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These days you hear the praises of homeschooling from many on the right, but also some on the left, from "social conservatives" and "progressives." Teaching your kids at home is supposed to cure any number of social ills and produce prize-winning scholars who are light years ahead of their public school contemporaries, or is supposed to train your kids to have exactly your value system, without interference from outside the family. In truth some kids seem to do wonderfully well academically with home schooling and in some cases the education of children in specific situations (poor local schools, dangerous neighborhoods, isolated communities and for some special needs students, for example) may require at least temporary home instruction. No Child Left Behind is such a mess now that I am glad that our kids went through the system before George W. Bush got his hands on it. However such decisions to home-school should be entered into very cautiously.

Several correspondence schools have capitalized on this need for many years and I am in fact intimately acquainted with two of them, one in Maryland and one in Illinois.  You see, I was home-schooled by two people (in truth one of them) who never finished high school.  My mother, who was my teacher, had an accident that made her leave school (although I think she probably did not have to be persuaded too strongly) and my father, who did not care much about it, had been kicked out of high school in New Jersey.   How my parents met through correspondence (yep- letters delivered by postmen)  when my father was in the CCCs during the late Depression is, in itself, a strange story, but eventually they met in person.  Dad must have seemed both strong and slightly dangerous to a shy young women who had lost her father at age nine. My father's mother died of "over work" when he was a teenager.  The loss of a parent at an early age can often lead to trouble, and in my parents' case it led to what we now call a very dysfunctional family.  Both of my parents had very bad relationships with their siblings - my mother had one full sister and five half siblings and my father had three full siblings.  My father was not on speaking terms with his father, who refused to met his new wife.  I was born during World War II, nearly a year after Pearl Harbor.  My sister was born on Pearl Harbor Day a few years later and died of SIDS on the next Saint Patrick's Day. My mother was accused by her siblings of causing my sister's death, and (according to my parents) their doctor recommended a dryer climate for both my mother and me.   And so it was that my father left his job at the steel plant where he had worked during the war and moved the family to the middle of the Sonoran Desert.  

My mother decided that I was too fragile to attend school and kept me home.  I learned to read using old readers and various books.  She taught me basic math and spelling.  When my work got beyond her ability she and my father got two years of correspondence schooling from a company in Maryland.  This was followed by a course of high school study from another in Chicago. In the meantime my father's rages (he was later diagnosed as bipolar) and my mother's possessiveness became a real problem for me.  There was way too much closeness to the point that I had few friends and never a girlfriend.  When my father argued with my mother (which was often) he threatened leaving her and me and sometimes he threatened suicide. However, he never struck me or my mother.  The torture was psychological instead.  

By a series of very unlikely events, starting with the Vietnam War and my having to go  in for army physicals I finally got to enter a real school - a junior college.  My mother had changed her mind about my going to college when my being drafted was a strong possibility.  I got my GED in two days, taking the battery of five tests and receiving no lower grade than 90%, and was given a scholarship as promised by the Dean of Students at the local school.  This led to a scholarship at a state university and eventually an assistantship and a Ph.D. at another state's university. I was still tied to my parents, who always moved with me, and if I had not, by another miracle (I really don't believe in them, but sometimes wonder) met a most wonderful woman who helped me make the final break, I might have lived with them until they died!  However, I will give myself some credit - I walked out the door on my own and never went back.  My father lived on to his 91st year and my mother died of a blood clot at 85.  In the meantime the special woman and I married and we had two very wonderful girls.  When the time came to educate them we sent them to PUBLIC SCHOOL!  Admittedly this was before NCLB and so they actually had enrichment programs, including art.  However, they both went on to graduate Phi Beta Kappa from one of the most highly rated state university in the country, but, unlike me, they had many friends and a real social life.

What are my points?  a) Homeschooling is not a panacea for fixing education as some parents are not qualified to teach their kids, b) home schooling parents should examine their motives as well as their resources before attempting to become educators of their kids, c) socialization is a very important aspect of education and must not be neglected, d) the public schools can be saved and parents who are involved in their children's education for the right reasons can used them effectively to properly educate their children, and e) most parents simply do not have the option to home-school their children. While we each want our children to have all the advantages they can have, abandoning the public school system for a pie in the sky fix for some will not help all the others. You can't fix a public system for the benefit of all by killing it, and abandonment of the system by those who can do it will certainly kill it and destroy some very good and dedicated teachers. No Child Left Behind must be fixed for everybody's sake, but right now Congress is in no mood to do anything and President Obama's hands are to a large degree tied.  It is up to the parents of this country, and even those who are not parents as they have a stake in education as well, to influence politicians to do the right thing.  Your children are eventually going to have to live in the real world, not the family cradle.  

I repeat that under certain circumstances home schooling for a shorter or longer period may be the best thing for a child, but always be careful about such decisions.  One of my friends took her daughter out of a local school in a small city for a year because she objected to the teaching of creationism!  I fully supported her decision as religion should not be taught in science classes. However, my experience makes me believe that homeschooling is not the answer for the majority.

Originally posted to Desert Scientist on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 04:10 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  thanks, you make good points (11+ / 0-)

    It is just like using computers to teach students online, some will do it well, some will not.  

  •  That is quite a history. You seem to have made (18+ / 0-)

    it through some difficult times and came out ok at the end.

    I am a few years younger than you. I had a bad experience with a correspondence course when I was in elementary school. I was way past what anyone at my little rural Arizona elementary school knew, so they signed me up for a mail order course in high school math of some kind. It was terrible. I loved math but I couldn't make it through the booklets because they were so badly written and so boring.

    Some of the courses available now are fantastic. My daughter took self-paced math through Johns Hopkins online. The content was great and the tutors were helpful. One interesting think is that they charged by the year and she could take as many courses as she could get through in that time. For a math prodigy it could be very cheap.

    We also tried an introductory high school science course from the U of Nebraska. Again, it was great and the support was good. I wouldn't want to try higher level science that way because of the problem with labs (and I have a PhD in biology).

    •  In fact the two schools that ... (17+ / 0-)

      my parents used sent standard textbooks and I had strong introductions to psychology and biology, as well as ancient history, and several other subjects.  The problem with algebra was that I had no one to consult when I got stuck.  I frankly did not understand algebra before I took college algebra at my junior college under a very competent teacher.  I will always be grateful to her and a number of other teachers I had - which does point out the need for a competent instructor, especially in certain subjects.

      I will add that my high school course included biology and the text book was heavy on evolutionary theory!

      •  I do homeschool my children (17+ / 0-)

        and for algebra I found a tutor who started a small group homeschool algebra one class with 6 students.  She teaches remedial math at a local community college and schooled all four of hers to successful college careers and into the work force.  I am blessed with an area full of homeschoolers and I am not possessive about denying them social outlets.  All my kids are anything but isolated and all are doing well.  I think that dysfunctional parenting can screw up a kids regardless of where they are in school.  My oldest two may be in school next year or we may do a highly regarded online program (Keystone) that a few friends of ours have been using and speak highly of. I will go ahead with Algebra 2 next year with our current teacher though.  She is doing a great job accelerating my math gifted son and remediating my math hating daughter in a small group setting they would NOT get in a public school.

        •  And for math, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          angelajean, reconnected, moira977

          Now there is Khan Academy.   Free.  Online.  And it works for a wide range of learners.  Khan is thinking about experimenting with a private school that mixes ages of kids.  I think all this experimentation is great and while we must keep guarding against more corporate takeover or exploitation of education, we must not squelch innovation as seen in things like Khan and unschooling and home based Waldorf education etc.

          My son told me that a 22 yo friend of his is not interested in getting a degree and does not want to work in any kind of employment that requires one.  He is doing entrepreneurial things, as is my own 24 yo son, who does not even have any kind of official diploma as we homeschooled independently and he was not interested in getting a diploma or GED.  But his friend is very intelligent and wants to learn more higher level math and such.  He thought about doing some college, just for the courses, and much like Steve Jobs did when he hung out in classes after dropping out.  But he realized the expense just wasn't worth it in terms of his life goals, since he didn't want a degree.  So he is using Khan and various free Internet resources and essentially unschooling college.  Hopefully no one here will accuse him of contributing to the destruction of public universities. . .

          •  I failed calculus in college and have always told (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Leslie in KY, Debby

            myself that I would find a way to learn it.

            I started reviewing my math skills on Khan Academy this week. My boys are watching me with interest :)

            It may take a while, but I plan on understanding Calc I.

            •  No proof but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Many women report "getting it" with math at later ages eg 30's or 40's.  Or maybe it is just finding the right approach.  

              Where my dd went to college, parents were told in a recruitment meeting that they had teachers with much experience and skill teaching higher math to creative young women that were typical of the student population (lots of theater majors), women that had a history of prior difficulty with math.

              I do know that dd loved Saxon 54 but by Saxon 76 she had become math phobic.  Later I learned of more options we could have followed.  Khan probably would have been good for her.  At college, she skipped regular math and took a Logic course for her math requirement.

              •  It's the age where we start helping our kids with (0+ / 0-)

                their math homework! And we have to be able to explain it to them and in order to do that, we have to understand it ourselves!

                We discovered the Key Curriculum series. They stress that their high school curriculum is not for homeschoolers but we have found it to be excellent. I buy their books used on line and we've been happy so far up to Algebra II.

                •  Yes, I have seen Key (0+ / 0-)

                  In our family, I think I didn't expect dd to have problems with math.  My husband and I both understood and excelled. I practically slept through a boring college calculus class and got an A.  My math ACT and SAT s were very high.  And dd was fairly advanced in math and really loved messing around with numbers.  She loved the  Waldorf approach and cuisennaire rods with Miquon Math.  She adored the first Saxon book she used, as math 54 was the lowest level at that time.

                  There is a homeschooling math guru named Kathy Wentz that runs the unschooling email list serve.  She has done a lot of work putting together math resources that don't rely on any texts and definitely no worksheets.  Lots of games, math literature, etc.  She has done a lot of classes and tutoring where she is located in the Chicago area.

                  •  We belong to the Living Maths group on Yahoo (0+ / 0-)

                    same kind of ideas as Kathy Wentz, it sounds like.

                    It's funny, I excelled in math through high school as well. Did excellent on ACT's and SAT's. I just couldn't grasp calculus. I can remember asking the teacher to explain the reasoning behind a concept to me and he said that I would have to wait until Calc 4 for that. I've since learned that, like my sons, I sometimes have to have the big picture, even if it doesn't make complete sense, to get a grasp of it's pieces. I'll never know if that explanation would have went over my head or not.

                    I have since heard that the school I attended used Calc I as a way to weed out engineering students. Luckily, I am a happy and well adjusted mom of two and it doesn't bother me too much but, damn it, I will understand calculus one day, I swear!

          •  We are using Khan as supplemental (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            to the math in our home.  We see it give a lot of instruction in how to do particular types of problems, but less overall theory and explanation than our kids need or want.  

            I refuse to believe corporations are people until Texas executes one

            by k8dd8d on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 01:58:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  We were very frustrated when we first started (6+ / 0-)

        homeschooling by the curriculum available - so much of it just repeats what traditional schools use and I knew that wouldn't be a good fit for our family. Then I learned to search outside the traditional box. I learned a lot from other homeschooling parents, which is one of the reasons I wanted to start a group here on DKos to discuss the topic!

        It is unbelievable the wide range of tools now available for parents wanting to school their kids at home. This may or may not have helped you growing up... so much depends on the parents we have, whether we are homeschooled or public schooled, don't you think?

        I am just very grateful to have choices for my kids. I want more choice for more parents - I want there to be ways for kids that just aren't doing well in a traditional school setting to have a wider range of options for getting the best education they can. For some, that will be making homeschool an affordable option; for others, it means charter schools that the local community puts together, especially those that are designed with teacher and parent collaboration. I believe our local communities need to be actively involved in this process and there, in part, comes my biggest frustration! Depending on where the military sends us, part changes drastically! If only there were a one size fits all solution but there isn't.

  •  I strongly support homeschooling and I agree... (22+ / 0-)

    ...with you that your experience would not be the answer for the majority if the majority had the same homeschooling experience as you.

    I am glad you shared your experience as we all may learn more from each other.

    There are implications in your diary which seem anti-homeschooling which should apply to all children and all families equally:

    c) socialization is a very important aspect of education and must not be neglected,

    d) the public schools can be saved and parents who are involved in their children's education for the right reasons can used them effectively to properly educate their children,

    Point (c) seems to be a common argument against homeschool, but I contend that homeschooling kids (in my experience of having known ~ 100 homeschooling families) is that such kids are more respectful and communicative with a wider range of age groups, especially adults.  I simply don't understand the prejudice that exists on this point.

    One point (d), all children benefit when parents are engaged with the quality of their children's education.   Our daughter has experienced  homeschooling, private schooling and public schooling.  Indeed the public school was entered by lottery and is one of the most desirable in the county.   Of those three environments, parents of the kids in the public school were least engaged; sure, a small minority were active but most engaged only at events with mandatory attendance.  The staff confirmed this impression.

    One glaring myopic assertion I see in anti-homeschool sentiment on dkos is that parents who don't homeschool don't contribute to the well-being and improvement of the public schools.  That argument totally ignores what we do to elect officials who pass the rules and laws and budgets that truly make a difference in the quality of the public schools.  

    •  support for schools (13+ / 0-)

      Of course a lot of parents aren't engaged in their children's education be it private or public--the point is that those with knowledge and means and concern for education are very important to the success of the public schools. And just how concerned are homeschoolers that the public schools have an adequate budget and staffing?  How many really go to bat for a public school system that works for most children despite your assertion that you elect officials that truly make a difference? Homeschooling keeps those parents disconnected from the education of the broader community. There is seldom a real concern with the quality of the community's educational experience--only with that of their own children.

      There is also the misconception that those of us who sent our kids to public schools did not "homeschool." Of course we were involved in our children's education. We home schooled and sent our kids to the public schools. We as parents also learned a lot from our children and their teachers. The public schools are vital for most of our children and as a society we need to support and enrich and improve them. Why not use your homeschooling skills to help out in the classroom? Lots of kids with less rich home environments could really benefit.

      People have the right to homeschool if they choose. Some parents are capable of this. I know some very successfully home schooled children. Some people hire help in areas in which they are deficient--kind of a mini-private school. But don't claim that you are involved in improving public schools if you are not truly involved. It is not a myopic assertion that homeschoolers don't contribute to the improvement of public schools. It takes more than casting a vote to improve the schools.

      •  Well said, Retped, Excellent !!!!! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
      •  This homeschooling family donates time and money (5+ / 0-)

        to elect progressive candidates. My kids and I spent countless hours on President Obama's campaign, in part because we hoped that he would help end the focus on testing and and work to NCLB.

        You might be interested to know that a study of adults who had been homeschooled shows that more of them tend to be politically active than their public and private school counterparts. I wish I had numbers for homeschooling parents vs public school parents so that I could help convince you that we are politically involved but I'm afraid that study hasn't been done.

        I think civic engagement is a common thread that binds both conservative and progressive homeschooling families together.

        You will be pleased to know that we have a diary coming out in our series on Homeschooling about how all parents essentially do 'homeschool.'

        Also, we have homeschooling parents that spend their volunteer time in their local classrooms. Some states even allow for homeschoolers to spend part time in the classroom and part time at home. It's a solution that seems to work well both for the schools (increased ADA funding) and for the homeschooling parents who are looking for a traditional school setting for part of the day or part of the week.

        I would love it if any of us had the real answer to what it would take to improve public schools. We all seem to agree that they need improvement but even progressives, hell, all Democrats, can't seem to decide if the issue is really money, NCLB, testing, curriculum, lack of support for teachers, poor salaries, etc. And, in each school district, I am sure the answer is a different one. But please, just as you don't want homeschoolers to paint all public schools with the same brush, don't assume all homeschoolers don't contribute to the improvement of their local systems.

        •  Support for public schools (0+ / 0-)

          Please keep up your involvement in supporting public schools. I haven't seen the kind of civic activism that you describe, but I applaud it.

          •  Just because people don't announce that they (7+ / 0-)

            are homeschoolers doesn't mean they aren't, you know. It's one reason I wanted to start the homeschooling series, to give people a safe place to share their stories. It doesn't always work that way. Our first diary ended up with the diarist being accused of being a liar, at worst, and an exaggerator, at best. She made an honest attempt to share her experience with the public school system and how homeschooling became the easiest solution for their family. People saw it as an attack on all public schools.

            Many here on DailyKos who participate in progressive causes are closet homeschoolers because they fear the backlash that comes with saying they homeschool.

            •  Oh, what nonsense. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CorinaR, Nannyberry, Palafox

              First of all, you should understand that "safe space" implies safety from violent reprisal, not from criticism. This is a skeptical community: we're liberals because we don't accept bullshit at face value. And frankly, much of what has been said in these homeschooling diaries is either fatuous bullshit or directly counter to progressive principles.

              Yes, perhaps homeschooling was the "easiest" solution for your first diarist. Many of us would argue that this is precisely the problem. Yes, public education in this country is a shambles and in desperate need of reforms that put education first. Many of us would agree with this; we just disagree with the idea that withdrawal in disgust is not effectively the same as apathy.

              You use language like "safe space" and "closet homeschoolers" taken from the gay rights movement. Let me be explicitly clear that in no way is your so-called principled refusal to participate in public education equivalent to being a persecuted sexual minority often in real danger of violence. You're using rhetoric to try to shield yourself from logic, and many of us aren't fooled.

              I get to see the results of homeschooling, and it's never pretty. Homeschooling is, outside of a tiny minority of genuinely extraordinary cases, a direct assault on the progressive principle of public education for all regardless of race or gender or class. It's not progressive, and as long as people like you keep posting that it is, people like me are going to subject you to logic.

              •  Oh my (9+ / 0-)

                you are what you say you aren't.  I am an outsider looking in on this issue.  My kids attended both parochial schools and public schools.  I myself also attended both.  I have taught in both and I have taught many homeschoolers.  My children run from bright and extremely able to brilliant and disfunctional to not so bright with a disability that needs medication that influences learning.  I have a rather broad background in looking at all sides of this issue.  I am appalled at the vitriol spewed at the homeschoolers here.  Bottom line is if your public school can't do enough for your child, in no way would an intelligent, able person do as you say and sacrifice their child on the altar of purity.  Here is another clue.  Not all public schools welcome parents involvement.  Sure, run fund raisers, help with the cafeteria, but helping in the classroom is not allowed in my district.  Parents are not allowed in the high school areas except the office.   I offered to sit with my son in his math class and help, I offered to have him tutored or anything the teacher would suggest.  Anything.  Nothing, not one phone call.  This is the smallest district in the state.  I moved into it because it was known to be tight knit and excellent.  It has been degraded to a really bad school.  Public schools are generally a mess for many children.   They need fixed and believe me, no single parent and no group of parents is going to fix it.  If there is one influence we have to get the ball moving while academia and politicians fight it out it is to take our children out and when that happens in droves maybe the realization that schools need saved something will happen.
                     I object to your characterization of people bailing on progressive principles.  There comes a time in one's life where you must decide on practicality vs principle.  The people we have been reading on the subject of homeschooling have attempted to keep their principles in place while saving and enhancing their childrens lives.   Your backward ideas about saving the public school  system mean we all have to sacrifice our children to your altar of progressivism.    There are many parents who can do a better job of educationg their kids.  They should do it.  Kids deserve to grow up with the most education.  

                And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

                by tobendaro on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 12:57:31 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  well said (4+ / 0-)

                  I was trying to formulate a response and nothing I typed came out less than horribly confrontational which I did not want.  I appreciate your perspective and input to the dialog.

                  I refuse to believe corporations are people until Texas executes one

                  by k8dd8d on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 01:11:56 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You all are kinder than I. (7+ / 0-)

                    These discussion leave me steaming.  No one can fix the schools.  It won't happen until an elected president puts a true revolutionary into hte position and then strips all the crap out and starts over.  In no way should any parent sacrifice their kids to this.  I am really happy that some public schools are good.  I wish there was one in my district.  I have stated many times that the teachers are not the problem, yet teachers persist in taking deep offense to homeschooling.  The fault lies deep and involves money and flawed academics along with power and deceit.  We parents can fix nothing.   Many conmen are making tons of money off our tax contributions while people scream and yell that we should sacrifice our kids.  ridiculous.

                    And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

                    by tobendaro on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 01:39:42 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  it is ridiculous (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      angelajean, FloridaSNMOM, martini

                      and many times it leaves me steaming, but I am more focused on trying to educate those that are open to the dialog, than arguing with those whose minds are already made up, which I believe the case to be with that particular person given what they said in a comment lower down the thread.

                      So while I wanted to respond, I was also not wanting to just pick a fight and anything I tried to type just sounded that way.  Trying to only fight the winnable battles, or too much of my energy gets put in the wrong place!

                      I appreciate and agree with you about the public schools, based on my experiences there.  One thing is that I think a lot of people have opinions about what the schools are, and what they should be, but they have not spent a lot of time actually IN a school, seeing the day to day stuff that is so overwhelmingly entrenched.

                      I will say, when I pulled my kids, their teachers were largely in favor of it.  They saw and supported the fact that my kids were languishing, and they were happy to know they would have other opportunities.  The music teacher from their elem stays in touch with me, and claims to be vicariously homeschooling through me since she has to work, but would love to homeschool her own.

                      I refuse to believe corporations are people until Texas executes one

                      by k8dd8d on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 01:54:48 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks, tobendaro. (5+ / 0-)

                  I really appreciate it.

                  Maybe we will get to the point where more progressives can work together but until we can look at our current system with honest eyes, I think it's going to be very hard.

                  Everyone wants everybody to work to fix the system but no one really knows what the fix is. And American kids are losing in the meantime.

                  If nothing else, at least posting more diaries about homeschooling means that we are discussing education more. Maybe we can get past the anger at homeschoolers pulling out of the system and start pushing towards solutions. I hope so.

              •  If you can logically convince me that (6+ / 0-)

                progressive homeschooling damages the public school system, go for it.

                It seems to be the national progressive argument since Dana Goldstein wrote her article and progressives are honestly split. There are rebuttal pieces all over the web. This is obviously a divisive issue.

                I think those progressives that hate homeschooling have a choice - they can honestly look at why it becoming a very valid choice for many families and try to use that knowledge to fix problems in the current traditional school system or they can keep getting angry and accuse us of abandoning the system. The first way, we help create a larger coalition of people looking to create more education alternatives that have progressive value; the second, we have divided forces that may be working at odds with each other.

                You will have plenty of opportunity to keep offering us your logic. We will be publishing every Saturday morning.

      •  We were tempted to homeschool (0+ / 0-)

        being well-educated and critical of the public schools' ability to do a good job, but we realized (my wife is a counseling psychologist, so knows kid problems) that socialization is perhaps the proper and highest goal of public ed, and we ourselves could provide any academic stuff that was missing.  

        So we are champions of public education.  We would have enjoyed homeschooling.  Except our kids are better off without the isolation.  They ended up well-adjusted loving fathers with Ph.D.s, teaching at universities, and will be sending their own kids to public schools.  And at least doubling their academic input.

        Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

        by triplepoint on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 01:44:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The most engaged parents help public schools.. (7+ / 0-)

      the more kids that are homeschooled at a time when the teaching profession is under attack and budgets are slashed and teach to the test and other destructive things are happening...

      the net result is more of the engaged parents will be homeschooling and be almost entirely if not entirely uninvolved with the public schools. That loss of input and caring about public schools is a huge loss to them and directly hits the quality and responsiveness. And for those that want public education destroyed... like Santorum who says they are an anachronism love home-schooling and don't care if parents are right wing or progressive.... It is in fact acting as a Trojan horse... or educational block busting... a bright-flight extension of "White Flight" decades ago.

      The right know that in numbers they will win using homeschooing; they will have more homeschooled children with curricula that they approve and mind-sets and world  view that they want instilled compared to centrists or progressives who generally have a high quality general education for their kids that stimulates thinking, exploration and curiosity. A more focused top down set of homeschoolers who socialize only with fellow church members or a politically and ethnically homogenized subset of the US... more so than in public schools.

      And the long game result is easy to forecast if things go as they are going. On the one hand moribund public schools mostly as warehouses for the kids of the underclass with Computer learning courses supplied by corporations and overseen by "educational technicians" also rented from educational Corporations with curricula approved by the conservatives who own and run those corporations, built on the rapidly "Texanization" of schoolbooks and the preferences of conservative packed school boards and ALEC trained state legislators and administrations.

      And of all the other private taught in academies, charters plus homeschooled kids... only a minority of these will escape being just a better grade of the same corporate conservo-fascist material served up in the public edu-factories... Sure caring intelligent parents with the time and resources will home school very well indeed and help give their kids enriched and stimulating educations... but the net result overall for the US will be worse than the imperfect situation now... and inferior to the best public school systems of the past.

      I was schooled in Sweden, Virginia, Afghanistan, California, India and Maryland... It showed me the best and worst and a lot of variations. My mother, at one point when we were in-between postings (Dad in Foreign service),  tried to get us doing schoolwork so we would not fall behind... It was a total failure with me... but that was particular to me and the Mother-son dynamic (me very resistant)... and not just schoolwork, she did have to push to get me to do almost anything (riding a bike, swimming, reading)... But in the end it was a teacher in the international school in Afghanistan who got me hooked on reading @ age 10 and very good swimming teacher in India @ age 11 who made a huge difference... lifelong book lover since... swimming... well I ended up not getting to swim as much (had a pool in CA during my 30s but not much since). But none of these teacher would have succeed if my mother had not also enriched my life in many other ways... so not all outside schooling or what I learned at home directly and indirectly but a synthesis and synergy of the two.

      The point is even an engaged and caring parent will not always make the difference, homeschooled or not... and a public school will have hits and misses in the teachers who reach some kids and not others. In the end for most kids it is a mix of the two AND having a wide range of teachers and teaching styles. Kids respond differently to different teachers... I had that amply demonstrated to me with my own kid's experiences in school (all in Ireland by the way)

      Consider this: The Homeschool boosters are a self-selecting sample. They are succeeding on their terms with it and naturally self report it as a great solution. The feedback from those who fail with it or do not do all that well will be mostly absent. A few will loudly protest it as a flawed choice but they will be written off as a few bad exceptions. Probably the majority will be those whose kids would have done just as well in public school but their presence there would help keep the public system more healthy. Depriving the systems of pupils only feeds the forces who want to destroy them.

      People who hate public school for religious or political reasons will be heard loudly... parents who have a good experience with public schools' education of their children will not be out with signs or flooding blogs with comments... happy customers are not heard from as much as those who have complaints or issues.

      The whole dynamic is a ratcheting one with corporations, religious groups, conservatives all pushing and locking down each step towards destruction of public schools. And with each click of the one-way tug of war on the rope of public policy and opinion... more and more parents panic about the public schools... with the media loudly reporting each teacher who has an affair with a pupil at great length, and their wall to wall coverage of school violence and shootings, and assorted horror stories of other miscellaneous hint-hint Race issues etc... and another chunk of families begin to look for alternatives. Charter scams go up, Homeschooling goes up... public school budgets get slashed, teachers salaries cut, job security removed, unions neutralized and corporate takeovers enabled...

      When the most engaged parents disengage from public schools and that will help kill them more quickly and thoroughly in the end.

      If there is any hope beyond a Balkanized education system dominated by conservatives and corporations with effectively destroyed public schools... is that from the ashes of what was and in reaction to the coming nightmare a social network school plus a more free form and wide ranging curriculum with interactive gaming technology and AI technology plus actual teachers online paid by a collective of home schooled kids' for targeted tutoring will become an enormous free-form, self improving adaptive virtual school that is better than any of the choices today.

      It could happen... the future may be as amazing and strangely wonderful as we cannot imagine... and certainly the apparent coming victory of the reactionaries who want to kill what we had (not all good everywhere)  may be illusory... they may think they will successfully take over programming the children of the nation to be Christian conservatives who will vote in lockstep to make and keep the US a conservative corporate religious Oligarchy ... but like always happens in history... the pendulum will swing back hard against them since reality always interferes with those who do not understand it too well.

      Homeschooling may be the wave of the future BUT not as it is presently understood... the inherent creative anarchy of much of the concept may  be just enough to undermine the intended conservative formula for it... BUT only if there is Net neutrality and free open internet for all and corporate conservative approved curricula does not suffocate it... instead social networking of the future however it develops and whatever form it evolves into may prevent that.

      A big problem is the interim phase... a lot of pain and dislocation as teaching as a profession is taken over and controlled by corporate and religious interests and the public schools are dismantled and remade into what they prefer Women at home, families in church, church and homeschooling blended together all paying for the same monopolized curriculum... (and all that prime real estate to buy up and redevelop)...... this narrow set of goal will fail in many ways there will have to be a reaction to the inherent harm it does with the charters and Less than successful homeschool attempts which as the idea spreads will involve more parents who cannot succeed with it. And finding ways to make it work and elements that work better will force evolution by desperation.

      So that reaction will be in tandem with what homeschooling can and will evolve into... and that will be based on what actually works for most kids and the entire country... will we be at the top world rankings again with our education or be a weird conglomeration of doctrinaire recipes that make us fall even further behind.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:32:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is one of my main concerns. (4+ / 0-)

        I have no doubt that homeschooling works for those who can do it, although many really successful homeschooling programs are beginning to look like cooperative private schools.  I remember one group of homeschoolers that came through our university outreach program who were just that - a group of parents had pooled their talents and each taught different subjects.  They relied heavily on field trips to museums, libraries and other institutions and companies. The kids appeared to be quite well educated, at least insofar as I had contact with them.

        We need to fight for our public school system simply because I doubt that homeschooling will ever reach 50% of the kids in our country (of course I could be wrong - it is possible that a ideological future government will completely dismantle the public school system and order all homeschooled, but failing that the process may well take 50-100 years or more, if that is indeed where we are going.)  Certainly we need to dismantle NCLB.  I am impressed with the Finnish school system, whose children consistently outscore ours, even though they don't have much in the way of standard tests.  

        •  yes and Finland has the same teacher and pupils (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          historys mysteries, Stwriley

          staying together over many years (with very well paid and highly trained teachers)... a very cooperative and apparently very successful model where the whole class is invested with each other... and likely will work beyond groups people with the same backgrounds and heritage... but that is a new challenge for the Finnish system which as far as I know is still working with mixed classes with immigrants.

          Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

          by IreGyre on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 06:06:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, we need to fight, but-- (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tobendaro, k8dd8d, angelajean, Debby

          We have a huge problem in understanding exactly what it is we need to be fighting for.

          Some focus on funding, but merely funding a system that is spending that money becoming more and more administratively top-heavy instead of funding more and better supports for teachers is doomed to fail.  Fighting for funding and having that lead to increased demands for accountability for that money with more and more inappropriate testing is doomed to keep us on this terrible course we are on now.  

          A huge problem is that we, as a society are not coherent on what we want our schools to do, in the way that, say, educators and government in Finland have a fairly coherent philosophy of what values an education system should exemplify.

          And lacking coherence and vision and a pragmatic path forward, we must fiercely protect the rights of children to have options outside of public education while we as a society continue to figure those things out.  

      •  I wonder about (8+ / 0-)

        this sort of thinking. Do you really think that the parents are all that welcome to help improve the school?

        That certainly was not my experience. My experience is mine alone. Maybe I wasn't cozying up to the right people or something.

        But the volunteer opportunities were along the lines of joining the PTA and raising money for the school trip and helping the teacher on field trips and that sort of thing. Not bad things, of course. But, along with the half dozen women who seemed to be the PTA, most parents, as far as I could tell, were treated as helpers, not co-educators or even respected members of the team.

        We were given limited choices when it came to my child's education and that was it. He was tested and I had read about options and had ideas about what I thought my son needed but the answer was no. The program was this or a slightly different that and that was all. Nothing really custom fit.

        But I was welcome to help kids getting off the bus every morning, if I wanted to help the school.

        See how that wasn't a satisfying relationship? My labor was welcome, in very limited, scripted ways not including anything about actual education, but the system was not going to be flexible for my child.

        •  Certainly public schools have problems. (5+ / 0-)

          However we did not have your experience at all.  My wife volunteered in the classroom and was very well received.  Both of us volunteered as monitors at the middle school and they were happy to have us. I presented programs to K-12, both at their schools and at the university and with very few exceptions was welcomed.  Unfortunately schools are not uniform in their attitudes toward parents, despite the imposed uniformity of NCLB, and I well understand your frustration.  

          I have yet to meet a teacher who liked NCLB and my long association with SCIAD (the science and mathematics enrichment group) made me certainly unhappy when their money dried up in favor of NCLB. In my opinion NCLB was the biggest ripoff promulgated on the school system and may be why homeschooling is more popular today among non-religion-based homeschoolers.

          •  That's terrific (9+ / 0-)

            You gave a science (?) lecture -- terrific. That satisfies, today, some required topic in the curriculum and thank you very much, back to that curric and the next big test.

            Your time and labor were used -- as monitors, whatever that is, and as a classroom volunteer in your wife's case.

            FWIW, my Mom is a classroom volunteer now where I went to elementary school back in the 60s. She cuts and pastes and helps the teacher with paperwork, wipes noses and consoles, escorts kids to the office or the playground -- all those things a second set of hands can be used for.

            But she isn't able to do anything that actually changes the way the school functions. She isn't consulted or included in any decisions about the actual teaching going on, the endless testing, the cramped classrooms, etc.

            She is used to perpetuate the system as is. That's what parents are used for, as far as I ever observed.

            She's happy to help the teacher and the kids but that's not what an activist parent would want.

            Schools are very different from when your kids attended and mine are almost out of that age group as well. (My DD attends a dual-enrollment/charter public high school. She's a junior.) I don't think it is possible for us to really know how dissatisfied parents are under the current system. Expecting them to pitch in and support and change, at the same time, a system that has gotten farther away from helping their actual child than it ever was seems unrealistic to me -- with my limited window onto the more recent state of pubic school.

            NCLB and its aftermath has, indeed, contributed to the growth in hsing. I run an umbrella school (one of the choices for hsers here in FL) and many parents have told me that the FCAT (our state test) was what finally pushed them toward hsing. What should anyone tell these parents? Don't homeschool, put your child back into a punishing system, and make a career out of being an activist at your school?

            Frankly, you have to be an advocate for your child just to get what is available without thinking that you are going to change the system significantly by showing up at PTA meetings or even school board meetings.

            The adversarial relationship between school and parent is real and when the parent is faced with the health and well-being of their child versus fighting the good fight with the school. . . you might struggle for a while but, for many of us, it's a losing battle and your child will be long out of the system before anything significant is changed.  

            Maybe it was better a generation or two ago. Maybe parents actually had more of a say in things. I don't remember it that way when I was in school. But, even if it was, if parents worked hand-in-hand with school personnel to get a custom-fit education for each child, that isn't what many parents experience today.

            Sure, they still love parents who show up and help stack the chairs after the spaghetti dinner. But want your child to do something other than tests and test prep? Hmmm. . . .

      •  Wow!! You said so much of what I was thinking (4+ / 0-)

        and what I believe. But you said it far better than I could.

        Bravo !!!!  Those are my exact concerns as well.

        In fact, I would love if you would do a diary using ths is full of great points for discussion.

      •  Yes! Yes! Yes! (0+ / 0-)

        You have a very logical mnd ... thank you.

        A couple of things I would add.  One is the difference that a good student can sometimes make in a classroom. My daughtert is not brilliant, but she is smart, curious and logical ... and has an engaging personality, so she was the one who asked questions in class, who did the odd history and science projects and it made a difference.

        The other thing is the difference the world makes in the child.  Again, my daughter went to 13 schools in her k-12 education (long story), some of them pretty rough (gangs, much poverty, violence) but she came through just fine ... in fact, she came out with a very realistic idea of the world out there and the commitment to make it better.  Her first degree was in environmental engineering because she had seen what poor some farm pesticides had done to her peers and their parents.  

        There are sometimes good reasons for formal homeschooling. Whatever you do about the 'grade' part of your child's education, all parents teach at home by how you model and how you choose to enrich your children ... museums, music, RW radio, intellectual discussions, etc.  

        Most of all, we need to remember that they are ALL our children.  Whether they are our biological children, our neighbors or our potential problems, we need to care about them all.

    •  This is self-serving and largely misleading. (9+ / 0-)

      I am a university professor and I get to see the home-schooled kids after they "graduate". With exactly one exception, the sixty-plus home-schooled students I've had over the last five years are absolutely the most poorly socialized and have among the worst academic skills of all my students. They're largely incapable of the kind of small group work that my subject prioritizes. They're completely incapable of handling deadlines: there is ALWAYS a "reason" why they can't take the test on a particular day or why they need extra time to complete a paper. They're disruptive and whiny: they have an extremely difficult time, even when sat down and informed of this, understanding that they're one of many in a class and they don't get to monopolize the discourse. So my anecdata directly contradicts yours as far as socialization goes.

      With respect to your last paragraph, your argument is weak and inaccurate. Yes, electing better officials helps: but it pales in comparison to the damage you do not only by removing themselves as actively involved parents from the schools, but also by perpetuating the (almost entirely incorrect) notion that the public schools are for the left-behind and that their children are too special for public education. Homeschoolers are, with a very few exceptions, contributing to the destruction of the American ideal of quality public education for everyone.

      •  Well put... (4+ / 0-) may wish to read my comment posted below on my comparative experience with public, private, and homeschooled kids.

        You're lucky in one respect--you probably don't have to deal with their parents, which we do. Don't even get me started...

        No one pays attention when you show up at a demonstration with a latte in one hand. When you show up with a molotov cocktail, then they pay attention.

        by wheeldog on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 08:28:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I wonder if you had the chance to read (4+ / 0-)

        leftyparent's diary yesterday about why some progressives chose to homeschool their children?

        As a progressive that homeschools her children, I will repeat a paragraph from his diary that struck a chord:

        Is the human right to a good education served if we insist on providing a learning environment that suits the first group of kids but not the other two?  Sure they are all getting the “same” education, but is that a “good” education for all of them?  Don't we as progressives have common ground in promoting an educational system that allows for a diversity of educational approaches?  Don't we owe it to the fundamental human rights of a person to not force them to learn in a classroom at the direction of an orchestrating teacher if that is antithetical to how they naturally learn?
        •  The comment is largely irrelevant. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Stwriley, lostinamerica, CorinaR
          Don't we as progressives have common ground in promoting an educational system that allows for a diversity of educational approaches?
          Sure, of course we do. And we can argue til we're blue that the traditional classroom model is better at promoting submission to authority than it is at teaching. All of these arguments are essentially useless, however, outside the context of the public schools. Homeschooling, outside of a very small minority of truly unusual cases, represents a betrayal of the social good of public education. If leftyparent is so interested in promoting change in education, s/he should be doing it in the schools, so that children whose parents don't treat them like special flowers can benefit from such discourse as well.
          •  and so if I am betraying public education (6+ / 0-)

            rather than my child, so be it.

            public education didn't work for us, despite volunteering, working part time in the school, PTA, raising money, I even wrote a half a million dollar grant for one of the schools my kids attended.  all of that, and I was still watching my own kids fall through the cracks.

            When is it (or is it?) ok to say, enough, I only have a few limited years for my kids to get what they need.  The school isn't doing it, so we have to find a way.

            Is that really a betrayal?  Should I have sacrificed their education for those other kids whose parents aren't there giving a damn?  I agree they may need me because I am there giving a damn, but at some point, I cannot choose their needs over my own child's needs.  I think most parents would identify with that.

            I refuse to believe corporations are people until Texas executes one

            by k8dd8d on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 11:04:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I don't understand why you think they are useless (3+ / 0-)

            Public schools are beginning to experiment with non-traditional models, and many of them are doing very well. It's not that homeschoolers have a monopoly on education alternatives; it's that they have more freedom to try them.

            Blueisland explained it yesterday:

             Homeschooling may improve schools (4+ / 0-)
            the same way that the home birth movement in the 70's improved hospital based maternity care. Once the alternative became mainstream, the institution responded by adopting some of its features.

            Homeschooling was associated first with hippies, then with evangelical Christians. As more liberals, professionals, secularists, and others who don't fit into those categories choose to homeschool, it is becoming mainstream. That's potentially good for all students!

            My son homeschooled for 12 years, and I have been involved in my local homeschool community for 20 years. It has become much more normalized during that time. That can only encourage all parents, even those whose children attend achool, to imagine that education can be something different for their children than it was for them.

            by blueisland on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 03:22:46 PM ART

            I hope you'll consider visiting some of the diaries in our new series. We publish on Saturday mornings between 8am and 12 noon, Eastern.
          •  Change in the public schools (7+ / 0-)

            And I think promoting submission to authority is a betrayal of the social good.

            I'm having trouble picturing specifically what you are thinking leftyparent would be doing in a particular school "so that children whose parents don't treat them like special flowers can benefit from such discourse as well".  What discourse?  What actions?

            I've tried working on change at the school level and as some others have commented here, I've found that what goes on in schools is set by policy at higher levels..that the structure of the institution, the curriculum, assumptions about kids, "discipline" etc. are not changed at the school level.  Are you suggesting that it can be, and if so, I would really appreciate hearing how.

            •  I am picturing the meeting (4+ / 0-)

              where I went to the principal and said something along the lines of, please help me to understand how a school situated halfway between Boeing and Microsoft is not focused on math and science education, and what can I do to help make that better, could we start a PTA science docent program, do you need money, what would it take to change the focus?

              She pretty much said, there are two types of teachers, language arts types, and math & science types, and by and large, math & science types don't choose to teach elementary school, so we have a school full of language arts types.  They are intimidated to teach science, plus it takes so much work to prepare lessons and activities and clean it all up, they most of them just don't put much effort into it.  The math and science type teachers teach at middle school and high school, so the kids will get all they need when they get there.

              Let's just say I wasn't encouraged about being able to change ANYTHING.  I still went forward, looking into some various science options, explored some ways that other schools/PTAs in the area were dealing with it, but when I came back with ideas, I still didn't gain any traction.  PTA was focused on what color balloons should be in the gym for bingo night, and the principal wasn't inclined to impose anything on her teachers, so that was that.

              I refuse to believe corporations are people until Texas executes one

              by k8dd8d on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 11:32:57 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is my experience from subbing (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                k8dd8d, FloridaSNMOM

                Lots of the subs who had been planning on teaching elementary school failed to get their certs when they couldn't pass the math part of the test, and some the writing part. I wasn't impressed with the science and math teaching I saw, either. Most of the teachers at that level did indeed have little feeling for science.  

                •  I hate to say this... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  but that is partly because of how we teach math and science in public schools. It is something to be memorized and few people ever understand the whys and wherefores behind the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. By the time they get to high school, that memorization doesn't help very much with algebra and trig and pre-calc. Don't even mention college math.

                  I lost an engineering scholarship because I failed college calculus and I thought I was just so stupid for the longest time. Then I started looking for math curriculum for my boys and learned that part of the reason I had so much trouble is that I am not a sequential learner and so much of math is taught sequentially. I learn much better from real life situations and so do my boys. We found a curriculum that worked with hands on math and I am amazed at how much better I understand math. I feel smarter know at 45 than I did at 20. All because I learned that I have a different learning style. Talk about an epiphany!

                  If I would have had that epiphany in college, there might have been one more engineer in the world.

                  Just in case anyone is interested, the book that helped me the most is one written for teachers of math called Math Matters: Understanding the Math You Teach by Suzanne H. Chapin. I have written about our homeschool math studies as well.

            •  Perhaps I wasn't clear. (0+ / 0-)
              And I think promoting submission to authority is a betrayal of the social good.
              You appear to think that I think submission to authority is a good thing, in our public schools or anywhere. I don't: but if our public schools emphasize submission too much, the place to advocate for a counterexample is within them rather than outside.
              •  Thanks for clarifying (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                angelajean, FloridaSNMOM

                that.  I think though that we'll have to agree to disagree that the only place to advocate is within...I think we need to do both...advocate within and without.  Frankly, with the current state of affairs, at least within large districts such as in Los Angeles where I live, it's practically impossible to advocate true counterexamples because of the dictated required curriculum and testing by grades.

          •  Betrayal? (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            angelajean, moira977, Debby, FloridaSNMOM

            I'm wondering, felagund, if you feel the same way about those who send their children to parochial, private, or charter schools, or have them bused to rich public schools in the suburbs.  In my district, about a quarter of all children opt out of public schools.  Only a relative handful homeschool.

            It's obvious you're very angry at homeschooling parents.  Are you even more angry at the hundred times as many people who send their kids to schools other than district public schools?  Or is it just the homeschoolers who make you see red?

      •  My son was home schooled from the 3rd grade. (5+ / 0-)

        He was the square peg that did not fit in the round hole that was his school.  Always finishing tests and assignments first he became bored which led to many visits to the principal, as my son found irritating activities when he was bored.

        Rather than have an angry teenage drop out, we took him out of school and home schooled him.  The adjacent county had a program through their Board of Education that my wife used through Junior High School.  Our field trips were wonderful.

        My son attended the local high school in name only as he participated in their Independent Studies program.  He saw a teacher once a week, who reviewed his work and administered tests if necessary.  A couple of audio-visual projects he completed are still used as examples of excellent work by the school as a whole.

        He participated in several club sports.  His favorite is hockey, which he still plays.  He has many friends.  Socialization does not seem to have been a problem.

        He will be graduated from college this May.  He has attended classes with no problems and has been on the Dean's List every semester.  He will have completed college in four years when he is graduated.

        I truly believe that had he not been home schooled he would have ended up as an angry dead-ended.  Instead he became a fine young man who was ready and prepared for college, as well as life.

        Buddy, can you spare a paradigm?

        by jparnell on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 11:33:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I always find it interesting (5+ / 0-)

        when people who are opposed to homeschooling somehow have found through extensive personal study that all (well, except for one in the entire US, or is that the world?) homeschoolers are utter failures as human beings, completely uneducated social outcasts. I wasn't aware that when you sit them down and tell them this they aren't extraordinarily grateful, but I can understand how such losers might fail to accept your unbiased judgment.

        Yep, that's conclusive. You've convinced me.

        •  I know (0+ / 0-)

          adult homeschoolers who are cool, successful people. I take the kind of assessments upthread with a large grain of salt.

          Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. --Mark Twain

          by Debby on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:32:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  your anecdata (5+ / 0-)

        Are contradicted by actual research data.  Which suggests that your prejudices have contaminated your interpretations.  

        My daughter was once in a community youth symphony.  The second director came from a local Catholic school.  Things changed for the homeschooled kids when he took over.  Eventually he made an overt statement that made his prejudices clear.  I am sure he saw what he wanted or expected to see.  It was clear he was treating one boy in a discriminatory fashion, a boy who shortly after got selected to perform at Carnegie hall as part of some youth initiative.

        After the prejudicial comments, several of us with homeschooled kids left the orchestra.  Murray State University Orchestra welcomed them into their ranks and that probably ended up being an even better opportunity.  But sad that the community youth symphony let homeschooling prejudice cause this to happen to their fledgling program.

        Also, your argument seems to be that people making choices other than public school perpetuates a notion that schools are for the left behind and/or their children are "too special."  maybe that is how you, in your mind see that choice, but that is not how the public at large views it.  The vast majority of people see that parents are usually best suited to figure out how best to meet their children's educational needs.  Most parents are proud of their community schools and do not see them as being there for children left behind.  Most parents want to have and use quality public schools and most of them have no desire to homeschool.  Most parents are glad the homeschooling option is there if needed, even if they have no intention of using it.  Most parents throughout our nation's history have recognized that private school options are not a threat to public schooling.  

        A vibrant society offers choice and expands opportunities.  

        •  You've hit upon the issue. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Leslie in KY, angelajean, k8dd8d, Gareth

          The negative comments aimed at the homeschoolers are simply the commenter's prejudices copy and pasted onto the homeschooled.  I know this is true because I teach a class of homeschoolers each year and none of them have been as the commenters describe.  Not one.  I also know many brilliant homeschooled children who went on to college and university success.  I know there are some bad stories and bad homeschooling parents, just as there are bad public school teachers and experiences.  I haven't come across those yet.   The negativity is very silly.  

          And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

          by tobendaro on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 01:12:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  As I reflect (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            k8dd8d, Gareth, tobendaro, FloridaSNMOM

            It seems the hostile statements represent some deep-seated insecurities about public education.  Leading to projection, such as seeing flawed social skills in homeschoolers while ignoring serious social problems such as bullying common in children in schools, as if those are not important nor connected to what happens when you age-segregate children and put them in a competetive atmosphere.

            But I suspect at some level the worst attackers of homeschooling are those who at some level recognize how far from the ideal our education system is.  

  •  You might also include the (3+ / 0-)

    tag "personal storytelling" or "personal".

    Its good to have the full range of experience if we are going to have personal experience diaries on a subject.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 05:01:07 PM PST

  •  Thanks for telling your story (6+ / 0-)

    Certainly homeschooling is not for everyone and probably it's not for the majority.  It is good for some. Also it is not mutually exclusive with saving public schools (whatever that means, and however that may be achieved in this increasingly corporate-dominated society).

    Silvio Levy

  •  So hey - what do you study in the desert? nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, worldlotus

    "Maybe this is how empires die - their citizens just don't deserve to be world leaders anymore." -Kossack Puddytat, In a Comment 18 Sept 2011

    by pixxer on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 08:54:53 PM PST

  •  the number of proper approaches to education (7+ / 0-)

    at minimum equals the number of children to be educated and probably is somewhat more.

    life: that awkward moment between birth and death

    by bnasley on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 09:14:13 PM PST

  •  Thanks for the diary and much to think about! (10+ / 0-)

    I was fortunate to have gone to school 50 years ago, when teachers had an opportunity to teach us to think.  My own kids made it through school while I was doing some grad went on to college while the other two didn't.  Since we are (I know now but didn't know then) an ADD family, I know that they would have done better had they not attended an "open concept" elementary school!   But they are good young men, loving, and making their way in the world.  

    My granddaughter--the light of my life--is not yet two years old but showing signs of being something special  (I know, all grandma's say that!).  I gave her my old iPhone as soon as she could sit up, because there was an app with pictures and sounds she loved.  Shortly  she surprised us by picking up the phone, turning it on, and sliding the on-screen switch to unlock it to use her app.  She's a whiz now opening the onscreen books and puzzles she adores.

    I wonder what my son and daughter-in-law will do with her education?   If she continues with her appetite for learning and new challenges, regular school will bore the tears out of her (and I speak as one who went from being labeled "slow" to being recognized as "gifted and bored to tears" as a schoolchild, myself).

    I wish our system had more "give" to it....that we could blend what works for each child.  As it is, it seems we sink further in resources and flexibility month to month.

    "Because inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened." -Terry Pratchett

    by revsue on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 09:55:56 PM PST

    •  I am grateful that our kids ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      went through the system before NCLB and that the high school they went to had federal funds to encourage the arts.  This allowed them to take drama, art, and other courses that I suspect most kids do not have offered to them under the Teach to the Test doctrine.  

    •  My best friend's daughter is Gifted and she was (4+ / 0-)

      bored in her first few years of elementary school. My friend has her child tested and her child was placed in a gifed program at her public school. She was able to take advanced placement and accelerated programs in high school. She even went off campus her senior year to take some classes for credit. She earned a full academic scholarship for college.  And she graduated a year early from high school.  

      The problem now is so many states are cutting educational funding to the bone and these gifted and special needs programs are on the chopping block.  

      So it is going to once again become a problem due to these Republican governors.

      •  Exactly what happened to me... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        k8dd8d, Gareth, FloridaSNMOM

        those many years ago in elementary school. I was identified as gifted in third grade after many "behavior" incidents in first and second (and this was a rather experimental grade school, since it was attached to the Ed. dept. of the university where my father taught) and enrolled in the school system's gifted program. It saved me from permanent boredom and all the ills that would have flowed from it.

        But now, such programs are rare. The reason is very simple; too much pressure on districts to raise up the poorest performing students and so much less cash to spend on everything that they see all forms of enrichment as the only place to cut (regardless of how those doing the cutting might feel about the programs themselves.) It's a Hobson's choice, really, because (despite appearances)  they don't actually have any other options given the demands being made on them by NCLB and the budget constraints they labor under.

        This is one of the most important parts of parental and general community support for education; making sure the funding is there to keep public school programs intact and expand them with the best new and proven practices. But too often we see the short-sighted cries of "you can't raise my taxes" and "I don't have kids in school, why should I pay more?" and constant votes against property tax increases or school bond issues that could provide the funding necessary to really improve schools. The next time you see one of these issues in your own community (and I'm addressing this to everyone, not specifically to wishingwell who doubtless already gets it) go out and actively campaign to get it passed. That's one of the most direct things you can actually do to support public schools and one that will have an effect far beyond anyone's individual efforts (wonderful though those are) in other areas.

        Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

        by Stwriley on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 12:06:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It might also make sense to look at why so many (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          reconnected, Debby, FloridaSNMOM

          kids are poorly performing in traditional school settings.

          Would they be better served in a different type of school?

          We all know that most kids are best served in small classes but
          since small classes seem to be unaffordable at the time, maybe school districts could look for other solutions.

          Perhaps mixed age classrooms that allow for different ages of the same ability - with a large enough class, no child feels pulled behind or pushed ahead, they are just with a mixed age group.

          Perhaps more Montessori style education where kids work together but also progress at their own speed. There is a balance between independent work and class time.

          Are they right brained learners who have a hard time learning sequentially? Did you know that most left brained learners can learn with global teaching but that most right brained learners struggle in a traditional classroom?

          Sometimes we get stuck on the most obvious answer - more money, small classes! - but need to think of the less obvious ones as well.

    •  Some school districts are experimenting with (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k8dd8d, Debby, FloridaSNMOM

      different kinds of educational alternatives... they are trying to offer choices beyond the brick and mortar schools we are used to. Maybe you can start asking questions now in your granddaughter's school district about what kind of options will be available when she is school age. It can take years to change the system so it is never too soon to start asking questions and to find out how you might help start the school that that she and other kids might find the most interesting.

      •  Angelajean, I think you words (5+ / 0-)
        It can take years to change the system so it is never too soon to start asking questions and to find out how you might help start the school that that she and other kids might find the most interesting.
        capture what I see as one of the biggest obstacles to change in the public schools.

        Most people don't get involved in public education until their kids are in kindergarten.  Then, they spend a year or two or three figuring out how the system works.  Then they spend a year or two or three trying to figure out what to do if the system isn't working for their kids.  Then they spend a year or two or three trying to actually make change happen.  By the time they have figured out that change is incremental in such an entrenched system, their own child is somewhere between 4th and 8th grades....

        And they figure out the hardest thing of all, that by the time they could actually implement or enact any kind of change (and that's only in some places where it's possible) that change will be too late to help their own kids.

        That's what happened with us, and now my kids are out of the system homeschooling, and I am working, hoping, wishing that the system will be better for my grandchildren someday.

        I want public education to be great for all kids, really I do.  And I know there are great schools and great teachers out there, really I do.  But in multiple states, in multiple schools, we didn't find it, and we got to the break point of it being too late for our kids, and so we made a choice for their education over trying to fix the system.  And when I get through this time, I will go back to trying to fix the system.  

        I don't think it's fair to ask me to try to fix the system NOW while I am using my resources to educate my kids because the system wasn't able to.  But no one should think that walking away from the public schools was easy, or that by doing so, I don't support them.

        I refuse to believe corporations are people until Texas executes one

        by k8dd8d on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 09:06:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's been one of my biggest justifications for (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          k8dd8d, tobendaro

          pulling our kids out of the system.

          As a military family that moves every couple of years, I could never have an impact on the local school system. It takes too long. So I've focused our work at the national level except for the the time we spent in CA. There I worked on the my local charter school council. That volunteer work felt very worth while. I loved the charter model where parents served on the council and made the decisions for the school. I think more communities should consider that kind of a model - much better than having a school board telling you what to do at every turn. They have broad powers over the charter but not so much that the administration and council felt like we didn't ultimately control the path of the school.

        •  The feel of all that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          angelajean, k8dd8d

          is that this situation is a design feature, not a bug.

          I went through the same thing 12-13 years ago and had the same learning curve and eventual exit from the system.

          The people I interacted with were lovely but the general feel was: "Don't let the screen door hit you on the way out."

  •  well, i was homeschooled and very glad for it (12+ / 0-)

    I was homeschooled until college. It worked.

    true, my dad was able to stay home. But I'm still eternally grateful that I wasn't subjected to the taunts and torments of my peers for not fitting into society's mold. And I plan to give my kids the same chance, too.

    I'll only consider putting my kids into a school if adults can set the culture of the school, not the kids. Until then, no way.

    •  In your case homeschooling worked. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As I said it does work under the proper circumstances. Certainly No Child Left Behind has made homeschooling more attractive, but it is still out of the reach of the majority.

    •  I would love to hear more about your story... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I know other homeschool dad's but the concept seems to be a newer one. Would you be willing to write a diary for our homeschooling series about what it was like to be homeschooled?

    •  I always felt so fortunate that my parents (4+ / 0-)

      sent me to public school and to a state public university. But then again, each case is different. I flourished.  I was always an outgoing, chatty, sociable child with no siblings until I was 5 years old. Apparently I told my parents it was too quiet and too boring at home. LOL.

      But there was no kindergarten in my district where we had lived when I was 5. So my mother went to the school and asked for learning materials. I was able to read before first grade and I was way ahead of the other children. They caught up by the time I reached the 10th grade.  

      But one of my closest childhood friends and neighbors hated public school and her parents were publc school teachers.   We are both in our 50s now and we went to the same school and the same university and we both had very different experiences. She has a higher IQ and teachers loved her but she hated school.  I had great study skills and work habits and I loved, Loved all of it.  

      Homeschool would have been perfect for 2 of my friends from who just plain hated public school and people in general..she still does...and the other who was a sweet kid but who struggled and was not given the help she needed.

  •  I am happy that you had such a good outcome. (6+ / 0-)

    I am very happy that you have had such a good life outcome after growing up in an obviously dysfunctional family.  As a healthcare professional, I know that probably the most difficult person to deal with is someone who is bi-polar.

    I respect you and wish you well.  Having said that, I have to suggest that you are painting homeschoolers with too broad a brush.  Having homeschooled two children who are now successful adults, one with a PhD as you have and the other with two Master's degrees, I feel qualified to observe that homeschooling is exactly the best method of helping one's children to learn in some cases.  In other cases, public education is the answer.

    For every criticism that you make of home schooling, one could make a similar criticism for our public education system.

    It is unfortunate that extant in our country today is a mood that dictates to many that every issue needs to be adversarial in nature.  That is quite unfortunate.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Ghandi

    by Randolph the red nosed reindeer on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 06:36:39 AM PST

    •  I don't condemn homeschooling ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, wheeldog, moira977, ORDem

      but based on my own experience and something else I did not mention, my direct contact with a number of homeschoolers as an outreach person for the university (as well as over 20,000 K-12 students over 25 or so years) I find both homeschooling and public schooling a mixed bag. The first homeschoolers (beside myself) that I encountered were religion-based -  their parents did not want them exposed to nasty ideas like evolution.  Since then I have run into more sane homeschooling parents, some of whom have formed essentially a private school working with other parents.

      Just for the record our older daughter, who went to public school, has a D.D.S. and the younger is working on her second Masters in health-related science.  

      I do not believe that an adversarial discussion convinces much of anybody either way.  Some kids do better with homeschooling and others do not.  However the reality is that most go to public schools and while my experience in being home-schooled is unique to me, similar problems are not that rare, as I have learned from several psychologists and mental health activists I have known.  My gripe is not with homeschoolng by itself, but in the advocated abandonment of the public school system by some conservative politicians and in the utopian attitude of some homeschooling parents.  

      •  Please do not extrapolate from the subjective. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angelajean, Leslie in KY, Debby

        I understand that you have a deep emotional interest in the issue of how best to educate our children.

        I would observe that you are extrapolating about is actually hurtful to me that my family, my children and our choices are dichotimized by you into, in your opinion, being either influenced by conservative politicians or some "utopian" attitude that "some homeschooling parents have"....

        It has been a decade since my youngest child lived at home, and I do not remember exact references, but I would invite you to look at more objective data about public school vs. homeschool academic outcomes.  No homeschooled child should be held to a higher standard than his/her public school counterpart, but it is my recollection that homeschoolers compare quite favorably to public schoolers.

        As a scientist, I am certain that you understand how to objectively analyze and research any question.  I have not the time to re-invent the wheel and refer you to the studies that I generally remember, but I invite you to research them.

        Again, sounds like you have done quite well in your life.  I would observe that your mother, though not highly educated and like all of us, far from perfect, did make some very good decisions in rearing you.  One of those decisions was transitioning you to a community college to keep you out of Vietnam.

        I wish you well.  I, personally, am quite ecstatic about how my children have grown, accomplished and prospered.  Perhaps you could consider acknowledging that some who homeschool their children are capable, competent, well adjusted individuals and not religious zealots or utopians.  

        "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Ghandi

        by Randolph the red nosed reindeer on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 07:38:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I quite acknowledge that homeschooling .. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          can produce quite well balanced and educated students.  However subjective my perspective is, I have run into similar cases and I don't think that I am as prejudiced as you may think.  Note that I used the word "some" in both instances.

  •  but always be careful about such decisions (5+ / 0-)

    Were you under the impression that this is a decision that is not being made carefully?

    In my experience, set in the years just before and during NCLB, with my children, the decision to homeschool was made after trying everything public school had to offer and ending up with nothing but a sad child and a great deal of frustration.

    I don't think most homeschoolers would say that homeschooling is for everyone or a solution to the problems within the public school system. Or that we need to send a concerned warning to parents considering public school that they should be careful about such decisions.

    But we are not willing to sacrifice our children while Congress, the President, local school boards, and the system get a clue. So, after a great deal of careful consideration, some parents decide to homeschool.

    •  By some people, it is not.... (0+ / 0-)

      well thought out.  However my gripe is with certain politicians and yes some homeschool advocates who envision a future full of the choice of either homeschooling or private for profit schools.

      •  See: Rick Santorum (0+ / 0-)

        for reference.

        •  Well, you aren't (4+ / 0-)

          going to find many people here who think Santorum is anything but an asshole. Or worse.

          Some people don't think anything out very well, including parenting. But most of the hsers I have encountered have gone to great pains to find out all they can before making their decision.

          Private for-profit schools are another, very complicated, topic.

          My experience (as limited as it is) has been with parents who tried the online/at home but public-school curriculum and testing choice we have here. K12 or Connections Academy. These are parents of students who were usually enrolled in a traditional public school, who were not doing well for a variety of reasons and decided to use the virtual school option at home.

          The parents I meet are the ones who didn't like the public-school curric and testing even when it was done at home and wanted to transition to independent hsing. So a splinter of the population but, for those families, hsing was the final option after having tried the others.

          I suppose some families are happy enough to stay with the virtual school and I never hear from them, or they register with the county as hsers, or they go to a different umbrella school. Or they don't even know what their different options are -- the public school system is not always helpful or informed about what all the options are.

          But if you weren't happy with traditional public school, doing the same stuff at home, on the same schedule, with the same testing, doesn't seem to be the cure.

  •  I thought of homeschooling because my (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Scientist, angelajean, k8dd8d

    daughter has ADHD, but 1. I do not think I am equipped to teach-she does listen to her teachers better than she does me.
    2. I was always afraid of being stuck in a religiously fanatical republican homeschool group for our only options for socialization

    I am glad you survived the experience

  •  I work with 4th and 5th graders (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Scientist, zinger99, Anak

    as an Interpretive Specialist at an archaeological/historic park. In this state, those are the grade levels where they study state and regional history.

    We get between 8,000 and 10,000 students every season coming to the park on field trips--100 to 125 per day. We have four programs we rotate them through: A tour through petroglyphs, a hike down to a railroad bridge built in the late 1800s to serve the silver mines, a sit-down program where we use artifacts and demonstrate how the people lived thousands of years ago (flint knapping, hunting, fishing) and, their favorite, they learn how to use an atlatl.

    We get students from public schools, private schools (charter and parochial) and home schoolers.

    By far the best students to work with are the private school kids. And, by far the worst are the home schoolers. The public school students fall in between.

    The private school kids show up prepared (we send out field guides and material before their visit), they pay attention to us and their teachers, they are respectful and polite, and they seem the most interested and eager to learn.

    The home schoolers are simply awful. They don't listen, they wander off on their own, they blurt out whatever comes to mind whenever they feel like it, and seem to lack basic social skills, especially how to act and interact in a group situation. Their parents don't seem interested in exerting any control over them, including the disruptive behavior.

    We occasionally get older student groups--junior high and high school--that have students that were home schooled early and then put into public schools. They exhibit the same behavior and some of them are downright nasty when you try to tell them to do or not do something, which is necessary from a safety and preservation standpoint. Their teachers tell us, confidentially, that they are very difficult to teach and are constantly disruptive in the classroom.

    And, no, I am not a teacher myself but understand the basics of presenting information and engaging students.    


    No one pays attention when you show up at a demonstration with a latte in one hand. When you show up with a molotov cocktail, then they pay attention.

    by wheeldog on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 08:09:36 AM PST

    •  Our experience with homeschool field trips in TX (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      are much like what you describe. We stopped attending. The worst were those that did not limit ages... I don't mean to a single grade because I don't think that would be necessary. But as my boys got older, they needed field trips that focused on their level of maturity and ability.

      Our homeschool field trips in Northern CA were very different, partly because our group limited participation to a range of ages. We had trips for all ages, but we encouraged families with younger kids to attend the trips tailored to younger kids.  

      It really is amazing to see the striking differences from community to community. Probably as striking as the difference between public schools from community to community as well.

      I'm sorry that your experience with homeschoolers has been so negative. We have greatly benefitted from visiting parks like your own and from interacting with the staff. It's a shame the homeschoolers in your area have done such a poor job of being ambassadors in the name of homeschooling.

    •  I worked (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angelajean, moira977

      for three years before our move as an interpreter at a living history museum. All kids were a mixed bag. Some of the public school kids were simply joys to work with and sometimes they tore up stuff just for the hell of it. One spring, a group of public school kids dug up the whole garden in our farm setting before someone noticed them doing it. The chaperons stood by watching, not giving a shit that this was actually a garden we had hoped to use throughout the season to teach other guests. So long, seedlings! So long, asparagus bed! So long, berries! For the most part, homeschooled kids were better behaved. They were usually there with a goal and they were usually better supervised. I don't find your experience to reflect mine at all.

      Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. --Mark Twain

      by Debby on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:45:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The sad thing is there are some kids who are (5+ / 0-)

    bulllied and it never stops and the child is depressed. The parents so want to be able to offer their child alternatives but they cannot afford to. That is a very sad thing.  In most households, both parents have to work fulltime or in some cases, several jobs in order to pay the rent or mortgage and put food on the table and avoid becoming homeless.

    I am very concerned about children who are bullied or for other reasons, are very miserable in public or private schools because of situations beyond their control. Homeschooling would be perfect for them but the parents cannot afford to or are unable to do it for many reasons.

    •  be sure to watch next Saturday for a diary (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angelajean, Leslie in KY, wishingwell

      about homeschooling inexpensively.  There are many people who homeschool who work full or part time, and many resources are not costly.

      It doesn't work for everyone, but sometimes even those who think it's out of reach have options they didn't know about.

      I refuse to believe corporations are people until Texas executes one

      by k8dd8d on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 08:51:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I also think public schools get a bad rap as there (5+ / 0-)

    are still many excellent public schools and dedicated and talented teachers and involved parents doing a great job. But we never hear about these. And that is also sad.

  •  My parents were surprised (0+ / 0-)

    when I insisted on going to a large public school after experiencing 5th and 6th grade at an excellent small private school. I had been in public schools in a different city before those years and much preferred their social and athletic opportunities. I still remember my dad saying to my mother, "Let her go to the public school." On the other hand, my children regarded public school as "death" and chose to attend a private high school.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 09:37:20 AM PST

  •  Thanks, we need more discussion on home schooling (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Scientist, tobendaro

    The merits of home schooling by the children who were home schooled needs to be examined. It cannot possibly be good for the many. and Jefferson education is the key to keeping our democracy. The very fact that we recognize that as a society is to our common interests to grow as a nation. there are far too many countries especially in the Middle EAST that charge to go to school and education is preserved to the privileged. One of the ways the SOUTH extended their hold on slavery was to PROHIBIT, anyone from teaching a negro to read and write. It was a criminal offense to do so.

    An EGG is not a person, A corporation is not a person!

    by CarmanK on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 10:42:15 AM PST

  •  Each school is different. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My daughter landed in a terrific public charter school with an international baccalaureate program.  She is in fourth grade and thriving.

    She goes to school with a wildly diverse population, culturally and economically.  But a majority all these kids come from homes that have high expectations from education -- so they are engaged.  And the kids who come from less than stellar homes peer pressure the others into doing well.

    What I do find odd is that whenever I interact with my daughter regarding how my daughter is progressing, her teacher thanks me for being an involved parent.  I know this young teacher means well, but I find it annoying.  I am my daughter's first teacher.  If anyone should be doing the thanking, it should be me to the teacher for all her fine efforts.  

    But like I said, I keep quiet because I find the best way to make sure a child succeeds in school is to not let any light gaps appear between the teacher and the parent.

    Now, the Catholic school my daughter was at up to 2nd grade -- what a different story.  I should have told her last teacher to get stuffed and yanked her out of home schooling about six months before we left.

    "Since when did obeying corporate power become patriotic." Going the Distance

    by Going the Distance on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 12:03:38 PM PST

    •  Boy I need some coffee (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I meant to write that the kids who come from less than stellar homes are peer pressured by the other kids into doing well.  Learning and getting good grades is the expectation at her school.

      I also meant to write whenever I interact with my daughter's teacher regarding how my daughter is progressing etc.  

      I think I might need some home schooling for the rest of the day.

      Should quit now while I am ahead.

      "Since when did obeying corporate power become patriotic." Going the Distance

      by Going the Distance on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 12:18:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When will the attacks on homeschoolers here stop? (5+ / 0-)

    Seriously. We're not the ones killing public schools. Look to the politicians in the pockets of for-profit schools, not us.

    The OP's parents obviously had emotional problems that would have affected him regardless where he went to school. There are failures and successes among both homeschooled and public schooled kids. Painting either with this broad brush is offensive and counter-productive.

    Anyone who says they've never met homeschooled kids who aren't disasters don't know many homeschooled kids. I invite anyone in my area to come meet my kids. They're not super-geniuses, but they're pretty damn cool.

    •  You will notice that homeschooling .... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      was somehow evil in itself or that nobody should ever homeschool. Yes my parents had emotional problems, but I will bet that there are some homeschooling parents out there who are also unbalanced.  True, they would have been a problem to me even if I had gone to public school, but their keeping me out of school masked the problem since nobody ever saw it.  It was one way sick families keep the public from knowing what they were up to.  I heard my mother caution me more than once to avoid letting strangers know anything of our family secrets and once or twice accuse me of listening to outsiders.

      I am supportive of choice, but I just do not like some of the rhetoric I have been hearing on the superiority of homeschooling. I just wanted to point out that it sometimes does not work as well as the hype.

      •  I don't think any of us has said homeschooling (5+ / 0-)

        is superior... we are saying it is a valid option for many kids. And so is public school.

        People get really upset when someone complains about a negative experience with public school as if we shouldn't talk about the bad things that have happened. But how do we fix the issues if we can't even talk about them? I don't think anyone complaining about their personal experiences is asking that we get rid of public education. That would be crazy! They are lamenting the fact that they didn't have educational choices when they were growing up.

        This is all about finding multiple solutions. We live in a diverse nation. I would hope that we could create an education system that offers diverse choices.

        •  I will agree that this group , but... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LynnS, angelajean, retped

          there are a few out there who do trumpet the absolute value of homeschooling (a few politicians among them - such as Mr. Santorum) and it was to them I was addressing my diary. I have no argument with people who homeschool because the local schools are crappy (made much more so by NCLB), but I do get irritated when someone pushes my button on how homeschooling is so fantastically superior to public school - and I have heard that several times. Not here, but elsewhere.   Yes - different strokes for different folks and I will admit that homeschooling may force the public schools to get better.  But I don't want to go back to a time when parents could let their kids essentially go unschooled and thus underprivileged for the rest of their lives.  You and all the people who have commented, may be absolutely scrupulous in educating and socializing your children and I do not intend to imply otherwise, but I really don't trust this to be universal, which I have heard from some enthusiastic proponents.

          In essence I am not against you or how you want to educate your children, but I am against weakening the public school system which is what Santorum and perhaps the rest of the Tea Party types are going with this.  That perhaps makes me a bit more touchy, however I wish all of you success in your educational endeavors and am sure that with your attitude such will be the case.  

          By the way, I left out a part of the sentence "You will notice that I never said that homeschooling was somehow evil in itself or that nobody should ever homeschool"  I was not really trying to be sarcastic- it just came out that way.

          •  That's now how your diary came across (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And the commenters on such diaries (not you personally) always pile onto us evil, undemocratic, elitist, racist, secretly right wing, blah blah blah homeschoolers. It gets really, really, REALLY old.

            I'm sorry about what happened to you, but there's no way of knowing that being in public school would have helped you. Some kids fall through the cracks everywhere, including in public school. Someone might have been able to help you, or you could have just slipped on by. That might have even been worse--knowing that someone could have helped you but didn't bother. We'll never know.

            •  I tried to strike a balance. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              However I was at the point I wrote it, pretty irritated at some blogger who had sung the praises of going to just homeschooling and private schools, eliminating the Dept. of Education, and thus not having the taxpayers involved in the school system at all. Oh yes vouchers- but the government could make them so low that poor people could not use them and then eventually eliminate them and then where would we be?  I am of course also influenced by my own history, which I admit was unique (although not as unique as you might think- I knew the co-directors of the Incest Survivors Network and they told me stories that made my early life seem like a picnic.  There ARE a lot of crazy people out there (and again I do not mean to imply that any of you are like them, but they do exist and they cannot be entirely dismissed.)

              •  then I wish you'd taken it up with that blogger (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Gareth, FloridaSNMOM

                ...or that you had not framed this as a homeschooling issue. What happened to you didn't have much to do with homeschooling. It had everything to do with very unstable parents. In fact, this is less a homeschooling issue and more a community mental health issue.

                I am far from believing public schools should go away. They desperately need reformed, but absolutely not in the Michelle Rhee sense. I vote for EVERY school levy that comes before us. There are public school teachers on both sides of our family. I see first-hand how teachers are treated in this country, and it's criminal.

                No, your situation is (sadly) not unique, and my heart sincerely goes out to you. There are a lot of crazy people out there. Some of them homeschool. Most of them don't.

          •  I have really enjoyed the conversations in your (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Desert Scientist, FloridaSNMOM

            diary today. I think you've managed to write a compelling piece that attracted a wide variety of folks and, for the most part, the conversation has been pretty civil.

            I hope you will join us in other homeschool diaries and get to know even more of us better. Believe it or not, even the conservative homeschool families I know are, for the most part, nothing like Santorum. Most of them are just trying to raise their kids the best way they know how.

            •  Again I don't want to imply that ... (0+ / 0-)

              you all are anything like Santorum, but he is there and him and his ilk are trying to use this as a wedge issue.  I am glad that this conversation did not deteriorate totally into diatribes. I think that we all have a stake in the education of our children, but in a way we are both defensive.  You because any criticism of homeschooling is an attack on how you raised your kids and me because any attack on the public schools seems to be an attack on how we raised our kids and also leads me back to a very unhappy time in my life.   We can certainly agree that the public schools are generally screwed up since NCLB.  I know a number of K-12 teachers and all of them detest this program.  I was associated for several years with the science and math enrichment in our local public schools (SCIAD) and they were totally demoralized by this.  The director recently retired but the @#$# teach to the test is so pervasive that I doubt they will do this again.

              •  I am curious as to what you have decided to do (1+ / 0-)
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                Desert Scientist

                to help change the status quo? I think people are increasingly depressed about making any change at all in the system. A diary about what people are doing to help make changes might be more encouraging than a diary about how negative your homeschool experience was.

                Maybe you could write about how your homeschool experience made you realize the importance of public schools and spurred you on to make a difference in your own community for local kids. That would be an inspiring diary indeed!

      •  If it's any comfort, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LynnS, angelajean

        many families -- no matter how the children are educated -- go to great lengths to hide family secrets.

  •  And note (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...that homeschoolers did not jump on this rec'd diary to attack public school, despite the bullying this girl and so many others experience there every day.

  •  Where are the 2nd generation homeschooled? (0+ / 0-)

    Do homeschooled parents ever elect to homeschool their children?

    GOP = Greedy One Percent

    by Palafox on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:04:57 PM PST

    •  Yes, homeschooled adults often homeschool their (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      And a study was done in 2003 by the National Home Education Research Institute. They questioned over 7000 adults who had been homeschooled. Here are some of the results:

      Eighty-two percent said they would homeschool their own children, and of the 812 participants with children 5 years of age or older, 74 percent are already doing it.

      Homeschool graduates are active and involved in their communities. 71% participate in an ongoing community service activity, like coaching a sports team, volunteering at a school, or working with a church or neighborhood association, compared with 37% of U.S. adults of similar ages from a traditional education background.

      Homeschool graduates are more involved in civic affairs and vote in much higher percentages than their peers. 76% of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 24 voted within the last five years, compared with only 29% of the corresponding U.S. populace. The numbers are even greater in older age groups, with voting levels not falling below 95%, compared with a high of 53% for the corresponding U.S. populace.

      58.9% report that they are "very happy" with life, compared with 27.6% for the general U.S. population. 73.2% find life "exciting", compared with 47.3%.

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