I will readily admit that I am a snarky evil wench and Elena pushes buttons in me that are pretty hard to push. This post (which I’m refuting below) is what triggered the whole “why I’m not homeschooling Daniel” post seed. If you choose to click over and discuss this with her, pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease be civil and do not pick a fight. As she said in her Simple Woman Daybook post this week, she “[has] a tendency to hold a grudge and to ruminate over things” so please don’t piss her off.
Onto my refutation!
I have two kids in homeschool high school, and one kid about to leave eighth grade. I also have two sons who have graduated high school, one from my homeschool and one from a local digital school after being homeschooled for eight years.
When I attend homeschool high school events, I discover that many, many of the student participants ARE NOT HOMESCHOOLED ANY MORE!! They were at one time and they have made many homeschooled friends, but they are now either attending a public or private school or doing their school work through a government funded digital school online, which means they have to follow the rules of the state of Ohio for their education and degree.
My children are keenly aware of this.
Sometimes their parents put them back in school because the parents were afraid that they wouldn’t be able to teach high school. Sometimes they put them back in because the parents thought there were better opportunities for their children in the institution of school. Many times they put them in because they want to play sports. I know one mom who has her daughter in a school that will give her an associate degree when she’s done with high school.
OK… she’s laying out the reasons here for why some of the homeschooled kids went into regular high schools. Nothing here to refute.
But what I never hear from these parents is what they gave up to put the students into regular school after homeschooling. And having done both and after comparing and contrasting the results, I think what is given up is worth at least considering!
Am I sensing a bit of a grumpy temperament here?
1. You’re breaking up the family. Literally. The best parts of the day the regular schooled students will be away form his or her parents and siblings. And yes I realize the rest of the society already does this and accepts it as normal. But if you’ve been homeschooling it might be a bit of a shock. No longer will the opinions of the parents and relationships with siblings be the most important part of the high school student’s life. Teachers will also get a say and have sway. And so will peers. Having and keeping “friends” will be more important than keeping up relationships with parents and being with siblings. It’s just part of the price.
I honestly would not agree that my mornings are the best part of the day — I’m not a morning person and would be positively bitey if I had to deal with schooling my kids then. Sports and such usually happen in the afternoon so that would be out. Truthfully, I miss working outside the home so I’d be pretty miserable if I was home from 8-3.
This also assumes that it is impossible to have family time with both parents working and the kids in school. The good parents I know *MAKE* the time. It means that certain activities don’t happen and certain nights are non-negotiable family nights. I know families that actually *gasp* sit around the table and eat dinner and take turns talking about each other’s days.
As for the opinions of parents and relationships with siblings suffering, that’s fear-mongering at best. I was in private school for elementary school and public school for middle school, high school, and attended a public college. I always respected my parents’ opinions even if I may have disagreed. My relationship with my evil twin was actually *better* when we weren’t in the same classes and in college when we saw each other monthly. Yes, teachers get a say in things but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the teacher becomes the ultimate authority. Ditto with friends. Having and keeping friends never replaced my family. EVER.
I know Sara of A Shower of Roses manages this pretty well. Sara, could you please share your secrets in the comments?
2. Mom and Dad will no longer control the curriculum. Oh, there can be meetings with the teachers and principal and maybe there will be attempts to sway the school board from time to time if things get too out of hand, but for the most part, you won’t know what’s in the novels that are assigned (because for the most part, they won’t be classics that you’re familiar with!) and you won’t know what’s being presented in class that’s NOT on the syllabus.
Yeah… this is pretty suspect because it’s a pain to cover the material that *IS* on the syllabus, especially as teachers now have to “teach to the test”. Anything not on the syllabus usually isn’t covered. As for the novels, I’ve checked with my English teacher friends and they’re more than happy to have you read the same books that your kids are reading in class — heck, I actually read a couple of the books on my own years before I encountered them in any of my classes. (I taught myself to read when I was three. I read graphic novels of some of the classics on my own in elementary school and read others because I heard them mentioned in books and was curious.)
Regarding curriculum, any high school worth its salt will show you their curriculum and how it measures up to state standards and the standards of the various public universities. In California, my school showed the graduation requirements next to the entrance requirements for the CSU and UC schools. If you want your kids to have any kind of post-secondary education, you need to follow those guidelines. This doesn’t mean that you can’t teach your kids about something like woodworking, auto repair, music appreciation, or cooking outside of their school day. Lots of parents do. It’s called “spending quality time with your kids”.
One of my friends was buying a book for her daughter that she needed for a literature class. While waiting in line, she opened the book and started reading about a pretty explicit sex act! She had no clue something like that was going to be covered in class at this particular Catholic School.
I’m mentally going through the list of books that I read in my English classes that didn’t have some kind of sexual subject matter in them. Shakespeare is chock full of sexual references and we encountered the subject numerous times in my junior honors English classes and AP English. Sex is part of life. Did we focus on the sex? No. Was it in context? Yes. I can name a few books where I don’t remember anything sexual (Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn come to mind) but if you’re going to read American literature, you’ll find it.
But more importantly, if the student comes to something in his or her studies that they find fascinating, there won’t be any time or inclination to study it in depth and even if there is, there won’t be any credit for it! at least not in this class. What the school, teachers and school board feels is important is what will be presented for study. Everything else will fall by the wayside.
This is where I seriously call “bull feces!” The Internet didn’t really become a thing until my junior year of high school and yet I found lots of time to pursue my own interests through Girl Scouts, reading anything and everything I could get my hands on, checking out piles of books from the library… I knew more about geography and world politics as a 5th grader than some adults do because I was fascinated by countries and cultures. I had pen pals from all over the world and I explored my interest in Broadway musicals through piano and choir. When I got Internet access, I stumbled across Celtic Christianity… and met my husband Jon because he had a webpage on it on his student site at St. Olaf.
Anyone want to tell me that it’s impossible to explore one’s interests now?
3. Lots of parents give up because they think they can’t teach this that or the other thing. Well news flash – there are teachers in schools that can’t teach them either. I still remember Mr. Ball, my 9th grade religion teacher that made discussions of theology so dull and boring that I didn’t want to take up the topic again until I was in my early 30s. Then there was Mr. Drum the math teacher – not so affectionately known as Mr. Hum Drum. But my favorite of the unfavorites was a science teacher with a Ph.D. behind his name that giggled when he was trying to explain to me about fruit flies mating and passing on genetics. Seriously. And I’ll bet if most of these parents who are so willing to pass on the task of teaching thought back, they could think of some not so stellar performances from their academic background as well. It’s not like we’re homeschooling back in the 80’s! If you need help teaching a subject, there are plenty of ways to find help! This is one of the lamest of excuses these days.
We’ve all had crappy teachers. I didn’t love chemistry until I took it in college and I think that I would have loved it if I’d had a certain chemistry teacher in high school instead of the loser that taught me. Ditto with geometry. However, I had some teachers in high school (my teacher for Algebra 1 and 2) who was passionate about making sure her students learned and who would meet with kids before school, during T period, and after school if they needed help. I was a peer tutor in my high school and tutored a number of subjects. Yeah, there are stupid teachers but there are also teachers that LOVE their subject so much that their students learn.
4. Passing on morals and values. My 9th grade son and 8th grade daughter do not know what twerking is. I’d like to leave it that way.
I actually had to go onto Facebook and ask what this was. (Thanks to Paula linking a video of it, I now have the desire to pour bleach on my eyes.) According to my teacher friends (both parochial and public schools), it is verboten at dances and at some schools, it will cause you to be suspended. And seriously, how are you going to keep them from finding out? Lock them in an ivory tower until they turn 30? If they do any kind of post-secondary education, the term will come up. Why not explain now why it is unacceptable behavior?
They also know what the church teaches about sexuality and marriage, something even their Catholic high school counterparts seem a bit shaky on. Which is not to say that they’ll always stay on the right path, but if they veer off it will be a conscience decision and not a straying due to ignorance.
I’m pretty sure my LifeTeen leader friends are pretty clear with their kids on what the Church teaches regarding sexuality and marriage. (Actually, I *KNOW* they do. I’ve seen videos of their talks on this.) There’s this entire thing called “Theology of the Body” and I have friends who specifically study it and teach it. Again, is she planning to cloister her kids until age 30?
5. You won’t reap the values of all of your hard work to date. The hard part of homeschooling is getting these kids to read, write and get to grade level in math. The rest of it is cake. But we get these kids to master the mechanics of reading and English Grammar, and then we pass them off to someone else to reap the benefits!!
Wow… so my brother learning math and being able to calculate area/volume to build raised beds for my mom’s garden doesn’t count? My brother composing an entire impromptu speech on the color blue for his “Communications” merit badge is irrelevant? My mom proof-reading my “Project B” (a 30+ page research paper for AP US History) on “The Scopes Trial and the Debate over Creation and Evolution Teaching in America” was minor?
After all of these years we can finally read the great books and delve into them for analysis and discussions with our own children! Our kids can finally write something that is actually interesting!! and the science and math are actually challenging! Why on earth should I let someone else get my students when it’s finally getting to be less of a chore and more of a pleasure? It’s like being in a two man relay and letting someone else finish the winning lap and get all the glory. Nope. I’ve enjoyed crying through Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Call of the Wild and next year I can’t wait to do Shakespeare and read my kid’s research papers. I’m invested in the curriculum financially, intellectually, spiritually and emotionally – a lot more than I would be if I was just waiting for grades to come out a few times a year.
By the way, The Call of the Wild is on the 7th grade required list in California. You might want to reconsider your comments on “getting your kids to grade level”. I’m also a bit amazed that your kids haven’t done Shakespeare yet as we were doing that in 7th grade at my middle school and Greek tragedies in 6th grade. Did I mention that my parents had read the plays before and could actually discuss them with us? Did I mention that I’ve read a few works like The Little Prince and The Stranger (Camus) in both English and French because of my crappy California public school education?
I’d also assert that my parents were quite invested in my schoolwork and it wasn’t just about grades that came out every 6 weeks. My dad helped me with my trig homework and my mom proofed my English papers. My dad was forced to learn some French because my evil twin and I would have conversations in it when we were out with him. 🙂 (This led to some really interesting adventures.) My mom went over our resumés in Social Studies with a fine-toothed comb and talked me through some of the personal statements I had to write for college applications
And that’s what I would give up if I gave up homeschooling for the high school years.
Yeah… I think I’ve made the point that my parents didn’t lose out on any of this. 🙂
**NOTE: I AM NOT SAYING THAT YOU SHOULD NOT HOMESCHOOL YOUR KIDS THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL. THAT IS YOUR DECISION TO MAKE. THE POINT OF THIS ENTRY WAS TO POINT OUT FALLACIES IN HER ARGUMENTS**