Education.

I picked up this book at the library the other day:


A few weeks ago, the husband and I were talking about homeschooling, not in a very serious way, just in a homeschooled-kids-are-pretty-smart kind of way.  We wondered if it would work for our kids, so when I saw this book, I figured I'd read it and get the author's experience.  I'm only about a quarter of the way through but I'm enjoying it so far.  It makes me question whether I could do it or not.

My background is as an elementary-level teacher, so I have the skills to do the work of homeschooling; I just wonder if it would drive me crazy.  I love my kids, but I do need a break from them, and if they were homeschooled, they would be home all the time.  Right now Gus goes to a small church preschool that he loves.  His teachers tell us how sweet he is, and what nice manners he has, which is great because he doesn't always display those at home.  We know he's learning because he comes home saying things that we didn't teach him (in a good way).  He likes the other kids and is always happy to see his friends.  I think he will most likely be a kid that will do okay in a traditional system.  Greta already wants to stay at preschool when we drop him off, so I'm hoping that she'll enjoy herself when she starts next year.

However, the traditional public school system doesn't always get the best marks for doing the best for kids.  Having been in it, the whole system is a political mess, from government regulations to pandering to difficult parents.  I want to make sure that my kids get the best education they can, and figuring out what that is will be interesting.  If they were homeschooled, then I would know exactly what they were learning and how they were doing, but what if that isn't the best for them?  What if they thrive in a regular classroom environment, and we take that away from them?  So for now we'll have to wait and see.

We do talk about private school, since they don't have to follow the state standards, but we aren't exactly in a position to hand over many multiple thousands of dollars on school every year.  One thing we did decide on is that we are perfectly okay if our kids decide not to go to college.  Personally, I think there are too many people in college.  It's not meant to be for everyone, yet everyone is expected to go.  Also, it's really hard to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life when you are making that decision at 17- or 18-years-old.  Right now Gus wants to be a construction worker, and that's great.  We're all for it.  If he changes his mind and wants to do something else, we'll be all for that.  But I don't necessarily think college as it is now is the answer for everyone.

Where do you stand?  Homeschool or not?  Public or private?  College or not?




8 comments

  1. What a great post! Two of my closest friends are teachers, so I hear all about the assorted drama they have to deal with. Hubsey and I have talked about sending our future offspring to a montessori school when they're little, but I don't think either of us would be up to the task of homeschooling. Like you said, you need a break sometimes.

    I'm with you on the college thing. When my sister and I were in high school, it wasn't a question of "if" we were going to college, it was "where." There's this bizarre misconception in our society that you're not smart if you don't have a four-year degree, and I think it forces a lot of people down paths they really don't want to take. I enjoyed my original college experience--it's where I met my husband and a lot of my friends--but I ended up hating what I majored in the first time around. Thankfully I had an academic scholarship so I don't have any debt, but a lot of people do. It just sucks. I wish people could just do what makes them happy. It will be interesting to see how education changes in the next 10-20 years.

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  2. I have a really difficult time completely understanding why parents homeschool. There is that aspect of having to be around your kids constantly without a break that I think would drive me crazy. I can understand the motive of wanting a child to get the best possible education, but to me it just doesn't work that way. For me, learning is not just about knowing how to add and subtract or about writing a good paragraph. It is also about new ideas and concepts. Each family usually raises their children with a set of values that are their own. These values can range from basic morals and etiquette to more controversial subjects of politics and religion. For any of these values, I think it is hard for a person to come up with their own individual idea of who or what they want to be if those ideas are never challenged. Having someone from the outside world challenge you with new ideas helps an individual learn more than what they would if they are in a homeschooled setting in which they are always taught the same. If I ever have kids, I want their ideas to be challenged. I want them to have some of the values that I would pass on, but I also want them to grow intellectually and ultimately decide who they want to be based on their own thoughts and decisions. The only way a person can develop in this way is to interact with people that they would normally not interact with while inside the home. To me, this sort of interaction is the biggest aspect of learning-- even as an adult. It continues as an ongoing process throughout life. When children are homeschooled, even if you say you will try to expose them to many different things, it just doesn't work in the same way. Being challenged in your ideas can cause one to learn why they believe what they believe, or even why they want to change or evolve in their values. To me, that is the greatest lesson of life that homeschooling just can't provide.

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    Replies
    1. So well put Heidi, couldn't agree with you more. :)

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    2. Heidi, you're exactly right. I hate to stereotype, but through community theater I knew some kids who were homeschooled, and quite frankly they just didn't have normal social skills. They were very nice, but something about all of them was a bit off and I think it was because they had less interaction with their peers.

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    3. Locally, I've had the opportunity to meet a lot of parents who home school their kids (I teach swimming lessons at a local community center) and these are (mostly) educated people who aren't happy with the school options in the area. A good group of them have banded together to do projects in civics, politics etc and I see some really awesome kids coming out of it.

      It's not for everyone, but I have seen it work really well and I can't say that home schooling is a bad idea. Like I said below, if I could manage it job wise and wasn't satisfied with the school options, I would do it in a heart beat.

      As for the socialization, it's a non-issue in this area. They're engaging, socially capable and aware, caring young people with awesome manners.

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  3. the public school system in CT seems to be sooo different from what I grew up with in AZ. There were no lotteries, no interviews, no competition for a space. If you lived in a certain district, that was just your school - no matter what.
    To be honest, arizona ranks somewhere around second-to-last in the nation for quality of public education. I loved my public school experience and wouldn't trade it in, ever, for private school. Public schools get 'bad' marks, but based on what? Standardized tests? Paperwork? My public school teachers were in that job because they loved teaching, clearly not for the money or great benefits.
    good luck!

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  4. I absolutely love how much you've thought this through. I know many homeschooling parents who of the mentality that they are the ONLY ones who can provide what their child needs, and I think it's unfair to many of the kids. You learn more in school than just reading, writing, and 'rithmatic -- you also learn how to function socially, how to compete and work with a team, how to be on your own without Mom and Dad. I'm sure public school isn't the right choice for every child, but for many it's a great experience that they will build on for the rest of their lives. I also agree with you about college. I pushed and pushed myself to finish college, for over ten years, before I realized that it just wasn't for me. I wish now that I hadn't wasted so much time (and money) trying to educate myself for a career that I never even wanted in the first place.

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  5. I say you've got to do what's best for your kids with the circumstances you have.

    I would homeschool kids if I could afford to do it job wise. Locally, most of the private schools are religious and I'm not sure that is the route for my family or kids when they arrive. As for college, I think you need post secondary education or training, but it's not for everyone so as long as my kids do SOMETHING who am I to say that 4 years more of school is for them? I have an ex-boyfriend who went to a tech school for car repair/body work. He's making a crap ton of money doing "pimp my ride" like stuff and lovesit. He barely graduated high-school because he learns differently.

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