help me understand

I’m asking, and without malice or sarcasm or any other negative tone,  what makes one decide to homeschool?  I come at this from a decidedly biased bent — Ive been a teacher for over 20 years, at every level from infant care to college coursework, and in those 20 plus years I have studied, taken courses, gone to professional development, observed peers, been observed, trained student teachers…you get the drift.  I have immersed myself in the profession of education.  I have seen public education rise and wane, I have seen private schools pop up like daffodils at the mere mention of “deseg” or “choice”.  I have wondered at the draw of small, obviously underfunded diocese schools and envied the Montessori schools.

I have worried about social media, bullying, date rape, behavior problems in the class room, novice teachers, burnt out teachers, teachers who don’t know when to retire, cultural differences, gangs, eating disorders, gym teachers and prom dates, cliques and outcasts.

But, I never understand the decision to isolate one’s child and it seems like every time I open wordpress or pinterest I see another blog or post about “my wonderful homeschool life”.  Are parents who homeschool inordinately interested in posting pix and descriptions of their activities or are they posting to help others think of cool things to do.  And since when did “building forts out back” count as a school day??  And how does one  call oneself a teacher without training and education and guidance.  I cant hang a sign and call myself a doctor, or for that matter, an NFL quarterback, so how does it happen that one can “be” a teacher with no prerequisites?  And I know I am bordering on the politically incorrect here, because your child is YOUR CHILD and for some reason parents have the right to do pretty much anything they deem necessary for their possession, er, their child.  But, in all my years of living (55)  I cant remember meeting 20 adults who were homeschooled …..

I just don’t get it.  If you can help me, I’d appreciate it.  Please dont yell at me or tell me how good you are at it..and how obviously i am just an embittered old public school teacher .I just would like to understand what makes someone decide to stay home and teach their own children all day .  and, if you have links to research that shows data regarding future  success of homeschooled kids, Id love to see that….


2 thoughts on “help me understand

  1. Let me start off with saying that I can see where you’re coming from . . . as a kid I only knew one family of homeschoolers and they were, well, WEIRD. And I can appreciate that as a teacher you recognize that not just anyone is necessarily qualified to teach – I have a degree in linguistics and am a certified Teacher of English as a Foreign Language . . . I work overseas and get peeved when unqualified people attempt to teach English overseas based on the premise that “well, I can speak English so obviously I can teach it to foreigners”. I am also trained in principles of translation and get really annoyed at the number of people who attempt translation and do a shotty job and don’t even realize it. So I get it – you’re a teacher and you worked hard and know a lot of things that maybe the average parent doesn’t about teaching . . .
    Having said that, I’ll still try to answer your question the best I can.
    I fall into the category of being an expat who is homeschooling my children because there is no other viable option (ie. no international or private school) and I want my kids to be prepared academically to integrate into the US system when we get back to the States. In an effort not to ISOLATE my kids, they also attend the local preschool and Kindergarten for a few hours each morning. I’m aware that this is not likely the typical situation you were questioning so I’ll try to address some of the other reason that many other families I know homeschool.
    Some homeschool because a child has special needs, others because a child is gifted and not being challenged enough in the public system. I have a friend who chose to homeschool because of concerns about the school in their district, but after her husband got transferred and they moved, she was quite satisfied with the new school district and readily enrolled her kids. Some choose to homeschool in order to provide religious instruction, have more opportunity to spend quality time with their kids, and teach character and morals. This list isn’t exhaustive and I don’t know 2 people who homeschool for exactly the same reasons.
    But I will say that it’s becoming more and more popular and I can see why – with the school shootings, bullying, negative socialization, . . . I admit that I have concerns about sending our kids to public school when we go back to the States (I’m sorry, but I don’t want them learning about oral sex in second grade for Pete’s sake!).
    I also want to suggest that kids being homeschooled aren’t isolated like they used to be – most attend co-ops and are engaged in other extra-curricular activities and teams, so I don’t really see that as being an issue. There are plenty of other “social” outlets and opportunities these days.
    I think one obvious advantage (and there are several disadvantages too!) to teaching your child at home is that it takes way less time to teach your child one-on-one than it does for a teacher to teach a class of 30+ students, and you can taylor your method/approach according to your child’s individual interests/needs/learning style thus making it a lot more effecient way of teaching (whether or not you are a licenced professional). In this way, I think that the quality of education can actually be better. But I’m not saying that every parent is best suited to teach their own child – just that many who do seem to be quite successful at it – in general the types of people that I see choosing to homeschool are very loving, responsible, and ambitious . On the other hand, lazy, unmotivated, uneducated, irresponsible people are not generally the ones saying, “Hey, I think I want to spend all day, every day, every moment of the day teaching and pouring into my children!”. It’s also my understanding that there is some accountability – that most states have requirements that must be met and parents have to report and document their work, etc.
    Lastly, I want to say that it sounds like you are very qualified, professional, and good at what you do – you are obviously passionate about it and I like that – we need more teachers like you in the public schools. Thanks for being there!

    1. thank you so much for this non-judgemental, informative reply. It is an interesting topic, one that I am just beginning to research and gather data on. Ive had a couple responses that were mired in anger and self importance — I dont think that helps anyone understand anything. As with most controversies, ignorance is often at the root of the discontent, I am trying to lessen my ignorance on the root of the desire to homeschool, I hope that some of the others will likewise lessen their ignorance and contempt of things that occur in school. Thank you again for your thoughtful response!

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