11 June 2011

Are You a REAL Homeschooler?

Some parents feel that in order to teach their children at home, they absolutely must know a given subject inside and out. Others may have a certain level of competence, but rely heavily on the answer key or have their children complete courses online or with a little outside tutoring and lesson review to make sure everything's on track.

Most parents, however, will simply send for the yellow bus when they feel the time is right -- about when they have to start grading essays. :)

It seems sometimes as though there is a pecking order among homeschooling families. People who send their kids off to "government schools" after having them home are viewed askance as though they weren't committed enough. And why would you ever do that to your child, and having protected him this long, are you REALLY going to send him into that drug-infested cesspool to learn about how to wear baggy trousers and bad haircuts?

Are you committed enough? Do you love your kids enough? What's wrong with you, you second-class homeschool failure?

This is a thought that comes into play particularly for those parents whose homeschoolers are junior high or high-schoolers, because most of us don't run into major problems along the lines of "Do I know this stuff well enough to teach it?" in the first grade. Nowhere on the homeschooling blogs do I read about parents who are not *quite* sure how that addition thing works, at least, unless it's a parody of some kind. I've seen some nasty ones and I'm not linking.

Let's be honest, though. Homeschooling through high school takes a certain level of organization and credit planning that "let's glue macaroni noodles over the letter M" doesn't require. A good plenty of *excellent* teachers of younger grades find themselves popping their kids online for classes or otherwise at least partially delegating the teaching.

Sometimes even if it "looks" wrong to your homeschooling peeps, you just have to do the right thing by your child. I'm sending Elf to school next year, but I've been in contact with HSLDA and the second I'm not happy? He can come home. I have an email and a printed withdrawal form. The very second I'm not happy, the pen will fly on that thing.

So from my perspective, the "debate" over whether parents who want to homeschool only for a given number of years are real homeschoolers is a silly one. And I think that every parent who's homeschooled - even if it wound up only lasting a year - comes away with a different idea about the way things could be. They might enroll their child in school and truly appreciate the programs and extras the schools are able to do, or it might just make them better advocates for their children. Knowing your child's academic strengths and weaknesses - not just having them relayed at report card time - makes for more effective advocacy right there.

I think every parent who homeschooled and has sent their children into school later is also another number, another statistic, another proof that homeschooling works for almost every child. Teachers will get to know more homeschoolers and other kids' parents will see that we keep our third eye nicely covered under our bangs most of the time.

9 comments:

  1. I think that any parent who puts forth the time and effort to educate their child at home is a real homeschooler. I don't care if it's for one year or the whole shot right through high school.

    We are taking it year by year, leaving it up to the kids whether or not we keep homeschooling. At this point, they are both saying they want to do it right through, but who knows what tomorrow may bring?

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  2. I've run across this attitude a few times.

    Recently I ran into a veteran homeschooler at a local event. When she asked about my older boys, I told her of their where abouts. She quizzed me a bit and I explained that public high school is where the scholarships are and being a working class family, we have to think that way. We also believe that the boys should be given the opportunity to try it with the understanding that if it didn't work out that we could pull them and continue homeschooling. Lots of Christian teens go to public school, graduate with their values in tact, and go on to serve God in a variety of ways.

    The woman fairly snapped at me that her children were not given a choice in the matter. No scholarships were worth risking exposure to THOSE influences. For the first time in my life, I actually understood what it meant for someone to "look disapprovingly down their nose" at one. I refrained from debating it with her as I have no problem with how she's choosing to raise her children. I'm sure they'll be fine. As much as I dislike the implication that mine won't be, I decided it was best to leave her to her beliefs.

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  3. Well, you never know, Blondee, but from the sound of things there you are doing a GREAT JOB. :)

    Mary, I'm so sorry that stuff like this does happen. On the one hand, people who homeschool through high school NEED to look at themselves as the committed ones because that's what they are... it takes an extraordinary amount of commitment and organisation to pull it off.

    And yet... why can't we all still be friends if our children are educated differently? That's akin to the breast vs. bottle debate... not worth losing a real friend over...

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  4. There is no perfect way to parent, but a million ways to be a good one. :)

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  5. What Virginia said!

    I think the exact opposite way from the "you're not a real homeschooler if you don't do it all the way" folks. I think every parent is a homeschooler - even if they don't realize it. My mom was never sure about the whole homeschooling thing. She understood why we chose to do it over here, and was very glad that my kids were learning in English (so that she could communicate with them), but she didn't necessarily get why someone in the US would choose that route. Once when she made one of those "I could never have done that" comments I told her that I know she would have been an awesome homeschooler. She was shocked, but looked very thoughtful (and pleased) when I pointed out to her that she, in fact, taught me to read all by herself before I ever went off to kindergarten.

    That is to say that all parents teach their children in one way or another. Some are better at it than others, maybe, but we all do teach our kids even when we choose to delegate most of the academics out to "professional" teachers. :o)

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  6. There's no perfect way to educate your child, but a million ways to sneer at other people's choices.

    I was treated with such derision by various people I know when I took Older Daughter out of public school to send her to private. "Why would you spend all that money when you live in a great school district?" Well, it wasn't great for her, and if the money we're spending means she doesn't have to spend her childhood depressed, it's worth it.

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  7. If you homeschooled and stopped, I always thought that made you an ex-homeschooler, not a fake homeschoolers. Anyway, it doesn't stop with enrolling kids into high school or Jr. High. I belong to an email group where if I mention college plans, I feel a bit of disdain. I stay in the group for the valuable information on testing through college classes, and just ignore the rest. So there are homeschoolers who want to continue protecting the kids through the college years. Me, I am ready to pack up the car and drive my kid to a college campus a year from now.

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  8. if people would just shut up and think about it, everyone is a homeschooler, unless they farm out childcare and everything else all the time. i mean, when you help with your kid's school homework, you are homeschooling sortof, no?

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)