Let me know if there is a better place to ask this question.
So I have three kids, currently age 8.5, 6, and 2.5. We are finishing up the school year and next fall the two older kids will be in grades 3 and 1.
While we have had no problems with the school and teacher and the kids perform well in school, my wife and I are feeling that sending them to school is inconsistent with our thoughts. At the heart of it, we do not want our kids to learn to be “obedient factory workers.”
Does anyone have suggestions on approaches or resources so that we can use home schooling to better prepare our kids for an uncertain future?
This is a topic that comes up a lot in our house as well although our daughter is only one so we have more time to decide. Personally, when I reflect on my time in public school I don't see the value. I was fortunate to go to some of the best schools in the country because of where I grew up, but I still felt completely disenfranchised by the experience. I am a lifelong learner and have always been motivated to know more about the world around me and to improve myself. School almost beat that tendency out of me. There was nothing there that motivated me….learning to the test for the sake of admission to the next level of education seemed completely meaningless to me. Curiosity and exploration were discouraged as off-topic distractions. I failed every math class I ever took because no one could give me a compelling reason why they mattered. Now I use math in business every day and I am highly functional with it because I have a reason to be. If my job involved complex physics I would figure that out too. Before the internet, school had value as a central hub for learning. Books were there, teachers were there and other resources were available. Now all of that is available in the palm of your hand. If you need a lab for science experiments, one can be found in most medium sized cities. I know more than a few chemists who would be happy to tutor a kid with an interest in chemistry. Interested in geology? Go look at the planet around you and compare it to information that is freely available online from the leading experts in the world.
The main argument I get against homeschooling comes from teacher friends who point out that kids will miss out on the social opportunities that come with school. I think that is a case-by-case basis. I was never shy and was involved in activities outside of school in my community. I didn't do well in the social cliques of public education and I would argue the experience was more detrimental to me that beneficial. Others have better luck with it, but for me it was unhealthy. I can't think of another time in life when you find yourself unable to walk away from a socially toxic environment….it doesn't seem natural.
"Homeschool kids are weird", goes the argument. I contend that traditionally homeschool families might have been a little weird, but more and more people are waking up to the idea that they can do better for their kids than rigid outdated institutions.
My wife and I are doing the Classical Conversations home school program in our local area.
Many thanks for your thought!
Any other potential curriculums to look into?
Homeschooling has been a real blessing to our family and is one of the best decisions we have made. I am short on time this morning, but here's the short list of thoughts on the matter:
1. Our curriculum is diversified to include topics schools "don't have time for" such as "real" history, geography, and languages. We have real depth in the education of our children and can focus on classic education – no nonsense. We have them tested annually by a third party testing agency where they take the Texas and Iowa tests to monitor their progress with their peer groups locally and nationally – on Iowa they routinely fall between 94% (lowest) to 99th percentile.
2. It is paced at the child's ability level – my fifth grader is starting eighth grade algebra because he is a whiz at math. The public schools wouldn't advance him that far.
3. It is highly efficient because there isn't transport time back and forth to school, lost time between classes, and other frictional time loss.
4. It allows us to integrate other aspects of growing up into their development – they have household chores that teach them responsibility and basic life skills on an ongoing basis.
5. It allows for the integration of religious or spiritual training – our kids begin with a bible curriculum in the morning which is valuable to them and promotes spiritual growth.
6. There is no competition for piano lessons, swimming lessons, tennis lessons, etc. during the school day so those opportunities are not crammed into the gap between 3:30 and 7:30pm.
7. The PE is far more rigorous than a school – two of my kids attend CrossFit with my wife, and they run, bike and play during the day.
8. All of the homeschooled kids are involved in the local Homeschool group where they meet two mornings a week and work on collective subjects, presentations, and other social development activities. Parents with varying skill sets take on highly specific teaching – a talented group. My wife is a finance whiz who teaches the older children about personal finance, money management, and investing every year.
9. Our youngest children go to a quality preschool from 8 to 12. This allows them to develop socially and keeps the home manageable for the older kids to focus on their studies. The oldest kids go on to high school where they learn to manage the trials of living in the "normal" world. We have focused on the years between Kinder and 6th grade for establishing an educational base for the children – some will continue past that while others have gone to middle school or high school. It depends on the children and the school choices that are available.
10. It only works well if you are disciplined people, and it helps if you have enough education yourself to evaluate curriculum, articulate subject matter, and have the patience of Job. You have to be realistic about whether you have the time and temperament to do it well.
I'll look at our curriculum choices – that's my wife's department and she can write a book about it. I'll try to PM you when I get the names.
I dont have alot of time right now, but a few thoughts. I didn't use textbooks for her early years, but borrowed heavily from Waldorf style teaching, which my older children went to. There are teacher resources I used to do this, but as it isnt a curriculum, wont list right now. There are especialy nice teacher resources for teaching Waldorf style Science for grades 6-8. Very hands on. Physics is Fun is one such book, and the next 2 demonstration manuals listed here are pretty accessable for non-waldorf families, here http://www.waldorfbooks.com/curriculum-guides/science/physics
as far as using a pre-done curriculum, if I had to for early years, I might use Oak Meadow. I borrowed ideas from used guides I had of theirs now and again, and used it entirely for 8th grade, using half of 7th and half of 8th, for what my child needed to cover. I realy like Sonlight for older, high school. I Have used Sonlight for their level 100, 300, and we had 400, but then she went to Junior college instead. I would not use the early years from this, for me, but would starting in 5th grade or higher.
So, my youngest homeschooled her entire school time, independent, parent taught for k-6, using various resources. Oakmeadow guides for 7th and 8th grades, but NOT their math, I taught her math (including life of fred Algebra for 8th grade) and supplemented the science with Waldorf guides listed above. For 9th grade ; Sonlight level 100 english and History, Life of Fred Geometry, Exploring Creation thru Biology, Rosetta Stone Spanish ; for 10th grade, Sonlight level 300 for english and history, Life of Fred Algebra 2, Exploring Creation thru Chemistry, Rosetta Stone Spanish; For 11th grade, Exploring Creation thru Physics over the year, first semester Marine biology and english 1A at the community college, 2nd semester PreCalc/Trig, Music theory, Dance appreciation and MacroEconomics at the community college. Summer school at the Community college, Calculus 1. For 12th grade, 1st semester Chemistry 1a, Calculus 2, critical thinking 2nd semester American Government, Calc based Physics 1, Chem 1b, World geography at the junior college.
I have 3 children, ages 25, 22 and 14; homeschooled all their lives. The oldest graduated with 2 BA degrees and is working for a bit before (likely) going back for a masters. The second is currently in college and working (not really tooting a horn here, just wanting to make the point that it works 😉
Check online and google your city name and "homeschooling" and you are likely to find homeschool groups. Spend the summer connecting with people who homeschool and attending any conventions that you can. The "social" aspect that is most necessary (in my humble opinion) is for the parents … you'll need support, ideas, someone to call when something isn't working who won't say "well, you could just send them to school," people who will boost you up when friends and family are questioning your ability to do this.
There are as many ways to homeschool as there are homeschool families and you will likely change some aspect of your homeschooling with each child and new year. Not everything works for everybody but that is one of the beauties of homeschooling: you have the freedom, the time, the ability to pick and choose:
– curriculum (or not)
– charter school or homeschool co-op (or both or neither)
– online or textbooks (or videos/audio books/library resources or any combination thereof)
– relaxed or structured
– traditional or project-based learning (i.e., focus on a variety of subjects each day (like schools do) or allow child to immerse themselves in something that interests them for days or weeks at a time, learning a variety of different "subjects" naturally as they go)
– when to teach what
… not to mention having the ability to vacation outside of traditional school holidays 😉
Of course there is much more … it is life changing, as Rector said. His list is one way, mntnhousepermi's is another – I've done aspects of both of theirs – find what works for your children and you 🙂
Many many thanks for your ideas and for sharing your stories!
We have much to dig into before we start off on this adventure 🙂
Any other success or failure stories are very welcome!
I don't expect anyone who is home schooling and involved in the practices described in the linked to article will be posting here. Only the good stories and successful outcomes will be posted here.
"Under The Guise Of ‘Religious Freedom,’ Some Fundamentalist Homeschools And Day Care Centers May Be Subjecting Children To Harm".
The lack of regulation can lead to serious consequences.
“Children who are homeschooled typically have no legal right to access their educational documents. These documents are created and maintained by homeschool parents, who may withhold them at will,” Coleman told Church & State. “This can be especially a problem in cases of religious fundamentalism, where parents may not want their children to go on to college. These parents will frequently say they’re preparing their children for ‘Heaven, not Harvard.’”
The rest of the article is here: https://www.au.org/church-state/june-2017-church-state/featured/oversight-lacking
This is not a problem for college. You can go to community college without a high school diploma. They give math and english placement tests to see what level you can start at. Many private colleges do take homeschooled young people with no documentation, good scores on the entrance exams can show level, and many private colleges will also do interviews.
If a parent withholds documentation, the one that is harmful is the ones that have no birth certificates, so they cannot get drivers licenses, other ID, or register for college.