Homeschooling

Yep, we do it, a lot of families to it these days.

No I’m not here to convince you that you should. It’s a personal decision and not one to be taken lightly.

There are lots of things to consider before you make this decision, year in and year out you’ll reevaluate your decision as your kids get older.

My grandpa had a saying “Don’t be down on what you’re not up on”. It’s a hard thing to do, that is, not to be down on something you’re not up on. Some things in life you just don’t like and you may not even have a reason so you’re down on them.

I know I can be that way.

What does that have to do with home schooling? Home schooling is often misunderstood. But people are inherently down on it, especially teachers or anyone that has worked in a school system. They are convinced that a classroom environment is the best environment.

Of course they have a vested interest in promoting schools, they work there 🙂 It’s what they went to school for. They love the children, lots of them and the more the merrier.

The biggest misconception about home schooling is what the children allegedly miss out on.

The first thing they’ll point out is socialization. Let’s explore that. I have 4 kids that are home schooled.

Michael who is currently 14 years old. His activities include: A co-op program with other homeschoolers, (about 22 other kids his age), when there’s an event like skating or bowling about 30 or so folks show up. He has attended Torah study on Tuesday nights, with mostly adults, since he was about 11. The amazing thing is, since he’s been home schooled he’s been able to participate in discussions at a very high level since then. He has friends, more than a few, and sees them as any other teenage kid would. He also works now, and has had jobs in the past. He is currently working for a kosher caterer, and recently catered an anniversary party at a local Islamic Mosque. (If that’s not diverse I don’t know what is) Michael couldn’t have gotten the job he has today if he wasn’t fairly mature and well educated for his age. Over the years he’s had opportunity to work jobs that other kids could not have worked because well, they are in school.

Throughout his life he’s participated in multiple sports including soccer, and hockey. Michael is also an exceptional classical guitar player. Last time I checked they don’t teach that in high school. He recently participated in the master series at CCM and did very well.

Now I don’t mean to insinuate that high school kids can’t also play classical guitar, they can. But they won’t get that or any significant one on one training with any musical instrument at school. Those that are good also take lessons outside of school.

Looking back, I graduated from a well known high school in the Cincinnati area. There were, I don’t know 400 in my class? How many do I remember now? A few dozen at best. How many did I routinely interact with? Two dozen?

Michael has that and then some.

Let’s make one thing clear. Michael is still a teenager. So he’s not immune from all those things that come with being one. Hormones, lack of judgment at times, wanting to be cool, etc, etc. These things, like every other kid, homeschooled or not, get him into trouble just the same. That part of life is unaltered and isn’t the least bit affected by the fact that you’re homeschooling. But what is affected is how these things are handled by him. For the most part, he’s immune from daily peer pressure. That’s a good thing.

We don’t live in a school district that’s known as violent, but it is understaffed. The student to teacher ratio is high and the school district is known for football and not academics. Regardless, this has no bearing on our decision to home school.

Our kids get plenty of socialization, plenty of experiences, plenty of that ‘in the group’ feeling. They are all involved in co-ops that provide socialization, and in sports that are team sports.

But wait, you’re co-op is just a bunch of like minded Christian kids!

Poppycock! (That’s the strongest word I’m allowed to use here on this blog). Yeah, so they all claim to be Christian, and you know what they may very well be. That’s usually where you’ll find the most support for home schooling. But some of the folks we meet through homeschooling are down right strange. Some strange enough that I personally don’t want to have much to do with them and avoid them at all costs. But that’s “My??? personal observation, feelings and choice.

Our kids are free to make their own assessments. If you think for a second that just because a bunch of homeschooled Christian kids get together that there can’t be issues you’re mistaken. They are still kids.

What is common is that in the homeschool group the parents of all these kids are for the most part involved. They take a significant interest in their child’s education. So much so, that they’ve taken it upon themselves to get it done. What our kids are missing out on is routine interaction with some kids who’s parents could but don’t accept responsibility for their child’s education and sit back and wait for the schools to do it.

We are working towards giving our children the best education we feel is possible given the current state of affairs. Times have changed. Schools today aren’t like they were when we attended them. In a lot of ways they are much improved and I recognize that. Some schools have sports programs and facilities that are second to none. In a lot of ways things are not so peachy and we recognize that too. It’s not the only reason we home school, not at all, it’s a fraction of the decision.

The bottom line is, our kid’s lives are unique. All kid’s lives are unique, regardless of where they are educated; in a public school, private school, home school, or any of the hybrids in between. Each child will have their own experience. Some learn well in a classroom environment, some don’t. We like to think that since we have more of a one on one relationship with our children we can adapt their education in a way that’s easier for them to learn while at the same time exposing them to experiences they may not otherwise get.

If you have specific questions or comments about home schooling feel free to register and leave a comment or two. We can tackle those one by one.

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