Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why We Homeschool

Last spring, I surveyed parents in my area who had removed their kids from public school in order to homeschool them. And, even though I took Luke out because the academic pressure in the early grades made him sick, I still felt in my heart of hearts that he was unique in this respect, and that most other families homeschool for religious or family values reasons. These reasons are perfectly valid, but as it turns out, not the main reasons given by the parents who responded to my survey.

Anybody have a guess as to what the #1 reason, cited by every single parent, might be?

Yep: academics.

A few parents cited academics and religion, a few cited academics and social issues - but they all expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the curriculum and teaching methods their children received in the local public schools. They ran the gamut from gifted children who spent the bulk of their school days giving quizzes and correcting their peers' papers - I'm sure you can imagine how popular those lucky children were - to very bored, smart kids who became behavior issues in class, and on to children with special needs whose education plans were not honored and who were harmed emotionally because they were part of the 'dumb' class, and who didn't learn anything to boot.

With all this in mind, I'm excited to share an article of mine, published this month in both the online and print versions of Parents and Kids. You can find it here.

Update, 4/12/09: Unfortunately, Parents and Kids has no archive, so my article is not currently on the web. If you are interested in reading it, please email me at whywehs@yahoo.com and I will send you a copy.

In it, I tell our story about why we homeschool, discuss last spring's survey, and answer commonly asked questions that we homeschoolers get. If you enjoy it, I hope you'll pass it on; the more dissatisfied parents learn that homeschooling is a great alternative, the more kids can get out of school and start learning.


gina said...

I have homeschooled on two seperate occassions. The first was when my second daughter was in second grade and after years of crying daily when the school bus came, her condition had swelled to include not eating and wetting the bed- after she finally fell asleep after crying about going to school the next day. I approached the school for help and was told they would want to put her on Ritalin and work backwards from there if Ritalin didn't work... Huh?!?? Work for what?!! We didn't even know what was wrong. I immediately pulled her out and set in motion a variety of doctor and counselor appointments. In the meantime, I fell in love with homeschooling. My daughter was instantly relaxed and open to "finding out more information" about things that interested her. The Titanic and knights and armor where at the that list. We went on numerous field trips, watched "movies" together, and read. I also had a two year old and a baby at the time and if I was initially worried that it might be difficult- I was pleasently surprised at how family-friendly homeschooling was... much easier than dragging the young ones around in the car to bring the older girls to school, practice, meetings, etc. :) Though we eventually diagnosed my daughter with CAPD and moved into a school district that was friendlier towards special needs (a compromise I worked out with my exhusband, her father, who was ignorant about homeschooling and fought me to get her put back in school), I missed homeschooling. She did well at her new school and this year, finally blossomed in a school setting- yet nothing can replace the ability to match a child's exact learning style like when they learn at home - one on one.

This year, after struggling against the school system for something more for my six year old (first grade) who was crying every day, not understanding why she had to go to school every day and do "baby work" (they were reviewing the alaphabet) when she could stay home and do "real stuff" (workbooks that she became addicted to over the summer and reading- she's reading the Chronicles of Narnia this year, among other books) with me and her sister. Good point. A point that her school eventually agreed with- after they admitted they didn't have the staff or resources to challenge her... then they wished us well. We are enjoying our adventure - learning as we go, and that's not to say I don't worry or have doubts at times- but there is so much support available, it would be hard to not do okay.

SiouxGeonz said...

So many teachers are also learning as they go, too...

The Stone Age Techie said...

Gina, thank you for sharing your story. Like the parents in my study, it is both heartbreaking and triumphant.

Sioux, I'm a (former, public school) teacher too, and I'm definitely still learning :-)


Jena said...

Awesome! Congratulations on such a great article! I will definitely link to this in the next day or two.

The Stone Age Techie said...

Thank you Jena, and thanks for linking to it too!

Dana @ Our Sunny Side said...

We have homeschooled from the beginning. Our initial reason was academics but it has rolled into so much more now...flexibility of schedules, family togetherness, and freedom. Freedom to decide.

Your article is great. You are helping to lift the mysterious veil that hangs over homeschooling.

The Stone Age Techie said...

Thanks Dana!

And thank you to everyone who's read this post and/or the article... the response has been very exciting. I feel like a 'real' writer!

Cinira said...


The link for the article is not working... Can you provide another source for the article. I really would like to read it.



The Stone Age Techie said...

Hi Cinira and everyone, it looks like my article is no longer available at Parents and Kids, I'm sorry to say! They do not appear to have any archives at all, and at this point I am at a loss for how to get this article out. Perhaps I will post it here on my blog - but not tonight, as it is well past my bedtime :-)