Sunday, April 12, 2009

Why Do You Homeschool?

About a year ago, I started wondering why other people homeschool. We began because the academic pressure at Luke's primary school made him sick - but I thought it unlikely that everyone, or even most homeschoolers, had the same awful impetus that we did.



In the non-homeschooling world, the conventional wisdom is that people teach their children at home because A) they belong to a freaky religious sect, or B) because they desire total isolation from their fellow humans. Certainly around where we live, homeschoolers are seen as radically separate from their communities. In that world, before we made the switch to homeschooling, it was hard to imagine that the conventional wisdom could be wrong.



Once we started, and I learned how truly awesome homeschooling is, and how very un-radical homeschoolers are, I began to wonder: where are all these weird, unsocialized people I'd heard so much about? The homeschooling families we meet seemed so well-adjusted, involved in their communities, and generally very together that it's hard to imagine their children having the same kinds of problems Luke did when we started. With this in mind, I wondered, what made them decide to homeschool?



To find out, I conducted a survey of homeschoolers in our local email newsgroup, asking why parents removed their children from public schools to homeschool and how they feel their children fare now, socially and academically. I found out that Luke's experience was far more common than the conventional wisdom holds: all 24 parents who answered my survey, from dozens of school districts in 3 states, withdrew their kids from public schools because of problems with academics, such as the curriculum or teaching methods. Their children were bored to tears - either that or driven to aggressiveness, impassivity, or illness by school teaching methods, rules, and regulations. Many were also labeled, punished, and/or bullied, as often as not by the adults in schools to help develop a 'thick skin.'



A few parents cited religion, a few cited social/peer issues, but all placed blame squarely at the foot of the institution itself, both for what was being taught and how it was being taught.



And now, a year has gone by and I'm wondering, not just about the northeast, but about why we homeschool nationwide.



So, I have a question for you: why do you homeschool? Whether you have always homeschooled, or pulled your kids out of school to start, I'd love your input. The survey itself is seven questions long and I am happy to get responses of any length, from the brief answer to pages about each question. My plan is to spend several months getting as many families, from as many states as possible, to respond. Then I will review the responses and write a paper about the results.



To take the survey, please email me at whywehs@yahoo.com; you will remain anonymous, in case you worry about that kind of thing, and your responses are very valuable, whether you have one child or a dozen, whether some are in school, or some were in school, or none have ever been in school... you get the idea.



Survey at StoneAgeTechie.blogspot.com

I hope you respond to my survey. I believe that schooled children will benefit from our stories, because we homeschoolers show every day that education must be shaped to fit the child, and not the other way around. If we can be open about why and how we educate our children, then we give hope and strength to non-homeschooling families everywhere. We are saying, loud and clear, that there's more to life than school, and many ways to become educated.



Thanks!





P.S. - If you have a blog or website, and would like to link to my "Why Do You Homeschool" button, just copy the text in this box below and paste it into your website. Thanks soooo much to Jena at Yarns of the Heart for teaching me about buttons, and for making the box o' text itself... they don't call me the Stone Age Techie for nothing, and I would not have even known where to start without her!



25 comments:

Dan said...

I was happy to discover your Stone Age Techie blog today. I was unable to find an email link in your profile. I hope it's OK that I'm contacting you through a public comment. I've developed an educational program for Windows called SpellQuizzer that helps children learn their spelling and vocabulary words without the battle that parents often have getting them to sit down and write them out while the parents dictate to them. The parent enters the child's spelling words into the software making a sound recording of each word. Then the software helps the child practice his or her words. It really helped my children with their weekly spelling lists.

I would appreciate your reviewing SpellQuizzer in Stone Age Techie. You can learn more about the program at http://www.SpellQuizzer.com. There's a video demo you can watch at http://www.spellquizzer.com/SpellQuizzer-Demo.htm. I'd be happy to send you a complimentary license for the software. Please let me know if you are interested.

Thank you very much!

Dan Hite
TedCo Software
Dan@SpellQuizzer.com

The Stone Age Techie said...

Hi Dan, sorry to say I'm not your girl - my kids learn spelling and vocabulary through extensive reading and whatever writing they feel inclined to do, not through a curriculum program of any kind.

I will leave your info up here, though, so that other bloggers who stop by can get in touch with you and try it if they wish...

Peace,
K

Jena said...

Great idea and I can't wait to read the results! I'll put your button on my blog to help spread the word. I think the more homeschoolers who take the survey, the more interesting and useful it will be. Thanks for doing it!!

sgaissert said...

School caused clinical depression for our six-year-old. I think your survey idea is great. I'll try to get the button onto my site.

Anonymous said...

Karen, I linked here from Jena's blog. Are you interested in comments from homeschoolers overseas? Many of us on the internet aren't from the US! :-)

The Stone Age Techie said...

Oh, absolutely! Input from other countries has great value, too, and I am interested in why people homeschool the world over.

Thanks!
Karen

The Stone Age Techie said...

Jena and Susan, thank you both for 'buttoning' your blogs :-)

This is so exciting - thanks to everyone who has responded so far, I am amazed by the touching stories I have already read... and it's just the first day!

K

Alicia said...

Great question! I've answered it for various people over the years but this page that I wrote up years ago when I just had two little girls (I now have two tween girls and two little boys!) still sums it up for me.
http://www.magicalchildhood.com/articles/dearteacher.htm

It's simply such a joyful way of life that I can't imagine why we wouldn't. :)

Simply Mother said...

I followed a link on Twitter to find you. I've been meaning to blog about my reasons for homeschooling. There are many, but I'll sum it up this way: Sending my kids to school just seems so unnecessary! They learn so readily without it!

Maybe it will be more relevant later when they're older, depending on what they're interested in, but for now, elementary age? I just think there are way more opportunities for growth and learning when you're not spending half your day in an institution, ya know?

The Stone Age Techie said...

Alicia and Simply Mother, could I ask you to email me at whywehs@yahoo.com and be part of my survey? The more people who respond, the more useful and compelling the results will be...

Thanks!
Karen

Kelly said...

Very cool idea! I can't wait to read your findings!

I added the button to my blog.

Cheers, Kelly
Spunky Family Journal

Rana said...

Hi, I just found your blog and I'm looking forward to seeing how the questionare turns out. I'm putting your button on my blog too.

Betty said...

Hi Karen,
What a fun undertaking! I have learned over the years that for every homeschooling family I meet there is a different "why" and a different "way." I'll e-mail you my family's simple story. I noticed you posted this a while ago. Unfortunately, I just found it. Is it okay to still post the link on my own blog?

Homeschool Mother said...

Just saw your blog and was wondering if the findings are in. Btw, great job!

mommyx12 said...

I would love to do the survey. My email is vpsmith14@yahoo.com

Survey Software said...

We have some exciting news for you! As first in the world. Survey Software

kewkew said...

Is it too late to be taking the survey. I just saw your button on someone's blog. My email is kewkew34@yahoo.com

darrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
darrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
darrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
darrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jensen said...

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It’s the old what goes around comes around routine.

loans

Jensen said...

There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That’s a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith.



call center

Jensen said...

If you had some way of rating posts I would for sure give you a high rating my friend!

payday loans

Jensen said...

Your summaries are always top-notch. Thanks for keeping us apprised. I’m reading every word here.

call center

3