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. Gina

    Homeschooling is the only way in my opinion to truly change the world into a more balanced place with work and family. You don't have to rich to homeschool. You can think outside the box as well. It is not like you have to go home and do what the teachers are doing at school. Make your own day. Follow your child. Field trips, field trips, field trips. I homeschool my 7 and 9 year old and I have 17 month old twins and I am in school getting my Masters. I have no outside help. My husband helps when he can. It can be done. Our culture is way too fast paced for sure. God is also in our life and in our studies. Imagine that.

    April 11, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Dave

      I entered public school in 1951 and graduated from high school in 1966. I had good teachers, some great teachers and a few bad teacher. I had to deal with bullies, goof offs and kids who were brighter than me. All-in-all, it made me a better and more independent person. Education is more than test scores. I support public education.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
      • CC

        Bang on sir.

        April 12, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  2. fashiongrrl

    I was homeschooled for ten years, I am now thirteen. I transferred to public school in the 5th grade, and have to say that homeschooling was pretty great. You get chances to do what you wanna do, individualized learning, and no fitting in of a box. As well, there's no pressure to get in needless homework and tests every week. I also have met many types of homeschoolers. Some are homeschooled for intellectual reasons... and sometimes for other reasons. I have to say I enjoy the social environment and my junior high, but homeschooling's the reason I've learned way more than others in my age group.

    April 11, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  3. Gracie

    I don't get why everyone is so worried about homeschooled kids potentially being "weird." I mean, why is that the Big Issue? Why not worry that the kids will be drug addicts, or gang bangers, or something that is actually a problem? Why is such a huge premium placed on "normalcy," and exactly how much room is there between "normalcy" and herdlike conformity? I'm just not convinced that being weird is The Worst Thing That Could Ever Happen, and I'm not prepared to sacrifice my children on the altar of mainstream "normalcy."

    April 11, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  4. MadreDeCinco

    I wish i could disuade many people who homeschool from doing so. I will not say it is wrong in every instance, but it is terribly wrong to do so lightly. I can see where a medical condition might make it a favorable decision. Most parents are not equipped to homeschool. Those that are still are usually not able to provide the benefits school can. I know there are some homeschool groups who do field trips and play dates. This is simply not as good as being out in the real world every day. Schools are not perfect. Your childrens life won't be perfect when they graduate either. If you take away the lessons they will learn growing up in public, they will be very ill-equipped to face the real world as adults. In my experience people who homeschool are usually arrogant about having done so while everyone else sees them as weird. This usually means they are isolated.

    April 11, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Phil

      Sorry, but you clearly have absolutely no real-life experience with home-schooling.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Stacey

      Home schooling is SO much more about the "real world" than public schooling. In the "real world" my kids have to get along with people of all ages. In public school, they only have to learn to associate with people their own age. In the "real world" my kids will have to learn how to behave in public, control themselves, but carry on acceptable, meaningful conversations with people they come in contact with. In public school they learn how to sit down and shut up (many elementary age children cannot even talk at the lunch table).

      While the average 3rd grader was sitting in a classroom doing mindless worksheets, my son was with his siblings and me at a homeless shelter preparing lunches, or sitting in on the cardiologist visits before and after my Mom's triple bypass as the doctor explained the procedures, or rescuing an injured flying squirrel and bringing it to the vet school, or visiting a nursing home and providing snacks and entertainment, or helping a momma goat deliver her babies, or helping his mawmaw after her car wreck, and the list goes on. He was even able to sit in the operating room during a surgical procedure in full scrubs with my nephew (an anesthesiologist). It's the REAL WORLD folks! Those were life lessons that he was able to learn all the while still taking care of those pesky worksheets.

      That boy is nearly 17 now, about to be a senior home schooling (his 3 older siblings have graduated). He works nearly full-time, has tons of friends, is very compassionate, will help anyone, and will do wonderfully in college!!

      April 11, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • proofpositivity

      Let me make myself perfectly clear, my child is less isolated than I was as a public school student. My child plays with homeschool kids, public school kids, kids that are at the ice skating rink, he discusses electronic malfunctions with adults, goes grocery shopping and discusses cost there. He is not holed up in some corner. My daughter, who is in public school, gets in trouble for talking during class, standing up, bring gum and toys to school and on and on. My daughter's teacher stated that she is her best student. I wonder why that is? Oh, that's right I homeschool her when she gets home.

      April 12, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  5. Kiki

    My husband and I home school....our daughter will be attending Vassar in the fall.

    April 11, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  6. KM

    This whole post is pathetic. Everyone wants to blame someone else.

    April 11, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Homeschooling Mom

      Actually, you have missed the point of the article. If you don't want to blame someone else, you homeschool. It takes other people you don't care to impact your child out of the equation so they cannot be blamed.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  7. rika33

    Scarey with weird egos.

    April 11, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Phil

      My home-schooled child may (or may not) be weird, but she can spell "scary".

      April 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  8. Cookis

    Having been homeschooled as a child myself, my biggest regret was lack of socialization opportunities, but then again, I was homeschooled in the 80's, and much has changed since then (I hope).

    April 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Hadley

      Homeschooling was SO new in the 80s, and many were still afraid of the repercussions of homeschooling that there was little opportunity for homeschoolers. These days, it is vastly different – now homeschoolers have to say no to social opportunities so they can get the education done 🙂

      April 11, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Shazaam

      Anecdotally they're still weird by the time they get exposure to actual people instead of some sanitized socialization network.

      April 11, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  9. Mike

    I thin the value of home schooling is directly dependent on the adult(s) teaching. I think the problem for public education is the breadth of what is offered. We offer any number of sports, clubs and other activities that do have value but take away form the mission which is to teach our kids to enter the work force one day. My son is in an early college high school program that offers him the chance to get a high school diploma and an associates degree concurrently. My daughter took the traditional route with some dual credi thrown in. My observation of her first 1.5 years of college is basically a repeat of high school. We should be designing our high school classes so that when a child graduates they do not have to repeat most of the classes they took in high school. We also turn out graduates who have no basis skills, if college does not work or they don't go to college, they have no real skills. We need to have practicle knowledge taught with the other subjects. For example, why not offer a Dave Ramsey (fiancial peace course) to all high school seniors that shows them how to manage money. Most people no matter how well educated have trouble managing their money. We are living with a 1950's school system and trying toforce fit it into the twenty first century.

    April 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  10. Karaya

    It all depends of the definition of "education". The real education is math and science – and how many parents are up to the task of teaching their home-schooled kids the classical Newton mechanics and at least the basics of quantum physics?... Oh, you kids don't need it? – Fine, but don't call it an education.

    April 11, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • donna

      Karaya, Home school kids at that level are often taking college courses, and lots of homeschool networks have supplemental classes.

      April 11, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
      • College graduate

        Maybe your child, because you are an educated individual with a teaching degree and the knowledge and skills on how to educate individuals. Now take your child and allow them to be homeschooled by let's say an individual that has little to no education and can not comprehend math, science, or literature. They are being disserviced.

        This is a few of the commentors points, not all homescooling parents are qualified to educate their children, some are not intelligent enough to do so. I have known more homeschooled children that have come out with a good education to those who have not, approximately by a 3 to 1 margin (I can only think of approximately 10 to 12 that I have been aquainted with in my lifetime). And the kids who did not do so well were not ignorant, but did not fare well enough to educate themselves.

        The school locations you are refering to are probably located within poorer demographics, which tend to test poorer than schools in nicer areas of large cities (look it up, poor demographics do far worse in school standardized testing).

        In my case, I graduated with high honors from high school and went on to college to earn my bachelors degree in engineering. My parents did not finish high school, street smart and wise, but not educated in the math sciences, language arts. If my parents were to home school me, they would have been doing me a disservice, because they did not have the knowledge or skills to educate me in the vast areas that were covered in the public system. They would not have been able to understand the principles of chemistry, physics, or geometry to calculus coursework that was covered under my public education. Thanks to you, my poorly educated parents who did not homeschool me so that I could gain the knowledge to pursue a higher education and the degree in my field to earn a liveable income.

        You are correct in your assesment that some students in the public school system come from grade school not being able to read or write. My wife teaches english subjects and for the first few years taught children that had reading levels from anywhere from 2nd grade all the way up to 8th (with some that could not read or write at all). She taught a specialized reading and writing class with a few of the other teachers at the school, with smaller class sizes ( approximately 20) and double periods and was able to bring most of the students to a reading level of 9th grade within the year. I remember that she also stayed and helped a couple of her students during this time that could not read or write, they also made significant improvements. There are over 30 highschools with approximately 3000 students/per school in our city. Schools in different parts of the town do a lot better than schools in other parts.

        April 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • jaxx

      That's ridiculous. I'm have a degree in chemistry and took numerous biology and physics courses as well. Quantum physics or chemistry is taught in the later years in college and not even touched on in high school. High school sciences are simply laying a very basic foundation, including the AP courses which I took in HS.

      April 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
      • College graduate

        Maybe not at your high school, but at most on the west coast and in texas.

        April 11, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
      • Kim

        Huh? As a high school science teacher, I can assure you that they are. Every one of our students must take one year of biology, one year of chemistry, and one year of physics to graduate. Most start to double up in the 11th grade and go on to take a 4th, 5th, or even 6th year of science with electives and AP courses.

        April 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Natfka

      thats very narrow minded about how homeschooling works. Its not that difficult for a parent teacher to teach these to their children. Home parenting nowadays comes with access to lessons and support.

      April 11, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • SGTJohn

      to be fair, very few teachers are qualified to teach those subjects either.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  11. inWichita

    My grandchildren were requested to be removed from the Atlanta school system because their teachers couldn't teach them and my son was told that he and his children were to dim (paraphrased "stupid") to be educated. One of his girls is severly ADHD but her teacher couldn't cope with an ADHD child, The other was a straight A student here in Wichita but wasn't challenged by her teacher. They are so much better off, being home schooled by the college grad parents since they are able to adjust to the learning style of both of these children.

    April 11, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  12. Julie

    My child had chronic health issues that arose fom having psoriasis. Being in a public high school was very difficult. Her mono experience was hell. They kept calling my house when they were doing mandatory testing, wanting me to bring her in because of their stats for testing. I was livid. I told three people at her school she was very ill, and three others who hadn't got that word called me. They wouldn't allow her to go to college recruiting day because of the days that she had been out with mono, even though everyone else was going out to college recruiting day. She had a math teacher who was supposed to be on meds that he decided not to take. He was verbally abusive to entire classrooms, but because of his tenure. I am an educated person with a master's degree. My daughter is graduating from college. I will always regret having put her through public school

    April 11, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  13. College graduate

    My problem with homeschooling is that it is only as good as the person doing the educating. Many of the individuals posting on this site have degrees and sucessful children, but they are likely the minority. I have known both cases, well educated (or uneducated, but bright) and dumb as a doorknob parents who have homeschooled their children. As expected the children who could adapt and were bright came from the intelligent educators and the ones who were not as bright came from the dumb as a doorknob parents; one was essentially only versed in reading, but could not comprehend math or science as a result of the parents lack of knowledge or ability to understand the subject. Maybe they should test the ability of parents to educate their own children prior to letting them educate their children.

    The children that have done well at home in these instances of homeschooling would have likely done well at a public school as well. The key ingredient for the education of a young adult (highschool or lower grades) is parents who care how well their children do in school or in some cases the willingness and the desire of the student to become educated.

    April 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • donna

      "My problem with homeschooling is that it is only as good as the person doing the educating."

      That is true for EVERY form of education.

      And it's absurd to suggest that any kid who excels at home school would have done the same in traditional school. How is it that people don't understand that kids have different learning styles and succeed in different environments? I've taught hundreds of students, and what you're saying just isn't true.

      There are a lot of good stories here about why some parents removed their kids from public schools because they didn't meet the needs of their child. Maybe you should read about these people before you just decide that they were wrong and their kids would have done just as well as if they stayed in public school.

      April 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
      • Mei

        Excellent points Donna. Your answer is very true.

        April 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
      • Natfka

        yes, jersey jeff. Anyone can teach. All it takes is a desire to do it. Your value on what education your teachers have is highly suspect. A BA is not an indicator of a good teacher.

        April 11, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • donna

      College Graduate: "My problem with homeschooling is that it is only as good as the person doing the educating."

      That is true for EVERY form of education.

      And it's absurd to suggest that any kid who excels at home school would have done the same in traditional school. How is it that people don't understand that kids have different learning styles and succeed in different environments? I've taught hundreds of students, and what you're saying just isn't true.

      There are a lot of good stories here about why some parents removed their kids from public schools because they didn't meet the needs of their child. Maybe you should read about these people before you just decide that they were wrong and their kids would have done just as well as if they stayed in public school.

      April 11, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
      • JerseyJeff78

        Yes, but a teacher in my state at least has a BA and has gone through licensing to become a professional educator.

        What license and degree is needed to teach home school?

        April 11, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
      • donna

        JerseyJeff, The rules about homeschooling and whether you need to be followed by a credentialed teacher vary between districts and states.

        April 11, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
      • JerseyJeff78

        The answer is none.
        Not an easy way to ensure a level of education from the educator nor a good way to ensure a standard of education is provided.

        April 11, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
      • donna

        JerseyJeff, WRONG. In some states you have to be followed by a credentialed teacher/tutor, just as I said.

        What are the requirements for homeschooling in PA, NY, VT, RA, and MA, for example?

        It's truly pathetic that you are inventing information. You aren't interested in the reality of homeschooling, you are here to push your personal agenda and you're willing to make up information to do that. That is so sad given that your whole theme was getting kids into universities.

        April 11, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
      • JerseyJeff78

        It's wonderful you have been a teacher and have a success story, but you cannot ensure it is provided for the next kid that this path is chosen for them.
        Following a teacher guidelines is not qualification. You were an educator, you really think anybody can teach?

        April 11, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
      • Stacey

        This is so absurd. I had english teachers in high school whose grammar was abhorrent! There are awful teachers in schools all over this country. Yes, there are good ones too, but it's really just a crapshoot as to which ones you'll get.

        I'm so over people saying one needs a teaching degree to be a good teacher, or that just because one has a teaching degree they are automatically qualified. By whose standards?

        April 12, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • donna

      Oops! Sorry for the double post.

      April 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
      • College graduate

        I am just saying that not all people are suitable to homeschool their children. Some people are not as bright as others, and I have know a couple that have done an injustice to their children. On the other hand as mentioned, I have know a couple who have given their children a great homeschooling.

        April 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
      • College graduate

        I am just saying that not all people are suitable to homeschool their children. Some people are not as bright as others, and I have know a couple that have done an injustice to their children. On the other hand as mentioned, I have known a couple who have given their children a great homeschooling.

        Where have you taught hundreds of children, homeschool? If you have taught hundreds of children and not at a public school that would qualify you as a private educator, not a homeschooler. You could have taught on both sides of the aisle, a little confused by that statement. And if it was in a private school or in the home invironment or even in the public school system, I hope the parents had the sense to research your credentials.

        April 11, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
      • donna

        College graduate, Sorry to burst your bubble, but I'm not doing anything wrong, nor did I give you false information. I used to teach middle school and high school- I had about 150-200 students a year.

        Then I stopped teaching and home schooled my daughter. You are mistaken about that having some impact on my classification, and my credentials are sound.

        Anything else you'd like to accuse me of to make yourself feel better?

        April 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Hadley

      Actually, studies have shown that the educational level of the parent has very little to do with the education level of the parent(s). It's they LAZY parents who can't homeschool well. There is an endless supply of curricula and help out there for anyone who wants to make homeschooling work.

      April 11, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Tom

      So your concern is that although some will do well with home-schooling, others may not. This is totally unlike the public schools where virtually all children do well.

      Also, is it not possible that the children of the dumb as doorknob parents are not intellectually capable of achieving no matter who teaches them?

      April 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  14. JerseyJeff78

    I see the point of those parents who live in states that don't fund their education systems properly and I believe there some great success stories.
    That being said, the home school method is as only as good as a parents education and ability to teach.
    I began university with a classmate that came from home schooling. He had done well on his SAT's. He had the writing skills of a child and the understanding of the social sciences from a 'born-again' christian view. He failed out before the year was up and the freedom overwhelmed him being from home.
    For a very select few this might work, but for the majority, these kids have almost no chance of reaching a prestigous university or a well rounded academic career.
    To the parents touting their home school children, it is scary to see how some of you write and then tell how well you educated your children.

    April 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • donna

      That goes for all forms of education, not just home schooling. When I taught public school, 9th grade English, over half the class of 40 was reading at early elementary school levels when we started- and the two home schooled girls I had were A students. All forms of teaching are dependent on the teacher's abilities.

      I think you are making an arbitrary guess about what's good for the majority of students. One thing that should be clear to anyone reading these comments, is that the quality of homeschooling varies dramatically, as does the quality of public education. You might live somewhere where religion is primary reason for homeschooling, but with many it's all about the academics.

      In my daughter's school district, they stopped teaching science and social science curriculum in all k-6 classes because of No Child Left Behind. They were exempt from meeting the state standards for anything but math and language arts- which were taught with SCRIPTED programs.

      Do you really think the majority of children will reach their learning potential in that environment?

      The home schoolers I know who are teenagers are almost all taking classes at community colleges, and many are accepted to major universities. They are some of the most hard working people I've met.

      Don't think that your experience is an accurate sample of what is happening in the entire country.

      April 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
      • JerseyJeff78

        No, not all will succeed in the public school system. Though the children of dim parents have an even less of a chance.
        It is great for a select few and as a statistical anomaly, the part where this has the potential for being ugly is if the numbers grew. How could our society ensure these students are even being offered a proper curriculum?
        Your situation is quite different being an english teacher prior. How about if you had your GED and your reading advancement stopped with TV Guide? Do you think that student has even a glimmer of a chance to seeing the gates of Princeton?
        The education system in many of the states is under funded and some filled with politically interventionist curriculum (creationism, war of northern aggression, limited biology and health class curriculum), but in a system, a bright kid from a dim family has a chance to be noticed and become motivated for more and guided down the path of academic successes.
        Home school is great for those few that are educated enough to be teaching, but I definitely do not think a majority of the 10% of students being educated at home are getting what they need.

        April 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
      • donna

        I really think your experience with home schooling is limited, and you're making up random stats- where did you get your "majority" claim from? What evidence is that based on? How can you preach about the need for high quality education when you do that?

        My sister belongs to a home school charter group, that is connected to the school district. They have to meet all the same standards everyone else does. The district gives them the curriculum and anything they can't teach, they get help with. They have classes for foreign language, art, science workshops, and they do field trips.

        There are so many ways to do homeschooling, it's just not reasonable to treat it as if it refers to a single method.

        Do you really think that all kids in public school have a shot at Princeton? You seem to blind to the reality of the state of many public school systems. The best way to get kids to reach their full potential is to work with them one on one, or in small groups.

        And FYI, I dropped out of high school and did not get my GED. I do have two college degrees and a teaching credential in Social Science, with a supplement in English.

        April 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
      • JerseyJeff78

        I'm fortunate to have grown up in some of the best schools in the nation. I can say we have a far more efficient possibility of ensuring the standard education is a system then at home. Unfortunately, the proactive home schooled students are in the same group as the religious zealots, extremists and insufficiently educated to teach.
        The education system needs to be fixed and there will always be success stories of home schooled, but if it grows outside of sliver of the population, there is no way to ensure a level of education nor the proper curriculum when parents are making the final choice what their child learns and experiences.

        April 11, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  15. mothereagle10

    I have read the article and the majority of the comments. Interesting seems to an appropriate response. Everyone has their opinions on this topic. I have been a homeschool mom for 24 years. My children were definitely not isolated or sheltered. I am facing the reality that come August of this year I will be under court order to place my last 3 children in public school. The children are not happy,but the judge has sided with my ex. I have been deemed unqualified to teach my children, even though all my older children are quite successful in their life choices. I do NOT believe that every child should be homeschooled, nor do I believe that every child should be in public school. The world is not a one-size fits all kind of world. Not everyone is the same – we all learn differently, excel at different things, process information differently (visual, audio, kinesthetic/tactile, or any combination thereof). My children have learned well under my tutelage, but now they will experience another form of learning/education style. To pass judgment on which form of schooling is the best with a closed mind is ignorance at its finest. I chose to homeschool my children for a variety of reasons (many are mentioned in the article) and it has been to the benefit of my children. We live in a country where we espouse our many freedoms of choice, so why is it wrong for a parent to choose what they believe is the best form of education for their child? Parents should be allowed to choose freely, fail or succeed freely, and encouraged along the way, without fear of ridicule and vile comments. If I could continue to homeschool, I would, but for now it is not to be. I celebrate those that stand by their choice – whether it is public, private, or home, and I would encourage everyone else to move past their preconceived ideas and encourage these parents. For what it's worth, home education of children has been the norm in society for thousands of years (tutoring included), whereas public school is a newer form of education.

    April 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • grjane

      @mothereagle10: Please contact HSLDA right away and see if they can help. Get a membership with them and assert your rights as a homeschooler. Good luck!

      April 11, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  16. jbmar1312

    Carlos, again someone speaks with little or no knowledge. Home Schoolers do tkae the colledge placement tests and some state tests. When they do there scores show why home schooling works. When my son started 7th grade in public school he was 2 years ahead of everyone else. He is no einstein, believe me. It is the discipline of one on one mentoring using alternate curriculum or that similar to the public school system.

    Quit protecting a failed traditional system.

    April 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Incredulous

      If you want to defend home schooling, you might want to try using decent grammar and learning how to spell, and learning the difference between "there" and "their". Otherwise, you simply make yourself an example of how homeschooling is a BAD idea...

      April 11, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  17. Kevin McClellan

    As a 40 vet teacher in public school I wish every kid could have the one on one personel instruction that home schooled children get. The secret to home school kids is that individualized attention. I have seen good and bad socialization examples. That depends on what other things they are invovled in. I have seen good and bad examples of home schooled kids–depends on the parents ability to teach and the kids ability to learn some things on their own. A teacher that gets 22 kids per class for 7 classes a day simply cannot give every student or any student the same individualized attention, thats where parent involvement at home comes in every night. Most just send the kid to school expecting the kid to be educated just like the cleaning the send to the laundry.

    April 11, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Virginia

      I can see your point but the other side of it is I didn't think my kids should have to be at school all day and then come home and work. Kids really, really need some down time. It's a long day from the time they wake up till they get off the bus. My kids would be hungry, exhausted, and desperately needing just to play, hang out with their siblings, ride their bikes, talk to mom or dad, etc. Not only that but my kids would have to be in bed by 8pm so that's not a lot of free time. Add homework to that mix and it gets pretty crowded time wise. I swore I would change that with my kids because I remember exactly how it felt.

      April 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • JerseyJeff78

      So you are saying as a professional educator, you are not needed because every parent can have an effective one-on-one teaching experience with their child better than you can provide as a professional to a classroom?

      April 11, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  18. clemmie

    As a public high school teacher, I think I can safely say that if I had one child or even fewer than 10 in each class they would also be way way more successful. However, those people who refuse to spend m oney on education have established a system where I average between 30 and 40 kids in a class. It is crowd control and babysitting. No time to work with each kid. If I gave each student a minute of individual attention, wait there goes my entire class period.

    April 11, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • jbmar1312

      well, my son's Algebra and History teachers in high school were also the Basket Ball and fotball coach. My son spent more time watching movies then learning in their glasses. This not hear say, it is the truth. There are teachers out there like you who want to do their job and see their students excel and there are those "tenured" individuals that can't be fired. You need to look to the NEA for the root cause of this, not tax dollars.

      April 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
      • clemmie

        Never said that poor teachers were not a problem, however in New Mexico our funding for education was once again cut. The school I am teaching at is looking at losing 7 full time teaching positions. If teachers don't retire, and some can't afford to, we will once again have classes that bump up aganist 40 kids a class.
        Regardless of the issues, it is much easier to teach one child at a time thus having chidren who are homeschooled achieve more.

        April 11, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • donna

      I've done both, and I completely agree. It was so different to teach a single student- I could teach to mastery. Imagine being able to teach your whole class to mastery!?

      I've seem some cool models of community schools that are a combo of home +traditional. With small class sizes and heavy parental involvement, the kids really excel.

      April 11, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Justin

      I was home educated and now I am a successful bank officer with a large bank. I know public educators like to assail people for opting for home education or even private education for that matter. They will always claim that the schools do not have enough money to compete with the alternatives, when in reality the truth is there is enough money, but it does not go into the classroom. Typically budgets are saddled with having to over pay administrators. The irony is that many administrators do not even have enough faith in the public school systems to actually send their own kids to them, and they end up sending their own kids to high end private schools since they can afford them.

      I can tell you that being home educated was the best thing for me since public school teachers did not have the time to teach me one on one like my mother did.

      April 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Virginia

      I know what you mean! I'm a mom to 7 but it killed me to see my kids' teacher have to mostly just do crowd control rather than be able to work with each kid. It must make their job so overwhelming and exhausting. 30 kids is way too much for any teacher to have to teach with. 🙁

      April 11, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  19. jbmar1312

    you sir, need to educate yourself. We did both and the child we home schooled all of the way through high school has profited more. It is the teachers who do not care or and are not held to a higher standard.

    Example, my daughters first job working with her "trainer" a graduate from U of L's business school. They were on a sales call and the manager's "trainer" calculator broke. She was going to end the sales call and "get back with the client" because she was unable to do the math herself. My daughter with her lowly Homeschool High School degree did the long form calculations (if old guy even nows what that means) and completed the sale.
    Enough said

    April 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  20. trueexpression

    HA, look at all the sheep defending the public school system with the idea the public school system taught them instead of looking into it and digging for their own information and coming to their own conclusion! That's what I'm trying to avoid by homeschooling my kids. Why would one sit in a room surrounded by 29 kids the exact same age as you, lorded over by one adult and be taught about 'the real world' when one could easily be out IN THE REAL WORLD learning about it!

    Colleges are even seeking out homeschoolers because they make better students! Adults who were homeschooled are happier as adults and they are also more active in their community and politics.


    April 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • jbmar1312

      True statement, we wish we had never put our son in public school at the 7th grade level. He will pay for our ignorant trust in a now very broken system for the rest of his life. His high school counselor and vice-priniciple wouldn't even respond to my emails asking for information and status reports while I was in Iraq.

      At least we took our daughter all the though high school. She is miles ahead of her contemporaries. A colledge degree only means you wasted tens of thousands of dollars. It is a good ole boy club only. Having said that you need it to get looked at because employers have to have some where to start when weeding out resumes and looking for someone who hopefully has some drive and intelligence.

      April 11, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  21. Voice of Reason

    It's amazing how rude people can be on here to each other. Wow. At the end of the day, nobody on here is "right" and nobody is "wrong". Some kids do better with homeschooling. Some kids do better with public education. Each child is different. Each family is different. I think everyone jhas the right to their opinion, but why bash others? Be adults and agree to disagree.

    April 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  22. OldGuy

    Home schooling is another example of caring only about oneself and one's family, and to heck with anyone else, the community and the country. Rather than deal with real or perceived problems in public schools, we run away. Strong schools depend on parents who value education and are willing to work to improve public education for all. Over time this will move us further down the list of well educated countries. Guess the smarties who are home or privately schooled can get jobs in China and leave the undereducated masses to fend for themselves.

    April 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • donna

      What a bizarre argument. Keeping kids in an environment that doesn't work for them doesn't help anyone. A good chunk of homeschooling parents I know are former public school teachers, and I don't know anyone who thinks it's unethical to homeschool. Not all kids and families have the same needs. Why are you so determined that everyone should conform to one lifestyle?

      And your paranoia is clouding your understanding- most home schoolers I know volunteer or work in some way in their community, and none of them are getting jobs in China.

      April 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • jbmar1312

      read my post old guy. You might get schooled.

      April 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • KeepYourHopeAndChange

      Wow OldGuy, that is an extremely backward way to view this discussion. Homeschooling is a prime example of thinking of others. A parent sacrifices the additional income of a spouse to invest in and ensure the future of their children. That often equates to no vacations, driving a car till the wheels fall off and many other ways of saving money that other families would spend on luxuries. The "it takes a village" argument is silly when you consider the village wants to keep doing the same foolish things that got public education where it is.

      April 11, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Joshua

      We all want better for our children. I, like most parents, cannot afford private education. So why is it wrong for me to provide the best possible education that I can with my resources? I am not responsible for your child's education. You are. It's that same parental mentality of detachment and relying on the public education to raise a child that has put the education system in its current state. Many parents simply are not involved in their childrens moral and educational upbringing. Therefore, I am not going to subject my child to that kind of educational environment to simply prove a point or in the faint hopes of doing so will some how fix the system.

      April 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • JJC

      So you put the welfare of your community ahead of the welfare of your family and children? Hmmmm, seems backwards to me. But then again, I am a "smarty" with two college degrees. What do I know?

      April 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • SAHM28

      Have you even tried working with schools and principals and guidance counselors to improve the schools? It's not really possible anymore. Even principals hands are tied with so much extra. inefficient, and fruitless administration.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  23. vonspoo

    i home schooled my kid for 4th grade. she did exceptionally well with it. we pulled her out of school after safety became an issue and the school didn't seem to care. it got so bad, the school stopped bothering to send home notices when perverts were seen flashing kids or spotted on campus. public schools should at the very minimum be a safe place. homeschool is not with out difficulties tho. socializing CAN be hard if your kid didn't have a lot of friends to start with. there are some REALLY crazy people who home school. we used to meet up with other home schooled kids at the library but it became very apparent that some people home school because they don't want the government seeing what they are doing with their children or they want absolute control over everything that comes near their kid. home schooling is a haven for abusers and extremists and many have zero interest in actually educating their kids. not to say every one home schooling is a creep but it certainly hides them well and provides cover for them. not having a decent pool of sane home schoolers in my area, we moved to an area with highly rated schools and put our kid back in school.

    April 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • michele


      April 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • JerseyJeff78

      This is the doubled edged sword. There are success stories, but how many kids are not getting the chance to do academically more with their lives?
      How many are only being taught the extreme beliefs of their parents?
      Education is not just literacy and math, there is the social education that one learns how to navigate the moral ups and downs of life and to think critically, not mirror their only teacher.
      If this was more than a statistical anomaly, how would this be properly regulated so society can be sure students becoming young adults have a standard level of education for the real society and marketplace?

      April 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  24. JA

    I think the point the article makes is that it's something to look into. It may not be for everyone, but the author is just putting it out there as an option. One could argue that homeschooling is also not a "one-size fits all" like many people view the public education system. You can't also deny that the US public education system's global rating has fallen to "average" in recent years. In the end, it comes down to the parents and their decision based on what they feel is in the best interest of their children.

    April 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  25. Sarah

    I don't think I'll ever understand why people automatically assume that homeschooled kids are backward, or socially inept, or whatever other demeaning description one might want to throw in there. I went to a private school from K-6, and then I was homeschooled from Grades 7-12. I wasn't sheltered from life in any way, shape, or form. I graduated from Bible school with a diploma in theology and music. I then went on to university, graduating with a bachelor's degree in history. I also received certification in teaching English as a second language, which came in very handy while I taught English and lived in South Korea. I've traveled through parts of Asia, Europe, the US, and Canada. I would have to say I'm pretty well-traveled for such a sheltered little social misfit. 😉

    Now I'm sure there will be those out there who latch onto the "Bible school" part of my comment and label my parents as religious freaks who hid me at home, brainwashed me, and made me incapable of rational thought. My comment to that is simply this – think that all you want to, but you'll be wrong. 😉

    April 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  26. What is really going on

    I run a tutoring company so I deal with both public and homeschooled kids. I've been doing it for over 10 years, and here are my observations.

    1) The argument about socialization for homeschoolers is comical seeing as though most young kids nowadays in public school don't really speak to each other, but rather, text and Facebook each other. Is it any wonder that the younger generation fails miserably in interviews when they are done with school and looking for a job?

    2) Public school teachers hate ANYTHING that threatens their monopoly and taxpayer funded position. It's not just companies like mine who help kids get better grades AND teach them about the real world, it's homeschoolers and any other outside private organization that challenges their little status quo.

    From my experience, private schoolers and homeschoolers are much more prepared for the "real world" and how education relates to it. Why do you think the next push is for e-books, online college courses, and people moving away from the "Ivy Tower" format of schooling?

    I laugh at those pro-public schoolers and obvious public school employees on the thread who make fun of homeschoolers, given how bad students performance has been in public school with graduation rates and job placement rates. Private schoolers and Homeschoolers are very sociable and intelligent and are much more socially adjusted and ready for the real world.

    Also, for the obvious public school employees on the thread, ask yourself why homeschooling is increasing in this country by 15% or more each year? Is it just a fad, or a response to your obvious failures in your cushy government position?

    April 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Carlos

      "Home schooling is up 15%...."
      One reason it is up is that many of these parents fear that their child will not be able to pass the mandated exit tests from the state. Most states do not require home schoolers to take such a test. So a parent will rarely flunk their own child. Just another diploma mill.

      April 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
      • RLGESQ1

        Not in Florida. Most home school kids take FCAT.

        April 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
      • Robin B

        Homeschoolers consistently perform better on standardized tests than public school students.

        April 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
      • SAHM28

        That is ridiculous. I had my kids in public school, and no matter how hard I tried to get the teachers and principals to give them more work or bump them up a grade, it didn't happen. So now my 10 year old son who in public school would be in 4th grade is doing 8th and 9th grade math, 9th grade science, 7th grade English grammar and writing, and 8th grade literature. He spends his free-time learning about nuclear physics and bugging the rest of us with his encyclopedia of knowledge. The one-sized fits all education doesn't work for everyone. And home schooling isn't what it once was. There are so many resources. There are online schools. One online school mytech high offers advanced science, math, and programming classes that are not offered to bright children in pubic schools. My son will graduate from college before his friends finish high school.

        April 12, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • seraphim0

      Yes, because the majority of teachers chose the profession for the paycheck. That's some seriously backwards thinking right there, friend. If you think you can get more clients by bashing those who are genuinely trying (but cannot, and SHOULD NOT be forced to do a parent's job of actually raising the child), I hope you go out of business in short order.

      April 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
      • clemmie

        You have got to be joking, have you ever seen the paycheck of a teacher. They are so tiny.

        April 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Mojojuju

      I have a unique perspective here. I've taught in public and private schools in two states. My mother was a teacher, and when my younger sister was sick, she home schooled her. As a result, my sister skipped ahead a grade.

      I never make the mistake of thinking homeschoolers are inept or dumb. But I do take offense to the implication that all of us who work for public education are just greedy flunkies protecting our status quo. Some of us serve because we love helping people who can't afford private schools, or who don't have enough education or money to home school.

      The experience of being a public school teacher in the North is a rewarding one, overall. Teachers are paid a living wage, given lunch breaks, and respected to a point. Teaching public school in the South is a nightmare. It is here that we are blamed for dropping scores when our hands are tied about how, what, and when we teach. I tried to teach in a manner that was more conducive to student fun and learning, and I was repeatedly chastised and eventually fired. Thankfully, I work at a public school now that values students and their education over test scores, test scores, test scores.

      Public schools fail when they don't trust their teachers to do what they need to do for their class. They fail when they don't let their students read (like my last school). They fail when they sacrifice all subjects but math and reading to the altar of standardized tests.

      I wouldn't send my child to a public school in the South. North, sure. But testing mandates drive all joy and richness out of schooling down here. I'd home school before subjecting my child to that.

      April 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Claire

      I am a public school teacher and proud of it. My students learn, score high on testing, and are mastering the curriculum taught. They are, for the most part, well behaved – when one or others have not shown the best behavior, we discuss it and behavior is corrected. That isn't to say everyday is perfect, but in the end, it's the mastery of material and the interaction with others that are important. My students succeed!!!

      April 11, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  27. SokrMom

    This woman is a wack job. I do not delude myself that I am better at teaching that the large number of seasoned teachers in my child's public school district, nor do I imagine that I could possibly cover all of the subjects adequately, although I have a master's in literature and a law degree. Moreover, home-schooling undermines the public schools, which are freely available to many people who cannot afford to home-school or are unable to do so for other reasons. People who have not or do not use the public schools tend to vote against school budgets, no matter how reasonable. And then there is the right-wing separatist movement, which is raising, in my opinion, a generation that is certain to include a sizable number of home-grown terrorists, since they do not buy into communal ideals and, in many cases, are even raised to think there is something wrong with our own democratically-elected government. It is sad to see an educated woman separating her children from the American mainstream. Anyone who has problems with their local schools should work for change, not opt out and try to reinvent the wheel.

    April 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • donna

      Talk about a wak job- just because you don't think you are capable of doing a great job home schooling, that means no one else is? Get over yourself. We're all different- you aren't the measure of the maximum potential for success.
      And what a passion conformity you have. We don't all want to live in ticky tacky houses SokrMom. The diversity of this world is a beautiful thing.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Sake

      When I read this article, then read your response, I know who sounds like the "wack job" (sic) and it isn't Bethany Gardiner. Just because you decided to send your kids to public school and work within the system does not mean that this is the right choice for her, or for other people. Frankly, the idea that a loving parent should put loyalty to a public school system ahead of the best interests of their own children (as you seem to advocate) is horrifying to me. As far as I'm concerned, a parent *must* put the best interests of their own children first if there's a conflict. Otherwise, they're failing at the most important job that they will ever hold.

      I've seen a lot of different public schools in my time, and a lot of different results with different kids. The public schools in some areas were excellent, in others no so good. However, that was only one factor in whether a school is good for a particular kid. One friend of mine withdrew her learning-disabled child first from a first-rate public school, and then from two top-rated private schools, after the girl was simply unable to learn in those environments. At nine years of age, she scored below most kindergartners in reading and not much better in math skills.

      My friend, a business owner with no background in education, became a home schooler from necessity. She also employed an educational therapist and other resources, to help her daughter learn to read and do math. The girl did learn - eventually. At nine she couldn't read; at ten she'd read "Lord of the Rings" and similar books. At nine she couldn't add or subtract; at eleven she could do those things, and handle multiplication, division, and basic algebra and geometry. Today the girl is a functioning young adult who is working and attending college.

      It was not an easy thing to do for my friend, and perhaps somebody with an education degree would have faced fewer challenges. But nobody with an education degree could focus on that one child. They couldn't find an environment without distractions - no TV, no radio, no phone, no texting, and no other children - for her daughter so that the daughter was able to concentrate. The school system either couldn't or wouldn't provide an educational therapist that had experienced ADD and learning disabilities herself, *knew* how to cope with those things, and could teach a single struggling child and practice with her til she learned the trick of it.

      One size fits all - doesn't. And even good schools - public or private - can't and don't suit all children. Try to be less judgmental next time; forcing everyone into your own little cookie cutter is both obnoxious and unproductive.

      April 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
      • Mojojuju

        I strongly agree. A Gain, as a public school teacher, I see many cases of learning-disabled children that are either undiagnosed or simply under served by a system.

        April 11, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Deacs86

      Homeschooling undermines public school? Ha! You're funny, SokrMom! We homeschool our four children and still pay our full share of taxes into a system we do not benefit from. You, and everyone else who have nothing more constructive to do than bash homeschoolers, are no doubt the ones preaching 'tolerance.' How 'bout a little tolerance? I don't believe all children should be homeschooled and folks on the opposite side should be likewise tolerant of my views?

      By the way – there's nothing wrong with a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to our government. You might say our Country was founded on the idea!

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

      SokrMom, I don't know if you're paying attention, but the "American mainstream" which you hold so dear is going down the toilet. Post-graduation literacy rates continue to decline; violence, drug use, alcohol use, and early promiscuity are on the rise. Why, exactly, is it "sad" for an educated woman to remove her child from a school system that teaches to the middle, teaches to the test, and serves pink slime for lunch? What value do you see there that I'm missing?

      April 11, 2012 at 10:37 pm |

    My grandaughter has type 1 diabetes, attended preschool, kindergarten and then... had a episode at school in the first grade in which no one would listen to her on treatment. She sat and watched them argue out how to take care of her. Needless to say, we had to begin to homeschool. There is no doubt it is a challenge, it is frustrating and it is a scarey thing to take on. This was never for any religious/social reason, it is because of her condition and extremely high anxiety. Our hope is to get her back into school at some point – however, the more and more we hear/read about the school system as well as the students that attend, it does seem to be a wonderful opportunity. My dad once told me that when our children are young, we teach them to look both ways before they cross. As they get older, we have to let go of their hand and pray we taught them right...

    April 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  29. tbone

    Why is it that almost all the parents here that home school their kids have amazingly successful kids? which are good at almost everything, are more sociable than public school system kids and are either lawyers or doctors or have some type of Masters or PHD. I've learned to not listen to parents speak of their kids accomplishments.

    April 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • donna

      So why bother reading these comments?

      April 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
      • tbone

        Cause someone has to take you off your high horse donna.

        April 11, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
      • donna

        Sorry to break it to you, but you aren't touching me or my horse. ; )

        April 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
      • tbone

        It's not the horse I'm in to donna.......

        April 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • cajuntide

      because you get to teach the kids what they need to succede not just what it takes to pass the no child left behind test to keep the Gov from taking over your school.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • IA home educator

      "Why is it that almost all the parents here that home school their kids have amazingly successful kids? which are good at almost everything, are more sociable than public school system kids and are either lawyers or doctors or have some type of Masters or PHD. I've learned to not listen to parents speak of their kids accomplishments."

      Because they ARE successful!

      No, my kids are not geniuses, who design rockets in their spare time, or grown their own veggies or hand milk thier own organically fed cows.

      But they do have friends of all ages and interests (see above list), they understand and appreciate the result of hard work, and they know that freedom is precious and time is fleeting. I'll take that sort of person as a next-door neighbor any day!

      April 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • JerseyJeff78

      Many good and loving parents like to tout their childrens' accomplishments and tend to exaggerate. I don't think that will ever change.
      There are some that do well, but there are a lot that are being taught with an extreme social/political agenda and by unqualified parents to be teaching.
      The problem is, how do ensure a standard? Math and literacy are not the only things learned in school. School is a time AWAY from parents to become a young adult.
      Despite the "Wunderkind" stories and success, I think it is well known that few of these kids ever have a shot to making it to an Ivy League university or become a professor or engineer. I also wonder how many will burn up in the freedom of freshman year at a university.

      April 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  30. Land of Goshen

    I home schooled our two children. Our daughter has her PhD in genetics and is doing a postdoc at an Ivy League University. Our son is getting his PhD in BioMedical Engineering. Enough said.

    April 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • tbone

      Sure they are.........

      April 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • JerseyJeff78

      Who do you think you are fooling?

      April 11, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  31. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Home schooling actually makes public schools look good. Every home schooled person I’ve meet has been socially inept and it’s hit or miss whether they even have the basic skills of a 5th grader.

    April 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • D. Lorentz

      You obviously haven't met many. And, I hate to tell you this, but it's "socially inept" to make bigoted and judgemental statements about an entire group based on a few. But then again, maybe you're just throwin' that out there to get some conversation goin', eh Tom Tom?

      April 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Tammy

      Wow! You should really get out more! All of the homeschoolers I know are out learning and engaging with people of all walks of life. They are much more socially adjusted than peers who only have the opportunity to interact with twenty-five or so people of the same age and academic ability every day all day.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  32. Julia

    I am home schooled and I love it. I know who Nicki Minaj is and I know the cuss words. Home schoolers are smart and just as talented. But no one knows. My mom is my parent and teacher. I love homeschooling no dress code, no bus and we sometimes get to get off a noon. We go on vacation when all the public schools are in. It is AWESOME!!!! I love it!! I have four siblings and my mom handles it fine. Home schooling is a blessing and a joy.

    April 11, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • tbone

      Not one mention of friends outside your family. That's sad.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
      • MRS RN

        Plenty of home schooled, private and public schooled friends for our kids. I always get a smile when other parents tell me they would like to home school, but are afraid their kids wouldn't get enough "socialization". Most home schooled folks I know have no issues with socialization (no matter the age group).

        April 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  33. Kyle

    There's no one answer for every family. It's America, we like choices. Good for all the homeschoolers! Good for all the public school attendees! Good for all the private school attendees! I have seen failures and successes in all methods of teaching.

    April 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Fred

      You get the BEST COMMENT award. I applaud your holistic perspective. One size does not fit all; but, if you can, keep trying until you find what fits.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • MRS RN

      So true.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  34. KeepYourHopeAndChange

    It should be pointed out that virtually all the Home School supporters have had actual experience in public school, but a very very small number of public school supporters have had any experience actually in Home Schooling. So who is opinionated and who is informed?

    And why do public school parents only seem to demand more money be spent on education but never demand that more time be spent teaching or learning?

    April 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son


      April 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  35. FifthGeneration

    Twenty years ago, I had hoped to home-school our youngest. Our youngest is ADHD & dyslexic. The special education teacher to which our child had been assigned to must have last up-dated her credential during the Grant Administration. She was abusive. And, the school district policy would not allow us to remove our child from her class room without her written consent. Never mind what the IEP said - our child wasn't learning. In fact, our child was losing ground!!!

    I do not have a teaching credential (which was the principal objection to the idea of home-schooling, at that time), but I knew that I could do what needed to be done. The only reason our child was not losing more ground was that, in summer, we would spend an hour in the morning (our neighbors were up until midnight, or even, two in the morning. They objected to our kids being outside before 0900.) working in grade-appropriate work-books I had obtained from a teacher's supply house. I was confident that, if I'd needed to do so, I could provide all of the subject matter needed, in a comprehensive & timely fashion.

    HOWEVER, given the 'rules' in place, in the district at that time, my husband & were told, in no uncertain terms, that to remove our child from the class room for the purposes of home-schooling would see us both in jail.

    District 'policy' changed, in many respects, soon after a job-change allowed us to withdraw our child from that district. The situation in the new district was better, but I was still NOT permitted to home-school.

    Even as an adult, our child still can not read with the facility one would prefer. Neither did any of the schools attended offer more than a very basic education. While I can not be sure that our child would have been better off being home-schooled, I do know that the result would not have been any worse.

    April 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Lola Folana

      Too bad you didn't know about homeschool dot com. This site would have helped you with the laws of being allowed to home school your children without credentials. You are the parent and therefore have the right to teach your children at home.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
      • Sake

        Lola Folana: I think that the woman you were responding to was dealing with conditions in the 1960s or 1970s, perhaps. Before homeschooling took off, there were laws in many states against it, and parents who tried to withdraw children from a public school often faced a *very* hard time from the administration of the school and the local police. :/ That is why so many laws were passed to allow homeschooling.

        I'm not an uncritical supporter of homeschooling myself. I've seen too many cases when parents "homeschooled" in ways that shortchanged their kids - usually not because the parent lacked training, but because the parent either would not devote the time necessary or was not willing to make use of the many resources available to homeschoolers to ensure that they get the education and social exposure that they need. I don't object to states that test kids to ensure that they are learning the basics, or that have fair standards for homeschoolers, especially when the same standards apply to all schooling methods and schools.

        But I've seen homeschooling succeed in entirely too many cases to think that it's a generally bad idea. I've also seen entirely too many issues with public schools to be an uncritical supporter of public schooling as an educational method, although I definitely believe that children have the right to a solid education. "One size fits all" - doesn't. There isn't a single educational method, single schooling approach, or single pattern that fits all kids or is right for all families. Attempts to force everyone into one mold are destructive.

        April 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  36. 3rdMillennium

    I think this "social education" aspect of of public schools is over-rated and over exemplified as a "good" thing. I can not count the amt of bad influence an impressionable child can be exposed to in public schools through interactions with other students that have fundamentally different fam values as your own and what you want your child to have.

    April 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • t

      So being over controlling and keeping your kid from everything is going to help?

      April 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
      • KeepYourHopeAndChange

        Your premise is wrong t.

        April 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • David in Corpus

      We pulled our boy out recently, constantly being beaten and picked on for being a white kid. Admin wouldn't help him cause the bullies just lied and said he was messing with them. My wife is not working now but is teaching him. She is a certified teacher and was more than happy to quit teaching for the public school system. My boy is already onto Greek history and algebra 2. He is considered a sixth grader. Even doing a halfazz job teaching is better than what the school's provide and I dont have to worry about him being beaten anymore because of the color of his skin.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  37. T-Buck

    My wife and I are the product of the public school system and I can state that I did not receive a proper education until college. What I have seen firsthand is that some teachers, not all and I believe there are many wonderful and dedicated educators in the public school system, typically teach directly to the upper tier or the lower tier students in the classroom leaving the “middle” to fend for themselves. This year my 5th grader started out struggling at the start of the year and my wife, who is a stay-at-home-parent, was spending anywhere from 2 to 3 hours on homework every day. Also, there were several bullying instances from a 'teacher pet' and a peer social education that I as a parent did not approve. Therefore after an exhausting first half of the year we made the decision to enroll my child into a homeschool program and it was the best decision. My daughter now has a passion for learning and she now has time to be a 'kid' again. Fortunately we are a blessed family in that my wife can stay home and this program works for us – but I understand that it might not be the best option for all and I think that is the perspective Dr. Gardine presented.

    April 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  38. proudmomma

    Homeschoolers unsocialized? Quite the opposite, I have home schooled for 20 years, my oldest is in her first year at med school (she was the Valedictorian at Northwestern) 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 (who is in Hollywood and not near a homeschooling community) that, as a general rule, they PREFER homeschooled actors as they are the most mature, outgoing kids they come across. She told me that my daughter was the most well behaved and 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 in Illinois and she gets flown 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 a day, 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. Im not saying homeschooling works for everyone, because it doesn't. It is the hardest , most selfless job that I have ever done in my life, however it worked beautifully for my family and many others that I know. Now there are some parents that I know that have NO business homeschooling. But the majority true care aboutI their childrens acadmeic life and wants whats best. Ive heard it said that the easy way to socialization is to send your kids to school and let that do it. Or you can homeschool and take it upon yourself to do something different other than the normal extracurriculars of track, baseball and volleyball which is what we did. For years we were gone 5 nights a week for theater, modeling, volunteering, gymnastics and , yes, one chose to play football thru the school and ironically he is the least social of all my kids. I might have missed out on some couch time and good TV at night, but because we were home all day we were able to get out of the house after schoolwork and chores and do these out of the norm extracurriculars. Now that my kids are almost grown, wouldn't trade it for anything, loved that time with them.

    April 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Richard

      My kids went to public school (it was and IB program) My eldest daughter is a lawyer, my middle daughter is on her last term and will have her doctorate and be a Clinical Psychologist, and my youngest is finished her course work and doing her dissertation in Brain Science at Dartmouth. She will be a Professor. It matters not where your child is educated, it matters how much your family values education.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
      • Farty McCloud

        She is a lawyer? Does she actually have a job, or is she living at home looking for doc review work?

        April 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
      • MaryE


        April 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
      • donna

        I couldn't disagree with you more Richard. Of course it matters where your child is educated. Do you really think all schools use the same curriculum, the same methods? Do you think all kids learn the same way? (Maybe you should ask your youngest daughter about the processes involved in learning.)

        Why boast about where they went to college if where they were educated doesn't matter?

        April 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
      • Me


        April 11, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
      • Lrltree

        RIchard, I have to disagree with you. Indeed it does matter WHERE your child is educated. I am very much into my son's education, however, his zoned schooling, although one of the better in our county is not up to my standards. The teachers do the minimum expected and nothing more. While the school has to accept ALL kids and probably a good number of the kids are on IEPs and 504 plans, the teachers are not qualified to adequately teach the entire group of kids (as the classes are not split up). I've tried allowing my son to continue in this situation for a year and a half (middle school), however, I can no longer. His zeal for learning is suffering. I cannot afford to send him to private school, but I can teach him at his rate of learning (he is a GT student) at home without his social skills suffering (we have plenty of socialization programs for homeschoolers here). Everything is not for everybody but it is that way whether you are for or against public or home schooling. I only hope all kids receive the education they receive in order to become productive as adults.

        April 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
      • CB


        April 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
      • SAHM28

        I'd have to agree with that 100%. We did public school up until this year and the kids that did well were the ones that had their parents backing them. Now we are homeschooling because of one bright child and the rest jumped on board. It is the same in the home schooling community. If the parents are there backing their children and helping them to learn, then the kids are doing great. But if the parents are just letting their kids do whatever they want to, then their kids can hardly read. Personally, I have really enjoyed the homeschool journey this year. It can be a much better education if the parents are willing to push their kids along, make them work, and help them learn.

        April 12, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Farty McCloud

      She got a full ride to Pace University, but was valedictorian at Northwestern? I hope she didn't have to pay sticker. Or did the 11 year old get a full ride to Pace? Are you mad your children never got to experience the joy of letting off a loud squeeker of a fart in a crowded public school classroom?

      April 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
      • proudmomma

        I have 5 children. My middle daughter is the one that just got the full ride to Pace. The oldest was Valedictorian. And I do have a son that chose the Military-he is leaving for the Navy in August. I never really spoke about him earlier, but he scored an 83 on his ASVAP and in the area we live in, the average is a 14!!!! When my son scored that high on his test, the recruiter was treating him like gold because scores that high are unheard of around Springfield, Il . Now you know why we chose to homeschool...the school districts in our area clearly arent doing their job. And not so sure that not letting off a class in fart was ever a high priority of theirs, they were kinda busy building treehouses, planting gardens and using their horses to give riding lessons to mentally disabled children.

        April 11, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • t

      Of course your children are the best, the wittiest and the best looking but.......

      April 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • RLGESQ1


      April 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  39. D. Lorentz

    (@Christie) My husband and I have 4 graduate degrees between us (not in Education). However, "qualifications" for teaching your children at home aren't actually necessary, apart from certain basics. I find it pretty absurd that people like "masentenn" can comment about the "stupidity" of all homeschoolers, yet in the same breath say that her children have no "job skills" after leaving school.

    April 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Being home schooled doesn’t give you jobs skills. Well not unless your career goal is to be a soccer mom. There is nothing wrong with wanting public education to provide more job based skills. The areas of possible improvement in public education doesn’t erase the failure that is home schooling.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
      • D. Lorentz

        That is so ridiculous. You have no idea what you are talking about. I was going to explain why but it obviously won't matter to you. Perhaps I could recommend you actually do a bit of research before you make such comments.

        April 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
      • Stacey

        No job skills learned from home schooling?!? All 4 of my kids have had jobs since they turned 16. They all got the first jobs they applied for, and have never had trouble getting others. All worked their last year or two of home schooling and while they were (one still is) going to college.

        I attribute it to the skills they have acquired dealing with people of all ages their entire lives; they do very well in social situations.

        April 12, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • tbone

      Sending your child to school does not absolve you from parenting. School can't teach you everything just like homeschooling can't.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  40. Sybaris

    The problem with homeschooling is that parents often create an environment for their children of how they would like their world to be ................ and then there's reality.

    April 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • homeschoolingmom

      Here's what I don't get. WHY the hostility from the public school side of the room when I am PAYING TAXES FOR YOUR KIDS TO GO TO SCHOOL? I pay, I don't use the school, so doesn't that actually benefit your child? More money, less students? I just do not understand why people who choose the public school route have such a problem with those of us who choose to educate at home. It makes no sense.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
      • tbone

        Because your hollier than though mentality.

        April 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • donna

      The environment they create is no less real than what kids experience in a public school. Not everyone should have the same experiences- it would make reality very boring....

      April 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • David in Corpus

      At least in the real world (when you are finally grown up) and you are assaulted, then you can press assault and battery charges which the police have to investigate. In public school, admin just sweeps in under the carpet as boys will be boys. Sorry, but assault is assault no matter what age. If you idea of reality includes my child getting used to being beaten and having to put up with in then your idea of reality can go and fkitself.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
      • tbone

        Or another option your child could stand up for himself. Big lesson to learn.

        April 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  41. donna

    My daughter has been to public schools, a private school, home school, independent studies, and is now doing very well at the community college at age 16. At different times in her life, she has had different needs, and we've had different options for elementary, middle and high schools. Within our public school district, there have been fantastic schools and awful schools. All of these options have their own pros and cons that are unique to the child and the specific program, in our specific area.

    I wish that people would drop their prejudices and misconceptions about the various methods of educating our children. Every child is different- they have different learning styles, they have different obstacles and strengths, and those needs might change throughout their childhood.

    Parents should look at all the options, without their being obstructed by myths. And they should make the decisions that are right for their families. There is no right or wrong that fits every child. And at the same time, parents are limited by logistics and resources.

    And FYI: all public school districts are different (and all schools in a district), all homeschooling programs and methods are different, and all private schools are different. So when someone from Kentucky reads a comment about public schools in California, we should not assume that they have the same frame of reference. Some of us live in high crime areas. Some of us live in rural areas- and the public schools in those places will be very different.

    And some people's only experience with home schoolers are with people who do it purely for religious reasons, while other people's experience is with people who do it purely for academic reasons- so the kids from those homeschooling environments are very different.

    People should stop assuming that everyone shares the same frame of reference on these issues. I expect we've got posters here from coast to coast, and who've all had different experiences with different forms of education.

    April 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  42. Alec P

    Now as far as the argument for social skills for homeschooling I do have this view. To me home school is either hit or miss, just as with public school. As a public school student, I can see how the stresses of it could be detrimental to certain types of individuals, with lack of educator attention for struggling students and other such difficulties could leave some behind. But I felt that the bustle and the rush and the occasional self-teaching was something more similar to something I would find in the workplace. Whereas with home school the student receives all the extra work or attention the student could ever be given, but seems to be largely at their own pace, which isn't something you would most likely be able to find in an occupation. Also as far as the social aspect when it comes to communication skills and personality, I've seen mostly one of two variations. From the home school students I know (admittedly about a dozen) they are either one of two results. The first being perfectly social and sensitive people, who are bright and get along well with everyone. The other seems to be socially inept and awkward people. Who although bright, read situations wrong or (in a few cases) can be very hostile and unpleasant people, simply because they have a sort of social egocentrism (the cognitive kind). Then again I am not an educator or have met and spent time with dozens or hundreds of home school students. On another note the claims made by parents of how well their children did in homeschooling are instantly suspect to me, being it is their own children and claims that are unsupported.

    April 11, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • donna

      You have a limited view of home schooling. It tends to be very big on self-teaching, and many home schoolers know more about bustle and rush than many public schoolers.
      The home schoolers in my area are super active. They participate in various academic programs (most teens I know start community college), sports, performing arts, volunteering, tutoring, working, and they are the most self-starting individuals I know.
      So regarding your concerns about being preparing for the pace of real work: how many professions are project/goal orientated? How many require responsible participation, and managing multiple responsibilities? How about self-starting? How about putting in the time required to do your job without punching a time clock? Those are the things the home schoolers I know are prepared to do- and doing.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  43. masintenn

    I've never known anybody that was homeschooled who wasn't stupid. The above poster "Sky" is a perfect example of why it shouldn't even be an option.

    And I'd be willing to bet that Stanford gets some type of credit for admitting home schoolers.

    However, I do believe that there are a lot of problems in our primary education system. For instance, after 13 years of education our kids are graduating without any actual job skills. If you want job skills, you have to pay 10's of thousands of dollars to get them and even that has questionable results. THAT is what our politicians should be focused on and not whether more federal dollars (my tax money) should be spent sending morons to expensive universities from which they will never graduate.

    April 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • homeschooled

      Your comment is not only insulting and disrespectful, but also demonstrates your lack of knowledge regarding both homeschooling and statistics. The homeschoolers that you've "knowm" are clearly not a pool from which you should be drawing such across-the-board conclusions. I know a few people from Brazil, does that mean I can make generalizations about all Brazilians based on my experience with those few people?

      I was homeschooled my whole life. When I took my SATs, I scored a perfect 800 on the English section. I went to a highly ranked 4 year public university where I maintained a 4.0. Then I decided to go to law school. When I took my LSATs, the law school entrance exam, I scored a 175, which, by the way, is in the top .01% of all scores. I went to Harvard Law School. Harvard did not get any "credit" for admitting me. In fact, they did not know I was homeschooled because they only had my college transcripts. You may be surprised to learn that a high percentage of my law school classmates (a higher percentage than the population in general) were also homeschooled. I now work for one of the largest international law firms in the world.

      The social skills that I gained from my loving family, my friends, and the rich and varied experiences I had while being homeschooled, have taught me that I shouldn't go around making judgmental comments about whole groups of people that I really don't know anything about. Perhaps you can take a lesson from that.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  44. Jataka

    Phuck your kids.

    April 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • wixsond

      Thank you, Jataka, for contributing so handsomely to the discussion.

      First, let me say, I feel sorry for you. I am sorry that life and your education has obviously grossly cheated you of the liberty, freedom and joy you should possess.

      Jataka is obviously a product of the failed public school model. The breadth of intellect is just overwhelming. Act like an animal much? This is what we want in our society? A bunch of emotional, swearing, angry, uneducated, illiterate animals rather than self-actualized human beings who actually contribute to society? I think not. And so, I rest my case.

      What part of public education is doing such a banner job that people should attack home schooling? (Can home schooling do WORSE than produce a Jataka? Or, whole prisons of Jataka's?)

      Home schooling – parents taking personal responsibility for the education of their child(ren) – is part of the solution for building stronger families (that is, RELATIONSHIPS that lead to more respect for fellow human beings as a whole, not more Jataka's) and more educated, independent, resourceful (not to mention, respectful) citizens. I think you could search the world over and not find ONE homeschooler who would post the same comment as Jataka on any board, about any subject. Not one. If so, I have yet to find them and I've been at this homeschooling thing for 10 years now.

      Jataka, I wish you well. I sincerely hope you get a do-over in your life and you become a more fulfilled, happier, productive person than you are today. In the meantime, please know that former home schoolers will be your boss, not your employee. And you, will be lucky to find a job and hold onto it. Good luck in prison, my friend.

      Home schooling: Part of the solution, not the problem. Don't knock it until you've actually tried it. Because, otherwise, you have no idea what you are talking about. None. Simply none.

      Great article, btw. From a very intelligent woman. I wish you and your family the best on your journey.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  45. Kim

    The arugument that homeschoolers are not socialized is getting old..... We are a homeschool family and believe our children are very socialized. They are a part of coops (for homeschool families), in sports and clubs with children that are in the school system and they are active in the community. Homeschooling is not just sitting at home learning, it is giving back to society and learning to be in groups with children not necessarily in the same grades. They have learned to interact with older and younger children in a learning environment.

    April 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Christie

      Do you have a teaching degree?

      April 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • tbone

      Well of course your kids are great Kim.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  46. D. Lorentz

    I think the issue can all too readily become a "my choice is better than your choice" kind of thing, and that's really silly. The fact is, as parents, we have a choice about the way our child is educated, and it isn't necessarily right or wrong, it's what works for the individual family/student. Some of the blatant stereotypes I see here directed towards homeschoolers are very inaccurate – as are most blanket prejudices. We choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons, and it works very well for our family. My children test in the top 10% of provincially adminstered acheivement tests, and have a wide social life. I think the socialization issue is perhaps the most misunderstood. When did it become "natural" for our kids to be completely peer-oriented? In my experience with this critique, the people beating that particular drum have usually been peer-oriented adults. I love that my children have "friends" that are senior citizens, that are disabled, are of different religions and cultures and ages. Sure, there are always going to be those "wierd" ones (in school or out!) but to make such rash judgements on ALL homeschoolers (or any other group) based on a few is bigotry in its' most obvious form.

    April 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • 3rdMillennium

      good to hear actual home school parents speak out about their experiences – vs – someone just talking about their opinions which means nothing and equals verbal massterbation to me. I have no kids yet – but def. seriously considering home schooling. The American public school system is lost – lost the art of teaching – and lost the art of learning.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  47. GPC

    If homeschooling fails, why is it that my 1st grader has 6th grade reading skills? She does everything above grade level, except math. She does Singapore Math, which is ahead of most US math programs. She is very social. More than some public school kids we know. We homeschool through a charter school, where she attends classes two half days a week. I see a lot of homeschool kids as a result. They are mainly completely normal kids. There are a couple of kids with social issues but I was socially awkward when I went to school. That's more of a personality thing.

    Some people do use homeschooling to isolate their kids but they are a minority. Yes, some people don't do it very well but many school don't do a good job teaching either. I'm an atheist. I don't have any interest in indoctrinating my kids with anything.

    April 11, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • smb04d

      My parents are atheist and they enrolled me in a private Baptist school...I was there for only two years. Their reasoning for sending me there was that I would get the individualized attention that I needed (I wasn't very focused in public schools). The private school wasn't a mistake as far as education, I just think my parents couldn't stand that I would come home and say, "This is what I learned about the Bible today..." Anyway, they enrolled me in a public school, and I did a lot better. I was more focused, more alert and aware of the impact my grades would have on my future.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Lacie

      I'm by no means against homeschooling, but I would like to point out that in 1st grade I was reading at above a 12th grade level and I attended a public school. It really just depends on the student in most cases.

      April 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  48. Sagebrush Shorty

    Too many parents expect the public schools to feed, educate, raise and provide guidance for their precious little darlings. But if the teachers attempt even the slightest amount of disciplinary action then they are up in arms. You got what you wanted, so live with it.

    April 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  49. Sybaris

    "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."

    You're as busy as you want to be and a lot of it comes from parents who just can't say "No".

    No sympathy here.

    April 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  50. Barry G.

    Has anyone seen any studies on the effectiveness and success rates of home-school versus traditional schools?

    I'm curious to see how the two approaches compare.

    April 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  51. AMR

    I respect the author's overall opinions, but disagree with her comment on school being a "separating force" for families. One of the purposes of school is to provide a social education – to help children learn to be independent and to respect people with differing opinions and beliefs. We are becoming an increasingly fragmented society due to the ease with which we can isolate ourselves from ideas different from out own. Isolation leads to a break down in respect. All we have to do is look at the mess that is our government to see how dangerous this is.

    April 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • John

      Socialization is always the counter argument to home schooling. Unless you live out on a farm I don't think this argument holds much water unless your child is an extreme introvert. My child was crammed into a CA public school with 34 other children and no teachers aid. I figured the teacher had about 4-6 minutes for each child per day if they split it evenly. We found home schooling worked well for us plus our child still has all of her friends to play with and socialize after school (when socializing should take place) plus she still has all of her sports. I understand that not all families have two parents or one parent that is available to home school but if you do home schooling is a great option. Plus, few would argue that education is one of the most important aspects of our child's life yet we let this aspect get decided for us based on our zip code. I prefer a more active role in this decision.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Ami

      I don't see how "the mess that is our government" helps to make your point. Didn't most of the people within our "mess" come out of our traditional school model? By the way, isn't that the same "mess" that decides how our children should be educated...what they should be taught, at what age they should learn it, exactly how long it should take, etc.? There are plenty of other ways children can get a "social education" if parents are willing to put forth a little bit of effort. For the record, the social education my middle schooler has received so far this year has included being tripped and shoved in the halls, being regularly called names I'm sure CNN will not allow me to post here, and being made to feel like there is something wrong with him. THIS is what leads to isolation.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • SWD

      AMR, I must respectfully disagree with you. You are pointing out one of the right problems but you mistake the cause. The social fragmentation which you speak of is, unfortunately, largely a symptom of overdependence on systematized, compulsory education. What is more fragmenting then a rigid age-discriminated system which forces children away from the natural life of family and community and indoctrinates them in following bureaucratic rules and regulations for the better part of each weekday? Read some of the other comments from homeschoolers to gain an understanding of how homeschooled children can be some of the most well rounded and well socialized kids out there. You spoke of helping children to become independent. It is freedom from bureaucratic rules, regulations and time schedules which allows children to actually have the time to grow up, pursue their own interests and gain true independence of mind and spirit. You wrote that isolation leads to a breakdown in respect. For children to grow into men and women who truly respect others and have a capacity for empathy they must be grounded in a life of family and community, one way or another. The problem is that since the mid to late 1800's we have been committing ourselves to try to use an artificially engineered school environment to take the place of family and community life, with disastrous results. The mess of the government which you point to is one symptom of this failed social engineering project. See "Dumbing Us Down" by John Taylor Gatto or even his "Underground History of American Education" for a more articulate explanation.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  52. CTC

    I was home schooled and I do not think it is a good option for education for me or my 3 other siblings. Our parents were/are control freaks and we were told why Home Schooling IS SO MUCH BETTER!!! It wasn't until later in my adult life that I was really able to look at the situation for what it was. I tested very poorly for college entrance, was emotionally and socially behind my peers and struggled with severe depression and insecurity for many years.

    I know it can be done well and that there are balanced families who do this. The problem is I do not believe this is the majority. The opinions drilled into the children in these families are militant and there is no one else around to challenge these beliefs or allow the children to really come to a well rounded conclusion on their own.

    I don't believe in saying "never" but it would take A LOT to convince me that home schooling is a good option for my children.

    April 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • AMR

      I agree with you 100%.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  53. goddessofchaos1224

    I am a former public school teacher. My husband is currently a public school teacher. Both of our children have ADHD. One also has a reading disability and the other has a writing disability. And their IQs have been tested–both have scores above 130. They would be a challenge in any educational environment.They are both still in school–a charter school, after trying public school. They have been there for 6 years. We have yet to find a good fit for either of them. Every year we get a couple of teachers who work well with them and a couple of teachers who don't. And yes, we have been in the school's face constantly for years. We're the parents the school staff hates. But our kids' needs are not being met! We compensate for the poor teachers by reteaching and supporting homework attempts in a variety of ways in the evening. We are doing enough of the teaching that we have started to consider home schooling. They are both stressed out, disengaged, frustrated and discouraged. They come home at night and don't want to talk to anybody or do anything. I actually think they would have MORE of a social life if they weren't in school all day. Religion doesn't enter into this decision for us. It is all about what is healthiest for our kids.

    I started to change my mind about pulling them out after reading A Mind At A Time by Mel Levine. It is not an indictment of the current public school system, but it is very enlightening about why some children cannot succeed in the school environment.

    I advise those of you who have commented on both sides of this argument to read that book, and to stop criticizing the opinions of those who don't share your point of view. Kids are all different. I applaud any of you who take the steps to get your children a good education–whichever way is best suited to them.

    Goddess of Chaos
    Mom in the Middle

    April 11, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Tipping Point

      I used to be one of those who was skeptical of home schooling. To some degree, I still am. I am a product of a good public school education, elementary to college, and I still do believe in improving the public school system for all. But when it comes to your kids, your ideals clash with harsh reality. My husband and I moved to his hometown, which has a dismal public education system. Before I was pregnant, I didn't really consider an issue; Now I am having second thoughts about moving away from the city. Other than the public options, there are private schools (which are heavily religious) or homeschooling. I am considering heavily tutoring my children if I feel the curriculum is lacking but now I finally I understand the difficult choices parents must make for their kid's education.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • sunlicks

      I pulled by kids out of public school when they were in 5 and 7th grade and I could not have been happier. My oldest was picked on and my youngest has learning disabilities. I got tired of fighting the school and fighting my kids. Now flash forward, my oldest is 23 and graduated from college last May she is currently exploring her next move. My youngest will be a senior in college next year, both are doing well and are happy. The only problem they have had is they don't really like hanging out with their peers because they find them too immature.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  54. JeramieH

    A whole forum of parents proudly proclaiming their kids are better than yours.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Lulu

      Well, duh. 'Cause they are !

      April 11, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  55. RLGESQ1

    When we sent our home schooled kids to public school for high school the teachers thought they should be freaks. Both graduated from PS with highest honors, were in band, etc. One is getting his PhD and the other after serving in Marines graduates w BS in August. I expect homeschooling works and public school works when the parents are really involved with their children, as is the author. Wasn't Tim Tebow also home schooled?

    April 11, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  56. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Typical......It's a shame that this woman took up a slot in medical school then eventauly quit medicine to home-school. With more than 50% of med school classes now being female, look for more of this trend and less accessibility to doctors.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Lulu

      She didn't give up medicine to teach her kids – she shifted her schedule.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Anonymous

      She said she continued to work, with minor adjustments to her schedule. Read more closely.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Wrenn

      @ Not All Docs Play Golf, your mysogyny is showing.

      Where did you get that she 'quit medicine to homeschool' ? She's a pediatrician, a simple google will find you that information.

      " A National Merit Scholar that was accepted into the Honors Program at the University of Florida, she graduated in 1990 with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Mathematics and a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Statistics. Following college graduation, she attended medical school at the University of Florida and graduated with Honors in 1994. After completing medical school, Dr. Gardiner did her internship and residency at the University of Florida's Urban Campus in Jacksonville, Florida where she received the Resident Student Teacher Award. Upon completion of her residency, Dr. Gardiner joined Interlachen Pediatrics in Orlando, Florida. She is a board certified pediatrician and an internationally board certified lactation consultant. In addition to her homeschooling activities, Dr. Gardiner is very involved in volunteer work, including serving as a leader of her daughter's girl scout troop for the past seven years and a merit badge counselor for her son's Boy Scout troop."

      April 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  57. Lulu

    So why didn't the author look into private schools ? They are a good compromise btwn public brick-and-mortar & homeschooling, allowing parents more leeway & input than public schools while still letting the kids spend time with peers for extended periods. This is neither a dig on public schools or on homeschooling.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  58. clubschadenfreude

    Love doesn't make you a competent teacher. And keeping your children away from anything you don't like isn't love either. It's being a control freak, who needs external validation and wants to breed it.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  59. Snoopy Dance

    I chose homeschooling because my high school had a 50% dropout rate. We had daycare for the students at my high school and all sorts of fighting, drugs, etc... When my daughter does activities with public schooled kids they do not appreciate their education. If we were taxed less and parents had more direct say in where their money is going I think our children (maybe via the parents) would have more appreciation for their education.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • katie sh

      Why would taxing less cause better schools, when the schools would then have less money. And many people do not become teachers because the pay is not what they want to make

      April 11, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  60. Newton

    I work with a guy who homeschools his kids. He is a little weird himself, always railing against the government. Its funny because we work for the FAA. I have boiled it down to this: he is a control freak that wants to keep his wife and kids isolated from the "horrible school lunch program", and someone else telling his kids what they will and wont do. His solution is to keep his wife and kids at the house like a cave family. I think home schooling is silly.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  61. Ryan

    This comment board is exactly why CNN should close all comments to articles (and also stop non-news OPINION "articles" like this one, which only serve to divide). Nobody here is going to post a constructive addition to the debate. If we are very lucky, comments won't be personally insulting. Sadly, however, the vast majority of the comments here are so fiercely and unfairly anti-Public School or anti-homeschool that it begins to sound like hate speech. It's a waste of time to allow people to essentially vent in this online forum, getting further and further entrenched in their ignorance. I want to repeat my request to the CNN Moderator that all online comments be stopped.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Newton

      Then why do you waste your time reading the posts, or looking at the cnn website at all ?

      April 11, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • CC

      So because you can't handle it the rest of us adults can't either? Get a grip dude. It isn't that bad. Of course no one agrees it's based on opinions. You should just stop reading the comments. What you are saying is contradicting your point.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  62. Lenny Zenith

    There are definitely advantages to both options. I have chosen to public school my kids based on my public school education. The most important skills that I took from school were not math, reading or physics. They were life lessons. For example, in 5th grade during the first week of school my new art teacher falsely accused me of stealing another student's money. I was a straight A student that never ever got in trouble and I was devastated. I went home and told my parents and tried to figure out what to do. My parents did not run into school and solve this, but discussed options with me. I reluctantly stood up to the teacher and handled it on my own with a lot of support from my parents behind the scenes. I was able to win back some respect from the teacher and for myself. This type of life lesson is invaluable and is not only taught in the schools, but reinforced by parents (without parents' support I would not have succeeded). There were examples like this that took place regularly at school, mostly with other kids and teachers. You can't easily recreate these social passages on your own.

    My work experience with Physicians, scientists, and blue collar workers tell me that learning these complex and difficult skills is even more important in life than top math and writing skills. There is no one path to success, but public schools along with heavy parent support is the way that I am choosing.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  63. Bubba

    I went to my son's school when he was in third grade. I wanted to see why he was having problems with math, since I used to be a college math instructor. After seeing how they were teach math and what math they were teaching I decided to take my son out of public school and teach him at home. Another part of the decision to home school was because my son would get large amounts of homework from all his classes and spend hours every night working on redundant assignments. It was a waste of his time and mine (helping him with his homework. I didn't home school for any religious reasons, it was purely because the school was failing my son and I felt I had to take over his education for a few years to get him back on track. I can't say it greatly improved his academics but I at least knew he got a good foundation to work from. There are a lot of resources out there to help with him schooling but a lot of them are religiously based.

    April 11, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • hmm

      yes. it is hard to find homeschooling programs that are not founded on religious beliefs. same with private schools around my area...

      April 11, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  64. Nicole

    I was home schooled for 7th and 8th grade, my sister the same, and my brother was home-schooled for kindergarten through 2nd or 3rd grade.

    My parents made the decision, in part, because of their religious beliefs.

    Obviously our situation was different, because all of us also experienced public school (and graduated from the same), but this was my experience:

    Educationally, the result was far superior than anything we received in the public school. The material was more challenging, and there was more time to focus when you weren't concerned with changing classes or gossiping with friends. Obviously this all depends on the parents, but home-schooling can easily exceed public school in terms of difficulty and depth of material.

    Socially, it was detrimental, at least to me. I was the most awkward of my siblings in the first place, and missing out on the social aspects during the crucial transition from childhood to teenager left me completely out of the social circle in school. I didn't feel as if I fit in at all until my senior year, and while I excelled academically, I was often miserable.

    We did plenty of activities with others while being home-school (we were active in our church youth activities), and of course I don't know that HS would have been any better had I stayed with my classmates for those two critical years, but I always felt a bit socially stunted because of the experience. It took several years for me to feel as if I had "caught up" socially.

    April 11, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • SallyLu

      Nicole – the stunted social skills was always my biggest objection to home schooling. The author made several great points about the benefits, but I can also lots of down side. Sometimes kids need that time away from their parents in order to grow emotionally. They definitely need the social interaction and life experiences that come with interacting with people from different backgrounds. Another issue would be adjusting to a real world where most people have jobs that require them to be present for 8-10 hours, that don't revolve around their own schedules. I never felt overwhelmed with public school for my daughter and felt she got a good education. She is now in college, is very responsible and is doing great. Would she be doing better if she had been homeschooled? I honestly don't know. But I do know that she didn't suffer from going to public school.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:03 am |
      • sallybobally

        Great points there sally.

        April 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  65. KeepYourHopeAndChange

    First of all, to the Public School people, no one si saying you have to Homeschool your kids. If you are happy in public school, great. This article is only posing a different option that might be better for some. So don't be so defensive public school supporters.

    The issue that should be discussed, is if my kids aren't in public school, I should not have to pay public school taxes or I should get a hefty deduction for my expenses to home school. It's a bargain considering I can home school 4 kids at a fraction of the cost that the public schools spend and achieve a 100% graduation rate. Throwing more money down the public education drain IS NOT the answer, but for some reason public school parents are willing to vote yes every year to that $.01 tax increase.

    As far as socializing your kids in public school, anyone remember Columbine and the several recent public school shootings or suicides? http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777958.html

    April 11, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Jason Viper

      Paying taxes is not a piece-meal proposition. I've never had to utilize the services of the police or fire depts, so does that mean I should get a public safety exemption on my taxes? No. Quit whining about having to pay taxes for public schools. Consider it a contribution toward the greater good. That is my one beef with alot of homeschool parents – the whining. "We are separate so we shouldn't have to pay taxes"....but "our kids should be allowed to participate in public school athletic and recreation programs". Can't have it both ways people.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:54 am |
      • Lulu

        Seriously. I send my kids to a parochial school, but am okay to continue paying taxes for public schools. We should all pay for certain services, despite our decisions to use them or not. My biggest gripe is that a large development for seniors was built in our city and they were given an exemption on paying school taxes. It just seems wrong to have the public pay for your children's education, but then whine & cry to get out of schooling the next generation.

        April 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • skipper

      Well frankly, that is just ridiculous. Most taxpayers don't have school age children, and some taxpayers who have school age children pay to send their children to private school. You're not paying taxes to educate *your* children, you're paying taxes to educate the children of your community. Granted, many public school systems are broken, but everyone pays taxes to educate children - whether or not they have them - because having an educated community is beneficial to everyone.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:30 am |
      • SallyLu

        Well said Skipper!

        April 11, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Ann

      Oh, puh-leeze. I pay over $2K in school taxes every year and I don't even HAVE kids!

      Those public schools are there for your children. If you feel your kids are too precious for them, that's your decision, but the school district still has to have the ability to educate them if you decide to enroll them. PAY UP.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Army gal

      I also home school, but I like Horace Mann's idea of educating the populace. Many people can't home school for one reason or another, and it is very important to have factory workers that transition well from the socialization of schools to the socialization of an assembly line. My taxes are a small price to pay for this. 😉

      April 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • KeepYourHopeAndChange

      Not all school systems allow home schoolers to participate in school sports. We have to pay for that extra also. Fire and Police services are very different than education so your argument there is mute. Your lack of understanding about funding education says everything about why your public education is inferior. Just keep throwing money at it when what it really needs is parents to be parents and hold their kids to a higher standard than settling for the lowest common denominator in the class.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
      • Casey

        Haha, "your point is mute"? Are you for real?! Hell of an education you're giving you're precious darlings. The phrase is "the point is moot". Look it up

        April 11, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
      • katie sh

        The amount of money a school system gets is also based on enrollement. Therefore if you do not enroll your child in school the money does not go to the school. Also I am sure you would want your neighbors children, aka the kids your kids play with, to be able to join the world with the best education possible. Remember it will be these kids who will be supporting you when you are retired.

        April 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
      • Stacey

        Casey, "you're precious darlings?!?" Are you for real? The correct term would be YOUR – look it up.

        April 12, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • Beatriz

      I think is time for your meds lady.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • sallybobally

      So you picked terrible events in history. Should your kids never get into a car because they could crash?

      April 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  66. musings

    Where my brother lived in northern California, the homeschooling option was probably more common. It takes a degree of either affluence or communal support. The kids aren't always alone with parents, but participate in group lessons like skating and swim teams.

    My concern in some communities is the poor condition of local public schools along with inferior curricula. There are parts of the US where homeschooling is the only rational thing available for parents short of shipping their kids off to boarding schools.

    April 11, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  67. tez07

    Because you want your child to twitch in social awkwardness during a national spelling Bee

    April 11, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  68. Sara

    For those homeschooling experts out there – I would be interested in practical information as to where to start, which program is recommended for 5th grade and onwards homeschooling.

    April 11, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Angel Firestone

      When we started our homeschooling journey when our first child was about kindergarten age, we looked into several curricula. We wanted something very structured and comprehensive. We ended up with K12. website: http://www.k12.com It's an online school. We're still using it it 8 years later and our 2nd child has been using it too. It doesn't require any special teaching experience, you log in, and you go. They also provide all the materials making it very convenient.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Freethinksman

      There are a tom of options. We use a bunch of different sources. Oak Meadow is a great place to start.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Bud

      We used Living Books curriculum. It's a reading based curriculum. They have a lesson plan for you to follow and you can buy the books from them or separately from Amazon.com or other booksellers or the local library. For math, we used Aleks Math (spelling? not sure, my wife is the one who was in charge.) My daughter also used Khan Academy to help understand math concepts better. We found a lot of the curriculum providers were religious based, but the cool thing about homeschooling is that religiously minded folk can get the religious teachings along with everything else and those not religiously minded can take the history, literature, language arts etc and ignore the religious teaching in the curriculum.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  69. larper2

    If the child has trouble with academics at school, home tutor them.

    April 11, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  70. Josef Bleaux

    Too often home schooling, like private schools, is an excuse for indoctrinating children into religion or "protecting" them from those "horrible" minority children. It's a tool of religious bigots and racists.

    April 11, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Your Neighbor

      Mr. Bleaux,

      1. My wife and I homeschool our three children (13, 11, 6).

      2. We are both from middle-class families. We were both hard working students educated in the public school system of the 1970's-1980's. We both were Valedictorians in our respective high school classes and were engaged in the school's various social activities. We both have college degrees in technical fields. I have a PhD and am a University Professor.

      3. I am areligious. Evangelicals would call me an atheist, although I refused to be defined but what is irrelevant to me. I consider myself a freethinking progressive. I don't consider myself a bigot or racially prejudicial, although I'm sure we all have some inherent biases in our thinking despite our best intent.

      4. We homeschool because our public schools are not what they used to be. Their academic standards are unacceptably low. If you want to label me an elitist for taking this remedy for my children, then so be it. The so-called social interaction that you speak of is something more akin to a daily exposure to The Lord of the Flies. Having your children raised by their peer-group is not effective socialization, in my view. With teachers so hamstrung by hyper parents and ridiculous rules, they are not in control of socialization of children. I see no compelling evidence that suggests that public school children are "more social" or "better prepared for college". Homeschooling parents are able to guide their children through socialization and preparation for being a productive adult in our society. If you want to call this "over-protection" then so be it. I'm comfortable with my choices as a parent and believe that my children are well served by them. Furthermore, my hyperbolic response could be that sending children to public school is "parental out-sourcing" in the Prussian militaristic tradition but we know that both of these views are over-simplifications of the truth.

      5. Yes, like the author of this article, I am pleased to say that we spend more time and are more heavily invested in our children's day-to-day life by homeschooling than we would have otherwise. However, our kids do not just spend time with their parents. Our children pursue a rich experience in education and socialization outside of the home in music, dance, sports and other clubs with their peers, teachers and other parents and staff. They learn to manage their own time by the time they are adolescents. Frankly, my 13 year old is already better prepared for college then many 18-21 year olds that I have worked with in a University setting.

      Hopefully, this gives you a better idea of the various people who are homeschooling their children and why. We do not all fit your narrow (prejudicial by the way) viewpoint of homeschooling.

      Best regards,
      Your Neighbor

      April 11, 2012 at 10:22 am |
      • deanna

        Thanks - You've just changed my opinion of homeschooling. I also had gotten the impression that the overriding reason a lot of parents opted for homeschooling was because of a desire to shield their children from their 'wayward, unreligious' classmates. I can absolutely respect the reasons you have opted for homeschooling and it makes me feel a lot better about the process as a whole now.

        April 11, 2012 at 11:16 am |
      • Ladycatmom

        Well said Your Neighbor. I have a child in public school and two that I recently brought home to homeschool. Our public schools are not what they used to be and I felt if I tutor them at home, I can just teach them at home. The oldest is a senior this year and it was best to leave her in public school. I know people that live in areas that have super public schools and I am envious, but that is not the case here. Private schools are very expensive and frankly, I like my kids unlike many, and I enjoy spending the extra time with them. My kids are very social, but if I had one I thought had social problems I would make sure to explore options to change that. There are just as many "weird" people that do not homeschool as there are that do! Some adults need to grow up and realize that an article is to present information. It was not to tell you that you should homeschool. If you are not interested, skip over it.

        April 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
      • Nanette

        Interesting though that you make sweeping generalizations about the quality of public schools (e.g. "Lord of the Flies" socialization). Really? Sounds like you are just as narrow-minded as those who have a stereotypically negative view of homeschooling.

        April 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
      • Mollie

        Interesting insight. However, I think that very few homeschooling parents share your insight and your educational credentials for that matter. I have 2 family members who homeschool their children, and those families are vastly different. One family sounds similiar to your own as you have described, and probably are providing their children with an invaluable education that will serve them well in the future. The other family is a completely different story. First, they homeschool their 2 children for "religious" reasons. They live in the middle of the nowhere and their children have very little exposure to any people outside their "church." The wife, who is responsible for the homeschooling, has a HS education or GED at best. Their daughters aren't taught math beyone elementary math, and no science (clashes with their religious beliefs). As you can imagine, their oldest daughter scored extremely poorly on the SAT. Instead of being a wake-up call to the parents, they viewed it as a sign from God that their daugther should not pursue higher education, but rather, get married at 19 and make babies. So while I would love to believe that every parent that chooses homeschooling for their children do so to improve the quality of their child's education, I have personal knowledge that this is not always the case. In such cases as the one that I have just described, these homeschooling parents have failed their children by depriving them of even a basic education.

        April 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • hmm

      i wouldn't say that ALL parent who choose to home school feel that way. i am sure there are some. same with the religious aspect that someone mentioned. that is not ALWAYS the case...some choose it to have a closer knit family, or to save money since one parent is home already. not everyone are religious nuts or bigots...

      April 11, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Justwondering

      Baseless accusations. What facts do you have to show this to be true?

      April 11, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  71. larper2

    How can she home school her children if she is a career woman? She has to stay at home with the child to home school it and stop working.

    April 11, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • wspascoe

      Nobody says you have to homeschool from 8 to 4. Being a ped she had a regular schedule prob home by 5. Plus when we looked into homeschooling many programs only needed a couple hours of lessons a day.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  72. Josef Bleaux

    You're not doing your children a favor by schooling them at home. They need the interaction with other kids, other races, other cultures as well as with adullt teachers, staff etc. They also need to be in the fast paced environment so they will be prepared for a college and a career. You may think you are protecting them but you are actually doing them a disservice. They need exposure to the real world. They don't need to be shut in and protected from it.

    April 11, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • MT

      My "homeschoolers" have tons of friends in the neighborhood. They also go on loads of field trips and we're avid travelers. The homeschooling community is huge, and we are frequently together for classes etc. The term "homeschooling" is terribly misleading.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:50 am |
      • Army gal

        I agree, homeschooling is a misnomer, considering how much time is spent outside the home. We choose to homeschool because the one-size fits all approach of the public school didn't work for us. My daughter was falling behind, and as a military family we move around every couple of years. School districts vary greatly from state-to-state, and I wanted to have something of consistency in their lives.

        April 11, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Hmmmm

      You presume a lot in your statement. You presume that home schooled children have no social interaction, when in fact, they often have more interaction with other races, age groups, and social environments than most non-home schooled children. It is the publicly educated children that are shut up all day long in classrooms with the same people, in the same age range and with only 5 to 10 minutes to talk between classes who really suffer from a lack of social interaction. You presume home schooled children are sheltered, when in fact, they often travel more, experience more and see more than publicly educated children. You presume that they are ill equipped for college, but the article clearly states that colleges have begun recruiting home schooled children because they ARE equipped and their publicly educated counterparts are NOT equipped. You presume they are not prepared for "the real world", when in fact, they live a life of daily intermingling with the real world, while publicly educated children sit in a contrived world – boxed in a classroom with the same people every day, of similar intellect and general age range, which does not happen in "the real world". Of course, there are exceptions to everything in life. There are home schooled children who are ignorant, lack social skills, and will not be equipped for life outside the home. You will find those exact same children being produced by our illustrious public schools, too. Sometime at alarming rates. Each to his own...

      April 11, 2012 at 10:04 am |
      • DM

        Very well said. Just what I wanted to say, only better.

        April 11, 2012 at 10:21 am |
      • tbone

        Well your first point about them being more social is a lie. Even if you did say "in fact". So I didn't read the rest. They are not more social, that makes no sense. How is being exposed to hundreds or thousands of kids and teachers and different authority figures(from different cultures and backgrounds) not to mention the support staff being less social?

        April 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Freethinksman

      Thank you for your insight. I'll make sure to pass it on to my wife and our two homeschooled kids. And to think we've been so wrong for the past 8 years!

      April 11, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • hmm

      that is your opinion. but frankly parents are the only ones that know what is best for their child. and socialization is overrated.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  73. Jorge

    This social interaction thing is highly overrated as far as public education goes. Let's face it, most U.S. public schools are not exactly where your child will find the most edifying examples of character or social behavior. The increasingly decadent state of affairs concerning the safety of our kids, the stewardship of school staff to that effect and the fact that the U.S. public school system has been performing ever more laggingly on the international scale are statistical facts that glare in the face of all the glossing over by education bureaucrats in this country. If you have had a good, fruitful education and your kids are more responsible/intelligent/mature than average, then by all means home school if you can.

    April 11, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • jtucker4

      Home schooling children is unhealthy. Humans are social creatures. The more social interaction with new people we have the more human.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:20 am |
      • sxj016

        Spoken like someone who loves their kids so little as to drop them off at a public school 🙂

        April 11, 2012 at 9:35 am |
      • Ari

        I don't understand why people think homeschooling means your kid never sees other humans. We homeschooled all of our kids. They had friends, they played sports, they took art classes at the local community center. They just weren't held back by a public school system. They wouldn't be going to school to socialize in the first place. It's not like we locked our kids up in their rooms and told them to study every hour of the day. I wanted to be sure my kids were being educated not coddled so I educated them myself. They learned, I pushed them to use their brains not just to coast by. We learned around our kitchen table and out in the world at large. Homeschooling was the best choice I ever made for my kids and I wouldn't change it for anything.

        April 11, 2012 at 9:35 am |
      • hmm

        i doubt that....what happens when you get a group of humans together. they can get a mob mentality and cause mass destruction.....riots at sporting evens ring a bell?

        April 11, 2012 at 10:56 am |
      • Ann

        Well, as for the few families I know who home-school their kids, the kids get PLENTY of interaction with other kids because the parents are so religious they keep popping out babies every year or so.

        April 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • KYMomma

      Social interactions are extremely important, especially in learning how to resist peer pressure, how to cope with people not like yourself, and how to communicate clearly to get what you need. I can spot a home schooled kid a mile away by the way they interact with people. They are quieter, less in tune with body language, more likely to cause awkward moments in the conversation. I believe it's best if we cope with busy public lives by saying "no" more. We turn homework into family time at the kitchen table. It's important kids learn to deal with the stress of schedules because that's what real life is like. Sheltering your kids from strange people and stress will only hinder their ability to cope as adults.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • SallyLu

      Jorge – Your sentence "most U.S. public schools are not exactly where your child will find the most edifying examples of character or social behavior" is actually an example of the type of socialization that kids should be exposed to. You can't shelter your children from bad influances or examples for their entire lives. They have to learn to deal with those sorts of people at some point.
      I'm not saying that homeschooling is bad – far from it! I've learned a lot of really great things about it from reading these comments. But I've also learned that to get the most from it, you have to be from a higher income family, so the kids can travel more than public school kids and interact with those from other cultures. And some public schools are definitely better than others. We were lucky that we had great public education when my daughter was in school.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • getreal

      Neither is you house hold.

      April 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  74. Tried All Three

    As a person who has experienced private school, public and home schooling (yes, its been an interesting life), I have to say that each have their pros and cons. I absolutely loved being home schooled, but the lack of interaction with my peers left me excluded from many things (sports and general socializing). Even if I was involved in extracuricular activities, I still was excluded from groups because all of my friends had been at school all day together. I found it hard to be myself because the only thing I knew day in and day out were my parents.

    Public school was the exact opposite. I was way ahead of everyone else and was usually bored in class, until my schools began to offer honors and gifted level classes. Then I was able to differenciate myself from the rest.

    However, my best academic experience was private school. I know this is not an option for most, but it was the best balance of a strict, catered education while still being able to socialize and development personal skills.

    Bottom line, every household is different and there is an education system that is right for everyone. All options will have their pros and cons and it is not up to us as a group to judge what decisions others make for their own well being.

    April 11, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • ClemsonMatt

      I was in public school and homeschooled. I'm inclined to think you're right, and am leaning private for my son.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Alex

      It is truly a shame that most middle and lower class families do not have the option of private schools due to financial reasons. I wish they would approve the use of school vouchers in lieu of public education. It only seems fair, if my kid is not attending public schools I fail to see why they should get the funding for it. Pass that money back to parents in the form of vouchers and allow parents the power to choose what's best for their child. As it stands now, there is nothing to force public school systems to improve the education they provide nor anyting restraining teachers from indoctrinating our kids using their own beliefs (or lack thereof).
      It seems (in my opinion), the teacher's union only response to criticisms of failing education results is to ask for more money. I don't believe kids having a brand new school building or the latest in technical innovations (flat panel monitors, laptops, etc.) improves education at all unless it's coupled with competent teachers, interested and engaged parents, and school administrators that encourage adacemic learning as a #1 priority.
      Give me an apt student whose parents encouraged respect and a love of learning and you can teach them almost anthing with a competent teacher, a $2 Big Chief Writing Tablet and a .20c pencil. The rest of the stuff is window dressing in my opinion.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  75. Wow

    I have been on the fence about homeschooling a of late. Not because I wonder if the kids will benefit, but because I want to make sure I will successfully provide them with the tools they need to achieve their dreams, or at least get them in front of those who can. After considering the responses of condemning homeschool or suggesting I should throw my kids into a broken system for the good of the collective or to build 'character', I think I've made decision – the right one. Good luck with your character.

    April 11, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  76. Houseplanman

    I'm getting ready to graduate from home-schooling high-school, and it really has been a great experience. Contrary to the false stereotype, my siblings and I do have plenty of opportunities to socialize. Are there some homeschoolers who are socially inept? Yes. However, are there public school kids who are socially inept? YES! While homeschoolers are not automatically with a bunch of other kids every day, they don't just sit under a rock twiddling their thumbs. We've been involved in multiple clubs and even played sports. In fact, because we aren't just tossed in a building with other kids for eight hours a day, we must actively seek out friendships, which strengthens our social skills. Why aren't the public schools condemned every time a kid takes drugs or commits some other crime?

    Furthermore, homeschoolers are often falsely thought to have a weak curriculum because their parents are not teachers. While that may have been true 100 years ago, we now have access to countless educational resources. In addition to the vast selection of complete curricula, there is a wealth of online courses available. I've also had the opportunity to take an ethics course given by a local college professor, and a government course given by a federal judge! Finally, my brother has been awarded a full tuition, need-blind, scholarship (30k a year) for college. I expect to receive similar scholarships.

    Homeschooling does require the parent to be involved in their child's education, but that should be considered a good thing! We live close to Detroit, and I find it very sad that their graduation rate for kids that go to school is less than 60%. Why are we worried about homeschoolers?

    April 11, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • amendy

      I am impressed by your rich vocabulary and ability to express yourself so well. Sadly, many young people that are graduating from highschool and even in college could not have written such a great response. They are sadly lacking in the knowledge of basic punctuation and sentence structure. Kudos to your parents for the choice they made and to you for your hard work. I wish you all the best.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • emily

      Dear Houseplanman,

      Sounds like you have great parents who have provided you with a top-notch education. I agree with most of what you say. However, your post-presumes that homeschooling parents are actually qualified to competently teach their children. In my experience, there are MANY homeschooling parents who themselves are not educated, and do not seek out the appropriate resources to compensate for their lack of knowledge in a specific area. This is a disservice to the child. Also, in my experience, a lot of homeschooling parents do so for religous reasons, and spend the majority of their teaching time on religious dogma and very little on traditional public school curriculum. How does this set the child up for success in the future? Bottom line, I believe that there should be some oversight of homeschooling to make sure that children are actually being educated, rather than brainwashed with their parent's own personal or religious beliefs.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  77. Jodie

    My wife and I homeschooled 3 boys. They have all graduated from college. One is a special ed school teacher, one is in doctoral studies and one is getting his masters. As far a them being "socialized", parents who homeschool usually go out of their way to insure that their kids are involved in activities that makes them well rounded socially. My kids had no problem with this. Others will have social problems, but so do school system children. I mean, my kids never wanted to wear all black outfits and want body piercings. However, all three have tattoos. Home schooling is not for everybody. Do it if you want, send them off if you want. The main thing is , no matter what you do, be sure to stay in touch with your kids, let them know you love them unconditionally.

    April 11, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • jtucker4

      I bet there is something socially wrong with all three of your children.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:21 am |
      • Jodie

        Interesting response. I wonder what you base your accusations on, or is it just your personal opinion, or are you just trying to create controversy?

        April 11, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  78. Douglas

    There are many reasons parent home school. But as these posts point out it is at a financial cost that the majority of people cannot afford. So homeschooling is clearly not the answer for everyone. The problem of home schooling is it is often linked with a trashing of the public school system which is many peoples only option. Universal Public Education made this country unique and strong, and now we want to revile, degrade, and defund public education. That is fine for those who can afford to home school, or as some said to afford private schools. But for the rest it is going to create an economic and class divide that will not be healthy for our country and society in the long term.

    April 11, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • jbdmom

      Douglas you are correct. For some like myself I can't afford to homeschool my child. I'm a divorced, mother of one who has to work to support us. I saw my son's potential early on to become a great student, so, I sought out a public school that I felt was a great fit for him. My son now attends an arts based, magnet, public school and I know that he is getting a quality education. Even though I don't spend all day with my boy, I am grateful to have teachers and administrators that care for HIM and his education. Does the US education system need fixing, yes! However, there are still some good public schools that are making a difference in children's lives.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  79. unowhoitsme

    If you want your kids to have a good education, home school. The public school system no longer educates kids. They "teach to the test", because their salary depends upon it. Only 75% of high school seniors are graduating. There's no enough money in the budget to provide all kids with books. The schools teach a sight word approach to reading, which is "Why Johnny Can't Read" (read the book). The schools are producing "calculator kids" that can't think beyond pushing their buttons. (No wonder US companies hire foreigners.) SAT scores are the lowest ever. (They keep down dumbing the SAT to make it easier to get a high score.) The government spends over $20k per personer each year instead of educating them BEFORE they get to prison. (Education is a prevention program, so fund it.) Home school or your kids are doomed in this country. Every option is better than public school.

    April 11, 2012 at 8:39 am |

      The public school system is an easy scape goat. Wonder who you will blame in a couple years when your homeschooled children aren't able to compete in the real world. That is, if you let them out of the family compound.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  80. Neeneko

    I wonder if there has ever been a good follow up study to homeschool kids. My personal experience with them has been pretty uniformly negative, with many burning out of college and just generally not being able to cope with being outside the family environment/structure.. some not being able to handle the open endedness, some going wild with lack of oversight, some not coping with not being the center of attention, etc.. The few I have seen go on to the workplace have been next to impossible to work with.

    April 11, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • KeepYourHopeAndChange

      You are the common denominator in your comment. Perhaps the problem is with you?

      April 11, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Army gal

      I appreciate your question on longitudinal studies. There have been studies as far as testing goes (home schooled children scoring vastly superior), but nothing with respect to what you're mentioning- at least not on a scale big enough to translate to the overall population. A study like that would require funding. I can't see the NEA or any similiar group wanting to fund a study like that. Unfortunately we are left with anecdotal evidence. I can name people who have failed socially who were in the public system as well. We all can cite anecdotal evidence concerning school shootings, or kids committing suicide because of relentless bullying at school. At the end of the day parents have to decide what is best for their children. Some parents can't afford to home school, or simply do not want to. I respect their decision, just as I wish people would respect my decision to home school.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  81. JerseyJeff78

    Home schooling is not the path to an educated life of univeristy (real universities, not DeVry or other fake universities)study.
    The social skills that are not found and the lack of independence fails students. The limited advanced education skills learned almost all but bars students from a successful university career.
    I had the pleasure of knowing 2 students in my first year of univeristy and both failed out before the end of the first year. Freedom, lack of basic academic skills and inability to think in an academic and critical way was their downfall.
    If you want your child to go into trade school or get a GED, I think it is fine, but to fool ourselves into thinking home school creates academics is only going to hurt our education system.

    April 11, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • lildutch

      I guess that Harvard, Princeton, and Yale aren't real universities????.. Homeschoolers do well in the university setting. As a homeschooled student myself in university I was one of a few people who actually kept up with distance ed courses we were assigned in the nursing program I was in, instead of cramming and barely passing.
      You need to get your facts straight.

      April 11, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • KeepYourHopeAndChange

      You're basing your views on how to get a quality education on a sampling of 2 people? Did they teach you that critical thinking in public school?

      April 11, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Army gal

      For modern times- Tim Tebow. Historically: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, just to name a few. Not bad company.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:59 am |
      • are you kidding me?

        Never ever ever put Tim Tebow in the same catagory as George Washington, Thomas Edison or Abe Lincoln. That destroys the point you are trying to make. So everyone else that did something good went to school. I think we win this one.

        April 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  82. Cynic

    Public school is nothing more than government brainwashing. It has become much worse since I left high school. We didn't have idiotic zero-tolerance policies for people who brought Pez to school and shared it with their friends. We didn't have idiotic zero-tolerance policies for kids holding hands in the hall. We didn't have security guards patrolling the halls and police with drug-sniffing dogs. We didn't have kids going through metal detection devices. The school didn't resemble prison. The teachers were free to encourage independent thinking and intellectual curiosity. They were free to debate controversial matters such as drug legalization without having administrators ready to crucify them. Strange how turning schools into prisons has just created more students who act like prisoners, and all this zero-tolerance has done absolutely nothing to better our failing education system.

    When I was in college, there were plenty of students in the teacher's certification program. Some of these students undoubtedly made wonderful teachers. There were, however, other students who were so morally bankrupt at the age of 21 (frat pig parties, setting cats on fire, other "harmless" party behavior) that I certainly wouldn't have wanted them teaching my kid at the age of 22 or at the age of 42, for that matter. I resolved even then that I would never have my kids in public school, to be taught by the likes of these.

    Home schooling and school choice. Two great ideas that have finally come of age - again.

    April 11, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  83. Bill

    My wife and I started homeschooling this past school year and it was the best thing we ever did. We are in a great school system, but with the large class sizes (1:30), our children weren't getting the attention they needed. We also found the metrics of our state to be artificial, wasteful, and useless in helping our children get the education they needed. Though it's only been one school year, the benefits have far out weighed the risks. Our family is closer, our children are happier, and the house is calmer. Between Scouting, athletic events, and our homeschooling group, our social life has never been better. We were on the fence for a long time (with many of the same concerns mentioned above), but we finally took a leap of faith and we've never been happier.

    April 11, 2012 at 8:10 am |
  84. ps3729

    My second child will be graduating from our homeschool this spring. We have added to our family so our next child will start homeschooling in the fall. We are definitely believers in homeschooling. There are costs to public school that we don't have that balance out some of the costs of homeschooling. Most homeschooling families have a parent who doesn't work full time. That requires sacrifice. We have decided that our children's educations and childhoods are worth more than the $40K I could make working. I do think that homeschooling can be a little more laid back time wise. A kid can sleep til 7am instead of getting on the bus at 7am. We can do certain activities during the day rather than during the afterschool rush. Of course, schooling itself takes a good bit of time as does researching and planning for the next day, week, month, year.

    I do want to focus on the fact that homeschooling takes dedication. I used to be a big homeschooling proponent, but I have seen plenty of people letting homeschooling take a back seat to chaos, video games, whatever. There are various styles of homeschooling (all valid, imo). It takes time to find the right fit for your own child and family. Many times, doing history and math and art history is a lot of fun. Sometimes it is just plain challenging! Life tends to put up road blocks. You need something from the store. Aunt Sue needs someone to sit with her during chemo. Another baby is born. Though short breaks are reasonable, homeschooling parents need to be mindful of the responsibility of educating their children.

    However, *all* parents need to be mindful that it is PARENTS responsibility to make sure their children are educated. Parents may choose to delegate out a chunk of the job to teachers; but that doesn't relieve them of their responsibility. They still should provide plenty of opportunity otherwise as well as make sure the job being done at school is appropriate.

    Homeschooling has gone well for us the last 15 years and we look forward to the next 15 (or so) with the next set of children.

    April 11, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • really

      Of course your kids will graduate. You're not going to fail them.

      April 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  85. Cosmicsnoop

    It's great that it worked out for her, but all the reasons she uses are the exact reasons I would never consider it. How would it not disrupt your work schedule unless you worked other hours than 9-5? Kids need to be taught during the day. How would I do that from work? After work and it would not be fair to the kids to work at night and you are back in the same position of doing school work after a work day. What about socialization? The few kids I know who are home schooled are simply not going to make it in the real world as far as I am concerned. They are social retards and do not know how to deal with other kids. My kids play sports and one of them is hoping to get a scholarship to a college playing one of the sports he does. That's not an option for home-schooling. I also found these comments strange:" you don’t have to wash uniforms, drive back and forth to school, or participate in school fundraisers". First, my kids don't wear uniforms to school and we pretty much do some laundry every day, so that's sort of a silly comment. Second, my kids take this novel thing called a bus to school, I don't drive them. Third, we don't participate in the stupid fundraisers and there is no requirement that you must.

    April 11, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • Army gal

      You can get an athletic scholarship as a homeschooler. It is harder, and it depends on what state you live in- but it is possible. Look at Jason Taylor and Tim Tebow- NFL players. Because of Tim Tebow's popularity- no doubt we will see more homeschoolers break their way through the glass ceiling, just as other minorities have done before.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • EduKait

      Guess what- when you grow up and get a job, there are not other kids there! It's all adults! Tell your children- quick!

      April 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  86. CC

    Home schooling is a bad idea. They should be with their piers. The quality of education is probably better at home but they need to interact with other children and such. Bullying or not, it builds character. I gets the kids to come out of their shell. You not only get educated in classic material (math, science etc..)" but also and just as importantly you get social experience.

    April 11, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Saffron

      I completely agree. I have gotten to work with some home schooled kids and they are awful. They won't contribute to a work discussion and if they happen to express an opinion (rare), they can't take it when their idea is not used or someone points out that it isn't feasible for any reason. They stomp off and cry like 5 year olds whose favorite toy was taken away from them. Mommy and Daddy never said that any idea they had was ever wrong/bad/not feasible in the real world and now in the real world, they can't take rejection of any kind... assuming they even leave their desks to come to a meeting in the first place.

      April 11, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • Linda

      I know I my homeschool children would love to be with their "piers" – who would not want to sit on a pier all day looking over the ocean. My kids would also know how to spell peer the right way. The fact is there are socially ackward kids everywhere -public, private and homeschool. Going to school should be about getting a great education. Socialization can take place in social situations.

      April 11, 2012 at 8:17 am |
      • tre

        your kids may know how to spell "pier", but would you teach them how to spell "awkward", or would they use your preferred choice of "ackward". I love when people correct other peoples spelling online, and then misspell words themselves.

        April 11, 2012 at 8:33 am |
      • CC

        Sorry my mistake, Used the wrong spelling. My reason is that I'm French not English. What's your excuse for bad punctuation? Don't even get me started on your first sentence. Hopefully you're not the one teaching your kids.

        April 11, 2012 at 9:06 am |
      • CC

        Ya it's pretty funny.

        April 11, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Amy

      Most homeschooled children are still interacting with their peers just not for 8 hours a day. My children are involved in outside activities as well as church and have friends who are in school and homeschooled. They both score in the top 5% nationally on standardized tests. Most of all they have time to be kids and pursue their interests. We don't spend hours at night doing homework. We get to have meals together at home and have relaxed evenings playing games, going for walks, or watching movies together. My husband is a public school teacher, and he sees many kids there who they are never able to "pull out of their shells". What he does see is that kids who want to learn are held back by the kids who don't. The system is spending much more time on those kids rather than focusing on the kids who could be the best and the brightest to lead our country to greater heights.

      April 11, 2012 at 8:24 am |
      • CC

        Yes there are some failures on each side of the argument. Some don't come out of their shells at public schools. But the chances of them doing so is much higher with other children around. Simply being with your parents all the time with positive reinforcement is not always a good thing either. Dealing with the bad kids at school is also a learning experience. They will have to deal with unsavory characters later in life. The bonds which these kids are making when they are together all the time is alot stronger than those who aren't. The kids that just show up for the clubs are seen as outsiders and kinda weird right out of the gate. Like it or not that's how it is. In my opinion the education might not as good as a 1 on 1 experience but it makes them more rounded and able to deal with different dynamic situations more efficiently. Nothing replaces real world experiences. But this is just my humble opinion.

        April 11, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • DM

      You don't get to talk about quality education when you can't spell PEERS.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:27 am |
      • CC

        English is my second language. Calm down child.

        April 11, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
      • CC

        But you didn't spell it correctly either. It's peers not PEERS.

        April 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
      • really

        You should really read the post. He is saying that homeschooling might have better quality. idiot.

        April 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Army gal

      Mandatory public school has only been around since the 1800s. What was done before then? People were homeschooled. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison- they were all homeschooled.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:34 am |
      • Skeeter

        Actually, some form of "mandatory public education" has existed in this country since at least the 1640s, but it usually depended upon the region one lived in. Ironically (?), it was the Puritans that gave us the idea, and perhaps legacy, of publicly funded education in 1647. The South, historically referring before the Market Revolution period of post War of 1812, more often used personal tutors since the agricultural based region had few cities/towns/villages. Therefore, due to the dispersed nature of the population base in an agricultural-based economy a "publicly funded" system was harder to construct. This is one of the many pieces of information students in my AP US HIstory course learn as we discuss how a philosophy is not necessarily right or wrong, but rather the method of implementation is what is judged. My efforts to that end are to allow as much open-ended critical thinking as I can for students. Apologies if you think me wrong for teaching in a public school. I do get so tired of stereotypes, but then, they exist at least in some way because there can be some accuracy, however little, to them. I have known kids homeschooled that are fine and great, and others who have had transitional issues. I have never had issues in helping them along if needed. I have seen the same from public school kids as well. If people are going to disagree please do so intellectually and honestly. Several have posted "what works for one may not for another." I don't see public schools as this evil, decadent scourge for today's youth, nor do I see it as some ivory towered, idyllic solution for woes. But I try my best for the latter! Conversely, though I tire of what I perceive as attacks on me as a teacher by those who do not know me, but assume they do, I do not believe that homeschooling has a monopoly on the idyllic, nor is it some kind of "stunting," either. Look, if the parent is involved in their kids' education, instills work ethic and good character, those kids will succeed. Yes, kids will see more "bad behaviors" (likely) in a public school because it's a cross section of society. I will glady do my best to educate your child in the public setting, but I will not begrudge you for doing so yourself, either. But please do not sully or degrade what I enjoy doing as part of some blanket statement on a system that you do not like, disagree with, or perhaps had your own bad experience. I would ask the same of those that do not fully know/understand what goes on with the homeschooling movement as well.

        April 11, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Army gal

      As an adult, I have never encountered a situation in real life where I was sitting in a room full of 30 other people my same exact age- led by one person 30 years older than me. If I don't go to this building and stay the required number of hours my parents could go to jail. That isn't prep for real life. In real life you have to interact with people from all different ages- and I honestly believe homeschooled children get a better opportunity to do that.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Polly

      I am sorry,but some social experiences, children can do very well, without.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  87. MTH

    the public school system is so pathetic where I live (Georgia) that I have a 2nd job just so I can send my daughter to private school. 10,000 times better than public school where the majority of parents in Georgia think the teachers should raise thier children for them.

    April 11, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  88. Paul

    Shouldn't you write "trying to challenge children WHO are bored in class"?

    April 11, 2012 at 7:42 am |
  89. Bryan

    JKR and Rogue,

    You do realize that just because Sky home schooled her children she may not have taught them every subject. These days there are a lot of home school co-ops, where different parents (or paid professionals) teach specific subjects. It is quite possible that Sky taught them science or math.

    April 11, 2012 at 7:39 am |
  90. Kentuckyscience.com

    Who was the greatest man to have ever been born out of a mothers womb or the greatest man to have ever lived? Jesus is the Son of God, so the obvious answer would be Jesus. However, Jesus says that John the Baptist was the greatest. Jesus was not a liar, so why did he say the John the Baptist was greater than the Christ born of a virgin womb? John the Baptist is associated with loving God, since he prepared the way for Grace. If you are a Christian and you think that Grace is above the greatest commandment you are wrong. Don't take my word for it, read Luke 7:28. Jesus makes it clear that even those who love God the least in the Kingdom of God is greater. Talk about humility, that is remarkable humility by Jesus Christ. Jesus is associated with Grace, one can only get to heaven through the son. This fact alone should make Jesus the Greatest man to have ever come from a mothers womb. John the Baptist condemned Herod to Hell for being an adulator, since he had no desire to change his ways and Love God. (Mark 6:14-29) John the Baptist is associated with loving God, since he prepared the way for Grace. Why does this matter? John the Baptist got his head cut off for speaking the truth about consequences. It is obvious that Herod used his position as King to do whatever he wanted with complete disregard to God’s Word. That is why John rebuked King Herod! Herod was sinful and unrepentant for his actions. If a preacher tells his congregation that all they need to do is accept Jesus and be saved by Grace without informing them of the consequences of not being born again, then why should they have any regard to God's word? John the Baptist was not afraid to speak the truth about the importance of loving God. Money made Herod appear to have authority. How much authority does he have now?

    April 11, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • CC

      Please remove science from your name. Your fictional characters shouldn't be named in the same sentence as science. Also please make your post relevant to the material being discussed.

      April 11, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • NJBob

      Pure mythology and totally irrelevant.

      April 11, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      How utterly stupid.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • KYMomma

      Please remove the word Kentucky from your name. You are an embarrassment to our state.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  91. Katie

    I homeschooled our children two different years. I would have done it longer, but their social lives would have suffered. The reason for the first time was to avoid the poor teachers available for one particular grade – a sort of dirty little secret in our local elementary school. We also ran a seasonal business and our kids could be a part of it in the summer and we all would have the winter months to do a lot of different things not possible if they were in school. We traveled. We went to sports games. We visited relatives out of state. We took advantage of everything in state we could think of – museums, libraries, conferences, etc – and we really did grow very close. I also felt that in that one year I could close some gaps that were already appearing in their education – I spent a lot of time teaching them grammar and writing and the importance of spelling and knowing when to use what kind of punctuation. They would point out errors everywhere we went.

    The next time I homeschooled began at the end of one year in middle school when I pulled my child out of a class because a particular teacher was a blatant bigot. He would come home with the phrases "wetbacks" and similar, and talk about how stupid and criminal other ethnicities were. We continued homeschooling into the next year because he wanted to attend a prep school for high school but wasn't going to get the in depth classes he needed to get in, so we had an intense year with math and science and foreign languages, utilizing adult ed, online classes, and a local language school's abundant group of tutors. He got into his dream high school because he worked so hard that year.

    Too often schools complain of parents "hovering" but it's been my experience you have to. You have to know what's going on. There are some excellent teachers in our schools, I can name several who have had a terrific influence on my children. But there are those one or two bad apples, too, and if you're unlucky enough to get one, you'd better be prepared to do something about it, whether it's volunteering in the classroom to keep an eye on things, supplementing at home (I supplemented English all through grade school) or pulling your kid out to give him a better education – you can't just sit back and whine about the school. DO SOMETHING.

    April 11, 2012 at 7:28 am |
  92. Larry

    I am glad there are some that do home school their children and it works out great. But there are many that try to home school their children and they are not qualified to teach anything to anybody. When the parents themselves have not even passed a GED they are not qualified. When all they want to teach their children is religion then they are not qualified. An education must be comprehensive and well rounded. Religion should be left to the church and church hours. If it is more then it is overwhelming and too much for a child. Children must be taught high levels of math and English and social studies and science. I agree that public school have their problems but overall, most of us are not really qualified to teach our kids and certainly YOU do not want to be responsible for the failures of YOUR children by limiting their education. The public school do have professionals with credentials that certainly give them an advantage to teach your kids.

    April 11, 2012 at 7:16 am |
    • CQ

      You totally missed the point of the article...it is up to the PARENTS to decide what is best for their children. It is up to the parents to decide if they want a tailor-made education for their kids. If they want to teach religion as part of that, their first ammendment rights protects their RIGHT to do that. What's it to you?

      April 11, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Army gal

      I completely agree with you concerning the responsibility of the parent. My daughter was getting completely left behind and I had to take action- so we began home schooling. For me, it was the only responsible thing I could do, for the sake of her education.

      I am curious about the reference to religion. For us, I will admit religion/ morality is an important component of what we do. We don't limit it to one day a week, it permeates our lives. Why put it in a box? I would like my children to be socially responsible people. Even with this "flaw", my 6 yr old has just tested into 4th grade math. What I like most about home schooling is that I can teach my children at the point where they are at, not whatever is average for the class.

      Do you personally know home schoolers that teach religion exclusively, or are you making an abstract statement? It doesn't fit with the home schoolers I know.

      April 11, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  93. John

    Judging by the picture it looks like someone should home school diet tips.

    April 11, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • Pax Canning

      Wow, you really put that reply down in writing? It makes me despair for this country when I see a reply like this to a very interesting article. Instead of contributing some insightful thought on education, you chose to snark about the author's photo. How petty can you be?

      April 11, 2012 at 7:17 am |
      • aqeel

        lovr ur reply

        April 11, 2012 at 7:39 am |
      • he has a point

        Keep in mind she is also a doctor. Shouldn't she be an example of healthy living?

        April 11, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • T

      Wow.. .really? That's what you want to share with the world?

      April 11, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • unowhoitsme

      Rude. You obviously were a prodigy of the public school system, otherwise you would have learned some manners.

      April 11, 2012 at 8:27 am |
      • Patty G

        And you're not being rude? You have manners right?

        April 11, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  94. suespiese

    I think home schooling is fine if done with the best interests of the child at heart but 'washing uniforms'? 'running the kids to and from school'? as examples of saved time? Most public schools run buses for those who live too far to walk & they don't require uniforms. Also. my job hours are not flexible. (7AM-3PM) What about the added expense homeschooling entails? (No doubt a non-problem for a pediatrician) In my state, one is required to submit lesson plans to the district superintendent and w/o the expertise to put one together, one must buy that plan & they are expensive. Then there's the cost of the books. While public schooling does not fit all families, neither does homeschooling. My kids graduated college magna & summa so I think the public school here did alright by them.

    April 11, 2012 at 5:57 am |
  95. Elaine maurry

    As an educator, I can honestly say that under current conditions, I would tell parents who had the means to home school as well. The modern class room is not a place for nurturing minds. We have to deal with the "test them to show teachers are doing right" mentality. I see kids with drastically different cognitive abilities and emotional competence sitting side-by-side. Sure, they are exposed to diversity, but you won't ever meet their individual educational needs. What have we done to public education?

    April 11, 2012 at 5:39 am |
    • JPN

      As a fellow educator, I would ask you either resign or retire immediately. Before doing so, please ask one of your peers not having a pity party what "differentiated instruction" means, or why they went into education in the first place. Students with "drastically different cognitive abilities" and "emotional competence" (whatever that is) have been sitting next to one another in classrooms for generations. Good teachers get results by working to the strengths of each student and addressing their weaknesses in order to meet their educational needs. "We" have not done anything to education. You, on the other hand, represent everything wrong with education, and have no business being in a classroom. I have no issue with home schooling, and yes, I do not appreciate the hoops I must jump through daily as a public school teacher. However, I know the reason I am in the classroom: The 30 students staring back at me each period. I owe them everything, and you owe yours an apology.

      April 11, 2012 at 7:35 am |
      • JerseyJeff78

        Well stated JPN.

        April 11, 2012 at 8:16 am |
      • CC

        Ouch the truth always cuts deepest. Well said, I would like to have you as a teacher sir or madame.

        April 11, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • T

      Thank you for your honesty. It must be difficult to state the obvious when you will be persecuted by your peers.

      April 11, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • Patty G

      I completely agree. As an insider, I can say that the school system has been run to the ground and those outside might not understand but us educators are truly aware. And the fact is that schools are not about children. In the end, it's all politics.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  96. Steve

    I've known a few home schooled people and they were not he most socially adjusted. If you let the children interact with others, it should work out better, but if you keep them isolated they will not be prepared to meet the world.

    April 11, 2012 at 4:19 am |
    • K Adams

      Steve you need to realize that there are many times that unsocialized parents are the ones with the weird homeschool kids. They would be weird even if they were in public school. As a homeschooling mom I can assure you that my kids are completely well adjusted. It is very hard to judge by the few that you may have met. I, for one, hate to be lumped into that overly religious, skirt wearing, and just plain weird group. My kids are normal. They watch Glee, eat McDonalds, listen to Top 40 songs, and yes I even have a potty mouth at times.

      April 11, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • Army gal

      I've known children who have been raised in the public school environment who are maladjusted to society. Anecdotal evidence does not prove causality. Personally I think each parent has to look at their options and make their decision.

      April 11, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  97. SKY


    April 11, 2012 at 1:55 am |
    • JKR

      Really? Did you teach them punctuation? Honestly, after reading the quality of your post I choose not to believe you.

      April 11, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • Rogue

      There is no way you taught anyone to graduate college by that age. You can't even express yourself with proper grammar.

      April 11, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • JerseyJeff78

      Honestly, you are an example why home schooling fails to turn students into educated and mature young adults.
      A person that has the literacy skills of an 11 year old should not be teaching.

      April 11, 2012 at 8:19 am |
      • Army gal

        I do not think it is wise or fair to look at one post from a person we know nothing about and say "you are an example of why homeschooling fails....". Why do schools like Stanford actively recruit homeschoolers?

        April 11, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • xeno

      Sky, why are you yelling?

      April 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
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