Do you feel like you have to defend your homeschooling?

I have a friend that started homeschooling last year and loved it so much she has pulled her other child from school to homeschool as well.

She’s using the Georgia Cyber Academy (which starts back today) and overall was very happy with the program. Her child excelled and will be taking even more challenging classes this year. Both mother and child enjoyed the time and the program so much that the other child wanted to stay home too.

But despite that great experience, my friend is worried about seeing her old mom friends from school and having to defend her choice.

She asked me last week, “What do I tell them?” I said, “You tell them your child excelled and you both enjoyed it so much that you’re adding your other child to your home classroom.”

I do think that homeschooling mothers get asked a lot of questions about why they are doing it and what materials they are using. I know I quizzed a high-school friend who homeschools about her program this summer. I didn’t mean my questions judgmentally. I was just curious, but I hope she took it that way and I didn’t offend her.

If you are homeschooling, do you find yourself answering lots of questions about why and how you are doing it? Do you feel on the defensive about your choice or do you think people are just curious? Do feel like you can be an advocate for homeschooling by answering other parents’ questions?

As a parent with children in a school, do you ask questions when you meet homeschooling parents? Are you judging them or are you just curious?

– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, Momania on ajc.com. You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

98 comments Add your comment

J. Blair

August 15th, 2011
10:07 pm

I am not a mom, but a previously homeschooled student. I was never enrolled in any public or private school from K-12. I had to put up with a lot of criticism from neighbors and non-homeschooled friends and had to defend why I was homeschooled on a constant basis. I am now a 22 year old college student pursuing a double degree in IT & English who has only made 4 B’s (All A’s otherwise). I am heavily involved in student government, campus clubs, and made the front page of the school website after meeting the chancellor for the USG Board of Regents.

Any more questions about the aftermath of being homeschooled?

cimach

August 15th, 2011
10:15 pm

We’ve now homeschooled seven. Our kids have experienced the public school system, the private school system, and now homeschooling. I guarantee to any parent . . .attend one major homeschool convention with the 5,000 plus families who are also homeschoolers, and you will see that the wrong kind of socialization is a problem in public schools, not in homeschools. Never met a group of more talented, mature, and highly educated teens, than at homeschool conventions.

Jeff

August 15th, 2011
10:30 pm

I think homeschooling is wonderful. Anyone who would tackle it gets an “A” in my book.

Amy in ATL

August 15th, 2011
11:12 pm

I have no doubt that homeschooling can create a great learning environment for kids, especially because parents can really tailor instruction to specific kids, rather than having them in a larger group. And I definitely see why this is a viable alternative especially for parents of kids with special needs or in a bad school district.

However, I do have a couple of concerns about this growing trend. The first is that not all parents are equally equipped to teach their kids. I would guess the ratio between the good teachers vs. bad teachers amongst the homeschooling families may not be all that different from the good teacher / bad teacher ration in your average public school….with the notable exception that homeschooled kids with a bad teacher aren’t likely to get a better teacher next year.

And although it’s almost universally denied by the homeschool crowd, the socialization issue IS there. Even if you enroll your kids in outside activities, and have them socialize with neighbors, friends, etc, are they really getting that same generational vibe that most of us got growing up? And are they getting the independence skills kids so sorely need today? As parents, one of our goals should be teaching our kids to need us LESS as they get older, and I do feel that having to navigate through school on your own does give kids some level of independence that would be difficult to emulate at home.

Red

August 15th, 2011
11:27 pm

Same generational vibe? You mean the talk about the latest on Justin Bieber or what happened on iCarly last night or the latest cool video game? Can you be a little more specific? The school is not the perfect utopian psychological bubble and the only place a child can “properly develop”. Frankly, what most kids are getting out of their time in school is more detrimental on them and a great contributor to the ills in society. My children can get what they need out of their time in these other settings.

Independence? I would say yes. They are learning to do this on their own. They don’t have friends to copy from or cheat off of. They do not have the school library laid out in front of them. They learn to go out into the world and learn as they go through the day rather than rely on a crutch in a public school classroom. As I mentioned before, the kids learn to see the whole world as a classroom rather than what they see 8 hours a day and then turn the switch off to veg in front of a video game or MTV. These children actually learn the substance of subjects rather than memorize T or F, dates rather than WHY things happened, etc.

With the issues of public schools BEGGING parents to be involved with their children’s education you have a far greater percentage of parental involvement here. And I can tell you that I have learned more just teaching my children than I did while going through public school myself.

Harold

August 15th, 2011
11:59 pm

That’s funny “Agusta.” My daughters are home schooled and we only ever get compliments from friends at Church, family members, strangers at the grocery store, their pediatrician, etc, about how well behaved, well mannered and bright my girls are. In fact just last week their pediatrician was telling my wife how impressed he was with my girls because they actually looked him in the eye when they talked to him…and they are 10 and 7 years old. That doesn’t come from a lack of socialization. It is our jobs as parents to protect them from the bad influences in this world, and I don’t know where you live, but public schools, and private ones for that matter, are terrible places to “socialize” your children just for the sake of socializing them. Why don’t you just set them out on some street corner in downtown Atlanta to socialize them? My sister-in-law is a teacher, and she says she can’t even teach because of the problem kids in her class, and the last time I checked that was the point of school–to educate, not socialize! That’s the problem with schools is that too many kids are there to “socialize” rather than to receive an education, and that is the fault of the parents.

To answer the question posed in the article, yes my wife and I do have to answer questions, but people have been curious in a respectful and interested manner. Nothing like the comments by Augusta.

FormerPublicSchoolTeacher

August 16th, 2011
12:35 am

I was a former public school teacher in Metro Atlanta and I chose to homeschool my children. When I had to call my student’s parents because of behavior problems, 90% of the time the parents told me “I’m sorry, I didn’t send them to school to socialize. I sent them there to learn.” And now that I am a homeschooling mom I can’t stop being asked about when my children get a chance to socialize. According to Merriam-Webster, to socialize means “to fit or train for a social situation.”

I think that people are going to defend their position (whether pro-home or pro-public/private) no matter what. And somehow it makes people feel better to bash the other side. If you are confident in your decision (however you decide to educate your children), there is no reason to force your opinion or beliefs on anyone else. I think sometimes people bash others because they are really trying to convince themselves they are doing the right thing. You have to do what works for you and your family.

But I will say to the posters who were hating on homeschooling parents for being Pollyanna-ish and enjoying their children too much…if you had more control over how your children were being “socialized,” or trained you just may enjoy your children more too! Yes, we have bad days, but generally I’m one of those happy people :-)) Happy that I have the privilege to educate and train our children. So don’t hate, just find your own happiness in whatever it is you choose to do!

Gman

August 16th, 2011
12:37 am

Many parents have very defined feelings and beliefs. In the homeschooling environment the child will receive no variety of Ideals or perspectives.

Gman

August 16th, 2011
12:42 am

Good for you J Blair. A little nasty at the end though huh? Maybe your acceptance of other points of view is underdeveloped due to home schooling. :)

David

August 16th, 2011
12:45 am

Augusta, do you really know anything about homeschooling? I believe that from you choice of words that you know nothing about it. Let me tell you this. Both of my kids graduated from homescholling, and have done very well for themselves. Both of them were able to graduate early from the highschool program just a few years ago, and both have associate degrees in fields tha are very much needed right now. Me and my wife are very proud of them. Homeschooling is not what you have made it to be Augusta. There are parents who care very much about their kids education and social lives. Both of my kids are very sociable, have lots of friends, and are now very productive cirizens thanks to homeschooling. The public school system here in georgia sucks. That is why my wife and I homeschooled both of our kids, and are very glad that we did.Our kids turned out a whole lot better because of homeschooling. Do your research Augusta, and you will see that it’s better for the kids. As far as the so called social issue goes. We had our kids in lots of outside activities, such as gymastics, GYOP(Georgia Youth on Parade), Karate classes, etc. Do your research. If you really want an example of how things are going in public schools here in Georgia, then thing about the current APS cheating scandal. And not only that, look at the graduation rates of most of the public schools here. The public schools really suck here and that is why homescholling is so popular here. And as far as defending it, You really don’t have to defend it to anyone othet than your kids. Just do want is right for your children, and tell everyone else to mind their own business. Education for the younger generation nowadays is very important. The more young kids know, the further they will go. And if you must homeschool your kids in order to get them educated and further ahead, then do it, you will not regret it. I know that me and my wife are very glad that we took the time to homeschool our kids. Do it and see how far your kids will go, grow, and how they will become great in life because you took the time to educate them. Nuff said!

AJH

August 16th, 2011
8:31 am

“The constant “one up-ing” and ALL positives really drive me up the wall. I almost never hear the negative, everything is constantly abundant sunshine. I can point out any annoying situation and they will come back with positive galore. ”

Reposting what I said yesterday. The responses before and after my post ALL pretty much confirm what I said. Homeschool parents are obsessed with telling you how wonderful everything is and refuse to give you any negatives. Maybe if you toned your sermons down a bit and stop with the Amway style selling tactics then you would receive the recognition you are so desperate to hear. Pollyanna to the n-th degree! ;)

jarvis

August 16th, 2011
8:40 am

@Anna, please site your evidence.

Before stating any statistics please be sure that the empirical data is unbiased. I’ll need a cross-section of 90% white public school students coming from middle to upper middle class families that have at least one parent staying home full time. Also, be sure that you use only test scores from states that require all homeschooled students to take the tests. As “at-will” testing will bias the sample.

melissa

August 16th, 2011
8:53 am

After reading some of the comments by the homeschoolers, why do you think that a group of 3rd graders aren’t “qualified” to teach your children how to socialize? The parents that are choosing to homeschool are the same parents that were socialized by 3rd graders or whomever and they’re just find. I agree with a lot of the posters, public/private schools have their issues…one decision is not better than the next. It’s what you think is best for your child/family situation. Just b/c a child is homeschooled doesn’t mean the child is better than a public/private school child.

My son has been in public school since starting his education and this year I decided to put him in private school. Since moving back to Dekalb county, public school wasn’t what was best for him. It really doesn’t matter which way a child learns, if the child is destined to be great they’ll be great. There are children who have been homeschooled or sent to private school that are lazy and have a sense of entitlement…at the end of the day it’s about the child wanting to learn and taking what they’ve learned to do and be great!

Erika

August 16th, 2011
9:30 am

To the “Pollyanna” comments…What’s wrong with being happy with the choice you’ve made to educate your children? We live in a society were if you’re happy there must be something wrong. Misery loves company. Of course homeschoolers have bad days, who doesn’t if you have kids? Maybe the difference is we don’t complain as much? I don’t know. Sure there have been days when I thought how easy it would be to send them to the school down the street. Is easy the right answer or do you do what’s right?
Melissa-My son is in 3rd grade. There is no way I think a classroom full of them are fit to socialize him. Why? So he can pick up on bad language, come home begging for the latest GameBoy, learn gross jokes, complain he can’t LEARN since the teacher is mostly dealing with behavior problem kids? I have 3 friends who were PS teachers and now homeschool. All told me the same thing “I would never put my children in PS. All I did was try to control behavior and stop them from talking. 7 hours a day isn’t necessary.” So yes I think homeschooling is better but I’m entitled to my opinion just as you are. Most of my friends send there kids to PS/private school. Funny how my children pick up bad behaviors when we’re around them but not our homeschool friends. Hmmm….maybe it is because these children are home with Mom? No one said children are better if homeschooled. I do think the quality of education is better if the parent is committed to homeschooling.

Scooby

August 16th, 2011
10:19 am

So if you homeschool and take all these great, educational vacations, do you get some sort of tax write off for them?

Don't Understand

August 16th, 2011
10:30 am

Yes, the classic excuse of socialization. You know like the kids at Columbine were socialized, like all the kids who have to deal with rampant violence, bullying, drugs, rape, sexual pressure, alcohol pressure, clothing peer pressure. Yeah, gotta love the socialization that government schools provide.

Homeschool parents are not the selfish ones. They are taking their own personal time and putting forth their own personal efforts because they CARE about their children and want something better for them than the horrible socialization and educational experience they would get through the government prison/education system.

If anyone should have to justify their choice, it should be the parents who continue to subject their precious children to the chronically failed government system. I mean if a private childcare system had as much bad news coverage every week, every month, and every year as the government system does, its doors would be shut by the state. If a parent continued to send their child to this establishment they would likely be charged with child endangerment or even child abuse. Not so if they merrily put their kid on the big yellow victim transport bus.

Don't Understand

August 16th, 2011
10:39 am

melissa – you just keep telling yourself that. The folks who support the status quo appreciate your unquestioning support.

If you wish your children to learn how to behave like adults as they mature, why would you want them to learn how to behave from children the same age as them? Yes, most of us probably did grow up in a similar experience but just look around at our society and tell me how many adults behave like adults?? Just because we have always done it that way doesn’t make it right – and by the way, we have not always done it that way. The one-room school house exposed older children to younger children and visa versa. The greater connection to the community in general and the parental and societal expectations of the time also molded the behavior of these children as they matured. Classes today are divided by age for more efficient “management” and to compartmentalize children rather than faciilitating interactions.

Homeschooling and the significant growth of the movement thankfully will provide a sound alternative to the current system when it ultimately collapses of its own bureaucratic and financial failure. Homeschoolers deserve the utmost praise from society for taking the proper responsibility for raising and educating their children.

Erika

August 16th, 2011
10:44 am

Scooby-Of course we can’t write off educational vacations. ??? We pay for everything ourselves, the state gives us nothing. All curriculum and such are out of pocket. Yet, we still have to pay taxes to help support PS.

penguinmom

August 16th, 2011
11:16 am

I think the positive homeschool comments are partly because the question was ‘do you feel the need to defend homeschooling?’ So they were defending homeschooling. And they were responding to some criticisms.

If you want some negative, I included some in my original post yesterday. I do not believe that all parents should homeschool. Even some that are currently doing it are not committed to the difficulty of planning and being disciplined in their school day. Yes, as a teacher at a homeschool once-a-week academy, I run into a few students who are behind and that is often their parent’s fault. Sometimes it is life circumstances (illness/death of a parent) or learning issues. We work to catch them up if possible. Others do not supervise their children as much as they should. A few (very few in the groups I’ve been with) do not control their children’s behavior. However, even with all of that, the vast majority (well over 95%) of the homeschool kids I interact with are on track academically, interested in learning, excited about their classes, involved in their learning and also just very nice enjoyable kids.

My students thank me each week as they leave my classroom, prepare on their own for class, come to class with questions about the material and don’t look down on Anyone in the class who is struggling. Someone who is struggling usually gets a helping hand from those around them but there is no making fun of them. The only people who get teased for getting an answer wrong are those who usually get all the answers correct. Even then it is all good-natured, gentle teasing.

At our parent meeting last night, all my students said how much they were looking forward to being in my class. They were excited about the topics we would be covering (Pre-calculus and Anatomy) and I am very happy to go back to class to see all of them on a weekly basis again.

homeschooler

August 16th, 2011
11:46 am

@ Don’t understand. Damn that was well said. Thanks. I was going to write a few more things but now I don’t have to. Think I’m going to copy your post and save it for any future need to “defend homeschooling”.

One more thing..I enjoyed the back-n-forth of the homeschooler and the poster who pointed out the misspellings. Although I have a Masters level education, I am a horrible speller and always get a little subconscious when I post about homeschooling that I am going to misspell. All I can say is I hope my children don’t pick up on it. It’s really not my fault. I was educated in Cobb County public schools. Blame them ;-)

Julie

August 16th, 2011
11:54 am

Enter your comments hereWe homeschooled full time for two years, then PT for 2years and then went to full time public. As a general rule, what I have seen is that the socialization success of homeschoolers seems to depend on the motive for home schooling. Our child was severely sensitive to certain foods as a young child, and our pediatrician recommended we home school. We still kept our child involved with neighborhood kids, gymnastics, a math class with other kids who loved math (and happened to be very multi-cultural, and many other group activities. Our neighborhood is multi-cultural, etc. It was never our goal to shelter our child. I really think you have to look at what is in each child’s best interest. It was clear to us as our children got older that they wanted to be in school around other kids. It was clear to us when we put our oldest in full time school that it was the happiest we had seen her. Is that true of all kids? No. Did we meet our child’s academic needs at home? Yes, probably better than the public school would have (she tested in the 99.9% on achievement tests, so she was obviously getting her academic needs met). However, you have to look at the whole picture, not just the academics, etc. We’re glad we home schooled for a couple years, especially considering how severe reactions she had to gluten and dairy at the time.

We have seen home school kids who have terrible social skills/don’t know how to interact with anyone who is different from them and seem quite fearful, and we have seen home school kids with amazing social skills. I have rarely ever seen home school kids who were academically behind. That said, most of my friends who have tried homeschooling are highly educated themselves, so they would not give their child a poor education.

Again, each situation is different. Each child is different. The motives for home schooling vary greatly. There is no across the board rule for what is best for every child.

Julie

August 16th, 2011
11:55 am

okay, chuckling at my lack of experience with this site…didn’t mean to leave the “Enter your comments here”

Kawla

August 16th, 2011
11:59 am

This blog illustrates why homeschoolers need to defend their choice. That was the question asked but the comments quickly turned to homeschool bashing, instead of homeschoolers discussing the question asked. That is precisely why the positives are pointed out so often- because others are so quick to judge and bash. Of course there are some cons- just as there is with any type of school choice. A con for me is having to be really organized and set aside time out of my day to teach and ensure that my children are learning. I enjoy it but some days I just don’t feel like it. I do it anyway, it is my job, and I would have those days no matter what kind of job I was working. But overall I think the positives for us at this point in time are greater than the negatives.

I just really think most people don’t understand homeschooling or what the positives may be so spout off preconceived notions, which of course homeschoolers want to dispel. I hope as homeschool becomes more and more prevalent more people will understand it more and it wont be something we have to defend , just another choice.

Stephanie

August 16th, 2011
12:08 pm

The one question that comes up most often is in regards to socialization. In all honesty my son has been more social and has made more friends since we started homeschooling. Our local homeschool group is very social, and open to everything from plsyfates to group get-togethers. Aside from that he is involved in a lot of extra group activities. To be honest, the “socialization” my son got his last year of regular school (gr2) was no at all what I wanted.

As for homeschool parents being selfish, I believe it is exactly the opposite. We put a great deal of effort into our children’s education and activities. We make time, energy, and many times financial sacrifices to give our children what we believe is the best option for them.

Teri

August 16th, 2011
12:45 pm

I am in my fifth year of homeschooling my younger three children. My oldest son graduated from public high school, after the entire 13 years spent in public schools. He tells me repeatedly how much he would have loved to have been homeschooled.
My children spend their mornings doing their assigned work. I have one who is working several grades ahead of her age. Their afternoons are spent pursuing their own interests from learning html, sewing and painting to scouts, German dancing, taking Chinese at a Chinese school from native speakers, ditto for German, homeschool co-op, piano lessons and drum lessons.
My children are at museums, the zoo, the theater when public school children are sitting at school. We don’t have a limit or a moratorium on field trips. We use them extensively (and when we are on a field trip, they actually get to interact with people on the outside).
I am not sure if the question is supposed to be about being “socialized” (isn’t that what we do with an animal to enable them to be around people?) or about socialization (which would be giving the kids the opportunity to be around other people?)
When I was in school, I was CONSTANTLY told that I was not there to socialize, so I am not sure how this has ever become THE issue to worry about.
I think the sunny talk about homeschooling might be because we are constantly defending our right to it. I am not sure why anyone would care whether I homeschool my children or not. It is not an affront to someone else’s choices. It is simply what works for our family in our current situation.
I do think that for my 8 year old doing 7th grade work and in her 3rd year of Chinese, public school would be adequate at this point.

Star08

August 16th, 2011
1:02 pm

As a former school teacher, I started homeschooling this year because I know how tough it is to meet the needs of students with multiple levels. My 4 year old daughter reads on a 3rd grade level. In a regular classroom she would either lose what she knows because she would be learning basic sight words, frustrated because she would be presented with work that she could understand but due to her maturity couldn’t finish, focus, etc. Or she would become a know-it-all and behavior problem. I love it. Its nice to dedicate my attention and skills to my own children and be appreciated.

a_mom

August 16th, 2011
2:30 pm

I never heard of homeschooling until I came to Georgia, so I don’t know if it’s popular because of our low academic standing nationally or because we’re in the Bible Belt. I went to public schools in Florida and felt I received a good education (graduated college in 3 years and was on the Dean’s list). I always intended to send my kids to public schools.

However, now I am the mother of 2 elementary children and I have to say I’m very concerned about the quality of their education. I volunteer often for both of their classes and it’s an eye-opener to see how much time is wasted. Line up for this, trying to get everyone quiet, some can’t speak English, etc. There is no doubt a homeschooler could cover the same curriculum in half the time at home. Both of my children have frequently had cartoons during class time, which I find inexcusable! Also, the most alarming thing I learned from my child’s kindergarten teacher was that any “teaching” had to be done by 10:45am. After that, it was lunch, recess, snack time, and then ESOL kids were pulled out to learn English so she couldn’t teach anything new while they were out. That was a shocker to me!! And this is considered a “good” school in Cherokee County… not APS.

I’ve so far tried to take a hybrid approach to my children’s education. I’m concerned about the stigma if I homeschooled them, but worried about Georgia’s low standards. So, at the moment, they continue to attend public school but I read & google homeschooling for ideas on how I can supplement their education at home. It might be extra worksheets, flash cards, field trips, or just making a point of learning about something new on our own. But I’ll tell you, it’s a concern to me that even if my children are at the top of their class now in Georgia, would they be considered average or worse if we move to a different state later?

motherjanegoose

August 16th, 2011
3:19 pm

@a_mom…you have made good points. I have been inside lots of different schools and just like families, all schools are different. I will tell you that there are other states who are proud to tell you how much better their educational system is than GA ( as a whole) . When our GA kids move to those states, they are ahead and when their kids move here, they are behind. I have heard the stories from both parents and admin. Again, not all schools in GA are the same…just like not all families in GA are the same …oh yeah the students do come from these different families. I extended a strong love for learning and also kept a reasonably close eye on on my kid’s schools and teachers. They were in public until they graduated. We had maybe 5 teachers who I did not care for and only 1 who I removed my son from her class ( should that be whom?). She is no longer in the HS nor the district. A very small percentage for sure. Of course, you are at the beginning and I am finished so our experiences could be different. Good luck!

Having read so many posts here on this topic, I will say that it appears most of the posters are far more serious and diligent with their child’s education than the homeschooling parents I have met personally. I commend those who will do whatever it takes to provide their child with a wonderful education. I know I personally could not have been competitive with the public school education mine received but many of you will be. Not everyone is cut out to homeschool…certainly not me nor my husband.

irisheyes

August 16th, 2011
3:26 pm

I think that the reason teachers are wary of homeschooled kids is that we get the “failures”. What I mean by that is that the public schools get the kids whose parents haven’t prepared, don’t know what they’re doing, aren’t organized, and haven’t really followed a curriculum. Consequently, those kids come to school years behind where they should be. Homeschooling can be a great success for students, but it’s a lot of work on the parents’ part. Those parents who put in the time and effort to successfully homeschool won’t end up putting their kids in public schools, so the schools don’t see those successes.

It’s really the same thing as a classroom teacher. Teachers who put in the time and energy to prepare interesting and engaging lessons is more effective than the teacher who just reads the next lesson in the text book. A parent who takes to time to develop a solid curriculum that serves their child’s needs is more effective than the parent who buys the pre-packaged curriculum and shoves it in front of their child while Mom watches “The View”.

motherjanegoose

August 16th, 2011
3:42 pm

@ irish eyes…I agree 100% with your post and loved it.

I read a piece once on facts and opinion. It was written by a Dad who was sharing with his teenaged son. He wanted him to know that while there are certain tried and true facts, parents also have opinions. The Dad proceeded to share that opinions are just that and while we would like our children to embrace our opinions, they may not always do so.

I grew up with lots of opinions being tossed around. I thought these were the gospel truth. It was not until I became and adult, that I realized how very wrong some of my parent’s opinions were and are. For this reason, I want my own two to hear lots of opinions ( from other people) and then decide for themselves what their own opinion is. Sometimes, we are at odds but they are adults now and I cannot force my ideas on them. Sometimes, their opinion has forced me to look at mine and address why I have it or even change it. All in all, we learn together! More often than not my kids have said to me, ” I now know why you __________ and I understand.” There are also days where they have said, ” Mom…that is really dumb!” I was not allowed to say that to my own parents.

Rodney

August 17th, 2011
11:03 am

@J.Blair – take what you said and apply it to me, except that I was public schooled in GA, K-12 and college. Any questions about my public school education? Oglethorpe grad and a published writer (the real kind, not the internet kind) All with just my state of GA public education.

It seems like people think we native Georgians, born and educated here, are just too stupid to keep from walking into oncoming traffic much less get an education and hold down a rewarding career. And from the comments I’ve read here, that’s the prevailing sentiment from homeschoolers – that an education is impossible to receive in the GA public school system.

I, and many, many of my friends and colleagues, would tend to disagree.

motherjanegoose

August 17th, 2011
11:14 am

If you are concerned about your school, you can visit:

http://www.greatschools.org/

You can compare schools in the same area or even see where schools rate across the country.
Handy to know if you are moving and want to consider an area with better schools.

Arby

August 17th, 2011
11:30 am

In eight years I have never been asked to defend my choice to homeschool. I have no desire to defend my choice to homeschool. If you don’t like homeschooling, that’s fine. All that I ask is that you respect my choice to homeschool, the same way I respect your choice not to. I care deeply about my freedom to educate my children at home. I will fight against any legislative effort to restrict/eliminate homeschooling.

Ann

August 17th, 2011
1:32 pm

@ Rodney, @J.Blair posted about his or her experience as an example of a homeschool student doing well. He or she did not say anything negative about public school students or make any comment about the success of public school students. When one person touts their own success, they are not necessarily knocking other paths. There are often many paths to the same end result in life.

Ann

August 17th, 2011
2:29 pm

@ Jarvis – Regarding the 2003 stats you posted that state 83% of homeschooled children were done so because of religious or moral reasons, these old stats don’t take into account the increasing numbers of homeschoolers that are doing so because of No Child Left Behind problems, over-testing, and how the longer school days limit family time and play, which is so important for child development. There are plenty of us now homeschooling for reasons other than religion.

@ Russ – Regarding seeing homeschooled kids at stores during the day, Georgia law requires a minimum of four and a half hours of instruction for 180 days during the year. How this is structured can vary, but it means that a child may be finished with their schooling by 12:30 or may be schooled in the afternoon, rather than the morning. If you are wondering why it is only four and a half hours, it is because the state acknowledges how much time is spent in “school” that is not instruction.

Ann

August 17th, 2011
2:30 pm

@ AJH – Most homeschoolers I know, including myself, do not look down on public school families. They simply do not think it is the right fit for their child, for various reasons. For many homeschoolers, it is simply the structure of formal schooling and the constraints of the public school system that they do not find appealing. I do not look down on those who choose public or private school. Some public school families feel that they do not have a choice and they are just trying to make the best of the situation and get the best education out of the public school that they can. Every family I know who is homeschooling carefully weighed all three options of homeschooling, public and private school, and weighed the pros and cons of each. If they looked down on public schoolers as you say, they wouldn’t have considered the option at all.

@ newblogger – Regarding your comment “I bet most of the homeschoolers were raised in public school and they turned out o.k.–or as some I know would say–better than o.k. since they are the only ones qualified to teach their children.” Yes, many of us homeschoolers were raised in public school and we turned out okay. But, this type of statement ignores the changes over decades. School has changed tremendously over time, in many ways. Homeschoolers do not feel they are the only ones qualified to teach their children. Most homeschooled children are exposed to a variety of teachers and community elders with knowledge of various topics. I have nothing against teachers in public or private school. There are many talented, highly qualified teachers that could teach my child. I simply have issues with the school system itself. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as a “teacher teaching a child”. All of the local problems we read about now, with Atlanta Public Schools, and the former DeKalb superintendent under criminal indictment, the current DeKalb board in disarray of their new selection, Cobb County school board issues, are constant reminders of the failure of the system.

KeLeMi

August 17th, 2011
2:51 pm

As a libertarian, I support the rights of parents to home school their children. Granted, home schooling isn’t for everyone. Even Marshall Fritz, co-founder of “Separation of School and State” agrees.

My cousin originally sent her son to the public schools. One week later she was called in. Her son was attention deficient and had to take ritalin each day in order to stay in class. She decided to home school.

There’s a lot of work involved. It includes preparing lessons and making sure her son understands them. She was fortunate to live in an area where a lot of people home-school their children. THey had group activities. At age 16 the son was accepted into George Mason University and at age 20 he graduated. He cot a good paying job.

Many point to “Socially deficiency” as a reason to not home school. He wasn’t.

I’m not a right wing Christian. I realize that there people who call themselves leftists who are as strong to advocate home-schooling as the right wing Christians. Yes, war and politics make strange bedfellows.

If you are thinking of home-schooling, there are lots of sources to get help. Check it out and then decide if it is or isn’t for you.

Page

August 17th, 2011
4:32 pm

I think you must look at what is happening to our country with immigration soaring and more and more parents choosing to homeschool their children. On one hand diversity is encouraged, but then most of us tend to segregate ourselves within our own culture. Control and superiority.

Jill Williams

August 17th, 2011
5:16 pm

socialization is the process of inheriting customs, ideologies and paradigms due to your exposure. Being socialized in a public school environment can be a horrible place to adopt ideologies! The socialization I want for my children cannot come from being cooped up in a room with other children all the same age every day. They’ll never understand anything outside their own peer group. Try having a normal conversation with pretty much any school-aged child you know and you’ll see what I mean. By default, they often shy away from adults and do not know how to interact appropriately, they also automatically separate themselves from anyone who is different from them. The socialization I want for my children means interacting with the whole world and having authentic experiences that enable you to interact and engage people of all ages. The public school experience doesn’t prepare anyone for real world experiences. The real world prepares you for real world experiences. Think about it, has anything that happened to you in school ever happened since you’ve been out? The world doesn’t work like a government funded school organization.
I’m so thankful that my children can interact with anyone and are so comfortable in their own skin. They are free. It’s a beautiful thing to watch!

Amy in ATL

August 17th, 2011
10:47 pm

Well, Red, yes, if you happen to be the kid in college who can’t be nostalgic about, say, Justin Bieber or four square or Twinkletoes, you will find yourself the odd man out. These are generational ties, just like laughing over leg warmers and line dancing in P.E. and jump rope contests are some hallmarks of Gen X.

I’ve met a lot of homeschooled kids, and have several in my extended family as well, and in general, they do seem a bit more naive and sheltered than my public-schooled kids. Yes, many of them are polite and well-mannered, but they frequently have trouble solving issues with other kids on their own without mom or dad’s help. And I would guess the culprit is many homeschooled kids don’t spend a lot of time without mom or dad in close proximity. And a key, and extremely important lifeskill is knowing how to navigate life ON YOUR OWN. Socialization under your parents watchful eye simply does not give you the freedom to figure things out and become your own person. It just doesn’t, and I think that something that the homeschool community in its defense of their teaching philosophy should do more to correct.

Granted, this isn’t exactly scientific. But I have serious concerns about how some of the homeschooled kids I know will do once they are on their own.

Ann

August 18th, 2011
11:23 am

@ Amy in ATL – You can pick out kids, for examples, who don’t keep up with popular trends, regardless of whether they are in home-school or public school. My street in North Fulton has at least five home-school families. These kids, who are mostly pre-teens and teenagers, go to concerts, watch American Idol, wear fashionable clothes, and do many of the same things that “schooled” kids do. They participate in extracurricular activities with peers and are immersed in American culture.

Also, a large majority of home-schooled teenagers are in what you might call a hybrid program where they attend “classes” one or two full days a week, where they take calculus, chemistry and other advanced high school subjects with certified teachers. They are not with the parents all the time. So, this view that they are always under the watchful eye of Mom and Dad is far from reality for many home-school families.

What puzzles me is that one day, we have a blog where everyone is complaining about the trend in helicopter parenting, which includes helicopter parenting of public and private school students. Yet, there is this view that, if you are in public or private school, the kids know how to navigate and solve issues on their own. But, aren’t these helicopter parents often swooping in and saving their child from dealing with “getting a bad grade” or “being disciplined” at school. Easy access to the cell phone has made many kids depend on Mom or Dad to help with issues and decisions. We would do well not to stereotype kids, whether they are in school or out of school. There are a lot of kids in school coping well and there are also plenty that are not coping well, and are involved in alcohol, drugs, other inappropriate behavior, or drop out of school. If school is such a good place to help kids navigate life on their own, why do we have so many 20 somethings living in their parents homes, who do not know how to manage their finances and debt, with Mom doing the laundry and cooking?

penguinmom

August 18th, 2011
12:26 pm

@amy in Atl – all of my homeschool students know who Justin Bieber is. (most think he’s weird but they know who he is), many play current video games, they read some of the latest books (along with classic literature). My students span a spectrum of interests but still have some awareness of what is going on in the culture today. They just tend to think it through a little more critically. They also have the ability to enjoy many different levels of activities. The high schoolers can watch and talk about the Captain America movie or discuss which Bing Crosby (or other old musical) movie they watched recently and which is their favorite. They watch You Tube videos and get on Facebook. But they also can have a discussion of which Blue’s clues episode they liked the best (and might even enjoy watching again). They can talk about Harry Potter or some other current popular fiction and also discuss why they liked reading Frankenstein or Fahrenheit 451 or what they got out of Tale of Two Cities. They listen to some of the more recent music but also enjoy 50’s music or 80’s music or even symphony music.

They really are a very eclectic bunch and have different interests. The main thing that separates these high school kids from what I see in some public/private school kids is that they don’t exclude anyone from their groups based on likes/dislikes, abilities, personality, looks, social awkwardness. They encourage each other and value what others are saying. The younger ones are pretty inclusive as well. The only exception is middle school kids and that is a mixed bag as to whether they are going to include or not depending on how their hormones are raging that particular day.

Deb

August 18th, 2011
6:34 pm

I’m one of those moms who has home schooled her children from K – 12. I have educated all three of my children, and my youngest is a senior in high school, so this is my last (20th) year of home schooling.
My oldest 2 went on to college on academic scholarships – yes, it can be done! My oldest has graduated from 2 colleges, earning 2 Bachelor’s degrees, and is in a Master’s program now. Our second is finishing his college degree this year. My youngest (the senior) is taking half of his classes at a community college by now.
Neither one of our oldest struggled with going into college – into the “real world”. They excelled, both academically and socially.
Like others, I began home schooling because our school district was not only sub-par…it was dangerous. There were a shooting and a stabbing on campus. Back then, there weren’t as many home schooling families, so we took on the task one year at a time – at first. It didn’t take long before we all fell in love with home schooling, and we could really see ourselves doing it for the long-haul.
I think that to say that home schooling is a “selfish” thing to do is such an oxymoron. I’ve actually never heard the words “home school” and “selfish” in the same sentence before today. The vast majority of home school parents have given up so much in order to educate their children. We don’t get free textbooks; we get next to no down-time. We prepare our hearts and minds every day to teach our children so that they will succeed. When we go places during the day, we have everyone in tow. For most of us, working outside the home would be close to impossible, so we get along without a second income. Not once have I (or any of my kids, for that matter) ever felt that I was being selfish in giving this gift to my children.
I don’t go around telling everyone they should home school. But I am so thankful that this is how I have spent the last 19 years of my life! I’ve witnessed 2 of my children walking down aisles in cap and gown, and am looking forward to seeing the last one this coming spring. I’m so thankful that we have had this time and experience together.

Karia

August 18th, 2011
11:38 pm

We’re starting on our fifth year of homeschooling, and I can honestly say that I feel the need to “defend” our choice less with each passing year. This is partly because every year, more and more parents choose this option, and partly because the longer I do it, the more secure I feel in our decision.

As for the “Pollyanna” syndrome, I’m willing to admit that most of us are guilty of painting a pretty positive picture of homeschooling. I’m a blogger and published writer, and once wrote a top ten list once of the things I dislike about homeschooling because I think it’s only fair to parents contemplating this choice if we talk about the bad along with the good.

My list included things others have mentioned, such as losing the free time I once I enjoyed while my kids were at school, and how stressful it can be to handle all the planning, organizing, teaching and grading for multiple grades and ages, all by myself. Sometimes it’s exhausting—particularly when you add an infant or busy toddler to the mix. Sometimes it feels lonely, particularly at my church, where we are the only homeschooling family in a congregation with multiple public school teachers. For the record, they’ve never judged me for homeschooling, at least not to my face! LOL I also have several public school teachers in my extended family, and they have all been very gracious about our decision.

Another downside is that there are too many curriculum choices these days! It’s almost limitless, the options we have for every subject and sometimes I wish I had someone to just tell me, “Choose this” so I wouldn’t have to spend so much time weighing every little pro and con. But—in reality, I’d hate it if I didn’t have the freedom to choose. And that is one of dozens of reasons we homeschool.

And of those dozens of reasons, I can tell you that not one of them has anything to do with segregating my children. We are white and live in an area where we are the minority. This does not bother us—should it?

My kids are intelligent, spiritually-strong, well-mannered and thriving. At the end of the day, that’s all I want for them. Could they still be this way if we’d chosen another educational path? Perhaps. I’ll never know. We’re happy with our choice to homeschool and will continue for the long haul. Because we are committed to it, and it works for us–no other defense needed.

Erika

August 19th, 2011
9:08 am

So why is knowing who Justin Beiber is important? I mean really who cares? There are so many more important things I’d like my children to know than that.

Arby

August 19th, 2011
12:16 pm

Amy in ATL, you may know some homeschooled children who are “a bit more naive and sheltered than my public-schooled kids.” A bit. How important is “a BIT?” Over the course of a homeschooler’s entire life, how much will “a bit” affect their overall development? Is it a deficit that will never be overcome? What are the positives that counter balance “a bit” of naiveté? And how early in life does a child’s innocence need to be shattered through exposure to the greater world? While I do not doubt your experience, you’ve never met my children. Through their regular participation in society (most homeschoolers do participate in society) they have experienced the common misunderstanding of “socialization,” including bullying, Justin Beiber, crude sexual jokes and innuendo, pop culture, fashion trends, video games, etc. Thanks, but I’ll take a bit of innocence now.

[...] Do you feel like you have to defend your homeschooling? I do think that homeschooling mothers get asked a lot of questions about why they are doing it and what materials they are using. I know I quizzed a high-school friend who homeschools about her program this summer. I didn’t mean my questions judgmentally. I was just curious, but I hope she took it that way and I didn’t offend her. [...]

Nzingha A

August 21st, 2011
3:33 pm

My youngest daughter is in 7th grade, she home schooled through 2nd grade, and this year we are returning to home schooling. We had much more educating going on with homeschooling because the traditional classroom has turned into a place for socialization, and the children are locked up within four walls, but when homeschooling, the world is the classroom for an active family, and the child can learn HOW to learn which is important. My other daughter made all d’s and c’s in the traditional classroom prior to homeschooling, and afterwards upon returning to school, got b’s! I am STILL catching judgement from family and friends, but i KNOW I did the right thing, since the proof is in the pudding. I am excited about coming back into the forefront of my child’s education.