Should you homeschool for special time with just one child?

A mom told me that she is pulling her fourth-grader to homeschool him just for this year. She has several reasons but her main reason is she wants to spend special time with him while he still wants to spend time with her.

She does have a younger school-age child who will continue to go their normal school. She’s promised that child that in fourth grade she’ll let that child stay home too.

Her oldest child is very excited about working with his mom. They plan to create a blog for him to write to share about his studies and all the things they check out around the city.

The mom feels like doing the work at home will allow them to get it done faster and move on to the things they want to do. Also it will allow them to still do all his after-school sports with less time constraints.

I think he will still get to see his friends from school and will still be social but he won’t be at the school.

I don’t think even if it goes really well she’s open to the idea of homeschooling permanently. I think she thinks it would be too hard to homeschool multiple children at once, and I also think she thinks the curriculum is going to get harder to teach in middle school.

So what do you think: Good idea or bad idea to pull a child for just one year to spend special time with them? If it is successful should she consider continuing on even into the higher grades? What do you think of letting each child have a special year at home with mom?

66 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

July 28th, 2010
2:32 pm

I am an educator and I train educators. I taught in the classroom, for years. I would not homeschool mine for one week, much less one year. Too many reasons that would take up the whole blog. It is not for me!

Let’s see what catlady has to say!

ONE time, I read an article about a family who Homeschooled and I thought ( for them) it was an absolute grand idea. The Dad was a pilot. The Mom took an entire year off when her 2 boys were in middle school. The visited all sorts of historical places across the US and over seas too. She made them keep a journal, make videos and write reports. They traveled most of the school year. That was REALLY a special time that the parents planned and executed for the boys to learn way more than they would ever learn in the classroom. A once in a lifetime opportunity for them and I applaud the idea!

Rich

July 28th, 2010
2:36 pm

Homeschooling should be about education, not spending special time with a child. The time spend with a child is special, but in my opinion it is not a good reason to homeschool. After the year is up, that child will need to be at least where his classmates are in school. I am a big supporter of homeschooling, but the focus should be about the education.

TechMom

July 28th, 2010
2:47 pm

I think it takes a special parent and a special child to homeschool (the boy and I definitely do NOT fit the mold). We know several families who homeschool and several who only homeschool through a certain grade (one family goes through 6th, the other goes through 8th).

I think 4th grade is an interesting year to pull a child out. Will he go back in 5th grade? I would almost think 6th grade would be better. But I don’t have a very fond opinion of middle schools and think that for the most part, 6th grade is a waste of time and the point at which public education falls apart.

Quite frankly I’m appalled by the number of High School students who are now “homeschooled”. I really feel like for a lot of them it’s a cop out but doesn’t have the stigma that dropping out does. I do think there are some programs that kids can benefit from in high school (joint enrollment for example) if they aren’t being challenged. The problem is that I’m seeing an alarming number of ‘average’ kids who are on the verge of flunking choose this route. I also think it’s harder to homeschool kids the older they get because you have rely on them to be responsible to get their work done while you’re going through the natural process of them ‘asserting’ themselves and learning to be independent. Plus, I find it really hard to believe that someone who doesn’t have a passion for a subject could instill a passion for that subject in their child. For example, I never liked Chemistry. If I had to homeschool my son, he certainly would never catch Chemistry Fever from me. Physics might be a different story but again, that’s where MY passion lies. The beauty of high school is that you typically have teachers who are passionate about the subject they teach and the hope is that they may impart that passion on the kids they teach and maybe inspire kids to learn more about that subject and help them to figure out what they want to learn more about in college.

catlady

July 28th, 2010
2:49 pm

Man, I am all over the place on this one! I guess…it depends. Sounds more like the mom’s need rather than the child’s, but who can tell in a few paragraphs.

I gave thought to homeschooling (to trying to find a way to go on welfare for a year or something drastic) because I was concerned about one of my kids. In the end, I decided rather than running away from what I saw coming, I would face it and try to be a part of the solution. It worked out well.

I am so biased because I have seen quite a few homeschoolings that turned out to be disasters. My colleagues and I were left to clean up the mess (catch the kids up, help them join the real world that doesn’t revolve around “what do you want to do now”, how to be a friend and member of a group) Even when the parents are super-educated and intelligent, there seems to frequently be some background stuff going on. Now, before home schoolers jump all over me, I am only relaying what I perceive about what I have seen. There are probably many who do it for the right reasons and are successful. They just don’t live around here or I haven’t had the joy of meeting them.

Christina

July 28th, 2010
2:55 pm

I went to college with a young man who was homeschooled his entire education. He was reserved and shy, but an otherwise brilliant guy who eventually came out of his shell and did VERY well in his college years. The key is a parent who is organized and dedicated to the day-in-day-out commitment, and plenty of athletic/social activities to keep them stimulated and socialized. GOOD LUCK! You are gonna need it.

FCM

July 28th, 2010
2:57 pm

Ok this parent is not necessarily home schooling to meet the childs needs. No mention if the child is academically or socially not having his needs met for education/peers in school.

So the parent has the SELFISH need to take care of her child. To create special time with him? And thinks this is the answer. WHAT? That has to be the worst reason to keep Jr home—and I cannot certainly think of valid reason to homeschool.

How about creating a special event that the both of them do monthly, yearly or weekly that they enjoy? Some special bonding thing that is just them?

For instance when the kids hit Middle School mom is going to officially stop all the “Build Bear” or “Sweet and Sassy” style birthday parties (they have not had that every year but have had some) in favor of a new thing. They will get a day off from school (not necessarily on their birthday) to go shopping. get a mani/pedi, etc with Mom. They can also have their friends to the house for a birthday thing…non slumbering slumber party likely.

One child loves museums. The other could careless. So that child gets Mom time to go to that. The other child would rather do some other thing.

I am all for giving each child time and special memories that don’t necessarily include the rest of the family along. However homeschooling to achieve that? Pathetic.

Yeah, I will go take judgemental pills now.

FCM

July 28th, 2010
3:00 pm

oops I meant I can think of valid reasons to homeschool.

penguinmom

July 28th, 2010
3:01 pm

The first year of homeschooling can sometimes be the hardest as parents try to recreate a full school environment at home instead of being more flexible. If she can let go of that aspect then she should have a really fun year. It will probably be a year full of really great memories. It will actually help her if/when she puts him back into school because she will have a better grasp on how he learns so she can help direct his studying at home.

It is amazing how quickly you can get done with daily work when you are doing the schoolwork one-on-one. A lot of my homeschool friends finish up their schooling by noon and have the rest of the afternoon for trips and activities.

As far as the other concerns, while the information does get harder the older the child gets, most homeschool curriculums take that into account and provide more explanation so the student can understand the material mostly on their own. The science curriculum we use is actually written to the student instead of to the teacher. There are also many, many tutoring programs available specifically for homeschoolers. I teach math and science at a once-a-week school for middle and high school students. We are accredited so the students end up with a diploma that is equal to what they get at a public school.

We have homeschooled all the way through and still love it. It’s challenging but my 3 kids really enjoy what they learn. They enjoy each other (for the most part, they still squabble some) and they still enjoy being around us. Even my 14-yr-old is not embarrassed by his parents. While other kids I know are dreading school starting back, my kids can’t wait to get back into their regular homeschool activities and classes in August. Kind of counting down the days.

btw, I highly recommend she look at the book ‘The Way They Learn’ by Cynthia Tobias. It’s Not a book aimed specifically at homeschoolers so it can be used by Any parent to learn more about how their child takes in and process information. You can check it out from the Gwinnett Library or purchase it from Amazon. It’s also amazing how much you can learn about your own learning styles and your spouse’s from reading this book.

Barb

July 28th, 2010
3:11 pm

In this particular case, it sounds like a bad idea if she doesn’t plan to keep homeschooling him beyond one year. I agree with Catlady that it sounds like the mom’s need.

Regarding homeschooling in general, it amazes me when people like TechLady who don’t homeschool say things like:

“I also think it’s harder to homeschool kids the older they get because you have rely on them to be responsible to get their work done while you’re going through the natural process of them ‘asserting’ themselves and learning to be independent. Plus, I find it really hard to believe that someone who doesn’t have a passion for a subject could instill a passion for that subject in their child.”

How would you know? You haven’t tried it. I homeschooled three of my kids through high school so I know what I’m talking about. When given freedom, the kids develop their own passions. Their natural desire for independence is an asset, not a problem. Mine are adults now and doing fine.

BTW, regarding: “Quite frankly I’m appalled by the number of High School students who are now “homeschooled,” please be aware that there are an increasing number of teens who have given up on high school and claim to be homeschooled but aren’t. Anyone can say they’re homeschooled, but that doesn’t make it so.

catlady

July 28th, 2010
3:24 pm

Barb, your last sentence says a lot. I met a young man about 18 months ago.He was a bagger at the grocery. He told me he was about to go to college, to SCAD. He told me he had graduated with a perfect 4.0. He looked a little younger than my daughter, so I asked him if he knew her (everyone near her age around here does) but he did not. So I asked him if he went to (our local high school), because I was puzzled; as a teacher I know most of the kids. He said no, he was homeschooled. (Unfortunately, he has yet to make it to SCAD.)

TechMom

July 28th, 2010
3:33 pm

Barb I think we agree that there are those who say they are “homeschooled” when they aren’t. I’m appalled at those who obviously aren’t being homeschooled but are using it as an excuse to not go to school. There are families who homeschool who are committed to actually teaching their kids but there seems to be an explosion of kids who are using it as a cop-out because they couldn’t cut it in school.

As for being able to instill a passion, I still find it difficult to believe that someone who doesn’t have a passion for a subject can really teach their child and give a passion for a subject they don’t have their self. You might be able to listen to your child and try to find where their passion lies and encourage them and give them opportunities to learn about it but how do you get them excited about something you aren’t excited about? Sure some people might be able to get around that but I don’t buy it that every homeschool parent-teacher can. Just because you were able to help your kids find their passion, do you really think that every homeschool parent is able to do that? And I didn’t say that every kid who goes to high school will find his/her passion, I simply think it’s more likely since they’ll be exposed to people who are passionate about different things and they are simply exposed to that.

David S

July 28th, 2010
3:42 pm

Homeschool all of them until they go to college. This is not about “special time”, it is about giving your children the education they DESERVE and doing your job of RAISING them rather than letting the government school system raise them.

Rich

July 28th, 2010
3:44 pm

I agree with the comments that we have people who say they are homeschooled, but are not. That is a problem with no real solution, except better parents. For children to take school (Public, Private or Homeschooling) serious the the parents must take it serious too.

As for the passion, I hope everyone is able to find a passion. Generally it does not hapeen in highschool and if it does it is most likely to change overtime. That being said, it appears to me that many teachers(Not all) have lost the passion for teaching and the subjects they teach. With the challenges they have in schools and the current cutbacks on funding, I have not seen the passion in my friends that are teachers or on the blogs related to school.
We have the option to use public schools, private schools, and homeschool. None should be viewed as better than another. Some may be better for an individual child, but in general they all have positives and negatives.

YUKI

July 28th, 2010
3:47 pm

you know David S. was going to be all over this one!

Stephanie

July 28th, 2010
3:51 pm

I think spending time with your child and developing a closeness with them is a valid reason to homeschool. How many parents say that their kids won’t talk to them any more as they get older and they wish that their peers didn’t mean more to the child than they do? A year really getting to spend one on one time with the child could really help in that area.

I homeschool for now (we are taking it year by year) but it amazes me that people who don’t homeschool do not realize how many opportunities exist for homeschoolers today. No one I know homeschools in a vacuum. There are TONS of outside classes, co-ops, groups and outings available. In fact there are so many just in my area, that I am having a really hard time trying to narrow down exactly what all we have time /money for to be involved in next year. If you don’t like Chemistry, then no problem, find a co-op or tutor for that subject- they exist everywhere. I consider us ‘hybrid’ homeschoolers, I teach what I feel comfortable with at home, my daughter attends classes for the things I don’t, or think would be more fun in a group setting. Not as expensive as private school, more freedom than public.

motherjanegoose

July 28th, 2010
3:54 pm

Rich…teachers have passion, they simply have lost the patience to deal with all the other stuff.

My neighbor is brilliant. She worked in aerospace and at the Pentagon. She just finished her first year teaching HS Physics and I LOVE talking to her, as she now knows the struggles teachers face.
She told me, “I thought I was going in to TEACH PHYSICS!”

I love talking to her about her school days. I am about 10% as intelligent as she is but NOW we both get it that being a teacher is simply not just about teaching or sharing your passion….anymore.

My kids both got a good education in Gwinnett County Schools. I am thankful for the teachers who taught them. Were there ever struggles? ( as they say in Minnesota) YOU BETCHA! Life is full of struggles and each of us has to learn the art of navigation with finesse. I am still working on it.

Rita

July 28th, 2010
4:01 pm

Just one year for “special time”? Does this mom not think she has been a good enough parent so far? It “appears” this is for the mother’s benefit, not the child! This situation sounds like it can have many “cons” as an after effect.

Parents really need to stop “directing” their children’s lives so much! It seems whether it is home schooling, public to private, sports, etc. – alot of parents jerk their children around for their own benefit if they care to admit it or not. Trying to create the ideal childhood or re-creating what you the parent never had is typical these days! :(

usually lurking

July 28th, 2010
4:09 pm

To me this is the telling sentence “Also it will allow them to still do all his after-school sports with less time constraints.” Sounds to me like this child has too many after school activities to keep up with his homework, and maybe out too late on school nights to get to school on time. Just sayin…

Rich

July 28th, 2010
4:10 pm

motherjanegoose – A very valid example, but is she an exception?

penguinmom

July 28th, 2010
4:11 pm

as far as instilling passion, if there is a subject a homeschool parent truly doesn’t feel adequate to teach, there are A Lot of options out there for their students. They can continue homeschooling but that doesn’t mean the child is at home all the time. My husband loves, loves, loves Chemistry and also Computers. He teaches both at our local homeschool academy and he really tries to transfer his passion for the subjects on to his students. For those who just really don’t like the subject, they still enjoy his class and he makes the topic less scary so that they will succeed when they take the class (if required) in college. One of the key benefits of homeschooling is being able to find the best opportunities for your children to learn. I have also found parents who became passionate about a subject the more they studied it with their high schooler. Watching a parent become excited about a subject can be as inspiring as being taught by someone who was passionate from the beginning.

From tutoring public school kids, I don’t always see their teachers inspiring them in the subjects I tutor. There are always cases of slackers in any educational environment be it public, private or home.

I try to not paint public school kids with a broad brush based on the ones I see behaving poorly or not succeeding.

As far as the SCAD wannabe, because it is such an expensive school, he may just not have been able to afford to attend even if he was accepted. He may be still saving up in an attempt to lessen the student loans he will need.

JATL

July 28th, 2010
4:14 pm

From previous posts it’s obvious that I’m not a huge fan of homeschooling, although I do see the validity in certain circumstances. David S -it’s not about letting the government raise our children -it’s about our children learning out to properly integrate into society! It’s great if you’re a “REAL” homeschooler who is educated yourself and you actually educate your children and have them involved in homeschool groups so they socialize, etc. Unfortunately I know a number who don’t do that and seem to use it as an excuse to do little or nothing except what they want to do all the time. I agree with MJG that if there’s an incredible experience to be had -like traveling the nation or world and learning as you go -that’s an invaluable experience that most don’t get, but you learn so much from -and I’m all for that type of thing. In this situation it sounds like mommy is having heart pangs because her boy is getting big, and I completely understand that, but this sounds like something she’s doing for her and not for him. Also, is she prepared if he really loves it and hates to return to school next year?

BlondeHoney

July 28th, 2010
4:15 pm

I agree totally with the posters who say it seems to be more about Mom’s needs than the child’s. MHG, TechMom and FCM are right on target; one of my best friends teaches 7th grade math in Cobb County and she would be the first to tell you that she would do a very poor job at teaching her kids (or anyone else’s) history and language arts In fact, I have been tutoring her daughter in grammar and language arts; although I’m not a teacher by profession, I could easily teach that subject if I had homeschooled. But if I had, I would have done my children a disservice because I could never have taught math and physics at a level my now-engineer son needed to be successful. The schools my boys attended (both private and public) did a FAR job than I could have ever done and I applaud them.

TechMom

July 28th, 2010
4:16 pm

@Barb, on the flip side (I promise I can & do consider other people’s opinions!) I was just thinking about the teachers that my son has had that aren’t passionate and it is frustrating. I’m convinced my son’s Algebra teacher this past year is only a teacher so he can be a baseball coach. Not trying to pick on coaches, he just happens to be the example. I guess the good thing about homeschooling is that you at least have some control over finding ways or people who can teach your child that are passionate about a subject whereas in school you’re typically stuck with whoever is assigned.

BlondeHoney

July 28th, 2010
4:16 pm

sorry MJG not MHG :)

War Eagle

July 28th, 2010
4:21 pm

Having homeschooled one son into college and one entering 12th(I have a BS in Education), I can’t imagine the struggle to follow school rules/calendar with one child while setting your own with the other. At the elementary level there are many curriculums that enable you to teach more than one grade. One in particular that I remember we loved was Apologia Around the World in 180 days and it was for preschool through High School but just varied the activities for the differing age groups.

And I agree that she sounds like she is doing this more for herself than for her child which is missing the point of homeschooling.

Loree

July 28th, 2010
4:33 pm

There is not a “one size fits all” way to educate children. There is a place in our society for homeschool, public school, and private school. It is up to the parent, NOT up to the government nor public opinion what she should do for her child’s education. I home school both of my children. When I turn 80 and look back over my life and how I spent my time, I can say with 100% accuracy that I spent both quality and quantity time with the ones I loce the most. If she wants to take a year to spend a lot of time with each child I say “more power to her!!!”

motherjanegoose

July 28th, 2010
4:51 pm

@ Loree…I like this comment:

When I turn 80 and look back over my life and how I spent my time, I can say with 100% accuracy that I spent both quality and quantity time with the ones I love the most.

May I add:

When I turn 80, I want to look back and say…

” I put my children where the education they received would meet the needs they may have in whatever career path they were inclined to pursue ( i.e. Pharmacy and now Food Science) and there was also a standard for the expectations of the teachers they had.” Not everyone who is intelligent on any given topic, is able to teach it effectively.

I KNOW FOR CERTAIN THAT I COULD NOT PROVIDE THE EDUCATION MY CHILDREN HAVE RECEIVED IN PUBLIC SCHOOL. Others here may be well equipped to do so and you have my respect and admiration! I have learned that I am really good at few things only, mediocre at several and AWFUL at many. My kids had so many wonderful choices and a great group of intelligent teachers to share things with them. We had maybe 3-4 duds in 26 years ( K-12) of school.

The problem with leaving things up to the parents IMHO, is that we already know so many parents do not even feed or clothe their children…how can we expect them to educate them too?
Sometimes, the government DOES step in for the better of the individual…HB please do not faint on that last line :0

Rich

July 28th, 2010
4:59 pm

motherjanegoose – Why are you so against the option of homeschooling? Your last post clearly indicates you are, even if your next post says you are not.
Our public school system has many benefits, but it is really only 100 years old and we do not have it right for all students. It was created by the elite to have workers in the factories that the elite owned. It works for it’s purpose.
Be open minded. I have said all three work (public, private, and homeschool), but it is all a public school for you. I am glad it worked for you, but that does not mean it is the best for all. Your kids may have turned out happier (maybe not) if they were homeschooled.

Rita

July 28th, 2010
5:17 pm

Rich says … “It (public school system) was created by the elite to have workers in the factories that the elite owned. It works for it’s purpose.”

Your statement is condescending to the public schools, the children that attend those schools, AND to their parents that choose this option for their child. What an a.. !

Rita

July 28th, 2010
5:19 pm

ALSO, Rich says … “Be open minded.”

Practice what YOU preach!

motherjanegoose

July 28th, 2010
5:20 pm

Yes, I am opposed to homeschooling with very few exceptions. I am not opposed to private school. My kids went to private pre-school and I taught at private schools.

My reasons are the same as presented by catlady:
“I am so biased because I have seen quite a few homeschoolings that turned out to be disasters. My colleagues and I were left to clean up the mess (catch the kids up, help them join the real world that doesn’t revolve around “what do you want to do now”, how to be a friend and member of a group) Even when the parents are super-educated and intelligent, there seems to frequently be some background stuff going on. ”

Even though I have not met her personally ( but will soon) I presume she has worked with so many more children than most adults I know. She has seen a lot. I have seen quite a bit but not as much as she has seen.

OR JATL:
“Unfortunately I know a number who don’t do that and seem to use it as an excuse to do little or nothing except what they want to do all the time.’

Luckily, I do not make the rules for everyone else’s children and thus homeschooling is a wonderful option for them. Just not for me. I would never cast my vote against the right to homeschool your children…they are your kids and you make that decision yourself.

To me, this is kinda like my brother in law, when he told me all the reasons he prefers to live in a rural area and why he would never move to somewhere like metro Atlanta. I live here and he does not…so we each make our own choices.

I WOULD NOT LIVE IN A RURAL AREA….JUST AS I WOULD NOT HOMESCHOOL.

Both work for many others…just not for me. BTW…I did live on the farm in Arkansas for 5 years!

irisheyes

July 28th, 2010
5:21 pm

@David S, a question I’ve been wanting to ask you, since you are against public schools. What would you tell a single mom (Dad ran off with a newer model, and isn’t very good about child support) with three kids who can’t stay home to homeschool, and is just barely making ends meet now, so obviously private school is out. In your world, how would her kids get educated? (BTW, her property taxes equal about $3000 a year, so even if she got all of that money back, it wouldn’t pay for all three kids to go to school.)

Rich

July 28th, 2010
5:34 pm

Rita, I am opened minded. I think public schools have a very important place in our society. I support them when funding is on the ballot and I support the kids in my area who attend public schools. It is important to all of us that our children are educated as best as they can be. We all benefit from education by creating better citizens. But when the public schools keep trying the same things over and over and the results are not improving, it is time to look at alternatives. Homeschooling is one of them. Depending on the study anywhere from 28% to 44% of the children do not finish highschool. (http://www.all4ed.org/files/Georgia_wc.pdf) So I find it strange that a sucess rate of 56% to 72% is viewed that the schools are doing a good job. For the last 20 years, schools have asked for more money and smaller classes and results have not improved. Ted Kennedy’s NCLB was a different approach, seems that many people do not like it, but it was different.

The problem that I see with our education system is that our schools are getting too big and getting away from local control. There are other issues such as behavior issues and parents who do not care or who do not know how to raise children.

Homeschooling is just as valid as public schools and private schools. The biggest difference is that homeschool provides the widest range of variations for the needs of the child. Public and private schools have a system that has some variations, but not for each child.

catlady

July 28th, 2010
6:36 pm

MJG– “not as much as she has seen” Is that a “remark”? LOL Still waiting for Theresa to pass you my email address…I hope!

Rich, I agree so much with your next to the last paragraph!

Homeschooling, like the public school, like private school, like “The Little Girl Who Had a Little Curl”–when it is good, it is very very good, and when it is bad, it is horrid! I’ve seen quite a few homeschool teachers who should have been “non-renewed!” But I don’t live in AECC (Affluent East Cobb County), either. People homeschool here mostly because they get mad at the school system for disciplining their child or because of religious reasons–the same reasons they drop in and out of the two small private schools. And few are equipped, or have the wherewithall, to really do it–to EDUCATE their child fully. (Yeah, yeah, I know about some of the backup resources that are available. However, they take TIME, EFFORT, and (sometimes) MONEY.

BlondeHoney

July 28th, 2010
7:02 pm

I would REALLY like to see David S’s answer to irisheyes myself…i suspect he has no realistic one. Must be nice to live in David S’s utopia where the real world never intrudes :) And MJG, I am firmly on your side on this one.

Rita

July 28th, 2010
7:04 pm

This is obviously one of those debates that gets ugly on all sides, just like the SAHM vs working mom War.

@ Rich While I somewhat appreciate your reply, you did not even attempt to retract your superior attitude towards public schools … “It (public school system) was created by the elite to have workers in the factories that the elite owned. It works for it’s purpose.” It’s comments like that continue to errod what is left of class and grace in this society. Even I stooped to your level! :(

IMHO, this “particular” mother appears to be doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons from what is being presented.

I’m done rolling in the muck. Have a good evening everyone!

Rich

July 28th, 2010
7:43 pm

Rita – I did respond to your statement. I am not sure what you want to hear. Our school system was created to teach students skills to enter the work force and it does that well. The skills have have changed over time, but the concept is still true. I am a product of it and it worked for me. What we do not teach well in our system is to think outside the box to come up with new idea and new ways of doing things. We need to create more people with big ideas and the belief that they can do it. Our system teaches that there is a narrow path and the we must follow it. I think that is where the people against homeschooling are at, homeschoolers are willing to go outside the system. We tell our children that they can do anything that they put want to, but the system says you have to did it our way. You have a small number of children who do think outside the box and create great things, but I think there is a lot more potential in the children who do not venture outside the box. Our system does not teach us to be the boss or an inventor, it teaches us to do what the boss tells us to do or use the inventor invents. The system does that well. I want every child to believe that he/she can cure cancer, create a gasoline from a non-oil source of even cure the common cold. But I am afraid that our system convinces that they should not dream outside the box.

motherjanegoose

July 28th, 2010
8:13 pm

@catlady, I heard from T via an e-mail and she is supposed to be getting in touch with you to share my info. You and DB really need to get together as your intellectual capacities are miles ahead of mine. I think I will have to bring an extra paddle to keep up with your canoe :) I skimmed right over the nun with the ring, until I read DB’s response and then the light went on for me.

@ BlondeHoney…you are treading dangerous waters here:
And MJG, I am firmly on your side on this one.

But thanks for the support. It is nice to have just a few friends!

JATL

July 28th, 2010
8:43 pm

@irisheyes -excellent point, and I, too, would love to read David S’s response from Utopia where evidently he or his wife or both are independently wealthy and have all the time and knowledge in the world to educate their children and keep them away from the evil, government-led populace.

theresa

July 28th, 2010
8:47 pm

catlady send me again yours cause I don’t know where it is in there. % have a very hard time keeping up with all the secret identities and real ids. Catlday email me as catlady and I will give you mjgls stuff.

irisheyes

July 28th, 2010
10:10 pm

@Rich, I’d love to spend lots of time teaching kids to “think outside the box”. I’d love to plan field trips where they could explore history or science, I’d love to give them time to just marinate in a book and think about how they are affected by what they just read. Unfortunately, I can’t do any of that because everyone wants accountability, and they seem to think that means standardized tests. So, instead of teaching my kids how to view a problem from different angles and discuss what ways are best to solve it, I have to spend inordinate amounts of time teaching test prep. And, now, thanks to Sonny and RTTT, I’m going to focus on it even more since part of my salary will be based on how well those students fill in bubbles on an answer sheet. Today’s teachers want to teach kids how to think. That’s why they read books talking about how to get kids to do more than just read and retell. But we also have administrators breathing down our backs pushing test prep, test prep, and more test prep.

Rich

July 28th, 2010
10:22 pm

irisheyes – That is my point. That is what the system does, it is not what we need to do.

Andrea

July 29th, 2010
12:37 am

Back to the original question, I have homeschooled for 8 years and have seen alot of homeschoolers, good, bad, and indifferent. This situation as asked in the question seems… weird. It has nothing to do with the needs of the child. When we began homeschooling, the plan was to homeschool the child who was struggling in school in order to avoid the constant pressure to put her on ritalin. Her brother, 2 years older, came to me and said, if she stays home, I am staying too. How do you say yes to one child and no to another.

In our case, homeschooling has worked very, very, well. The older child (grade 11) is passing CLEP and AP Exams, and the younger jumped from middle school curriculum (grade 7) to 9th with no problems. She is starting grade 10 now and outgrew her hyperactivity issues.

I would also like to address the comment that refers to highschoolers decided to homeschool when they are practically flunking public schools. I disagree that it is a cop-out. I have personally worked with two such families, and the students were basically being pushed out of the schools. One who was bullied was referred to a special school wwhere he was likely to be bullied more, and other other was told that he would only ever earn an IEP diploma. I am sorry, but for both, homeschooling is a better option. The first child has now completed all of his highschool program and has only 2 classes to go before starting college. The other will at least get a GED and go to Jr. College.

I understand that the vast majority of those that read this column think homeschoolers are nutty, but sometimes it takes a bit of crazy to make things work.

DB

July 29th, 2010
10:23 am

I have absolutely nothing against homeschooling, although I myself would never have considered doing it. I know me — it would have been an exercise in frustration for both the kids and me. I have personally seen examples of kids who have bloomed under homeschooling — and I know one family for whom it was a disaster with one child, when a severe reading disability went unrecognized for several years.

In the case in question, I am less inclined to be supportive of the idea, because it seems like it’s all about the mother and what SHE wants and less about the kid.

Warrior Woman

July 29th, 2010
11:06 am

@Rita – Rich stated a fact. Do you criticize everyone who states facts you don’t like? Public schools were created by elites to provide the minimum education required for work and civic duty. Some have progressed beyond that. Many have not, and still offer an educational factory, one size fits all, experience.

@irisheyes and JATL – I don’t live in AECC either. I know many families who successfully homeschool that don’t fit your characterization of married and independently wealthy with lots of free time on their hands. If educating your children is a priority, you will make it happen. I know working single parents that homeschool, either on their own or through a homeschool cooperative or academy. I know folks that “do without” materially so that one parent can stay home and teach their children. It can be done, but you have to be willing to work at it.

redseamom

July 29th, 2010
11:21 am

Commenters are reading a lot into this short article! Assuming the mom is a reasonably intelligent person who wants the best for her kids — and is there any reason not to assume that? — then why not go ahead? Anything that encourages students and parents to recognize that school is there for them as a tool, not as something they are subjected to, is a great step forward. If, after a year of homeschooling, the child can go back to school and see it as a place to learn rather than as a glorified babysitter or prison, great. If, after a year of homeschool, the family finds that their local school doesn’t offer them much beyond a glorified babysitter or child warehouse, well, they know they have options.

Strong family relationships are a much more significant factor for determining future success than whatever happens in 4th grade. If the mom in question thinks a home year is a way of accomplishing that, more power to her! Whether or not some schools are bad, some homeschoolers are bad, or some parents are abusive is not a factor in her personal decision making.

penguinmom

July 29th, 2010
12:53 pm

@DB – Sometimes, homeschooling is actually better for some disabilities because the parent is able to give one on one attention and there is no peer pressure/teasing. I have a friend whose son is severely dyslexic along with other issues. She has homeschooled him all the way through while it has not been easy, I don’t believe he would not have done well in a regular school. Because of his personality and the level of his disability, he would have really struggled and probably would have ended up believing he was stupid. With homeschooling, they have been able to continue studying subjects on his grade level because she supplements his reading. Even with his disability, he is very self-confident and realizes he is smart even though he is not reading anywhere close to his grade level.

Parents in any educational environment need to pay attention to how their child when he is struggling and work to figure out why.

A

July 29th, 2010
1:53 pm

Home schooled kids are freaks. Any kid will tell you this. They are bad losers, have no common frame of reference and can’t hit a ball. Everyone knows this. You might as well send your kid to one of those christian schools.

A

July 29th, 2010
1:55 pm

penguinmom-I mean no disrespect to kids who have a disability. The word ‘freak’ next to your post was in the worst possible taste and I apologize.

Teresa

July 29th, 2010
2:15 pm

It may be too big of an assumption to say that she’s doing it only for herself and only for one year. She *says* she’ll only do it for a year and that she can’t imagine homeschooling two children at once. But, she may be testing the waters and considering continuing if it works out.

4th grade’s a reasonable year to do this. She probably doesn’t have to worry about teaching reading and can focus on helping her son w/his skills. Her children may have very different learning skills and needs. Perhaps she feels that doing this will give her son the boost he needs to successfully get through middle school. It probably sounds better to call it “special time” than “giving him that edge”.

I hope whatever she does, she has a successful year!