Saturday, June 27, 2009

episode 13: home schooling

so this week's episode on real mom's guide is about home schooling your children.

vanessa is a home schooling mom....right now to her 1st born, owen, who is 6, and soon to be to her daughter who just finished pre-k. she said that she made the decision based on the fact that she has 5 kids close together and she & her husband started to think about all of the open houses, after school things, project, parent teacher conferences, and wondered how they would do it all. she also said that she had a hard time with the fact that she was sending her kids off to someone else for the majority of the day & then having them home in time for homework, dinner, then bed. and she was missing all of that quality time.

so far home schooling is working out really well for her. she still sends owen once a week to classes like art and to get some social time. she said she wasn't too worried about the social aspect because her kids are very involved in the community and blend in well with kids.

ida is just about to start home schooling a couple of her kids. she felt that one of them needed more one-on-one attention and then one of her other kids said that she wanted to do it, too. so she has them signed up for an online home school program, where each kid is given their own laptop, assignments, and has a teacher available. they still "attend" school for a big chunk of the day, they are just at their home while doing it.

because i don't have an teaching background, this is probably the route i would go if i ever homeschooled my kids. there are state requirements for each child to need to pass in order to move to the next grade, and i would just be concerned that i wouldn't be doing enough.

my view on home school? i'm not particularly for it, but i was contemplating it last year when we lived in north carolina. there were reports on the news that elementary school kids were caught performing oral sex on each other in school buses and in the bathrooms. i freaked out! i couldn't imagine sending my sweet 5 year old into an environment where he could walk into the bathroom and witness this.

i remember the kids in my neighborhood who were home schooled. they stuck out not only physically (a little awkward) but definitely socially. they stuck closely together, didn't make friends easily, didn't know how to be patient, or wait their turns.

i feel strongly that caleb really needs the social aspect of school. he doesn't have siblings in close age to him, and not only needs the different skills that can only be taught in a social setting without his mom there, but he craves it. nothing makes him happier than being in a big group of kids.

so where do i stand now? probably won't do home schooling. for now anyway. so unfortunately for me, that means that i feel the need to educate caleb. i would rather have him hear the truth about the world from my mouth than from someone else's.

a huge pet peeve of mine is when parents shy away from educating their children. i've heard moms say, "well i don't want my kid to be that kid. the one who goes around telling the other kids what they know." or, "they're too young. i don't want them knowing this yet."

i think it is so important to not be scared to tell your children about uncomfortable things. is it fun? absolutely not. do i look forward to this? no way. i'm blushing just thinking about it.

but i also feel that you really need to know your children individually. this is so important, each one is different. just because you can tell one of them about the birds and the bees at a certain age, doesn't mean that every kid is emotionally mature enough to handle it at the same time. i also think there are some kids who are told the "appropriate" names of body parts a little too early and use it at inappropriate times, just for attention.

but i do think that when you feel your kid is ready to know, they need to graduate from using the words "pee-pee" and know the real lingo. because chances are, they're going to be told from some other kid and come home asking you about it. i just think the job of teaching them the appropriate times to say it are what is important.

i'm not an expert, i haven't yet done it, but the time is coming up quickly and i'm getting ready for it.

i realize that i can't protect caleb from everything. in fact, i would be doing him a dis-service if i tried to. these children have come to this earth at this time and it is our job as parents to not just teach them manners and good behavior, but to teach them values and educate them on respecting themselves and others around them.

so that if every they are faced with a situation as unfortunate as the one i heard about in NC, they are educated enough to know that it's not appropriate, and they're strong enough to be able to say, "no."

anyway, sorry for the soapbox.

watch the episode from real moms guide, here. and let me know what you think!


Rachel H. said...

I have to say that this has been weighing on my mind lately--especially living in such a poor area of the country. I have been concerned about all the things Jenna will encounter when she starts school next year. And I have been honestly looking at home schooling. Not to remove her completely from the world, but because I felt she deserved better than what is available to us at this time.

HOWEVER, I think we are going to try a charter school--smaller school setting, more focused on the students in general, yet still able to learn the things she needs to about the world and people in it.

It's a tough call though--for each family, I am sure.

Lindsay Jane said...

I don't have kids, but I would have to agree with you. There really are multiple layers of "education" that happen at school.

When I hear things like what happened in NC it makes me worried to have kids and bring them into a world like that, but my sister said something once that really stuck with me and I think fits with the concerns of what kids are exposed to at school. She said it is our responsibility to have kids and teach them right from wrong so they can be a positive influence on all the bad out there.

I think she is right. We need our kids out there to fight the good fight.

Wheat Family said...

*sorry this is long, it is a great topic to post about, thanks for all the insights*

I personally am a supporter of public schools, but most of that support stems from the many social educational experiences most kids don't receive in a home schooled setting. I do realize not all social experiences will be for the positive, but I think that as we parents teach our kids of their self worth, self respect, and divine nature as a child of God, they will be those select few who bring more light into a dark world. Imagine if all "good, decent" kids were homeschooled, what would our schools be like, and even our communities?

I also think kids will see how others see the world, how people think, communicate, react, and being able to work as a team with other opinions, ideas, or skills. Basically a trial period for real life job, or church leadership. Teamwork and unselfishness is so important.

We are here to learn right from wrong, I know it isn't an ideal world to raise kids, -when has it ever been?- but I have never second guessed raising kids in this world. I know that good will triumph over evil and it makes us parents work super hard to keep our kids educated on the good and to overcome the evil. (Lindsay and her sister said it perfectly)

Now you do bring up some great incentives to homeschooling, more than I thought about. And the public school system isn't perfect, but neither is homeschooling. I have learned that every child is different, some need a one on one instruction, others need the support of a group of friends to push them along. Overall the most important education is that in your home, whether homeschooled or not. We are their top teachers and that puts a great load on us to raise them righteously.

I know you are a great mom and I have no doubt that you are teaching them correct principles and that those tender subjects will be taught with respect. Like you said these kids are born as strong as they come, cause they need that strength to pull through.

Rachel Chick said...

This is something I've thought about quite a bit. I'm not planning on homeschooling my children, but it is something I've considered and researched - albeit passively. I just think that some of the "cliches" of homeschooled kids are are a little old. I knew some homeschooled kids and, I admit, I thought they were a little strange. --- A fact that is THE number 1 complaint of anyone talking about homeschooling. - When I brought up this fact to my friend Clancy, I think she said it best, "I've found that the kids are only as weird as the parents." :) SO TRUE. :) Also, I find it interesting that when someone is bashing homeschooling - the question of them getting an inferior education is not really brought up . . . In fact, studies show that they are more often than not getting a BETTER education at home. --- I think that children can certainly learn some valuable social lessons by being in school, but I definitely don't think that public schools are an accurate representation of "real life situations".

As I said before, I'm not planning on homeschooling my children - mainly because - firstly, the area that we live in - secondly, the personalities of my children (and my own) - and thirdly, I don't feel like that's the correct path for my kids . . . at least at this point. -- But I don't really like that many people seem to totally dismiss it without having much knowledge about it. - And I think a lot of people are self-righteously judgmental of those that do.

Sadly, I feel that beyond social concerns, there are a lot of educational deficiencies in our public schools. --- Therein, as was said earlier, the primary education that our children are receiving needs to be within the walls of our own homes - religiously, socially, and in respect to the world around us.