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September 20, 2005

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Love it. Love him saying "It's a mixed blessing" a lot. :) Sounds like he finds it "good" overall.

Thank you for this topic! I'm just beginning to consider homeschooling now as my kids are approaching school age. It seems like such an overwhelming responsibility though- what if my teaching and their learning styles don't mesh? How do I help my quiet 4 year old find friends? How do I encourage her love of reading while dealing with a very physical 2.5 year old and a 4 month old at the same time? How do I keep them happy to be at home when my girls just started 2 morning a week preschool and *love* it so much? (It's the public schools next year that I'm dreading relinquishing them to, not the idea of outside education itself.) Hi, I'm Erika by the way, delurking after plowing through your entire archives. Thank you for your beautiful writing and thoughtful, whole hearted approach to both parenting and religion. I was going through a rough week where some family expectations of the "I bet you can't wait to go back to school/ work/ stop lying around eating bon bons" variety were getting me down a bit. Your journal was like therapy for me, quietly affirming my need to hold fast and listen to where I'm being called right now, which is certainly not away from my kids at this time. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your schooling, and how you balance it with children of various ages- as well as with having time for yourself and other outside obligations.

Wow. I would say that homeschooling seems to be paying off, as evidenced by your very well spoken eight-year-old.

I love your boys!!!!

He sounds like a very bright boy!

Is it possible to say 'AWWWWWWWW' in non-cloying, heartfelt way?
Well, consider it said.

This whole discussion is so interesting, and you are all so polite and articulate! I'm Jenny, another lurker coming out of the shadows. I think the tough thing about the whole discussion is that by choosing one or the other, you are indeed saying you think one is inherently better than the other. Jamie, Alex's observation that public school kids have easier homework than he does is certainly true; however, if he was in public school his work would be adjusted to meet his needs (believe it or not-- I've met some incredibly smart kids doing really challenging work at my children's school) Much of the homework(worksheets,ick) they do is less a reinforcer of concepts and more a getting-into-the-homework-habit exercise. For those of you considering homeschooling, let me say that I believe absolutely that it can be wonderful. But so can school. One of my children, a very spirited, wild, emotional, prone-to-rage daughter, was initially homeschooled. I was certain sending her to school would be a disaster: she'd be bored, she'd miss me, no one else could handle her. And instead it's been the opposite. The predictability, the organization, the clear expectations, the bright, stimulating atmosphere all give her the structure she needs. She's thriving. And when she comes home and lets it all hang out, I just get to be her mother. I haven't spent the day struggling with her. I can love her and care for her and not be totally burned out.
As much as I love the idea of homeschooling, I wouldn't want to give up organized school. Field trips, projects, the little school library, 5th grade band, art class, our friendly custodian, the Indian kids, African-American kids, and Hispanic kids-- kids from trailer parks and country clubs, with uncombed hair and tidy cornrows. And teachers who make huge sacrifices for them, who care about every single kid, who know every child's name in the whole school. My kids don't wait in line for the bathroom (they have passes) although waiting is a pathetically large part of adult life. Sorry to turn this into a soap-box about the magic of public education-- but I am a school lover, too. Jenny :)

Jenny, I appreciate this comment, too, as someone who adored school and is just trying to understand homeschooling better. I love that you tried both with your daughter. Congratulations on finding the right fit. (And same to Jamie -- your boys are very impressive! Not to mention... Latin. Sigh. How wonderful!)

Erika, thank you for reading. I'm so glad to hear it was helpful to you. Good luck with the family issues.

Jenny, what a great comment -- thank you. I would only disagree with the "inherently better" part. There are so many variables that I really wouldn't say homeschooling is inherently better. A better fit for our family for this year, yes. That's not a criticism of other choices, though.

This is SO great, to hear straight from your son what he thinks about being Homeschooled. Most of my friends who have school aged kids are homeschooling, and I think their children would echo what he said ... for the most part, they really like it and wouldn't have it any other way.

This topic has been in the forefront of my mind recently as Aidan started preschool last week. For a long time, Toby and I really thought that we wouldn't Homeschool. But now we're thinking that it's probably going to be the best option for our family at some point. We both feel (for now) that we would like to send Aidan to public school for at least Kindergarten and 1st grade, possibly 2nd. I feel like it's very hard to replicate the total experience of Kindergarten at home (though I'd be interested in hearing your perspective on this), and as I haven't the first clue how to teach a child to read and write, we feel like it would be best for him to be in public school to get the "basics" down. That, of course, may change when the time comes.

Also, one of the biggest reasons we would homeschool is, as you mentioned, all the "under the radar" stuff that goes on in the classroom and on the playground. While I'm sure there's stuff that happens at this age, I feel like we can handle whatever Aidan might come across in elementary school. After that, I'm not so sure. As with almost everyone who homeschools, it would be a year-to-year, child-by-child decision.

Please, let me know what you think about what I've written here. I'm always interested in hearing what people who are currently homeschooling think about our thoughts about Aidan's education.

Homeschooling is great...the way these schools are these days...I'd rather not subject my children to such atrocities. However, there is a touch of social interaction that will be missed. Spring-break next year there's going to be an event that kids from all over will be attending. Check out their site, at www.wfkids.com. Looks pretty cool!

Cheerio!
~Binta

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