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Home Schooling vs. Public or Private Schooling

Over the last couple of years, Margaret and I have thought long and hard about the merits of home schooling vs. sending our children to public or private school.

It feels like we've been to the circus and back about a dozen times with this decision, and though we're leaning towards home-based learning for our boys, we continue to have moments of uncertainty.

Here are just a few reasons why we think home schooling would be good for our children:

  • Home-based learning would allow them to grow and develop on more of a natural schedule. We think it would be ideal if they don't have to get up five days a week at the sound of an alarm clock and be somewhat limited in what, where, and how they eat.

  • Beyond learning how to read, mastering math skills that are essential to everyday living, and learning how to type and use a computer, home schooling would provide more flexibility than public school in allowing our children to pursue their own interests.

  • By getting them involved with everyday chores, including management of the family budget, our hope is that our boys will start thinking at a relatively early age about what it takes to be self sufficient in this world.

    Clearly, we don't want them to feel pressure to make a living when they should be using most of their time to explore; we just don't want them to grow up thinking that as long as they get a degree from university, they'll be set for life.

  • We'd like them to be free of the pressure to own an Iphone or whatever gadgets or clothes are deemed necessary for proper living when they reach the age where this sort of thing happens. It would be great if they don't waste many hours or weeks of their lives like I did as a youngster because of a pimple or a silly haircut.

We don't feel that sending our children to private or public school is necessary for "socialization." To us, what most people call socialization in public school looks more like learning how to be perceived as being cool or even just okay, whatever it takes to avoid being a "nerd."

The one main point that we worry about in home schooling our children is this: Will we be talking away too many bumps from their lives, enough to significantly diminish their opportunities to grow through suffering?

Part of my capacity to appreciate life as a free thinker was created by the many years I spent being a conformist.

A good chunk of my appreciation for budgeting and understanding the difference between truly needing and simply wanting comes from having spent plenty of time interacting with people who look wealthy but are mortgaged through the clouds.

Is it enough to just teach our children about these things while they are young? Or do they need to be immersed "out there" in public school to better understand these realities?

We're still asking ourselves these and other questions. And we're asking plenty of other parents - those who home educate and those who send their children to public or private school - for their thoughts on this topic.

What follows are some thoughts from a friend of ours, Miiko Gibson, who has been home schooling her children for several years. We found Miiko's thoughts to be quite helpful, and we trust that others will as well.

Miiko Gibson on Home Schooling:

Yes, we are both glad to be home schooling.

I guess a lot depends on your educational goals and philosophy. Also how strict and demanding your state/province is with respect to home schooling. For us, we need a legal cover and our cover is actually our own church. Here in the U.S., some states are more strict than others.

Here are some reasons we home school/home educate:

  1. To bring up our children in a Christian environment. We want to give them have a Christian world-view so they are able to relate everything back to Christian principles. I'm not actually "schooling" them as much as "discipling" them - teaching them values, good habits, good attitudes, and a love for learning.

  2. No one loves or understands them as much as we do. We just love having them with us...so family life is more important to them than what their peers think.

  3. With regard to academic and psycho-motor skills, well, they will be ahead in some areas and behind in others. But then each child is fearfully and wonderfully made. We don't have to follow a scope and sequence just so they are on par with everyone else. We set our own goals and follow them, adjusting them along the way.

  4. Home schooling allows them to follow their own interests more deeply. There is time and freedom to develop entrepreneurial skills and an independent spirit. No need to conform to peers.

  5. Better socialization skills where they are able to relate to more people across the board. Also, closer sibling relationship.

  6. My daughter has some food allergies - I cannot imagine sending her out there without precautions. Also, I would hate for her to eat like her peers. :(

  7. We can take vacations when everyone else is in school. We can take a day off when daddy is home. The kids get to sleep later in the morning. They get to do chores. They don't have silly homework and busy work to tie them down. They learn life skills. They are with us when we serve others so they learn to serve.

This does not mean it has been plain sailing, oh no. But that's another story. :)

An observation: Asians here, unless they are American-Asians, are very unlikely to home school. I can see why as they feel ill-equipped to teach the English/American language. Then many Asians are also very concerned about their children's academic track and ranking. They are much more competitive than the average, more laid back American. Home schooling then is not much of an option. Our own thinking is teach a child to love learning, and with informed and loving guidance from us, they will be fine.

Then there is the fear element, like "What if I mess up my kid?" Someone said the worst day at home could be the best day at school seeing how little real attention and love is given to each child by the teacher. I was a teacher, and I really loved my kids, but now that I'm a mom, it really is different.

Home schooling also brings out the worst in mothers (or fathers). We constantly need grace, and we are constantly growing as people.

Hope the above has helped in some way.

Warm wishes,

Miiko

***

Many thanks once again to Miiko for taking the time to share her thoughts with us.

If you have any thoughts on the pros and cons of home schooling and public or private schooling, please consider sharing via the "add new comment" link below. We appreciate the opportunity to consider different perspectives on this topic. Thank you.

 
 

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I can't speak for the state

I can't speak for the state of public schools in other areas/states/countries, but here where we live in North Carolina the system is a nightmare. I went for three months to a local high school and it was like being in an open-population prison. It was on a block schedule which meant there were 4 classes every day nearly two hours long. Usually you'd have a work sheet to do and if you didn't finish, that was homework. The school was so overcrowded that it took ten minutes to get from the cafeteria to a class, so you only had a few minutes to eat, if you could even get in line that day at all (they only gave you 20 minutes for lunch). Unless you were a senior, you could not get in the line that served meals with green beans, potatoes, grilled or fried chicken, meatloaf, etc. You'd be harassed, mocked, or physically assaulted by the "seniors." So everyone else had to get in the main line that served disgusting pizza, fries, and chicken nuggets. Every day. And that's if you were lucky enough to get in line fast enough before the crowds hit... otherwise you'd eat nothing at all (this was how my days went 3 out of 5) or get some crap from a vending machine. Oh, and forget bringing a lunch... your locker will be far from the class you leave before lunch and just as far from the cafeteria. That is if you were even assigned a locker (I wasn't -- school was too overpopulated).

I could go on and on but I'll stop. It was a horrible experience and I cringe when I think about the fact millions of dollars are being wasted on this broken and oppressive system. Public school and "socialization" are like prison and "rehabilitation." Thirteen years in a public school like the one I went to will make your kids become bitter, jaded, distrustful of people in general, possibly violent, and enraged at the system that forced them to exist in such a inhumane environment.

Unfortunately we only have two options here. Home school or private school, and the private school is in another town and really tricky to get into, much less afford. I've been to two private schools before I did my three month tour of hell in NC, and while they were both far from perfect, they were far, far, far better than the nightmare of my area's public school.

NEVER would we send James to any public school system around here... In my mind that's tantamount to abuse. We've heard horror stories about the elementary schools from moms who have quit their jobs to home school; things are just that bad around here.

Home Schooling

I believe that there are valid reasons to home school - I have 2 reasons not to:
1. I believe that the sooner children realize that life is not fair; the happier that they will be. For example: They may get a lower grade on a team project because one person didn't do their part. They may not get selected for the school team because their parent is not actively involved in coaching teams.
2. One of the poorest learning experiences that I had in college is when the Professor "taught" from the book that he wrote. The more views/versions a subject or idea can be presented adds value. Please be careful that your child is learning more than "your way".

Homeschooling

To point #1, my homeschooled children are constantly being reminded that life is not fair. It's especially inevitable if they have siblings. If homeschooler wants to be involved in a sport, then simply don't coach if you are the parent and want to avoid coaching as I have. As far as grades, the same thing can work with siblings...they all get a reward if they all do well...they all get punishment or no reward if they ALL don't do well. It's quite easy to have a system that teaches things aren't always fair. Also note, the same problem exists for sports when parents are involved in school sports. Furthermore, losing is a group effort just as winning is a group effort no matter if it is school or outside of school sports!

To point #2, if more than one parent is teaching and possible an older sibling, then you have at least 3 views. This works in our homeschooling household. Furthermore, other teaches are employed for other subjects which add yet another perspective on teaching be it for Music, Math, Sports, etc. outsourced learning. The problem with school is that they are often stuck with ONLY one teacher especially at early ages when one teacher teaches ALL subjects....such a scenario is preponderantly worse than the options homeschooling offers. The example of the professor is replete in traditional schooling.

Homeschooling With the Help of a Charter School

We did not want our children in the mainstream school system for all the reasons previously given. We saw real value in teaching our children ourselves. But we wanted to make sure and give them a high quality education and have resources available to them that are usually only found in the mainstream school system. We achieved all these goals by enrolling them in a state funded charter school. In California, this is merely another form of public school with the major difference being that the bulk of their learning is being done at home. We teach them at home from curricula provided by the school. Each child is allowed to work at his or her own pace and on the schedule determined by their family and homelife. There is amazing flexibility here, not only in how and when we teach our kids, but also in what we teach them.

Each family has a mentor teacher assigned to them and that teacher remains with you until each child enrolled graduates from high school. There is a great deal of attachment that happens due to spending years w/ the same mentor teacher. This teacher gains an understanding and respect of your personal family values as well as the learning style of each student. Our mentor teacher instructs and supports me in my effort to teach at home. We receive extra support and instruction if a learning challenge is discovered, such as dyslexia, etc. And the school also provides elective classes, or workshops, two days a week during which our kids can explore art, science, photography, etc, and have fun associating with other students. Fun and educational field trips are also provided a few times a year.

Schooling our children in this way has helped my husband and I get over the insecurities parents naturally feel in becoming fully responsible for their children's education. We have a group of wonderful, caring people to hold our hand the whole way and help us over the inevitable bumps in the road.

As for feeling our kids should be exposed to the hard knocks in life, I don't think you have to experience hardship and discrimination in order to appreciate a lack of it any more than I would feel our kids need to experience disease and suffering in order to appreciate health. Our kids are also involved in volunteer community services and have developed a great sense of what the world is really like and how to reach out to others, as well as protect themselves from becoming casualties of the social ills around them.

Home Schooling

Cathy and Dr. Kim:
Thanks for the great article. It' gets me thinking about home schooling and commercial schooling. I wonder if there's a difference between private schooling and home schooling (teaching at home)? It's another angle I'm thinking about. I haven't figured out how to directly submit a comment vs. replying to a comment.
Randy

Don knock what you have not tried. I am sure you will like it:-)

That's just it! The beauty of home school is NOT just teaching from text books after text books. There are many ways you can home school. Go to www.dnpe.org for more info. Your children are not robots and are individual people. Public School are not about the individual child and how they can learn effectively. One reader said, "Public school and "socialization" are like prison and "rehabilitation." Thirteen years in a public school like the one I went to will make your kids become bitter, jaded, distrustful of people in general, possibly violent, and enraged at the system that forced them to exist in such a inhumane environment."
SO TRUE! I have a friend who has her three children in a year around public school and they are the WORST kids. When they come around the other children run the other way. The little girl fights and fights and she is only 4 years old! Their Mom is always crying. One of her son's was talking about death. You have to admit public school is not like it was when we where growing up. Kids are exposed to things that we would not even think about being exposed to and that's not healthy. So I am suppose to give in 'cause everybody else is doing it! NO WAY! My child emotional stability is more important to me. If my children are not emotionally sound both will not be about to learn anything. My son is advance in his studies. He is doing algebra and he is only in the second grade. Some of my church family home school too and we get together and have much fun. I love home schooling! I learn too as well! Private schools use the same curriculum as I do. I am giving my children private school lessons FREE of charge! You can't get no better than that!
Oh, and back to my friend she wants to home school but her husband is against it.

Really?

And how do you know the children's behavior is the fault of the school?

Miiko is wise!

What a blessing to have a wise friend like Miiko! We are beginning our sixth year of teaching our kids at home. We are convinced of its value, and that it is the best for our children. I agree heartily with Miiko's reasons for homeschooling, as they are essentially the same as ours. I am simply grateful to our Heavenly Father that we have the freedom in the US (for the moment) to make this choice!

I'd like to add a note that

I'd like to add a note that yes North Carolina public schools are horrible (most of them--just a few may be okay). When I was a kid I went to public school 1974-1980 and couldn't wait to get out. Things haven't changed much, in fact they are worse.

I am an advocate for the

I am an advocate for the public school system. I am a social studies teacher in a large, lower middle class, racially mixed middle school. Also, I am a parent of two, one who attends the public school system in our community, and the other who will when she is of school age. We are Methodists, who attend church and are strongly rooted in our faith.

When my husband and I looked for a home to purchase earlier in our marriage, the public school zone in which our future home would be located was top on our list, along with affordability, as we are simple people, not of great means.It was extremely important to both of us that our children be exposed to other children as well as adults who were of different religious persuasions, ethnic backgrounds,and family lifestyles.While the church provides exposure to many different individuals in our community, I believe that when properly constructed, the public school system is a wonderful preparation for our children to enter this beautiful, yet challenging complex society. Please remember the public school system is a direct reflection of the community which it serves. A great way to support and show your children that you support the community is to send your child to public school.The tax payers are the voice of the school system. Attend local school board meetings and let the voices of your family be heard.

As a teacher, I see strengths as well as weaknesses in my students that their parents have not. As a parent, my older child's teachers' have seen both strengths and weaknesses in her that my husband and I have not.Each day she comes home from school expressing feelings about her opportunities, failures, friendships, disappointments, all which occur within a natural, unplanned environment,and often times provide natural consequences and benefits. While both my husband and I work full time and could not afford to operate as a one income household, we are blessed to have my mother, a retired special education teacher, as the caretaker of my youngest child. If we had chosen to, my mother would have functioned as a wonderful, as well as experienced, home teacher.

While each family is unique in their own dynamic, the choice for our family was to send our children to the rich, diverse, complicated, exciting, and often unfair public school system. Many of us suffered in the public school system, socially or educationally.Please remember that the experience of our own schooling might be very different than the experience our children.

By the way, I pack a healthy, completely organic lunch for my child every day......... : - )

Not everyone can afford to

Not everyone can afford to live in a "good" school district. Many of the public school teachers in our area would not dream of sending their own children to their school. Any that can afford to, send their kids to private school. I have personally witnessed well-behaved, well-rounded children go off to school and return completely different kids. They are being "schooled" but not by the teachers. Most elementary children are too young or ill-equipped to be able to filter through what's being told to them or acted out by other children who are being brought up in families where there are no boundaries.

I attended public school as a child and teenager and had a pretty good experience, but the system is FAR different than it was years ago.

Advocate for education

It would be great if all teachers actually cared about their students. Unfortunately, my son received more abuse than education in his many years in the public system. He was forced to pee himself in Grade 1 because they refused to understand that boys bladders may not develop as quickly as girls. Medical information supplied thru the years for both my children was systematically ignored by teachers who were not trained in counseling or medical areas. My son became full blown suicidal by Grade 8.

They even wrecked therapy my daughter had gone thru, taught racism, and then terrorized her with news reports that a girl with her color of skin had been killed by her classmates; all this in Grade 2.

Having gone thru many years of school board meetings, fighting bullying and so on, I decided to homeschool my daughter with the encouragement of many friends. What a refreshing change to be with families who were loving and supportive. I felt like the "ugly duckling" (in the public system) who discovered she was a swan (in homeschooling association and cooperatives). I did this even though I was a single parent and self-employed.

It was great!!!! My daughter ran on her own natural schedule, loved learning for learning's sake and tried art and other projects that she shunned because of the pressure and criticism in the public system.

I presented a seven page essay on suicide to the provincial core value committee struck by the government for input. I showed concrete research that identified how the public system deliberately undermined family bonds and parental authority thru curriculum setting the stage for suicide in children; suicide is the number one killer of our children in this province. At the end of my presentation I received a standing ovation from a packed room of parents and concerned citizens.

I became involved with the parent advisory council at the provincial level and spear headed more change for developing a safety net for suicidal kids. I wrote resolutions and spoke out on many issues facing parents and teachers. I even wrote a resolution that was instrumental in the government releasing 10 million dollars to Parent Advisory Councils to ensure their ongoing involvement at the provincial level.

I highly recommend homeschooling children. Every inch of ground that is gained in the political arena can be reversed and lost with a change of Education Ministers or the election of a different party or school board trustees. It is long, hard work that yields little real fruit. Putting the same effort into your children yields well rounded individuals who continue to love learning long after school has ended. Coops are a great way to pool the strengths of different parents and give children the experience of learning from people of different passions.

One revelation I came to years ago was how Lot bought into the "socialization" theory and moved to Sodom to integrate his daughters with the public system. Abraham, on the other hand, chose to 'homeschool'. Abraham's family bonded and prospered while Lot ended up a single parent in a cave with kids who did not know how to communicate or think critically about how to solve the problems they were facing. Sounds like modern society to me. ;o)

home schooling

I think that home schooling is an excellent idea. I make that decision based upon many years as a public school teacher. I would suggest that you find an accredited school that would give you a home school curriculum that you could follow and then you would have an education that would be accepted by the state.

Home Schooling

Great article. I am not a parent but being 30, it has certainly been something I have given some deep thinking upon. I have not made my decision at this time as to if I will or will not become a parent. If I were to become a parent I would probably home school, however, I would probably also put the child through many extra-curicular activities on a regular basis to create a balance to the home environment. I feel that a child needs the benefit and exposure of many teachers and ways of life, but I don't think that the normal school system or private system is ideal, I personally think it has more down sides then good. I would probably also look at networking with other home school parents and I would suggest group events with other home schoolers, in order to help with socialization. I also think that while nothing of this nature exists to my knowledge, I think that children's workshops could be a really good idea, as well as time with elders to learn from. The quality of the home schooling I feel really depends on the parents and their tactics. I have known some children from homeschool families where I feel the parents are doing their children a disservice because of the parent seems to lack an adequate understanding that while it is good to give children freedom, they do need some structure, some push and some discipline; depending upon the personality of the child. It's a tricky art I suspect to find all the right balances, to find the middle ground. One home-school child I know is 10 and still does not know how to read; the parent does not push the child because the child does not want to learn, the child only wants to play video games all day and the parent is letting the child, where as the other child is more interested in learning and making some effort to learn but is definitely behind where she would be if she were given more of a push. The parent is trying to develop their self motivation but I see those children lacking some skills that are going to make it difficult for them to be self-sufficient in life.

But I think if home life is happy; ie the parents are good resolving their issues without allowing it to spill out onto the children such as violent fighting, as long as there is love in the home and a healthy level of peace then most likely any mistakes the parents make along the way of teaching their children, it probably won't be as impactfull as some of the shitty things that a person can experience in elementary school or high school. But also it depends upon the spirit of the child too; some kinds do well in the school system, depends on how they learn.

I get a chance to be exposed to many types of people since I do alot of contracting as a freelance artist; one of my services is as a face painter for parties and special events so I see many types of people and children through that work.
Anyways good luck everyone! I wish you all blessings, good health and happy adventures!

Cheers;
April-Anna

Homeschooling

Homeschooling is a good idea if parents are able to afford to go that route. How many parents can realistically afford to this? In this day and age people who are not rich usually have to work during the day and do not have the flexibility to do this. With a single parent family this would be almost impossible.

Many parents to choose to

Many parents to choose to sacrifice to be able to homeschool. Living on one income is a challenge but not impossible. There are also many single parents who homeschool. It there is a will, there is a way.

Single Parent or 2 Income Homeschooling

Anything is possible if it's important enough to you. We have friends in our homeschooling group who both work full-time. Their daughter is 11 and works through her homeschooling curriculum called "Switched On Schoolhouse", which allows her parents to view her progress and subjects and work with her, but not all day. The daughter can go with the parents on their business trips, can spend wonderful time with them once they're home (instead of doing loads of homework) and in their case, the daughter's health problems made it prohibitive to go to public school and the nearest private school that offers grades 7+ is over 2 hours away.
There are many single parents and 2 income parents families that are choosing to homeschool for a variety of reasons. You don't have to be rich to be fully responsible for your child's education. Warmly,
Angela

Homeschooling

We've made a calculation about the 'affordability' of having me as mom stay at home to teach the children. Among 'n truckload of other things, a working mom needs (as an extra expense): extra money for the car / public transport trip to work. Her hair should be in perfect order, costing extra. Her face should be made up. She needs more shoes and clothing. The children needs bookcases, needs to purchase school clothes, school or kindergarten or care should be paid. There are so much extra costs and all to be subtracted from the 'extra income', there's not much left of the second income !
Added to all the wonderful reasons to homeschool, is that the children learn how to work with money. They learn to stretch their dollars and they see how mom makes most of what we have. Homeschooling is not just about academic learning. Homeschooling is in effect a misnomer. It should be home education. It's a lifestyle where children are taught to be independent learners and vivid researchers from an early age. We have a 21 month old counting to ten and a three-year-old almost reading. That's because we learn by playing. It gives us parents direction in play and playing with our children is not just a duty, it's fun, because adults want to know they're getting somewhere. These results in toddlers gives us huge satisfaction and pleasure and makes homesch ... sorry, home education a wonderful lifestyle experience for all of us !
I could ramble on and on, I'm totally sold out to home education, but wow, the rewards of knowing that my children's progress has some of my own effort behind it, is an amazing reward emotionally...

I am a single parent and

I am a single parent and unschool. I can't say it's a walk it the park, but my relationship with my 7 year old daughter is much stronger now then when she was in school. My daughter is going to be off to college before I know it and I don't want somebody else to raise her.

She loves to learn. She did not want to read on her own before we started home schooling, but now she is always reading, not because I tell her to, but because she loves to read. Her reading skills are well above children of her age and it's because she has plenty of time to read an entire chapter book without interruption if she wants to. I also love that she can just look something up on the internet immediately if it interests her.

I could go on and on about the reasons why both my daughter and I love home schooling, but I think others have done a really great job.

If you can do it, go for it!

Hi,

This article struck a chord with me!

I have an almost-12-year-old who has attended over 10 schools in her life, partly because we have moved and partly because she did not fit into certain schools. The main problem was that she works above her grade level. This means that in public schools, while it is acceptable to hold back kids that need extra time, it is not acceptable to move a child ahead and the child is literally held back from their natural level if they are quick learners like my daughter. Not all private schools are perfect either, as one cannot choose the teacher nor know in advance whether or not they will connect with your child (a problem I see more in middle school grades). I didn't choose homeschooling because my daughter is an only child and thrives on socializing with others. Fortunately, last year I found a good private school that allowed her to skip a grade, and she did great! She is not only ahead in her work but mentally and physically does not fit her age group, so I was not concerned with her being thrown in with kids one or two years older.

I am going to homeschool her this fall, after much consideration. I am lucky enough to be able to do so at this time, and I have found that even the private school for which I pay a great deal of tuition, cannot meet my personal standards for what I consider a good education. Everyone has different standards and the best way to meet them is to do it yourself! The upside is that I can take her to many different places to learn rather than have her sit in a classroom or stay in this area. I don't have to stick to someone else's schedule. And what is most important to me: establishing a good relationship with her as she enters her teen years and beyond. At this age, she takes care of the socialization herself, as kids all have cell phones and keep in touch on the computer, etc... I will be there to arrange get-togethers if needed but also to ensure she keeps the right company.

She has definite strengths, weaknesses and interests, and since I know her the best I can assist her with what is best for her. In addition, there are many resources, including online classes, so parents do not need to do ALL of the teaching. I think homeschooling is most important as the kids get older and need to establish personal values that come from the home, and not from those outside that may or may not be of like mind and ethics.

Homeschooling is a privilege these days, so if you can, go for it!

Jayde

homeschooling

I appreciated and enjoyed your note on homeschooling. I have been teaching my children at home for 18 years and have enjoyed it immensely. My children are very out going and creative. I believe much of this stems from them being able to develop their own individualism without much peer pressure. They have been able to serve in many types of community services from helping the sick, singing to the elderly, and helping with children. Each child has their own special talents and abilities, and I am so thankful to have the freedom to teach and develop those talents and abilities at home.:]

home schooling

Because our children had different needs,two were homeschooled and one went to public school. On the whole, I preferred home schooling and for many of the reasons you site. But I do think the socialization factor must be addressed. You are correct in your ideas of what is negative about public school socialization, but a child doesn't need to go to school to meet this need-- there are homeschooling associations, or create your own with like minded people. Sports, music, dance, martial arts groups also get kids out in the world amongst their peers. Kids have to learn how to navigate in a group-- how to join in, ask for what they need, share and or problem solve. That's really hard to do only at home because very few of us have 5+ kids of the same age in our homes (I'm not *that* Kate!)

that's my .02 hope it makes sense

Homeschooling

To Dr. Kim's point: "Will we be talking away too many bumps from their lives, enough to significantly diminish their opportunities to grow through suffering?"

I don't know about the Kim household, but there is plenty of room for suffering right at in my house and other homschooling households with which I'm familiar...it's just that it is managed suffering. When my children are faced with conflict with siblings, parents, neighborhood kids, we are there to help them manage this. At school there is only isolation and despair without loving guidance and the ability to work through things. If conflict happens at school it is often hidden from parents or relegated to the back of the child's mind which is not healthy. Ultimately, homeschooling allows the parent and child to work through suffering and treat the causes rather than symptoms in a natural and healthy way and in a natural and health environment.

Nice

This perspective never occurred to me - thanks so much for sharing. - Ben

Thank you for your thoughts

Thank you for your thoughts on this topic. We are about to embark on our first year of homeschooling. I am a little daunted by the whole thing, but excited by not having to follow someone else's rules and ideas for what it is supposed to look like. We want our children to learn through real life, not boxed formulas and schedules. When we realize how wonderfully made our kids are and the radical calling the Lord has on their lives, we don't want the ideas of the "world" to destroy what he has made. Seperate, but still relevent, solid in truth. We also have a co-op starting this year, which was a relief for me to know I wasn't alone in this journey. I would also highly recommend the book "For the Children's Sake" by Susan Schaffer McCauley; fountations for education at home or school.
Thank you again
Nalia Schwanger
Tacoma,WA

Homeschooling is great for parents who are devoted

12.75

Homeschooling may not be for everyone but you won't know until you persevere and try it for at least for 2 years. Quieting the first year is not good because people won't understand or see the rewards until their second year. After seeing what goes on in public schools, the crime rate (yes even in good suburb area's like mine), kids are faced with many temptations at a very early age. Not to mention the many agenda's the government is trying to push down on kids. It is best to home school in my opinion. Some kids even do better with one on one learning than your traditional class size of 20 kids or more. Plus sometimes kids may not even get a good teacher and sometimes a parent may find themselves doing a better job than a teacher from a public school. I highly hope you home school Dr. Kim, I don't know how old are your kids but you will see that as they grow, kids enjoy their childhood years better growing up an a loving and nurturing environment as in home schooling than in a public school. At home you have more control on what they are learning and how they are learning it than you would in a public atmosphere. We have a friend who has a 12 year old who is not in 10 grade due to her homeschooling, she is very smart and when she was in public schools earlier on her life, she was always bored and was never challenged when her mom decided to home school, she then discovered how smart her daughter was, she became very creative in her curriculum for her daughter, she learned more things one on one than she did in the public schools. Her social life actually became even better because she was surrounded by other kids who are homeschooled who too have the same intelligent level, she enjoys being challenged and never is bored and also loves learning by doing and traveling than just by reading books.

Home School

From the time I became pregnant with my first child I knew I did not want him in the public school system--for many reasons, not the least of which was the 'socialization' that he would receive there. That was in 1988 and would be multiplied-times-more true if I were to become pregnant today! So homeschooling became our lifestyle. Even though both children entered public school for grade 9 and I have been 'free' for several years, I still think of myself as a homeschooler. (I had a nostalgic moment the other day at the post office, when my daughter needed to look up a postal code and I had the privilege of explaining how to use the reference book.) It is a lifestyle, not just an educational choice, and will set the tone for your whole life.

My website has a section about homeschooling and includes a lot of my testimonial, products I created, favourite links, and so on. If you would like to check it out, go to:

http://www.home-and-school-solutions.com/HS/home-school-section-map.htm

Connie Lacelle
Home and School Solutions

Charter School

I have homeschooled for 6 years now...we live in CA and work with a charter school. Through the charter school, we are provided public funds for curriculum per child and are given a "credentialed teacher" we meet with once a week who oversees what we do and helps keep us up to state standards. It's really been a great option for us. We get compliments all the time on our kids. I feel that by homeschooling them they have been able to grow into themselves confidently by having the chance to learn who they are for themselves instead of conforming to what others think they should be or are. Their extracurricular activities give them the socialization with other kids who share their interests. I am grateful to be able to do this for my children and am happy to say that our example has led some friends to make the same choices...

home schooling

My children are all grown, but if I had it to do over, I would absolutely home school while they were in grade school, after that I would reaccess at that time. Children are made into such robots.

Unschooling

I will definitely unschool my future children if at all possible. It is a form of homeschooling without a set curriculum. Children learn at their own pace what they're interested in. There are wonderfully informative websites on unshooling (in addition to many fascinating blogs), two of which are joyfully rejoycing at http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/ and Sandra Dodd's site at http://sandradodd.com/unschooling.html.

I would also like to suggest that you read How Children Learn by John Holt (an unschooling advocate) - his book is filled with wisdom about how children really learn things and what adults can do to support or not prevent it.

Good luck with anything you decide!

Hi. Thank you for the

Hi. Thank you for the article.

I agree with homeschooling. Number 1 reason why, you can't beat the good manners and maturity of a homeschooled child compared to a child who has learned their manners and cues regarding maturity (or lack of)from their peers.

Putting aside academic quality regarding teachers and schools, YOUR CHILD'S PEERS WILL BE THEIR MAIN TEACHERS!!!! NOT THEIR TEACHERS IN SCHOOL AND NOT YOU THEIR PARENT! UNLESS, OF COURSE, YOUR FAMILY IS STRONGLY ROOTED (AND I EMPHASIZE STRONGLY)IN TEACHING THE CHRISTIAN FAITH WITH LOVE -DON'T FORGET WITH LOVE.

I am a teacher, I know what I'm talking about. I also know many home schooled children - want to raise ladies and gentleman, homeschool your child. Don't want your sons wearing their pants down to their knees - homeschool your son. Don't want your daugther pressured to "go farther" (in 5th grade) - home school your daughter. Parents are sooooooooo naive these days OR they are afraid of their children and "let them go".

One last thing, does your son or daughter have an attitude with you? TAKE HIM/HER OUT OF SCHOOL AND HOMESCHOOL THEM! I know a parent who did this and it turned their child around.

Can't afford it? I don't buy it. It's more like you can't say good-bye to that pay check - you may pay later though - like bail...rehab...etc. etc.

My parents raised six children on ONE income back in the 80's. My dad worked for Chrysler. Remember how well Chrysler was doing in the 80's? Not so well.

Well, I said more than I intended. I hope I woke some people up. Parents need to be woken up and take back their children.

another 2 cents on homeschooling

Sorry this is so long but I did want to share my experience. I started homeschooling at the urging of two of my friends. My oldest was just entering the 3rd grade and my middle child was entering kindergarten. I also had a third child who was 3 at the time. The first year was very much a struggle but I eventually found a great curriculum the second year and things went much smoother. I liked "knowing" my kids and we took schooling at our own pace. It was great not having to get up so early to start school. Unfortunately the third year my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers and I spent a lot of time trying to take care of him and still school my kids. My kids grew to hate their grandfather because I had to spend so much time helping him. I joined a couple of homeschool groups so my kids would have friends - the kids in the neighborhood actually shunned them for not being in public school. My daughter joined a swim team but always she seemed left out because the other kids had school in common and she just didn't fit in. We also discovered my son had some kind of problem that we first thought was dislexia, but eventually it turned out he had a vision problem and needed vision therapy. It took me three years to figure this out - my homeschool friends just kept telling me some kids didn't get reading but caught up quickly once they did. I think my son's self esteem took a huge beating because he thought he was dumb. I wish I could have figured that out sooner. I am not saying that the PS would have figured it out either but maybe they would have and we could have fixed it sooner. We homeschooled for 5 years. We finally quit because my MIL lost a leg to diabetes and had to move in with us because she couldn't afford a nursing home. It was a hard transition for two of my children because I chose curriculum for them that was not in line with the public school. We had to hold my son back a year because his vision problem was not yet resolved. This is just one experience. I think homeschooling is great and I learned a lot from it especially about myself. Some advice that I would give to those that want to do this is to really know yourself. I am an introvert and I found it hard to be involved in the homeschool groups. I felt that it was a disservice to my kids that I couldn't teach them to be outgoing and thus they suffered because it was hard to get them involved in sports or music lessons. Ultimately I got completely burned out and after two years I still have not fully recovered. Be prepared for a life changing event that may force you to return your kids back to school. I felt bad that my kids had to struggle when they went back but they did catch up quickly. Also, make sure you have lots of friends. We were involved in two homeschool groups and all the friends my kids made kept moving away. I know that is reality but having static friendships is something they have really enjoyed since going back to public school. It can be expensive as well. Be prepared to pay for the things you can't teach your kids. Don't feel bad if you find it is not for you. I foolishly kept homeschooling to the detriment of my family and health because I didn't want to admit I wasn't cut out for it. I hope my story will be helpful to someone - maybe even Dr. Kim.

I am 100% for Home Schools and here are a few reasons......

Dear Dr. Ben Kim,

Until our public schools revamped their methods of one teaching technique fits all children, yes I advocate home school. Until we stop ware housing our children in class rooms with twenty and too many times over thirty students in one class room with one teacher without assistants, I strongly support home school. Those are just a few reasons why I believe parents should band together to home school their children.
Dr. Kim wrote: “Home-based learning would allow them to grow and develop on more of a natural schedule.”
Waking our children up at (6:00AM) or earlier to attend school is unnatural and I am sure is going against their natural sleep cycle. Dr. Kim you would know about that that I.
Dr. Kim wrote: “home schooling would provide more flexibility than public school in allowing our children to pursue their own interests.”
Home schooling would allow our children learn and develop at the pace and the learning style that is best for them. And yes again Dr. Kim, you are absolutely correct, a home schooled child will be able to learn that basic education skill as well as spend time developing and focusing on their strong areas of interest and abilities.
Dr. Kim, every point you mentioned should be considered by every parent when they are thinking about their child’s future. And I would like to share a few more.
Con Public Schools
1. The public schools are failing our school daily, American students are trailing on the international level. Please check out several current studies that may help to do whatever you have to do to ensure your children receive the best education.
http://www.businessweek.com/1996/48/b3503103.htm
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/future_of_children/summary
2. While in public school your child will be exposed to peer pressure, bullying, and the street’s version of sex education.
3. During your child’s most impressionable years they will pick up habits, traits, thought patterns of others who may not reflex your morals and life style.
Pro Home Schools
1. Your children will not be in a box and expected to perform as every other child per the teachers’ style of teaching; one size does not fit all.
2. Your children will be able to become self directed as they learn how to think outside of the box.
3. Our children will be able to build their self esteem, self image and self confidence with out dealing with peer pressure and the influence of others outside of your family.
4. Your home school curriculum will be able to teach out children how to be problem solvers as well as analytical thinkers, something that is not taught in the public schools.
5. As for social development and social skills, there are many opportunity that may be incorporated in the weekly program, for example:
• Interact with other home scholars working on group projects, competitions, organic gardening and etc.
• During volunteer work in the community: Senior Centers, the homeless…….
• Be involved in the scouts, youth groups in your place of worship…….
The bottom line is home school is the best choice during this era of our public school system.
There is just one more thought I would like to share. There are many parents who would love to have the choice to home school, but feel their need to work outside the home to support the family will not allow them to do so. Please check out your state’s regulations home schools, and then check the web for Home Schools Associations in your area. Look for the ones that hold group studies, sports events, class trips, competitions and etc. The purpose for this research is to network and acquaint your self with different parents and see how they are home schooling their children. Other suggestion is to check with your own personal circle of family and friends, they may be considering home schooling and see if you can work together to school your children together.
Peace and Grace
Auntie Donna

DO IT....do the

DO IT....do the homeschooling. Our daughter has graduated from our homeschool now, after 12 years of homeschooling. She is social, happy, successful and plans to homeschool her own kids one day. She enjoyed her schooling and has accomplished many things she wouldn't have been able to do if we had warehoused into a public or private school situation. The government does not know what is best for your child. Home education is the best way to go for the individual kid.

Home schooling

The home schooled children I have met seem more grounded and calm. They communicate with adults more openly and trustingly and they are more creative. Nine of my grandchildren have been homeschooled. Those who have graduated, graduated with honors and competed with ease in upper education and receiving scholarships. I wish I had homeschooled my own children but it was not "done" in those days. My kids are mostly in their 50s now.

Home Schooling

Dear Dr. Kim,
I wanted to comment on this article because I was indeed home schooled and I wanted to share with you the advantages and disadvantages this has brought in my adult life. You said that you want your kids to be on a natural and relaxed schedule. That sounds nice and it is growing up. However, when you get into the real world, where everyone else believes in running on a schedule, it cause major problems. When you grow up this way, you don't develop a sense of the importance of time. This has been a big problem for me when it comes to being to work on time. It's not that I don't get to work (tardiness) or that I don't meet my deadlines, I just don't see the relevance of being there at 7 am and leaving at 4 pm on Mon. - Fri. Unless your kids grows up to be doctors or writers whereby they can make their own schedules, this will be a problem in the future. The rest of the world runs on a clock.

Next you said that you don't think there will be a problem with socialization. I disagree unless you plan on involving your kids in many extra-curricular activities within the community. I grew up very isolated, with only my one sister as a companion. To this day I find it very hard to make friends and to socialize with others. I'm not shy or scared of people, I just have no use, want or desire to be around them. That's fine to be a loner, but it does limit your prospects of "moving-up" in the world where social networking is so important these days. I spent most of my life feeling "different" from everyone else, always on the outside of social circles looking in. I never knew what it was like to have a best friend or friends at all. Other kids were just aliens to me, to be observed but not approached.

As for the advantages, I do agree with you that your kids will be smarter and more broadly educated by home schooling. I have an appreciation for learning that I developed at a young age that I don't believe can be obtained by the rote memorization of public schools. I love to read and learn and am capable of learning new things on my own through reading and exploration. I've observed that many people who were educated in the public system, are only able to digest things that are "taught" to them, lectured or shown to them. Additionally, I learned to make decisions on my own based on facts and observations. Many kids coming out of the public system are incapable of making any decisions on their own because they have for 12 years be told exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. I believe it has helped me in life to make good choices about things you spoke of such as budgets, household management, etc...and has helped me in my work life as someone who can get things done. On the downside, as a decision-making person, I find it very hard in my work role to do as I'm told. I have my own ideas and opinions and style that is not typically appreciated by entrenched management of businesses. Again if your children can get into a field of self-employment or entreprenuership whereby they run their own ship, this will be to their advantage. Unfortunately, I came from a financially strapped family and an still scrapping to get into that kind of position, it took me until I was 30 years old to get a 4 year college degree because I had to work full-time. In the meantime, my work life is always a struggle where-ever I go due to my independence and thinking capability. The employment sector really only wants trained monkeys, not people who can think and grow and make decisions or who have opinions or ideas about how things should best be done. And that is exactly what the public school sector churns out, trained monkeys.

I think it would be great if you could find some kind of hybrid system. My neighbors for example, do homeschooling for their children through their religious organization. The kids go to school 2 or 3 days per week and the rest of the week they are instructed and guided at home by the parents. This can give the best of both worlds. The parents have a high degree of control over the curriculum, how fast their children advance, and allowances for variety but the children still get some structure and socialization. I hope some of this gives you more thought on the issue.

I have all of the qualities

I have all of the qualities you mentioned and I went to public schools my whole life. Maybe the homeschooling wasn't responsible for your personal traits.

My thoughts exactly. Or maybe

My thoughts exactly. Or maybe you need to find a job that isn't 7 to 4.

Homeschooling

My favorite subject is talking about homeschooling! I see many encouraging comments, and will add my own. We are a family of bio children, adopted children and foster children. Our first two were sent to public school. I had no idea that homeschooling was an option. When our third child came to us at age 7, we volunteered to help in her classroom. I saw kids day after day, wasting time while the teacher helped one, and a volunteer helped another.

We decided to keep her home and through encouragement by friends, tried bits and pieces of several curriculum options. Ugh! Then we found robinsoncurriculum.com. Best thing that ever happened to her! Then we got her little brother, age 5. He spent his first year in kindergarten in a class for behavioral problems, making little to no progress. He had also spent 2 years in "preschool". He flunked public kindergarten, and we decided to try the Robinson curriculum on him to attempt to move him ahead a little. Within 4 weeks he was READING!! He is now working above grade level and enjoying school at home. Now his little sister has come to us, and is responding excellently to the Robinson.

We have tried to do the homeschool group "thing" but were not happy with it. It was semi-helpful, but took too much time. We now belong to a church that is 90% homeschool families and much more supportive than the group was.

Bottom line: Robinson is not for every family - but it's affordable ($200 for K-12, except
math which is Saxon). No matter how many foster kids I have and what grade level they are, we
are ready with homeschool supplies for them! (all on CD ROM - just push 'print')

More Bottom Line: If you homeschool, associate with other homeschool families. Find them and talk with them. Let your kids play with them as someone else has stated. Our kids are thriving in homeschool and have many outside activities, and friends. (If you are Christian, read The Christian Home School by Gregg Harris)

My older kids ask me why I didn't homeschool them. They say that they wish they, too, could experience what these last three are blessed with. I know exactly what my kids are learning. Our family is close and supportive of each other, because of the homeschooling that keeps us all together for learning. As one mom stated, we can drop everything when dad gets a day off, and have a family day! How precious!

Try googling famous home schooled people..............

homeschooling

Wow... You have touched on a subject that I am not as well versed on as I once was, for there was a time that homeschooling was something that I was most passionate about. My children didn't ultimately go completely down that road, but our family also did not remain intact, so there were a lot of variables.

That being said, some of the reasons that I personally chose to homeschool were as follows... Firstly, I believed that the training and education of my children was MY God given responsibility, not someone else's, and I wanted to instill in my children Christian values and a Biblical worldview. I had no doubt that this would be much more difficult in our government schools. As I explored the origins of our modern system of schooling and examined some of the facts, homeschooling stood out without doubt as the better choice. If you haven't already done so , you might want to simply explore some of the literature on our system of education...its begininngs, etc. One such very comprehensive title is "The Underground History of American Education" by John Taylor Gatto.... (a former New York Teacher of the Year).

Another consideration is simply the question of who really IS most qualified to teach our children?? Who knows their passions and interests??... Their learning styles, learning challenges, etc?? MORE than ourselves?? (especially in the early years) My own personal philosophy of education was to NOT treat my children like soup bowls where you take the lid off and throw in a bunch of ingredients (information largely geared to passing standardized tests) , stir it around , and expect that they will know it well enough to pass a test. I studied many different philosophies of education from unschooling... to textbooks...to living books(Charlotte Mason)...to a "lifestyle of learning" approach and formulated my own personal philiosphy. I mostly decided that true learning doesnt take place until you totally "own" and master something, and I decided I would rather have my children major in a few subjects than minor in everything. If a child develelop a LOVE for learning and learns HOW to learn, then he can learn ANYTHING when he needs and wants to.

Again, I did not get the opportunity due to life's circumstances to fully develop all of this in my family's life BUT I am still convinced that for those dedicated to training their children themselves, it is ideal. I DO believe it is good though to have a support group of parents and children with which to connect for group learning experiences, field trips, and just plain fun. Children of homeschooling families are often able to socialize well as a result with children of ALL ages rather than being thrown together only with children their own age. When in real life is that normal???

Ok... I guess I could go on forever on this subject but this is what comes to the forefront of my mind...

deborah

Home schooling

I dont agree with home schooling you can teach your children budgeting and other life skills while they are at schoolas well. In regards to hair cuts and other stuff that is not wasting time its all part of growing up in the society around you. Learning to respect your teacher playing with other friends. Not always getting your own way children can be very cruel to each other but that is part of growing up. Home schooling I think is a bit of a cotton wool attitude. If they are going to make it in the big wide world they need to interact and understand it in their early years. In this day and age some of those gadgets are becoming essential for education and making money. For example your website its all due to modem technology.

No need to worry about socialization

Homeschooling doesn't happen in a cocoon. It used to be when the inevitable subject of "socialization" was brought up, I would mince words, but now when someone says "What about socialization?" I just come out the real answer - "Yes! That is one if the biggest reasons to homeschool!"

My daughter went to preschool and public Kindergarten...but LONG before both (and during and since!) she had her exposure to real-world socialization, mostly by our neighbor her age. During school hours she was hit, bit, scratched, and spit in the face. She was verbally abused. She went to wonderful schools with wonderful staffs. But they can't watch every moment.

I decided to homeschool for more than one reason (there are so many). I am not opposed to public school, but if you can homeschool, I believe your child will have a better quality of life.

This week we went to the shore with my girls (one is not yet school age). My homeschooled 7 year old struck up a conversation with a family from the Philippines that was fishing nearby and bent their ear the whole afternoon, helping them to sort and rinse fish, never even glancing my way! It really hit me. She is outgoing, confident, peaceful in life, and happy...very, very happy. We're about to embark on only her second year being homeschooled, and neither of us can wait!

I highly recommend it, Dr. Ben. :-) Don't worry, there will be ample examples in life of how horrible people can be for your children to experience first-hand, homeschooled or public schooled. This is about choosing the best education you can provide in the most nurturing environment you can provide. Not everyone can homeschool, but if you give it a try I'll bet you will fall in love with it.

Homeschooling

I used to work in the public school system, in the remedial education department to be specific. In other words, my job consisted of teaching reading and other basics to the kids who had succeeded in sliding thru the system without learning to do so until sometimes as late as the 6th or 7th grade. There seems to be no pressure on the teachers to actually produce results. But there's a lot of pressure to not hold a child back for a year until they catch up.

Your kids won't miss out on any of the so-called socialization experiences, such as bullying and name calling, which only serve to scar a child's self-image. Now in my mid-50s, I still cringe when I think of some of the harrassment I was subjected to as a child in the public system. The truth of the matter is, your children will be dealing with adults in the workplace when they grow up, so they may as well begin learning now how to act and think like adults. A really neat side benefit to home schooling is, when your children have to be tested to determine if they are 'keeping up' with their public school peers, they will be found to be scholastically superior, ahead of their age group. This is a very commong finding with home schooled children. So do your kids a favor, and do home school them!

Dee

Hi, just a thought since I

Hi, just a thought since I was home schooled: Yes, I got good grades, a protected environment, good food, no useless busy work, flexible holidays, no pressure to own/wear the latest trend and all the other benefits but I was LONELY!!!!!!! I was shy and timid and terrified when I had to enter the real world and deal with it without the protection of my family. That was sixteen years ago and I've gained in personality and maturity since then but the loneliness is still there as I've never found it easy to make friends or to join in groups or feel like belonging to anything. I got married very young to the first person I met because I was attracted to his confident demeanor and what I thought great knowledge of the world! I was hoping he would protect me as I had been protected through my childhood... Obviously you know your children's personalities and whether this problem would be an issue for them - I'm just letting you know as I really feel it was a disadvantage for me and set me on the way for some less than optimal choices in life! Good luck with whatever you decide for you children and I hope it turns out for the best for them. K

So Sad!

So sad that your experience as a child led you to be so lonely. We made sure our children had lots of opportunity to communicate with others outside of the family. We opened our home every Friday night to all the children that wanted to come and hang out. This gave our family a chance to interact with others outside of the family in a supervised situation. So if you decide to home school your children you might keep that in mind.

Homeschooling doesn't have to be lonely

I think this experience depends on the family and the community. In the Phoenix Metropolitan area, the problem isn't loneliness, it's trying to choose from all the many different opportunities for activities with fellow homeschoolers and not OVERscheduling! My kids have best friends they see nearly daily, plus a very large circle of good friends, and an even larger circle of friends they see regularly at events. I assume that living in a more rural environment might be far less opportunistic, but with the growth of the Internet, I suspect that most kids are going to have a rich social life no matter where they live.

Re: Loneliness

Just because you are homeschooled you are not automatically lonely and averse to meeting people, making friends, and joining groups! As you might have read from other posts, many if not most homeschooled kids are very outgoing and love meeting others and making friends.

Not to mention that as a kid, I was extremely shy and like you described yourself above. Guess what? I went to a regular public school my entire childhood.

There's no way you can stereotype, homeschooled or not. There are too many other factors.

Personality is not all environment

My mom went to public school. She was lonely. She tells me all the time she wished she could have been homeschooled back then, and what a difference it might have made.

There are shy people in public school and shy people in homeschool. There are outgoing people in both educational systems. Part of it is simply how you are wired. Anyone who has had children knows their children are very different from one another from the day they are born.

The other day someone said to me, "I met 2 homeschool families...it was interesting." That's like saying "I met a child in the public school system" - as if meeting one is representative of all. I went to public school. There was a lot of diversity in personality there. It's no different in homeschooling!

school - home or not

We live in a fantastic school district in Victoria, BC, Canada, and my children attend our local public school. Certainly the school district you live in makes a difference, and I can only speak for the schools my children have access to, but I am a big supporter of our local public school system. This said, it hasn't been without it's problems - nothing is - but I wouldn't consider home schooling for a moment. One of the main reasons is that I feel it is essential for children to learn to manage themselves in group situations (and team sports or organized groups do not equal the type of group situations I am referring to). Kids in schools are faced with the same peer group over a long period of time. When on the playgroud they have to create together, play together, and work out problems without the support of adults (unless they go and seek out help - which is always available).

Our school has a fantastic program called WITS which teaches the kids: Walk away, Ignore, Talk it out, Seek help. These are skills they need to practice when things go wrong, and these skills will provide a fantastic basis for life skills they will use for the rest of their lives. I do understand that siblings can easily create opportunities to practice these skills, but not in the same way as the situations that arise in school. We have a different relationship with our siblings. We know them in a way we will not know the bully at school, or the cool guy, or the 'know it all', or whoever pushes your buttons. Siblings are, in their own way, predictable and comfortable. Let's face it...life constantly pushes us out of our comfort zone; our kids need some preparation for that, so long as it's done in a supported environment, which a good school will provide.

I do feel that our society is going too far down the path of caution. Our children are hitting their teens without having learned some important lessons. The risk is they will enter their teens or early adulthood being so naive, and having been so protected, that they won't know their own limits (physical, social & emotional). They will be at risk. I do feel we need to push our kids - in a safe way - to learn some of these lessons in their childhood. We can't keep them in a bubble, our job is to prepare them for life.

Homeschooling

We started homeschooling our children because the public schools where we live are the worst in the state, but now I'd do it again even if the schools were the best. We can use a myriad of methods and since we know our kids better than anyone else, we know how they learn and where they might have difficulties, and can tailor our lessons accordingly. Socialization is NOT a problem; there's a huge homeschool community here. But the big answer to socialization is: when, besides school, was the last time you spent 8 hours per day, 5 days a week, in the company of 30 people your exact age? School is an artificial environment that does nothing to prepare them for the "real" world; homeschooling, depending on what you do activity-wise, gives them ample opportunity to meet all ages of both sexes and people of different faiths and races, that one would not necessarily get in a public school. The homeschooled kids I know are pretty much uniformly at ease with grown-ups, and the kids that I've seen that go to "regular" school are inarticulate in the presence of anyone not their peer. And don't even get me started on the values question!

Home Education

12.75

How exciting to see so many positives for Home Schooling! I am almost 60 years old and am on the other side of this subject. We taught all four of our fabulous children at home. How did they turn out? Whoa! They are exeptional adults that function very well in this world. We have recieved tons of positive comments over the years about our family and their amazing characters. In fact so many great comments that many have ask us to write a book on how to raise awesome children. Many still mention our 4 and the amazing children they were.
If you are a parent you have all the qualifications it takes to school your children at home. We always laughed when people would ask us about socialization for our children. We always taught our children to think outside their peer group. They were always able to communicate with babies all the way up to 100 year olds.
Each of our children had the opportunity to follow their dreams and study what they really felt lead to study. They had a vast array of wonderful and exciting subjects that went way beyond the boring public school system way of life. Each of them visited other countries before they graduated giving them immeasurable insight to the world.
The main thing we impressed on our children was how to research and study for themselves. Today each of them are huge researchers and have helped numerous people with all sorts of information.
I could go on and on, but coming out from the other side I can't think of any other way to educate your children. Each of our 10 grandchildren are also home educated with one of the in-laws being a public school teacher. He would never put one of his children in the public school knowing what is on the inside.
I must add one more thing. Most importantly we put the Lord Jesus Christ at the center of all our schooling. Without His help we never could have pulled it off! Miiko really hit the nail on the head!
Blessings!

homschooling

Hi Dr Ben,

I enjoyed your comments and your thoughts. The kids that I have seen homeschooled seem more mature in life skills than kids in general. I had my kids in Montessori schools at a young age, but they only went to 3rd grade. same principle, self learning, and going at their own pace. I have seen a young girls self-esteem ruined by not being on the same page as her peers, and hearing the mean things her peers call her. I think that kind of suffering kids can do without. Life seems to hand enough suffering to mature us! Nothing like a parents love to anchor us, and give us an optimistic outlook. With your dedication, I'm sure you could make a good experience for your kids with home-schooling. Look at Condeleezza Rice!

Best Wishes!! Debbie

Homeschooling

I answered already, but my letter (long as it was) didn't come up. Where do they go? Cyber space?

Yes! Homeschool. Short response is that we are a bio/foster/adoptive family and love the results we see in homeschooling. Stay connected with other homeschool families. Take field trips. Explore history together. Grow closer as a family. Read all the info on websites.
HSLDA.org is a great resource. Don't miss a moment of these precious young lives. Google famous homeschooled people. Whew! Great encouragement. Go to Robinsoncurriculum.com. Can't beat the price, and my kids have flourished with it. We also homeschool foster kids with it.

Homeschool all the way!

Ben, your concern that your children will not be challenged in life enough if you homeschool them shows how deeply you have thought this over. Indeed it is through adversity that we make our greatest growths. Nevertheless, as other readers have pointed out, life will provide plenty of challenges for your children without submitting them to the public school system. While I have a strong feeling that the school system in Canada is vastly better than the one that I went through in rural north Florida, for all the reasons you already know and others have commented, I believe a child will be so much further ahead in life by being homeschooled by parents such as you and your wife. Other parents, definitely not, but you, yes.

Home Schooling and Private Schooling

I have 2 children, both girls, both happy individuals. One did amazingly well at an all girls private school, finished year 12 and is happily studying at University. The other struggled with the schooling system (although she is an incredibly intelligent person - to explain this was not the area she struggled with) and is now also doing amazingly well at home schooling.

Each child is very individual in their forms of learning, and as long as we - as parents/care givers are aware of the various types of schooling out there, they all have an incredibly important place in the overall educational structure.

Home Schooling

First, you two should do what feels right to you. Many of the "reasons" you offer are valid and true. I offer just a few suggestions after watching my son and his wife (mostly his wife) homeschool their 4 (now 5).

1. Consider your teaching skills first. Teachers are professionals. Would you attempt to solely tend to your children's teeth without a dentist or doctor your children if you were not a doctor? So, consult the professionals for curricula, etc. Don't make your teaching solely based on, for example, the Bible. The world is vast. My daughter in law is very weak in spelling, grammar, math and science, excellent in creative writing, history. She was very, very badly "homeschooled" by her mother--workbooks and books, mostly. Her son has avid interest in science and "entrepreneurism", her daughter is very behind in math skills; both of them take spelling lessons but their everyday spelling is not good (because their mother does not catch the mistakes.) These are minor examples and correctable. Know what your weak areas are and take steps to supplement them.

2. Be sure that they have plenty of time with other children and adults outside the family. I see many maladaptive behaviors developing in this family that has almost no outside contact at all--just church school once a week and a few vacations with family members. Much too isolated and a very skewed knowledge of what it takes to survive in today's world. Good values, yes, but lousy application sometimes and way too much rigidity at times.

3. Do not think that you will protect your children from the vicissitudes of the world and their peers by home-schooling. Our grandchildren do not watch TV, get the newspaper or play video games, but they do watch parent-approved videos alot, and sometimes those become babysitters. Their recreation is mostly in their back yard. They have all the social needs of public school children, are aware of fashions,sometimes don't know how to relate to other children, and so on. Those iPhones and fashions will still beckon; those pimples and opposite gender will still embarrass.

4. You probably would never do this, but don't bad-mouth the public schools. My grandkids think that public school is some kind of torture chamber from what their mother has said.

5. This also is probably irrelevant to you, but be aware of how much your role as a home school mom/dad is for your ego. It defines my daughter in law, much like another woman's job may. If her children do something goofy, she feels it reflects badly on her rather than children sometimes act goofy! On the other hand, if they do something outstanding, it may have nothing to do with you or the fact that they are homeschooled. So keep the ego out of it as much as possible.

I think Miiko has a good attitude and can be a valuable resource for those "not smooth sailing" times!

May you have good Heart Wisdom!

Homeschooling

Dr. Kim,

I home schooled six different children, ages 12 and up, two of whom spoke no English when we started. None of them were mine. Unfortunately I learned about home schooling too late for my own son.

The first few years I went through several different programs before finally finding one that is designed for independent learning. The Robinson's Curriculum wound up being very flexible for the variety of children I worked with. I have also mentored many families through the years.

I've gathered lots of Q&A in a compendium and send it to prospective home schoolers. If you are interested please feel free to write me. If you can work home schooling into your schedule, please do it! Your children are the world's future, prepare them well.

Florence

homeschooling

What a timely article! Even though our daughter is only 2, this subject has come up a lot in the past few weeks, from people both for and against homeschooling. I went to private school and my husband was home-schooled. We both see the strengths and weaknesses of both options and are seriously talking about homeschooling our kid(s) at least just for the first few years, when they are young. This article gave me a lot more to think about concerning this issue.

Our Toxic Environment & Education's Complicity

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When I saw the latest message from Dr. Kim I was intrigued. I thought to myself, "this should be right up Dr. Kim's alley, given his quest for natural, organic, healthy foods, and nutrition supplements. The reason these products are for sale in your store is that much of our food and environment is poisoned, albeit perhaps in small doses.

This is where my 2 cents on the debate comes in. My wife and I will be homeschooling our two boys in a year or two. I arrived at the value of homeschooling over the course of my 34 years for the three following reasons:

1) We live in a culture that is toxic: most of the things our culture celebrates are actually ultimately harmful to sustainable human existence. This is informed by the prevalence of abortion and euthanasia from the perspective of the right and our treatment of the poor, the environment, and the underprivileged from the perspective of the left. When you send your children to public school, for 8+ hours a day they breathe in this culture totally outside of parental supervision. Homeschooling is not a cure for this, but more a sort of petri dish of(hopefully) authentic, life-giving culture for our children where they can build greater resistance to the toxicity and a greater ability to rid themselves of what they will, inevitably, take in.

2) Every single bad habit I either have or had at one point I can trace back to my time in public school, or, more specifically, compulsory modern education.

3) I had the consistent experience my first two years in college that much of what I learned, I could have learned in high school had I been properly prepared and adequately challenged.

The bottom line for me is that my wife and I don't feel we can effectively raise our children if we are out of touch with them for most, if not all, of the day. We have no real way to "detox" our children from 8+ hours of exposure to God-knows-what in the 4-ish hours we'll have with them each afternoon and evening after the school day. How can we erase the crap they see, hear, or internalize--even if we know what it is?

Thanks for the opportunity here to air our views Dr. Kim. I look forward to your e-mail each week--and the decision on homeschooling you ultimately make. Keep up the good work!

Home schooling?

Hi. My husband and I have 4 children and we have done a variety of schooling options. Our two oldest were home schooled for the first 4 years of their schooling. Then we moved to Norway for a couple of years and put them in school to learn the language. Our daughter started school there. When we came back to Canada my husband took a year off and we home schooled all three of the kids for a year. After that my husband worked as a teacher at a Christian private school and the three children joined him there. We thought that because daddy was there he could still follow them up a bit through interacting with them. Our 4 child also began at the Christian school there. The oldest boy went to grade 9 and took grade 10 at home as a distant learning year. Then grade 11 and 12 at the public high school. The second and third child finished to grade 12 at the christian school. We did not like what was happening to our 4 girl at school and we took her out school after grade 3 and we are still home schooling her now going into grade 8.
From our various school experiences we have made some personal observations. The 3 child who has spent most of her years in school is the one who has a hard time with peer pressures. She has mostly conformed to the standard and values out "there". We do a lot of talking about values and such things in the home, but it has been very difficult for her to keep to the family values. I think those first few years - Grade 1 to 3 perhaps are crucial for the child's family identification. I think if they learn at that stage who they are and that it is ok to stay alone against the world if need be, much has been won. My 4th child came out of school later than I no wish. It took a year to settle her down emotionally and rework her value system, but she is is now developing her sense of self beautifully.
If I were to redo my child rearing years I would have kept my children at home all those years. I did feel that we lost some ground in the area of values and independent thinking especially with our third child. Interestingly my two boys who were at school more than they were at home, still think of themselves as home schoolers.
There are several skills that I have seen in my own and other home schooled children compared to the public and private schooled children. One is the freedom to relate to other adults and children across age groups. I enjoy these children's ability to hold conversation with me about any subject. We also have home schooled friends who drop by our home just to update my husband and I about what is going on in their lives or to introduce a new special friend and so forth.
Personally I also love the freedom to focus the teaching on areas that are of special interest for the child. My one son who now is in the university studying history, spent much of his grade 3 to 5 year studying the history about ancient Rome and Greece. He used to say back then when people asked him what grade he was in. " I am perhaps only in grade 4 in my math (sigh) but I am sure that I am University level in my history. He was right too
Good luck working through this very important question in your family.
Hellen Siemens

Lots of great reasons already listed, but I have a few more

I've been homeschooling my 13 year old son and 8 year old daughter since the beginning. It seemed a natural progression of the type of parenting we already practiced, and we love it more every year. Every fall I ask the kids if they'd like to try the public school, any of the hundreds of charter schools, or even one of the homeschool enrichment programs offered by the local school systems, and they emphatically reply, "NO!"

One of the big selling points of homeschooling, to me, was the fact that an entire day's worth of homeschooling takes about as long as my child's homework would have taken, and that doesn't include the amount of time it would take me to deprogram my child from whatever bad experiences they may have had at school that day. The time I spend with my child is precious, so I would rather choose the content of those precious moments, rather than having to spend it doing another senseless ditto sheet distributed by an overworked, underpaid teacher who is trying her/his hardest to make a difference against the odds.

As for my child learning the harsh realities of life, doesn't it make sense to allow my child to mature emotionally and intellectually before he is subjected to these realities? This makes him better prepared to handle them in a healthy and productive way, rather than being unnecessarily hurt by an experience. How many awful experiences do you recollect from primary school that now seem somewhat benign to your adult mind, but were SO horrifying at the time? I had a relatively good public school experience: I was never bullied or intimidated, and I got good grades without much effort on my part. Other people I know experienced not just the typical bullying but also sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of classmates, teachers, or staff, and nobody learns when they are frightened or intimidated. I'm not advocating being a helicopter parent by homeschooling, but the sheer volume of people in any given school allows opportunities that would not otherwise exist.

Like a number of other homeschooling families, I run my own business, which allows me flexibility to have an income and still spend lots of time with my kids. We sometimes "do school" early in the morning, sometimes in mid-afternoon, or even after dinner when other kids are probably already asleep. The kids' father works late most nights so they would not see nearly as much of him if they had to be in bed early.

Nobody has mentioned so far how much fun it is for us as parents, to watch the light bulbs go off, day after day, as our children learn something new...and how fun are those field trips that we parents get to attend as well, at really affordable prices?! Speaking of price, like anything else, there are expensive ways of homeschooling and there are inexpensive or even FREE ways of homeschooling; budgeting and shopping around takes more effort than buying everything brand-new, but a little sleuthing reveals slews of resources, locally and on the 'net. Homeschooling can sound harder than putting the kids on the Big Yellow Bus, but the rewards are frequent and long-lasting. We can't imagine life any other way.

Homeschooling

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If I had to sum up what I love the most about homeschooling, it's that I have seven children (ages 15 to 22 months) who LOVE learning. They've attended adult-age lectures since they were in early elementary school and find them fascinating. Learning is a part of life to them, not something to avoid or dread. They WANT to read interesting books. They bring an intellectual richness to our family's life. They are incredible knowledge sources for me, teaching ME about many topics. I've read about typical teen issues, but they seem to have bypassed them (loud knocking on wood here). From what I've read about Dr. Kim and Margaret, I can think of no couple better equipped or qualified to homeschool.

Homeschool excellent idea

Dr. Kim, I believe you have hit the nail on the head. I believe homeschooling would be much more superior than the toxic public school environment. I believe children homeschooled will turn out much more stable, learn more, and just be happier altogether, and ready to face the future. I feel for the children that have no choice but attend public school system and have to deal with peer pressure (to drink alcohol, smoking, drugs, certain types of dress that are inappropriate), being taught subject matters that are questionable (political correctness and brain-washing), not to mention the bullying and abuse they may face in certain city school systems every day by other kids. As far as I'm concerned, I am child free but back in the early-mid 70s I couldn't stand going to school every day because it was so toxic and poisonous. Needless to say my grades suffered and I barely graduated. Once I worked my way through a private college, that's when I learned a thing or two to be ready for the workforce. So I think your children are blessed and fortunate to have parents like you who are intelligent and really care about their education and future.

Home Schooling

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After reading the comments here, I was so excited to see people more interested in their children's live's. One lady said she was lonely. I went to school 12 years and was lonely. Sorry she had to feel that, but I don't think homeschooling did that. I was ridiculed for one thing or another at school and as I grew up, I turned more and more inward. Nothing was ever done about it and it is difficult for me to communicate today. I wish there had been homeschooling in my day because I think I could have been a different person. My daughter homeshools her children and sacrifices to do so but my grandkids are well adjusted and VERY smart! They show respect and have lots of activities. There is so much more to say, but I take my hat off to those who have chosen to do this. What a great honor to and for your kids. What a beautiful sacrifice. Dr. Kim, I think it will be your one gift to them that they will cherish forever.

Home Schooling

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Dr. Dr. & Mrs. Kim:

Homeschooling is excellent for dedicated parents to do. Your children will turn out more focused, more self-reliant, able to entertain themselves, and will not be distracted by the less fortunate in the public or private schoolroom setting. I homeschooled my 2 boys until they were in 6th and 3rd grades. I enjoyed teaching them to read before they were 5 years old. We had a group of homeschooling families they met with one day a week for field trips, classroom settings in which the pareents took turns teaching such things as music, science, etc. I think homeschooling is a wonderful opportunity. I fear what is being taught in school now in American Schools is an absence of history, and an ever growing presence of contemporary artists, etc. There is more focus on current fads and celebrities than the founding of our country and basic life skills. Your idea of teaching life skills from home is a great one. The teaching of our founding fathers in America is stolen from children now unless a person uses a curriculm such as from Bob Jones University Press or Abeka, from Pennsacola College. I know you are not in the U.S., but I still think if you can possibly manage to home school for as long as you are comfortable doing it, it is a great opportunity to give to your children a firm foundation. I am a Christian and what I see happening in the U.S. public schools is that the school teachers (some of them) in addition to the curriculum do everything to tear down Christian principles. Not to mention the special teaching of sex ed to kindergarten & on up. That includes perverse instruction as well, very much against any Christian training children may get at home and in church.

My boys went to private Christian school after the 3rd and 6th grades, but I think they would have done even better if they continued with homeschooling. They wouldn't have gone through the periods of slacking off in the classroom, hitting bottom with their grades as a form of staying "cool" in the eyes of some classmates. At least that is my opinion.

My prayers are with you as you make your decision.
Sincerely,
Diana

Appreciate your tackling this topic!

Hi, Ben! There are a lot of interesting posts here.

As long as people don't see homeschooling as something that's going to create perfect, endlessly happy & fulfilled children, then do it if you can afford to live on one income.

The idea that not sending your kids to school constitutes protecting them from most of life's bumps sure made me snort & laugh!! Life, for all children, all ages, contains plenty of conflict & difficulty & impossible, sticky situations - whether they go to school or not. The more you think your kids will "turn out" perfect just because you are giving them the perfect education, the more likely God is to step in and give you a little kick in the rear to show you that you are not ultimately the one in charge.

You think you want to homeschool? Go for it. My son has never been to school. He is not perfect, but he is no worse than the boys who have been to school. It's 6 of one and 1/2 a dozen of the other.

Another good reason to keep your kids away from school is that they are too young to resist the politically correct indoctrination subtly (or not so subtly) aimed at them. The Dept. of Education (ie, the Government) does NOT have your or their best interests in mind when they are formulating their curricula.

And don't worry about following a strict curriculum or doing "school at home". Homeschooling and "school at home" are not the same thing. Relax. Whatever problems occur in your children's education, worse ones might appear if you send them to school. Trust in your Maker. Thanks. - Henriette.

Hello everyone, We really

Hello everyone,

We really appreciate this article, as homeschooling is something we have been talking about lately...before bringing children into this world.

The one main thing/concern that pops into mind is about the SOCIAL aspect of homeschooling.

In other words...when kids go to school..they create valuable friendships with other kids...they play with other kids...they learn important social skills through interacting with other kids, and learn the importance of working together with other kids too...of being in "relationship" with other kids their age...all important aspects of being a kid...of getting older.

How would a kid, who does homeschooling, be able to participate in these social relationships (developed at school)...unless they do homeschooling together with other homeschooling kids (not sure what the logistics are for homeschooling)...and...arent they missing out on important social skills and experiences by not going to public or private school?

If someone could comment on this...that would be great....

Sincerely,
Aleks & Mette

A Teen's point of view....

I am a 16 year old who has been taking courses online due to how horrible the kids are at my school. I was a cheerleader freshmen and sophomore year, but I started taking courses online towards February of my sophomore year. I LOVE the flexibility I have with the classes. Things are a LOT easier all around. Great teachers, it's free, I get the same credits I would by going to a public high school, I don't have to deal with all the bitchy high school girl drama and it doesn't disturb my parents work schedule. Being in high school and having so much pressure to be perfect resulted in me being hosptitalized for anorexia in 2008, and now I suffer from severe anxiety. I wish I could have started homeschooling a long time ago. It's one of those live-and-learn things, and it was completely necessary.

Anyways, just thought you might like a child's point of view.

BTW, my home school program is www.k12.com

It's great!

Alex and Mette

I think that if you read the other letters submitted to Dr. Kim you will see that kids do not miss out on socialization. In fact, they get a wider range of socializing with age integrated groups. Also, my children all have great friends. Friends do not always have to be the same age, although many of my kid's friends are. I hope you are able to talk personally with some homeschool families. It's a huge blessing that you will never regret!

Homeschoolers are better readers

Maybe you can lay the groundwork by homeschooling through elementary school at least. There is nothing they need to learn in elementary school that you can't teach them yourselves. I encouraged my son to read whatever he wanted to while we homeschooled. As a result, he loves to read. When he went to public school in the 7th grade, he laughed at how easy some of it was. He said, "All we have to do is read!" While the other kids are complaining about having all this reading shoved down their throats, my son was thinking it was a walk in the park. The public school kids had already had 6 years of forced reading (30-year-old textbooks and all) and they were sick of it. My son is a senior in a public high school this year with a 4.6 weighted GPA. I would definitely recommend homeschooling for at least the first six years.

Somebody said this: "To provide my homeschooled child with a little public school socialization, a couple of times a week I slap him around in the bathroom and take his lunch money."

As a teacher for a public

As a teacher for a public school board, I am a little shocked by what has been written here which negatively portrays our public educational system. (Hurray to the few who promoted it as a good experience!)As an experienced teacher, I have received, and continue to receive, extensive training in child psychology and educational pedagogy in all subject areas. I am a trained professional who loves each of her students and matches curriculum expectations to the individual learning needs of each and every child in my classroom. I work hard to foster a love of learning in all subject areas and to provide authentic learning experiences for my students. I have at my disposal trained experts (psychologists, social workers, behaviour experts, etc.) who support my teaching in the classroom, and whom help diagnose academic and behavioural challenges when the arise. I teach in a regular classroom and advocate for each of 'my' children -- it matters not what their needs or challenges are -- ADD, ADHD, Down's Syndrome, PDD, Learning Disabilities, etc. The public educational system certainly has its flaws here in Ontario, but every system does, including the Home Schooling system; however, it is shortsighted indeed to think that your child would get the same kind of education in a home environment that they would in a school, unless, of course, you are a trained professional as well, whose receives the same on-going training that all teachers receive. And what about French? Here is Ontario we have an excellent Core French program, with the option of French Immersion. A child who learns a second language is one who is already ahead of his or her peers. We need to prepare our children for a different kind of life; they will need to be more able to adapt to this fast-paced, technologically driven world if they are to find a place in it that will allow them to succeed and to be happy, confident, well-adjusted, contributing members of society. Home schooling is certainly a viable option for educating your children, but please do not knock a system that employs so many hard-working, caring and dedicated individuals.

public vs homeschooling

Dear Teacher,

You are indeed a rare and certainly wonderful teacher. I admire your dedication. It is not the fault of good teachers such as yourself... but the structure of public school. Public schools are what they are and can't be otherwise. They are designed to teach certain things to certain ages in a certain amount of time. This leaves no room for individual needs, and quite a bit of room for failure, because all children aren't ready for specific learning at the same exact time.

Anyway, I have six children, and have done both public and homeschool. Now, I only do homeschooling, (currently through an accredited charter school), and my children are well-adjusted, polite, outgoing, articulate, excellent readers, happy, healthy and intelligent. They have many friends and opportunities that they otherwise wouldn't have. Best of all, I know my children well, and get to spend every precious moment with them!

Dear Public School Teacher, I

Dear Public School Teacher,

I love what you have to say about your professional credentials. My oldest daughter had a fantastic teacher much like yourself in first grade in a public school. It was this teacher that caught her reading struggles very early, and then got her the reading aid she needed. This something I never would have caught on my own here in a homeschooling environment. And the reading specialist was fantastic with my daughter...she has helped her overcome whatever she was struggling with and my daughter is now a lover of reading and her reading grades are very strong.

I know my own gifts and limitations. I am a mother, and I love my children fiercely. But I am not an educator with the education I feel I need to teach my children well academically. I do what I can to be involved... we work on homework together, I am very active with the PTA and a Scout leader for both my daughter's Troops. Not to mention starting and ending our day with the Word & prayer.

I am not against Homeschooling...I have a great admiration for the parents out there that feel passionate about educating their children and taking on the huge task. But I recently read another Homeschooling article that pretty much said I was completely fooling myself to think that anything good could come from sending my christain children to public school. It stung! And I had to remind myself that my GOD is so much bigger and that He can do amazing things in any situtation. If anything, sending my kids to public school has increased my prayer life 100-fold. I know it's a flawed system, but I too am flawed and God has done amazing things in my life. And I have no doubts that my kids are in God's hands...even while going to public school.

And I pray that my kids continued to be blessed by amazing teachers like yourself! :-)

Many thanks

Margaret and I want to say thank you to everyone who wrote in with thoughts and experiences on home schooling. It surprised us to see how many people have such strong views on this topic, and we are greatly encouraged to follow our hearts with our boys.

- Ben

Home schooling

Hey Dr. Ben! I would really like to share my views on this subject if its not too late. I have 4 children. All of them attended public school and the first 3 did fine. I wanted to home school from the very beginning to provide a better Christian environment for my kids, but my husband was not amenable, so into public schools they went. As I said, my older 3 did fine. My youngest son, however, was a completely different story. He never meshed with public school. He was a very sensitive, compassionate child. He was always at least a full head taller than anyone else in his grade. He was exected to do things the others were not. Emotionally he was not prepared for that, so he withdrew. School became an unpleasant place for him. He also had severe asthma so his dislike for school frequently triggered attacks. After suffering through the elementary school years and seeing he was not thriving, I chose to home school. He is very intelligent and never had a problem with grades, but his countenance was just not right. Behavior was also never a problem. I just felt in my heart of hearts that he needed to be out of that environment.

I home schooled him for 7th through 10th grades using a Christian based program. It was a marelous experience. I look back and wish I had the same experience with my older three as well, because I truly feel they missedo uot on something wonderful.

It was difficult for me to home school him, because in the meantime my husband left the family, and I needed to work full time to support the family. Fortunately I was able to work from home so that I could be with my son and oversee his work. He learned things he would never have learned in the public school setting.

He is now 22 and an absolutely delightful young man. He has a freer spirit than my older three -- and that is something I saw developing as he was home schooled. Did he miss out on anything? I asked him that just recently, and he said absolutely no.

For us, there was no down side. My son finished school at 16 and got his GED and startecd college at 18. He had a period of time where he seemed "lost", and I was concerned that I had contributed to that with home schooling. But as we talked about it, and as he grew in self confidence what we realized was that his public school experience was so unpleasant -- with being bullied, and laughed at, and called names, etc (which are things that occur as a matter of fact in public schools today) -- that it took him some time to get past that and become who he really is.

This decision is not an easy one for many people. But as far as I am concerned, your reasons for wanting to home school far outweigh the potential negatives you are concerned with. Your children will have bumps in the road along the way no matter where they are learning. That's part of life. And indeed an important part to help build character and confidence in one's self. But, once you surrender your child to the Lord, and allow them to walk the path He has for them, and seek that out constantly for them, you will look back and be most happy that you chose this for them rather than submitting them to ungodly situations and circumstances in today's public and even private schools.

Pray for wisdom and peace, and the Lord will surely speak to you regarding what is best for your child. If you follow your heart you will not go wrong.

Michele

Home Schooling

I home schooled my son through the third grade. It was the most rewarding experience for him as well as myself. He was allowed to experience everything "hands on" and at his own pace. In addition, the scheduling of material always depended on his "readiness" to go to the next level which gave me the assurance that he was really comprehending the subject and able to apply the material. I recommend home schooling highly. Socialization was a bit lacking so getting involved in community sports or the local family gym is also recommended.

Home schooling

Dr. Kim,
I don't have encouragement or discouragement on home schooling, just a thought.
I admire anyone who can home school and do it well and effienciently. I decided I would not be one of those people. I'm intelligent, have a degree and could in theory teach my kids what they need to know. I just decided after deliberating over the idea myself, before my oldest started kindergarten, that I couldn't do it.
I feel every family has to think of their unique situations and how home schooling would work for them.
Your family structure, discipline, support system, socialization outside of the home and desire will decide how effective your home schooling is going to be.

I decided not to home school for my own reasons, but I do try to add to my children's education. In public school, art and music are lacking, enough physical exercise is lacking, hands on science when they are little is lacking (my little guy loves to see things bubble over, change color or crystallize in the kitchen!).
We actually all need to do some level of home schooling, we can't just leave our children's education to some one else. Every opportunity is one to learn. Be engaged with your children and teach as you go, then home schooled or public schooled, they will be okay.

Other random thoughts:
Your children go at their pace. Not waiting for students who are not as "quick" (the problem I'm having) or getting extra help when they need it and not getting "missed" and left behind.

I always make their lunch. Food in public schools is a whole other issue!!!

Homeschooling

I was home-schooled for the better part of my early academic career, and it was a very good experience for me, mostly because of things you mention in your article. I think the things I enjoyed most were (1) the freedom to pursue my own interests and (2) the freedom to make friends with and learn skills from people of all ages, without any peer pressure. I learned that it does not take 12 years to learn basic math (through calculus), English grammar, or composition. I learned to love reading. Most importantly, I learned that I was principally responsible for my own life: if I did not make it happen, it was most likely not going to happen--at least not the way I wanted. I appreciate to this day the opportunity my parents gave me to be an active participant in my life (and theirs) early on. I have never suffered as a result of this (socially, academically, physically, psychically)--or, to say it better, anything I have suffered has definitely been worth it. That's my two cents. Thanks!

Homeschooling

I know you will be fulfilled in your decision to homeschool. We are in our 5th year of homeschooling and though there have been many struggles, it is well worth it. I often tell people that I work much harder now than I ever did while secularly employed but I wouldn't have it any other way! I am currently homeschooling 2 of my 4 children and within the next year or 2 will begin with the 2 little ones. I do suggest, based on your reasons for homeschooling and your goals, that you look into Charlotte Mason's curriculum. I just started using it last year, when my kids were in 2nd & 4th grade, but so wish that I had used it from the beginning. School is so much easier and they are learning and retaining so much more! Google Charlotte Mason and you will find several great websites, my favorites being simplycharlottemason.com, amblesideonline.org, and charlottemasonhelp.com. BTW, love the sunscreen!!! Thanks for your great newsletters also!!!

Home schooling

While I appreciate and share your desire to raise your children free of the herd mentality that keeps us from realizing our human and spiritual potential, to me the downside of home schooling is not only their lost opportunity to learn to live with diversity, but especially the denial of their participation in the larger community. Financially strapped families who don't have the luxury of retreating into their shell suffer when public education is diminished. I think citizenship and community must be based on a common experience, and that is what is lost in home schooling. If there's anything that can save us from the frightening intolerance developing between groups who think they're at odds with each other, it is a shared experience that begins at an early age. If our schools aren't what they should be, it's up to us to fix them.

Yes, but...

Yes, let's fix them. But in the meanwhile, I'm giving my kids the best education available.

Dear Ben & Margaret, I

Dear Ben & Margaret,

I received an email on just this issue, well, for the "pro" side of it that I am in support of myself. We do privately instruct our children at home, and have done this since the beginning of their academic careers. We live in the United States, so the statistics I share were done in the U.S.A. I will site the website so that you can read the article in it's entirety for you own interest. www.hslda.org Essentially, the Reader's Digest version is as follows: "Two studies done, one in 1998 by Dr. Lawrence Rudner,a professor at the ERIC Clearinghouse (part of the University of Maryland) found that homeschooled students scored about 30 percentile points higher than the national average on standardized achievement tests. That study was done in 1998 and surveyed 20,000 homeschooled students. A more recent study shows even "more significant advances". Recognizing that the data in the Rudner study is over a decade old, Dr. Brian Ray (internationally recognized scholar and president of the non-profit National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI)) was commissioned by HSLDA to collect data for the 2007-2008 academic year, that would build upon 25 years of homeschool academic scholarship. The results are encouraging! The "Progress Report" shows: 1)That, as a group, homeschoolers consistently perform above average academically. 2) Even as the numbers and diversity of the homeschoolers have grown tremendously over the past 10 years, homeschoolers have actually increased the already sizeable gap in acadmic achievement between themselves and their public school counterparts-moving from the 1998 study showing 30 percentile points higher in the Rudner study to 37 percentile points higher in the Progress Report (2009)."

Being from California, the broke state, the teachers are being let go and fired at a rate that is unbelievable just to meet the budget. Which means that there will be more students crammed into classes per teacher. California's public schools are far behind the national average! It's a poor commentary on the educational efforts here. Essentially, the public school students are going to suffer academically. The dumbing down of American children is not being helped. "No Student Left Behind Act" had good intentions, but it's failing our children and their future (which is our future).

So, in order to give our children the best education, my husband and I have found our solution. Give them a better education than what we had to help them achieve more than we did and go further than we have. "Homeschoolers are actually achieving every day what the public schools claim are their goals!" The only way to do this is by privately instructing our children in the fundamentals: reading, writing and arithmetic, and then excelling!

When going to HSLDA's website, the title of the article I sited (quoted) is "New Nationwide Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement" by Ian Slatter, Director of Media Relations, August 10, 2009.

This is only a "pro" point of view directly correlated to academics, but there are several more reasons that we privately instruct our children besides. I simply chose only the one area of academic excellence, and only in brief comments.

Why we homeschool

We homeschool for a wide variety of reasons. We know our children will get the very best education through us, along with a wealth of people and resources that we pull together for their overall education. My husband works shifts, so we can change our schedule to make the most of Wed-Thurs weekends and have lots of family time. We truly believe the US public schools push an atheist agenda, and would like our children to see God's work in everything around us. We teach them many things that public schools skip- what is marketing (why does that ad want you to buy Sketcher shoes?), what is politics (is this in the best interests of people, or the politician?), holistic health (how you feel is more important than your weight, height, other measures, and there's a HUGE mind/spirit/body connection), nutrition (THANK YOU DR BEN KIM for being our online homeschooling nutrition & true health resource!), life's purpose (everyone was created for a purpose, and we are unique and special and lovely to God our creator), purpose within a family (you have real responsibilities that have true value to real people), true wisdom (talking to your grandpa can give more wisdom than talking to a PhD), etc etc etc.

Most of all, what drew me to homeschooling is this: When we were ready to have children, I began down the typical career woman path- searching for a daycare. What I found scared me for the sake of the children: Minimum wage employees who just sat in a corner "making sure no one got hurt", infants on 6 minutes per hour schedules (1 employee per 10 infants- each infant got their 6 minute rotation each hour, no matter their need), nannies who stole all the mama's c-section pain meds, dejected-looking children whose eyes broke my heart. Worst of all, the marketing was this: We are experts in child development, you as the parent are not, why not hire us as experts to develop your children? Why be so proud to attempt this important task yourself? What education have you had in child development?

Needless to say, I resolved to raise my own children. Not because I have a degree in child development, but because I LOVE THEM MOST. I love them more than any other individual (aside from my husband!) can possibly love them. And in their infancy, they most need to know love, peace, & the security of mama's breast. In their toddler years, they most need to know they are loved through this confusing time for them- someone who speaks their very unique language, they need consistency with boundaries, they need to be reminded that mama still always has a hug for them no matter the tough day they had.

When did I start homeschooling? When my children were in my womb. I talked to them, I fed them the best nutrition, I rubbed my tummy, I loved them from the moment I knew they existed. Part of loving them is knowing them, dreaming with them, spending relaxing special moments with them, teaching them about the value of a sunset (Miriam, 6, said yesterday as we were gazing into the sunset that "the sunset is God's gift to us, he's giving us a peek at heaven"), teaching them about loving unselfishly (enter 3 year old brother), and so on.

The educational system tends to remove responsibility from the parents, who believe they are paying the experts to educate their child (for a LARGE percentage of their waking childhood). In fact, when the parent is a healthy, caring parent, that can be the most damaging thing to do to a child. Yes, the educational system works for children whose parents are horrible, and let's fund small community schools to help these children and their families get back on the right track. But as healthy parents, let's not turn our children away from our homes. As the saying goes- you build a boat on dry land, THEN you set it out to sea. If you try to build a boat in the water, it only falls apart. The problems among the young people today are shared by all children in out-of-home schools with only a few exceptions- lack of faith, lack of real life experience, lack of values, lack of wisdom, lack of health, lack of work ethic, lack of purity, lack of.... (on & on).

I wholely support a parent who has thoroughly researched the educational system and still sends their child. But I feel very strongly that we must retain our rights so that we may always have the choice to educate our own children. (By the way, that right is under severe attack- check out parentalrights.org).

Wishing you a wonderful day with your children!
Warmly,
Angela

Homeschooling

I have been reading all of these comments with great interest. The biggest blessing in all of this is that we DO have choices. And what is the correct decision for one person, may not be right for another one. I have known children from home schooled families and public or private schooled families who have turned out wonderfully, and known children from all three situations, who have had problems. There are just so many factors involved. It depends on the school, the family situation, the individual child and parent, and how you home school as well. I am a strong advocate for home school, and home schooled both of my children, but along the way I met a few families who probably shouldn't have been doing it.

Socialization can be an issue if you are isolate your kids. I think my children were overly-socialized. I used to joke that we needed to find time to do school. They had lots of friends, played in community soccer, were in theater, dance, etc. They had just a few friends when they were younger, and we added to that as they grew. I saw our home as a kind of greenhouse, where they were more sheltered to start with and then as they grew stronger, they were out more and more, always coming home with lots of time to process with us. When they reached junior high, we took home school classes in the areas I didn't feel qualified to teach, and I taught the areas I was strong in. My first daughter went back to school in 9th. grade. I simply didn't have the resources to give her the education she needed. We found a fabulous school. She finished high school in 2 years and went to college. My second daughter stayed home but I was less of her teacher, and more of her education manager. I still taught one subject, but everything else was done in home school classes. Our kids planned and put on their own prom.
If you homeschool, you need to make these things happen, and they can.

I LOVED homeschooling. Our family grew so close, and since I knew everything my children were learning, I could reinforce it wherever we were.
We took camping trips to places we were studying, and we could go when school was in session so the places weren't crowded, and prices were lower.
Yes, we could sleep a bit later, but we were on a schedule, and my kids learned about time. It is so hard to judge a topic like homeschooling fairly, as it depends on how you do it. And there are SO many ways to do it.

My eldest daughter now has a master's degree, and my youngest a bachelor's. Both thank me for home schooling them. The best gift they say that I gave them was a free childhood. They spent so much time playing and exploring their own interests, as the academic part took very little time, given the one on one tutoring. They also loved that we spent time each day reading aloud and sharing good books together.

Best of everything in choosing for your family, Dr. Kim. One thing I always tell people who are making their school choices is that nothing has to be forever. It can feel like such a big decision, but if something isn't working out one year, you can always make a different choice the next. Take it one step at a time. Parenting is such a journey, and we learn as we go. I started out saying I'd just do this for one year, and it grew from there. I just didn't know enough at the time to make a decision for the rest of their school years. I know you'll find the right path for you.

Judith

Homeschooling Encouragement

12.75

I absolutely loved your and your friend's thougths on homeschooling. You are carefully thinking it out, and deciding what's best for your family instead of just jumping on some bandwagon for a cause, or letting society dictate what's best for you. Good for you! I Highly encourage you to try homeschooling, especially in the early years. 4, 5 and 6 year old kids just were not made to sit in a classroom all day! Homeschooling them is a joy and an adventure. All the world is a school and a playground to them. There is no end to the experiential, hands-on things you can do with this age. You are pretty much just limited by your own energy. Please pick your curriculum carefully for this age, it should be full of hands-on things. The only reason parents pick more "seatwork" structured curriculum is 1) they are afraid of teaching, and want to have everything canned for them, and 2)they just don't want to put the effort into planning hands-on events (or have too many children to do it). I have been homeschooling twins for several years and love it, love it, love it - for all the reasons you stated. The positive things you mentioned are actually happening in my home, and it's exciting to see. My kids are learning life skills and self-sufficiency along with "book learning". In fact, we even have a "class" called life skills. In addition to normal chores, we've learned to sew, plan meals, cook, grocery shop and price compare, clean house, manage their money, sell crafts that they made, candlemaking, soapmaking, ceramics, archery, whittling, camping, prepare emergency hurricane kits, and give to the military community in which we live. We have participated in thanksgiving food give-aways, made cookies for the gate guards at Christmas, sent packages to deployed soldiers, and prepared special packages for disadvantaged people in our area. This year we plan to work in some soup kitchens for the homeless. They are learning how to research what they're interested in and have the time to do it. They are closer to each other than they were in public school. They do have much less anxiety in their lives and are learning to be the wonderful people God made them to be, without the influence of other conformist kids. They are learning to think for themselves, and aren't afraid to state an opinion. Because we have time and aren't bound by someone else's schedule, we talk, talk, talk. Our family unit is the strongest element in their lives, not friends outside our family. Though, they do have plenty of social circles, church, sports and neighborhood. My kids have actually been in private and public school, so I have something to compare to. You are so right about not needing the socilialization of school. That is just an argument that the public sector jumped on to scare homeschoolers into thinking that school provides something that they cannot. I do think that school kids get "hardened" and can manage some bumps along the way, that's a valid argument. But, I also think there's plenty of time to be immersed in the world after the firm foundation has been built. You can provide them opportunities to be independent and pay the consequences for their decisions. You will not be sheltering them from everything, and rather can expose them to causes and activities outside their small worlds that are greater them themselves. They can grow up more globally minded with a world of possibilities open to them as "outside the box" thinkers. I think you are so right in your attitude about thinking that just because you get a college degree, you're set. There are so many wonderful possibilities for higher education and vocations that make a difference in the world. By the time your kids are ready, on-campus college will only be one option. I hope this was encouraging. You and your website and products have been very encouraging to my husband and I, and to think that we could give back a little something to you, even in a a small way of our opinion on the matter of home education, would make us very happy. Best of blessings in your continued research and decision making!

homeschool

dear dr. ben,
my gut feeling is you don't smooth out the bumps - a lot of them are the same bumps! you also get different bumps but at home with enough self awareness one can hopefully guarantee these lumps are handled with love and always with the child's best inerests in mind. i guess you have asked your kids what they think so may i suggest you talk to older children who have completed the mandatory years ( yes it sounds like some sort of jail term!) especially those who have experience of both school and home based education.

To some extent it also depends on your children's temperament - i have met children who were 'difficult' in either situation, and were 'expelled' from home ed! and conversely other children who would take the best and leave the rest so they thrive in any situation - that takes a degree of maturity.

Our own experience combines both - some schools will welcome homeschoolers for one day a week or more. With the children empowered to take charge of their own learning it is quite possible in the highschool to combine it as highschools are generally more flexible. At that stage they really needed expert tuition which i was not able to solely provide. Imho in the foundation years a tailored approach is the stronger requirement so being homebased is preferable.

Go with your gut feeling, your children will lead you! all the best.

Home schooling worked for me!

12.75

Hi Ben,
Thanks for writing on such an important topic. I think the strong opinions really show how much this topic matters to so many! I have to comment from my perspective as a physician who was home schooled through grade school and one year in high school. Obviously it's not for everyone, but for me it was the best thing my parents did for me. Here's why:
1) I got to travel the world and see other cultures, learn languages, see a perspective other than the commercialized lifestyle many Americans live.
2) My mother recognized my personal strengths and weaknesses and worked with them like no one else could. My stubborn personality was guided into a love of adventure and a balanced though independent personality which served me well through med school and beyond!
3) My mother was an educator and well prepared with her passion for teaching and making learning fun. It was the Montessori method blended with her own creative mix of music, a love of literature and good books and use of our international travel as a highly educational experience. We had to write mini essays (1 page) every day (on any topic we chose).
4) I learned the practical lessons in life. We were all entrepreneurs from and early age and learned about small businesses and money by selling our own baking, homemade cards, etc.

Well, I could go on and on, but all the other comments have been great and I can't imagine you'll even have time to read all of them!

Enjoying your newsletters and original perspective. We've started a wellness center here in New Zealand (we've recently immigrated from the US). Love the approach you present.
Thanks!

homeschooling

Our children have never been in school. We have 8 children. Two have graduated from high school. The oldest has a religious vocation and is entering this fall to the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary. Our second oldest is in her second year at Thomas Aquina College in CA. The college only accepts around 100 students as freshman. My daughter was one of those accepted. Academically they have no problem competing in the "real world".

We belong to a homeschooling group in our area. Many opportunities and activities are available. It is a catholic homeschooling group. I would say that their beliefs mirror the spectrum of our society. We are not all of the same mold. My children still have to deal with "problem children" and the suffering that goes on through the formative years. The problems may not be as extreme as the public schools of today but nonetheless there is still, suffering, learning and growing for my children. We don't shelter them from dealing with these real life learning situations.

Homeschooling

I was public schooled in an inner city school, with a graduating class of 1000 peers. My entire school had over 4,000 people. Although many of my peers did drugs and partied, I never participated in these activities. I was home every night or playing sports after school. I was also able to take advantage of the Advanced Placement classes, and took French, German, Spanish, Philosophy, Psychology, Physics, Marine Biology, Chemistry, Calculus, Advanced Writing...you get the idea. I feel that my school offered me an opportunity to explore my interests, strengths, and weaknesses before college, and therefore decide on my future goals. My brother and his wife also attended my school, and were able to complete their B.S. degrees, without using drugs or partying. My mother, to be fair, would come looking for us if we were 5 minutes late and never allowed us out after 10 during high school.

My husband was home schooled with his brother and sister, and although he enjoyed the freedom, he feels he missed out on the wide variety of classes offered in bigger high schools as well as the social skills training. His father was a surgeon in the Air Force, and home schooling was a practical solution while they lived in Europe. He has certainly had more life experience than I have, but has a difficult time communicating his thoughts and staying focused without reinforcement or incentive.

He did attend a small Christian high school( 15 people in his graduating class) because he begged his parents, and did very well in the classes offered (including trigonometry, physics and chemistry) and he was the Valedictorian. Despite his intellect, he failed out of college because he could not handle having the freedom to choose to go to class, or deal with peer pressure to play video games instead of study.

I excelled and finished my B.A. in 3 years, while he is just now restarting his Associates degree with much difficulty. I am almost finished with my M.S.

I am not saying that home school 'caused' him to have a difficult time in the 'real world'. He believes that he did not have the opportunity to learn how to function with so many choices and truly decide what he wanted to do because it was decided for him, and he had limited classes in high school. His brothers and sister have not been able to finish college, despite being very intelligent and reporting that they ''really want'' to get a degree.

If my husband and I do decide to have children, we plan to home school until they are in 4th grade, and then let them choose if they want to stay home or go to school. I think it also depends on the child's individual personality.
We believe that if they do go to college they will be faced with the same pressures and challenges they would have in high school, only they will have almost no supervision from parental units to 'guide' them in making healthy choices while still giving them room to grow.

Just my two sense worth, but I thought it might be interesting to look at it from the view of the child. We are both 23 now, so not out of high school too long.

Lisa, thanks so much for

Lisa, thanks so much for sharing. We've been looking for people who have actually been home schooled to share their experiences, and your and your husband's thoughts on this topic are extremely helpful to consider. Good for you, your brother, and your sister-in-law for going through the public school system and doing well on many levels.

Wishing you and your husband all good things as both of you work to complete your studies.

Ben

Each situation is different

Upfront, I believe it is important to note that we're working parents and send our kids to public schools. We're fortunate enough to live in a community with excellent public schools. In fact, in many of the schools the teachers send their kids to the public schools and even to the same school in which they teach.

Even in our community there are families that choose to home school because their belief system is different than the public school approach or they feel the schools aren't to their standards. Some of those families are incredible and do a fantastic job and some families do home schooling because it's the trendy approach at their church.

It is important to note that not everyone is in an economic situation that allows the mom to stay home and home school. In addition, some mom's don't want to or don't have the experience to adequately home school.

The bottom line is the family needs to do what is right for the family and the children. Furthermore, the best situation (in my mind) is more of a blended approach of home school and public schools. I believe that a balanced family will have children that are well educated in either approach and one size doesn't fit all.

Homeschooling

We are going into our 8th year of homeschooling after pulling our daughter out at the end of third grade. This year at the age of 16, she is taking her first on line college class & it's a wonderful feeling, knowing that most of her learning has been spending time with her, talking, sharing, doing field trips, and spending time with friends.

We've been very electic learners, leaning more towards unschooling, but it's worked. If a curriculum didn't work, we worked at finding one that did. If first year algebra took 2 years, which it did, at least she has learned with out too much frustration.

We've let our daughter pick out the subjects she wanted to learn & that really makes a difference when a child is actually interested in a subject.
If we were to do it again, we would of never put her in a government ran public school.
Kathy Tilton

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Regards
Marry Davidson

Quick thought...

(There were too many comments for me to read right now, so I apologize if this has already been said.)

I went to public and christian private schools and homeschooled in both elementary and high school. I have homeschooled one child and taught in a public school.

I think an important consideration is the child's personality. Some children do best at home and others do best at school. Pay close attention to your child.

I understand the motivation for keeping children in a christian environment, but I think there is an aspect that isn't often considered. I went to a christian college which mainly had students who had grown up in christian schools. They rarely associated with non-christians and didn't quite feel comfortable with it. I thought it unfortunate. Sometimes building the child's character so they know how to make decisions in tough times is more important than keeping them unspotted.

I was mostly public schooled, then homeschooled

Yes, this is a long post (I think the longest so far...), but I would like to add my comments as well to this discussion.

I was mostly public schooled, then homeschooled for a couple of years, and am presently homeschooling. I grew up and remain living in Canada.

I found public school hard. I was different than everyone else and was an outcast. I didn't do what was popular for both religious reasons and my own personal family history reasons. Add to this that by nature I am very shy, I found the social culture of the ps (public school) very hard. I struggled with learning disabilities that were never acknowledged or dealt with and was labelled by teachers and students (and so thought of myself as) "stupid". Labelling is never a good thing and is most damaging for a young child. I tried my best at the academics part of the ps system, but as hard as I tried, I never could get the grades I fought so hard for.

When I was switched to homeschooling in my last couple of years, I fought with my parents at first (as I was conditioned to be "independent" by then). I was used to the ps's social (unnatural peer & also caste) structure and my separation from my parents (emotionally, socially, academically, etc.). I had also developed a sense of mistrust of my parents that the curriculum and structure of the system instilled in me. I see that a lot of ps kids begin that journey of separation early, but it is most visible as they enter their pre-teen and as they enter their teen years, they have lost respect for and a precious connection with those who love them most.

Within my first year I settled out and started to change. I was less stressed, more accepting of my parents and not minding my new-found freedoms. I missed a social time, but didn't miss the social life of the ps. We lived in a very cold community and were never a part of things (we weren't related to anyone), and there was not opportunity to be involved in many activities.

I found the curriculum difficult, but this was because there was little to choose from in the 80s. Also there was little knowledge of learning styles.

Now, as a homeschooling parent, I have learned a lot that wasn't known about back then. I have access to information and resources online, there are enough curriculum choices out there for any learning style and teaching style to boggle anyone's mind. I have learned that I should have been put back a level...this is not failing, but suiting the curriculum to the individual student. That would have made a big difference for me. Most importantly, I have now developed a love for learning and can now continue to pass that on to my kids.

I am so glad that we have chosen to homeschool for reasons already sited in other posts, and more. I love that my children are mine, not taught someone else's values and morals. They have not ever gone to the ps, but our first did go to a preschool for a couple years, and we still fight problems that originated there by a professional teacher in her last year. Despite these struggles, our children have developed a love of (ongoing) learning, I have developed a love for subjects that was never allowed to develop and bloom in the system. I LOVE history!!! I hated history as a teen. I would recommend the book, "My First History of Canada", by Donalda Dickie. It has dates, sure, but it has real stories that make history come alive! This is what should be learned, not dates! For multiplication (I hated learning these), which is always a tough one to learn, I would recommend trying the $5 student ebook download from multiplication.com. Using mnemonics, this is a very fast, fun and easy way to learn them!

As a parent, you know and love them best. You can identify their strengths and weaknesses and build on those. You will also learn your strengths and weaknesses, and can also correct and build on those.

As far as the subject of learning from other teachers...you can choose these. You can swap teaching some weaker/stronger subjects with other homeschooling parents that you might know (if available to you). You don't get stuck with whatever through the luck of the draw. That is like playing russian roulette. Our kids have been and will be in Judo, piano, voice, and/or whatever other thing interests them as long as we can financially provide it for them.

We are on one very low income (we have learned to be very frugal), and "sacrifice" as some would see it in order to provide what we feel is best for our kids in all areas of our lives. We live very simply not only out of necessity, but out of choice as well. We don't see it as sacrifice but see it as building a strong family with well-balanced children. We apply these things to our food choices and still eat whole foods, to our schooling, "vacation choices" aka field trips, etc.

We don't live in a community that is very friendly and don't have a support group close by, but make up for that in exploring things...we made maple syrup, study bugs, are learning old-time skills, learning and teaching how to be self sufficient, care for livestock, milk a cow, etc. We want to learn how to build a canoe, real snowshoes, etc. You and your family will get out of homeschooling what you put into it. Model learning...make it fun and intriguing. You (and your children) will not get bored this way! This is always best done from when they are young.

You need some sort of structure without "doing school at home," which is patterning the "sitting behind the desk in a school room, 45 min/subject with recesses, so many days a year with ps holidays recognized" system in your home...but you DO need goals for the day, week and year. You will not always get them accomplished, but it is only a goal, not your master, just as your chosen curriculum or mix of curriculum should be. Our ultimate goal for our children is to teach them how to live independently, not being dependant on society around them, and that they will be independent and out of the box thinkers. We would like each one to develop the skills to be able to work for themselves and be able to support a family in their respective roles...as singles, or possibly as wife/husband, mother/father. We want to instil an entrepreneurial spirit in them, not necessarily to obtain a degree as that is not our idea of true success in life, but to be able to determine, set up and effectively run a business of their choosing, following a passion all their own, and one that has room for a family if that is in their future. If they are not good at a particular part of running a business, they will be taught to outsource wisely.

I would encourage you to continue to homeschool your children. You have done so since birth. If you send them into the system, you will homeschool as you help with homework anyway, so I would say to give them their freedom and time, and let them explore and discover their world, and the world of you, their parents. The early years are not difficult, and they are easy and interesting. For the first few years, all it takes is maybe 2-3 hours at the most to school them, and most of this can be reading to them and doing activities with them. You will find, even though there will be rough days, that it will be the most rewarding and interesting journey that you will have ever experienced. I am glad that we are doing so and could not imagine our family being pulled separate ways by an outside influence. It is good to be together and learn together. How could it not be? I wouldn't want it any other way.

Homeschooling - Kindergarten - optional

Perhaps you were not aware that attending Kindergarten is optional i.e. not a legal requirement. May I suggest having the little ones not go to school at all until they are aged 6 or 7 and then start Grade 1? Having your little ones mature another year in the personalized loving care of a parent/caregiver does not hurt them academically and has great benefit. A year makes a big difference - confidence, security, maturity, these all increase before facing the stress of the big, big world of school (assuming they go to public school). A happy, well-adjusted student will be a quick learner. Our children and now our grand-children did not attend kindergarten and they are not disadvantaged in any way...as parents the worst you will have to face is "pushback" and scare comments from other parents.

Kind regards.

I grew up in public school -

I grew up in public school - first through twelfth grade. I am now a college student and I hope that you may take my first-hand and fairly fresh experience in public education to heart. I agree that there are many issues with the public education system in America. It is unfortunate that often where you live will dictate the quality of your education. However, through my experience, I have learned that if you are an individual who loves learning and knowledge, who seeks out their own education, where or how you go to school will not be the defining factor of who you become.

I understand your concerns about wanting to give your children flexibility to grow in their own ways and nurture their personal gifts. I think that this is completely possible while they attend public school as well. For every obstacle that was presented to me through a not-so-perfect system, my parents provided me and encouraged me to find other ways to pursue my true interests.

If you love your children and nurture their growth at home, this will enable them to make the most of whatever education they may receive among their peers.

I believe it is VITAL to grow up in an environment where you see peers who may not necessarily be experiencing life as you do. And unfortunately, I don't think that is truly possible when you are home-schooled. I think being home-schooled can ultimately end up sheltering the child because they won't be faced with the reality that there are people in the world who have different economic backgrounds, different daily struggles, and different learning capacities. It is pretty lame that the system makes it easy to 'compete' and compare students with each other - but if you are good, loving parents, your children will grow up to mature in their thinking and awareness of their own abilities as well as others.

homeschooling

Liked Mikos comments about homeschooling. I just wanted to add that I have three children. As much as I would have liked to homeschool, my husband and I agreed that it just wasn't in my personality. We sent them to private school, then public school and one of my boys went to a homeschool program as the public school was not working for him. Our two boys have now graduated and our daughter is going to start public high school. I would like her to go thru the homeschool program that my one son went through but as of right now the public school offers sports programs and classes that are important to her so we will give it a try. If it doesn't meet her(our)exptectations then we will put her in the homeschool program. My point is be somewhat flexible. What ever decision you choose does not have to be for the next 12 years. Don't feel discouraged if whatever choice you make ends up not being the best for your child and/or family. Leave room for change when necessary. Parenting is a learning process their whole lives. Best wishes, Tamara

home schooling vs organized schooling

When I visit with my grown children,I must confront a decision I made unwittingly many years ago when they were tiny children. At that time, I elected to send them to excellent private schools. I spent much time and energy selecting the schools. But the one aspect I did not recognize is this: I was turning over to third persons a huge percentage of their personal, moral, spiritual growth. Along with 2 + 2, they also picked up values and culture. If I had it to do over again, I would home school.

Wow, you've read my mind

Funny you should bring this topic up, b/c I've been mulling over it for at least two years!

I grew up in NYC public school, where teachers teach only to pass you for the Regents exam (Regents are for teachers, not students, to make sure they do their job) and substitute teachers are abused (but they could also be interesting police psychics, yoga experts -had a chemistry sub stand her head next to the Bunsen burner once- etc.). But as circumstances would have it, I found myself unable to afford private school for my kids. That's when I met my friend, who is the first and only mom I know who homeschools her kids, and the only one in my community (church & neighborhood). While I was fumbling around (practicing "accidental parenting" and suffering from analysis paralysis by reading too many books offering conflicting advice) trying my darndest NOT to be like my parents, I saw that her kids were AMAZINGLY well-behaved. I was intrigued with the idea of homeschooling ever since.

Just recently, I met a homeschooling community of Asian Americans in western NJ. The pastor and his wife (both Chinese) homeschool 4 kids. I informally "interviewed" the homeschooling moms (picked their brains) and learned A LOT... I also compared notes in terms of curriculum - Asian homeschooling parents have a different take on what's a "good" curriculum and what's not compared to Caucasians, especially in regards to the subject of MATH. Also, being in the East coast, all parents are concerned with academic competence, so the prevalent homeschooling philosophy is not "unschooling," but rather, a way of "super-schooling" our kids. (One Asian mom had her 7th grader take the SATs - her kid scored 750 each, Math & Verbal!) Most parents lean towards a "classical education" where the curriculum is pre-designed by well-learned teachers/scholars and scripted so the parent doesn't have to re-invent the wheel, which I found to be an enormous relief. For this reason, the homeschooling parent does not have to have a teaching degree or aptitude, just a willingness to present the material.

Here are some of my conclusions... Homeschooling is not "free," nor is it a "cheaper alternative" to private school; rather, it is a LIFESTYLE. The purchase of materials, equipment, extracurricular classes for your kids and devotion of time EASILY costs as much as a private school education ($9-15K a year in my area). You may end up paying a bit less in terms of actual expenses, but the TIME factor is a major one; there can only be one income for the entire family. So it is a couple decision and the working parent has to be 100% on par with the parent who's doing the actual work of homeschooling. Also, there's energy level too. I know from being a FT parent (my oldest starts Kindergarten in Sept.), that there are days when my brain literally goes completely dead... I simply expire. That's when I need to head to Starbucks for a couple hours with a Frappucino and a good book by myself. The working spouse has to agree to let you have that time off; whereas if your kids are away from you from 8:30-3, you'd have plenty of time to get refreshed and possibly take a PT job to help with some of the bills. So it's a major sacrifice OR luxury, depending on your financial situation. It is not for everyone.

As for socialization, there is nothing like peer pressure to humiliate and/or whip you into shape when it comes to certain life lessons. We can argue that humiliation is a God-awful way to learn anything in life, but sorry to say... IT WORKS and SOMETIMES people will only learn that way. There are many times when I've told my kids at least TEN TIMES not to do something (or to do something) and they won't listen/obey - until we have a playdate and they see how THEIR FRIEND is being spanked or scolded by his/her mother for doing the same thing. Then they learn! Mom was right! Hallelujah! We all have a sense of what "other people are doing" and while that doesn't matter a whole lot in the over scheme of things, for some things, it does help. (Personally I dread being a "one-woman show" with the kids.) Of course, they learn these life lessons eventually anyway and keeping them at home shielded from peer pressure only delays things, which may be a good or bad thing; I think this is a judgment call individual parents have to make for themselves and their child(ren).

Lastly, homeschooling works best (in my humble opinion) where there's a co-op of other homeschooling parents, in a community setting. Basically parents are forming their own "school" in an informal, more relaxed setting than a public school (institution), in a more supervised setting, with other adults who are familiar and committed to the children's learning potential. My friend who homeschooled her kids in my local area (where there is no co-op) said she was basically "winging it" for two years until God sent her to a huge, homeschooling community in Colorado, where her kids can truly thrive (answer to her prayer). Ultimately, we all just want to be able to provide what's best for our kids.

So my daughter will start in local public school for Kindergarten. I literally cried over this decision, especially having watched the YouTube 20/20 special on "Being Stupid in America" (American public school is behind even some third world countries in education!), but it's "only Kindergarten" as a friend said, and it's the best choice given my daughter's personality as well as the current circumstances. But it's not forever. I gave myself the option to re-evaluate next year...

Why I Home Schooled & Still Consider it the Best

Dear Dr. Kim, I have noticed your questions & comments on Home Schooling & for advice or tips so I'd like to give mine as a HS mother for most of my years & my children's, some of them. First off, I would like to say that I stopped HS 2 of my kids this year as it was getting too much for me but I have learned a lot in the year I took off.
First off, I live in Quebec. I am not impressed with the curriculum of both public English & French school here. I sent my kids to public school due to being overly busy, getting frustrated, worried that I wasn't doing a good enough job & most of all, so they would finally be able to read, write & speak French, the 1st language of Quebec & of which they are Quebec citizens. That was not a mistake as they now do speak French BUT, from my observation & I could get into in a long way, but won't, HS is better, I am a better teacher even if I am not trained, even if I do not have a college degree, even if I fail sometimes. Academically, as far as I am & was able to observe, the standard on which I taught my kids & the standard on which the school system here teaches, my curriculum is head & shoulders above theirs. One thing I did was allow myself to be too detailed & picky on everything & every subject, schoola aren't at all, especially in primary. I used a ready made curriculum called "ABeka" bought from Abeka Books in Florida. A great curriculum with everything you could possibly need & more & if you follow, even not totally, my kids were well taught, in reading, writing, spelling, Math, Art, citizenship, manners, history & the list goes on. I realize that while HS for many years, I overdid it in trying to do so much for them with schooling but actually, even a lesser amount & less actual academic time spend over a lesson would have been enough & sufficient for them as they did better HS than in a French public school. Now you may say, but wait, you didn't try out the English school. But yes, I did, with another child going a primary English public school & that was worse. No spelling, no teaching how to write, just letting them write whatever, however with however many mistake they make, lots of days off, lots of extra curricular activities but when holding up against my years of teaching, wow, I am a better teacher. It shocked & surprised me a lot!
Do you think you & your wife will be good teachers. I don't think, I KNOW. Because No. 1, you love your kids, No. 2, you want what is best for them & No. 3 you will chose the best curriculum or the best way to teach them not only academics but life skills, compassion, manners, responsiblity, spritual values & the list goes on & on. I am your average busy mother with a list of To Do's that will topple any mans, & I work at night as well but I am still considering taking my 2 up-coming 3rd graders out & home schooling again & giving them that time & attention that I handed over to the school system. Why? Because I am a better teacher & they will learn more with me in less time than in a public school with 25 to 30 children all from different families. Will they progress in French, no? That is why my decision is being weighed carefully but they will be happy & enjoy life more without all the hassles & pressures & stresses that even 8 year old's have at school.
My kid's ages, 26 (home schooled until 2nd semester of 9th grade & graduated High School with honors in the state of California, 15, still home schooled but beginning high school this year in French, 12 finishing primary, 2 8 year old beginning their second year of public & going into 3rd & my 4 year old -- home schooled, ha)! I also have a great book that I would like to suggest to you to read. I know you will appreciate it's contents but I can't remember the title so I will e-mail it to you. It's definitely worth the read. Hats off to all those who HS! I encourage you to do it, at least try. It's the best in many ways, difficult, without a doubt but the best way for the best education at least in primary & beginning of High School.
Sincerely, Renee

another homeschooling perk

One other perk to homeschooling that we have experienced firsthand is the ability to learn at our pace. For a while when my daughter was young, reading came slowly. Suddenly she really took off in reading and soon math became a little hard. I was glad we were homeschooling and she wasn't forced to move on when she wasn't "getting it." We simply kept working on the subject matter until she did master it. In public school, that simply is not an option. They get a lower grade, they don't have the opportunity to master the material and have to move on with the rest of the class. Of course, the flip side of this applies wonderfully too. When my daughter masters something and doesn't need more practice, we skip portions of her book. Families are able to adjust with their children to do advanced grade-level work when their child is ready for it. I just love that about homeschooling!

Home Schooling

I have three children and have been through both public schooling and now home schooling. The two oldest children did go through the public school system and did graduate, however, not without an abundance of negative experiences that I now feel they could have done without. Those experiences did nothing to make them "better", "stronger", or more "socialized" individuals. If anything, it made them more insecure and skeptical of society. My third child went to public school through the early part of her freshman year, when we finally made the decision to home school. The most negativity began in 6th grade and gradually became worse as she went along. The negative comments from her peers because she chose not to conform with society regarding her clothes, hair style, etc. were overwhelming, and school staff did nothing to help the situation. (In fact, at times, they made it worse.) We have always encouraged our children to express themselves however they desire regarding their appearance as long as it is in decent taste and clean. Our youngest chose not to be attired in tight jeans, a tiny top, and have long hair. She said she refused to look like society said you had to and would not be a "cookie cutter" person. I applauded her incessantly. However, it made obtaining an education very difficult, which to me is so completely unfair! Now that she is home schooled, she has the freedom to be the person she wants to be without cynicism. She has a great deal of pride in herself, she is highly motivated in her studies, and could easily pass the GED exam at the age of a sophomore. She chooses what she studies and when and has a curiousity that never quits. She has excelled beyond what I could possibly have hoped. My only regret is that I did not home school all of them for the entire time. Life is full of lessons and this one is well learned. I hope this helps some of you in your decision making process. I wish everyone the very best!

Public vs Home Schooling

My four children went to public school and came through unscathed and capable of higher learning. However it was a different time and these new kids are different from those of earlier generations. I believe they have more sensitive nervous systems and require something different, and the public schools have not caught up with this new situation. Check out the Waldorf Schools. They have a fantastic learning system with an emphasis on developing creativity. I am so glad that my grandson is going to one. I think very few people are truly equipped intellectually and emotionally to home school their children and are performing a disservice to their children which will be discovered too late.

Hello Dr. Kim, I have really

Hello Dr. Kim,

I have really enjoyed reading this article as well as several other bits of information on your site.

We have been home educating our children for the past 17 years. We have 8 children, the eldest is 17, and the youngest just turned 1.

I would like to recommend a website that is full of great materials that I think you would appreciate. Victoria Botkin has a CD on there entitled Curriculum Advice which is excellent. In it she explains how she home educated her 7 children and they each give a testimonial. There is a CD by Doug Phillips called The Visionary Father's Role in Home Education that is a must have also. The address is www.visionforum.com (click on the tab up top that says "Books and Media for the Family".

Visit our family's website if you have an opportunity www.cityonahillministries.org.

Blessings to You,
Julie Smithe

I was charter, home, and public schooled

I am 14 and have been homeschooled, public schooled, and charter schooled. I think the way we did it really worked for me, and I would like to share: In second grade my parents decided they wanted to homeschool me, so they took me out of public school and I started homeschooling. Those homeschooling years were great because they gave me a solid foundation in my faith, and I didn't have to deal with negative influences. I also feel healthier than my peers because of the reasons about sleep and such listed in the article. Note: I was involved in a once-a-week co-op that allowed me to develop social skills together with other homeschoolers like me. This was crucial. In ninth grade we felt that it was right for me to go to a charter school. This allowed me to get more help with college prep, to have teachers who could help me more, and to learn how to live out my faith in a more "real life" situation.n I also realize that I have grown a lot in my socialization skills. This is important because if you ever want to be able to speak into someone's life or to be impact someone or even just be listened to, it's usefull if people arn't automaticly put off by your wierdness, if you know what I mean. It's not that you have to be exactly like everyone else (I'm not), just not completely socially ackward. Also noteo that this is a great charter school without drugs, suicide, etc. and it has a lot ofo ex homeschoolers like me. It makes for a healthy school where me and my freinds can get away with the awkwardness that we wouldn't otherwise get away with at a normal high school. It was also great to be able to jump into a school without the schock that a public school would bring. This year I'll be going into tenth grade and I think my schooling experience has made for a happier, healthier me.

Many people make decisions

Many people make decisions for their child's education that they believe will be in their best interests. As I read your friend's comments what strikes me is that for the most part those are their goals for homeschooling whether they will actually achieve those outcomes is a longer process. There are always going to be a lot of influences on our children what we aim to be as parents is the best one. Our children are 17 and 15, attended public school for grades 1-6 and a private christain faith based school for the rest of their education. It has served them well, they established connections with other children from our neighborhood/community, sports teams in elementary school. Middle and senior years in a faith based school with high academic and moral standards.
We should never assume to be all things to our children and that we/family are all that they need. It just isn't so, they are going out into the world so they need to be a part of it.

Home Schooling

Hi Ben. I read this article with interest and felt that I had to comment. I am one of 3 children and my older brother and younger sister have both home schooled their children while I have sent mine to very good government schools - pre-school, junior school and now high school. Of course I think I have made the best decision, otherwise I would have also home schooled mine. I must say that reading through your article, my overall impression was - welcome to the real world. As good, loving parents we all want to wrap our children up in cottonwool and keep them as close to us as possible but I think as parents we should provide a balanced environment for our kids to grow up in and sometimes the competition, the need to conform and "fit in" and the negative aspects of going to school can actually be good for them - as long as you chose the right school and accept that there is never a perfect one. My husband and I are very involved in our children's lives and as we both work from home-based offices, we are always around, but I do think that they need to separate from us for some hours in the day, to be their own people and as long as the school they are at, has similar philosophies as you have, then I definitely think that sending your children to a really good school and then spending time with them doing all those "other things" will create the balance. I am in the recruitment industry and I must say that if I see a CV of someone who has been home schooled, it puts me off. I know I should not be prejudice but I immediately have preconceived ideas and see that person as having been over protected, lacking in problem solving skills and perhaps not able to cope in the real world. I am sure that Employers will also have similar feelings. I hope this helps.

 

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