Homeschooling – experiences and advice please
So, after inspecting the home I am going to buy yesterday, I stopped off at the Potosi Brewery for dinner. Anyone in SW Wisconsin near the River should stop there at least once.
The three servers there were all teachers (second jobs needed for college educated careers???) and I asked for any input they had on homeschooling – for or against.
My take on my daughter entering first grade in the fall is I don’t want my kid to spend 40+ hours a week inside, let alone with a mask.
The oldest server, a woman teacher in her 50’s had this to say:
We’ve had homeschooled kids in here working as bussing staff and they are so out of touch at times. This one girl, on her first day was asked to get some ranch for a table and asked “What’s ranch?” These homeschool kids are mostly unsocialized and awkward in the real world.
This is what an educator of over thirty years thinks is socialized, the ability to recognize a mass produced condiment in a restaurant. I didn’t really expect much, but wow what a let down she was in her response.
Kinda helped solidify our decision on at least elementary school for now.
I now am asking for all points of view and advice for/against early/full homeschooling.
Particularly (and I am biased but will review negative experiences also) – Any actual homeschooling parents who got their kids to adulthood from home would be extremely helpful. Those whose homeschooled kids went on to college would be incredible. Or just became useful, self reliant young adults. College isn’t the only consideration.
I’m hoping to find positive conversations here at PP that aren’t so doom and gloom which is the vibe we are in lately, albeit with good reason.
Forgive me if this is covered previously on the site. It is quite difficult to search things out here that are beyond last week.
Thanks in advance.
I don’t have any direct experience but when I’ve thought about this, I come away with a feeling that the outcome would be determined mainly by the individual circumstances.
I’ve heard of communities where lots of people are doing it which led to an environment where Jonny goes over to Lisa’s house for science and then they both go over to Joes house for history. So that could maybe work with the kids still getting exposed to a variety of people and attitudes.
I think Chris home schooled his kids. And Im probably way off here, but my impression is that when your dad is CM and you get homeschooled that means science class is getting hooked up with a professor of chemistry from Duke University.
So right there, I can see it working if you have means or larger community support. If you are a blue collar type earning min wage in a low skill “shitjob” and you want to pull your kid out of the system because you (understandably) feel betrayed by it, you might end up just isolating your kid and taking away the tiny sliver of hope they have of flourishing in life.
The Division Of Labor has some real upsides to it and I get overwhelmed when I try to do my own plumbing or extend an electrical circuit. Taking full responsibility for educating a child would certainly take a good deal of time to attempt.
Going back to the community angle I sometimes wonder if I’m going to end up a Mormon or part of some Monestary before this is all over. Us scattered individuals are going to have to go somewhere and this lone wolf routine isn’t going to cut it for most.
I’ve homeschooled. The first thing you have to remember is the choice you make this year can be different than the one you make next year.
Kids are different, communities are different and schools are different. I could write a book, two very different kids, multiple school systems (opposite sides of the county) and different communities. Just like the homesteader on 5+ acres has a different set of needs and skills then the NYer living in the two bedroom apartment homeschooling is highly variable.
Since there was a homeschooler working at the restaurant, my bet is there is a pretty active homeschool community. Search that out! Usually there are a set of moms that do the logistics and have a lot of the elementary education and English stuff covered. Then they get the dads to come in and be guest speakers. So yes your kid is being educated by those highly trained very capable men (who can’t to classroom management for shit). And yes, I realize what I just wrote is highly sexist, just relaying my experience.
I have known a young adult who was homeschooled. The family was pretty religious and did annual mission trips to places like Cambodia. She got a lot of socialization through dance and church. She was probably more capable and prepared for life than most of the public school kids.
And I highly recommend Singapore Math!
I’m potentially homeschooling this autumn for age 12yrs, because UK hasn’t ruled out the possibility of vix-ing all 12yr to 15 yr olds before the summer holdiays.
I’ve homeschooled previously, for age 11 yrs to 14yrs. My kids went to primary school, and instead of going to secondary school after that, they stayed home with me and homeschooled for 3 years. At 15yrs when their contemporaries would be starting 2 year GCSE courses, the local education board got twitchy and persuaded me to enrol mine in the local college – they each took 5 GCSE subjects in their first year putting them a year ahead of their peer group. They took core subjects the 1st year – maths, english, sciences – then another 3 subjects the 2nd year, and A levels after that.
Subsequently, one was accepted by Aberystwyth University -“we like homeschooled students, they bring a different perspective”. The second has worked her way up to Shift Manager in a Cardiff pub.
Happy to expand on particular details if needed.
Strongly recommend. We have 4 children and each of them were homeschooled through 7th grade. They are extremely well socialized as we pursued and promoted lots of activities with other homeschoolers, church groups, athletic teams, and multiple extracurricular activities. The quality of the education is dramatically different – my 7th grader got an 1170 on his SAT taking it cold turkey! We were able to teach him at HIS pace without having to accommodate the drag of the bell curve. It is even more critical if your child is academically challenged – they don’t get stigmatized or left behind.
More importantly we are able to filter and provide context for the sewer that is current pop culture – so the kids can adapt at a natural rate to the reality of the world as it is. WE were able to raise our children by spending alot of time with them.
Particularly, I loved the ability to select the curriculum that best suited our children and their learning style, intelligence, and aptitude. We were able to have REAL history, music, and other subjects that the current public curriculums either water down or propagandize.
My kids got to swim, play in the forest, take care of our animals, and have fun more than other kids because they had time to do it. No time was burned in transportation, waiting, and other meaningless time wasting activities that characterize public education.
Here are some the downsides (briefly):
1. YOU have to be disciplined to decide curriculum, lesson plans, and other essential functions. It’s also possible you are a terrible teacher.
2. Once the kids get older – personalities may make it harder to teach them.
3. It takes time and some money to have one spouse that teaches the kids while another works. Not possible for all families.
4. The state doesn’t like homeschooling (some places). You have to fight the system sometimes.
We have loved homeschooling and I am so glad we did it – it changed our family for the better.
Great advice so far.
We are also considering grades 1-6 and then give them a few aptitude tests and the choice for junior high thru high school.
I don’t know if we are good teachers, but a simple lesson in phonics and nightly mommy read time got my daughter reading on her own before age five. She is six and a half right now and has read the entire chronicles of Narnia series four times thru in the last three months.
I’m an engineer (mechanical, network, audio) presently on sabbatical, my wife is an artist, a video editor and animator so we have the skill sets for a varied knowledge base. Coupled with the recent acquisition of 5 acres prime farmland and looking to buy another five to start an orchard on, I just can’t see my daughter or my three year old son doing 8-3:30 indoors during the best years of their youth.
Wisconsin is very lenient on home schooling legally, and I think the hardest part would be math and science, but I’m certain I could get them thru trig and into differential calculus before 16 if we don’t take on any debt and are forced back into 9-5 work again.
Most definitely looking into local homeschooling groups already. It seems the Montessori approach is very popular. Learn by doing and expanding the lesson on the interests of the day.
My wife homeschooled our 2 daughters from the 2nd to 5th grades. Towards the end, they started missing the social part of it and decided they wanted to attend public school and we supported. They are in middle and high school now and it seems to have been the right decision for all of us (before covid of course). Being able to participate in the extracurricular activities without my wife or I driving them around has been the biggest benefit (we have after school buses at various times).
I have also had to start thinking about what we will do if our schools require kids to be vaccinated to go back to school in the fall. At first, I was thinking either my wife (graduates spring ’22 as special ed teacher) or I (mechanical engineer) would need to have a major career change to get back to homeschooling the kids. After discussing with my family, the kids don’t want to stay home anymore so my plan would be a religious exemption. My kids and I have decided that we will not receive the covid vax any time soon. I’m so certain this madness is coming that I am starting to draft the letter now. People in my area (Seattle area explains it) have absolutely lost their minds, all sensibility/reasoning is just gone.
We had a free account on the Prodigy Maths website for a few months. You might take a look- it lists the curriculum objectives for each year, and the portal provides an engaging game for practice and reports for parents. My 10 yr old played on it until the schools were ready for online learning.
I have no personal experience (so why am I even talking amiright?) but I have seen plenty of ill effects and sone positive ones from homescholled kids so maybe the objectivity is the value.
1)I think its critical to first assess your own skills and aptitudes for the task. I’ve seen some parents with barely a high school diploma insist on homeschooling and all they do is fuck the kids up. If your net impact is greater than the public school then you should do it, but you’ve gotta be honest with yourself first.
2) Socialization is a huge issue. When the only girl in class is your sister, you lose a lot of opportunities to learn how to date or approach girls or vice versa. Making friends too is tough. While little league and church may help, there’s something about the stress of mass population pressure that teaches you the social shortcuts you can’t get at home.
3) Immunity, getting sick is good for the immune system. Though as long as they aren’t kept in a compound and get some exposure to “the real world” it wouldn’t be a problem finding ways to challenge that immune system.
4) Publicly funded daycare. It allows both parents to work and generate more income for the household. But what does that money afford you? More experiences? Only on weekends. Better food? Gardening is a great learning opportunity and cuts costs of groceries.
5) Homeschooling has closer connection to the outcomes. Your child, your beliefs, and your results. It may be humbling at times, but you at least care about the end result. Public school just shuffles the new herd in after the last one finishes. No names, just numbers. But kids need to experience environments too where the teacher DOESN’T treat them special. Humility is a virtue and protecting a child from all social harm only leaves them more vulnerable to it later on.
I’m sure there’s dozens of reasons going back and forth but an educated and attentive parent will provide a more enriching learning environment and plan for their own kids than a teacher will, but the chaos of the human zoo is important too. But the most important thing is to do an honest assessment of your own ability to teach your child, in an authoritarian way, everything they need to succeed. Then at least you know where you need to get help to bolster your deficiencies.
Like I said though, most homeschool parents I’ve seen were not adequately equipped to give their kids an advantage. Most weren’t smart enough to know they were ill-equipped for the task. But then again, so many public school teachers were the dumb sorority girls in college who aren’t shining examples of humanity either…
Lovely conversation and input so far.
I was a teacher in a public school program which taught and supported homeschool families. I did this job for about 10 years. I met everything from the staunch “programed instruction” types to the “unschoolers.” Most were somewhere between, wanting to give their children more care, and concerned deeply with their basic education. Overall the homeschool children and parents were the most open, creative, intelligent, and caring bunch you could imagine. I was honored to be their guide. Here are some observations:
Wonderful way for you as a parent to be a loving, attuned presence for your child. It is actually the more natural way of development.
Homeschooling will and should involve more choices for the student in terms of their growing and changing passions, your support for these propensities and desires. This is a deep and subtle form of support –the choices and your support for choices (even if not perfectly realized for economic or logistical reasons). The benefits included here are the sense of agency of a child, knowing the world is attuned (somewhat) to them, a sense of personal responsibility, a sense of creatively co-creating the life that we live. I could go on, but choice and attunement to a child’s gifts is a hugely beneficial element in most homeschooling. Choice might mean many things, very complex and meaningful, or very small, but the sense of choice and collaboration is able to shine in homeschooling in a way it just can’t in public schools. And I think it fundamentally benefits the development of a child. I’m not talking about a child being the parent and pushing his will on the family.
As teachers we were taught to encourage “life-long learning” in regular schools. The sad truth is, we are born and always will be “life-long learners,” unless the public school experience beats it out of us. Homeschooling can preserve rather than destroy our zest for life and learning.
The students I taught, if it was the desire of the family, and the child– were never held back in anything but the smallest details of life, to which they quickly adapted. The best universities, the best friendships, the most creative entrepreneurship, the simple enjoyment of life. There is nothing damaging about homeschooling, unless you are a pathological home.
As has been suggested, there are programs for curriculum, informal community teaching/sharing groups which can feel like extended family and where each parent teaches something they know to the group of children, often public education support, etc. With some research and creativity you will probably feel pretty confident and supported.
Someone else in this thread talked about “when their child wanted to” go back to a regular school. Often this is part of a growing desire inside for a child to become more social. This might happen in 6th grade, or high school. The point is, almost all children will expand as they need more of this, and it is good to let them, even if we’re afraid of the influences. The grounding they got in homeschooling will serve.