Tip Tuesday — No Place Like Home?

I went to public school. I liked public school, minus the years of purgatory generally referred to as Junior High. Would someone please tell me next time before I decide to exhibit my keychain collection in the school library in between the guy who collects bugs and the girl who collects miniature plastic unicorns? It won’t turn out well. I will not make new friends. The 13-year-olds who say, “Wow, cool collection!” in a mock-nasal tone are not being sincere. They think I’m a tard-loaf who should pack up my 50-ton plastic glasses and tin-laced smile and head back to the band room. I will cry… every day… for 3 years.

Now I’m getting Laylee ready for preschool which is, in essence, in fact, so-called because it is indeed a “pre” school, if you will. PRE-SCHOOL??? Nu-uh. I am so not ready for this. Many of you have given me great advice about finding a preschool and several have suggested that I consider keeping Laylee home. This is something I think about all the time, not in terms of preschool but as a possible long-term educational solution.

When I was young, homeschool kids were stereotyped as fundamentalist weirdos who stayed home to avoid getting beat up. We thought of them as strange, socially inept and clueless about the world around them. I suspected they were all anarchists or at the very least unfamiliar with or opposed to standard social and hygienic rituals.

I’m not sure I knew a single homeschooled kid because they were probably chained up in a basement somewhere without deodorant, memorizing nuclear equations and weaving baskets with their own ankle-length hair.

In the 15 years since I started high school, things have changed drastically in the homeschool community and in people’s perceptions of homeschooling. I personally know several outstanding women (some even in real life — gasp!) who have made very educated choices to keep their children out of the public system.

At this point, I have a really favorable opinion of homeschooling but I’m not sure what we will do when the time comes.

I know it’s true, as Abby commented on my preschool post, that “there’s no place like home” and honestly that’s what scares me about not putting my kids in school. There is no place like home and if I don’t let my kids experience the world, will they be in for a junior-high-style emotional butt-kicking when they turn 18 and head off to college?

Will it just be delayed reality-shock, aggravated by years of hanging around with their mom, polishing the key chains and learning in an environment tailored specifically to them? As much as it sucked to be tormented for three years in Junior High, I learned a lot about myself through those experiences, only some of it from reading nasty things people wrote about me on the bathroom wall.

On the other hand, I don’t want to thrust my kids into the deep end with the sharks if they can learn quite nicely at home with me in a warm and safe environment and still find a way to adjust well and become fully functioning members of society.

Do you homeschool your kids or send them to public or private schools? What is your reasoning for this? I’d like to know more about why you do what you do to help me make my post preschool decision.

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49 Responses to Tip Tuesday — No Place Like Home?

  1. jeana says:

    Well…you already know what I do, so I’ll just respond to the question of whether it will just be delayed reality shock. With the acknowledgement that my kids aren’t grown yet.

    First, it is my belief that the additional growth and maturity my kids will have by the time they get to college will help them cope with the environmental changes. At the same time, the other kids/young adults will be more mature. My experience was that by college age, while there were still a few jack-legs out there, in general my peers were more accepting of each other.

    At the same time, my kids are still experiencing some of the things you experienced in junior high, only on a smaller scale. Katie in particular is already running into that clique-ish, fickle junior high behavior; mostly at church activities. (There are some great kids at our church, but there’s always one in every crownd that acts like that.) Katie attended a birthday party last year where all the girls decided to gang up on the last girl to arrive, ignoring her or putting her down. When she got there Katie told her what the others had planned, they got mad at Katie, blah blah blah until the mother finally found out what was going on and intervened.

    The difference is that these occurances are spread apart so she can work through them, instead of being all day every day. She and I talk about it when these things happen and she has a safe, stable home environment to keep her grounded; plus her school takes place here without the distraction of the “adolescent drama” to distract her.

    You know that I don’t think homeschooling is for everyone or that this is a “right or wrong” decision–these are just some of my reasons I’m sharing because, you know, you asked.

  2. Tricia Smith says:

    I am already sending my three year old son to preschool. I sent him for social reasons. He was and still is a bit of a shy guy, but through preschool he has learned to make friends on his own, (usually his friends are kids of my firends and he has no choice!) He loves it. He really does.
    I believe that he can and will get a qualtiy education from public schools, as well as an education in social and life skills that I could not offer at home. Homeschoolers rock, and man alive am I also impressed with the bloggin ladies who do homeschool, but it just isn’t for us.

  3. Jen says:

    I feel exactly the same way! I remember some of the crap I was exposed to at a young age in public school, and hear stories from my teacher friends, and just cringe at the thought of exposing my sweet little girl to that…but at the same time I don’t want her to miss out on being part of a social group, of having a teacher to adore (someone other than me!), of class field trips and riding the big yellow school bus and playing on the playground and all the other good things that school brings as well.

  4. Mary says:

    I’m very interested to see what advice you get on this. Like many parenting topics, homeschool vs. public school can be a very emotionally-charged debate. My kids are too young for school or even preschool right now (ages 2 and 7 months), but schooling is something I do think about a lot. My husband and I are both products of public school education and had good experiences, though I don’t look back on Jr. high or Highschool as “glory days” by any means. My father-in-law was even my husband’s principal/superintendent in elementary and Jr. High. But one of my sisters did home school for a few years with her girls and had a great time – but then those girls are now in public school and doing very well too…..

    Anyway, I have no idea, so thanks for posting this topic!

  5. Vicky says:

    I am a veteran mother, meaning I have 2 great girls that have made it through school hell and a wonderful son that is almost finished. My advice is send them to pre-school you will have a moment of sanity back in your life (which as a mother you will need) and I have always told my kids, everyone puts there pants on the same way as you do, one leg at a time, meaning we are all the same we just have different lives, and as for those girls from jr high, well my statement was this, there life must be pretty boring and unhappy if they have tobe so concerned with yours. Find your own style and run with it they will always be the last ones standing. I can attest for this after attending my 25th hs reunion…… Its not who you are or who you know, or how many of this and how many of those you own…. its about what have you done in your life that makes you rich….. So, your fears are justified but you can make it work for you by being there as a guide for your children.

  6. Rebecca says:

    We had always planned to homeschool but our oldest child was just SO social that we realized that it would be very hard for us to meet her needs at home. (we live in Canada, where there isn’t the same homeschooling community) My older two kids now go to a small public school and it’s been, for the most part, a positive experience – they’re learning well and making friends. Of course, there are downsides (teachers who should NOT be teachers, for one, peer pressure, stuff like that), but they both seem to be doing well.

  7. Farm Wife says:

    I was a public school girl, my siblings were a little of each. Bubba went through 6th grade (twice) and Princess through 5th. As Bubba is ADHD and has learning diabilities, The Queen Mother decided it was best to keep him home where he could work at his own pace and get the one on one help he needed. Princess stayed home due to major overcrowding in the JR. High, and serious educational issues in the system. In the end, Bubba graduated (something we doubt would have happend if he’d been left in the special needs classes in Public Schools) and Princess remained the social butterfly she always was.

    In the end, it’s what’s best for you and your kids. I probably won’t home school. Teaching is not one of my Spiritual Gifts. We are fortunate enough to live in a very small school district. But if faced with the need, I would bite the bullet and keep my kids home. With the homeschool resources available today, social isolation would require a concious effort to inflict and the top colleges in the nation are busy courting homeschoolers. It’s all about what you want for Laylee and Magoo…

  8. jeana says:

    “With the homeschool resources available today, social isolation would require a concious effort to inflict”

    I love that statement. Farm Wife, may I quote you?

  9. cchrissyy says:

    We’re very pro-homeschooling and have been active in the local clubs, yet next week I’m gratefully sending my 4yo to public school for the special ed programs.

    I think homeschooling is superior in many ways, but only if it’s right for the individual child and family. I do know families who homeschool some kids and send others to school, or homeschool just at certain stages. We all do our best at the time.

  10. Goslyn says:

    I think a lot of the decision hinges on what kind of homeschool environment/support you plan on. I know many, many homeschooled children who are smart, well-socialized and delightful.

    Unfortunately, I also know several homeschool kids who are performing WAY below grade level because their mom is inconsistent in her schooling and does not make them do the full amount of work required in the curriculum.

    We have considered keeping our children home, and were I not afraid that I would fall into the “inconsistent” trap, I would probably do it. Depending on the elementary school Tom will attend, I might change my mind and keep him home. Fortunately, that decision is a good 4 years off.

  11. I homeschooled my first 5 kids, and they are all public school now. They took a grading period to adjust, and then they took off. Most don’t want to homeschool again, and some do.
    Here’s how out of place they are: Drew asked to have a party to play Apples to Apples, there were 40 people in my house. FORTY. What happened to the fact that the game can’t be played by that many people?
    My kids are in drama, sports, speech, missions, Christian leaders, etc. They are involved, have tons of friends, even my child who has ld and brain injury (not that you could ever tell) is POPULAR. I don’t know where that came from because my husband and I were not popular. He’s even a swim star in the making.
    Homeschooling will not turn your kids into hermits, unless you don’t allow them to experience life. And you won’t do that, I’m sure. They do need to be involved in things, not necessarily sports, but being in the community, serving, playing, meeting.

  12. Mama G says:

    I have a friend who was homeschooled, and he is brilliant – AND socially capable! I’ve never checked in to homeschooling, so please forgive my ignorance as I’m not sure if it works this way everywhere .. but, the reason homeschooling worked so well for him was because although he attended “classes” at home, he played on his public school’s baseball teams, football teams, etc. He had the social componenet – and the extra-curricular component – which seems to be ever so important these days when applying for colleges.

  13. Sare says:

    We’re going to be homeschooling.

    When I was in high school/early college, I felt the same way that you did about homeschoolers. I knew a couple who crashed and burned as soon as they entered college (at an inordinately early age).

    That having been said. I met my hubby when I was 24. He is a very social, wonderful, capable guy– and he was homeschooled all of his life. He didn’t even have much socialization aside from his brothers and sisters, and they all turned out pretty much normal.

    So I learned that homeschooling doesn’t necessarily = wierd.

    I do think that there’s a balance, though. I think that our current eduactional system is meager, and because I have a degree, I’m just as capable of teaching my kids as any teacher. (That sounds arrogant, but hey.) It just takes a lot of reading, preparation, decision-making, fine tuning. Education, as you said.

    Here’s my plan (which I think is well- balanced)- keep them homeschooled until high school. Have them play with a few neighborhood kids on a regular basis, get them involved in community sports and lessons, be really invovled in church activities for the kids.

    Then, in high school, I plan on having them continue academics at home, but do extracurriculars mainstream. Things like sports, music, art, drama, etc.

    That way they get to be with their peers, and they get to participate in the things that homeschooling can’t really provide well, and they get the socialization they need, too, without having to deal with academics that may be less than stellar or teachers who might label them (because, let’s face it. When you have such a high studen/teacher ratio, it’s hard not to.)

    That’s my long, rambling .02.

  14. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    For what it’s worth, my mom sent three kids through the public school system and has said, repeatedly, that if she had it to do over again, she’d’ve homeschooled all of us. I think that has more to do with the school system in question than all schools though.

    Like Farm Wife said, with the resources available today you’d have to deliberately inflict isolaltion on them. One of the missionaries I knew had been home schooled and I listened with envy to her tales of sleep-overs at historic sites and the other things her family and the group they homeschooled with were able to do. No way a school could afford that, fee- or insurance-wise.

    I think homeschooling is a better option not only for grounding your kid in the values you want taught (for example, all the character-building things have slowly been lost from schools, though I have seen some people talking about bringing them back) but it’s a golden opportunity to integrate the things they learn with every day life. You can teach them about nutrition and health and help them learn how to plan and cook for a family by actually doing it! They can learn about modesty and fashion and have the chance to make their own clothes, exposing them to a skill that may well serve them for years to come. The possibilities are many indeed.

    Nor do you have to be their only teacher. You could set up or join a home-school co-op. You can sign them up for music, dance, art or other such lessons to broaden their range beyond what you yourself can provide as well as give them experience with other students and obeying authority figures other than Mom.

    I don’t have kids yet. Though I find the idea daunting in a lot of ways I want to home-school. Good luck with your own decision on the subject. God will guide you. 🙂

  15. Kage says:

    I have thought about home schooling on a very abstract level several years ago when I first moved to New York City, when I “heard” that the public school system was poor.

    I am not home schooling. My daughter is attending a public school that is audition-based and it’s curriculum focuses on music. There are 15 kids per grade level. It has the feel of a private school/convservatory, but it is public/free education. I am really excited about this opportunity for her, I think it is a perfect fit.

    If she had not gotten in, I would not be happy with the public school district we live in, and I would move…in fact I am moving in a few weeks to a school district that I am excited about, in the event my second daughter does not get into the same school my first daughter will be attending.

    Here is my main question/concern about homeschooling…How do you hold your kids accountable? Do you give them tests? Grades? report cards? progress reports? If they forget something from upstairs, do you penalize them (similar to forgetting your homework at home…?). How do you teach real-world consequences, disciplines, and coping skills?

    I find the pain of junior high to be so character-building (aside from getting physically/sexually/emotionall abused….that pain is not good), and priceless. It prepares you for the real world. I think very few people get their college eduction/date/have jobs in a home environment, with their mommy right there….so how do you prepare your kids for that?

    Another note…I am an actor/singer…and my mother could NEVER have given me the experience at home, that I got in the public school system: healthy competition, learning/observing my peers with similar talents, full-scale theatrical productions. How do you fully develop your children’s talents when home schooling…how do your kids DISCOVER their talents if they aren’t presented with flyers in their backpacks that say: Come to intramural this or that….come try out for swim team….golf team, bowling….come audition for speech team….etc.

    Just curious.

  16. Citymama1 says:

    I was an elementary school teacher before I had my daughter, and was pretty great. Most of the teachers I worked with were pretty great too, and genuinely cared about their students and making their classroom safe and successful. So, I have hope that I will be able to find a teacher for my daughter who will be great and will be able to add to my daughters education. That being said, one thing I learned from teaching was that parental involvement was ESSENTIAL. Parents who were advocates for their kids education (not just PTA) but who actually took time to discuss what their kids were learning and add to it, had kids who were academically successful. So, to answer your question I do plan on sending my daughter to public school, but will continue to be very active in her education. As far as social concerns, it is scary as a parent to send your child out into the world of playground teasing and meaness, and I have no doubt that at somepoint in her life she will be teased, and also tease others. It’s my hope though, that whenever this happens she will be strong enough, and have enough self-worth to withstand the teasing, and have the humility to repent if/when she teases, and show kindness instead. I will just try to create a home environment where she feels safe and loved for who she is, and where she can learn and grow both academically and socially. This is the plan for now.

  17. Kimberly says:

    I’m no help because I’m so confused on the issue too. My current plan is to send them to public school and supplement that with at home extra-curricular stuff. I had the same thought as you, that I want them to experience the world; be in the world, not of it…that sort of thing. But these are scary times, and I plan to research homeschooling resources so I always have a back up plan.

  18. Emily says:

    I and my three other siblings have all been homeschooled, for which I am never-endingly-grateful. 🙂 Let me tell you just a bit about each of us:

    I’m the oldest, and I ended up going to school from 8th grade through high school, but that was because the particular sports and music opportunities that I wanted to pursue just weren’t available elsewhere. 8th grade was miserable, but in high school after a year or so I found my niche with all the “choir kids” (believe it or not, we were good enough to be cool!) and things got better. College was amazing and I’m now happily married with (almost!!!!) two children.

    My sister and brothers, on the other hand, played orchestral instruments and were able to join community groups outside the traditional public school. So they didn’t/haven’t gone to public school at all.

    My sister graduated from college last spring and just married a wonderful young man. It took her a few years to adjust to being away from home when she went to college, but honestly I think that had more to do with her “homebody” personality than with homeschooling per se. And she would have been eaten alive in high school (she was very shy), so I think it was wise for my parents to wait for the added age and maturity before sending her off. After her first year of college, which was a little rough, she just blossomed. I’m so proud of her.

    My oldest-younger brother is about to graduate from college (in May). He’s engaged to a beautiful young woman (beautiful inside and out!) and they plan to marry this summer. He has always been the most “well-adjusted” of all of us. I doubt that ANYONE would have pegged him as “homeschooled” at any time – he just never fit any of the stereotypes. 🙂

    My youngest brother is still at home, (he’s sixteen) and loving his homeschool experience. He’s a generally well-liked and well-adjusted teen who has many friends through church and his homeschool co-op. He is on a racing mountain bike team (full of public school kids) and is doing quite well there also. He has no desire to go to a public school, because he already has all the social and academic interaction he could want.

    So for what it is worth, it IS quite possible for homeschooled students to turn out ok. 🙂 While I will never say that it works out well for all of them (I knew my share of those who really shouldn’t have been at home) I do believe that with enough commitment and creativity on the part of the parents it can be an amazing experience both educationally and socially.

  19. Emily says:

    One other thing: nobody *must* go to public school to experience the hard, character building aspects of “socialization”. All four of us have certainly experienced social difficulties throughout our lives. How could we avoid it? Kids act like kids whether they are at school, at church, at co-op groups, at orchestra rehearsals, at 4-H meetings, at sleepovers. I don’t think you really miss anything by skipping the school social scene, as long as you’re not a hermit and still have other social opportunities.

  20. rachel says:

    I know some moms who love sending their children to preschool, then homeschool after that. So it isn’t all or nothing.

    For us, homeschooling was really the only choice. My kids have celiac disease, and can’t be around wheat. Bah. Add in some unusual special needs and learning differences, and public school wasn’t an option. Some of the private schools in our area are wonderful, but we can’t afford them, even with scholarships.

    My girls are 8, 6, and 3. In some areas they are above grade level, some on, and some below – it’s pretty normal. We do some official “schoolwork”, plus a coop with other kids, various extracurricular classes, and if we want to next year the oldest can participate in the instrument classes in the public school. We think that at the early ages, there is so much learning through play – a lot of schools force kids to grow up far too quickly. School isn’t the same as it was when I was a kid!

    I agree with one of the earlier commenters – it would be impossible to keep my kids from being social – they are involved in everything, and have so many friends we have had to limit birthday invites! 🙂 The homeschool groups around the US are growing and growing – there are so many more options, even for secular homeschoolers like me. 🙂

  21. The Wiz says:

    My cousin public schooled her kids, except for those JH years. She pulled them out and home schooled for that. She says it forced them to start taking real responsibility for the family to function, and 13 year olds are snotty anyway, so she could keep them home, so they couldn’t be with other snotty kids and think it was OK or good to act rude and disrespectful. She sent them back for high school. It worked out really well for her. That’s all I know first hand about home school, but it seemed a good compromise.

  22. For a Season says:

    The reasons we began to home school are not the same reasons we continue. We started out worried about a poor education, peer pressure, and a Godless vacuum. We continued because our children are thriving. We have watched the siblings develop deep bonds and the boys are my daughter’s greatest champions and they are her heroes. They have had to learn one of the hardest of social graces….getting along with family that is together 24/7! If you can survive that, you can survive any social “gathering”. 🙂

    I agree with the other moms that commented about socialization. We have the same opportunities for drama, sports, music, and science labs as public school. One just has to be creative and tap into community theater, home school co-ops, sports leagues, and other offerings. We are in a position where it is very easy to over schedule because there are so many worth while activities to attend! Home schooling becomes a lifestyle not just “doing school.” It helps to inspire your children to be self learners and view their world in a broader sense than a classroom.

    Homeschooling provides a safe harbor, but they leave the harbor every time they attend youth group, cub scouts, choir, or karate. My children have been teased, hit, and bullied, but they know their self worth and are rattled but not devastated by their ventures into the storms. There are lots of mean kids and I’d rather expose them in small doses than every day/all day.

    The children have also had the privilege of sitting down with some incredible people that have inspired them at lunch with a missionary, speaking with soldiers, and discussing the war with an Airman from WWII at a nursing home. It is wonderful to pick the people that you deem worthy for your children to learn from and emulate.

    Testing and accountability are present for most home schoolers even when it is not imposed by state laws. I lived in a state where I did not have to test my children or keep records. As their mom, I want them to have access to any opportunities that they choose. That is why I test, evaluate, and benchmark my children’s progress often, I also keep records and most of their assignments yearly. When I moved to a state that had different accountability laws for home schoolers, I found that I was already exceeding what the state would require for documentation.

    Another reason we choose to home school is that we really enjoy our children. My husband travels often with his work and he prefers to take us with him if possible. When daddy gets sent on a project for a month, we pack up the RV and go with him learning about the local history and museums in the area and being together as a family. You don’t get field trips like that very often!

  23. Edge says:

    We homeschool and supplement with full-time public (charter) school. This deserves a post of it’s own. I’ll try to get it up tomorrow.

  24. I have so much to say on this subject, but I don’t want to hijack your comments section. I keep thinking I’ll post on it, but what a can of worms to open…not sure I’m up for it.

    Good for you for getting a dialogue going.

  25. Penny says:

    I’m delurking to say that I homeschool and love it. It isn’t for everyone, but it is what’s right for us. I would recommend researching it and praying. My two favorite books are A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille and A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion by Oliver DeMille, Rachel DeMille, and Diann Jeppson. They are available at gwc.edu if you have a hard time finding them. Good luck with your decision making! I’m sure you’ll come to what is best for your family.

  26. owlhaven says:


    We homeschool too. Our oldest graduated in 2006 and is in her first year of college doing extremely well. She is a reserved gal, but made half a dozen friends first semester without trouble – along with getting good grades. She did well enough of her SAT’s that her first year old college was completely paid for…actually she has money left over, thanks to four scholarships! Our second daughter should have similar scholarship opportunities, if her PSAT’s are any indication.

    Our kids have all been in a variety of activities, from Missoula Children’s Theater productions, to Babe Ruth baseball to youth group to choir. There are tons of ways homeschoolers can be involved in anything that interests them.

    We’ve been really glad we decided to homeschool.

    Mary, mom to 8 ages 2-19

  27. Mir says:

    I have nothing but the deepest respect for those who homeschool. I think it’s a wonderful option.

    That said, I send my kids to school because otherwise I would have to eat them. Homeschooling would not be an optimal learning environment for them in so many ways, not to mention that I just don’t feel called to do it.

    I’ll also mention here (in the vein of slings-n-arrows of school) that I am very pro-public school, as well. I feel like it’s my responsibility to get involved and improve the school(s) my kids go to, rather than saying “no! not good enough!” and leaving to go private. (But I also have a friend who found herself in an untenable situation with public school where she felt she had no option but to switch her kids to private, and I know that can happen.)

    Really, I think it’s about figuring out what works best for YOU and for YOUR KIDS. What’s right for me may not be right for you. Which is fine. 🙂

  28. dcrmom says:

    You’re getting a lot of great input. This is a subject I debate almost every single day. I have 3 kids, 7, 4, and 1. First things first. DEFINITELY do preschool. It’s great, whether or not you end up homeschooling. My 2 cents anyway.

    Beyond that, the schooling thing is a very personal decision.

    We are in the public school with my 7-y/o at the moment. And presently, we have no reason to be dissatisfied. He is at the top of his class, and they are meeting his needs by dividing the class into numerous groups based on ability levels, as well as a pull-out program for extra challenge.

    On the other hand, I do realize that the sky is the limit if I were homeschooling, and for a kid as bright as my son, I could be doing so much more with him in terms of history and science. So at times that concerns me.

    I agree with those who say that socialization is no longer a concern with homeschooling, as there are SO many homeschooling communities these days.

    Ultimately, for us, I simply do not WANT to homeschool. I have many friends who homeschool, and I do not want their lifestyle. I have an education degree. I know I am capable. BUt it’s not right for me. My exception would be, if I had a child who seemed to really need me to pull him/her out and homeschool. In that case, I would do it. But as long as they are happy and thriving in a school environment, that is where I feel the most comfortable.

    I like that my children are presented with ideas and world views other than my own. It is a great opportunity to teach him what we believe and why, and yet also give him appreciation for people with other viewpoints.

    Personally, for us, Christan school seems like a great compromise, and it’s something we may very well look into eventually.

    At the moment, I really LIKE being part of the community school. I am pleased with what I see when I’m in the classroom. I like seeing my neighbors there. My son loves riding the bus with his neighborhood friends. He is thriving.

    We are basically taking it one day at a time, one kid at a time. If we find at some point that we feel like the public school is harming one or all of our kids, we will probably look into the Christian school in our area. Middle School is definitely a time when we will re-evaluate.

    Sorry this comment is all over the place. Good luck with your decisions!

  29. Meadow says:

    Another homeschooling mom here. I’m a newbie still so I don’t have all the experiences yet and I don’t have any proof that they are smarter and whatnot. But I do know that my kids are happier, I’m happier and they are learning faster than I ever could have imagined.

    My son (in 1st grade) has already mastered things he struggled with in public school. My daughter (in 4th grade) is working on 5th grade math when she was behind in public school.

    I don’t know how they do it because it certainly isn’t from me. But I Think the relaxed environment really helps a lot. And they still see other kids, they still play and have lots of fun. They get to see the light of day, on occasion 😉 kidding.

  30. Stephanie says:

    Here’s my thing– and this is just me– I don’t know how I personally would balance caring for babies, cleaning house and taking care of educating my kids too.

    I am all about charter schools. Because as much as I love my kids, I want them out of the house.

    Maybe when Laylee and Magoo start fighting, you will be in a hurry to shunt them off to school too.

    Homeschool is great, I just don’t know how I personally could handle it.

  31. TftCarrie says:

    Maybe there was a day when homeschool = socially inept children, but I don’t believe that anymore. There are so many great resources out there now for homeschoolers that I don’t think the social argument really works anymore.

    But here is why I would never feel good about homeschooling (or private school for that matter). This nation has a failing public school system. And if every parent who cares about their child’s education decides to pull out of public schools and take their resources (time, money, talents) elsewhere, they are only going to get worse. I believe that every child in my community (which is considered urban) should be able to receive a quality education. There are many parents who don’t have the resources to give their children a different option than public school.

    When making a choice about schooling, I don’t believe I can make that decision soley on my own child’s best interests. We are part of a larger community and need to take that into consideration as well. That is why I am choosing to put my time and energy into public school making it a better learning environment not just for my own child, but for many other children as well. I have seen what even a small group of dedicated parents can do to turn around a failing public school. And to me, that is exciting and something I would like to be a part of.

  32. HolyMama! says:

    dym, first things first. you have so much coolness now that it clearly makes up for any perceived deficit in your past. seriously.

    when my kids are somewhere around 3, they get to do a couple of hours of Mother’s Day Out, like one morning or two mornings a week. that’s it. yes to preschool after a year of that.

    i’m so fortunate in that we have a wonderful private christian school nearby whose beliefs completely match our own. how rare! (also, the finances to send them there.)

    i looooove this school. if i were in a public school system that i disliked, i would consider homeschooling. but my first choice is this wonderful school, and i’m so glad we live near it!

  33. Jennifer says:

    I’m biased – we’re homeschooling, daughter age 5 in “kindergarten”, daughter just turned 4 “pre-school”, son 1 1/2 plus baby due in May. Yes, it is a struggle to clean, school, and survive but I still think we’re providing a better environment than our kids would get elsewhere. To TftCarrie – I’m sorry but I really disagree. The public education system has been going downhill for a while and the government thinks throwing money at it is going to help (imo – no it doesn’t always help). The school still gets funding from us by our taxes, we get no financial benefit by homeschooling. I think it also sends a statement to the school that we’re not willing to send our kids there! Bad example but would you send your kids into a burning building? No, that’s a fireman’s job. My job as a parent is to care for and protect my children.

    I went to public school in the same school from k-12, and had overall a good experience. I was naive to some of the things that were going on but it’s hard to ignore all that is happening around the nation today in public schools. I think both parents have to be involved in making the decision and making that decision work for your family. We’re doing more of a year-round schooling option which works better for us and helps the child retain more. (I also don’t feel bad if we take a day or week off.) I think homeschooling is best to lay the groundwork of your worldview and what you want your children to learn then add differing points and views later – my husband is great at taking another viewpoint and debating that so he’ll probably cover that part.

    Some questions from other commenters – every state has different rules/guidelines to follow for homeschooling. Some require rigorous recordkeeping and testing, some don’t. If your child plans to attend college, I would strongly recommend looking into a few college’s requirements to make sure they’re not missing something basic like a p.e. (physical education) requirement. You choose the curriculum for your child and what you’re going to teach so you can make it as involved or simple as you choose. For K we’re doing a grade 1 math workbook, phonics, Bible story book, and some basic art. We try to take advantage of social and field trip activities. Most public schools do a lot of “busy” work and not much true teaching so you can’t be expected to fill an 8-hour day with true teaching either. Teaching your child to be a self-learner will get them farther in life anyway, imo.

    Any school option is a personal choice. A warning though – if your child hasn’t been around a lot of other kids they will get sick when they start interacting more so you may be paying for preschool days that your child won’t be going. (I hated that about daycare!) The good thing is schooling your children is flexible, if it’s not working have the strength to change it!

    Sorry to write so much,

  34. Jennifer says:

    Hi, de-lurking to add my 2 cents. LOL at Mir’s comment about eating the children, because it sounds so like me!

    I have a 4-yr-old daughter whom we put in 5-day-a-week morning preschool when she was 3. I had never planned to put her in preschool until she was 4, or in 5 days a week at all until kindergarten. But our respective personalities (and finding an amazing preschool) kind of dictated it. My daughter is an only child (so far) and is highly extroverted, energetic, and strong-willed. I’m fairly strongly introverted. And we had just moved. The two of us, all alone in the house all day, were driving each other crazy. I just didn’t have the patience or the energy to be her sole playmate, and at that age she had little ability to play by herself.

    Hence, a truly lovely Montessori preschool. She found friends, I found friends. She’ll be in it through kindergarten, and then I’m not sure where she’ll go (or even quite where we’ll be in the world).

    But we will not homeschool, unless forced to by some crisis with schooling. It would not be healthy for our particular set of personalities and gifts. I love the idea of homeschooling, [especially when I remember my junior high days!] but I know myself (and my daughter) well enough to know that it is probably not ideal for us.

    So I guess this is [very] roundabout way of saying what others have said, it really does depend on your kids and what is right for your family.

  35. KYouell says:

    We are in an interesting situation for many reasons, the most obvious being The Biscuit’s Down syndrome. Because of that diagnosis we have been having home visits from his teaching team (teacher, occupational therapist, speech therapist, nurse, with occasional others) since he was 6 months old. If it wasn’t for health things it could have started earlier as we were quite fortunate that the social worker at the hospital where he was born got us referrals to the local agency for people with developmental disabilities and the school district before he was a week old. That being said…

    We live in the same school district that I attended from 6th grade through high school. I think that I came out with a good education and a love of learning, but I also think that I went into school with a love of learning. Being labeled a “mentally gifted minor” at age 5 (probably not the term they use now, but that was 1970) meant that I got different teachers and was exposed to different teaching methods than many in my age group. My husband never attended school in this district, but knew of it’s reputation because he grew up here in the same town and he swears that no child of his will ever go to school in it. Frankly, I’m with TftCarrie and others in that basically you get out what you put in.

    However, what with the teaching team’s involvement, I’m thinking that homeschooling may be the best place for The Biscuit so I’m boning up on info when I get the time (HA!). He is not developmentally delayed in any area except speech right now and I dread the thought of him being stuck in a special ed classroom with children who have more delays and an over-worked teacher that must teach to the level of the majority of students. I want him challenged! I want him to get a diploma, not some piece of paper that says he attended school! If that means homeschooling, then I am prepared to make it my job.

    But, we are expecting a daughter in April and all testing at this point indicates that she will be typical (P.C. Speak for “normal”) and I have none of the same fears about public school for her. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens. But, I truly do think that the personalization that is possible with homeschooling would be a great benefit to most kids, as long as the parents are really behind it.

    Oh, and I LOOOOOOVE For a Season’s comment about packing the family in the RV to go with dad on a trip. An absolute dream come true, that something of that nature would count for school. I think it’s the flexibility of what to learn and when to learn it and *how* to learn it that is making homeschooling seem so attractive to me.

  36. Jeana says:

    I just have two things to add. Three.

    1) Considering the history of our country and, for that matter, the world, public schools are a relatively new concept. Children were learning accountability and responsibility long before the advent of public schools and, I dare say, learning it better than most kids today. I’m not saying they don’t learn it in school, just that public and private schools are not the ONLY way to teach accountability and responsibility

    2) Regarding the argument that kids need to learn about the real world…imo, my children experience more of the real world than they would in an organized school. School is an artificial environment–where in the real world do you spend all day with only people who are you’re exact age and live in your neighborhood? It serves a purpose, no doubt, but I don’t think it is the sole representation of the “real world”.

    3) Regarding preschool, I think you should ask yourself what is your purpose in seeking it out? To adjust to a school environment? For social interaction? For a break for mom? ALL THREE?! All are valid reasons, and it’s another issue that I think is just a personal decision. My two oldest wen to MDO for a couple of months when I was expecting number 4. But I found that the stress of getting lunches made, bedrolls and backbacks together, everyone dressed and out the door on time and then interrupting the baby’s nap to go pick them up and then the meltdown of re-entry when they got back home was enough to completely nullify any “break” I was getting. We had enough kids that they were getting social interaction at home (and church, and activities,…)and we knew we were going to homeschool so we pulled them out. (It is my opinion that not every kids needs 2-3 years of preschool to adjust before they start Kindergarten. But that’s a whole other topic and as a homeschooler I don’t think my opinion on that is all that valued.)

  37. TftCarrie says:


    I think you misinterpreted my comment. My view has nothing to do with tax money (in fact I agree that because of corrupt school districts and bad leadership, much of the money never lands where it needs to to make any real difference). My view has everything to do with giving up on the public schools system and deciding not only to remove your student but also the asset your are as a parent who cares about education. I can somewhat understand how you think your absence from an “inferior” school will help, but the amazing changes I have seen in low-performing public schools have come when families don’t wait for the government to make the school better, but they rally together as a group to make the school better for their own children as well as all of the children of the entire community (many of whose parents lack the time and/or skills to be involved in the same way). Public schools that contain a mass of students (even a small “mass”) whose parents are involved and care about the quality of their child’s education creates immediate accountability at the school level.

    Parents who homeschool have exactly the type of time commitment and commitment to education that every public school could benefit from. That is what gets taken away from the public school and it is far more important to it’s success than your tax dollars in my opinion.

    I realize almost everyone on here will disagree with me because I am as much an advocate of public schools as you are of homeschooling. I realize we will probably never agree. But I wanted to bring up another reason to support public schools even if your public school isn’t the most ideal school situation. A little involvement in your child’s education whether at home or at a public school can go a very long way (I think we can all agree on that).

  38. Jan says:

    “If I knew then what I know now…” I would have home schooled. No, it’s not for everyone, and only you, your husband, and the good Lord know if it is for you.
    I am a public school teacher, and have 11 teachers in my family, with two more working towards becoming teachers, so I am not opposed to public schools, although in many instances they leave a great deal to be desired. The main problem, in my opinion, is the “political correctness” movement which has stripped morals and values-based education from our schools.
    Pray about it, talk about it, read about it, then pray some more. Do what you feel lead to do for your family, your husband, your children.

  39. HolyMama! says:


    i SO agree that parents should be involved in their kids’ schooling. my kids’ school (private, Christian) actually REQUIRES each parent to attend parenting classes and observe their children in the classroom. If the parents fail to comply, they are not allowed to enroll their kids the next semester. i love this school!

  40. Melissa says:

    For some homeschooling is a great option. However, if you are strictly doing do to sub-par schools, I have a huge issue with this. Why not DEMAND that the schools get up to par???? This makes no sense to me. Instead of all of us sane , rational people pulling our kids, why don’t we fight the schools to do more?

    Sorry this hit close to home because I have four children who will be going through the public school system and I (in my heart) do not think home schooling is right for them. The only reason I would do it would be to instill better morals, but I think good parenting can overcome this, and because of bad test scores. We should have access to better teaching, etc.!

  41. Azucar says:

    I agree with you TftCarrie! I’m lucky enough that I don’t have to make a decision based on poor public schools. The schools in my area are outstanding with high parental involvement.

    There are many things left to be desired when it comes to public schools. However, after discussing our educational options with my spouse, we’ve come to the conclusion that public schools are about more than education. The school system also teaches kids jumping through hoops, working inside a bureaucracy, and dealing with people and situations that you don’t always like or approve of. To us, those are just as important in a long term life as the educational component. Then again, we are both educators and fully capable of taking over our children’s educations should the necessity arise.

    We won’t be homeschooling.

  42. Jenny says:

    I loved the homeschooler stereotypes, especially “chained up in a basement somewhere without deodorant, memorizing nuclear equations and weaving baskets with their own ankle-length hair.” Cracking up! … I grew up with the same feelings but am now homeschooling my kids. I started because I just felt a “calling” to it. Though I resisted, I’ve seen that Someone Else’s foresight was better than mine. For one, we now have a lifestyle (living part-time out of the country) that really requires alternative schooling. I think “different strokes for different folks.” Happy schooling and God bless!

  43. Suzi says:

    I did not even know homeschooling could exist when I was growing up. But when my sons were born we discussed it seriously. My husband was very for it. I was not. I was going to have to be the one doing it and I didn’t have a clue…

    Then we put our oldest in a private first grade. He was held back in math, even though he could do much more than the other students, because the teacher wasn’t interested in having anyone be ahead. She said she taught him to read, even though I was the one who had done that. She did not allow parents in the classroom, so that we wouldn’t know the kids could raise their hands for 15 minutes and never get called on. And in the whole day the students were only allowed to talk for ten minutes of their lunch break. She also was constitutionally unable to say anything good about my son. When, for the third time, we were called in for a conference, we asked her to say one good thing about E. She responded with nine pages of reports from her and other teachers about how “bad” he was. These included “He doesn’t seem to have been introduced to music before” from the music teacher. And “He didn’t know how to stand in line the first day” from the PE teacher.

    It STILL took me the whole year to commit to homeschooling, because I was so afraid of doing it for all his schooling.

    My husband said, “You’re at least as well educated as any of his teachers and NO ONE will care more about our child than you will.”

    My eldest is now in college and I homeschooled him all but that first grade year.

    My middle son is an eighth grader, by age. His lowest school course is ninth grade Algebra I.

    I was scared to start. Sometimes I was scared in the middle, too. I was often overwhelmed. And I was never perfect. But my husband was right, too. No other teacher was as committed to my sons doing well as I was.

  44. Lynne says:

    I have read a lot about the pro’s of home schooling. I realize that ideally home schooling is a good option. However, how do you really balance taking care of a newborn, cooking, cleaning, etc. and all that goes into being a mom while at the same time being a teacher? As a full time teacher I understand how much work goes into being a really fabulous teacher and now as a mom I realize how much time goes into being a good mom. Can you really do both? How much time do you really spend on being a teacher? I am not closed to home schooling but really need to see how it is done effectively. Please let me know your experience!

  45. Kathleen says:

    I would like to hear more about what Lynne said. We have heard about all of the positives of home schooling but what have been are some of the struggles? How have you facilitated social interaction? How do I find co-op type groups in my area?

  46. Kimberly says:

    I’m a newcomer to your blog (I resisted the trend for so long, thinking it was something only for text-messaging, my-space-y teeny bopper types), so forgive the tardiness to this post. It’s a topic I’m passionate about. I respect everyone’s right to educate their child as they see fit. our role as parents is to do just that. I also feel that public education is a precious gift as citizens of our country. A god-given right, if you will. There is something really valuable in attending school with kids of all backgrounds and faiths and cultures and abilities. There is value in the competition element of a public classroom–we don’t grow unless we are challenged. Which also applies to the social development one finds in a public school, along with the enriching group-oriented activities like music and sports. Why deny your children these growth opportunities? It is unlikely they will find them at home. Why deny other children the blessings of associating with your own? Wouldn’t it be like putting their light under a bushel? I understand there are extremes or special needs where home-schooling may literally be the only good option, but I’m a product of Seattle-area public schools and I turned out just fine! Yeah, I dealt with plenty of grief in Jr. High and High School, but I think I’m a stronger and more empathetic person now because of those struggles.
    I’ve known several families that home school and frankly, very few of them get it right. I feel it’s a great burden on the mother and too many other things can interfere with “school time.” A side note: my husband is a professional and gifted educator (honest!) and has welcomed many formerly home-schooled students into his classroom. Every last one of them has been dreadfully far behind the other students. Academically and socially. If you are interested, there are statistics out there that compare standardized test scores of public educated kids with home-school and charter school kids. Happy decision making!

  47. 1fatchick says:

    I know that this is an old one but its still very relevant. I have three kids all teenagers now, one in college, one in high school and one in Jr. High. Only with one did we do the preschool thing and none of them were home-schooled. I think that when it comes to home-schooling just like pre-schooling, its a kid by kid/ family by family decision. One of our kids needed the extra stimulation from a few hours of pre-school a week. All of my children have done some time in public school and private schools. I have friends that are home-schooling and doing wonderful and others who’s kids are way behind because the parents just can’t keep up. I also have friends with kids in public schools who are doing wonderful and others who are being failed by the system. So screw what everyone else says you should do. If you want to home-school but your kid isn’t blossoming as they should, then let someone else give it a try. If you don’t want to home-school but your kid isn’t doing well in public school, move the kid to a different school, a different teacher or see if you can hookup with homeschooling families. Maybe if you pay for curriculum and volunteer, they would be willing to include your kid in with theirs. Looking back, I can tell you that 18 years goes by faster then you think and our job as parents to turn out functioning, decent adults and citizens is a real race.

  48. Faith says:

    I realize that this is a really old post, but the title caught my eye. I was homeschooled from the very beginning all the way through highschool. Two of my younger sisters were as well. We all did/are doing very well academically and socially in college, as did all of my close friends who were taught at home. Of course there are a lot of factors to be considered when making this type of decision, as you are aware. It is definitely a huge commitment that may require some sacrifice on the part of the parents. However, I had a great experience and plan on teaching my children at home. Unlike the early days of the homeschooling movement there are a lot of resources available and much more support for those who decide to give alternative education a try!

  49. Grace Seim says:

    Homeschooling…I was homeschooled until I was 17. It has made it very difficult to get into college. It has stunted me socially. It certianly does not take conscious effort to fail to socialize your homeschooled children. All you have to do is enjoy yourself, do what seems right for you and your family, and there you are. From the parents’ perspective, everything is great, but the kids are only around other kids who are homeschooled, play piano, go to their church, etc. It robs you of the experience of meeting new people, learning about new cultures, ideologies, hobbies, etc. Meeting people you don’t like, who don’t have much in common with you and may not treat you well is important. My first relationship of that nature was a co-worker, and I had no idea how to deal with it. You can certainly do a decent job as a homeschooling parent, and there is no perfect way to educate a child, but homeschooling is extremely easy to mess up and the consequences are long term.

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