with a class of 23 boys and 1 girl all of whom were in my class because they needed the credit. The idea that their being "C" students in school didn't make them "C" people in life never occurred to them. I pointed out to them that school levels them on a very specific set of skills and that there is SO. MUCH. MORE to life than that. One of those kids went on to college (something he didn't consider very strongly), does some sort of video production degree program and runs their very large glee club (and this is a traditional 4-year college, not a vocational college). These are skills that weren't valued in a traditional college-prep high school. And yet, he has had great success because he realized that he HAD skills of value–they just weren't the ones we graded him on.

      A child that grows up to be a cheese artisan or a dancer or an illustrator or any number of non-math/science/writing-intensive careers is capable of rivaling a rocket scientist with "success"–just in a different field. The fact that schools don't value that and help those students hone their skills means that they are isolating and demeaning an entire subset of their population. Which is sad... and sometimes harmful to those kids self-esteem and ideas about what they're capable of in life.

      How is that good?

      April 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
      • My 2 cents- make that 3

        Agreed. Prior to the Mac or PC era, it seemed art inclined kids could look forward to "starving." The latest news is that
        companies have a dearth of designers and they're in demand. A whole field in animation has opened with the computer, not to mention good photography professionals are always needed. Ask those in these fields if they'd trade their professions. Most would laugh.

        April 10, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  47. Skeptical Mom

    Sorry, but this writer lost me when she wrote that she continued to work "with minor adjustments to [her] schedule." Home-schools and still works and the family's fabulous . . . hmmm. If it sounds too good to be true, it might be too good to be true.

    My kids do fine in a fine public school, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Neither would they.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • trufaldino

      Agree. Either ths doctor went to a three day a week schedule, or the kids mostly did their work on their own, or both. In any event, how does this doctor manage to teach (or program the learning of) high school physics? calculus? world history? French/Spanish? Literature? Presumably she's ok in bio, but it would take a lot of time and effort to be competent to teach these other subjects on a high school level. I wonder if her success at home schooling is an indication that what kids learn in highschool just doesn't matter muchin college.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • sandi

      as the writer mentioned, it is not for everyone.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Chris

      Yes, it is very feasible to homeschool even when you work full-time. When the kiddos are in the early elementary years, it only takes an hour to 2 hours to get their work completed. Keep in mind the teacher to student ratio. Plus, you have to remember there is less talking from the teacher. You only have to make sure they understand it, and let them work!

      April 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  48. enkephalin07

    Nobody ever admits to terrorizing their children, even to themselves. So we should really encourage them to hold their child in a captive environment, unmonitored, for their own good. No better way to cover up abuse.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  49. John R

    @Educationmajor, I see that you have been fully indoctrinated into the idea that the only way a child can learn is by being "taught' by a "teacher". Funny, for hundreds of years many great men and women were homeschooled by their parents and did just fine. Public schools are a relatively new phenomenon. Have you ever met even a single homeschool family to make your judgement that it just can't work. I didn't think so.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Concerned Parent

      I have met a number of home schooled families including several parents that I work with who are currently involved in this effort. In two of these homes, which seem to be the two most successful of the ones I know, the children seem to be getting a fairly decent, well rounded curriculum, though in both of these familes, the mother is the primary instructor and in both of those cases the children appear to be getting considerably less science and advanced math than my children are getting in their public school. These two mothers are not scientists, engineers nor mathmaticians, but have a very good understanding of history, english and literature. It is no surprise to me that those children seem to be getting more advanced in english and literature than my children, but my children have a MUCH better grasp of math and science/physics. The other home schooling families I know don't seem to be very successful at any subjects outside of religion, which is NOT my reason for wanting this. My point here is that I have SERIOUSLY considered the idea of home schooling my children, which is why I have spent so much time making friends with nearby home schooling families that I have met. My conclusions are that NO normal set of parents are likely to be experts in more than one or two subjects at most! This seems to result in one or two subjects being taught quite well, possibly better than public schools, but the other subjects seem to suffer and are likely to result in inadaquate curriculums for one or more "other" subjects. For this reason, I have backed away from my idea of home schooling as I have observed, first hand, that my children seem to be getting a much better and more rounded education than I would likely be able to provide at home! I also noted that our local middle and high school is producing FAR MORE National Merit Scholars than ANY of our "highly rated" expensive private schools! All in all, I have gained more respect for our local school system than I previously had when I thought that home schooling might be a good alternative. I was wrong! I feel like I almost made a HUGE mistake! ...

      April 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
      • MT

        Homeschooling is an individual decision. My kids could return to public or private school if they chose to do so. If your kids and family are happy with the education and life experiences they are getting in public school, then you shouldn't start homeschooling.
        Also, I outsource writing, math, and computer programming. All the homeschool moms I know do that when their kids reach a certain age.

        April 10, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  50. Mom Loves 4

    I read this blog and the comments. What makes me sad is we continue to negatively judge one to justify the other. Obviously we all choose what is right for our families/ children, and we all have our reasons for making those choices. That doesn't mean that someone else's choices are wrong, just different. I'm tired of defending why I homeschool. I'm also tired of people thinking that because I homeschool, I feel their decision to send their children to public school is wrong. Can't we all be parents, support each other and get along for the greater good?

    April 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Stacy Brown

      I totally agree! Neither is wrong. We should only be concerned with what is best for the child. Our child thrives being homeschooled

      April 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  51. Oh Boy

    I thought a friend was crazy when deciding to home school her kids. Cut to 16 years later. The kids turned out intelligent,
    well mannered, socially well adjusted, smart to choose their friends and over all shut down my preconceived notions.
    Schools in 2012 are NOT the same as 10-20 years ago. They are less an environment suitable for learning,
    The whole stress factor has gone up for teachers, administration, parents and unfortunately, the kids.
    It's not getting better.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  52. Mom Loves 4

    I read this blog and the comments. What makes me sad is we continue to negatively judge one to justify the other. Obviously we all choose what is right for our families/ children, and we all have our reasons for making those choices. That doesn't mean that someone else's choices are wrong, just different. I'm tired of defending why I homeschool. I'm also tired of people thinking that because I homeschool, I feel their decision to send their children to public school is wrong. Can't we all be parents, support each other and get along for the greater good?

    April 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • jmaxx30

      I don't think that she is saying that someone's choice to homeschool is wrong, just that public schooling is more and more wrong for most families. We have four daughter's at home, 2 1/2 of them are home schooling (my four year old is getting the benefits of her older sisters homeschooling). Our choice to home school has everything to do with the benefits that our children get from it. But the shortcomings of public schools was also a drving factor. We have a visual, verbal, and kinetic learner all coming up together. Public schools are just not equipped to deal with all of these learning styles at the same time. Different teachers teaching styles benefit different kids learning styles. This is not an issue with our homeschooling. My wife recognizes the differences and she tailors lessons to benefit them all.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  53. michelle

    Seems to me there is one person in particular in this conversation who knows nothing at all about homeschooling. Some can appear to be so smart, but yet so dumb.............

    April 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  54. michelle

    Seems to me there is one person on here in particular who doesn't know a thing about the facts of homeschooling. So smart but so dumb!

    April 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  55. Mick Essen

    II am a professor at a local university. It has been my experience that most home schooled children are not properly socialized, and have a difficult time adjusting to their peers. They tend to bristle at authority as well.

    IIt often seems to be a matter of the mothers wanting to smother their children, and keep them close at home as much as possible. So although the amount of learning may be comparable to traditional schools, the social aspect causes problems later in life.

    When they get to college and out in the workforce, they need to interact with strangers, and suddenly their mother isn't there anymore. It's a tough adjustment to be sure.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Rick Chafey

      Thank you for presenting the most common argument against homeschool. While I'm in no position to refute your personal experience and will not offer my own anecdotal evidence in an attempt to do so, I would like to respond to one assumption you seem to be making. You mention that homeschooled students "tend to bristle at authority as well." This is certainly one of the benefits of homeschooling!

      When you eat in a restaurant, does the waitor have authority over you? Of course not, since you are paying that person for a service. This is analogous to the student, teacher (or professor) relationship, where the student is the paying customer and the teacher is the person hired to deliver a service.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
      • Rick Chafey

        Clarification: my comment is a reply to that posted by Mick Essen.

        April 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
      • Lynn

        No, the teacher is not your paid servant, but is authority and everyone needs to learn respect for elders and people in authority and how to follow rules.

        April 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
      • Ann

        Wow, so your kids really ARE the center of the universe, huh?

        April 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Sandy

      While that may be true for some, it is not for most. And, you could say that many children from public schools have the same problems–or different, but just as serious, ones. Many homeschoolers have to cut back on things b/c there can be TOO MUCH social interaction. So, blanket statements cannot be justified. The fact that colleges have not begun to recruit homeschool students speak for itself. So many professors have said glowingly positive things about the students who were homeschooled compared to the ones who went to public school. There will always be some "exceoptions" though, and they will always be the ones used as the example of what a typical homeschool student looks like.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
      • Sandy

        Oops. I meant that fact that colleges HAVE begun to recruit homeschool kids, not "have not"!

        April 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Ed

      As the father of a home school senior who is dual enrolled at a local university I would have to think you are seeing the exception, not the rule. My son has adjusted well to college classes and has to 'ride' his peers in different groups he is involved with to keep them focused. He manages his own time and is excelling at college level classes with no preferential treatment even as his peers, the product of the public school system, flounder. As for not being socialized, he is involved with two drama groups outside of school and active in church. This is the same with most of the home school kids I have had the pleasure to meet.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Rae

      I seriously question how many homeschool students you've had. How can you say "most" when you teach at one school, in one region of the entire country? The entire poor "socialization" theory has been completely debunked by scientific studies. Homeschool students frequently interact with children and adults of all ages, not just others the same age. They participate in education "co-ops", PE classes, scouting, church groups, 4-H clubs, and sports (often at their local public schools, if they allow homeschool students to participate). My son was public schooled through 7th grade, and during his seventh grade year at a new school, he had not made a single friend after 5 months, but was bullied a few times. There was absolutely NO productive socialization taking place at the public school. 2 minutes between classes, 10 minutes for lunch by the time you made it through line, 3 hours of homework a night, and no non-athletic activities left him no opportunity to meet people. I pulled him out of school at the end of the semester and started home-schooling. He made several friends, spends tons of time outdoors playing sports with neighbor kids, participated in a basketball league, goes to a weekly PE homeschool co-op, and attends a weekly youth group. Your personal experience (or should I say lack of experience with more students) is not indicative of the social health of homeschool students nationwide. Although public school union employees will forever try to discredit homeschooling, research shows that you spout nothing but lies.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
      • Bored

        Rae,

        You are wrong.

        Future Public School Children who have all the jobs and leave your awkward children behind in nearly every non-skewed by the religious right performance metric.

        April 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Ray

      Spoken like a true member of the educational establishment.

      "Adjusting to peers" involves picking up habits and absorbing influences that many would find distasteful, not to mention unhealthy.

      And "bristling at authority" is not necessarily, or even usually, bad.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
      • Nina

        The reason Homeschooling is on the rise all over the US because true member of the educational establishment are Corrupt to the Core!

        April 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Nina

      My both boys went to private school for few years since the public school in california is horrible.
      I had to take both kids out of school due to bullying not only from the kids but the TEACHERS were bad people too!
      The BEST decisionI made in my life is homeschooling the boys, our stress level diminished dramatically, my son does not suffer Esophageal Reflux or migraine any more .
      The are Thriving young teen, Socially they are more involved and had more play date and sleep over since they got Home-schooled ,which they had no time to do before. Academically the improved dramatically !
      The boys workout at the GYM every single day with no exception and also attend martial art class daily.
      Too many things to get involved in.
      Lot people are very opinionated and they think Homeschooling is bad and kids are not social and all kind of negative opinion.
      I say who did not Homeschool their kids have NO opinion at all or SAY about the subject , If you did not try it DON'T open your mouth with all negativity.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
      • Blahblah

        Nina,

        This is an open forum and I can say any negative thing that I'd like about homecloning, including that the lesson you could have given your children was to stand up to bullies and be better than them. Instead you have taught them to run from their problems and hide at home where it's safe.

        Sincerely,

        Public School Well-adjusted children.

        April 10, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Debbie

      I find your comments amazingly old school. Socialization does not come from stuffing kids from one age group with each other for 12 years of their life. Quite frankly that is anti socialization and will never happen to them again after graduation. My daughter is 15 and involved in many outside activities. She went to India on a Medical Missions trip, by herself, and worked in a surgery room at age 14. I guarantee you that she would not have been a welcomed asset if she were "smothered by her mother". She is also a great communicator and has spoke from a podium in front of over 150 people without saying “ uhhm” or “you know” or “guys”. Something her public school friends could never do. Your views may be correct from 20 years ago, but not today.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Kimberly

      Interesting, as I find your point in direct contrast to what I have experienced. I have two sisters who home school and a mother in academia – specifically at a well known private University. The first of my nephew and nieces is about to graduate. She has a full ride scholarship to college – and has regularly tested higher the the state and federal averages of her peers. Both of my sisters are members of home schooling groups, as are most people that I know who home school, which support multiple means for socializing the children. In addition, all of my nieces and nephews engaged in outside activities that aligned with their personal interests (as opposed to those sponsored or directed by the school). None of my nieces or nephews have problems with authority – in any form. In fact the one that is about to graduate has a healthy respect for authority, while still being an independent thinker. While I have not decided myself whether I will home school or not, I have a problem with people who pull out dated and cliche arguments against home schooling.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • byebyecow

      Mick,

      Your assessment and views are noted but have been shown to be grossly incorrect time and time again. I have found that most homeschooled children, who spend their days interacting with people of all ages, are better prepared to socially interact with a range of people. When in a traditional school setting, children are age segregated with peers from their neighborhood and told to shut up and sit down 90% of the day. This myth/lie that public schools do a better job of socializing children is based on what? In this case your opinion. In all cases peoples opinions, never on facts. Your opinion is based on a belief that homeschooling mothers are overprotective and that these kids just sit at home protected from the world. You clearly do not know many homeschoolers as I have only met one or two like that in my life. I know over 50 families in my area alone who spend far less time at home then they do out in the world living life. I am only answering your post because other people might actually believe you and your accounts to be accurate representations of homeschooled people. I just hope that the readers are wiser and far more open minded then you are.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • Blahblah

        No, it's based on the fact that for decades our schools have taught us how to read and write and produced creative, responsible members of society, whereas homeschooling has only been observed to create awkward, insular, closed-minded children who have no realistic idea of how the world works.

        April 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Sara M.

      My daughter was homeschooled from 5th-7th grades then returned to public school for 8th grade last year. Our conversation a few weeks after public school started...
      Me,"So, do you have lots of opportunities for socializing in middle school?"
      Teen. "No, the teacher's don't allow us to talk in class and in between periods we only have 3 minutes to get to class. And we only get 20 minutes for lunch, so it's either talk or eat. And we can't even talk on the school bus either because we might distract the driver."
      Me,"So, you got to socialize more when you were homeschooled then?"
      Teen,"Lots more!"

      April 10, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • GOD

      I've seen plenty of students in public school that suffer from social issues, adjusting to peers, and have a disregard for authority. I can blame a poor public education system that doesn't meet the needs of those particular students. I would even suggest that home schooling may be an option for them. They probably need more parental support and guidance.

      Essentially I am saying that your claim about the failures of home school can easily be applied toward public education as well.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • John R

      How many homeschoolers have you actually met. You are repeating the biggest myth regarding homeschoolers that they are all unsocialized. there are some that are, just like there are many public and private schooled kids that are. Your education choice isn't the issue for socialization, it is a parenting issue and applies throughout all of the school choice options.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Mr. Russell

      Scolastica Travel, you can extend learning outside of the classroom, through extra curricular activities, which is high encouraged. Numerous field trip opportunities and quarterly face to face meetings with other home schooled families in your region. My children are homeschooled, and the flexible schedule makes, gymnastics, ballet, piano, martial arts (state champions), baseball, soccer and Saturday Korean school, which they look forward too, because they are eager to be taught be someone other than their mom. How many traditional taught elementary school students look forward to school on Saturday? Home school has allowed my children to be well rounded and ready for the world, without the many educational distractions inherent with traditional classroom education.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • vicky

      Perhaps it's because they are used being responsible young adults and are used to being responsible for themselves instead of having a babysitter looking after them 24/7. I know many young adults who have had very successful college careers after being homeschooled their entire lives. Most homeschoolers I know, are more socialized and better behaved in public as well.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • MannyHM

      Not properly socialized ? I have the impression that home schooled students are very selective in the people that would socialize with which is a good thing. In a school setting, the main impetus is for the student to 'fit in' to group which might be out of reach for the parents. At the college level, the person is mature enough to who his or her friends are.
      Home schooling tend to foster independent thinking hence it can easily be construed as 'bristle to authority.'

      April 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  56. Wendy

    I have used both homeschooling and traditional public schools. Due to financial issues my children were forced to return to public school. They hate it. I'm so tired of hearing how teachers want parents more involved. I have found that teachers who love what they do, keep parents informed. Most unfortunately do not. I understand many are frustrated by having to do more with less. My problem is that I cannot get information about what my children are learning. I am now trying to figure out a way for my boys to go to home school next year. As for those who say they need school for social activities. That is a load of bull. There are homeschool groups out there that get kids together for things like dances and field trips. Parents can also enroll their kids in dance classes, sports activities and church groups to meet social needs.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  57. drinker75

    I have been thinking about homeschooling my 4th grader. He's having a hard time in school and the amount of homework that he brings home makes me feel like we are homeschooling anyway. For him, the system isn't working. I feel like there are a lot of great resources now for a well rounded education at home (rather than the religious BS so often taught). I am just not sure that I have the patience to teach him. It is hard to know what is best.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Thinking7

      I have been a home educator for 12 years now. When I began home educating my first child, he was only 3 years old. I just thought I was getting him ready for kindergarten, but as time went on, I realized how much joy I got from teaching and how happy he was. Four children and 12 years of homeschooling have been the best thing for my family. My children consistently score higher than their peers on standardized tests, they have lots of good friends, they are very well rounded children. For those who may be intimidated because they are not sure where to start, there are lots of resources. Start googling for homeschool groups in your area. There are co-ops, middle school youth groups, high school youth groups, sporting activities, you name it. Whatever is available to a public or private schooled child, it's there for your home educated child. Don't be worried. My own homeschool group has 200 kids. There is a lot of support. Try it.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Ed

      If you think about it from another angle. You have already been home schooling your child. Who taught him/her how to read? Or you the bathroom? Or use manners at the dinner table? Probably you. the only difference is this is a set curriculum, in most cases, and you just need to follow it. The beautiful thing is, you no longer have to follow it on a set time line. You can teach history with a visit to the museum and discuss with your child what hey find interesting and why. Then check out some books on the subject and follow it around to see where it leads. Teach physics by talking about typical hardware and tools. Force and inclined planes aren't the usual thought when handling a screwdriver, but both are involved. Teaching to a child that wants to learn is about as easy as it comes. And I am not patient, or highly educated myself. the public school system is designed to teach to the lowest common denominator, with precious little time spent on independent learning, so your child will always have busy work and home work to fill the time.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  58. jrmcnz

    I am a teacher (currently in my 6th year). I was an officer in the military for 11 years before I became a teacher.
    I have had some students who were home schooled from K-8 who are then thrust into high school. I have it them succeed wonderfully (National Merit Scholar) and some fail miserably.

    I think the bottom line here is simple. Home schooling can work. Public schools can work. Private schools can work. Each option has it's benefits and drawbacks.

    The single thing that is being discussed here is that student success in any forum is related directly to parent involved. If your child is home school the parents must be involved. If your child is at public school the parents must be involved. If your child is at private school the parent must be involved. No parent involved generally equals no success.

    Teachers run the gambit from great to lousy (just like any other profession). Parents must stay involved in their children's educational experience (no matter where is it) for it to be successful.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • drinker75

      A great post! For my children the teacher has made the biggest difference in performance. It's very frustrating when your child gets stuck with a lousy teacher. Thankfully, they seem to be few and far between!

      April 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • TAK

      A teacher that doesn't know the difference between gamut and gambit.. Shame, shame.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Gretchen

      Yes, Yes, Yes jrmcz. You said it all. Parents must be involved! More parental involvement would make all forms of early education better. You said it!

      April 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  59. GodIsForImbeciles

    The American public school system is am embarrassment. I will not subject my children to a worthless, anti-male, feminist indoctrination camp.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Ren Dowdy

      I hope you never reproduce. And if you have, I feel terrible for your children.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  60. bethkat

    I've been considering homeschooling my children. I had a terrible time at public school. Between being bullied by my classmates and being so utterly bored by the curriculum it's a miracle I even graduated. In first grade the teacher called me a "problem child" because I was reading at a 4th grade level and the books in the classroom bored me. In middle school I was given detention because I got an A on a test I hadn't taken notes for (the instructor said I must have cheated, even though when she gave me a second test to "prove it" I passed that one as well). In high school I was kicked out of class numerous times for correcting teachers. As for that magic "socialization" everyone keeps talking about. I don't know what you're talking about, I had almost no friends throughout school and still have a very difficult time making connections with people. Based on my childhood, I pretty much just assume that everyone I meet is going to dislike me for one reason or another. I score very high on IQ tests, but I graduated with a 2.5 GPA because I hated school so much. I wish I had been homeschooled and I promised myself that if I see my children going through the same things that I went through I will pull them out and homeschool them rather than let them be miserable for 12 years because "it's good for them."

    April 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • donna

      Bethkat:
      You sound like a great parent! I had a similar experience in high school and i was miserable and depressed. When my daughter was harassed in high school (it got really bad and the school officials wouldn't deal with it), I realized that i didn't need to wait until she was horribly depressed to pull her out, so I did it as soon as I realized she was really suffering.

      She went into independent studies (which is a great option for some), then she took her proficiency exam and started community college at 16. She is excelling and having a great time. She's had opportunities for extra curricular activities that she wouldn't have in a traditional setting. It was definitely the best thing for her.

      I had also home schooled her for third grade and it was one of the best times of my life. Good luck to you and don't hesitate to do what you think is right for your kids. And there are so many options for home schooling these days, that you will be able to find something that works for your family if you ever decide to go that route.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Brad

      So, just because you were thrust into an environment that didn't work for you, you are going to do the same to your children. Maybe homeschooling will work very well for them and maybe it won't. It's not for everyone. The interesting thing to me is that children who have parents who are involved in their lives and education, generally do much better than children who's parents seem to see the public school system as some type of babysitting service.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
      • donna

        Brad, your first statement suggests that you didn't read the post carefully.

        April 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • whorhay

      Preach on!

      The only time I can remember not absolutely hating school was K-3 when I was enrolled in a Montessori School. And to a slightly lesser degree 11-12 when I attended a Vocational school, classes that genuinely interested me, students who were interested in the same things, and very little homework. My Public School was actually one of the top ranked public schools in the nation at the time. The teachers were good but I positively hated the grind of it all. I pretty much never did homework, I might have completed a dozen homework assignments from 4-10, but I almost always tested well. I was failed one year because I didn't do the homework, the next year I passed because my test scores were even higher than before, and even with no homework grades I couldn't be held back.

      The whole socialization bit was a mess. I don't think I ever had more than a friend or two at a time once I went to the public school. And even those were like "work friends", you know, the type that you never visit with outside of the environment you know them from.

      The more I think about it the less inclined I am to subject my children to the same situations.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Evelyn Mom

      bethkat- When I read this post it seems to me that one very probably reason you had trouble socializing was due to an overinflated sense of your own self-importance and a whole, whole, whole lotta aroogance!

      April 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Athena

      Bethcat

      What you just described is why I took my son out of a private school and started homeschooling. He found errors is textbooks and corrected his teachers on mistakes they were teaching. Good teachers looked into what he said then corrected the class and tests, bad ones scolded him and told him he was disrespectful.

      I encouraged him NOT to correct the teachers no matter what, he was bored to tears. Glad you see that IQ and grades have very little to do with one another. Your potential was stifled hopefully you have fixed that.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • SW

      good for you, bethkat!

      April 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • MT

      bethkat- You sound like a great person and a great parent!

      April 10, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  61. 20 YEARS LATER

    I went to a public school that was supposedly one of the most academically advanced in our state and had a miserable time. It was not that the classwork, I did rather well, but the environment of the school was overly heirarical. The only way to look good and be accepted was to make somebody else look bad and be as hurtful as possible. Even a member of our homecoming court tried to kill herself. People were judged by their money and clothes and not their character. My school earned the nickname "suicide high." I am not advocating public vs. private vs. home schooled, but I am saying before you judge somebody's choice for his or her child, stop to wonder what situation the family is in. I was not counseled about my college options, nor were my areas of extracarricular interest of any importance to the school. I was expendable in the administration's eyes because my parents did not donate money to the PTA or booster club. I know because teachers made condescending remarks about it in class in front of the students. I would have loved the chance to have gone to an alternative school or been home schooled, but my parents could not afford to take the time off from their jobs to give me rides to a different school or homeschool me. I do believe I missed out on a lot of opportunities that exist for home schooled children and children in learning environments suited to their needs. Let's work to make all schools better and not harass parents that are trying their best for their kids, whether it be at home or at a public school.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  62. California Conservatives

    My View: Why I chose home schooling

    Could it be because of all the child molesting teachers, Union ones at that??

    April 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Teacher

      There is no correlation between unions and teachers who molest children. Your comment is absurd. You do realize that very few teachers molest children and that this problem is not exclusive to the schools... there are pedophiles in other places too.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Tom

      What kind of idiot are you? FAR more children are molested by their own parents than any teacher. (Unless that teacher happens to be a Catholic Priest.....then RUN as fast as you can.)

      April 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Vicky

      Do you also avoid church because of all the child molesting priests and pastors? Do you avoid sports because of all the child molesting coaches? Do you keep your children in cages as to avoid all child molesters?

      April 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • MT

      Why are people being mean to teachers? My kids went to school for several years, and I never met a teacher I didn't like. They were wonderful self-sacrificing people. My primary reasons for homeschooling had to do with the 1:25 ratio, bureaucracy, and teachers being forced to teach the test so the school wouldn't be punished for not meeting the no child left behind rules.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Kris

      Clearly, you are very informed.....????? Has anyone pointed out to you that you are an idiot?

      April 11, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  63. donna

    "another teacher
    Donna–let me guess, you were home schooled! I tutor them one-on-one....they interact with ME, and only me. It's not a group tutoring situation. The last time I checked I wasn't their peer. You are an idiot."

    You are like a racist working with minority students- and taking their parent's money to do it. I never suggested you were their peer. I think your reading skills leave something to be desired. But I can tell from your name calling that I've flustered you.

    Maybe you should have some humility and practice some of those good old Christian values you say you have.

    And for the record, I was not home schooled. I did teach in public schools, and in my credential program. we were taught that all kids learn differently and that the 'one size fits all" approach can be detrimental to many kids. Pity you didn't have such an education....

    April 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  64. DanoRoo

    If indoctrination is what you seek for your children then public school is fine. But, if you want them to have a solid academic base then home or private school is the only way. The majority of public school teachers (especially at the higher grade levels) are neither motivated nor qualified to teach.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • drinker75

      I think plenty of indoctrination can happen at home as well.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Vicky

      You know nothing about public school teachers. I've taught for 21 years and very few teachers are unqualified. I also know MANY homeschooling families since I attend a conservative christian church in the south. I know more unqualified homeschooling "teachers" – the parents – than public school teachers. Honestly, a person with a college degree cannot teach calculus, European history, advanced English literature, chemistry and Spanish. Anyone who says they can teach all subjects is a liar.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
      • donna

        Most home schooling parents I know have college degrees- and that difference is probably because we live different areas.

        I think there are significantly different types of people and/or reasons for homeschooling. People who do it for religious reasons don't have the same goals as people who do it to increase their child's academic development.

        April 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
      • Loralee

        Vicky~
        You may not be aware of this, but there are now many options for teaching the more advanced topics. There are several different curriculi out there for all the different math subjects, advanced Languages,etc. – any topic your student needs or is interested in. On top of that, there are many ways to augment your child's learning with apprenticeships or duel-enrollment at a local college. By high school, the kids should be learning to work independently anyway...

        April 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
      • vicky

        Yes, we can because I have a teachers manual just like you and when my kids gets all the answers right on their test, then I know they are absorbing what I am teaching them! It doesn't take a rocket science to teach these kids it just takes some patience and the right equipment!

        April 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
      • Athena

        Yes but Vicky...

        They can purchase them and the child can take the course online. This usually comes with live (skype class) instruction. Q& A segments and online testing.

        No need to worry...it's out there, if they want to take the classes.

        April 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
      • Anna B

        Vicky, This is why we chose to live where we live. Our property tax is higher than the national average but our school system ranks number 22 in the state. My mother-in-law was a teacher and she is amazed on what my 2nd grade son is learning in school.

        Some people choose to live in towns where they pay 1k a year for a property tax and they have acres of land. Most of our property taxes pay for public school. If you have low property tax then your town will NOT be able to sustain a good public school.

        Also, learning does not end in the brick and mortar of a public school. Learning continues on whether you home school, private school, charter school or public school. I feel that public school gives my children the opportunity to learn how to handle different situations that would help them in the future. Maybe working on a project with somebody they do not particularly like or someone who does not put effort on the project. This situation can happen in real life and if you are home schooling chances are you are working with your sibling which you hopefully love.

        April 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  65. nolazy

    Who cares? It's your life.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  66. Tyler

    How can you POSSIBLY teach a child at home other than the really BASIC stuff? You can't. Calc 1, 2, 3 ? AP Physics? Ap Chem? Advanced Phy or Chem ? You can not, unless you majored in all of those subjects. Needless to say that you did not.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • donna

      The home schoolers I know at those levels are usually taking classes at community colleges. There are also homeschool programs that offer supplemental classes.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • farmer laurie

      absolutely wrong....you don't know modern home schooling, obviously

      April 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • homeschoolingmom

      My son is in high school and has learned how to learn- so no, I do not teach him physics or calculus, he learns those subjects on his own with the help of carefully chosen curriculum. We choose materials with resources for him to ask questions and receive help when he needs it. He is receiving a stellar education at home and still has plenty of time to have a job and participate in extracurricular activities.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • swmell

      Alot of homeschooled children receive tutoring or actual college classes on subjects that the parent is not skilled at.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Britt

      Actually, she most likely DID teach her children these things. I was homeschooled, and took a fantastic chemistry program. Most homeschoolers are part of a co-op, involving parents that likely had training in many of these fields. The programs used by homeschoolers are incredible, and offer an edge to homeschoolers that public schoolers lack. I see so many people failed by the public school system, it's sad. Do your research before you slam homeschooling.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • GlenWhite

      Hi Tyler,
      You're right that upper-level math and science can be difficult to teach at home, which, I imagine, is part of why one of the author's sons is now in a traditional school for high school. Many homeschoolers manage this challenge by enrolling their children in science & math classes at the local university or community college, or, if they have the resources, by hiring private tutors. Many local colleges have community outreach programs that offer reduced tuition to students of high school age, and this is the rout that my family took. I found the opportunity to take classes at the local college to be great preparation for my later college experiences, and don't feel that they were inferior to the AP courses offered at the local high schools.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • GlenWhite

      Hi Tyler,
      You're right that upper-level math and science can be difficult to teach at home, which, I imagine, is part of why one of the author's sons is now in a traditional school for high school. Many homeschoolers manage this challenge by enrolling their children in science & math classes at the local university or community college, or, if they have the resources, by hiring private tutors. Many local colleges have community outreach programs that offer reduced tuition to students of high school age, and this is the route that my family took. I found the opportunity to take classes at the local college to be great preparation for my later college experiences, and don't feel that they were inferior to the AP courses offered at the local high schools.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Caverguy

      Homeschooling is about teaching children to teach themselves. Let's face it, that is all we get with a public education anyway. Standardized testing rammed down our throats for several months out of the year so the school district can continue to get federal funding, while out children fall farther behind in math and science. We rank in the bottom third in both. This is abysmal when we are behind 3rd world countries in math and science. The federal government has been a dismal failure at education, how much harm can we do at home.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Terina Plyler

      By the time children need to learn those subjects, they are in H.S. or college. Since parents have already learned the basics from Elementary school to Highschool, the basics are already covered. Anything beyond that is generally learned online. My oldest was in public school and was enrolled in Pre-Calculus before entering into an early college program. He's a straight-A student with photographic memory yet none of his other subject material extended beyond what I learned in average classes. My youngest is homeschooled due to learning disabilites and she progresses faster at home than she did in public school. Anything I don't know, we look up. That's what the internet is for!

      April 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Isaac

      Tyler, there are many, many different companies that specialize in providing curriculum to homeschool teachers that didnt major in those subjects, and many of them out-preform curriculum in public school. A degree is not required at all to homeschool your children, although it is convenient.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Cmater

      We home school and my 13 year old is completing Pre-calculus at the local college to begin Calculus 1 in the fall, Calc. 2 in the spring – if he were in the pubic school system he would be working on Algebra. He also takes college level english, science and history courses not to mention foreign language.

      At 13 he has 19 college credits. He has many friends who also attend college in their teens.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • HomeSchoolingMom

      Yes, you can actually. Quite well in fact. In addition to traditional book based curriculums there are many wonderful CBT courses available. I wasn't a chemistry major and my daughter is doing fine. The tests that she has been passing with flying colors weren't made up by me, but are part of the curriculum I've purchased. That being said, there are plenty of times that the concepts being taught aren't explained in a clear and concise manner but then I research to find out the principles if I am not already aware and then I help clarify for her. The difference is that I care enough about her education to take the time to explain things; her teachers at her old public school acted like they couldn't care less. There are fewer distractions at home; no bullying, no stealing, no kids being distractions, etc. It is a common misconception that a parent must be an expert in all things to teach their children. You have to use a good curriculum and be willing to put in time to fill in the gaps. Home schooling is only as good as the effort put in, really no different than public schooling.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Me

      You realize that's why there are people out there who write curriculum tailored for home learning? Public schools, home-schoolers, private schoolers alike all use curriculum. I was home-schooled. I did not have a teacher. It was just me and my books. I was taking high school level English and Literature in 9th grade. I completed an entire Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, and Triginometry curriculum in just one and a half years. I did biology, chemistry, a little physics. Neither of my parents went to college. My mom has a high school diploma. My dad dropped out. It's not about the parent's knowledge, or even the teacher's. This is what BOOKS are for.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Colleen G

      You are kidding me right? Ever hear of a textbook or curriculum supplier? Just because a parent chooses to take the teaching into their own hands doesn't mean that we don't use the same materials that a school teacher uses. Most textbooks and curriculums designed for home educators realize that the parent may not be an ace in that subject and the book almost teaches itself. Educate yourself before blabbing about topics which you have no knowledge of.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • HeyZeus

      Public Schools are not teaching those subjects either. They teach to a test nothing more. As far as being able to teach AP related courses, Calc 1-4/Trig, all i can say is you haven't been to the book store I use. With the teachers guides and teaching books on the shelves today, I've taught both of my kids far more Algebra, Science, Grammar, English Lit, and Social Sciences than the public school here ever will.

      What people who have never been part of home-schooling do not understand is we have choices on how to teach our kids, and what to teach them. And So people understand, it isn't solely the Ultra conservative that are home-schooling today. There are many of the liberal mindset that are tired of 'intelligent design' being a science..

      April 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Debbie

      I love these kinds of comments. If you can't teach it does that mean you didn't learn it? If you took it in high school and can not teach it what is the point of taking it in high school? So if you are not confident to teach it, there are many many online and computer based programs that will teach your child courses. AND said child does not have to wait for the rest of the class to "get it" or if they are the ones struggling, they do not get left behind!

      April 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Ed

      I have taught AP Physics and Chemistry to my High School Senior and neither of us knew anything about the subject. We got a good curriculum and followed it to the letter. He learned more than most students in a traditional setting because we could experiment individually and test theory until we had it down pat. No rush to the next lesson. Anything can be taught at home, y anyone who cares and doesn't fear failure.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • GOD

      My brother just turned 16. He is in concurrent enrollment with our community college. He has already completed 5 college classes. He will take Calculus One (I) this summer at college. He's already finished the homework on the syllabus for the class actually. He watches the free MIT OpenCourseWare videos and lectures.

      The point is that you can just send your student to college for some classes. Skip a lot of the junk that happens in high school. High school is a waste of time because it moves so slowly. The real learning happens in college. There are plenty of opportunities to socialize at college as well.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Loralee

      I just posted this to Vicky as well, but saw that you need to know this, too:
      You may not be aware of this, but there are now many options for teaching the more advanced topics. There are several different curriculi out there for all the different math subjects, advanced Languages,etc. – any topic your student needs or is interested in. On top of that, there are many ways to augment your child's learning with apprenticeships or duel-enrollment at a local college. By high school, the kids should be learning to work independently anyway...

      April 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • vicky

      Oh, come on Tyler use the brains you are claiming you have in your statement. My dd has gotten straight A's in Honors Biology and Chem. We used an advance curriculum and she does great. She also uses a cd rom course for her math. She's a junior this year doing Algebra 2 and yes, she has learned how to do it. Your argument is weak. I don't need a degree to teach my kids how to learn. I learn with them. We figure things out together and yes, I have an answer book.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • kyhomeschooler

      Tyler (and others) there are COUNTLESS resources available to homeschooling families! Your comment shows the ignorance that many have about the homeschool culture. I'm not saying YOU are ignorant but if this is truly a concern of yours, find a homeschooling family and ask them some questions. Better yet, find a homeschool conference nearby and go to the exhibit hall. Warning: it will take at least 2 days to get through the booths of resources!

      April 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Homeschooling mom

      Tyler,
      I can, if fact, teach all those subjects. I taught them at the college level and in homeschool. I also help the other homeschooling parents whose children are in advanced in math and science. Very few students in public school or homeschool, actually take Calculus 1,2,3, AP Physics or AP Chemistry. To say a parent shouldn't homeschool because they can't teach college level courses to high schoolers is completely illogical. College-level courses are better taught at - imagine this - colleges. Many colleges don't like to give AP math/science credit because the students who took those courses in public school are not up to standard.

      My homeschooled child completed Calculus 1,2,3,; Differential Equations; 2 semesters of college Chemistry; calc-based Physics, got a near perfect score on the English portion of the ACT, and graduated high school a year early with a year of college credit - from a college, not a high school –under his belt. He was accepted at a highly ranked engineering school where he is now a happy, successful, and involved senior. There is no way he could have done that in the local public school environment.

      And the best thing of all - he was happy throughout his homeschooled years. He loved learning, worked at his own pace, had lots of friends of different ages and was never bullied.

      Homeschooling can provide an superb education. It doesn't have to, any more than public schooling does, but the opportunities are easily available to those who bother to look.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Athena

      ignorance is bliss...

      Tyler...it's out there. Do you know that several school districts ALL over the country have skype live course for their districts? They can't afford to hire several of these advance instructors because their isn't fulltime work at each school.
      So kids that take these courses are in class rooms where the teacher is skyped in an teaches all the district kids in the same period.

      NOW...people who homeschool can also purchase classes like this. Best part we can get reviews on the teachers, watch samples and decide which program to purchase. There are also a lot of free offerings but it doesn't come with the individual instruction stuff. Makes it more parent involved instead of independent.

      These kids DO NOT miss anything... In fact they have so much more available it's mind boggling. I know I was so afraid to Homeschool even though I do have a college education and my husband has several including Chemistry. We are both shocked and pleased what the kids have available to them. You should research it...

      April 10, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  67. sunnygirl

    the theme of this article seemed to be 'Ms. Gardiner' and how homeschooling would best fit her career and home. decisions such as this need to be about the children.. not the parent. if her schedule it too busy to meet the demands of a 'box they were being forced into', she should suspend her career and focus on her children. public schools are not perfect, but it is an excellent tool in socialilzing children to meet the harsh reality of the world they will be living in someday. children need dedicated parents to guide them through the process of education and social challenges that will one day help to round them into responsible citizens.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • homeschoolingmom

      There is nothing realistic about being placed in a room full of people all the same age being forced to interact. In real life, we are among people of all ages, and if we find we are unhappy with our environment, we can choose to find another job/ church/ college class, etc. The "harsh reality" you speak of happens mostly in school. It doesn't happen at home, and it rarely happens to adults. How often do you hear about bullying at work? Whenever someone uses this argument it makes me laugh. As if placing my child in a school building somehow makes them more socially adjusted- it's so silly.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
      • Ed

        A comedian once said that home school kids are thought of as unsocialized, yet when kids go to public school, what is the thing that gets most of them in trouble? Socializing. Then they are put in detention where they have to learn their lessons by themselves....just like home school kids.

        April 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
      • Tara

        Great point, homeschoolingmom. I had to chuckle because our home and social environment is less racist, less critical, less materialistic, less everything bad that my child is subjected to at public school. I'm a bit scared, but I'm going for it and homeschooling my youngest, 11, starting in the fall (7th grade). Being made fun of by a teacher for being so smart? That was the straw that broke the camel's back. I'm fortunate that I don't have to work and can devote my time to finding the right curriculum, right groups to associate with, etc.

        April 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  68. christine

    On the other side, my 5 kids all went to (gasp!) inner city public schools in Minneapolis. My four daughters all went on to college – 3 have graduated and 1 is a junior. My son joined the military (Go Air Force!!). They are all loving, friendly, responsible, intelligent young adults. You get out of school what you put into it.

    There is no one perfect solution for everyone so don't try to force your opinion on others. Live and let live.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • another teacher

      Amen!

      April 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • donna

      "There is no one perfect solution for everyone so don't try to force your opinion on others. Live and let live."

      It's a pity more people don't share and understand that sentiment. It's even more sad when teachers don't get that. It's Educational Psychology 101 that everyone learns differently, and what's best for one student may not be best for another.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
      • anon

        I think that teachers do know that kids learn differently and try to work accordingly, but when you have 30 kids in 6 different classes, its hard.

        We should really thank people for the thankless job of teaching in public schools. I know its easy to say that teachers are failing us, but if more parents got involved and worked in a partnership with teachers we wouldn't have so much complaining?

        April 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
      • John R

        Who is trying to force their ideas on anyone. the article author specifically stated the homeschooling might not be for everyone, but they were glad they took the journey. We homeschooled our 3 children for a total of 16 years all the way through high school for each of them. One is working on his PhD, one has graduated college and is working towards a second degree and one spent 4+ years as a foreign missionary and is now going back to college to finish their degree. The one thing that they all developed through homeshooling is the desire to learn and sense of right and wrong and the strength to stand by their convictions. I also wouldn't trade those homeschooling years for anything and I have asked my kids and they wouldn't either.

        April 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
      • donna

        @ John R, some comments are in response to the article specifically and some are in response to comments made by other posters. There are many posters making absolute statements about whether home schooling is right or wrong for any student. Those are the people who appear to be forcing their ideas on other people.

        April 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • donna

      @anon, I am former teacher and I fully agree with you. My comment was directed at the posters in this board, who state they are teachers and have determined that homeschooling is a "bad choice." Teachers should know better.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • rrn

      But that is the exact point of this article. The author was finding that the brick and morter school was not working for HER family. She is not telling you, that you have to do this for your family.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Retiring Home Schooling Mom

      I do not see that the author was "forcing" her opinion on anyone. Instead, she was only sharing what has been a worthwhile, successful, and meaningful experience for herself and her family. Editorials are about sharing experiences and opinions. There is no reason to feel defensive because someone else's opinion varies from one's own.

      Her article actually brought tears to my eyes. I have been home schooling my children for the past 13 years and our home schooling days are about to come to a close. The author expressed so well exactly what home schooling has meant to me and my family. It has been the best, most meaningful, most important experience of my life and brought my children and I so very close together. They leave for college – both on full scholarships – in August and I will miss them terribly. But I will always be grateful for the precious time I had at the most wonderful full-time job I have ever had, being a home schooling mom.

      Over the years I have found that some moms of traditionally schooled children react quite defensively when they hear we and others home school, and I have never quite understood why this is so. The author of this article was not trying to force her opinion on anyone; she was not writing in judgement of anyone choosing to send their children to traditional schools. She only was expressing her heartfelt joy about what home schooling has meant to her and her family. I found her article touching and appreciate her making the effort to share her experiences with others.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  69. Still Deciding

    I'm still deciding if I want to homeschool my child or have them stay in a traditional school. For now my husband and I agreed that this fall we will put our child in public school for kindergarten to see how that goes. Anyway, there are a lot of families at my church that homeschool their children and the children seem socialized and not at all awkward. They all seem smart, well-behaved, have manners and respectful of their peers and adults BUT that's just my encounter with them a couple days a week. I think the important thing is finding the best education for your child. I grew up in the traditional public school system and there were pros and cons. One the pros was that I met my best friends in life. One con was the bullying. One thing I do remember is that in addition to going to traditional school my parents also taught me in the home to supplemental what we were learning at school, they taught me socialization (i,e., manners, how to treat others etc.,) and they taught me Christian principles. In my opinion it was the best of both worlds being taught in a traditional school as well as being taught at home. But for now, I'm keeping an open mind to alternative education like homeschooling just in case we discover that the traditional schools where we live are as bad as some people claim.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  70. Jackiek11

    My mother and I joke about what would've happened if she had tried to homeschool me. We both agree it would have been a miserable experience. Children enjoy interacting with other children and adults enjoy interacting with other adults. Spending 24/7 in the house with minimum outside interaction sounds boring for everyone. Also, both of my parents were very involved in my activities, like sport and girl scouts, and worked full time.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • farmer laurie

      that's only a misconception about homeschooling. My neighbors homeschooled and their kids were constantly interacting with other kids. Whether it was 4-h or scouts, church or other clubs. They took advanced math classes from the high school. They all played instruments in a band....just because they are homeschooled doesn't mean they were not interacting with other kids, not at all. In fact if we just think about it, two hundred years ago everybody was homeschooled and America turned out fine.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • John R

      Obviously, you don't really know anything about homeschooling or have ever really met or interacted with homeschoolers. Most are actually more socialized than public schooled kids and are much better at interacting with their peers, siblings and adults because they have the time to do so and don't spend 8 hours a day in a sterilized center of only their own age group. To you I would say, get out some more and explore the world. It's a great place to be.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  71. donna

    There are a lot of misconceptions about homeschooling, and I think people don't understand that there is a very wide range of homeschooling programs and options for parents.

    Not all families chose this because of religious reasons. I home schooled my daughter when our school district went to a two core curriculum via NCLB. They were exempt from teaching science and social science for k-6, instead spending all day doing scripted math and language arts curriculum. Tell me teachers who are bashing home schooling- is that a good education? Is that a good learning environment?

    Every home school child I know participates in multiple activities with other kids. The whole socialization "problem" isn't representative of home schoolers, but of parents who keep their kids from socializing- there is a big difference between the two.

    My sister currently home schools her kids, and they belong to a HS charter that offers art classes, foreign language, science workshops and field trips. Between those and the sports performing arts programs they participate in, her kids socialize far more than most kids.

    Those other activities also show that the claim that kids won't know how to respect teachers other than their parents isn't realistic for most of these kids.

    There are so many options with homeschooling, it's unrealistic to make generalizations about it being "bad" or "not working." And anyone in education should appreciate that all kids learn differently and have different needs and skills.

    Home schooling works beautifully for a lot of kids and their families.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  72. J. Wilson

    I pulled my son from public and put in private school kindergarten but then pulled and homeschool. There are many reasons but some gems are that my son has an IQ of either 165, 183, or 156. He tested 165 but public said that can't be right and re-tested getting 183 and then private did same thing! Both were unable to teach him letter sounds, in English, he's adopted and was reading at 4th grade level in Bulgarian. I taught him at home by doing one letter a day for 10 seconds a day as in "this is A it says ah, A, and aaaah" (that was end of lesson). Both public and private claimed after 4 months and 6 months respectively that he was severely delayed and possibly dyslexic. My favorite from both schools was the statement that on Kindergarten readiness skills he 'scored a zero for pencil grip' and 'that while we can read his writing he has poor handwriting on lines, often making letters too big or outside the line space' (he has NO HANDS and 'holds' his pencil by attaching a piece of velcro around his stump and sticking pencil under the velcro). I just couldn't do it again with all I'd been through before with my adopted daughter who graduated from public high school completely demoralized (she has an IQ of 59 and was in special education classes and is a child with Down's Syndrome)–I had to fight the school for everything!

    April 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • bubtdm

      Nice trolling

      April 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  73. Home schooled 3rd grade - high school

    I was home schooled from 3rd grade through high school. Although no system is perfect – or right for everyone, it was really good for me, my two older siblings and I'm thankful our parents opted for that option. I don't feel like I gave up or had to compromise on anything from being homeschooled – my parents kept us involved in social events sometimes with other homeschoolers and sometimes with non-homeschoolers.

    For Scholastica Travel and others – my dad traveled for work a fair amount so my mom would pack us up and we would join him on his trips and learn first hand while visiting Gettysburg, etc as opposed to just reading history books. We constantly went to museums and my mom made everything a learning experience – including learning percentages while shopping and X% was a stated discount.

    My transition to college was easy – especially from an academic perspective. I graduated with high honors and went on to get my masters with an even better GPA. Sure there were some social transitions along the way, but isn't that part of life?!?

    I don't know whether we'll eventually homeschool our kids, but it will definitely be on the table as one available option.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  74. Gyngr Minchew

    As the product of a home schooled education, I can tell you from personal experience what the benefits are. I began home schooling in the fourth grade. K-3 was spent in a public environment. Home schooling was the best thing for me. Besides the fact that a publoic school environbment is not "real world" as many claim. As one commenter put it... When was the last time you got a swirlie at work?
    This article is wonderful. Neither of my parents were traditional "educators"... That was probably the best thing. My ability to live and work in "the real world" was created during the time I was home schooled. My parents and I have a wonderful relationahip now and always have. My relationship with my younger brother is also very good. How many of you non-home schooling parents even have a relationship with your children?

    April 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Mike

      You're getting a little snobby about your schoolin' there... maybe not everybody wants to spend every second of their lives with children. It seems a little weird to me.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Public schooled and damn fine with it.

      That's mighty pretentious of you. Not all homeschooled children have such Disney derived lives like you.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  75. MaryinOC

    Since "socialization" is the process whereby an individual learns to adjust to a group and behave in a manner approved by the group, doesn't it make more sense that the group be composed of something other than 30 or so equally unsocialized individuals.

    Homeschooling does not occur in a vacuum. Homeschooled kids' social skills are learned in the greater community and not within age-segregated groups.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • OP

      I think that is a valid point. People who are already socialized tend to impress their views on others. I think public school is the safest option for many kids.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • MT

      Exactly, I would never assume that a person who "works from home" didn't have an extremely active social life with a myriad of people. Why do people assume that of homeschoolers? Because they met one weird one ten years ago?

      April 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  76. Bella

    I pulled my daughter out of public school earlier this year and have to say I don't regret it at all! After talking to plenty of people that have been home schooled I was certain it was the best option. I spend more time with my daughter and get to show her the importance in life. I'm not saying public school isn't the right choice, but it just wasn't the right choice for us. If ever my daughter wants to return to public school I will gladly sign her up. She is happy that she is home schooled right now, it was her choice. I think people should think before posting harsh things because ultimately it's not your life so why do you care? Why can't people just be happy for other people and their choices? Everybody has opinions but lets express them with good manners not with harsh words.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  77. sparkprincess

    I'm a second-generation homeschooler and have nothing but good things to say. I think homeschooling is a valid educational option and should be something that every parent considers. Having said that, homeschooling is NOT for everyone. It just isn't. Just like any other option is not for everyone. Education is not one-size-fits-all.

    I think people really display their ignorance when they attribute certain personality traits or deficiencies to a child based on their education alone. People love to talk about how homeschoolers are socially awkward...um, I've met many people who attended traditional schools and turned out extremely awkward! Some people are just awkward – no matter what their schooling! So why tear down a perfectly good educational option, based on a few ignorant assumptions?

    The bottom line to a good education: parents who see their children as individuals, can recognize their learning style and personality, and are willing to find a model of education that best suites their needs. This requires dedication, research, and the ability to think outside the box. It also goes without saying that parents with this approach will be very involved in their child's life and education. When I see these elements in a family, their kids tend to do very well in school – no matter the specifics. When parents choose an educational method for their child based on "this is what we've always done," ignorant assumptions, fear, anxiety, or pure laziness, they are sure to fail, no matter what their pick.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  78. Voltairine

    "Why I chose home schooling": Because most public schools suck, because they're perpetually underfunded; because the pathologically aggressive American syndrome dictates that bullies continue to be permitted to assault other children; because, since public schools suck so much, parents have to be involved ... which most aren't ... mainly because they have ZERO TIME to do anything because even if there are two parents, they're both working, etc. The monetary market system is doomed. It's time to evolve to a resource-based system. See, "Zeitgeist: Moving Forward", and also, "Zeitgeist: Addendum", for more background. It's just going to keep getting worse. Also see, "George Carlin – How Really Owns America".

    April 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • MT

      Kids are expected to go to school with people we adults would never be expected to work with.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
      • another teacher

        I very much disagree with your statement. Unless you work from home...probably from your mom's basement–the work force is filled with creepy, rude, obnoxious people. We just have to learn to deal with it. It's called life. No one gets out alive.

        April 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
      • MT

        another teacher- No I don't work in my mother's basement. I shudder at the thought on so many levels. You sound very unhappy with your chosen profession. I feel really bad for you, if those are the types of people you choose to be around. An adult can change jobs, but a child is stuck.

        April 10, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Ricky Bobby

      Hmm. You should have spent more time on spelling and grammar! Shake and bake!

      April 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  79. Spy Hunter

    I love all the "opinions" on Home Schooling, (that is what most of the comments are, and we all have them). Ok, my story. I am the product of a private education system (12 years), my wife is the product of a public education system (12 years), so when we decided to have children and then it was time for them to go to school, we tried the public system for our first child and pulled him out after 2nd grade to home school, which, at that time, I was very concerned but open to trying to home school. It has worked for us. Oldest son–graduated with a business degree in 2 1/2 years in college and now works for a major company on proposals/work between 50M to 400M. Our daughter went to college at 16 and had 2 Four year degrees at 22, plus played college basketball, now on track to complete her masters at the age of 25, she is school teacher!. The youngest son, went to college at 16 and graduates this year, with 2 Four year degrees and has been an intern working for a major company (over 100K personnal) and makes more money than most 30 year olds. Now lets talk about the social side, my kids were very socialized, sports/outings/family/friends (my 26 year old does presentations for VPs and congressmen–I think that qualifies a being socialized homeschooler). I say all this because I was a concerned in the begining but now, no way, they are just fine. PS: I required my childern to take the same public school tests every year and yes, they are 2 to 3 years advanced, how do I know this? The oldest son was asked by his professor to teach the others in the class, the youngest son has been a tutor for college subjects since he was 16. People will have thier opinions and people will attack people for their looks or ideas, but I have the facts for MY FAMILY.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Joshua

      No one cares about your family...

      April 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • *yawn*

      To what do we owe this pleasure!?
      Because I'm sure you are the only family in the whole world to ever have successful kids.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • MT

      Your family sounds really wonderful.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  80. Kris

    I taught school for 30 years, held a Masters Degree in Elementary Ed and National Board Certified for the last five years. I have seen home school work ONE time....I'm sorry and don't mean to talk down to people who Home School. However, its a BIG mistake.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Mom2two

      It's funny. All my teacher friends think I'm doing well by my kids. The few who don't think so tow the NEA party line so much that it would be impossible for them to think otherwise, even as their students fall farther behind.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
      • sparkprincess

        Yes, exactly!!

        April 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • donna

      All you offer is that you have an education and you think homeschooling is a mistake in all but one case. Do you know how to back up your statement? In light of all the people who talk about it being a positive experience for their family, you would think that someone of your vast experience and education would have something a little more compelling to say than "It's a mistake."

      I don't think anyone is concerned that you are talking down to people because your comment is so rudimentary.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
      • Kris

        Donna:
        Dear, you seem so hurt and angry. Did I say something to offend you? Are you the mother of Home School children or a victim of Home School? It’s the middle of the day. I hope you are not about to tell me that you have 4 kids that you are currently Home Schooling, because you are on CNN trolling for affirmation. If you are such a serious Home School teacher I would suggest that you get off the computer and get to teaching, because it’s not a part time job (if you are doing it correctly).

        April 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
      • donna

        Kris, I am neither hurt nor angry, but I see that you are trying to demean my comments as being an emotional reaction. The truth is that I think you want to make yourself sound important by bragging about your education and putting down people who don't agree with you.

        I am a former teacher and a former home schooling parent. Sorry, but I am not impressed in any way by your claims about your education. And I certainly don't find you to be an authority on what I should or shouldn't be doing if I were currently home schooling.

        And there is nothing more pathetic than someone who posts on a message board and then ridicules someone else for also posting on that board. I think you're embarrassed by your post and you are trying to make yourself feel better, by once again putting other people down.

        April 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • another teacher

      I could not agree more. I have been an educator for 8 years. However, I make more money tutoring. Most of my tutoring students come from home schooling or church programs. Bad, bad idea. Most people who home school think they do a good job of educating their students. Few actually do. I also agree with the socialization comments–kids need to be forced to interact with others...the good, the bad, and the ugly. Just like we have to in the real world. They also need to follow a strict schedule of learning, with deadlines and expectations. School is about more than education, it's about life skills and forcing us to adjust to the norms. The real world will not cater to you like your parents do. Trust me on this.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
      • donna

        @another teacher,
        So when you tutor, you aren't part of the real world? Those kids are imaginary? What a hypocritical thing to say. You take these people's money and you claim they aren't in the real world? So you enable these children getting what you see as a substandard education so you can get some extra cash? Pathetic.

        I can't tell you how many times I have heard the argument that teachers and schools aren't part of the "real world" when people debate about putting money into education. It's an absurd comment for anyone to make.

        The REAL WORLD contains a lot of variation in the way people live. If you want conformity, you should stop interacting with these people who you think live in an imaginary world.

        April 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
      • bubtdm

        Tell that to my kid who was diagnosed with childhood anxiety and depression. Normal socialization was not working as much as I had hoped it would. He's now being home schooled and doing great. Want to argue with me on what I just said? If you truly are an educator then you'll know what an IEP is and what his diagnosis would mean in the public school system if he had been kept in for high school.

        April 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
      • MT

        Exhibit B of why I homeschool: Bitter teachers mad at life. I had several of those in school.

        April 10, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • sb

      I am a product of public schools and I had to learn what was expected of me in college. I have had four children go through public schools and I am sick and tired of teaching them at home what the teachers should have taught them in class. Children need safe places to learn and the public school system is not a safe place. This one size fits all education is not working. The teachers are taught education courses and not content. Most of my professional peers either home school their children or send them to private school.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
      • another teacher

        Donna–let me guess, you were home schooled! I tutor them one-on-one....they interact with ME, and only me. It's not a group tutoring situation. The last time I checked I wasn't their peer. You are an idiot.

        April 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Daniel S.

      Considering that homeschoolers are like 2.3% of K-12 population, I'm not surprised you've seen such dismal numbers. Homeschooling works, but it isn't best for all.
      Public education is a joke and private education is financially out of reach for most. Good home education with a good curriculum is an extremely viable option. In fact, this was one of the main reasons I was educated at home.
      Some parents home school for the wrong reasons and end up doing a lot of harm - particularly social - to their children.
      Socialization is the biggest concern other have, but in my experience I didn't have that problem. I played with my friends who were public, private, or home educated, did sports, traveled, prom, and even had to deal with social situations that all my friends had as well.

      Don't pay attention to the "wierdos" of homeschooling because they're not the norm. Parents who deem public schools "evil", etc. end up sheltering their kids too much, making them social outcasts and when they go out on their own, usually crumble under social pressures they never got to experience and are actually worse off than the others.

      Here is a list of people who were home schooled (either wholly or a significant portion):
      http://www.homeschoolacademy.com/famoushomeschoolers.htm

      April 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
      • Helga T

        I do respect homeschoolers. I've seen cases where it appears to be a poor choice and cases where it is a good choice. It's clearly not for everyone but if it works for your family, great. However, I am offended that you start your comments by stating that public education is a joke. That's a gross generalization. My children go to public school and they are getting a very good education. They are both bright and happy teenagers. If you want people to respect your choices, try respecting theirs.

        April 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Jenickki

      In response to Kris,
      I'm sorry that in your 30 years of education, you have only witnessed how homeschooling has helped someone once. I also hold a Master's Degree in Education and have been teaching for 20+ years, I find it rather amusing that I homeschool my child and this process works for us. Why? My daughter has an IQ over 140. We tried traditional school. I was informed she was a problem because she got bored easily and they didn't know what to do with her. I also understand that not every homeschool student is required to do the same curriculum and parents in states may do things very differently than we do here in PA; but to sterotype a response as yours, just made me shake my head. Mostly because you do have that education degree, and as educators we are taught to respect children as individuals not clumps of stastistics that the norming of PSSA has now made them. I wish you well in your travels to realize that all children are individuals and learn beyond the standard "Stepford Mode".

      April 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • proudmomma

      Really because I have seen the Government controlled, public school fail a WHOLE lot of times. Best advice I ever got was ..you arent going to screw up your kid any more by homeschooling than you would leaving her in public school.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • bubtdm

      Don't speak for everyone. There are cases where it is an ideal format for a child. And here in California where the school district budgets are constantly cut and provide value of a STAR test over a quality education hone schooling can be an outstanding option.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • bubtdm

      Really? So with your extensive background in education I'm assuming you're exposed to every single scenario with every family to make such an educated diagnosis? Please expand on your belief that home schooling is a big mistake.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Mike

      Kris,
      Its fine that you have a master's degree. I have one, too. That doesn't make either of us, based solely on our education, experts in home schooling. However, as no doubt you are familiar with scientific method, you should review the results of our educational system as compared to other western countries. What you will find is that the longer US children are in school, the lower they drop within that scale. You can attribute it to whatever you like, but the same cannot be said for children that are home schooled. You have only seen one case where home schooling "worked". Those within the public education system define the results as "working" as the result independent of measure, aside from teacher's salaries.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • John R

      @Kris, if you have been in the education business for 30 years and have only seen homeschooling work one time it's because you aren't looking or are ignoring the facts. Homeschooling might not be for everyone, but there are plenty of successful homeschoolers, including my 3 children and many of their friends who are either working on advanced degrees or have successful jobs and families. Open your eyes and mind to the possibilities vs burying your head in sand in denial. No one is attacking that you are a teacher, no reason to attack those of us that have chosen an alternative educational system.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  81. 1st year homeschooling mom

    When I was pregnant with our first, a homeschooling mother said the reason she decided to homeschool came down to this; when in your adult life are you asked to spend 6-7hrs a day with 25-30 peers your same age, in the same room, accomplishing the same task all day? Since high school, I have not had a single job that was anything like my classroom experiences. I thought about this for years as our son was approaching school age. I thought about all the 'social skills' he would miss and came to the conclusion, that all the necessary social skills he needed would still be learned at home, in extracurricular activities, at church, at the park...etc. We think that because they didn't experience the harshness of the school social system, they won't be prepared for life, but when in your adult career do you have to deal with swirlies, back of the school fights, cat fights in the hall, constant harassment without anything being done about it...As adults we have harassment filings, people get fired, police reports can be filed for these types of incidences. But we expect our kids to just deal with these types of things because it is the socialization that they need. I see awkward homeschoolers, but I also see plenty of awkward public school kids. Who's to say these strange homeschooled kids would not have been just as strange had they gone to public school? I have also seen and heard of many successful homeschoolers, read articles for and against, read many articles about homeschoolers being very successful in college and colleges seeking them out because of their self-discipline and commitment. I am so glad homeschooling is working for my family and I know it's not for everyone, but it definitely isn't a 'social issue'. Oh and I also have an education degree, boy did I feel hypocritical choosing home education! I'm not against schools, they're just not for everyone.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Ricky Bobby

      That's probably the worst story I've heard for "why I home schooled".

      April 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  82. Saboth

    My brother's wife plans on homeschooling their kids. Why? Because they are highly religious and don't want their kids becoming "worldly".

    April 10, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • another teacher

      Good luck with that. Who will protect them when they are forced into the real world? Or will they just live in mom and dad's basement for the rest of their lives? I am a Christian and I have a close walk with my Lord. When my children were young (they're adults now) we spent many, many hours in church and church-related activities. We also had Bible study and devotions at home. I loved having the opportunity to share my faith with my children. However, most church schools (and many home schooling parents) raise their children in a vacuum. Then they wonder why the child grows up strugging with adaptation.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
      • Devon Taylor

        @another teacher MANY home school parents you say? Where are you getting your statistics? As a mother of a home schooled high school student I take offense. It seems most of the parents posting here have great reasons for home schooling and seem to be very successful. I travel extensively for work and always take my son with me. He has seen more of the world than most adults. I don't see how that could possible be considered a vacuum. Glad to know you have such insight into every person who has chosen to home school.

        April 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
      • MT

        another teacher- I don't think you actually know many homeschoolers. At least, you don't really know them. You seem so bitter and unhappy.

        April 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Cmater

      We home-school and we are Pagan, with Atheist, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Bahai, Buddhist home-school friends. We love worldly, whacky, interesting and fun. We enjoy challenging options and ideas, meeting new people and seeing new places. We may not always agree with the opinions and ideas but we are scarcely afraid of them, neither are those we have met....

      April 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • MT

      That sounds kind of sad, but I didn't like how worldly my 3rd grader got when he came home from his top-rated school and told me what a BJ was. Do you think things like that are what she's referring to?

      April 10, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  83. Mom2two

    Great article. I'm a homeschool mom to 2 and I'm not at all surprised at the vitriol spewed by so many on the topic of home education. Our culture is so steeped in the belief that only public schools can teach that it's beyond comprehension to most people that someone else could do it better.It's not for everyone. I get that. The public school system is broken. One only has to look at state report cards to see that. I find it humorous that some would claim homeschoolers are unsocialized. There are so many opportunities for my children to be involved in activities with other kids, homeschooled and public schooled, that if we did everything we have to chance to do we wouldn't have time for school at all. We aren't "off". However, when I see some members of the public at large, I think I'd rather be "off" if they're normal. And in case you wonder if we're qualified to teach children, I happen to have a Master's degree in education, but after working in the public school system, I knew I couldn't have my children there. I really don't understand why those of you demeaning homeschoolers bother to do so. If you are happy with public education, great. Some cities have fantastic schools, and if that's where you want your kids, send them there. We simply choose not to. Why do you care? I don't care where anyone else's kids go to school. (And you can totally pick out my kids as homeschoolers. They're the ones that can carry on an intelligent conversation with you or anyone of any age that they meet.)

    April 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  84. MT

    I pulled my kids out of public school and started homeschooling at the end of their 3rd and 4th grade year. I mostly did it for academic and social reasons. I felt they weren't learning enough with the no child left behind rules. Between school, homework, dance, karate, and soccer, we never had any time together as a family. The kids had no time to just play and hang out with their friends. Everyone was stressed and exhausted. My 3rd grader was a struggling reader and didn't understand multiplication. Now the kids have lots of time to play and have fun with their vast network of friends. My kids are very intelligent and know everything they should for their grade level. Homeschooling isn't some rare phenomenon. There are approximately 2 million in the US. Also, I think the term homeschooling is misleading. Several of their classes are actually taught by someone else (i.e. computer programming is an online class taught to a group of other homeschoolers by a homeschool mom with a masters in computer engineering). Also, I'm certainly no great writer so the kids take writing courses through Bravewriter. Other people have posted about "weird" homeschoolers. Yeah, I know them, too, but I know a lot of "weird" people who were traditionally schooled.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  85. Observer

    Socialization is important but we are having more an more parents directly invovled even in the socialization aspect of their children's public school lives. You know the helicopter parents. As for college, I would say that most kids have a hard time adjusting to college life because it is different even from any othe type of school. As for the testing, there are tests that the home school kids I know take that are standardized. The would also take the SAT and ACT for college entrance. I think kids today will still have difficulty in the real world just because of the way society is today everybody makes the team, everybody gets to play, gets a trophy, everyone is a winner and that just isn' life. As for these parents teaching their beliefs that is exactly what the school does and most schools do not teach critical thinking either. Generally schools teach memorization and standardized tests. With that being said my 5 year old will go to public school in the fall but we will supplement his education with other things which we have always done.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  86. J

    How about University Model Schooling - it tries to blend the best aspects of a traditional 5-day program with the benefits that home schooling can provide.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  87. Caroline

    Interesting that a lot of the folks commenting have opinions as far as how their children do with home schooling, but have any of you actually been home schooled? I would have to agree with @The Decline on this one: I was home schooled, and it in no way prepared me for social interactions once I graduated and was booted back out into the real world. To the naysayers like @christiem8, if you don't believe socialization is important, think about how socialization eventually plays out in the rest of a person's life-their career, their self confidence, their simple ability to relate to another human being and learn something from them. It's a huge element being taken away from children who are home schooled in an environment that does not provide an appropriate amount of balance.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • John R

      Sorry to hear that you lacked learning social skills growing up, but blaming that on homeschooling is just not rationale. My guess is if you had been public schooled you would have still lacked socialization because of parenting choices, not educational choices. I have known plenty of public school kids that have a complete lack of social manners or graces.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  88. Tammy

    I appreciate this perspective, thank you for the article. I have to say, though, I was surprised at the amount of negative comments!

    April 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Bella

      I think people have negative things to say because thy aren't happy with the way their life is going

      April 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  89. Sy2502

    Homeschooling does children a disservice. Parents who think academic achievement is the only important thing are truly shortsighted. There are countless benefits of regular schooling that your children will not get.
    – When the child gets to leave the house regularly instead of always holding on to mommy's skirt, he learns independence.
    – When the parent and the teacher are the same person, the child doesn't learn to question what he's taught. Say bye bye to critical thinking.
    – Spending hours in a group teaches social dynamics. Being exposed to a range of personalities teaches social skills. Homeschooled children are by necessity more socially awkward than their peers.
    – The work environment is a group. Work is done as part of team work. Homeschooling bypasses the entire team work part. You are shortchanging your kids in their future work.
    – Parents inevitably will only teach their kids what they agree with. That is their teaching will be biased and slanted by their beliefs. I understand these parents don't want their children's fragile little minds to be corrupted by dissenting ideas. And that's how small mindedness is passed from generation to generation.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Bill

      Well stated.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • jon

      Home schooling is stupid and does not work.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
      • Jen

        I disagree. I was homeschooled, and am finishing a Master's degree.

        April 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • proudmomma

      Hanging on to mommys skirt? Quite the opposite, I have home schooled for 20 years, my oldest id in her first year at med school and is extremely outgoing, she even DJ's on a radio station to pay the bills- she has such an outgoing, witty personality. My son is entering his last year in Law school. He volunteers at Big Brother/Big Sister where he won Volunteer of the Year with them. My youngest daughter (age 11) does tons of Community theater and recently auditioned and will be staring in a Target commercial and has a print job for Justice clothing. I was told by her agent that she was one of the most mature, outgoing, articulate 11 year olds she has ever dealt with in 15 years and that is part of the reason she is getting so many jobs..we live iin Illinois and they are flying her out on their dime since she is so easy to work with. My children have taught prechoolers in church, one was on the announcement team where she speaks in front of 1000 church goers about what is going on to church. Both my girls flew to Kenya without me or their father to go on a missions trip and my youngest in the National Champion for her age group in gymnastics. None of this would have been possible had they not been home schooled. Instead of sitting in a classroom 8 hours aday, being told where to go, what to do, what time to eat and asking permission to go to the bathroom, my children were living out life and preparing for their future education..by the way, my daughter got a full academic ride to Pace University in Manhattan.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Gerald

      Whoa!! You quote that parents who home school only teach what the parent believes. My question is what is wrong with that? I don't want someone else teaching my child(grandchildren) things that go against what I believe. Parents were given the authority to be parents and to teach (train) their child. My daughter homeschools my grandchildren and their social skills are way beyond the kids who text 24 hours a day. They also are restricted on what they watch on TV and movies- the 4 year old can read because she has been learning with her six year old brother. She learns as he learns and they are a very tight, devoted family to each other. When out in public they are the ones who say "Thank You" to others and have seen them treating adults and their peers with respect and kindness. Since they are home schooled I would have to say they must be learning this at home. Oh by the way they can spell, do math and read way beyond their age level.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
      • Perspective

        "My question is what is wrong with that?"

        Misogyny as an example of something one should not teach; the main issue is that it narrows world view and potential of the child, by all means believe what you want, but would you really want to neuter your child's potential by teaching them that coins only have heads?

        "by the way they can spell, do math and read way beyond their age level"

        how can you determine this?

        I half expect you to be a troll (albeit a subtle one) however...

        April 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
      • Helga T

        My kids also say 'please' and 'thank you'. They are very close to their grandparents and help them with chores that have become difficult. Their friends are equally polite and considerate. Sending your children to public school doesn't automatically make them juvenile delinquents.

        April 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Jenickki

      in response to SY 2502,
      Oh and you left out being bullied because they are more socially adapt, and travel and have a world view. Please if you think everyone who homeschools their child is a Bible thumper and refuses for their child to see the world. Please re-educate yourself. I really take offense to this. We travel highly. My child's history lessons, are usually in the country in which the event happened. Not all parents preach fire and brimstone and teach Biblical studies when they homeschool. You need to perhaps do a tad bit more research on the subject matter before you make a sterotypical remark.

      April 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
      • heh

        So you have a fully equipped Chemistry lab at home?

        April 10, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • christine

      Agree. Well said!

      April 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
      • kathy

        Everyone does but they may not know it. You can perform a myriad of chemistry experiments using items found in the kitchen and workshop but I advise you to be aware of the dangers associated with these substances before using them.

        April 11, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • Dolores

      Home school associations address all your concerns. Just because a student is homeschooled, doesn't mean that the child learns everything from his or her parents. Many homeschoolers travel between homes where they learn Literature, Language Arts, and History from one parent, foreign languages for another, Math and Science from a different one, music, art, atheletics and so on. Many homeschooled students actually learn side-by-side with other children to whom they are not related. While I did not homeschool my children, nor was I homeschooled, I do know many who did/were and most had fantastic results. I've seen homeschooling produce top college students and some beautifully adjusted adults. As a generaly rule, the homeschooled students are more mature and have better decision making skills than their public school counterparts.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • farmer laurie

      Sy2502–every one of your "reasons" are completely wrong. In fact the opposite is true for every one of those when homeschooling is done sincerely and with imagination. You obviously have no experience with homeschoolers except the stereotypes you hear on Fox news. what a joke.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • John R

      Let's see, my 3 children all volunteered starting at 12 years old. All three started working in a professional office (dental office) at 16. All 3 went to church activities, participated in sports teams, field trips and other social events and interacted with siblings, peers and adults. Now, let's see, your kids spend 8-9 hours a day sitting in a room with one maybe two adults and 30 kids all the same age. they then come home so they can spend another 2-3 hours doing homework. What time do they get to socialize and be part of the "real world". Most homeschooler are the ones that actually "LIVE" in the real world. The rest of you just stop in and visit.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • John R

      @Sy2502, just by looking at your comment it is clear that you should look in the mirror to see the person that is "...biased and slanted by their beliefs." and dosen't "want their children's fragile little minds to be corrupted by dissenting ideas. And that's how small mindedness is passed from generation to generation."

      April 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Athena

      Sy...yes that is so true...

      It has been difficult for my son to talk to his peers. BUT when he was in school it was difficult for him to talk to his peers. He learned early on how to "dummy down".

      My son has a high IQ and he learns concepts faster than most, like explaining DNA to his 3rd grade class, or the arguement he had with his peers over Red blood cells vs white blood cells (there were no such thing as white blood according to his peers). He learned to dummy down and get along...made him depressed and miserable being called stupid because there was no such thing as white blood cells just to name one.

      My daughter was so shy that it was so painful for me to watch. She performed on stage without any problem but she didn't like to talk in front of people. This resulted in her being tormented by other girls, she was also called "stuck up" and a few other choice names.

      I am into my 7 month of homeschooling. My son is a amazed that we actually finished a text book, since in K-5 that never happened. He LOVES homeschooling he loves interacting with other smart kids who don't think he weird because he is smart.

      My daughter really loves it as well, it has given he so much confidence that she is making friends in Ballet and girl scouts, she is not afraid to talk. She actually orders her own meals and expresses opinions without feeling odd.

      Brick and motar isn't the answer for everyone and for the record I did send my first 2 through school (private) they did fine and BOTH agree that this is best for their siblings, neither of them feel they will miss out on anything (Both were athletes in HS and college). They are different people and this works for them.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
      • Aunt B

        @Athena: Please find someone to teach your children English Grammar. It is aparently not your forte.

        April 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
      • MT

        I think it's funny when people criticize someone else's grammar only to have a loads of mistakes in their own writing.

        April 10, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  90. educationmajor

    I feel a lot of parents who home school their children have a predisposed negative opinion of educators. You say you’re a doctor, and to be honest I don’t really like doctors but this doesn’t mean if I break my arm I’m going to try to make a primitive cast in my garage. I trust a professional to do this for me, and home school believers should do the same. There is much more to teaching than just presenting the material. Children thrive from working with other children, and they need that socialization time. This cannot be accomplished from working with their parents. From reading your article it seemed to me that you attacked the need to conform to the schools schedule but were then more concerned about how teaching your children fit into your schedule. Life after high school isn’t catered to meet your children’s interests, and they will have to learn that at some point.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  91. destinycouple

    Wow! I have been home schooling for a year now and have found it to be so beneficial. Our children have excelled in such a great way. After paying $10,000 for a private school that let children "teach" children, I found that my first grader couldn't even read though she was bringing home many A+ papers that she did not complete herself. When I would go up to the schools, they would only let me see the "social" aspect of the class and not the teaching part. The teachers did not like for me to ask MY child to complete her work in front of me while I was in the classroom.
    @ The Decline. Each person's experience is different when it comes to education choices. I learned a lot from public schools but I believe I would have had a greater discipline had I been homeschooled. To each its own. Congrats to all those that are successful in helping their children succeed. That is the key!

    April 10, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • The Decline

      Agreed as long as it truly works out. The one thing I find funny about all the parents who home school, they ALL say their child is excelling but how do you know? Have you compared them to other kids from different educations? All home schooling parents say the exact same thing about their child being 2 or 3 grades ahead of the norm, learning more than the would in a normal setting etc etc. It all seems very very weird to me. I mean, not every kid can have the same home school experience.....

      April 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
      • Duh!

        You were the school Bully! Oh yes the one who has made it your life function to bully everyone into your way of thinking. You are the Master piece of Public Education.

        April 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
      • SWbeth

        @The Decline: Your questions seems sincere so I'm surprised no one has answered you. I will answer you. Most/many homeschoolers worth their salt, utilize standardized curriculums that are research based. These curriculums provide for testing and measurement along grade levels. Also, most/many homeschoolers avail themselves of standardized testing to make certain their children are on progressing. Great question!

        April 11, 2012 at 7:22 am |
  92. Lynnoleum61

    Homeschooling is a nice option to traditional education. But in my experience, home schoolers lack socialization skills, and critical thinking skills. If, as a parent, you can teach those things in addition to what is required, you have succeeded. One very real challenge for me would be to try and present a well rounded curriculum. Not one that just represents my views. A well educated person is always open to views other than their own. Anyone can be narrow minded, that's easy. Education should broaded horizons, not narrow them.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  93. Josie Behnke

    I have mixed ideas on home-schooling. I have family that choose to home-school their kids. They ran it like a normal school, same breaks, same length during the day, in fact al the kids were a grade or two ahead of their age group. BUT only one has since gone onto college, and even with the "socializing" his parents gave him he had a hard time adjusting. Why you ask. Because his parents picked his friends, who he could socialize with and he didn't get to interact with too many different people outside of his family. I have another friend again was raised under the same home-schooling program...he too had problems adjusting to dealing with people once he left the home to go to college. Yes I know public schools are not perfect, and yes I hate to say this even though diagnosing a kid with ADHD is not always right, in some cases it is; and the parents need to wake up. There is more to school then the classroom. If you choose to home-school then go for it, it worked so far...but please it seems like an easy way out.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  94. s

    Well you must not be a good doctor to have so much time on your hands for home schooling. Hope your lil darlings can handle the real world once they get out of your tent.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  95. Ugh

    Creating socially awkward children with an education that was DICTATED to them based on the parents beliefs. This woman is setting these children up for a crash course in the "real world" where people don't bend over backwards because lil' Johnny doesn't like to be pushed at a pace other than his/her own. I dont care if the woman went to college... Most teachers that my friends and I had growing up were worthless... AND THEY WERE "PROFESSIONALS"!
    Good luck lady, I can't wait for the follow-up article, "Why my kids hate me and have no friends".

    April 10, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • The Decline

      Couldnt agree more. The home schooled peeps I know have issues dealing with groups of ppl in a constructive, brainstorming session. Their critical thinking and social skills are terrible. Thats not to say ALL ppl home schooled are like this, or that ppl dont grow up socially awkward even though they went to public school but it mainly holds true from my experience dealing with them.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:39 am |
      • TJ

        @ The Decline. My kids all attend public school. The do OK. I have no complaints. The one thing that bothers me about what you are saying is that my public school does not care one wit about socializing. They sit in class for 45 minutes and the rules are to come in, not speak to anyone, do the pre-lesson written on the board, sit through the lesson, have enough material like pencils so as not to ask to sharpen one in class (or they get written up!), and then the last 3 minutes of class if their work is done they can raise hand and be excused one child at time to use bathroom (or sharpen pencil). When the bell rings they have 3 minutes to get to next class or get detention. They are not to stop in bathroom (if they need to do so then must first go to office to get pass and still if not in next class in 3 minutes they get in school detention next day) and they are not to stop at lockers either. At lunch they line up by free, reduced, packed, paid and must sit in order they are lined up. There are a series of whistles, yes from a whistle, blown such that you sit down, eat, throw out trash and if time remains put head down on table not talking until lunch is over. The only socializing is allowed on the bus or in sports or other activities so your child only socializes with their community or people with their interests. My oldest has never had a group project-ever-and he is in 11th grade.

        In daycare each of my children had to learn socializing and getting along similar to what you are speaking about. They learned to be kind and caring and work in groups. But the teacher also sent home a list of kids my children preferred to play with suggesting that it would be great socializing skill for kids to have playdates. They listed who my child seemed to get along with best and also kids who 'may not be good playdate choices due to differing interests'. One year I learned that me and my brother in laws children were not good choices dispite the fact that they played fine together practically every day.

        Maybe I'm biased as my kids are doing fine in public school. They are average kids. Not gifted, not talented, have average motivation, some are in sports but none of my kids have ever been all that good, one has been in track for 5 years and usually comes in last every race, they are B and C students who get excited by the occassional A and disappointed by the occassional D or F. None have ever been bullied or in fight. So my take is public is fine. They are held to society standard such as I am at work, the only difference is they are stuck there (other schools in my district don't have the weird whistle blowing lunches and that is one thing I get most complaints about from my kids), if my boss started blowing a whistle at me I could (in theory quit the job). Either way my kids are less social then they were in preschool in terms of diversity of friends. They stick with kids like them and aren't expected to work with kids they don't like.

        April 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  96. christiem8

    What a good article! We have homeschooled since 1992. It has proven to be the best thing we ever decided to do.
    We still have 4 at home, who are learning quite well. Our home education experience has produced 1. A professional musician. 2. A college professor 3. A Public High School Teacher and 4. A CPA.
    Can't wait to see what the other kids will do. 🙂

    April 10, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  97. Really?

    @ The Decline – wow. A little bigoted on your part wouldn't you say? I would be reasonably certain that the public school was not "too hard" academically, but applied too many stresses on other parts of the whole person. People like you mostly think that all home schooling is done in seclusion. You fail to realize that there is a vast network ion this country of home schoolers. They learn proper interactions, under the supervision of parents, rather than on a playground or a bus where there is almost no supervision.

    Try again.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • The Decline

      @ Really? – A "vast network"? Please, I've seen home schooling IN ACTION! Dont assume too much. Also, supervision? You like to coddle your children? Save them from the real world? You cant shelter kids from buses, and bullies, and problems in life. You teach them how to react properly, how to be strong and adapt. And yes, most home schooling is done in seclusion. Not to mention, the woman who wrote the article mentioned public school was too hard on her children. Go read it again and pay more attention.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:36 am |
      • Hahahahaha

        Yes, because if you had to ride public transportation and I came up, called you a racial slur (there's racial slur's for every race), spit on you and then had my gang of 8 beat the tar out of you, you'd take it like a 'child' by quietly sobbing and not telling! Hahahaha. If this was your child you taught him proper response correct? Because while all the other kids are going to laugh, or sit quietly and watch, adults would whip out the phone and call the cops or maybe even intervene. Your child isn't even allowed too have a cell phone to call the cops but I'm sure the bus driver will step up and save your child (because that happens all the time right).

        April 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
      • HeyZeus

        in 2007 there were approx 1.5 million children being home-schooled. Design, I believe that would be a sizable network if you ask most people.. As for your thought that home schooling parents are attempting to coddle our kids. We are not. All of the home schooling parents I know, and I do know alot, are very strict in their classroom times. My children have always been held to task to learn their algebra, sciences, history, etc and are graded daily on it.

        April 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
      • John R

        @Decline, let me guess you have had one bad experience with a homeschool family and that is what you base your entire opinion on. I can assure you that the FACTS and statistics dictate that on average homeschool students score higher on standardized tests and do better in college than their public schooled counterparts. Do a little research on a topic before spouting nonsense about something you obviously know nothing about.

        April 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
      • paige

        You need to get out more, it seems you live in isolation if you think that homeschoolers are taught in isolation. Maybe a little socialization of the positive kind would help you adapt to the new way of schooling kids. The correct way.

        April 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
      • Elizabeth

        The author did not say public school was too hard for her children. Her children never went to public or private school until college...at age 14...at Stanford.

        April 14, 2012 at 3:40 am |
  98. The Decline

    Overwhelming? is this a joke? Awwww is public school too hard for your lil babies? Give me a break. How utterly pathetic. Going to public school isnt just about education, its about learning social constructs, how to function and socialize with your peers, work together on projects ya know, like in the real world. Every home schooled person I know comes out a little off. Most are smart, hard working ppl but have no understanding of the real world. They are sheltered and dont know what opposition is. Also, if public school settings are sooooo bad, why did the writters child go to college? Isnt that the same damn thing? Asinine....

    April 10, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • christiem8

      Umm. I always thought school was to get an education.
      Frankly, if it is to teach "socialization" as you say it is...then NO THANK YOU.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:34 am |
      • Ugh

        Socialization is a benefit. If you are so smart, I would like to think you would be able to read into the deeper meaning of what "The Decline" was getting at. Sociology and psychology must not be taught in your garage as well as an emphasis on reading comprehension.

        April 10, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • megin

      we can see you learned social skills well. Makes me wonder why others didn't work well in his/her group hmm.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Loralee

      There's a huge difference between a 10 year old and an 18 year old, not to mention a 5 year old and a 20 year old. That's why college can be fine, but sending your kid to public school before that might not be.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • paige

      Because a college degree is the same thing as a high school diploma was 30 yrs ago. Public education is a recent thing. Up until the last 150 yrs no one sent their kids to school. Every hero in history was homeschooled.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  99. deldobuss

    This was a beautiful articulation of homeschooling. My husband and I wanted family to be a top priority, and so we chose homeschooling in order to capitalize on the times when he has time off and when he has to be overseas for his job. We are 7 years into our journey and seeing the benefits of just being together are amazing.

    April 10, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  100. Scholastica Travel

    Wonderful article! Can you elaborate on how you extended learning outside of the traditional classroom? Did you travel often with your students/children? If so, how did that impact their learning? Thanks!

    April 10, 2012 at 10:06 am |
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