Home > Education > Be Cool, Stay in (Home) School

Be Cool, Stay in (Home) School

November 3, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

If you grew up in the 80s/early 90s, you probably remember this PSA:

Despite the ads assertions, I stayed in school–up to my Master’s–and I was never really cool.

When I became a dad almost 3 years ago, we worried about a lot of things, but schooling wasn’t ever a consideration. We can’t really afford private school – while keeping all of our organs and/or blood, anyway. My wife and I are both products of the Maryland public school system and we turned out ok. Since we pay for public schools through our taxes anyway, you can bet my cheap Asian tendencies won’t let my good money go to waste. And that was it. I mean, we obviously weren’t going to homeschool.

Growing up in the DC area, I thought homeschooling was usually reserved for Christians who thumped the Bible and thumped it hard in the Mid-West. I think my wife mentioned it once or twice in passing and I was usually against it.

A few months ago, I noticed a book in our bathroom: What the Rest of Us Can Learn from Homeschooling. I didn’t think much of it – I mean, it’s not like the book was Homeschooling for Dummies or something. If it was, I would’ve likely reacted like a guy who found What to Expect When You’re Expecting in his gf’s bathroom.

A wiser man would’ve seen the book and, considering his wife has been wishing she could stay at home with the kids ever since D1 was born, thought, “Perhaps my wife is considering homeschooling. Maybe I should talk openly about this?” I’m not that man. Instead, I thought, “That’s cool. I guess she can apply those ideas after the kids get home from school.”

But the past few months, I’ve become more open to the idea of homeschooling our kids while considering several things. [steps onto soapbox] First, while I loved a good portion of my childhood, I didn’t enjoy the social pecking order, and while I was bullied and bullied others in turn, bullying in the internet age, and the long-term emotional damage it can cause, frightens me. Second, the way the education system seems to be going bothers me. While athletes get paid millions of dollars to play a game, teachers are paid relative chump change to manage overcrowded classrooms. And while taxpayers fund new stadiums because billionaire owners want to make more money through luxury boxes and other additions, states struggle to find money for new supplies or badly needed renovations. The disparity in spending for sports vs. education is appalling. Even in institutes of higher education, football and basketball coaches are often the highest paid employees on campus. So based on what we as a country are investing in, it seems entertainment is of far greater value than education. [steps off soapbox]

So a few weeks back, Helena over at Life in the Pitts had a post on homeschooling: Homeschooling: My side of the story. The post was so intriguing that I decided to ask my wife about homeschooling that night. And when I did? The floodgates opened.

She said, “Wow. I can’t believe we’re talking about this,” no less than 8 times that night. So Helena, my wife has never read your blog but she already loves you.

And for the past two weeks, homeschooling, along with our next (and hopefully final) home, have been the primary topics of conversation between us. Our homeschooling decision (read: single income), will affect the house that we buy, both in terms of the value of the home and the layout. And our homeschooling decision will obviously affect our kids. So there’s definitely been a lot of talking, praying, and fasting going on in our home.

I’m going to post more about this, especially my initial thoughts on homeschooling and chronicle how those thoughts develop and change throughout this journey, but I wanted to know what some of my readers thought, as well as those who may have been led here through a websearch, especially if you found me while searching for BBQ. After all, if we do homeschool, I plan on teaching several of the classes myself: Meat Appreciation, Know Your Cuts of Beef, The Art of Grilling, and BBQ Lab.

What do you think of homeschooling? Were you homeschooled? How’d that turn out? Know of people who homeschool? How are their kids turning out?

I’d love to hear from you.

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  1. November 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I’m a product of public schools and I like to think if I had kids, that’s how I’d go. I knew a few home-schooled kids and sure, I thought they were odd because they never wanted to hang out with the rest of us. There was also a girl in my dorm on my floor who ended up leaving because she wasn’t adjusting to college/dorm life. So I want to say that I’m more a proponent of public school for reasons of teaching kids interpersonal social skills? But perhaps it’s because (and I admit) I know very little about the ways of home-schooling.

    • November 3, 2010 at 2:21 pm

      Oh I should note I did go to a private school for college despite the ridiculous tuition cost but it was one of the better programs for my major. My brother likes to remind me that he’s clearly the favorite child because he went to state school and cost less $$. Haha.

      • Pop
        November 4, 2010 at 10:38 am

        At this point, I know very little as well. And those are usually the types of stories I’ve heard concerning homeschoolers – it’s all well and good while they are being homeschooled, but I’m concerned about their prospects of getting into and adjusting to college.

  2. TK
    November 3, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Homeschooling to me is a red button topic. (Stepping onto my personal soapbox) While homeschooling is just fine and dandy for children who are “within normal tolerance”, it’s just simply not an option for those of us who have children with specials needs. I’m sorry but I don’t have a degree in special education or speech therapy or behavioral therapy. I desperately need those underpaid specialist’s to apply those skills to my child. I have to put up with overcrowded classes and yearly budget cuts. Frankly I’m tired of homeschooling advocates judging me or saying how better off their children are because they were homeschooled. Homeschooling is not for everyone and neither are public schools. It’s whatever fits the needs of your child best.

    Rant over.

    • Pop
      November 4, 2010 at 10:40 am

      That was an excellent rant, TK. The homeschooling argument seems to parallel the breastfeeding argument in that advocates on either side seem to have judgments for those on the other side of the spectrum.

  3. November 3, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    I went to public school all the way through college and loved it – absolutely loved it. But I also apparently was stuck in some weird alternate universe as I have no memory of bulling occurring to me or anyone I knew. I gather from recent news that I am pretty much alone in that memory assessment. I didn’t know anyone growing up who was homeschooled and I definitely thought of it as some weird outcast-y thing to do. But the more I read about it on blogs the more it seems to be gaining mainstream acceptance. So I think if you can make it work for your particular family, why not?

    Especially as it’s not a permanent decision – public school will accept your kids back at any time if you find that it’s not for you.

    • Pop
      November 4, 2010 at 10:42 am

      It is interesting to see homeschooling gaining mainstream acceptance, even in extremely urban, liberal areas, e.g., DC. And it’s nice to know we could change our mind…and change it again and again if we need – though I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be good for the kids.

  4. November 3, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    oh man, talk about a shout out. i hope you guys dont end up hating me in a few years. but your practical and well thought out reasons make sense, and your course plans sound amazing (the art of grilling?? sign me up for that one!). with all the amazing support out there, i think you guys will be more than fine.

    • Pop
      November 4, 2010 at 10:49 am

      I’m pretty excited about my course plan myself. And I doubt we’d hate you – my kids might, though 😛

  5. KLZ
    November 3, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Our son is only a year but I’ve already started considering homeschooling. Moreso when we were in the city proper. But ultimately, I’m not sure what we’ll do. If we did homeschool I would consider public high school since I’m not really sure what homeschooling means for college apps. So clearly, I’ve got a lot to learn. Interested to hear what you decide.

    • Pop
      November 4, 2010 at 10:50 am

      College apps was one of my concerns too. We’ve got a 1+ on you since D1 is 2.5, so you can learn from my mistakes 🙂

  6. November 3, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Until this year, my kids have been in public school. For numerous reasons, we decided to try a year of homeschooling this time around. Our public school experiences were varied, (my oldest son has been to three different elementary schools), some good, some bad. Individual schools, teachers, and class sizes will greatly effect (affect? maybe I shouldn’t be homeschooling…) your feelings on public school. With homeschool, you are the teacher, your funding is whatever you decide to make it, and class sizes are ideal.

    That being said, homeschool is tough. Granted, I’m a rookie and there’s a learning curve. There are obstacles that I hadn’t imagined, joys I hadn’t counted on, and I am probably learning just as much as my kids are. There are pros and cons to both sides.

    I will say that there is a stigma that goes with homeschooling. Some people homeschool in a way that makes their kids weird. (My neighbor is a prime example. Freaksville.) But if you keep your kids involved in activities with other kids, they’ll still get that social interaction that is also important for their growth and learning.

    My favorite things about homeschooling are:
    Time I get to spend with my kids, learning about things that interest them so that they stay engaged.
    Flexibility.
    Ability to give my kids the attention they need, and specifically focus on strengthening their individual weaknesses.

    Things I don’t like about homeschooling:
    It’s a ton of work.
    When the teacher gets sick, (which has happened A LOT this year), it’s hard to stay on track.
    You really have to be motivated to do this every day. My individual approach to instructing is very parent-involved, not the method where kids are doing a virtual academy and plug into the computer for several hours to do each of their classes on their own. I have to plan lessons ahead of time and be ready to modify as needed. There really are a ton of different ways to homeschool.

    It sounds like you’re going about this decision in a perfect way. Prayer, research, fasting, discussion. It’s a heavy decision. One that you may regret on some days no matter what you decide. If you do what’s best for your kids and your family, you’ll do just fine – either way. Feel free to ask any questions you might have, and I’ll give you my best “rookie” answer. 🙂

    • Pop
      November 4, 2010 at 11:08 am

      Thanks for the thorough comment, Bethany! The ‘Things I don’t like about homeschooling’ you mentioned are largely like childbirth for me: my wife is planning on doing the actual schooling, so I’m not sure how much I’m worried about the actual mechanics of the homeschooling, just like birthing. 🙂 But these are great points that both my wife and I surely appreciate.

      Are you guys going to continue to homeschool after the year is over?

  7. November 3, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Hi Dad (coming over from Life in the Pitts – Hi Helena)

    Anyway, I have four children and homeschooled them until the oldest started 8th grade. It wasn’t something we started out thinking we would do, but the more I read about it, the cooler I thought it was. Hubby loved the idea. We even unschooled. We met our fair share of Christians and although it was never a religious decision for us, we did find like-minded homeschoolers. I even ran a support group for parents pulling their children out of public school – these were people that never, ever thought they would have to consider homeschooling. But they made it happen.

    Anyway, each year, I would ask the kids if anyone wanted to try public school and each year they declined until #1 was in 8th and #2 was in 6th. They went in and loved it. A few years later the other two went in. They are all in now. I loved having them home for those years. And I think they built a very firm foundation of family and lots of self confidence and when they were ready, they left.

    Diane

    • Pop
      November 4, 2010 at 11:33 am

      It’s good to hear that your kids did just fine when you put them into public schools. My wife’s friend–a former teacher turned homeschooler–is planning on homeschooling until 8th grade and we were curious how that would be for the kids. Thank you.

  8. November 3, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I love homeschooling. I couldn’t convince my husband, so I just asked him to do me one favor, one.

    Read the first chapter of “Better Late than Early.”

    He put the book down after reading, and said, “we’re homeschooling.”

    • Pop
      November 4, 2010 at 11:36 am

      I’ll have to look around for that book. Since it’s not on Amazon, it must be hard to find. But thank you for the recommendation.

  9. November 3, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I was homeschooled and I turned out fine. I went to college, graduated top of my class–I even know how to spell valedictorian. (Granted, it was a small private Christian college, but college is college.) I worked in an office for years, and got along great with my coworkers and employees; I bought a house. I know how to employ semi-colons. I wear jeans. I listen to rock music. I am normal.

    I will say without hesitating that homeschooling is great, and that it is not for every child in every family. I think that I am capable and likely will homeschool my daughter, but we’ll pray about it as we approach that time, and we’ll reevaluate our situation each year.

    • Pop
      November 4, 2010 at 11:40 am

      The proper use of semi-colons is pretty crucial, but a little less than the proper use of ‘.

      Great to hear of your experience.

  10. November 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Hey there,
    If only I had my post finished on The Top Ten Reasons We Homeschool, but sadly we have been too busy travelling the world 🙂
    We did 3 yrs public, we did 3 yrs private and the last three years, homeschooling. We have had a blast. We are not weird, we’re actually kind of cool, my kids are very socialised, my husband is an atheist and the Christian homeschoolers we have encountered deal with him just fine 🙂 We travel at the drop of a hat, we take classes on line, we study textbooks at home, we take drama and art, we do field trips wherever we can, and if we don’t love a place or someone … we don’t go back. Our kids have blossomed, skipped grades, started their own blogs (we have two girls 8 and 12)
    There are a plethora of goods available to you for your research, awesome websites, books, books and more books – and homeschoolers – they just love to help get people settled in. (homeschoolers tend to work on the theory that if they help you get your kids ahead, then their kids looks good too and everyone is happy)
    Oh, I could go on, but the skeptics will shout me down and I have pumpkin breads to go and bake with my girls right now – since they don’t have any homework 😉
    Contact me whenever you wish 🙂

  11. November 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    btw, you live in the best city for it too, education at your fingertips!
    … we just arrived home from a two week trip to the Chesapeake and DC, we do it twice a year, when school is not out, because we can 🙂

    • Pop
      November 4, 2010 at 12:30 pm

      Not to mention FREE museums that will be empty when all the other kids are in school. All the reasons you’ve listed are why my wife finds homeschooling so attractive. Sending over some pumpkin bread could put me over the hump. 🙂

  12. November 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I used to be like you, I thought it was for the extremists. But my DH and I were both hyper kids. I was lucky enough to have a SAHM and incredible teachers, all of whom redirected that energy in positive ways. My DH’s mom worked and did not have such great teachers, even though he did go to private Catholic elementary school, and probably also partially because he was a boy, he got into A LOT of trouble and was on Ritalin. Yes, Ritalin. In 1980. I’d never even heard of that until the 90’s. So we were both nervous as to what kinds of personalities our kids would have. Knowing that the public schools are overcrowded, and not being able to afford private school, nor feeling confident in that option after DH’s experience, and knowing a few people who’ve tried homeschooling who weren’t totally nutso, I became intrigued. The more I learn, the more I think it would be the best option for our 3 YO. That said, we both work full-time. And we can’t swing a single income at this time. So as much as I would like to go that route, I think we’re going to end up in the public school and I plan to be as involved as possible. Best of luck to you!

    • Pop
      November 4, 2010 at 12:52 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience! We’d definitely have to work things around to make it work financially so we’re still unsure if it will even be feasible.

  13. November 3, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Homeschooling isn’t for us, for a variety of reasons. #1 being that I need to work (for both financial reasons and my emotional well-being). I used to being completely anti-homeschooling, but as I’ve gotten older and wiser, I realize that the best decision (in anything, not just schooling) is what works best for you and your family.

    • Pop
      November 4, 2010 at 12:54 pm

      That’s wisdom. What’s odd is that I always thought public school was what would work best for our family, but now? We’re not so sure. Thanks for the thoughts and in our discussions, I’ve mentioned to my wife what a labor of love this would be for her since she will be the one doing the schooling.

  14. November 3, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    First, full disclosure: Cindy C., comment #10 above, is my daughter. I do think she turned out pretty darned normal. 🙂

    I’m glad we homeschooled, even though we didn’t do everything right. My best quick advice is to read Karen Campbell’s http://www.thatmom.com on a regular basis. She’s a veteran homeschool mom who encourages healthy, sensible, biblical-but-not-legalistic homeschooling. Her podcasts are great.

    • Pop
      November 4, 2010 at 12:59 pm

      Thanks for that link. We’ll read up on her posts.

      And part of the motivation for posting this was to see what others out there in blogdom have experienced Re: homeschooling to better inform our decision. So thank you!

  15. November 3, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    P.S. When I posted my comment above, I didn’t realize there was a firestorm brewing at thatmom’s blog. Pop, I apologize if my comment steered people off the basic topic of whether or not to homeschool. On the other hand, the firestorm itself is very educational. I’m thankful for the sensible homeschoolers who aren’t afraid to stand up to the extremists. Really, it’s quite possible to homeschool without getting into weird beliefs and practices.

  16. Ange
    November 4, 2010 at 12:23 am

    I’m an athesist (most days) with an MA in info sys homeschooling 2 boys with various disabilities and learning differences. And get this, we’re smack dab in the midwest, doing it on 60% less than what we were making when I worked 4 years ago. Same house, minimal debt (medical). Ain’t easy, some days unbearable. But we’re doing it. We’re not cool, we’re definitely quirky, but we sure don’t feel trapped like we used to!

  17. Ange
    November 4, 2010 at 12:30 am

    To clarify: I pulled my oldest out of school in 3rd grade and youngest before kindy. I never CONSIDERED being a Sahm/wahm much less a homeschooler until our options became limited. I am not a natural and it is WORK. But to watch my kids learn and light up with ideas and creativity? Way cool. The social crap gets on my nerves. I went to public school, still an introvert! My boys have many more neighborhood playmates than when they were in school.

    • Pop
      November 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks so much for your comments, Ange. My wife also never considered being a sahm/wahm either, but when we had D1, everything changed where she wanted to stay at home with the kids more and more. When she saw all the energy she was investing in taking care of/teaching other people’s kids as a high school math teacher, she felt like she should spend more on her own kids.

  18. November 4, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    i was not homeschooled, i went to public school. my husband was homeschooled K thru 5th grade. So we have both perspectives. I am a school counselor. My husband is a high school administrator. We NEVER, i repeat NEVER thought homeschooling would even cross our radar.
    However, I am right there with you in worrying about the decline of our public school system. I feel terrible for what America is putting its teachers through presently.

    Right now we are SOOOO very privileged to live in Mexico and work at private schools. My son will be attending the private school where my H works next year for Pre-k. The school is top notch, something we would never be able to afford if he didnt work there and get almost free tuition.

    that being said, if my H continues to work at private schools, our kids will go to said schools. If he switches to the public school system in the US someday, we will FOR SURE consider homeschooling. Scary thought!!!

    • Pop
      November 4, 2010 at 1:22 pm

      Interesting to hear the perspective of someone married to a home schooler!

      And my wife and I have considered and continue to consider the option of her working in a private school and me seeking a professorship at a University. Gotta love a FREE quality education.

  19. November 4, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Listen Pop. I just want to make sure you hear from me. I wasn’t homeschooled (other than the birds & the bees). Don’t know many who were, either. So – I have no advice. Other than to say Go for it! You Can Do It!

    That is all…
    MK out.

    • Pop
      November 5, 2010 at 12:01 pm

      Thank you for the vote of confidence. Also? I’m glad that my wife has bird & the bee duties since we have girls – so far.

  20. liz
    November 4, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Until I starting blogging, I had never met a single person who homeschooled. But I think, to each his own.

    • Pop
      November 5, 2010 at 12:02 pm

      I never met so many SAHM, SAHD, and homeschooling folks until I started blogging too. It’s great to hear all the differences of opinion and different perspectives.

  21. November 4, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Personally, I don’t know anyone who homeschools their children. I often wonderful if there has been any long term studies on the cons and benefits of homeschooling children vs public school children. Looking forward to hearing more of your journey.

    • Pop
      November 5, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      Yeah, we’ve been looking around for longterm studies, but so far, we’ve come up with nothing. We even did Google searches for things like, “I was homeschooled and I hate it” or books like, “Why homeschool sucks: confessions of a homeschooled person.” Those turned up nothing too.

  22. November 4, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Wow, this topic got a few lengthy comments…
    I think people who homeschool are very brave. I wouldn’t want to be at the house with my kids for that many hours in the day. And quite honestly, they wouldn’t want to be with me.
    However, when you homeschool, there is such flexibility of schedule, and it does make like a little more versatile, and as a result, less scripted.
    I’ll be interested to see where you go with this one Pop.

    • Pop
      November 5, 2010 at 12:12 pm

      You’re right Sandra – I couldn’t do it. I love my kids, but sometimes, work is a welcome respite. 😛 So it’s my wife who is the brave one.

      So we’ll see where this goes. Lots to think about.

  23. November 4, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    I’m a little torn on this subject. I went to public school, and I don’t think I was bullied anymore than the average kid. I had an occasional fight or so, but I learned so much in public school. I was more than prepared for the college girl cliques, etc., and I was sure of myself.

    Homeschooling sounds like a great idea because you’re in control of ensuring your child gets the best education. There are also tons of home school support groups, athletic leagues, etc. So socialization may not be an issue.

    I worry about them dealing with real life situations without parents being around. But maybe that’s the problem with our society, parents should be around more.

    • Pop
      November 5, 2010 at 12:19 pm

      I enjoyed most things about my public education upbringing, but a lot of local and state government cutbacks worries me for what the future holds. In my view, I don’t think bullying is more prevalent, but I think bullying is far more damaging with the internet.

      And I’m torn on how much parents should be around. On one hand, I think parents should be involved, but on the other, my parents let me grow up without too much involvement.

  24. November 5, 2010 at 12:10 am

    I think every parent of small children goes through the same thoughts you’re having. What can teachers teach that I can’t teach my kids? What do they really learn in school? Do they really benefit from being around other kids the whole day? Does bullying and rough play need to be endured every day?

    Now that I’m taking time off from work and we’re on a single income, I completely understand what you’re going through. I’m taking my kids out of daycare a few days a week to spend more time with them. I don’t think they’ll learn less in 3 days than 5, especially when they spend the rest of the week with me. I have considered the homeschooling option when reaching kindergarten until we visited this public, free, bilingual school in San Diego and were very impressed. I still plan to spend as much time as I can with my kids before and after school, but I think this will be a great experience for them. If our only option was regular public school, I’d still be thinking about homeschooling. That’s great to think about this now so you can plan your life around it, rather than try to make it work later with an already set financial situation.

    • Pop
      November 5, 2010 at 12:25 pm

      Indeed. Love that we’re thinking about this on the front-end. The other issue is that for most areas with “good” schools, our budget will be incredibly tight as the home values in the DC area weren’t affected that much in nicer areas.

  25. November 5, 2010 at 12:19 am

    No words of enlightenment coming from me. Although, the classes you would teach sound very appealing to me. If you do end up homeschooling your kids, can I sign up for the “Art of Grilling” class?

    • Pop
      November 5, 2010 at 12:25 pm

      You could teach Poker or Paigow.

  26. November 5, 2010 at 2:07 am

    Yeah, count my husband in for the “Art of Grilling” class, too. Looks like it’s filling up pretty fast!

    And OH MY. I die a little inside each time I see one of those 13 year olds walking around in hoochified “halloween costumes.” Adults? Whatever blows your skirt up, but sheesh! Babies are dressing like harlots! Stop that mess!!!

    • Pop
      November 5, 2010 at 12:29 pm

      Your hubs and his chin are welcome in my class anytime. I’ll make a 2x chinner out of him yet.

  27. November 5, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Whoa, this is so cool! While I was reading it, I thought of Helena, and then she popped up in the story!
    Good luck with all that is ahead.
    My sister-in-law home schools her oldest son. So far, so good. The youngest goes to school.

    • Pop
      November 5, 2010 at 12:29 pm

      I’m finding that it’s a small blogging world.

      Thank you and thanks for sharing your SIL’s situation.

  28. November 5, 2010 at 9:33 am

    You know, homeschooling is just not in our radar but there are very compelling arguments for it here on the comments and I have to admit, now I’m thoroughly intrigued. If we could manage on a single income, I might even consider it or give it a try. I’m glad you brought this up – I’d love to hear more about your thought processes as well as what you’ve learned on this. I am eager to learn right along with you.

    • Pop
      November 5, 2010 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks, Justine! I’ll be writing more next week. We still haven’t finalized anything – and likely won’t for another year or so – but it’s always fun to think about our kids’ futures and what’s best for them.

  29. Kim
    November 5, 2010 at 10:08 am

    I know a lot of homeschooled kids in our church, and they are wonderful. I hope my kids will be like them. But my kis are in the public school system and I fear that this won’t be possible. My second grader asked what the middle finger meant the other day — I think you saw that on my Friday Flip Off’s. I love the idea of homeschooling. I so do. But I don’t think it’s for me. Then again, the family I know who has been doing it for 12 years started the 1st year of it saying, ‘this is not for me, we’ll just do it this one year.’ Follow yor guyt and your heart. Plus, it sounds like you guys are really well prepared on this.

    • Pop
      November 5, 2010 at 12:36 pm

      I see that I’ve managed to deceive you – we are not prepared at all. Thankfully, since D1 is only 2.5, we’ve got some time.

      A few weeks ago, I saw some girls–they looked no older than 8 or 9–and they saw this boy and told him obscenities I’ll not repeat here, mostly about going to do something to himself and for him to go suck something.

  30. November 5, 2010 at 10:49 am

    My step-kids were homeschooled until they were in 5th and 7th grades. They are incredibly bright kids with excellent learning skills, but they both had some major stumbling blocks with socialization that took some serious attention to help them get over (although they both did).

    My son was a public school kid from the get-go. Homeschooling was in no way an option for us, we were a two income family because otherwise we could not have lived. He has a very easy time with group learning, always has. But he is a year young for the grade and that has caused us problems with dealing with the discrepancy in emotional maturity between he and his classmates.

    I guess my feeling is: you will get out what you put in regardless of where your child ends up. If you are an active parent while your child is learning, your child will do well. If you understand the limits that are placed on your child’s education and fill in the gaps, your child will do well. I do not think either of these is more or less true in a home schooling or public school environment.

    People who think homeschooling will be easy and do not look at the full range of learning and development that needs to happen will have kids who have gaps in what they know and socialization problems. People who think a public school alleviates them from needing to be active and engaged will risk missing problems their child is suffering through while out of their care.

    So there’s my eleven cents.

    • Pop
      November 5, 2010 at 12:43 pm

      Thank you for your $0.11. I promise not to spend it all in one place.

      But seriously, thanks Lori. And thanks for the perspective. I think you’re absolutely right that our decision isn’t nearly as important as how invested we both are in our decision and our kids.

  31. November 5, 2010 at 11:48 am

    So Pop, you just gave me something MORE about homeschooling to think about. I’ve been going back and forth about broaching the topic to my husband because

    a) well, it’s just not as common to do that where we live and
    b) I find it a little daunting (what if my daughter learns nothing from me? Eek!).

    I have just begun doing my research on the local homeschooling scene and the resources available to me but I still need more info (and lots of prayer for wisdom!) before I raise the topic with my husband. I feel a pinch in my heart every time I come across this subject. I am looking forward to hear what you and your wife decides on this.

    • Pop
      November 5, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      a) not very many do so in our area either – the DC area has some really excellent school systems but most of those areas, we probably can’t afford.
      b) definitely. But from what I’m reading so far, most parents feel that way and they do ok.

      Good luck with your research! I’m sure you and your husband will do what’s best!

  32. Phillipp
    November 6, 2010 at 4:36 am

    Pop, first and foremost, great site. I’ve only read a handful of posts within the last month or so since stumbling across it, but there is some great thought provoking stuff here. Also, I apologize for the lengthy post, but my wife and I have recently gone through this same thing.

    A little background before moving on to the home schooling topic… My wife spent nearly the first 21 years of her life in the same house (read house, not just home) going to the same schools with the same friends and so on. Myself on the other hand, started this life out as an Military brat until my parents split when I was young. After that, my mom had myself and sister moving States every 3 years on average. My wife and I dated our freshmen year of high school and remained friends for years till we married. Long story short, we lived two entirely different lives, but were both a product of the public school system and do not regret it any way.

    On the topic of home schooling… I myself have chosen a Military career and so that has had a very small bearing on the decision that my wife and I made to make the transition (with the hope of being stationed back overseas again in the future). The other main and unavoidable decision however is my oldest son (and seemingly his younger brother who is following his lead) who is nearly 7 years old and is doing multiplication and division in his head, has been reading for a few years now and is just incredibly intelligent. We initially had him in public school and thought that we could just do well by him in his time outside of school. He lost interest in learning and this did not set well with my wife and I. He would spend time in class at a half day and then would not be nearly as eager to learn when he was home. That, coupled with the fact that the VA school system does not do gifted testing nor gifted classes for his age group or grade level to even determine where he should be, we felt the need to visit alternative methods.

    Although my wife has insisted that we may be to a place in the future where either he or both of my sons could and possibly will surpass she and I in both math and the sciences, we both feel that this is for the best for them presently. Living on one income is not always easy, especially when that one income is not the greatest level of income to begin with. I believe however, that with something as important as your kids education and well being in mind, some sacrifice is worth it. As far as the social aspect goes (always the number one concern everyone feels the need to express when they discover you are home schooling), my wife ( have been deployed over half of this year so far) is affiliated with a local home schooling group that gets together and does things regularly. Both of my kids also play sports (finishing soccer soon and starting flag football soon as well) and love the interaction with the other kids as well as it being their pt. Believe me, socialization was a concern for my eldest due to the fact that he is a social bug, the kid will talk to anyone, anywhere without hesitation even to the angst of his mother and I.

    The wife and I did as yourself and yours have done and spent a good deal of time in discussion and prayer about it, and although not all of our friends and extended family were on board initially, we felt this was our best option. Good luck in your decision and may you receive full wisdom and insight to make the best one for you and yours.

  33. November 6, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Since my husband did such an awesome job, I thought I would include my 2 cents. I was completely fine sending Joshua to public school for Kindergarten. His teacher was nice. It was going okay. Phil is right, though. His desire to learn anything other than the few things taught during his half day of Kindergarten just vanished. He didn’t want to do his homework. He didn’t want to talk about math (by far his all time favorite subject). I was lost about what to do. Homeschooling came into the discussion. I read several books before we talked it through and made the final decision. I was nervous about our kids becoming social misfits and nervous I wouldn’t be able to provide a learning environment for them that would be best. Fortunately now that we’re a couple months into it I know my fears were all ungrounded. Even on days I have very little planned, we still learn! We sleep in late when we feel tired and eat our cereal over our math books if we so desire. Speaking of math, Joshua is finally back to wanting to do math all day long! We’ve learned so many things about history and language and science. I have learned so much! I can’t believe how much I didn’t retain from my own education… and I was a good student! It’s definitely not right for everyone and we don’t necessarily plan to do this forever, but for the time being this is obviously the best option we could have chosen for our boys. I hope you’re able to make the best decision for your family when it’s time for you to do so. Here are my top 5’s, for what they’re worth:
    Top 5 best things about homeschooling:
    What we learn is not based on grade standards, but on what the boys are ready to learn.
    Learning the same amount of material takes about 1/4 of the time.
    No longer rushing all morning long to catch the bus.
    Field trips: All day, any day.
    Getting to see them understand and apply all their new information.
    Can I add a #6? Flexibility! We can run an errand together in the morning and there’s a good chance they’ll learn more on that errand than if we had stayed home. Go figure!

    Top 5 negatives:
    If I don’t make time to plan, school time stinks.
    The weird looks at the grocery store when we go during school hours.
    When a grownup only even happens during the day when everyone else’s kids are in school.
    Getting critical remarks when someone finds out we homeschool. Fortunately, I’m not doing it for their sakes. 😉
    This one is personal: Doing it with Phil gone has been difficult. I miss the diversion when he would come home from work. Soon we’ll be back to that routine!

    • Pop
      November 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm

      Thank you both for your thoughtful comments. Definitely a lot to consider.

  34. November 8, 2010 at 12:51 am

    I’m not surprised to read that you and C are approaching this parenting decision prayerfully as a team.

    I was bullied in school. I also went to a school in which my parents and I were told that girls were not allowed to have better grades and be senior in any extra-curricular to the boys.

    I’m sure that when I adopt, I will want to protect my little girl from all of that (and so much more, of course). But, I also wonder what happens after school ends. In life, there is a pecking order. People do get treated poorly, and merit and heart are not always rewarded appropriately. No one does everything perfectly. I wonder if there are lessons to be learned throughout the traditional schooling process, even if they aren’t easy. I also wonder if I would shelter a child too much if I chose homeschooling.

    I look forward to reading your posts, as you and C decide what works best for your family. xoxo

    • Pop
      November 8, 2010 at 2:18 pm

      Unsurprisingly, we have many of the same concerns, Twin. Mostly that will they be too sheltered if we homeschool? How will they be if they decide to join the workforce and realize the politics, backstabbing, and generally not nice (D1’s favorite term) people they may encounter there? Lots to think through.

  35. Mary
    November 10, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I’m late lending my $.02 here, and I find the discussion fascinating. For the record, both of my children are grown (mostly) at 17 and 19. My son, the 17 year old, lives with his father, so I never home schooled him. My daughter was home-schooled throughout high school (we live in a district that has gang issues).

    Homeschooling is tough. And it is very much a personal choice. However, if you do choose it, here are a couple (or three) things to consider:

    1. Make sure your child is involved in plenty of outside activities for social purposes. This can be sports (t-ball and softball for my kids, even when they were in public school, was great), dance, or whatever it is they are interested in. Since they aren’t in class with friends all day, this gives them similar options for making friends, cultivating relationships, as well as learning how to work well in groups, good sportsmanship, etc.

    2. Do your research. We floundered around a bit the first year, which I think hurt my daughter – not academically, but in her passion for learning. She recovered once we hit on the right program for her. So, shop around. Read reviews. Ask other home schoolers. Whatever it takes.

    Were I to do it over again, I would have homeschooled my son from the beginning (he has mild Aspergers and doesn’t do well in a crowded classroom, he’s also had issues with bullying). I also would have pushed to keep my kids in athletics. But, all in all, it was a great experience. My daughter learned a lot about self-discipline (no formal school environment, but still had to do the work) as well as having the freedom to explore subjects not offered in schools here.

    Whatever your final decision, I wish you the very best.

  1. November 3, 2010 at 3:00 pm
  2. November 5, 2010 at 10:21 am
  3. November 9, 2010 at 12:11 pm
  4. January 26, 2012 at 10:07 am
  5. August 27, 2012 at 9:53 am

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