Thursday, February 02, 2006

Homeschooling -- Yup, I was missing something

Thank you to all who commented on my last post. I read each of your comments carefully and found that, indeed, I was missing something. Between your comments and this wonderful book I just finished (The Mother's Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot) I now understand why homeschooling is so appealing to so many people.

I don't think it's ultimately the route I will take, and I can't quite put my finger on why (I have about four years to change my mind, though). I think one of the big reasons is that my children's spiritual life is so important to me that I don't want it to rest solely in my hands. Those of you who are regular readers know that I'm really struggling with my beliefs right now, and if that doesn't change I worry that I'll be an awful spiritual role model for my children. Because of this I'm heavily leaning towards sending them to a small private Catholic school that's near here.

Anyway, for those of you who are not homeschoolers or also don't understand it, here is an excerpt from an email I just sent my husband that summarizes what I understand of the pro-homeschooling point of view:

So I posted the "I don't get it" homeschooling post to my blog and got a bunch of great comments. I also finished that Mother's Rule of Life book which shed a lot of light on the subject. Here's a condensed version of why we should at least consider homeschooling:

- There is a lot of b.s. that goes on in public schools (e.g. the one commentor's daughter not being able to check out a library book because it was "above her reading level"; biased history books; kids terrorizing each other; etc.)

- Homeschooling younger children doesn't take that much time -- maybe 3 - 4 hours per day. When you cut out all the fluff that goes on at elementary schools and the fact that it's taught toward the lowest common denominator, you can give your kids an equivalent (if not much better) education in less than half the time they'd spend at regular school.

- There are plenty of ways to get your kids to interact with others. Most homeschooled kids get interaction with other kids a few days per week through: scouts, Sunday school, local homeschooling group meetings, sports, other church activities, etc.

- Your older kids can help you run the house. It's like you have your own little home management company at home. The elementary-school-aged kids can help with the babies, cleaning, dinner, etc. If you send your kids away just when they're that age you're perpetually in the "at home with little ones without help" phase. It also makes your family very close to have everyone interacting and pitching in and working together all the time.

- You can keep your kids in the moral path that you want them on. You can include religion in their daily activities and explain potentially troubling subjects (e.g. evolution) in light of what you believe.


At August 06, 2006 6:34 PM, Anonymous melanie b said...

I just found your blog (through Julie D. at The Happy Catholic) and have been enjoying following your journey, reading backwards to fill in the backstory.

Anyway, FYI the first objection to public schools you mention, not being able to check out books "above your reading level" happened to me at my Catholic school about 20 years ago. Indeed one reason I'm considering homeschooling for my daughter (3 months old) is that in my experience some of the same problems that infect public schools have crept into some Catholic schools as well. Of course, there are some great Catholic schools out there, like the one my brother-in-law's kids go to. But you can't take for granted that a school's being labeled "Catholic" ensures that your children will receive a better religious education than you can give them. In fact, it could destroy their faith.

At August 06, 2006 6:35 PM, Anonymous melanie b said...

Oops, I meant to add: Good luck on your journey in RCIA. Welcome to the Catholic family. And you're welcome to stop by my blog where I'm posting about my own explorations of homeschooling whys, wherefores and how-tos.

At August 31, 2009 9:29 PM, Blogger V said...

I am in your boat (in 2006).
I am super Catholic, all my friends want to homeschool, I want to send them to "real" school. (They have French immersion programs!)
I know that in 2009 you homeschool.
I don't want to homeschool. Please don't convince me to do it as I read your blog. I may never forgive you.
I already had a home birth, isn't that enough?


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