Homeschooling Disadvantages

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According to just about every article I see on homeschooling, the practice is definitely on the rise.  That concerns me, because I often wonder what percentage of homeschooled kids are educated as well as they would be in a good public or private school.  But I have no way of finding an answer, since in Michigan, at least, there is no required evaluation of what those children learn.  If parents don’t want to send their kids to school, for whatever reason, all they have to do in Michigan is say they’re homeschooling them.  Nobody checks to see if the kids are being educated at all, much less at proper grade level.

Of course, if I lived in a city with poor schools, I’d pull my child out of public school, too.  If I could afford it, my first choice would be a good private school.  But if I couldn’t afford it, I’d probably find a homeschooling organization that includes qualified teachers, who use the same text books as the public school system.  I wouldn’t assume the task of teaching my child, because I’m not a teacher.  Sure, I could teach elementary school kids almost any subject.  But I’d want someone who’s passionate about teaching and who’s been educated in the best teaching techniques, so he or she could help my child develop a love of learning.

When I was in elementary school, I had mostly good teachers.  It was the same in middle school.  But when I got to high school and the work wasn’t always intuitive, it became very clear that the teacher often meant the difference between success and failure.  For example, I had an excellent teacher for 9th grade algebra, and I got an A.  But when I took 11th grade algebra, I, along with several other students, did poorly.  The teacher was boring and couldn’t explain problems in terms that we could easily grasp.

In the 10th grade, I had an English teacher who got the whole class enthused about vocabulary.  He introduced words (like “obsequious”) that I’d never seen before, and I still think of him whenever I use one of those words.  And I had another English teacher who got me excited about literature and poetry, as nobody before her had done.  If I were homeschooling, I could probably do an adequate job teaching grammar and vocabulary.  But I wouldn’t do as well with subjects like history or advanced math.  I’d rather have my child benefit from a teacher’s excitement about a subject, because that experience could change the course of his or her future.

In addition to missing out on the best teachers, most homeschooled kids lose out when it comes to classes like music, languages and art.  According to Wikipedia in “Homeschooling in the United States,” even though those classes are available to homeschooled kids, only “about one out of five homeschoolers was also enrolled in public or private school for 25 hours or less per week.”

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevharb/3094580037/

Photo by: Kevin H. ©

And perhaps the biggest deficit in a homeschooled child’s life is social development.  If parents want those children to be well-socialized, they have to provide opportunities for them to make friends and participate in social events.  Otherwise, how do their children, especially those who take no additional classes at public or private schools, become socialized?  How do they learn to distinguish between someone they can trust and someone who’s likely to betray that trust?  How do they learn to get along and interact appropriately with other kids?

The vast majority of American children successfully attend public or private schools.  In my opinion, homeschooled kids miss out on the rich experience of learning and bonding with their peers.  And that, combined with parents who aren’t fully qualified to teach, is a big disadvantage of homeschooling.

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Homeschooling Disadvantages, 2.4 out of 10 based on 19 ratings
Avatar of Sandy LaurenceAbout the author: Sandy Laurence (29 Posts)

I'm a mom of one, step-mom of three, grandmother of one and wife (of one!), who loves writing, photography, making metal jewelry and pottery, horticulture, aviculture and working while everyone else sleeps! I'm a night owl who goes to sleep when the chickens wake up. Gotta change my internal clock!

 

Comments

  1. Cheryl@SomewhatCrunchy

    February 28, 2011

    Wow. Sorry, but I have to ask, do you know any homeschoolers? I mean know them, not know of them. Are you friends with anyone who homeschools? I guess it goes back to the old adage – You have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. From the viewpoint of someone who has walked that mile, your reservations are laughable, but understandable from someone who’s never been there.

    1. I do think there should be some checks and balances to be sure the children are learning, having sustainable growth each year.

    2. Most parents are homeschooling their children because they ARE passionate about their children’s education and go out of their way to breathe life into subjects. They want them to have passion in every subject, not just the ones where they’re lucky enough to get an involved teacher.

    3. You don’t need a degree to teach your child. Ask any teacher and most will tell you their education consisted of crowd control, how to keep their class busy and calm. The curriculum spells out what and how they should teach – the same curriculum that homeschoolers can buy and use.

    4. Homeschooled are taught by teachers who care about them the most – so in my opinion, that is the best teacher.

    5. If they chose to homeschool chances are they will not enroll their child in public or private school at all – so the 25 hours fact shouldn’t be a surprise. They don’t feel public or private school would be a good fit for their child and will utilize other sources.

    6. Contrary to popular belief homeschoolers do not spend all their time at home. They do participate in extra curricular activities like sports, language groups, 4H, girl and boy scouts, co-ops etc. We even have prom.

    7. Under no circumstance do I consider sitting in a classroom with 30 same-aged children socialization. 7 year olds cannot learn proper social etiquette from equally uneducated 7 year olds – they learn it from adults, parents, teachers etc.

    8. I feel homeschoolers have a wonderful opportunity to be socialized because activities are usually taken on as a family. The children interact with all age groups from infant to adult. There is very little of older siblings feeling superior or peer pressure to confirm to an ideal. There is freedom to be who you are – something sorely needed in public schools.

    So there you have it. My opinions on your opinions. I hope in the future that the articles on this site will be based on fact and first hand experience. Not opinions. That what personal blogs are for, not resource blogs…in my opinion.

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    • Jeni

      February 28, 2011

      Very well said, Cheryl. I was going to write out a long comment but I would be repeating everything you said; I’ll refrain and just say, “Ditto!”

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    • brooke mcglothlin

      March 1, 2011

      Couldn’t agree with Cheryl more. Such a well-written response from a woman ill-equipped to teach her own children ;) good job Cheryl!

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    • Avatar of Sandy Laurence

      Sandy Laurence

      March 1, 2011

      Thanks for your comments, Cheryl. Unfortunately, you’ve misinterpreted some of mine. First, this IS a blog. These aren’t research papers. Each article I’ve written has contained my opinions. And second, if you homeschool your kids, and they’re at grade level, and they regularly socialize with friends, I’m not talking about you! I have a 600-word limit, so I couldn’t spell it all out 10 different ways. I’m not against homeschooling when it’s done well. (I said in my article that if I lived in a poor school district, I’d pull my kids out, too.)
      But yes, I DO know people who use homeschooling as a way to isolate their kids. They don’t attend art, language, music or any other classes where they’ll be exposed to other students. I know people who homeschool their kids, because they don’t want them exposed to any other religions. And I know people whose kids are way behind other children, both enrolled in schools and homeschooled. That’s what I’m talking about. And, yes, I also know people whose homeschooled kids are doing amazingly well. But that’s not always the case. Not every parent is equipped to homeschool, and there are lots of kids falling through the cracks. Maybe YOU don’t know those people, because they probably don’t hang out in your circle. You see, they’re not interested in hearing what anybody else has to say about their child’s education.
      Let me address some of your statements:
      1. We’re in complete agreement. All I want to see is some kind of evaluation of the child’s progress.
      2. No matter how passionate a parent is about his or her child’s education, not all parents are cut out to teach. Passing knowledge to children in a way that keeps them excited about learning is a gift that some people just don’t have. And if a parent knows it’s not one of their strengths, he or she shouldn’t do it.
      3. I didn’t say anyone needs a degree to homeschool.
      5. I’m talking about an art, music, or computer class here and there. No parentis an expert on everything. The study I quoted said “25 hours or less per week” to include a child who takes as little as one class. (Some of the homeschoolers you think I don’t actually know send their kids to art and music classes at the public school. )
      6. This is what I’m talking about – not all homeschoolers participate in those programs. Many do not.
      7. I don’t believe I said that parents shouldn’t teach their kids manners, etiquette, etc. Those things have always been the responsibility of parents.
      8. I agree with you that there is less peer pressure in homeschooled kids. And ideally, activities should involve the whole family, regardless of how children are educated.

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      • Cindy

        March 1, 2011

        ” First, this IS a blog. These aren’t research papers. ” So blogs aren’t subject to tests of truth?

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        • politicaljules

          March 2, 2011

          Nice come back. I am shocked at this “bloggist’s” statements and uninformed claims.

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          • Kimberly

            March 2, 2011

            I am laughing at the arrogance of the bloggers comment, that “All she want’s to see is some evaluation of the child’s progress”

            What, EXACTLY, entitles you to THAT? Are you contributing financially to a homeschool child’s education?

            The only reason public schools have any accountability, is taxpayer funding. Unless you are offering some kind of voucher to help me purchase curriculum…I don’t owe you any accountability at ALL!

            The arrogance here is astonishing. When you help pay the bill, you have some say…until then, put up or go away!

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  2. Cindy

    February 28, 2011

    I started to comment, but then I thought “Why not just blog about it?” Thanks for your “concern”: http://getalonghome.com/2011/02/7135/

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    • Avatar of Sandy Laurence

      Sandy Laurence

      March 1, 2011

      Well, at least I’m getting reader participation. I expected people to disagree with some of what I said, but I figured the good homeschoolers would be better at reading comprehension. This is the same kind of angry mob reaction that working mothers got in the 70s from the stay-at-home moms. Let’s not go there. I’m all for people doing what works, as long as it works well for the child, too.

      If a homeschooler is doing it well, then I’m not talking about you. Do you really think that every parent who homeschools is doing a great job? Get real. Lots of kids fall through the cracks, whether your rose-colored glasses see them, or not.

      But thanks for your comments. As you say in your blog, you were bored today – must’ve been a day off school, huh?

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        Sonita Lewis

        March 1, 2011

        Public school kids don’t fall through the cracks? Did you know how the US scores on international tests? (google it) The whole public school system is failing, event he kids that don’t fall through it’s cracks.

        And yes-statistics show-the majority of homeschooling parents are doing a great job.

        I posted my rebuttal post on Type-A parent here http://typeaparent.com/actual-cons-of-homeschooling.html and it lists the actual negative things about homeschooling, from actual homeschoolers, not stereotypical garble.

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      • Jesse Dyer

        March 1, 2011

        Yes, she held school that day, madam. I should know, I live with her. And her reading comprehension is excellent.

        Lots of kids fall through the cracks, whether your rose-colored glasses see them, or not.

        Cite your source, please. Homeschooled children test much higher than their counterparts in public ed. (http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp) We did _extensive_ research before making the move to homeschool our children. We live in a community filled with other parents making the same choice, and each of them weighed it carefully. So these rose colored glasses you mention aren’t rose colored; they’re simply based on fact.

        I’m sorry you have such a low opinion of whomever this homeschooler in your life is, but don’t make the mistake of assuming they are normality.

        We don’t want or need more government interference in our lives. We are quite capable of the teaching and raising of our children ourselves. Perhaps you can understand how antithetic it is to hear someone call for more interference by a failing system in our lives, in our families, based on under-experienced opinion.

        That’s why you hear a mob.

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      • Cindy

        March 1, 2011

        I answered your post. I answered precise points in your post. You can dance around however you like, but the fact is that your post was poorly thought out and easily refuted. And no, I wasn’t bored. We had a full school day, and then I was bored with THE INTERNET. Who has the problems with reading comprehension here? I wonder if you even understand what *you* wrote.

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      • Tina Carter

        March 2, 2011

        Wow. I am a public school teacher, and under no circumstances would I allow my kids to be so disrespectful and socially immature as you have been to these homeschooling families. They deserve your respect. There is no excuse for attacking any type of schooling, since we all know the shortcomings in the public school sector. I just wish all parents cared as much for their children and took part in their education as much as these moms do.

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        • Bill

          March 3, 2011

          Thank you for your honesty Tina. My wife and I homeschool our twin daughters and we have had a lot of encouragement from our friends and family members who are teachers.
          It still amazes me that some people are so set in their ways that they don’t realize that homeschooling has been done for centuries.

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      • the domestic fringe

        March 3, 2011

        I think the problem is that you made yourself sound like an expert on what homeschoolers are missing out on. I don’t think broad generalizations can be made. Maybe you should familiarize yourself with homeschool curriculum before you pass judgment on quality of teachers or education. Thankfully there are also many cooperative groups that offer lessons like music, art, and gym.

        I don’t think homeschooling is for everyone, but it’s a really good choice for some. I began homeschooling my children at the start of the 2010/11 school year. The other day my son said that he did more work in homeschool than in regular school. He was sad because he bargained on homeschooling being easy.

        For the most part, parents who homeschool want the absolute best education possible for their child. For various reasons, they passionately believe they can provide a better education than the public schools. I’d give them the benefit of the doubt.

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    • politicaljules

      March 2, 2011

      Cindy,
      Your post was sincere thoughtful and funny. I passed it on to all of my un-socialized friends across the country. Looks like Ms. Laurence thinks insulting people’s intelligence is the way to defend her argument. Gosh, I wonder who taught her to think like that?

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  3. Brandie

    February 28, 2011

    While I agree that homeschooling is absolutely not for everyone, nor do I think everyone should homeschool, I find that your concerns are based on stereotypes.

    As far as worrying about their educational skills, well, in my state only 53-55% of students have met expectations in math and reading. And have you ever watched Jay Walking? Because statistically most of those people come from public schools and so many of them state they are in college to be teachers it makes me cringe. And yes, I absolutely hands down believe I can do better than that in educating my children.

    And also, I’m a certified teacher in my state and I can attest that point number 3 is in fact correct. Especially with a k-8 diploma. Most of my college time was spent learning about child development, classroom management and very basic skills. It’s true.

    It’s fine, you may not want to homeschool. You may not want to do it. You may not like those of who do. But don’t judge us based on stereotypes.

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    • Brandie

      March 2, 2011

      I’d like to clarify that in my comment, I was agreeing with point 3 in Cheryl@SomewhatCrunchy comment! =)

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  4. Shasta Walton

    February 28, 2011

    Honestly, I thought more of this site before I read this post!

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    • Angie @ Many Little Blessings

      February 28, 2011

      I completely agree. How sad.

      This is so full of stereotypes that I’m shocked and disappointed.

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    • Avatar of Sandy Laurence

      Sandy Laurence

      March 1, 2011

      Did you really read what I said? Are you offended because you’re one of the homeschoolers I described in my post? If you’re not one of them and, instead, are doing a good job with it, I’m not talking about you. Get over yourself. And brush up on reading comprehension.

      Thanks for your well-thought-out comments.

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      • Angie @ Many Little Blessings

        March 1, 2011

        Brush up on my reading comprehension? I would be offended if you hadn’t written the same rude remark to so many other people in the comments of this post. Is insulting the reading ability of those that are commenting really your best method to defend/support what you have written?

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      • Brandie

        March 2, 2011

        You say “In my opinion, homeschooled kids miss out on the rich experience of learning and bonding with their peers ….”
        It does not say, SOME homeschooled kids or those with crappy parents, or those who parents homeschool the wrong way (and who is to say what is the wrong way?).

        And while you do say you would pull your kids out only if you absolutely had to, you also said you wouldn’t undertake the task of teaching them yourself. So that combined with your other comments leads me to believe you only feel the “good” homeschooling parents are those who don’t even teach their children themselves.

        Some of your comments have clarified further what you meant so I understand more where you are coming from now.

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  5. Nichole

    February 28, 2011

    Cheryl@SomewhatCrunchy, you took the words right out of my mouth keyboard. This seems to me to be a pretty ill-informed argument. It makes me wonder what compelled the author to write it.

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  6. Scott aka This Daddy

    February 28, 2011

    You must live such a sheltered life. You must not have gone outside your own comfort zone to do research in homeschooling. You have failed to mention how many great people, scholars, athletes and normal citizens have come from the oppritunity of homeschooling. Im glad you have your own opinions and that is the only thing keeping me from totally unleashing on you and your non factual post. I think and I encourage you to study more and put yourself in more contact with homeschooling kids, parents, and family members. You might surprise yourself.

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  7. mava mama

    February 28, 2011

    Well said crunch mama. As far as socialization goes, my children do far more now outside of the home than we ever had time for when they attended a b&m school. And if you take a well adjusted person, with a healthy dose of self esteem and place them in any environment and with people new to them, they will do well and be able to distinguish between authentic people and trouble makers.

    As for motive for writing this article? I am leaning toward the traffic from homeschooling parents – you know, us uneducated, uninspired bunch of folks. ;)

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    • Avatar of Sandy Laurence

      Sandy Laurence

      March 1, 2011

      If your kids get to see friends and participate in activities with them, good for you – you’re doing it right. I’m talking about the ones who don’t do it right.

      And nobody said you’re uneducated, even though you obviously don’t comprehend what you read. It’s like you and your angry army distort what I wrote, so that you’ll have something to chew on tonight. I want to say “Get a life,” but that would be rude.

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        Sonita Lewis

        March 1, 2011

        The average homeschooler attends 5.2 activities outside the home each week.
        98% of homeschoolers attend 2 activities outside the home each week.
        It’s NOT as big of a problem as people seem to think it is.

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      • politicaljules

        March 2, 2011

        You are already rude, not to mention uninformed and not a very good judge of character. I liked this site even after I read your uneducated rant, but your responses to the comment posters have left a very bad taste in my mouth. I do not plan to ever return here again. Ms. Laurence, to the hundreds of thousands of parents across the USA who home school their children, you have single handedly sealed the fate for yourself and this web site. You must be proud.

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  8. Jamie

    February 28, 2011

    I wholeheartedly agree with the comments above. Cheryl said it all quite well. I was an honors student in public school but I was an expert at regurgitating what I’d “learned” and can tell you that I have learned more learning along with my now 4th grader than I EVER learned in my high-ranking, nationally-recognized public school.

    The socialization aspect is almost laughable if you actually know any homeschooled children, so I’ll just echo Cheryl’s comments on that above.

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  9. Kelby Carr

    March 1, 2011

    Thank you for all of the comments. I know this is a hot topic. Personally, I think many of the concerns about homeschooling in the post are myths and, of the homeschooling parents I know, none of these issues raised are real issues. I think it is especially important to have this discussion from both sides.

    I know some of you have said you wish the writer had done more research before jumping to conclusions. I would ask respectfully that you do the same for me and for my site and to research how it works and what it contains before criticizing the site based on one post.

    This is a community site, meant to represent the voices of all parents. If you visit the homepage, you will see right at the top that anyone can submit a post as long as they follow the guidelines here: http://typeaparent.com/submit-a-post … In fact, any of you can post about the pros of homeschooling.

    While I personally do not agree with this opinion post, this site would not be the community site that it is, reflecting the views of all parents, if I refused to publish articles I did not agree with. We have categories on politics, both conservative and liberal, and we have categories on everything from green parenting to lesbian moms. You can see them all at the bottom left sidebar.

    And yes, we have a category on homeschooling at http://typeaparent.com/topic/lifestyle-and-home/homeschooling with 58 other posts that all cover some positive aspect of homeschooling. This is the only post I am aware of that reflects on it negatively. To determine that this site is against homeschooling based on one writer’s opinion vs. the other 58 posts is really not fair.

    So I absolutely encourage you to share your opinion in favor of homeschooling, of course. But I do not believe you should judge the site based on disagreeing with one writer’s opinion. If this is to be a community site, then which opinions are valid? Whose side is right? Who decides? Me? You?

    I think it is better to allow all the voices and opinions to be heard, and to let that be the catalyst to discuss the topics at hand. Great comments can be as good or better than the posts themselves, and are just as important.

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  10. Sarah

    March 1, 2011

    If Wikipedia is your ‘go to’ source for information on homeschoolers, you are sadly A) lacking in serious research skills (something my 9yo homeschooled student knows all too well…never quote Wikipedia and expect to be taken seriously…) and B) missing a fantastic opportunity to really get to know some homeschoolers before you pass such stereotypical and close minded judgment on us! I would like to encourage you to seek out homeschoolers, and not just the ones homeschooling for ‘religious’ reasons (there’s lots of secular homeschoolers too!) Really broaden those horizons of yours before you jump to such archaic and ridiculous conclusions. Sure, there’s homeschoolers whose kids don’t ‘match’ public school standards, but think about it…when THOUSANDS of kids each year fail in public schools, does anyone seriously advocate that public schools are a bad idea? No one is perfect, no system is perfect, but by and large homeschoolers excel compared to their peers…academically AND socially. As a 15 year homeschool veteran, and a parent who has both homeschooled and public schooled, I can assure you that there is no one fit for any child or any family. What works for me, or my child, doesn’t necessarily work for you. The difference is that I’m not making baseless assumptions about YOUR choices. Please do some real research, and reconsider your position, I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about what life is really like for those of us who make this choice. Thanks!

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  11. cori

    March 1, 2011

    It’s one thing to post articles with opinions you don’t agree with; it’s another thing entirely to have such low standards for the content you choose to include in your “community.” This article is ill-informed and full of long-dispelled, tired fallacies regarding homeschooling. If your site is not anti-homeschooling, it is, at the very least, not at all concerned with quality.

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    • Avatar of Sandy Laurence

      Sandy Laurence

      March 1, 2011

      I wrote about what I personally have seen and how I feel about it. If you don’t agree with me, don’t read my articles. I won’t be offended.

      I said in the article that I know people who do a great job homeschooling their kids. So I’m not against it. I’m against it being done poorly. Maybe you’re okay with that. I’m not. But feel free to write again if you still don’t understand.

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      • cori

        March 1, 2011

        Why don’t you cut and paste the part of the article where you say you know people who do a great job homeschooling?

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      • ali

        March 1, 2011

        “I’m not against it. I’m against it being done poorly.”

        My only concern with this kind of statement is that the majority of studies I’ve seen published have shown the vast majority of homeschoolers are not doing poorly at all… and yet, when someone sees a homeschooler not succeeding (in their opinion) they feel a need to speak out against it.

        Every family is different. Every child is different.

        There are plenty of traditionally schooled kids who are not properly socialized, if there truly is such a thing. Many children, in and out of school are painfully shy, no matter how many enrichment activities come their way. On the flip side, there are many children, in and out of schools, who are just naturally very social beings. I have 7 children, including some on each end of the shy vs. outgoing spectrum…

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  12. Ronnica

    March 1, 2011

    I don’t think homeschooling is for every child, but I think it’s a good way for the parent to exercise their responsibility to train and educate their child.

    You seem to be arguing the opposite point when you say the teacher makes the difference. In public school, a child will likely have some good teachers and some bad ones, no matter how much the parent advocates for the child (particularly in the middle school and high school years). But by homeschooling, you can ensure your child has only the best teacher(s) for them.

    It’s foolish to think that the only way you can properly allow a child to grow socially is to send them to school. It’s like saying that the only way you can feed your family is by taking them to a restaurant.

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    • Real Life Sarah

      March 1, 2011

      “It’s foolish to think that the only way you can properly allow a child to grow socially is to send them to school. It’s like saying that the only way you can feed your family is by taking them to a restaurant.”

      I love this!

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      • Avatar of Sandy Laurence

        Sandy Laurence

        March 1, 2011

        Well, if it’s foolish, I’m certainly glad that I NEVER SAID THAT.

        Congratulations – I’ll send you a link to a reading comprehension program!

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        • Ronnica

          March 1, 2011

          Then what DID you mean by, “If parents want those children to be well-socialized, they have to provide opportunities for them to make friends and participate in social events. Otherwise, how do their children, especially those who take no additional classes at public or private schools, become socialized?” (emphasis obviously mine)

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          • Avatar of Sandy Laurence

            Sandy Laurence

            March 1, 2011

            Just what I said. There are kids who don’t get to socialize with other children. Taking an art or music class at a school is one way to meet other kids. If they don’t do that and don’t make friends any other way, they’re not socializing. Got it now?

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          • Ronnica

            March 1, 2011

            (In response to the below response)

            Sandy: Why do you keep emphasizing “at school?” I’m not even sure it’s possible to simply pick and choose which class(es) you take at a public school here, but that’s not necessary considering the wide-range activities available in the community. The school is just one place for that.

            Sitting in a classroom doesn’t necessarily allow for socialization, anyway. A child needs to see and be given opportunities to practice appropriate relationships with others. This may happen at school, but it may not.

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        • Kariann

          March 8, 2011

          Are you always so welcoming to your commenters ?

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  13. Cathy

    March 1, 2011

    I have to add that if you are going to write something so controversial, you should make sure you respond to the comments left by others in an attempt for a decent conversation and possible learning experience.

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  14. Real Life Sarah

    March 1, 2011

    Funny, I actually find just the opposite, and my kids are public school kids. Most homeschooling kids I know (and I do know a lot personally) are farther along academically, more intrinsically motivated self learners. They are also very accomplished in the arts, sometimes because they can devote more time to it. 3 hours of one-on-one instruction is worth 6 hours in a classroom with 25other kids, lined up in the halls, or waiting on classmates to finish their work. Sometimes a parent learning along with the child can be as inspiring as the teacher who already knows it all.

    As for socialization, most homeschool kids I know do just fine with other kids. BUT they relate to adults much better, AND… the are OK with being an individual, instead of going along with the crowd. One of my friends was homeschooled and was doing tech podcasting from home at 16. He now works for a large PR company in NY, as well as running his own podcasts. One of my friends teens directs, shoots and produces his own movie shorts, with special effects.

    We do have wonderful schools here, and I send my kids to them. I can’t financially do homeschooling right now, but I try to instill in my kids the same values I see in my homeschool friends’ kids. It’s different for each family, but I can’t say that homeschool kids are at a disadvantage! There’s just no evidence for that.

    Of course there are the failed cases, and those are what public school teachers see. A family who is successfully homeschooling will most likely not go to the schools. So they see the girl that doesn’t know how to read in 3rd grade. But that is by FAR the exception in my experience knowing MANY homeschoolers.

    And thanks Kelby for letting all views be posted here.

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    • Avatar of Sandy Laurence

      Sandy Laurence

      March 1, 2011

      Why don’t people read? I said I know homeschooled kids who do beautifully. But I’m concered about the ones who don’t. Doesn’t anybody care about the kids who fall through the cracks? Homeschooled kids do well socially ONLY if they’re not isolated from other kids, for fear they’ll pick up bad habits or hear about somebody else’s religious views. Apparently, none of these commenters have encountered that situation, because if they had, their hearts would be breaking for those kids.

      I stand by what I wrote, because I’ve seen it. It’s not the norm, and I said “some” homeschooled kids. But we shouldn’t just turn our backs on them, because the rest of angry mob doesn’t want any scrutiny.

      Thanks for your comments.

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      • cori

        March 1, 2011

        Uh, where do you say that? Now it seems like you’re backtracking. At least stand by your foolishness.

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        • Avatar of Sandy Laurence

          Sandy Laurence

          March 1, 2011

          I stand by everything I said. Go read it again – maybe the second time around you’ll get it.

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      • The Boss

        March 1, 2011

        Statistically speaking, there are a far greater number of public schooled kids who “fall through the cracks.” As homeschoolers, we just wish all these well meaning, concerned people worried more about the 98% of kids who aren’t homeschooled than the 2% who are.

        I’m just curious, but have you written an article about “Public School Disadvantages?”

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        • KyHSMom

          March 2, 2011

          Love this!~!

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  15. Avatar of Shannon {Discipline Project}

    Shannon {Discipline Project}

    March 1, 2011

    This post was so laughable that I couldn’t even respond at first. Thanks to all those commenters before me who eloquently expressed my thoughts. These stereotypes have long since been proven wrong, and more and more people are homeschooling because they experience the retched state our public (and even some private) schools are in. Please do a smidge of research before posting something so obviously wrong and judgmental.

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      Sandy Laurence

      March 1, 2011

      Well, you can read my eloquent response to those non-comprehenders who’d rather deny the existence of kids who aren’t being successfully homeschooled. After all, they’re in the minority, so why bother, right?

      And like I said above, these are research papers. It’s a blog, and it’s largely opinion. However, even if they don’t exist in your little world, there are kids out there who are years behind grade level in critical subjects, who have no friends and who are completely isolated. But you don’t know of any, so they must not exist. Don’t take off your blinders – life is so much nicer with them on.

      As as for eloquent, “retched” means to have vomited. I think it’s “wretched” that you were thinking of.

      And thanks for your thoughtful comments.

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      • cori

        March 1, 2011

        ” there are kids out there who are years behind grade level in critical subjects, who have no friends and who are completely isolated.”

        You’re right. And only some of them are homeschooled.

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        • ali

          March 1, 2011

          ” there are kids out there who are years behind grade level in critical subjects, who have no friends and who are completely isolated.”

          You’re right. And only some of them are homeschooled.

          -So true!! Right now, in thousands of school classrooms across the country, sit many thousands of student far below grade level in critical subjects, who have few or no friends, and who outside of that painful situation (where they are slipping through the cracks every day) are completely isolated… it’s so sad, but so very true…

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          • Stacy in NJ

            March 8, 2011

            So true. And, in additon, they quite possibly may be bullied by their peers or subjected to painful peer pressure.

            It stuns me that so many folks have such and idealized concept of public education. While many kids are happy, productive and learning, many others are bullied, turned-off and languishing.

            FYI both many mother-in-law and sister-in law are public school teachers and fully support me in homeschooling my children.

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      • Linda

        March 1, 2011

        You’re right, Sandy. There is no denying the existence of children who are not being successfully homeschooled. But there are far greater numbers of children in our country’s public schools that are not being successfully educated. And frankly, that is not in dispute. There is a huge school reform movement afoot for that very reason. Our nation’s schools are failing to effectively education a very large number of our nation’s children. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, in 2009, only 35% of our nation’s 8th graders tested at or above the level of “proficiency” in reading. Only 42% in math. That means the rest, 65% in reading and 58% in math, tested at or below the “basic” level of achievement. And by their own definition, “basic” achievement denotes “partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at each grade assessed.” Wow. (charts here: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/list/i2.asp)

        In light of that fact, why would anyone criticize the choice of parents who decide to take their children’s education into their own hands. Yes. Some will fail. But many, many of our schools are failing. And honestly, at this point in time, given all the available evidence, the odds of success favor the homeschooled child.

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      • Bill

        March 3, 2011

        Personally, I’d like to know where your outrage is against public school teachers who pass children on to the next grade as opposed to dealing with learning problems. Junior can’t read, let’s just move him along and let him be someone else’s problem.
        Your only real defense has been to insult those who questioned your facts. Why not acknowledge that both sides have their problems.
        For me, it comes down to the fact that I can give my children more one on one time than any teacher possibly can. Please tell me how that is wrong.

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      • Jared

        March 9, 2011

        While you’re correcting the above commenter’s mistake, please note that you meant to say, “Like I said above, these are [NOT] research papers.”

        Caught by an obviously flawed homeschool graduate who should have stepped foot in public schools (at least for more than SATs). =)

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  16. Lynn Schott

    March 1, 2011

    I am surprised by the shallow repetition of stereotypical, anti-homeschooling “opinion” in this post. These arguments are the same ones that I was confronting when I began home educating my now-grown children back in 1994. Unqualified, uncertified parents-as-teachers, and the canard of socialization are straw man arguments that have long since worn themselves out.

    It is extremely interesting that you use your childhood experiences as a student to argue for the virtues of public school over homeschooling. The current School Choice movement is hindered by many like you who are convinced that education today is much like it was when we were in school. Nothing could be further from the truth!

    The biggest problem that School Choice advocates face is getting folks like you to recognize that what you call a “good school” is, in reality, not nearly as good as you’d like to think it is. Even schools that are identified as good are turning out students who are less educated than students who attended public schools 50 and 100 years ago.

    Previous posts have covered the subjects of parents caring more deeply about a child’s school success than could any paid teacher, and the availability and participation in a plethora of outside activities by homeschooling families, so I’ll not repeat their powerful points.

    In closing, as long as we’re sharing anecdotal ‘facts’, I have a bachelor’s degree in business, and I homeschooled my three children through high school graduation. I am not a credentialed teacher nor scientifically gifted. My oldest son earned a merit scholarship to a private college, where he studied aeronautics and computer science. He graduated cum laude honors, and is gainfully employed. He had no problems fitting into the social scene at college, nor in his workplace. My other two children are still in college, are not suffering from any of the inadequacies that you posited.

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  17. Sontia

    March 1, 2011

    “But I have no way of finding an answer,”

    That statement right there is a big reason why we homeschool. The answer IS out there and you can find it if you have been taught HOW to learn rather than WHAT to learn. Then, when you need to know something you don’t already know, you know how to find the answer.

    So-since you obviously don’t care to find out the truth for yourself and it has to be spoon-fed to you….open wide, dear, mommy has your rote memorization of facts ready for you :)

    What about academics?

    * Homeschool student achievement test scores are exceptionally high. The mean scores for every subtest (which are at least the 80th percentile) are well above those of public school students. The national average on standardized achievement tests is the 50th percentile.
    * The largest data set on the academic success of the home educated reveals positive things. 16,311 students from across the country were tested with the nationally normed Iowa Test of Basic Skills. The nationwide average for the homeschooled on the Basic Battery (i.e., reading, language, and math) was the 77th percentile. They were at the 79th percentile in reading, the 73rd in language, and the 73rd in math. (The national average is the 50th percentile.)
    * There are no statistically significant differences in achievement by whether the student has been home educated all his or her academic life, whether the student is enrolled in a full-service curriculum, whether the parents knew their student’s test scores before participating in the study, and the degree of state regulation of homeschooling (in three different analyses on the subject).

    But how will you teach them? Do you have a degree? How will you afford to give them a good education?

    * Canada’s largest study of its kind revealed similar findings on the academic success of the home educated. Dr. Brian Ray found the students scoring, on average, at the 80th percentile in reading, the 76th in language, and the 79th in math. Students whose parents were certified teachers did no better than the other students.
    * Dr. Steven Duvall compared the academic engaged time (AET) and basic skill development of learning disabled students who were home educated to those in public school special education programs. Higher rates of AET and greater academic gains were made by the home educated. “… parents, even without special education training, provided powerful instructional environments at home…”
    * home education may be conducive to eliminating the potential negative effects of certain background factors. Low family income, low parental educational attainment, parents not having formal training as teachers, race or ethnicity of the student, gender of the student, not having a computer in the home, infrequent usage of public services (e.g., public libraries), a child commencing formal education relatively later in life, relatively small amounts of time spent in formal educational activities, and a child having a large (or small) number of siblings seem to have little influence on the academic achievement of the home educated. (Several references were provided earlier.) More specifically, in home education, educational attainment of parents, gender of student, and income of family may have weaker relationships to academic achievement than they do in public schools.

    What about when they grow up? How will they do in “the real world”

    * A study of adults who were home educated found that none were unemployed and none were on welfare, 94% said home education prepared them to be independent persons, 79% said it helped them interact with individuals from different levels of society, and they strongly supported the home education method
    * Public school, conventional Christian school, and homeschool graduates at a large, Christian liberal arts university were examined and compared for their college academic preparedness and college academic achievement. Dr. Rhonda Galloway found that the home educated performed as well or better than the others on these measures.
    * the educational attainment of only the home-educated adults (all of whom reported that they had finished their secondary studies) who were ages 18 to 24 and those in the general U.S. population who were 18 to 24. In the general U.S. population in this age range, 46.2% had attained some college courses or higher; 74.2% of the home-educated had attained some college courses or higher.
    * On a 5-point scale (i.e., 1=Strongly Agree, 5=Strongly Disagree), the mean response to “I am glad that I was homeschooled” was 1.3. The mean response to “Having been homeschooled is an advantage to me as an adult” was 1.4.
    * 55% strongly agreed and 27% agreed with the statement, “I would homeschool my own children.”
    * 71% of subjects were participating in any ongoing community service activity (e.g., coaching a sports team, volunteering at a school, or working with a church or neighborhood association), while 37% of similarly aged U.S. adults and 39% of all U.S. adults did so.
    * The degree to which the respondents thought they could understand and affect society and government was also addressed. For example, fewer of the home educated (4%) than the general public (35%) thought that “politics and government are too complicated to understand.”
    * only 1.7% had ever been convicted of a misdemeanor.
    * Taking all things into consideration, 59% of the subjects reported that they were “very happy” with life, while 27.6% of the general U.S. population is “very happy” with life.
    * The evidence from one study also suggests that adults who were home educated have a commitment to or tolerance of free expression of viewpoints or beliefs that is about as strong as that of the general public.

    The all too often heard “What about socialization”

    Before I post the stats from research, let’s define socialization.

    What is socialization?

    -a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.

    -the process by which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society through education and training for adult status

    I can teach and offer that to my child at home. But does the public school system offer socialization? I don’t think they do-as a Christian I think they offer acculturation and indoctrination.

    Acculturation is defined as “the process of adopting the cultural traits or social patterns of another group.“

    indoctrination is defined as

    -”to instruct in a doctrine, principle, ideology, etc., esp. to imbue with a specific partisan or biased belief or point of view.”

    -”to teach (a person or group of people) systematically to accept doctrines, esp uncritically”

    * Studying actual observed behavior, Dr. Shyers (1992) found the home educated have significantly lower problem behavior scores than do their conventional school agemates.
    * Multiple studies show that the home educated have positive self-concepts.
    * Homeschool students are regularly engaged in field trips, scouting, 4-H, and community volunteer work, and their parents (i.e., their main role models) are significantly more civically involved than are public school parents.
    * Dr. Johnson (1991) concluded that home educators carefully address the socialization needs of their children in every area studied (i.e., personal identity, personal destiny, values and moral development, autonomy, relationships, sexuality, and social skills).
    * The home schooled are well adjusted socially and emotionally like their private school comparison group. The home educated, however, are less peer dependent than the private school students
    * Dr. Montgomery (1989) found that home schooled students are just as involved in out-of-school and extracurricular activities that predict leadership in adulthood as are those in the comparison private school
    * Dr. Larry Shyers observed children in free play and group interaction activities. Conventionally schooled children had significantly more problem behaviors than did the home educated. This is probably because the primary models of behavior for the home educated are their parents.
    * Home educated children are more mature and better socialized than are those sent to school, according to Thomas Smedley’s personal interaction and communications approach to understanding socialization.

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  18. Tracy

    March 1, 2011

    So are you going to do a post on Public school disadvantages? just curious.

    I am a homeschooling mom to a 5 yr old & a 7 yr old. My 5 yr old is in Kindergarten and doing 1st grade work. And my 7 yr old is in 1st doing 2nd grade work. Both are working above grade level. If they were in public school they probably would not be learning what they are.

    Parents start teaching their child as soon as they are born.
    Also we don’t need to school 8 hours a day like public school, so its not uncommon at all for a child to do school 25 hours a week or less. Theres more one on one. Not 20-1.

    Social Development….what a misconception. First do you send your children to public school to socialize?? And yes I am sure there are kids that are not socialized that are homeschooled, and theres just as many of those in public school too. :) Theres groups, playdates, field trips, extra curricular activities such as sports. Homeschoolers have a big advantage on being socialized in my opinion ~ because I think children should be around people of all ages, younger, older, adults not just same age. Now thats really being socialized don’t you think?

    And how many children do you have?

    off to read your other comments.

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  19. Angela @ Homegrown Mom

    March 1, 2011

    Well said, Cheryl. I agree with everything you said.

    Kelby, It is ridiculous to say that you allowed this in the name of community. This post is not “a different viewpoint,” it is misinformed and downright offensive. By posting it, you are spreading ignorance. I’m guessing you wouldn’t post a racist or sexist rant. You have to have standards, and you have to draw a line. You drew your line and accepted this, you posted this, and you were wrong. And I hate leaving negative comments, in fact this may be the first one I’ve ever left anywhere. I am just so disappointed!

    To the writer of this post, your immature “comebacks” speak volumes.

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  20. Sonya

    March 1, 2011

    What I find even more appalling than the typical anti-homeschooling rhetoric is the personal attacks on your commentors. I’ve read your article…twice. All I caught the second time that I didn’t catch the first were numerous misuses of commas and other grammatical errors.

    I suggest that before you attack your commentors for not having reading comprehension skills, you do a simple proofreading exercise to make sure that your article states what you want it to state.

    You stated that you were worried about those homeschooled children that “fall through the cracks”. As a public educator, I must tell you that there are far more children in the public school system who fall through the cracks than there are those being homeschooled. Homeschooling is a very daunting and difficult task. Parents need to really love their children to willingly choose to add to the stress of parenting by also taking on the role of official educator.

    If you truly believe that there are some good homeschool families out there (as you stated in replies to comments), why at the end of your article did you state that you feel all homeschoolers are at a disadvantage? Why not title your article: Disadvantages of Homeschooling Done Poorly? You could then highlight areas where people you have seen homeschooling could use a boost, or maybe even an overhaul, in their technique.

    Since you were sharing your personal history with public schools, let me share mine: extreme bullying. Yes, even 20 years ago there was extreme bullying. I would have given just about anything to be able to stay at home, learn what I needed to learn, and “socialize” only with those who wouldn’t torture me. I am not exaggerating when I state I was tortured…it was so bad I was suicidal with ideations by 3rd grade. “Socialization” taught me that if you’re not like everyone else, don’t wear the right clothes, don’t weigh the right amount, don’t have the right color hair, and answer too many questions correctly aloud, then you’re not worth the air you breathe.

    Maybe your next article could go a little more into public school “socialization” and you could take a look at the bullying problems we now have in public schools. Or possibly the bullying that follows children home to their personal computers through cyber bullying? Or what about those public school children who get kidnapped on the walk home because they didn’t know not to trust strangers? What about the public school children who don’t meet the state assessment criteria enough years in a row that they are passed to the next grade because they are legally too old to be in their grade any longer?

    These are serious problems! They are less in the minority than the homeschooling families for whom your present article was written.

    Oh, if you are writing this article for those who don’t homeschool well, may I suggest that you write it in a more helpful and less attacking manner?

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  21. Crisc

    March 1, 2011

    I live in Metro Detroit.

    You said that you were from Michigan so I’m sure you heard about the 30 MORE Detroit schools that are about to close or the 60 plus kids that will soon be packed in classes.

    Do you really feel the kid that’s crammed in a room with 60 other kids is going to learn better than my child who gets 1 on 1 attention everyday?

    I can honestly say I’ve never met a homeschool mom who wasn’t passionate about her child learning. I can tell you these moms put in more effort then someone who is pissed off about their paycheck.

    Here in Michigan you have to teach certain subjects that the state requires you to learn. If you want your kids to go to college there will be a test. The test will prove what the parent taught the child. Use google and look up “homeschool statistics” before forming an opinion on something you aren’t sure of.

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  22. monica

    March 1, 2011

    Hi Sandy,

    I am a mom of three who admires the courage of many homeschooling families. I am not going to get into the debate about homeschooling per se, but I do want to disagree with you on one point. It was your statement that you are not a teacher. I know you mean that you didn’t major in education and that you have neither teaching experience or credentials. But of course you are a teacher. Parenting is teaching. Furthermore, you underestimate yourself. I am sure you know elementary math, spelling, and reading and with the enormous resources available these days to guide you, you could teach each of these subjects well.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on education and your concerns about accountability for homeschoolers. I share some of these concerns as well, but I think it is each parent’s responsibility to secure their child’s education and it isn’t my affair.

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  23. Linda

    March 1, 2011

    I’m a mom and a teacher. But what has benefited my children most in our homeschooling experience is NOT the fact that I’m a teacher. It’s the fact that I’m their mom. Period. I KNOW them. A teacher might have some fancy techniques and expertise (though MANY teachers don’t!!), but a mother knows, and LOVES, her child. And she has a vested interest in that child’s future. That’s what makes homeschooling successful. Yes, there are good teachers. But even the best teachers DON’T always have my child’s best interests at heart. I do.

    But what irritates me the most about your post is the socialization argument. As someone who has been homeschooling for more than 20 years, frankly, I’ve had it with the “socialization” argument. I went to public schools. I’ve taught in public school. I’ve tutored dozens of children who go to public schools. Here’s a newsflash. The socialization that children receive in public school leaves A LOT to be desired. There is nothingthere (in a social sense) that my children missed out on. I reject the argument that homeschooled kids need to be enrolled in lots of extra-curricular activities in order to “make up” for the lack of socialization. In my opinion, there is nothing to “make up” for. My children were better off because they were not socialized in that environment. Period. (By the way, three of my children are now adults….I can back this statement with proof that they are all confident, mature, socially capable young adults.)

    I wrote a general argument of why I wouldn’t send my kids to public school here. HERE. Here’s an excerpt regarding socialization:

    “Schools are places where a dangerous brand of socialization is valued. This brand of socialization insists that children are capable of preparing each other to be meaningful, productive members of society. This brand of socialization argues that being bullied, ostracized, and laughed at is a necessary part of the socialization process. (How else will your children learn to get along in the world?) This brand of socialization exalts rudeness and vulgarity over civility and decency. It values disorder and chaos over discipline and self-control. This brand of socialization favors the popular, the attractive, and the likable, creating a social hierarchy which diminishes the value of those who don’t “measure up”. Ironically, in a place intended for learning, this brand of socialization often values academic mediocrity over academic excellence. In other words, in school it’s often considered “not cool” to be smart.

    Here’s another post I recently wrote about socialization.

    School isn’t supposed to be about socialization. It’s supposed to be about learning. Even my 5th grade teacher agrees. She used to always tell me and my friends, “Stop talking and get to work. School is not the place to socialize.”

    Linda

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  24. Crystal

    March 1, 2011

    While I understand that this is an opinion piece, it’s not one that I happen to like. Not because it’s an opinion that is different than mine, but because it comes across as written by someone who has not fully researched what they are writing about.

    From your comments, I can see what you’re trying to say – that some homeschoolers are not taught the way they should be or offered the things they should be offered.

    That being said, your attacks about reading comprehension are ridiculous. If you want people to fully understand what you are trying to say, then you have to write what you are trying to say. You claim in the article you said that you knew good homeschooling families. You said that in a comment – not the article. And yes, I read it twice. Sure, you threw some in there, but then you turned around and wrote it as if you were lumping us all in there together. You say you’d pull your kids out and put them in private school, and homeschool if you had no choice. But you also don’t think you could do it without the help of the same books and an organization with trained teachers. Should it come to that, and you really research what is out there, you would probably surprise yourself with just how good a job as a teacher you could do.

    It’s fine to have a differing opinion, but make sure that when you write that opinion that it comes across clearly. It was only through your later comments that I got what you were getting at; until then, I believed this was just an article based on old myths.

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  25. Brownie

    March 1, 2011

    Wow.

    Homeschooling is such a hot button topic. I read the article and was getting ready to post but then saw that so many others already had.

    I’m not any more concerned about a homeschooler falling through the cracks than I am a pubic schooler.

    I homeschool my oldest. She did attend a private school last year – but she got in trouble for socializing too much :)

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  26. Q

    March 1, 2011

    Goodness. You may want to consider research before writing a published piece of work.

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  27. Arby

    March 1, 2011

    (Long Heavy Sigh) And yet another writer joins the long list of people writing about homeschooling unencumbered by facts. Ms. Laurence conveniently ignores the results of the 2009 HSLDA study of homeschoolers that demonstrates how homeschoolers outperform their public and private school peers (http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/200908100.asp). I’m willing to bet that Sandy Laurence has never spent any significant amount of time observing and interacting with homeschoolers as she offers the same inane commentary on education and socialization offered by every writer who interjects their opinions criticizing homeschooling, such as her concerns about music, languages, and art. Has she failed to notice that public schools in the United States have required foreign language studies for decades, and yet continue to produce students who are barely fluent in English, yet alone a foreign language? Homeschoolers can do no worse. On a side note concerning her foreign language argument, Wikipedia is the last source anyone should use for support. It is unreliable, at best. Wikipedia does not pass muster for a 100 level college writing class. I will applaud Ms. Laurence for desiring “someone who’s passionate about teaching and who’s been educated in the best teaching techniques,” as the person to teach her children, although I would argue that it is poor critical thinking to assume that our nation’s public schools are the best places to find those people. If she is not that person for her children, okay. I see no reason why she should deny the freedom to home educate to those of us who know that we are the best person to teach our children. She is completely unaware of how well educated homeschooling parents are, as well as how many of us are former teachers. Again, a little basic research would have helped the writer avoid this mistake. Like so many homeschooling critics, Ms. Laurence fails to realize that with the wide variety of “techniques” available for teaching children, it is far easier for a homeschooling parent to identify the technique that is the best fit for their child rather than trying one on a group of 25 kids in a classroom and hoping that a blanket approach works for the largest number of students possible. Please invest some time and energy learning about your subject matter, Ms. Laurence. Afterwards, come back and try again.

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  28. ali

    March 1, 2011

    “The vast majority of American children successfully attend public or private schools.”
    When looking at published results of competency levels in “critical subjects”, vast majority successful would be a definite overstatement. Unless you really only meant that they “successfully attend”, as in, they get there and back each day and manage to graduate…

    “In my opinion, homeschooled kids miss out on the rich experience of learning and bonding with their peers.”
    The problem I see here is that you did not, in fact, specify that you may have meant some homeschooled kids- you simply state “homeschooled kids”, which most certainly does imply ALL homeschooled kids. That sentence reads as if it is your opinion that all homeschool kids miss out…
    The “vast majority” of homeschooled kids participate in multiple social activities, while at the same time, many traditionally schooled students do not, and even their “rich experience of learning and bonding with their peers” is often less than desirable. It’s often miserable.

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  29. Letara

    March 2, 2011

    I find it funny that people worry about how well homeschooled kids do as opposed to ‘brick and morter’ schooled kids. REALLY? Cause all kids that ‘go’ to school are so well rounded and academically sound? I don’t think so! I have wanted to homeschool my kids for years, but I really made the decision to do it, when as I was enrolling my son in his new middle school , SEVERAL kids came in, very rowdy, cussing and acting crazy, and seemed shocked… literally shocked to see some of the other kids passed to the next grade. Like, literally, a couple of kids said “you passed?!” to other kids. So clearly these kids aren’t thriving in public school either! There was also a 19 yr old in the 9th grade. There are good things to be said for public school, im sure, but it isn’t the ONLY way a child can learn. And for the whole socialization thing, I just laugh. Public schools these days are NO place I want my kids to learn social skills.. Walk past a playground at any given time, you’ll hear kids cussing (even in elementary school), fighting and of course you’ll have your ‘popular kids’ and ‘losers’ . Uhm, no thanks! My kids are getting along fine with each other, and all of the other people we come in contact in our school day. I don’t look down on or worry about people who decide to send their kids to school, im tired of people having ‘concerns’ about what mine may or may not be doing.

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  30. carolyn

    March 2, 2011

    Okay, I read the comments and then re-read the post. I clearly do not see where you distinguished between good and bad homeschooling parents in the original post. Only in your rudely refuting of the comments do you do that. Maybe if the original post you had clearly made the distinction people wouldn’t have been so offended and felt attacked. I do think some of the responses were rude as well.
    Please feel free to copy and paste where you made that distinction. I really don’t think it is helpful to simply attack people saying they need help with reading comprehension. If it is there, show me.

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  31. MommaJade

    March 2, 2011

    If you think parents aren’t qualified to teach their children, perhaps we should ask where you sent your child to learn to walk and talk and use the toilet.

    While you may think these are not on the same level as learning history, math or science, you’d be wrong. It’s only when the parent loses interest in their child’s learning that they become a failure as a teacher. In reality, learning is not something that has to be actively taught – it simply happens. As a successful homeschooler, all you have to do is provide opportunity for your child and they’ll learn the most amazing things, things they’d NEVER get to learn in public school (or any other government subsidized situation, or even in private school that follows rigorous curriculum).

    ANY parent CAN homeschool their children. Most choose not to simply because they can’t see outside of the brainwashed public school box they’ve grown up with. We forget that demonstrating skills and abilities is a FAR better form of proof of learning than testing can EVER be.

    Children LOVE to learn. Education should be more about learning and less about testing.

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  32. Richard

    March 2, 2011

    Angela – excellent blog response. You rock. Clearly your parents are doing something right.
    Sandy – I understand you point to some degree. You clearly stated “some” a few times to indicate you aren’t painting with a broad brush, but you do not in you article mention knowing any successful homeschoolers. You do mention it in your overly defensive, insulting rebuttals to the comments, but I’m sure not everyone reads all the comments and therefore may not fall into the class of those with a lack of reading comprehension you seem to be fond of tossing about.
    While there are certainly cases where homeschooling has fallen short of the ideal (probably even cases where it has resulted in disaster) the fact that you are writing a blog based on the exceptions to the rule indicates in inherent hostility towards the practice. You hostility is picked up by those that are passionate about homeschooling and is seen as an attack on themselves. To not understand this and react with more hostility toward their comments, I think, only serves to further distance any valid points of your article from the ears of those that disagree. You’ve every right to your opinion. I enjoy reading opinions different from mine. That’s how we evaluate, process and learn to form our own viewpoints. But when the opinions I read come from someone hostile towards me or insulting, I shut them out and move on.

    Keep writing, but get a thicker skin for your own sake and I’ll be back to hear what you have to say.

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  33. rightheremom

    March 2, 2011

    When bullies bully, they do so because they feel inferior in some way. They do not know how to properly channel their anxious energy, but prefer a short lived feeling of superiority. I’m guessing that is why you make these “bullying” remarks at those who are making a very good argument about the tone of your blog. I’m also guessing that you learned that bullying in public school….

    Maybe you weren’t the bully (I think you are probably a nice person), but you probably observed that in a situation without oversight (such as a playground)… it often did work to enable that bully with a fleeting moment of supremacy. Just as with blogging (a venue with only the user’s discretion as oversight), maybe you feel that it works.

    Unfortunately, for the whole “I’ll just call you a big dummy ’cause you can’t read right” argument, many of these who have refuted the argument are beyond that kind of bullying. So then, not only is your opinion uninformed, but your defense of it is looking downright silly.

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  34. Sara

    March 2, 2011

    “… most homeschooled kids lose out when it comes to classes like music, languages and art.”

    Have you checked the national public school systems lately? Music and the arts have been cut drastically, if not completely obliterated.

    So, in future blogs, please throw out that comparison.

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  35. republicanmother

    March 2, 2011

    What I read into this post, is that there are people out there who want to micromanage the lives of every family in America, just to make sure we are all “learning appropriately”. I would like to point out the tremendous work done by former policy advisor in Reagan’s Dept. of Education, Charlotte Iserbyt, who wrote the book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, which documents the deliberate movement of “educators” to reduce the reading level and critical thinking skills of American schoolchildren. The precursors to the state and and national departments of education worked it so you had to have a license from a “state-approved” school to teach to ensure that this new agenda would work its way into the fabric of American education. BF Skinner bragged he could make a pigeon an honor student simply through conditioning, and that is what public school is –conditioning to obey a central authority.

    Apparently Sandra is disturbed that there are kids that are not being properly observed by the authorities. Some people wonder how the Germans became Nazis, but one only has to observe that the German people benefited from free, public education longer than any other European nation. Totalitarian government depends on total control of children.

    What Sandra calls socialization: sitting in rows, standing in lines, waiting for bells, (because they’ve really cracked down on talking to your neighbor in public school-even at lunch) I see as something much more sinister. I’d rather have the uneducated homeschooler who can sense when his rights are being violated than an honor roll student who cheerfully signs up for gas chamber duty.

    Here is a quote from the turn of the last century, from the president of the precursor to our federal Dept. of Education:

    In our dreams we have limitless resources and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk.
    –Fred Gates, General Education Board, Occasional Paper No. 1

    Get more grateful, you rural folk you!

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  36. Elena Burlington

    March 2, 2011

    …”If I were homeschooling, I could probably do an adequate job teaching grammar and vocabulary. But I wouldn’t do as well with subjects like history or advanced math. I’d rather have my child benefit from a teacher’s excitement about a subject, because that experience could change the course of his or her future.”…

    So what you are really and truly saying here is that YOU don’t care enough about YOUR child to get excited and find the resources you might need to help your child learn. This article is a testament to the fact that YOU would rather “hire out” when it comes to educating your child. Good on you for recognizing YOUR weaknesses. Homeschooling is a fantastic option for those of us who make OUR children and their education our number one job and priority.

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  37. Oney

    March 2, 2011

    Ms. Laurence,
    I am reading a book you might find interesting. The title is “Dumbing Us Down–The Hidden Curricu.um of Compulsory Schooling.” John Taylor Gatto, the author, was a teacher in the New York City public schools for over thirty years. He has been awarded the New York City Teacher of the Year and the New York State Teacher of the Year! I would love to know what you think on this subject after you read his outlook on education.

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  38. Bob Collier

    March 3, 2011

    “And that, combined with parents who aren’t fully qualified to teach…”

    LOL. Oh dear. The necessity of teaching qualifications is such a myth I’m surprised to find an obviously intelligent person buying into it.

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  39. Donna

    March 3, 2011

    Homeschooling is a commitment. Parents make it for different reasons, with different goals in mind for their children and their families. Many families stress “socialization”, others stress the “academics”, others “religious training”, etc. Our children’s “socialization” needs are extremely important to us. In our local community, the public schools are not safe. In fact, one recent crisis is an explosion of public schooled children fighting one another and then posting videos of their fights on the web for other student’s to watch. I have a close male relative who teaches in a local high school who was physically attacked by two female students who were on campus before school was supposed to be starting (they should have been supervised, by their parents, and not dropped off at school before the staff had even arrived). Drugs are rampantly available and widely used by both students and teachers. It is not at all uncommon for teachers to be arrested for serious crimes like possessing child pornography, domestic violence issues. Cearly Sandy, you feel strongly about your goals, and you believe your child is best served in an institutional school setting. That’s great for you and your family. But, our family has chosen something different and we have valid reasons for having done so. Most homeschooling parents feel pretty strongly, as you clearly do, that they are making the best decisions for their children and their family. It’s really best for us all to just give one another the benefit of the doubt. It’s fine for you to write about your own choices and why you have made them, I’m sure no one would dispute that at all. But, what’s not sitting well with some of the readers of your article is the fact that the reasons that you lay out for disapproving of homeschooling (perhaps generally, perhaps specifically in relation to your child & family, it’s a bit unclear) are the same petty little things that we hear over and over and over and over. They are OPINIONS, they are not FACTS. It is your opinion that a school setting, rather than a family, best provides for a child’s socialization needs, but it is a FACT that the children in my community are not safe at school, and the behaviors they are learning from their peers are not desirable behaviors. (Over 70% of the children in my county drop-out of school before graduating. It is NORMAL for 14 year old girls to be pregnant, for 13 year old to both drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes.) When we homeschooling parents try to speak up and enter into a conversation with parents such as yourself, and offer some facts that are relevent to our personal choices, we are continually told, “Oh, I didn’t mean you… I meant the other homeschooling parents who aren’t like you.” Oh, OK, but what good does that do? Is it better to talk in stereotypes than in specifics? Well, then, I suppose you are sharing just to get your opinion “out there” and not, rather, to make an impact on those who would most benefit from what you have to share. I know dozens and dozens of homeschooling parents, and I don’t know one, not even one, who isn’t homeschooling out of a deep committment to do what they believe is best for their child. So what if it really is true that there are some who aren’t doing a “good” job? So what? What does that have to do with whether or not you personally would ever choose to homeschool? Certainly, you wouldn’t be one of those kinds. Their “failure” does not make homeschooling an invalid choice any more than the parents who dropped the girls off on campus before school started, leaving them bored and looking for trouble (which lead to a VIOLENT CRIME) make public school an invalid choice for many families. Atleast we know where our kids are!! LOL!! Yes, we certainly have that one going for us. And, just so you know, homeschooling moms don’t have the luxury of going to bed when the chickens are waking up. Nope, we hit the floor running quite early because our children are at home, with us, because that’s the choice that we have made, just as you have chosen to farm your child’s development out to the “experts”. Homeschooling is a wonderful, blessed choice for many families. Ours is a joyful life, and that alone makes it worth while. But, thankfully, we have lots of other reasons to homeschool too!! Maybe your next article could be about some of the benefits of homeschooling, like being with your child and making a positive influence on his or her heart (which takes alot of time, by the way), keeping them away from bullies and predators, and giving them the gift of being allowed to discover who they are and what they are capable of, without the influence of the many dysfunctions that come from institutional learning.

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  40. ChristineOC

    March 3, 2011

    Wow. What an astonishing mix of ignorance and arrogance. I originally wondered if this was a satirical piece.

    In addition to missing out on the best teachers, most homeschooled kids lose out when it comes to classes like music, languages and art.

    This says MOST homeschooled kids; not “some” or “a few” or “those who fall through the cracks”. MOST. Not sure when you last experienced a public school, but foreign language is non-existent, and music and art are relegated to 45 minutes per week, often with a cart wheeled into the regular classroom. With arrival, departure, and set up, this usually results in a grand total of about 20 minutes of art and music per week. That is if music and art aren’t canceled for “test preparation” that week. Losing out? I don’t think so.

    And where do we get this information that most homeschooled kids lose out? From a scientific study? From an article published in a respectable magazine? No, from Wikipedia, the go-to source for lazy researchers and/or third-graders.

    And perhaps the biggest deficit in a homeschooled child’s life is social development.

    Again, this does not say “some” or “a few” or “those who fall through the cracks”. This says “a homeschooled child’s” life, which implies that is the case for all homeschooled children.

    The vast majority of American children successfully attend public or private schools

    Depends on your definition of the word “successfully”, I guess. If we’re talking about grades, sure. If we’re talking about mentally and physically healthy children with a love of learning and something to contribute to society, not so much.

    In my opinion, homeschooled kids miss out on the rich experience of learning and bonding with their peers

    Yet again, this does not say “some” or “a few” or “those who fall through the cracks”.

    Perhaps the most objectionable thing about your post is the fact that when called on your clearly wholesale dismissal of homeschooling as a valid alternative, you launch into your one-note attack on “reading comprehension”, when in fact, if you honestly did mean “some” or “those who fall through the cracks”, the failure was your failure to write in a concise and lucid manner.

    A final thought for you to ponder: What is it about homeschooling that threatens you so?

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  41. Joe

    March 3, 2011

    This blog post is laughable, how very misinformed you are about homeschooling

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  42. Sara

    March 3, 2011

    I think, with a little research, you would be surprised to discover the following:

    1) There are teachers who have pulled their own kids out of an incompetent school system and are homeschooling. Now, how do you think they handle (your perception of) a lack of “socialization”?

    2) Not all homeschoolers are Conservative Christians.

    When we form (and print) an opinion based on a stereotype of an entire group, we make ourselves out to be fools.

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  43. GeoQuester

    March 3, 2011

    I am a homeschooled fifteen year old. My Dad is a teacher, not of a public school, but of of school for those kids who have “slipped through the cracks” of public school. I went to public school last year. The kid sitting behind me in English class was often on drugs, and I learned at least six new swearwords. That’s socialization for you.
    I also fell behind in schoolwork. I had good teachers, but they were preoccupied with the ‘bad kids’, couldn’t let me go at my own pace (which was actually faster than many of the other kids), and always had to be giving out tests. My conclusion about public school is that it focuses too much on tests to be much good for learning in, and is a bad place for making friends because there are so many non-trustworthy people there.
    You said, “I often wonder what percentage of homeschooled kids are educated as well as they would be in a good public or private school.” I don’t know the percentage, but I’m sure, from my own experience, that it’s a vast majority. You also expressed concern that there is no way to tell that homeschoolers are “being educated at all, much less at proper grade level.”
    I don’t want to be educated. I want to learn. I can see where you are coming from on this. You went to school and were stuffed with education from an early age, and grew up inside the system. I had never been stuffed with facts (before I went to high school), and I have a natural love for learning just as all kids do. I don’t need a parent or a teacher or anyone to give it to me. It doesn’t matter if I take tests or not; I will learn.
    I hope that you have learned something from all of the feedback you’ve been getting on this; I certainly have.

    wishing you well, C. J.

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  44. Lillian

    March 4, 2011

    Sandy, you’ve made several comments about reading comprehension, but the article makes statements that do criticize homeschooling in general rather than just some people you personally know and some others you assume are like them.

    You wrote, for instance:
    “In addition to missing out on the best teachers, most homeschooled kids lose out when it comes to classes like music, languages and art.” That’s a sweeping general statement that simply makes no sense when you know what homeschooling can provide.

    First of all, “the best teachers” are not necessarily people who’ve gone through the training and worked in the classroom. I’m one who did, and I know lots of others who did, but all those I know of feel that teacher training is actually counterproductive to providing the best homeschoooling experience – it’s something most former teachers find that they need to grow out of rather than utilize when they begin homeschooling their own children. Classroom teaching is a whole different experience from being with your children and helping them learn and grow a love of learning.

    The other thing that’s hard to realize from the limited perspective of someone not intimately familiar with homeschooling is that children have the ability to be their own best teachers when provided with a rich and nurturing environment with modeling of curiosity. Classes can be fun and interesting, and every homeschooler I’ve known has taken advantage of good ones of all kinds, but they’re not the be all and end all – homeschoolers have access to many wonderful materials and resources that are not used in the schools.

    You didn’t say that you know a few homeschoolers who don’t seem to have much of a social life – you said “”perhaps the biggest deficit in a homeschooled child’s life is social development.” That’s a blanket statement about all homeschooled children, and it’s simply not true. Homeschoolers can find lots of social opportunities, and their social skills are often praised by docents, librarians, teachers, and others they meet out in the community. You seem to know mostly or exclusively families who homeschool for conservative religious reasons and keep to themselves, but I’ve known many, many homeschoolers over the years, and most of them do not – there’s quite a variety of types of people who homeschool.

    Of course there are some who are not as well skilled socially – just as there are children in schools who are not as well skilled socially. In fact, there are many homeschoolers who say that perhaps the biggest deficit in a schooled child’s life is social development – and that generalization might be more accurate than the statement you made.

    It’s good to see your acknowledgment that there are people doing homeschooling well, but your comment about wishing to see progress reports indicates that you don’t really know about the unique ways learning can work outside of the classroom. In fact, your feeling that those children you know are behind may not even be realistic – because a lot of things can be learned quite successfully on a whole different kind of schedule than what the schools happen to be doing.

    I hope you get a chance in time to find out more about the many ways people are homeschooling – it can be a delightfully rich and fascinating way of life that works well not because of people mimicking school ways but because of them moving beyond them.

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  45. Mary

    March 8, 2011

    “So I’m not against it. I’m against it being done poorly. ”

    Aren’t there enough failing public schools and public school students to concern yourself with? Statistically,public schools can’t hold a candle to homeschools.

    While you are entitled to your opinions, they are very misguided and uninformed. It seems to me that public schools are a much bigger problem in this country and your time might be better used focusing on how to fixt that, instead of the homeschoolers.

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  46. Lynne

    March 8, 2011

    I did not read all of the responses, but just had to say to the author that you don’t seem to be well educated on homeschooling at all. In many states, including mine, there are measures in place to make sure students are at grade level. My children are required to take a standardized test every year or have their portfolio reviewed by a certified teacher before I can be excused for homeschooling for the next year. You were obviously very fortunate to have good teachers. I was not that fortunate. I can think of only one teacher in my 12 yrs. of public education that had any positive influence on my life. My older son was demoralized and frightened by his first grade teacher, which is one of the many reasons we chose to begin homeschooling. I’m not even going to get into the socialization argument. You clearly need to meet some real homeschoolers if you still believe that they are socially stunted.

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  47. Cheryl

    March 8, 2011

    Homeschooling issues aside. Parents who chose to isolate their children have a right to do so in the USA. There has been a trend in the USA for the government to own the children. With cradle to grave government subsidies why not turn your kids over to the government the minute they are born?

    I agree, the government needs to step in when there are proven cases of abuse. Isolating your child is not abuse. Raising your child as a Christian is not abuse. Educating your children at home is not abuse, even if you teach real history instead of the watered down, re-written history taught in government schools.

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  48. GNJ

    March 8, 2011

    I think the point that is largely being missed is that all types of educational venues can fail children and that includes public, private and homeschools. Even the author admits that she had some great public school teachers and the occasional lousy one.

    The key is finding the right venue for each child and having supportive and actively participating adults that guide the child in their education. There are a lot of ways that a “good” education can be achieved, children have various learning styles and adults have various skill sets and abilities that can affect the longterm outcome. There is no “one size fits all” educational path.

    We are homeschooling due to overcrowding in our local school and the rabid focus on test scores and parroting information rather than genuine learning. Public schools are being held hostage by state and federal testing that is well-meaning but very short-sighted. Testing can be a good thing but it doesn’t tell the whole tale.

    I think the author has made some realistic points in her article. There are homeschoolers who are doing a pretty bad job of it, period. If your 14 year old is sitting around playing World of Warcraft all day and you justify it by stating that they are learning economics because they participate in the in game economy, then you are really kidding yourself. This isn’t a statement picking on unschooling, it is a statement picking on NON-schooling and I’ve met some people who choose to do almost nothing with their children and label themselves unschoolers. I think the key to unschooling is providing a constant learning rich environment and helping your child find what they are interested and passionate in knowing and then giving them the tools to pursue it. It is a pretty big gamble to take with your child’s success as an adult in life to give them no tools to be functioning and successful and hope they just have the personal desire to figure it out once they reach adulthood. I also wonder about families who must feel that their religious beliefs are so fragile that any exposure to another belief system will topple it. To be frank, there are weird uber-religious homeschoolers out there that are homeschooling out of fear rather than out of a desire to give their child the best education possible.

    I do have to admit I get so tired of the socialization comments about homeschoolers because that really is the biggest myth that I’ve found. Unless you are living on a 5000 acre ranch in Wyoming or some other desolate place there are enormous amounts of opportunities for homeschooled children via co-ops, extracurricular classes, heck even our Parks and Rec in our county has a plethora of weekday classes specifically for the local homeschool population. We are in a situation in which we can’t possibly participate in every opportunity that we have access to because there are just so many to choose from.

    I guess the bottom line for me when I see these types of discussions is that all the hard lines drawn in the sand do very little good for the children who are actually needing to be educated. Homeschoolers should be willing to admit that there are homeschooling families out there that are not doing a great job. Public school proponents should be willing to admit that public schools are not perfect places and that there are some really bad teachers within the system and that our focus on testing has been to the detriment of very young children. Private schools can also be good or bad and most of the time they are simply too expensive for most families to access anyway. Honest assessment is the only way to improve education for all children no matter where and how they are schooled.

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  49. Decadeofhomeschoolong

    March 8, 2011

    Wait. This isn’t “The Onion”, is it? Because normally when I read articles so ridden with logical fallacies, stereo-types, and sweeping generalizations, they’re some sort of satirical piece. But, I guess judging by the defensive, offensive, and insulting rebuttals by the author, this was intended to be a serious editorial.

    Socialization. Now there’s an argument that’s so over-used among the uninformed that it’s become cliche. Not to mention that it’s been debunked so many times that whenever someone brings it up, everyone else in the room says, “Ah, there’s someone who knows nothing about homeschooling OR socialization.”

    Working at grade level? Well, the author got me on that one. My daughter is not working at grade level at all. She’s a year ahead of her publicly-educated peers. Music? She writes her own music and has performed it. Art? Care to see her paintings and drawings? I have them framed on my living room walls. Foreign languages? Are Latin and Greek foreign enough for you? I’d go on but I’ll graciously assume your skills in deductive reasoning are right up there with your reading comprehension skills and spare you the rest of the list.

    I will suggest this, though: Before you sit down to write out your opinion on something, do some actual research on sites a smidge more reputable then Wikipedia. There are all sorts of databases used in universities and community colleges that are for the sole purpose of researching studies and factual information. I bet, if you’re nice and refrain from insulting those nice research librarians, they’ll let you do some actual research. Until then, expect responses like the ones you’ve gotten here to be the norm when you present such uninformed, poorly researched “opinions”.

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  50. Kristi

    March 8, 2011

    Here’s just a thought… with this many responses that are all saying the same thing, you might recheck your writing, rather than our reading. Your article comes across as stereotyped and bigoted. You quite obviously did no research, and you were counting on fear based responses from parents who didn’t homeschool. If I were you, I’d take this as a lot of constructive criticism and brush up on my basic writing tools and skills.

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  51. Valerie

    March 8, 2011

    I don’t think anyone addressed this statement.

    “But if I couldn’t afford it, I’d probably find a homeschooling organization that includes qualified teachers, who use the same text books as the public school system.”

    While I have used some textbooks that I absolutely love (Margaret Lial’s high school maths come to mind), I cannot abide the dumbed-down vocab and PC drivel that passes for writing/education in today’s history and literature textbooks. No wonder students find history to be deathly boring! We had to resort to older books to find something that we enjoyed for a “spine book”, i.e. basic reading that would acquaint us with an era, after which we could delve deeply into topics or person of interest. God forbid we should be required to use the textbooks adopted by our local ISD.

    What was the author thinking? (Perhaps she thinks that the perfectly round pink things in the little cellophane boxes in the produce section are real tomatoes as well….)

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  52. Rachael

    March 8, 2011

    I find it hilarious that most of these comments are better researched, more eloquent and more informative than the original article. And the comments from Sandy Laurence are hilarious, really. She gripes at people’s reading comprehension while claiming she said all sorts of things that weren’t in the original post. She points out people’s typos in comments with typos of her own. She insults people instead of defending any of her ideas. I realize that another site owner/moderator person came in here to defend the site, but I must echo what another commenter said and point out that this place has some serious quality control issues. I see no reason to visit here ever again. The only thing of value here is the comments from people refuting this article.

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  53. Aubrey

    March 8, 2011

    I have found that often times, when people resort to insulting others, such as suggesting they need to improve their reading comprehension skills, the insult is insincere: one does not make such comments to those with lower IQs, only to those whose opinions they don’t like.

    Fact, opinion, or research, this article contains logical fallacies, & I believe that that is the source of frustration with readers: it does not make any sense to take a small section of the population & criticize them for some of their failures without the larger context of either similar failures in other, larger populations or of their successes.

    If kids fall through the cracks when they homeschool, but we also know that they fall through the cracks in public schools, what is the point of this blog entry? If one is a parent who does not care, it will not make a difference to his children if he homeschools or sends them to public school: the outcome often depends on parental involvement anyway. If one is a parent who *does* care, then according to author comments added after the article was submitted, this piece has no content whatsoever.

    Perhaps this entry would be better read as the author’s explanation of why she chooses not to homeschool her children: after reading it, I completely understand & support that decision.

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  54. Crissy

    March 8, 2011

    “ In my opinion, homeschooled kids miss out on the rich experience of learning and bonding with their peers. And that, combined with parents who aren’t fully qualified to teach, is a big disadvantage of homeschooling.”

    Based on 11 years of experience in the homeschooling community, I respectfully disagree on both points.
    Of course there are a few homeschooled children who ‘fall through the cracks’ and decidedly more public school children in similar situations. I don’t believe anyone would argue against wishing there was more we could do for any child in an educationally neglectful home. Where we will disagree then is on the points regarding qualification of the parent teacher and the caliber or the ‘richness’ of the homeschooled student’s experience.
    Midway through your article you offer examples of your high school math, English and literature teachers. Some were terribly boring and others helped you become excited about the single subject for which they held a tremendous amount of passion and enthusiasm.
    I have personally known teachers who fit the latter description, and they are truly blessings to every one of their students.
    I would ask you to consider homeschooling parents in a comparable light. Except, rather than having an exclusive interest that they wish to share with students, they are passionate about education in every area of their lives.
    These parents set aside a tremendous amount of time to plan, to educate themselves and to discover various methods of teaching that will excite their children and create in them a love of learning that extends well beyond a single subject, beyond the walls of a classroom and certainly beyond those selected months known as the School Year.

    Homeschooling parents have the freedom and flexibility, not to mention an entire 12 months each year, to forego poorly written and watered down text books in favor of complete works by historians, scientists and artists. They have the time to visit museums and community theaters as a regular method of complementing a student’s studies and the ability to work at an individual child’s pace, whether slower or faster than the local school district’s average without disrupting the needs of a single other student. These advantages give the homeschooled student a richness that simply cannot be duplicated in a classroom, regardless of the certification or qualifications of the teacher

    As to the question of learning and bonding with one’s peers, I offer you a definition.

    Peer, noun: a person who is equal to another in abilities, qualifications, age, background and social status (dictionary.com).

    I question the richness in education, friendships and in life if we limit so severely the diversity of those with whom we are allowed to socialize.

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  55. Carol

    March 8, 2011

    “But if I couldn’t afford it, I’d probably find a homeschooling organization that includes qualified teachers, who use the same text books as the public school system.”

    Homeschoolers have much better curriculum available to them, in addition to the junk that the public schools use. I wouldn’t bother to homeschool if I had to use their curriculum. If you wanted someone else to teach your kids, you’d send them to a private school. Oh, wait, they don’t want to use public school curriculum either.

    You really don’t have any clue about what homeschooling is, do you? You don’t know any homeschoolers who are falling through the cracks! Do your research before writing a load of garbage.

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  56. Kristen

    March 9, 2011

    Just curious if those texts you would be looking for are the same ones that our school system pulled because they discovered they were full of inaccurate history facts? I have a Masters degree in Ed and let me tell you that there was NOTHING I learned in college that helped me become a teacher. They hand you a set of texts and you open and teach. Lack of socialization is my neighbor’s kids who come home from school and sit in the house all afternoon and on the weekends as well. There are weird homeschoolers and they would be weird in public as well. There are far more disadvantages to public school than homeschooling. I quit teaching because it is such a sham. My 1st and 5th grader are learning Latin, are yours? They read quality literature and are read to daily, are yours? They spend the day with their mother and we enjoy cooking and enjoying nature walks together. My kids do more extracurricular activities because they have no homework due to the 1:1 teaching they get for 4 hours daily. Do your kids get that kind of attention? Are the saddled with unneeded homework most nights? Please think before you type.

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  57. Jennifer Duke

    March 9, 2011

    Does anyone else think it’s HILARIOUS that someone so concerned with social skills and graces seems a bit lacking in that department themselves?

    Let me explain, for the “reading comprehension deficient”.

    One writes a provocative, poorly researched, poorly written, cliched opinion piece masquerading as a factual piece. One publishes said piece on a quite large social networking site.

    So, let’s just begin with that. This person hasn’t acquired the foresight necessary to predict the HUGE backlash that will result from their actions. Continuing on.

    Backlash ensues. Writer becomes highly offended by people interpreting (accurately, as has been demonstrated by Lillian and ChristineOC) their piece.

    Break that down: Writer has not learned to gracefully accept criticism by peers. Moving on yet again.

    Writer opens dialogue with commenters. Writer inserts ill-natured digs about reading comprehension, degrades commenters who are making valid arguments, compares polite, patient responses to an “angry mob”, and ends with another dig about having the day off school.

    Yes, that sounds like superb socialization and social skills acquired by the public school system. If someone disagrees with you, participate in the adult equivalent of calling them a poopyhead and fling rocks at their face.

    Enter more backtracking, “I never said that”, excuses, insults/quips/digs and general hostility toward responses.

    Translation: I don’t have to be held accountable to the things that I say (write). The rules of society and civil conversations don’t apply to me. The basic rules of research, and not making sweeping generalizations when writing about an increasingly popular sub-culture, also do not apply to me.

    Yes, please, sign us all up for the crash course in socialization at the local public school.

    Signed -
    A homeschooled adult with homeschooled children.

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  58. Brittany

    March 10, 2011

    Because I like to throw up a monkey wrench and be late to a game (unfortunately not fashionably) I have to make 2 points.

    1. The blogger here does seem misinformed about homeschooling. As a matter of fact I am. I am absolutely ignorant to the process and academic standards of it. Then again is it considered homeschooling getting my degree from a well known university online? I’m off track but point one, the misinformed normally need to be informed. HOW? I’m glad you asked. As a child I was taught respectfully and with errmmm what’s that word…oh education. So instead of taunting and name calling (and of course throwing Kelby’s name into the mix) please educate us. Make us aware. I’m open minded and I love to learn. I would love to be less ignorant about the wonders of homeschooling. Trust me it’s crossed my mind a thousand times as I have a gifted child and public schools just don’t make the “cut” so to speak. Either way – looking to me the ignorant and making a discussion volatile is par for the course I assume?

    2.Statistically speaking public schools suck etc etc etc. Because I feel lazy and have enough research to be doing for my English paper – I heard that the best students come from Charter and Private schools period. Regardless my second point here is education and educational standards from homeschooling to private schools; need to be risen. We have far too many kids falling through the cracks no matter the outlet and if there is anything I will stand behind it’s education. My children are the future of this great nation (I know gag – a cliche) but it’s the truth and they won’t get far in life without an education.

    Sorry for piping in at the wrong time. I am in no way taking sides. I just think that the time spent giving this blogger a piece of your mind could be best spent teaching the ignorant the truths about what you do so well.

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  59. Eryn

    March 15, 2011

    If everyone has trouble “comprehending” your writing, is it us, or the writing?

    The issue is TONE. Just one example:

    “And perhaps the biggest deficit in a homeschooled child’s life is social development. If parents want those children to be well-socialized, they have to provide opportunities for them to make friends and participate in social events. Otherwise, how do their children, especially those who take no additional classes at public or private schools, become socialized? How do they learn to distinguish between someone they can trust and someone who’s likely to betray that trust? How do they learn to get along and interact appropriately with other kids?”

    You start with an ASSERTION about socialization. You follow with a sentence explaining how socialization occurs, giving a TONE of authority. You ask your 1st question, don’t answer it, ask another question, don’t answer it, ask another question & don’t answer it.

    This builds a false sense of urgency. “LOOK AT ALL THESE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS! Wait! I have MORE unanswered questions! Don’t stop to think or you may find answers! You may question the original assertion!”

    The TONE leads a reader to believe that since you can’t/don’t answer those questions, that the original assertion (homeschoolers aren’t socialized) is true, willfully ignoring the multitude of opportunities for homeschooled children to “socialize.” You then use the word “most” & a statistic that only holds weight if you purposely fail to mention that homeschoolers take many private lessons in music, foreign languages & art.

    You’re under no obligation to blog without bias.

    We’re under no obligation to ignore bias.

    A valuable lesson was learned here about being able to support even op-ed pieces without resorting to “THIS is how I FEEL, I don’t need FACTS!” or worse, calling every commenter stupid.

    And look, it was learned at home.

    Guess homeschoolers ARE passionate teachers.

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  60. Concerned

    March 15, 2011

    All though I do not mean to offend anyone or take sides. I currently am well acquainted with two families who have recently chosen to home school. In both situations the parents are not educated beyond a high school level nor have any interest in socializing their children. Both mothers have personally said to me that they chose this path because of scheduling conflicts with public schools and they want to just be able to go to the beach (or whatever) in the middle of the week if they want to. Now I assume that these are not the norm for home school. What do you do in this situation to protect the kids? Are they just doomed because their parents are idiots? I’m only on this site because I googled home school disadvantages and this came up. Any help would be appreciated and I am happy to see so many passionate home schooling parents out there who do take educating their children seriously but there are a few out there who don’t. What can be done?

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    • Dawn

      March 16, 2011

      I think a more in depth conversation with these two moms is called for here. I know I’ve made the flippant comment that I homeschool because I don’t like getting up before 7:00am, ~but this is meant as a joke~ My reasons for homeschooling are quite substantial and not easy to put into a brief conversation.

      Firstly, it’s important to not confuse education level with wisdom and character. I imagine both of us have stories about wise people we know and love who never made it past high school. And the academic degrees piled up next to one’s name is no indication of their capacity for teaching.

      Did the moms actually say they have no interest in socializing their children? This could also be out of a mis-communication on what “socialization” is. My mom thinks socialization is the ability to get along with 20 other kids of the same age. I think socialization is the ability to comport yourself graciously with anyone regardless of age or social position. But if we use just my mother’s definition, then I could say I have no intention of socializing my kids either.

      I know what they said (wanting to go to the beach) seems alarming, but I find it hard to believe that someone would choose to deal with all the school district reporting (even the most lenient of school districts require some reporting), spend money on curriculum, have the kids around all day, every day, and put up with the near constant defense of their choice simply because they want to go to the beach (did these moms say what they did in the winter?).

      I appreciate your concern for their children. However, keep in mind, their form of parenting, while it might be different, doesn’t necessarily lead to a bad outcome. Some children actually thrive in a setting where they are allowed time to play, explore and think things out on their own. Not everyone does well sitting in a classroom listening and reading endless textbooks. I personally am scared at the thought of “unschooling”; how do all the necessary topics get covered? However, I know there are unschoolers out there producing well rounded, contributing members of society. It’s not what I would choose, but it works for them, and the outcome, while different, is still good.

      I hope this helps alleviate some of your concerns.

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    • Margaret

      March 17, 2011

      Concerned – why not google “homeschool advantages” instead of disadvantages? Or google “carnival of homeschooling” which is a weekly blog carnival with lots of different posts on homeschooling. You could also check out homeschooling sites such as Trivium Pursuit, The Well-Trained Mind, Sonlight… there are many more. Maybe some other commenters will have suggestions.

      When you ask, “what can be done,” what do you mean? What do you want to do? The parents have made their choice to homeschool, for watever reason. I doubt that access to the beach during the week is the real reason. Maybe they don’t feel it’s anyone’s business but theirs why they homeschool. Maybe they are getting pushback from others and are tired of explaining why they decided to homeschool. I don’t always go into a long explanation with everyone who asks me about my reasons for homeschooling. Sometimes there simply isn’t time to answer. Sometimes I can tell that people really don’t want to know.

      I know several homeschooling families with parents who did not go beyond high school. They are not idiots and their kids are doing well. Don’t buy into the arguments made in the original article here. The author is really not well-informed about homeschooling at all.

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    • Angela

      March 23, 2011

      Hi. I might be only 13/14, but I do have something to say about this. :)

      First of all… Just because the parents are dolts doesn’t mean that the kids are “doomed”, as you said. We kids have a mind of our own, sometimes, and chances are, those kids WILL find an education/social life on their own, simply because they know what they’re missing out on.

      Second of all.. Yes, and no. That is both the “norm” for homeschoolers, and not.
      A lot of homeschoolers choose to homeschool because of the scheduling difficulties. I do admit that it is nice for us to be able to go wherever we want, whenever we want (generally) during the day. But it is also not the norm, because a lot of homeschooling parents choose to homeschool in order to teach their kids better than they would be taught at public school.. At least in the parents’ opinions. :)

      So, I’d say… If you have children, try to make sure that they can see your friends’ kids.. Or just leave it be. if what you say is true, that they want to go to the beach in the middle of the day, I bet the kids will meet some people there. :)

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  61. Terrence Wirth

    May 30, 2011

    Ok so I just wasted 15 mins of my life reading a bunch of angry posts, from a bunch of angry biased people. Last time I looked we are all allowed to think what we want on any subject we choose. I personally am only looking into this because of a paper I am writing for my college class. Out of this so far I have heard a lot of positive things about homeschooling that I didn’t originally know, or honestly care to know. Today however I am seeing more than a handful of people ganging up on a writer for voicing her opinion. That sounds really fair. I am pretty sure that every everyone here took the time to actually understand that people think differently then maybe we wouldn’t be so willing to grab our torches and pitchforks at the drop of a hat. Honestly I am disappointed at the lack of civility on all sides and can honestly say that I hopefully never have to meet any of you outside of this forum. If your demeanor is any indication of your abilities as a parent then our world will be filled with loud mouthed closed minded assholes by the end of this generation. Good day everyone I hope your ranting helps you sleep at night. Mine does.

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    • Sandy Laurence

      May 30, 2011

      Thank you for that. And may you continue to sleep well! :)

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  62. Yelena (Colorful Childhood)

    June 8, 2011

    I am personaly choosing to homeschool my kids because of the extremely poor level of education public school kids are getting and increasing teaching to pass the test instead of actual learning in public schools.
    I didn’t read all the 100+ comments, but the original blog did sound offensive and judgemental to homeschoolers. All the same points could be made in a more tactful way.

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  63. Steve

    November 13, 2011

    I actually happen to be one of those (according to the majority of comments) “phantom” home-schooled children that had crappy parent-teachers… or at least they became that way.

    I am speaking from experience here – this isn’t hypothetical, or based on some “research” (whatever that means).

    Now, let me give you my background story.

    I was home-schooled by my parents… and that’s VERY loosely describing it. My mom was my primary teacher, and my dad maybe taught me about 2% what what was actually, erm, taught?

    The first few years were okay; I think I did pretty well, and there actually were curriculums to follow for the first few years. Then we moved to another state for three years, and my education became spotty.

    When I was about 8 or 9 years old, my mom managed to get a hold of some books from another teacher and pretty much handed them to me and said “here, do these.” I’m pretty sure this was after a year off of school (I got to stay home all day and play, or read sometimes). Not sure why I was “off” for a whole yea, but I didn’t mind.

    I wasn’t the most social of kids, and I’m still not (well, I’m 29 now, but I prefer solitude because socializing seems not only pointless, but also makes me uncomfortable). Socializing was NOT encouraged, or it was at least falsely encouraged (ie. I learned how to read my mom like a book – she may have said one thing, but she totally meant the opposite, and I knew it).

    Now, all things aside, thank God for a supportive family: aunts, uncles, grandparents. I believe they encouraged my social development, and so both of my parents became more engaged in my social well-being and enrolled (both themselves, and me) in the Cub/Boy Scouts of America. That was hands own the best time of my life.

    I made friends, we did fun activities, we had “den” meetings every week at my house (my mom was a “Den Leader”). We did this for about 2-3 years, life was great and then we moved again (out of state).

    That’s when my life became utterly miserable; I was depressed all the time, had lost all the friends I had made, and was starting to get really fed up with school. I hated my life, my lack of friends… ANY friends. I think my best “friends” were my dog and my pen and notepad(s) for journaling.

    Then when I was 12 my parents “oopsed” and at 13 my brother was born. That’s when my relationship with my mother went on a downward spiral, from not great, to just terrible.

    I realize I’ve gone off-topic, so let me realign again. Wen we moved back (I was about 11 or so) I was enrolled with a home-school organization of sorts. I did incredibly bad at first, until I learned where the answer keys were kept. Since my mom (stay-at-home-martyr-teacher-type) stayed up late every night and slept in every morning, that was a perfect opportunity to find all the answers and memorize a string of 20 letters or numbers (I’m really good at remembering numbers now, lol).

    Then I got busted. But WHY on earth would a teenage adolescent cheat at school? Gee, I don’t know ;) Actually, I do know, and it went beyond just simple rebellion. When I did bad in school, there was no additional teaching that happened. I got in trouble, was told to study harder, and that was about it. My mom always seemed put out of her way to stop whatever online game she was playing or phone conversation she was having or TV show [Oprah] she was watching to actually give two sh*ts about my REAL education.

    The only thing important was that I submitted good grades so she couldn’t be held accountable for my lack of learning. I was never taught HOW to study, so I read the same text over, and over, and over again, hoping that something would stick. It was a nightmare – an utter HELL.

    I couldn’t learn, thought I was stupid and incapable of learning, and things just wouldn’t stick. My motivation was to get good grades so I wouldn’t get in trouble. Since I didn’t DO anything or go out anywhere, there was little to actually ground me from. Once I started working, then she had new weapons to use. Any potential friends I tried to make, places or parties I might want to go to… yea. It was leverage gold.

    One thing I did have going for me (I forgot to mention) was on occasion, we had these friends (another home-schooled family with 4 other children) who came over from time to time. That was my social life for a few years after we moved back, but then something odd happened and things just fell apart at about 15-16. Not sure what, but that’s when things got increasingly worse.

    To make a long story short, I had to put up with a bunch of crap from my mother, not a whole lot from my father. I felt stupid, and felt like a waste of space; a waste of a person. I “dropped out” when I was 17 because I had to save up my own money and pay for my previous year of schooling ($1000), and at that point, I realized I wasn’t burdening my parents with my education anymore – it was my loss now, and I was okay with that. I decided to study for and take my GED, but as it turned out, with little to no “formal” education, and far and few records in-between, I couldn’t take the GED test until I was 19. SO, I studied the GED book for a year/year and a half and passed the GED test with flying colors.

    I’m currently working towards my AS in computer science, and I work in Information Technology. I’ve worked with the same company for over 11 years now, and I make just as much as my wife does (she’s a professor and has a Masters degree). What home-schooling has taught me is A: How to read people quite well, B: How to identify opportunities, C: How to do things more efficiently.

    A: I learned how to read my mom like a book. I learned body language, tone of voice etc. That helps me to interact with people when I need to.

    B & C: I cheated, but it worked (until I got caught). I am able to identify weaknesses in systems (logical or procedural), and I can develop workarounds or more efficient methods of accomplishing the same tasks.

    I’ve also learned how to make lemonade out of lemons; make the most of what you have to work with. I’ve also learned how NOT to try to kill yourself – I was depressed for the majority of my teen years, and my attempted suicide was actually AFTER I moved out and was on my own for a few years. The stain of mental torment and mind games has blackened my spirit. I fight every day to negate the effects of my sh*tty upbringing… at least from 13-19 (moved out at 19). I deal with depression and feelings of worthlessness every day, but I somehow manage to come out the successor.

    SO, to all the sayers and naysayers, home-schooling requires some intelligent parents. Home schooling requires PATIENCE. MOST people I do not believe are both educated enough AND patient enough to adequately home-school their children to claim that they give their children a “quality” education. Also, I should add that MANY people are also not even fit to be parents – PERIOD.

    I can imagine people countering my last paragraph with something along the lines of “well I can give my children a better education that most public schools can” and my response is this: Then you are lowering the expectations of the quality of your childrens’ education. Rating from 0-100, if public schools fall at 25, and you can give 30, it still doesn’t make it a “quality” education.

    I think the main point of this article (the one written by the blogger) is that not all parents are fit to school their own children. There are drawbacks, and some (not ALL) greedy slimeball parents see home-school as a financial savings plan, so they can spend more money on god-knows-what for themselves.

    I think I’m done here. Externally, I am a moderately successful adult by definition. Internally, I hide the emotional mess caused by my upbringing.

    - SG

    PS: My relationship with my dad is good, but we don’t talk very often. I haven’t spoken to my mother (about 2-3 years) ever since she not only divorced my dad and took him to the cleaners (not that he had much to take) but also didn’t show up for my wedding celebration or the family dinner we had the night before. My poor brother is 16 and stuck living with her; he’s also “home-schooled,” is FAR behind, and I feel bad for him, but there’s not a whole lot I can do.

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  64. di

    December 12, 2011

    Cheryl@SomewhatCrunchy You are right and the author of this article wrote in an ignorant manner.

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  65. di

    December 12, 2011

    Steve Thanks for sharing your story. How sad that your parents did that to you. A parent that loves and cares will do what is best for their children’s education. I homeschool and have friends that homeschool. Those that feel like they don’t know how to teach a subject enroll the kids in classes with teachers within homeschooling co-ops or umbrella schools that teach that subject. I know of families that don’t want to teach highschool and feel their kids are better off in the public school. In any case the people I know are very involved in their kids education and making sure they have a social life. I went to public school when I was growing up. My mother was a single mom and we had to move often. That meant I had to move from school to school often too. I hated being the new kid but eventually one or two kids would befriend me and I would treasure those friends, especially in elementary school. Then in highschool those kids that befriended me were what I would call right now bad influences. I would not want my kids having friends like those! But those were the only ones the public school system provided for me! Academically I was a bad student. I did not understand what most teachers taught in highschool and I cheated to make up for the lack of understanding. I moved to another country and bought some homeschooling curriculum. I enjoyed learning without peer pressure and at my own speed. Then I took the GED. I love that you have moved on with life and are striving at getting a great education. I enjoy my life now and I love learning.

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  66. Laura

    January 6, 2012

    Well, I’ll just skip ahead to the author’s response and say my reading comprehension leaves much to be desired because I not only disagree with her conclusions, but also find her arguments to be shallow.

    As a woman with a communication degree (which, I assure you, includes much education in reading comprehension), I must conclude the shortcomings of my education logically apply to all degree holders – teachers included. It follows that just maybe some of the “experts” in educating our children aren’t the ones most skilled to do the job.

    My kids have had great teachers. They’ve also had certified, passionate, well-meaning teachers who don’t teach well – or simply don’t have the freedom to choose the best curriculum for my kids. And that’s at private school. Even the best teachers don’t love my kids to the degree that they will do everything required to give my kids the best education possible. I do. And I’m not in the minority there. We don’t send our homeschooled kids to any school for any reason – we pay for true experts to teach our kids or we pay for excellent curriculum to teach them ourselves. As for using school curriculum, I will never again pay for the curriculum most schools use – I’ve bought some of it at the teacher supply store in town and can’t use it because of its inaccuracies. I now buy better than that.

    You distinguish “good” homeschoolers from “poor” ones by the achievement of their kids. What about the kids whose intellectual abilities, reaching as high as they are able, will never perform at grade level? Have their parents failed them? How are you qualified to know the difference between those kids and kids who are not reaching their potential because of their homeschooling parents? And of those kids, how many will not – armed with a love of learning if not enough facts to satisfy you – will not excel once in college or otherwise in their lives? How are you qualified to know a child’s potential and whether that child is living up to it? Maybe you are qualified, but you give no indication.

    Finally, if you publish your thoughts in a public forum, you need to develop a thicker skin. Accusing everyone who disagrees with you as having inferior reading comprehension skills is juvinile. Buck up – and that’s honest advice coming from one who has been paid for her words.

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