I was homeschooled, but I don’t think I’m going to homeschool my children

I’ve written before about how most of the reasons my parents chose to homeschool have no appeal for me, and you’d think that would be the end of the topic. But in reality this is a question I continue to wrestle with. I can get so stressed even thinking about it, that I have to force myself to take breaks from researching and debating the various options for educating our children. I was always told that parents that really love their children would make the choice to homeschool. And I’ve heard enough of the anti-school stories from homeschool parents that I get fearful of my kids growing up to hate me because I dared to send them to such a terrible institution. I was homeschooled from day one, I have never been in a school environment. What if it really is as awful as I was told? How can I send my kids to something I have never experienced?

Here’s the thing, in an idealistic Utopian world, I believe that homeschooling is probably the best option for raising well rounded, healthy children who love learning. The problem is, I don’t think I’m capable of creating that utopia, actually I don’t think that many parents are able too. So I continue to wrestle with the education options, and this is some of my thought process.

***************************

I love being with my kids. I am committed to loving them unconditionally and being an encouragement in their lives. When I think about sending them to a school where they could possibly face teachers or peers that don’t like them, as well as negative critique ranging from academic performance to body image, it breaks my heart. Surely I could protect them from those things by keeping them at home?


Except, that isn’t true. My family homeschooled, and most of my siblings came out of it feeling sub-par and stupid from the critique of our parents. I and several of my sisters have terrible body image issues. Obviously, I could resolve to do it differently than my parents, but am I really going to be able to avoid every pitfall? I have my own issues, many from my upbringing that I am still working through. As a homeschooler I would be around my children 24/7, what are the odds that I mess up? Is it really healthy for any parent to control every aspect of their child’s life?


Maybe it’s because most of my good childhood memories involve hours of playing outside with siblings, but I get frustrated thinking about the length of a typical school day. If my kid isn’t getting home until 3 in the afternoon, and then still has homework assignments to complete, when will they get the free creative time to just be a kid and live outside in the mud? If school ended at noon, I don’t think I would hesitate. They could be done with academics, spend the rest of the day with their family being kids, sounds awesome to me.

I also worry about learning styles. My oldest child talks about school constantly. She has imaginary teachers that she wants to paint pictures for, she is very social and lives for the days that we have story time programs to participate in. She is also very task oriented. Give her something to do and she can buckle down and focus until she completes it. She is very high energy, but is pretty good at bottling it in until it’s appropriate to let it out.

My second child seems to be a different story so far. She has less energetic needs, but she daydreams, wanders around the house aimlessly, has to be told 40,000 times to do something before she remembers to do it. Has a hard time focusing to complete a task, gets frustrated by how long something is taking and gives up. How would she do in a school environment? Granted she is barely 3 years old, so I suppose she will grow and mature, but admittedly, some children seem to thrive more in the school setting than others. I worry that I would feel guilty about not homeschooling any of my children that didn’t spontaneously thrive in the school environment.

I love that school provides structure and community. Growing up, half the time we weren’t sure if we were going to do school that day or not, the schedules, expectations and even curriculum’s were always changing. School would be a very consistent part of their life, which I like. With my religious isolationist parents, homeschooling just exacerbated the lack of community. I love that my child would have access to team sports and drama opportunities. It was practically impossible to find stuff like that in the homeschool world.

As each child goes to school, the next child down gets more one on one attention. I really like this one. In my last homeschooling post, I mentioned the fact that younger kids can get lost in the shuffle. People thought I was talking about younger school age children being neglected because of middle school and older children demanding more attention, and they pointed out that as children get older a lot of their schoolwork is self-explanatory and independent. In actuality, I was talking about children too young for school. I think that babies, toddlers and preschool age children can easily be shuffled to the sidelines while the mom struggles to get through a school day. I would love for them to be able to get some of my focus as well.

I have been at home my entire life, as a child sometimes months went by without us leaving the house. Today, I can be pretty introverted and it takes a lot for me to get my butt out of the house. I would hate to repeat the same isolationist pattern I grew up with onto my own kids. I have been living the life of a stay at home mom for most of my life. I really need to break out of my loner default, and I feel that homeschooling would only make that process more challenging.

I dread the war. I don’t want to blur the lines between teacher and parent. I don’t want to fight over finishing a worksheet, or correcting their handwriting over and over. I don’t want to nag them forever to finish whatever project we are currently working on. I am already investing the time to teach them how to respect themselves and others, what behaviours are appropriate, and how to enjoy the little moments. It would be nice to let someone else teach them math equations I don’t understand and tell them that they misspelled a word.

I stress about what to teach them. It scares me to death. I have no doubt that I could teach them reading, writing, basic math, cooking, and history. I was hardly taught any science or any math past grade school level, so that is a bit intimidating, but I’m sure I could learn it. The scary thing, is doing it all. What curriculum to use? What kind of approach to scheduling? Or what about the approach called “unschooling”?

When I watch “Jaywalking” on the tonight show, I am shocked by the level of ignorance people have about history. For example, Jay Leno showed people a picture of Abraham Lincoln giving the Gettysburg address with the Eiffel tower airbrushed into the background and people assumed that his speech had been given in Paris! There were also several people who said that Abraham Lincoln was president in the early 1900’s. As a homeschooler, I actually had very little formal history, but as an avid reader, I knew the answer to all the simple questions the show was asking. If I put my kids in school would they really learn anything? Surely I could give them a better education than those people got!

Except, I’m not sure that is true. If I had 3 children or less, or widely spaced children, I would feel more confident in trying to homeschool. But I have closely spaced children, and I would hate for school to get put off because of the general stress of the household. With each pregnancy I would have to struggle through my usual major nausea and then the limited mobility and tiredness. At nine months pregnant, I have a hard time keeping up with the house right now, I can’t imagine if I was trying to teach a half dozen children as well. Like in my family growing up, I worry that something or someone would be neglected. I love children, and I would rather be able to keep the large family option open, than stop having kids so I can homeschool.

I don’t want to sacrifice family health for the holy grail of homeschooling.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03792937108732259684 priest’s wife

    You have a lot to think about! I'm not sure how things are in your state, but in mine one way to homeschool is through a public charter school…long story…it works for us…but in any case flexibility is key. What might work for one child or one year might be different for another child or another year
    No matter what you decide- remember that it is you and your husband with the God-given mandate to raise your children- not the state's. If you decide on school- they are just 'helping' you with the kids

  • http://mollymakesdo.wordpress.com Molly

    Parental involvement with public school children is the key for getting the best out of the system (IMHO). Just because you send your kids off to school in the morning doesn't mean the teachers/school board are the only ones who are teaching your kids. Do your research about the school they will attend. Show their teachers that you are attentive and encouraging and they'll be more likely to adjust to any requests than if an absentee parent suddenly barges in demanding change… in fact many school encourage parents to volunteer within the classrooms for the early grades.

    Don't be afraid to let you kids play first and do their homework later so they can enjoy those sunny afternoons. A few hours or play a day (both in and after school), on the weekends and in any extra activities (church, girl scouts, etc.) can be plenty for children, particularly if the school encourages learning activities that also encourage appropriate play and socialization.

    Can/will your have bad teachers and negative peer interaction? Yep, it's going to happen and that's life, but the worst damage you can do is checking out as a parent and ignoring signs of problems at school, bully, or developing image issues. Most schools will appreciate it if you can reliably and with real, unbiased evidence help call out bad teachers and teachers or school counselors will appreciate the help figuring out problems.

    The most important thing is realizing that a public school education doesn't end when that bell goes off at 3 and a parent(s) is still a key teacher in a child's life and you can do a lot of fill in gaps in your childs education by engaging them in education activities, groups, play or even videos when they're not in school. This could be anything from taking a child to a museum on the weekend to quickly brushing up on a few interesting factoids to discuss at dinner (kids love facts, knowing and sharing them).

    Have you considered a Montessori program is one is available in your area? It could a great fit for both of your daughter as Montessori teachers are supposed to follow the saying "Follow the Child" and while there is set curriculum (math, reading, etc.) there are multiple ways for each child to complete their lessons to their best advantage. Your old child would be challenged and give the feedback she craves while your youngest would be give both the attention and the flexibility she seems to need in her routine and learning style.

    My public school, here in a good sized town/small city, in my graduating class (10 years ago) produced future doctors, lawyers, Harvard, Cambridge and MIT graduates, artists, Broadway actors, musicians, politicians and social activist and plenty of well rounded, normal people.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13774997165220926432 Dobrovits Family

    This is a wonderful honest post.

    I am a big fan of homeschooling and a conservative Catholic mom of 6 (hopefully soon to be 7)….who sends her children to public school…

    for many of your reasons above – liking the structure, a female child who begged to go, a male child with a serious learning disability I could not figure out how to teach to, liking the extra time with my youngest child(ren) at home….

    I have experienced the not-so-good (bullying and boys exposed to pornography) and the absolutely wonderful (said son with learning disability achieving graduating with High Honors, a phenomenal music/voice education I could not have afforded, and a sense of accomplishment and confidence I could NEVER have fostered to this extent at home)…

    this is not Heaven.

    There is good AND bad in almost everything on this earth.

    We make the best choice we can, in light of our duty to God and our families, after much prayer and sometimes many tears…

    God Bless you as you discern what will God is calling you to in YOUR family!!

    Carla
    http://www.bringinghenryhome.blogspot.com

  • http://grace-filled.net jen

    I think this is something where you're going to have to decide which kids to homeschool or send to school on an individual basis. Your oldest daughter sounds like she would thrive in a school setting while your second daughter might need to be homeschooled.

    thepioneerwoman.com has a whole section on homeschooling and I'm sure they could help you out in terms of figuring out a curriculum as well as what works and what doesn't.

    *hugs* One day at a time, OK?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18393369001411222505 LysistratasDaughter

    Reading how in tune you are with your kids, even at this young age, I feel like you're ahead of the game in choosing how to educate them. When I was worrying over what kind of school to send my older son to, an experienced mom told me, "You have to take it every kid, every year", meaning, don't be afraid to re-evaluate. I found that so very, very freeing.

    I've been all over the map with my older son–we tried public school for kindergarten, which was a disaster, and we pulled him out before Thanksgiving. Then I tried to homeschool him, but my experience was that it was too much to try to care for an infant, keep up with the house, and do battle (felt like, anyway!) with my older son about school work. Eventually I gave up and decided playing Legos counted as math. Then, after a ton of prayer and searching, I found a lovely little private school with a flexible tuition policy that was a great match. I never envisioned myself sending my kid to private school, but here I am.

    Where we live anyway, there are just tons of options. Charter public schools, private schools, and many homeschooling groups. I know a lot of families who homeschool and are part of groups that do lots of field trips and offer co-op classes. It's definitely not isolated.

    I've seen good and not so good outcomes from every school situation, so I think your intuition about your kids is your best guide. And you seem to be so intuitive and connected with your kids! You're paying attention to their personalities and your personality and how they all interact together. Maybe one kid will go to school and another will homeschool. Maybe one situation will work for a kid in the lower grades, but you'll have to change in middle or high school. Who knows? But if you're making those choices in a place of love and respect and trust for you and your children, I don't see how you can go too far wrong! Even if you make a choice that doesn't work out, you can change course, based on your new knowledge.

    The fact that you're even asking the question puts you far ahead of the curve.

  • Edita

    Hey there! I fully understand your concerns about public schools. I went to public schools all my life and I had my share of problems. I did have one teacher in 4th grade who I believe until today hated me, but she didn't make me hate school. I still wanted to learn. That teacher in particular made me the idiot of the class with her strange views on how conflicts should be solved. That year I ended up getting a beating almost every day.
    However, it didn't "break" me. 5th grade was entirely different. The same kids who "hated" me the year before turned out to be very nice. I never ever had problems in school again after that and I enjoyed it very much.

    I do agree with you that a classical eductation (languages, history, art) don't get nearly as much attention as they deserve. Too many people don't know basic information. When somebody believes that Hitler is still alive, that's just really bad education.
    I think if you were to send your kids to school, you still can work on teaching them some history. Explain them things when you see it fit.
    When talking to my niece, I sometimes "lie" a bit to get her interested in history. Like when she asks for a certain type of chocolate, I'll go "good choice! you know what that reminds me of? I heard emperor cesar loved it!". Sounds geeky, but works.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09934795013862435614 Anna

    I think your reasons are very sound, and you don't need to feel guilty about this at all. In fact, a number of points you make seem to me to show why homeschooling is not the ideal, anyway. Like you say, "Is it really healthy for any parent to control every aspect of their child’s life?" In the long run, children aren't just citizens of their parents' home, but are called to belong to the wider human community. I think as they grow,they realize that more and more, and resent being so limited in their exposure to other people.

    I mean, have you actually met any of these healthy, curious, well-rounded homeschool alumns? I haven't, and I know a gazillion homeschoolers. In families I know, the boys especially seem to suffer, and tend to either grow up lacking in spirit and guts, or rebel completely against all their family stood for. And even the homeschooled guys I know who are closest to normal took an extra four or five years to adjust to adulthood. I think that amount of maternal supervision just isn't healthy for a teenage boy. (Actually, remembering how easily my hackles got up against my mom when I was sixteen, I'm not sure it's healthy for girls either. A bit of space was definitely good for our relationship!)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05014351173194941624 Sally Thomas

    I think the words "holy grail" are the key here. Education is important, obviously, but in itself, it's not the Key to All Mythologies, or an innoculation against unbelief, or a panacea for societal ills, or the ultimate goal. And I say that as a homeschooling mother who believes very strongly in the value of homeschooling.

    The thing is, it's the children (each child, not "children" as some kind of lump sum) who are the gift from God, not the philosophy: that's supposed to be the tool with which you nurture and honor and fulfill your stewardship of this incredible gift.

    And frankly, He gives us no shortage of tools and helps, including the traditional brick-and-mortar school, which for some families and some children is the right answer. I have a cousin, for example, in her late 40s like me, whose parents kept her home (in the days before anyone used a word like "homeschooling") for all kinds of obscure reasons, and I think it was not a happy or flourishing kind of experience. To her, the idea of homeschooling conjures up all that, whereas to me it says "freedom" and "room to grow," and all kinds of things which my older children did not experience in school, during the years when they went. Importantly, my own school experience wasn't all that happy, which — although I certainly didn't start out with a plan to homeschool — without a doubt made me predisposed to consider it when I saw my oldest child tanking in the traditional classroom. Her unhappiness and non-learning struck me as awfully familiar . . .

    Which makes me consider that so much of our parenting does seem to spring from our own childhoods and experiences of *being* parented, especially when we're young parents and still close to those experiences. In my twenties my whole parenting philosophy was driven pretty explicitly by a desire not to do what my parents did, even though they were decent, well-meaning, good parents of their own time and culture (and equally driven not to repeat their own parents' behaviors, as I came to realize as an adult — my mother still speaks with enormous bitterness of her own mother, and looking back, I can see my entire childhood on the grid of that bitterness, which makes me a little more able to let go of my own longtime bitternesses).

    I have to say that I've been thinking for a long time how helpful it is to me as a homeschooling mother to read blogs by young adults who were homeschooled — I find this far more illuminating than reading many other homeschooling mothers' blogs. It's an uncomfortable thing sometimes: I think about how I'd feel if I were the reason one of my kids started a blog, to help them get over me . . . On the other hand, there's that continual wakeup call to keep things in the road so that I'm not the kind of mother they have to get over. Then I wonder if that's just inevitable, since virtually every woman I've ever known, in every walk of life, has been getting over her mother in one way or another, with varying levels of inner peace about it all.

    But I think we can be delusional about how our good intentions are playing out in the lives of our children, especially when what we see all day every day are our intentions and not the children themselves as individuals. I'm invested in homeschooling, but if I don't see it as a way to open doors to the rest of life — not just heaven, but college, too, and a whole functional adult life apart from me — then I'm not loving my children but myself and my own visions, and that's frankly a sin to be repented.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08135229596877003069 Michelle

    You are going through what many of us go through as we raise our children. And your perspective is so different from mine…I like reading it, though. We considered homeschooling, but in the end, it just never made sense for me to give up a job that removed over half our household income and my husband wasn't up for the task of schooling the children.

    Maybe if you visited the schools you think you might put your child in, you could see what school is like? I grew up attending parochial/Catholic school through 8th grade, but my younger siblings started public school earlier than that. I went to public high schools. I survived. and so did my siblings. :)

    Additionally…when you watch that stuff on Jay Leno…in that particular instance, it was something you have had an interest in so you knew those things. Not everyone cares all that much about history (I mean, I do…but I know that most people *really* know what they *really* have an interest in) so maybe if Jay Leno had been walking around asking about scientific or mathematical equations, those people would have seemed like geniuses.

    Regardless of where your children are schooled during the day…it is my firm belief that 90% of what kids learn still takes place at home. They learn that reading is important when they see their parents read and when their parents read to them. They learn that being organized is important to academic success as parents are assisting (not doing!!) with homework. They learn values from their parents. Yes, you cannot shield them from everything and there's a chance they get hurt by comments made by peers or something they are exposed to outside of your care…but as involved as you most likely will be (whichever route you go) you can address the hurts, explain them how you want and pick up the pieces.

    My kids have been in school now for 6 years. Yes, I've had to console my oldest for mean things done or said. I've also had to educate her on how to stick up for herself and I've worked closely with teachers to address major concerns. I'm very fortunate that I am in a parish and school with many like minded parents and in their classes…all the parents seem to be of the mind, "if you see my kid mis-behaving, discipline them and then come talk to me" but we have that much trust with each other at this point (and I have to point out that when my oldest was in public school, I didn't know the other parents…it was too big…so this is at our parish school right now).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15864953064301451142 Arual

    Have you looked at un-schooling at all? It may resonate a little more with what you want for your children without putting all the unnecessary stress of "guided curriculum" on you.

    Also, when I was home schooled for a couple years we actually had social interaction through home school groups pretty regularly, though most came just from being out in the community when all other children were shut up in the schools. It helps that we live in the middle of a small city though, where many things are in walking or biking distance.

    This blog talks about unschooling a lot:

    http://www.authenticparenting.info/

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16232186225573312896 Incongruous Circumspection

    We homeschooled for a few years due to just not thinking about other options. We had many of the same reasons your parents (and most parents in that movement) did. But, one day, we started discussing our reasons and realized that we were pretty much not really thinking about our decision.

    So, we put our kids in public school (gasp!). Best thing we ever did. You not that whole idea about a social life? Yeah. Homeschoolers fight that tooth and nail. But, having been on both sides, homeschool does not compare one iota. Not only do my kids now have so many friends their age, but they are being exposed to other ideas to prepare their minds to think.

    My desire is that whatever they do in life, they will do it because they reasoned well. The dumb mistakes, I'll be here with my hot wife to pick up the pieces with them.

    Anyway….good for you.

    And, the idea that you might get more time in your life if you don't homeschool….yeah…no. Not a chance. My hot wife went back to school full time as well as being a full time mom for the rest of our kids. And, kids have homework. The dishes still have to be done, etc, etc, etc.

  • Anonymous

    I loved this post. I have been homeschooling my 10 and 7 year old, but I also now have a 2 year old and an infant. I have really been losing it, and I have decided to send the big kids to school. I am actually looking at one today! I feel that I am neglecting the babies- not real neglect, but they get less attention than I would like. I cannot take the toddler to the story time and such because I have to teach the big kids. And I love unschooling, but it is harder than it looks. Thanks for the post; I am still struggling with this decision! Bridget

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03951937670507565105 Shelly

    Oh my goodness!! I feel like I could I have written this post! The only difference is that I wasn't home schooled myself, but even before our first was born I just knew that I wanted to homeschool (the schools around here aren't that great). And now…. With 4 very young kids and school age quickly approaching the thought of starting to homeschool stresses me out more than anything in the world. Just last week I officially decided that I wouldn't be able to handle it. I still don't feel comfortable putting them in public school so we're going to be sending the to Catholic school at my husband's church where we know they'll be getting a decent education and have a better atmosphere. Luckily each year we will have enough income tax money to pay the tuition or otherwise it wouldn't be possible! Then once we get to high school we'll have to re-evaluate since I know we can't spend our entire yearly income when we have 3+ kids there at once. When we made this decision I was SO relieved. It will be great to be able to spread my attention out among the babies a little more. What a good post! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16979912092987681396 Sandra

    All I had time for this morning was to read the title and the first paragraph but I had to rush a comment (I promise I'll come back this evening and read the whole thing–you deserve it). although I am a homeschooler, I am the loudest supporter I know of "not everyone should homeschool" . The NUMBER ONE important factor in a child's education is a strong and supportive relationship with a parent. Whatever venue that education then takes–public, private, home, something else altogether–will be successful. If parents aren't jumping up and down with excitement to homeschool, that parent probably shouldn't be doing it. Fear is never a good reason to do something–run towards education, not educate in reaction away from fear.

  • Caravelle

    Hi,
    Have you looked up and visited the different schools in your area ? I don't know in English how you call those "open-door" days where anybody can come and visit the school, get a guided tour and talk to the teachers and so on but those would be a good opportunity to find out more. It's a very welcoming atmosphere, you could bring the children, they would certainly have fun.

    Even on a random day I'm sure that if you call the schools, and explain that you were homeschooled and are thinking of sending your children to school and want to find out more they would be happy to help you out.

    This way school would be a bit less unknown and scary, there would be a chance for your daughters to see for themselves, and you could ask about the teaching methods, what the school thinks about discipline and dealing with different personalities and learning styles, what their standards are for learning, how many children there are per teacher… You might even get to see an actual class being taught.

    I agree with everyone else that the parent's involvement is very important in determining how well a child does, public school or not.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03792937108732259684 priest’s wife

    Anna- I'm sorry that the gazillion homeschoolers you have met aren't well-rounded or social- if that were the case in my life- I would run away from home education

    In our little 'bubble' home educators think they are in the majority- but the fact is most kids go to public school and that is what normal people do- and young mom is way ahead of the curve even thinking about education

    My anecdotal story- I have a friend who teaches middle school- she has 200 students. At parent-teacher get to know you days- parents have 3 days and 3 evenings available to meet her- this year, she met with 10 parents. (This is in a good neighborhood- townhouses are $350,00)

    Most parents put education 100% on the teachers. They provide their kids with cable tv and computers in their rooms. They give their middle school and high school children telephones with unlimited texting. They allow their girls to wear low cut tank tops and short shorts to school (it is the new uniform)–the above commenters are correct in that it is silly to choose for our kids out of fear— but for the majority of parents in the US today- they are not (or perhaps cannot because of time constraints) involved in their kids' education

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06489369133555827520 Maurisa

    Love the thought put into this post! While I homeschool all of our children, I do not believe homeschooling is for every child or family. The best you can do is keep your options open, and keep praying for guidance. What a wonderful day we live in, in which we have so many schooling choices to choose from. In the end, I truly believe most parents make the best and most loving decisions they can.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07363886412589745900 That Married Couple

    I so appreciate reading your honest thoughts, perhaps even more so when they're conflicted. They're so real and reveal how much you desire the best for your family.

    Especially as someone who toys with the idea of homeschooling, I really like hearing all sides of it. I do think it can be done well. But I certainly don't think public school is evil. I loved it! Keep praying. You will eventually discern what is best for your children!

  • Anonymous

    I'm not going to say a whole lot, but from a 20 year old's perspective who's been homeschooled her entire life and is happy, confident and secure in herself…. IT IS SO WORTH IT!

    I have seven siblings, we are best friends and we all love our parents very much. We appreciate the fact Mum devoted her life into teaching us at home, and understand why they made the choices they did. We have so many friends, a lot through homeschool activities and church, and we never lacked a 'social life.' I am so pleased we weren't sent to school to be taught by teachers (who spend more time with kids than their parents) and that we weren't exposed to all the peer pressures and bullying.

    We were not uneducated; during my school years I participated in almost every sport, dance and drama, at home we learnt to cook, garden, and make crafts – as well as all the 'normal' school subjects. This lifestyle gave me the opportunity to grow and develop at my own pace, and so many of the things we learned were practical! Because there were always babies in the house, I learned how to care for them. So many girls these days that go to school, have no idea how to care for children! Homeschooling encouraged us to mix and mingle with various aged children and adults, not strictly kids our own age.

    When I finished school I studied for a year, then started my own business which was successful and sold on last year. Now I have a full time job and am studying part time. I put my success down to the fact that I was homeschooled.

    Because my family has had such a good experience of homeschooling, all of us kids want to have large families and homeschool too. Yes I'm sure it will be hard with lots of toddlers and trying to juggle schooling with pregnancy nausea, but I trust that God will help me in those times. As kids get older it gets easier, the older ones can help the younger ones. I agree, I haven't had children myself to understand the full work involved, but I have a pretty close idea of it! Babies to feed, kids to school, house to clean, meals to cook… I've done all of that, so transitioning into the parent role won't come as a surprise.

    So don't be closed to this idea, it does work and I recommend it! =)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10259015648661853019 Virginia Is For Mothers

    I totally could have written this post about 8 yeras ago…I was homeschooled for 10 years, and although I loved it myself, I declared I was not going to homeschool ever. I majored in French and became a high school French teacher and I just couldn't fathom mustering up the enthusiasm to successfully teach math (ugh!) and science (double ugh!). And then I got married. And then my public schooled husband, who had a bad public school experience, decided he might want to homeschool, and when your husband says he wants to do something, a good wife must reconsider her position. Then the more I taught high school, I just thought, "You know, public school isn't bad. There are a lot of good teachers who work really really hard to make learning come alive and have their students be successful. But the truth is, there is so much more than pure education going on in schools that what the kids get is filtered down." So now we are starting our kids out homeschooling and just taking it a year at a time. There really isn't a "wrong" decision here and it's totally okay if you see something isn't working and decide to make a different educational choice. Someone will always have an opinion about your choice no matter what you do. Good luck making this really hard decision!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16979912092987681396 Sandra

    I've finally got home and read the rest of the post, and I want to amend my comment to say "don't not homeschool out of fear of it, either" Homeschooling doesn't have to be isolating, or limiting, or any of the things you fear (although obviously they can be) any more than out-of-home-schooling is always bullying, sex, drugs, and skimpy clothes.

    It really (REALLY) helps to think of education more like the career that it is–sometimes you work at this job, sometimes you work at that job, sometimes you change professions altogether but it is in its entirety a career–sometimes a child/family might do best with mom teaching out of a box, sometimes from online curriculum, sometimes from outside classes, sometimes from radical unschooling, sometimes from some kind of charter school, sometimes some kind of public school. Truly, the variations are endless. We have done the gamut from boxed curriculum and workbooks, to radical unschooling, to enrichment centers, to public alternative schools, to charter, even to my writing a whole semester's worth of lessons as if we were correspondence students of Hogwarts (during our Harry Potter craze). And next year my first daughter will regular old public high school–her choice so she can get into a pre-biomedical track. No "where/how to school" ever has to be written in stone and can vary by child, by year, even by semester or more often.

    Now that I've argued both sides of the fence, I'll just shut up now!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04466646094734856671 Daniel

    I'm 23 and was homeschooled too. I've been watching how different families interact for quite a few years, aiming to see what works and what doesn't for when I have my own family. I don't claim to have all the answers, and when it all boils down I don't think anyone can claim, "This is the only way!"

    I've seen families that homeschooling has not worked for and I've met people who went through public school & hated every moment of it. I think that the parent/child relationship is probably one of the key factors to education in whatever enviroment. When there genuine love and respect between a parent and child, they can live, learn and work together a lot easier than when the parent has a long list of do's & don'ts which the child obeys for fear of punishment when young and rebels against when too big to spank!

    Everything in life needs balance, if you go to the extreme either way, it can easily be negative.
    For example: Instead of secluding yourself from the world so your children don't pickup anything you don't want them to, (which would affect their social skills ;) find some like minded families and encourage interaction with all age groups.

    And don't worry that you won't be able to teach your child whichever subject you are weakest in… You can teach your child how to learn, put the tools of discovery at their disposal and you can learn with them! My Mom couldn't teach me anything about algebra, but because I'd learned how to learn, I could teach myself by going to the library for some textbooks and studying it until it clicked. Maths was one of my favourite (that's how we spell it in New Zealand!) subjects so I'm aware that it would be different for each child, but with the internet to help now, anything is possible!

    Well, that's my 2cents worth! To anyone who is considering homeschooling, don't just look at it as education at home, but look at it as a whole lifestyle. Teach life skills, work ethics and the ability to learn, as well as the usual essentials, (don't worry about the greek classics and latin unless that is what your child thrives on! :) and you can equip your child to go wherever they want to go.

    If you're not sure about it or don't think you have enough time, patience or knowledge, pray about it. God will give you direction and the strength to go through with it, whichever way that may be! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05354424704358588553 lissla lissar

    My husband and I are thinking seriously about homeschooling, partly because we have so many awesome friends who were partly or wholly homeschooled, and partly because public school sucked very very badly for both of us. I know it doesn't always, and I've been thinking about whether my oldest will do better at home or at Catholic school or at a public school. He's very stubborn and more physically oriented than most kids, and I'm not sure whether he'd be okay in public school. He's also got diabetes, which would be easier to manage at home.

    We're thinking that for at least the first few years we'd be okay, because we cannot possibly do worse than our grade through five teachers did for us. I'm aware that might be deciding to homeschool through fear, but I think it's more like thinking I can manage teaching my kids to read and write and do basic arithmetic, plus reading thousands of books, and maybe still have them still like learning by age ten.

  • http://www.quicksilverqueen.com Anne

    I like this approach. My husband and I haven't decided if we are going to homeschool or not, but we will probably end up public/private schooling.

    We were both homeschooled. His mom was way more thorough than mine though (mine was the "Here do this workbook and tell me in a few months when you're done" type). But there are a lot of disadvantages to homeschooling. For one, there's no breaks from the family…and in my opinion and experience, if I had been allowed more time away from my family, I would have appreciated them more!

    It kind of makes me feel guilty because our parents have been fighting for homeschooling rights and stuff, BUT it's not their life and their kids.

    I think it also depends on the kids…I've also considered the thought that I may public school some of my kids and homeschool some, depending upon learning styles…then again we aren't planning on having many (like our parents did)!

    Anyway…thanks for writing this. I also like the idea of spending time with the younger kids when the older ones go off to school. I also think that in homeschooling, sometimes kids near the same age tend to get lumped together in one grade…my brother and I were, and I HATED it. Soo yeah.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17046924507335607146 Amy

    Hey there!
    I have to tell you I was so scared and fear driven in my homeschooling with my kids. I was so scared of all that I had been taught about public school and private schools that I felt I had no choice but to homeschool. My mou th dropped open at some of your own thoughts about homeschooling… that only a REALLY good Christian mom would homeschool her kids… there is such a judgement cast towards people that don't homeschool. It's so sad. I was homeschooled myself as well from 5th grade through 12th.. my mom was a saint.. lol! Now that I have homeschooled, and realized I am not made for educating my kids, I have so much respect for what my mom did.

    My two cents is that you have to do what is right for you. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer, simply a preference for you and your children. My son has special needs and requires alot of extra help with his learning. I couldn't teach him…it was beyond me and my education to teach him… so he is in a program at our public school that is perfect for him. He is flourishing and growing…and is still an amazing kid.
    My 2 daughters go to a totally different school that is right for them…it's a charter school that we love.
    This past school year is my first year NOT homeschooling…it was a majorly hard decision for me to make…but after some serious breakdowns, I realized I was trying to squeeze myself into a mold that wasn't created for me.
    This works for my family. The whole process of letting go of homeschooling was HUGE for me. It had become a measuring stick of whether I was worthy as a women, and it should NEVER ever become that to anybody.
    I know you and your hub will figure it all out.
    Sometimes it's just a matter of trying and stepping towards something to see if it fits, you know? That's how I had to look at sending my kids to school..there is always the option to come back to what works.

  • http://nowealthbutlife.com Rae

    I really, really should know better than to read comments on posts like this.

    I just wanted to comment to say that I actually read this post. I see that you're thinking these things through and don't need anyone to assume that you're ignorant of factors which could play into your decision.

    And it is wonderful that you're really thinking through all of this and figuring out what is best for your family.

  • http://kfsullivan.wordpress.com/ kfsullivan

    I get questions about this all the time. I am a teacher. I have taught in public and private schools. I have attended public and private schools as have my children. I mentor several children who are exceptional who have been home schooled – but most of them were not hs'd by their parents in high school. I believe mentors/teachers are much more received ( when they share good information) with young people than parents during this stage development. I also think that parents must make the best decision that they can for each child and their style of learning, gifts, callings. That is not always easy to logistically or financially accomplish – at least it's not for us. We have done our best to make the best choices we can with and for our children in regard to their education. As a church youth leader, I have found no great spirit formational advantage in the home-schooled kids. In some cases the opposite.

    I love that you are asking the questions. I'm sure the Holy Spirit will guide you and your husband in your choices and give you a sense of peace that He will be involved in the growth of your child no matter the choice you make.

    I'm praying for you.

    Many schools are in no way the nightmare circulated, but warm and caring learning environments, who employ dedicated, called teachers. None of my children (4) have had a single "bad" experience in a public school. I have been thrilled or at worse happy with all their teachers. We have good schools staffed by loving teachers who love God in our district. I Iove the freedom I have to more infuse the classes I teach with Kingdom principles and to challenge Christ's followers to approach issues of our earth as our responsibility and privilige to share in the alleviation or burden of suffering. Two of my kids are at the private school where I teach and it fits them perfectly. They love it, the smaller size, the personal attention they receive and the opportunities

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05598890631695015818 Pippi

    I think it takes a special kind of parent to homeschool effectively. And I am not that kind. I feel the same concerns having been raised entirely in my parents' house. I will put my kids in school because I think they will do better there, and I believe they need to be with other children OUTSIDE the family. I have been very, very blessed to have the Friends' preschool nearby for my boys to attend, and they have been given scholarships to make the tuition manageable. I want to keep Andy in a Friends' school, because I think they provide the best atmosphere for his learning needs. Hunter would probably do fine in a public school atmosphere; their curriculum is another thing. Still, I will be homeschooling Andy this year, because it was too late for him to get into the school I wanted this fall. It isn't ideal. But after talking to the public school, I know that they would be worse. So I am just taking things as they come for now.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02614822971755761394 Rebecca

    I so relate to what you are saying. I was homeschooled too, except for 3 1/2 years in middle school/jr. high. I too sometimes wish I could give my daughter that perfect Utopian world. But I know I can't. I think the thing that concerns me the most about school is the bullying that is out there. But I agree with you so much that even though I was homeschooled, I came through life with a lot of wounds. This was primarily due to a dysfunctional family. Not all homeschooling families are like that, of course. But there's no escaping a broken world, even at home. And I want my daughter to feel engaged with the world. It does my heart such good to see her making friends now, as a toddler, at church and stuff. Her confidence and outgoing nature are the opposite of me as a child. Ah, but letting go of control is hard…

  • Anonymous

    be encouraged, we are not perfect, no one is. I am sure your parents did the best they knew how to, even though there may have been seious issues. you seem to have avoided most of the pysical and mental issues plaguing most young women today. having self image issues is less than a fraction of what some kids face unfortunately. by no means i'm i saying you deserved it. But in raising your childrn you too will make errors that have nothing to do with your parents, the key is to realise these and try to change that in you, maybe unlike your parents. Non the less, they embarked on homeschooling you all for a good cause and probably struggled from time to time with similar things you struggle with, at least in one way or another.

    i homeschool and i struggle because i was never homeschooled and had a mom with the strongest personality ever. so you can imagine all i struggle with. But i have to blance it all through prayer.and really consider the reasons for homeschooling, during these times. my husband and i understood how over bearing the immense stress the overrated and disgusting norms of our society/ world, would impact our kids. so it was an easy decision tohomeschool, some say that's fear, i say maybe indrectly, but its looking beyond that. we once heard recently that sometimes the problem is not the schools and the teachers, its the fact that every single child or most come from disfunctional homes, this disfunction has been justified by the very sick and morally wrong norms of our society. so we areaisng a generation who will not know what rigth is, because their only options would be wrong and wrong.
    with that said, i hope you consider it all, accept your strengths and weaknesses and trust that your intentions in this decision are good, thus God will give you the grace day by day to handle all the challenges, especially the ones that come from withtin you, because those seem to linger in my life the most. but like you said balance is key.

  • Anonymous

    I am 16 years old and am finally going to be public schooled for the first time in my life. I don't know if I will like it but I don't see how it could be any worse than homeschooling was for me. My older sisters have both been home schooled their whole lives and regret it as I think most home schoolers do at some point in their life. Just remember that whatever you do God can work it out for their good as I'm sure he will for me but for a long time I had a grudge against my parents for homeschooling me. In the end It's not the State or you who should decide your kids fate It's the children themselves as they will have to live with the choice that is made, I realize that a 4 year old will not be able to totally understand but at least ask what they want to do and take it into account, and as they become older I would certainly let your kids have more of a choice in what they want to do as far as schooling. If you do decide to home school do not! keep them at home cooped up and alone their whole childhood.

  • Anonymous

    I know a comment on such an old post must seem random, so I'll introduce myself: I'm a Freethought Blogs reader, and Natalie linked you in her last post, and as an avid reader I couldn't be satisfied with only your last post and so started reading your whole archives (iup, I'm crazy like that).
    I decided to comment because I also have the same worries about homeschooling versus school. Even more, because I was in public school and didn't do well there at all. The teaching was way too slow for me, so I was really bored in classes and really feel like I became an underachiever and fell short of my potential because I could never follow the things I wanted to learn (there are only so many times you hear the "you'll learn that n a few years" answer before you lose hope and stop asking – and this was before the internet), and my troubles (mostly with organization, I was terrible keeping the workbooks) were never corrected because I always aced the tests. Even worse, I've never been good in social settings and ended up being bullied pretty much my entire childhood and most of my teenage years.
    At the same time, I really worry if I would be a good teacher to my kids (I tend to be very pushy and get lost when trying to explain things), and whether it's a good environment for them. I actually know a family who homeschools their only son in a secular way, and he's amazing – homeschooling gives him the freedom to explore everything, and at 8 years old he's writing books and editing movies as well as over-achieving in "normal curriculum" terms, and I wish I had had such opportunities myself, but I wonder if I could provide the same.
    Anyways, the (very shaky) conclusion I arrived at is to enroll my kids in public school, making sure to remain involved in their education, and if after the first year or two they don't fit in at all and have problems take them out and start homeschooling. Also, no two kids are the same, so maybe homeschooling is the best option for some of your children but not the others? I know there are a ton of problems to separating siblings in those cases, but it's definitely worth pondering. And homeschoolling also doesn't mean the children can't be in teams or other out-of-the-house activities or sports!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    I have much of the same fears. And yet I know that homeschooling is not a good option for us. I wonder about looking into some of the public charter schools in our area as well as the public schools. And like you said, each child is different. Sometimes I wonder about homeschooling for middle school and doing some traveling together as a family or something like that. Whatever happens, I know that I will want my kids involved in a community, and I will want to be involved in their education.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X