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Is it easier to homeschool kids who have been to school?

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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is it easier to homeschool kids who have been to school?

That's it! I'm calling the school tomorrow!

Where's that bus? Oh, how I wish I could make it stop. . .

Really? You're going to fight me for one page of math? It'll take you 10 minutes! If you were in school. . .

You don't know how good you have it.

I know a lot of homeschooling parents who have either said, or thought, the above in some way, shape or form when their kids give them a hard time about doing any kind of structured lesson (or even unstructured ones!).

(and if you are one whose child never, ever gives them a hard time, consider yourself lucky. . .and rare)

I think most of what I'm feeling when I say or think the above can be summed up in the last statement: You don't know how good you have it.

And here is where I start to think that maybe kids who have been IN school before can appreciate homeschooling more:

Maybe the child who has had to get up at 7am, day after day, to scarf down breakfast, throw on clothes, brush-comb-wash, and run to the bus appreciates eating a slow breakfast and doing the first day's lesson in PJ's.

Maybe the child who has had to sit through long, boring instruction on a topic they mastered months before appreciates skipping forward a few pages when the lessons are too easy.

And, conversely, maybe the child who was confused and struggling but didn't get the attention they needed in a classroom of 20-30 kids appreciates being able to spend as long as necessary on a topic, until it is mastered.

Maybe the child who gazed longingly out the classroom window on a gorgeous afternoon appreciates being done with his work at noon and having the rest of the day to explore, see friends or do nothing at all.

Maybe the child who was bullied and teased appreciates being in a safer environment, with kids who don't seem to care if he's a little different from the norm.

My oldest, in 4th grade, seems to "get it" more, mainly because her school friends will tell her how "lucky" she is. But, my middle child, who has never gone to school, will moan and groan over a few minutes of grammar or spelling or math, and it drives me batty.

Don't they know how good they have it?
Edited to add: Okay. . .due to the rather angry direction these comments have taken, I'd like to clarify a few things: I am not anti-public school or anti-private school. My oldest says she wants to go to high school and, when we reach that point, she will most likely do just that. If I thought one of my kids would be better suited to life in a school setting, I'd seriously consider it.
That said, to call homeschool kids "weird" is ignorant and closed minded. And, not all public school kids go on to deal drugs (though I think Tracey was trying to make a point, not paint every kid with the same brush).
And really? We're all doing the best we can with the choices we've made. So play nice.

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Blogger The Mom said...

Did you get those quotes from me? I wish it were possible for them to get a taste of what it's like without actually putting them in school. Honestly, we only take a few hours to do school and you would think it was the most cruel thing a parent could do some days.

This has certainly been a year for reflection hasn't it?

9:12 AM  
Blogger Heather @Critter Chronicles said...

See, I can't use those threats because my daughter WANTS to go back to public school. She absolutely loved full-day kindergarten last year and although she was on board with homeschooling for first grade with me this year (because we moved and because the public school we're districted for here scares me) she wants to be around other kids all day.

Every Monday morning she has a crying fit and says, "I don't like homeschooling. I want to go back to school!" but by the afternoon she's fine and by Tuesday she loves what we're doing. Wednesdays are her idea of perfection because I've got her in a homeschool enrichment program from 8am-3pm, and then Thursdays are hard again. Of course this is only our third full week of school so I'm hoping it'll get easier for her. *I* can see how much she's benefiting from being homeschooled, even if she can't.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My eldest did 1 yr of kindergarten, and it seemed to be enough to convince both him and his younger brother that homeschooling was/is a good thing. Also I live in a place where -30 is not unheard of, so being able to stay inside and not getting frostbite is a pretty good incentive.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

I've heard of parents who handle that by re-creating school at home - stand outside for 30 minutes "waiting for the bus", having to raise their hand to go to the bathroom, eating canned lima beans for lunch, and doing seatwork until 3:30. The kids are only too happy to go back to regular homeschool life!

9:58 AM  
Blogger Suburban Correspondent said...

Yes, the ideal would be to have had each child in school for a year or two, having an absolutely miserable time. Sounds odd to be wishing that on our own kids, though, doesn't it?

11:44 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Oooh, I love Deb's idea. My husband and I "trash talk" public school a lot so my kids would know any threat of school was not for real. But creating it at home? That might be an interesting lesson!

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! My kids happen to like school! They have gone to private schools their whole life & my older 2 in private high school enjoy everything their school has to offer! I find it offensive when people get on their high horse that they are doing something "better" for their kids by homeschooling. How about the stigma attached to kids that are homeschooled? That they are "weird?" How are they going to learn to function in society among piers when they are kept sheltered at home their whole life? Are you all going to Homeschool them for college too?

12:28 PM  
Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

HA! Yep. My eldest appreciates it the most. The middle one went through half of first grade when we pulled him out and doesn't really appreciate it. The youngest is only 4 and doesn't have too much structured instruction, but I can foresee it when the math and English become time intensive.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Navhelowife said...

We've done both - home schooled and sent them to school. Honestly, if I could combine the two, I would. But here's the secret...Kids, like the rest of us, always long for what they don't have :)
And you never know what tomorrow may bring, so always keep those options open!

2:19 PM  
Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Also, I LOVE ANONYMOUS COMMENTERS!! They are so awesome.

Anonymous, private and public are DIFFERENT. Also? My family and your family are DIFFERENT. And? My family is thriving by homeschooling. If the kids were to be in public school right now I honestly feel they would be suffering both emotionally and socially. There is nothing weird about being around your family and around other people whose families LIKE to be around each other.

You are welcome to your opinion, but please do not act as though public/private school only turns out "normal" kids. That makes me absolutely giggly! Normal kids like the ones who sell drugs? Normal kids like the ones who shoot the bullies? Normal kids like the ones who get into high school on a 4th grade reading level?!?

You're right. We should all send our kids back to public or private schools so that they can be NORMAL.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

OK, first Tracey, you are AWESOME. I love you taking on my Anon commenter for me. I would have answered earlier but we were out with with some other families on a hike. Anon, you know we do leave the house and interact with other people, don't you?

I'd say the majority of kids, given the chance, would LOVE the schedule my kids have. They live incredibly rich lives, and I won't apologize for that. And they don't have to do homework at 7pm every night.

And, it's sad, but yes, some kids will put a "stigma" on kids who homeschool. My guess is these are the same kids who pick on the shy kid in class, the one who wears hand-me-down clothes, the one who is taller than her peers, etc. In other words, ignorant kids will be ignorant kids. My kids are fortunate to have loads of friends who go to school and think they are pretty awesome.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um wow Tracy get a grip... I never used the word "normal." That must be your concern not mine.. Hey, if you want to stick your head in the sand and hide your kids in the house then go ahead!

2:55 PM  
Blogger jenny said...

I'm not the anonymous commenter but I see where they're coming from (well, to a degree). It's too bad that public school has such a bad rap. Waiting outside for 30 minutes for the bus? Lima beans for lunch? Seat work all day? What?!? Trash talking public school? Why? Not to be a jerk but it's comments like those that seem "high-horsish" to those of us who don't homeschool. Like your choice is somehow superior to ours.

What's with all the negativity?

My kids are happily enrolled in a great public school system. I sometimes wish I had the patience to homeschool (along with the option of not working) but I am so NOT cut out to teach my kids things like algebra and sentence structure. I applaud homeschoolers actually, I envy your patience and dedication to schooling in a way that fits your family.

I wish some of the commenters had as much respect for my decision.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I also have to post anonymously because I can't login for some reason, but I would like to add something different. I think it really depends on your child. I know a number of homeschooled children who love it and are very fulfilled. But my daughter whom I homeschooled for 3 years is much happier in school - and I've become a teacher. Now we are also in a private school where the children are really respected, but what was hard for her was having to see me in a teacher role. What I miss most about homeschooling is the time I had with my children, but since we are in the same school, we actually see a fair amount of each other. So to each what works best for their family!

Kirsten in NH

4:09 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Dude, don't be dragging me into this. I went to public school and walked 3/4 mile both ways in the freezing cold to catch the bus for a 45 minute ride to school. Public school lunches suck, and kids ARE in in their seats doing work for 6 or 7 hours a day. My best friend's son can't even use the bathroom during the school day because they only have three minutes to change classes. Which works out just as well, because I guess all the bad kids hang out in the bathrooms. They don't get lockers at all anymore, and have to carry 40-pound backpacks around ALL DAY. Then they come home at night and are prisoners of homework.

Public schools have a bad rap because they do a crappy job, and they take 50 hours a week to do it. Home schoolers can be happy about our choice and happy we don't have to put up with some of the cons of public school, without it meaning that we all think we are better than you or don't respect your decision. Jeez. Defensive much?

4:12 PM  
Blogger PublicSchoolMom said...

Wow Anonymous & Jenny, my thoughts excatly, Tracey really does need to get off her high horse! Not every student in High School has a 4th grade reading level, not every student sells drugs and not every student shoots the bullies. That can happen while your at the grocery store!My children are very happy in their public school system and they are doing very well, thank you very much!

4:24 PM  
Blogger PublicSchoolMom said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:25 PM  
Blogger SabrinaT said...

WOW! We as mothers should not be bashing each other!!

My oldest son attends the DOD school here and really likes it. Then again there are only 25 kids in his grade. There is no way I could teach him Japanese, so we enrolled him.

To be fair my kids have never attended school of any sort in America. From what I see on the TV its scary and to be honest A LOT of the reason we continue to live in Japan.

I think kids are much like adults, they develop "the grass is always greener" syndrome early in life!!

5:16 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Q. said...

Wow. It's like the Mommy Wars, part II. First part was SAHM's vs. working moms. Now homeschooling vs. conventional. Yeezch.

My daughter is in private preschool and my son just started public school. Why? It's what works best for us now. But I am not closed to homeschooling, a charter school, secular private school or catholic school. As my children grow, I will do my best to make choices that work best for them and for our family.

As Navhelowife said, the grass is always greener, every education option has its pros and cons and there will always be bumps in the road. Schooling options all have their stigmas and stereotypes (uneducated druggies vs. antisocial nerds??!) Why? BECAUSE PARENTS DON'T RISE ABOVE THEM.

It's a long journey, and I wish we could do more to support each other along the way.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Krystan said...

Trying to get back to the main point, I think you're right about "they don't know how good they have it". I'm sure I've said that a million times. I bet people who pull their kids out have an easier time, but I'm not sure. I'm always trying to find the right balance between structure and freedom; every time I think we've found it, something changes.

As far as those who think we homeschoolers stay at home all day: it's so far from the truth to be absurd. Mine were out hiking with other homeschooling families today, followed by gymnastics class and town soccer. Oh, and we did spend the hours of 9 to 12 on a bit of schoolwork...

7:19 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

We leave the house all the time!

We left the house yesterday to go see a 160-million-year-old fossil of a Brontodiplodocus. Benjamin met & spoke with the assistant to the paleontologist who built it. I guess he could've spent the day with a group of his peers but I imagine he had more fun meeting a real paleontologist in the rotunda of our state's Capitol. :)

8:15 PM  
Blogger jenny said...

Deb, I wasn't trying to be rude or drag you into anything. My apologies if I've offended you.

My kids experience NONE of the things you've mentioned. Well, except for crappy (tasty but junk - lima beans would at least be nutritional) lunches but my kids are picky eaters and would rather bring their own anyway.

I guess I was offended by the generalizations you made. Not all public schools do a crappy job, there really are some good ones out there.

My point was that no one educational style is necessarily better than the other, it's a personal fit - and it always seems like there's a battle to prove which one is the right/better way to do things.

Like I said, I applaud homeschoolers. And really, I do - it's impressive stuff, educating your own children. I do know though, that it wouldn't work for us.

And FOM, I did NOT mean to stir the pot to that degree with my comment. You're right, my kids would love your schedule/routine and on those hot summer days in June when you're visiting your mom for a midday swim and my kids are still in class? So would I. :)

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Appreciation comes with age.
Your children don't have the life experience you can you expect them to compare what they have to what others have? Especially at such a young age.
As a parent, all you can do is make the best decisions you can for your children. And, kids are going to resist you on lots of issues, not just school work. It is their nature to test boundaries. I think the resistance you are seeing is more of a developmenal "thing" than an unappreciative thing.
BTW...we have done public and homeschooling. The road isn't always easy but it is great to have options. Appreciate that!

6:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This popped up on my mom page, and I thought I would add my two cents.

I was home educated from grades 3-12, although I was very involved in sports and activities through my public school system, I felt very isolated compared to my peers. I had plenty of friends from various circles, yet I really felt like I was missing something. Even though your children have friends, that does not mean they don't feel isolated. I agree that schools public/private give too much homework, that being said the social aspect is irreplaceable.

After high school I went to Harvard where I finished my undergrad, then onto Yale for med school. I guess that does prove that home schooled kids can go to good schools, that being said most of the home schooled kids I knew did not go to college because they had issues with the "schedule" of school.

As a parent of two children I would NEVER make that decision to home school them, I know firsthand that children who are home schooled miss out on crucial developmental aspects that you learn by being in a classroom with your peers. Unfortunately a parent at home with their kids is unable to replicate this.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

Anon (why is everyone who is critical of homeschooling anonymous? I don't bite!)

I really do appreciate your comment, even if it makes me a little prickly with judgement. I agree that I can't "replicate being in a classroom with peers", but I think that is kind of the point! I have met some adults who wish they had the option to homeschool b/c school life was so brutal, or pressure-filled, or unfulfilling. Is this the "grass is always greener" syndrome?

Like I said, we all try to do the best for our kids. Period. I hope your children are loving their experiences as much as I hope my kids will look back fondly on theirs.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Julie B. said...

Ummm... wow....

All I know is my kids know your kids and mine repeatedly ask to be homeschooled.

You've got great well rounded, well adjusted kids. Public school can be tough, and homeschooling isn't for everyone and private school is not always an option, so we are all doing whats best for our kids and our families.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Linda E. said...

Sorry, I came across this and had to add my two cents. My daughter isn't school-aged yet, but I've been reading up on education.
I agree with Jenny...
There is no one "correct" education system. It all depends on the family sitation, and the children. It also depends on what we want our children to get out of their education.
I have several friends who were homeschooled and have successful careers and personal lives, and ones who were homeschooled and now have socialization issues. The same goes for those who went to public school for 12 years. It depends on the people involved, and their situation.
I don't think it's a matter of homeschool vs public school vs private school, but rather a matter of making concious choices about what's best for our children.
Anyway, that's it. Sorry if it didn't make any sense, I'm still learning how to be a good parent :)

2:48 PM  
Blogger Firefly Mom said...

We pulled our son out after one year (kindergarten) and that one year was enough to make him NEVER want to go back! Of course, that didn't stop him from dragging his feet with math over the years. :) And now that he's in "high school" he's even more thankful that we homeschool, especially when he compares his life with that of his public schooled friends. Although there is some issues with those friends making poor life choices, the biggest difference is that those kids never have any time to do anything! My son always says that he's too busy to go to "real" school! LOL

8:41 PM  
Blogger Firefly Mom said...

We pulled our son out after one year (kindergarten) and that one year was enough to make him NEVER want to go back! Of course, that didn't stop him from dragging his feet with math over the years. :) And now that he's in "high school" he's even more thankful that we homeschool, especially when he compares his life with that of his public schooled friends. Although there is some issues with those friends making poor life choices, the biggest difference is that those kids never have any time to do anything! My son always says that he's too busy to go to "real" school! LOL

8:41 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Wow. Just . . . wow. I'm going to try to focus on the original post and not the hs vs ps debate.

Let me begin with the statement that my daughter spent two years in a FANTASTIC public school French immersion program. We soon learned that it wasn't for her for a variety of reasons. Even though it wasn't for us, I still recommend the program to parents who choose public/private school.

In some ways, I agree that it is easier now that she has had the experience for two years and knows that she was miserable (again, not that all kids would be miserable, but she most certainly was . . . talk to our pediatrician). For instance, I know moms who plan to homeschool their kids, but all those three year olds can think about is how fun it would be to ride the bus. We don't have that problem. Been there, done that.

Still, I have found myself saying those exact quotes. My daughter knows she prefers to be home, knows what she is or is not missing out on, and we still have tough days. She still drags her feet during lessons, even if those lessons just involve reading on the couch. I guess it's just a kid thing. They live for the moment.

7:59 AM  
Blogger mamazee said...

I have so totally been there. I've always homeschooled and my oldest is in grade nine now. I do kind of wish i could time travel back and let him see one day in public school, how it was for me. Just a normal day, not a bad day (and there were good days and bad days). He has it so good, and doesn't appreciate it - i wish there were a way to make him see what he has....

4:52 PM  

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