Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Where Do You Go to School?" "I Don't."

The other day, I went to a birthday party of one of Ari's friends. At the party, I met a woman and her six-year-old son. The kid was really cute, and had a beautiful head full of curly hair.
"Where do you go to school?" I asked him. There was a pregnant pause.
"Go ahead, you can say." His mom said with a soft smile.
"I don't go to school."
"We're un-schoolers." His mom said. She meant that her son was being homeschooled. She went on to say that they learn whatever he happens to be into at the time. Her son is really into clay sculptures at the moment. They don't go by a particular curriculum, per say, but they follow his interests. They visit a lot of art galleries, museums, and basically "live life." It sounded utopian to me.

I've always been fascinated with homeschooling. I'm not sure if I want to pursue it or not for my kids, but I like a lot of aspects of it on the surface. I like that you can design your own personalized curriculum for your kids, or you can follow a purchased curriculum from a particular education style, for example Waldorf, or Oak Meadow.

Ari is not in pre-school now, and that gives me the flexibility to explore his interests. However, there is a lot of societal pressure to put your kids in traditional school. Homeschooling is viewed, by many people I've spoken to, as cultish. The other concern I've heard from many parents is that kids that are homeschooled don't get enough socialization with other kids.

From my limited experience with parents of homeschooled children, these appear to be misconceptions. I've heard this sentiment time and time again:
"Homeschooling is not about being in the home."
This means that kids are taken to different classes to explore their interests, they are exposed to other children who are also being homeschooled or "unschooled," whatever terminology you use.

My personal concerns about homeschooling would be the following:
  • When would I have time to work on a curriculum?
  • When would I have time for myself?
  • How would society judge me if I chose to homeschool my kids?
If I chose to enter Ari into Universal Pre-K at a traditional school, I'd have to make that decision by January of 2012. I keep vacillating between traditional schooling and homeschooling. At the age of 3 1/2 it seems premature to be making these decisions about my child's future. He still seems so little to me.

What about you? Would you consider homeschooling your kids? Do you have your kids in traditional school?


  1. I wonder about this too, but i would love to go to school myself and start working...plus I worry that they would have a harder time getting into colleges.

  2. i think this is going to be addressed in Mayim Bialik's book. I could see homeschooling working for some people, but most kids i know seem to view school as their "job" and they listen differently to a teacher than they do to a parent. And it's fun for them to do something at school or take a test and bring it home to show us because they are proud of it. I think it makes them work harder.

    Personality-wise, I don't have the patience to come up with a curriculum and enforce it.

  3. I know! That worries me too! What do you put on a college application?

  4. Yeah, that's true. It takes a lot of patience. I have to decide if I have that or mit.

  5. All the homeschooled kids I met (with the exception of one that couldn't even tell time!) have been geniuses. At 25, I sometimes find myself in an upper division University course with a 16 year old homeschooled kid. It makes me feel dumb. They tell me that they're able to take these classes for free, and apply them to both their high school diploma requirements as well as toward their bachelor requirements (double dipping + free = amazing!) I'm jealous. I guess the University courses come into play when a subject that their parents are unqualified to teach comes up.

    That said, I dont think I could homeschool. I mean, I could...but I'm not sure I would want to. It takes a lot of dedication, and I'm not sure if I'd get lazy sometimes and stuff. I wish there was a half and half option! I think its important for kids to learn to obey someone other than me and to interact with a large group of other kids; I'm not sure if all homeschooled kids get that. Some people are in homeschool groups, which are groups of 10 or so students who rotate among the mothers so each mom gets a break. LOTS of people homeschool here, its not viewed as cultish at all.

    I think there's no reason why one couldn't send their child to school AND do curriculum at home. I think a big problem with public school is that parents rely on it 100% and dont reinforce education at home (usually its because both parents have to work & they dont have time). My mom always made me do extra stuff (like book reports) outside of my regular assignments. After 4th grade though, my mom was unable to help me with my homework because she didn't understand it. Think of how many people fail on that "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" show...lots of adults are too dumb to teach their kids for very long LOL!!!

  6. I never thought I would. I mean really, the state has all these equalifed caring teachers ready and willing to teach your child and IMO elementary schools are the cutest things ever. AND it's FREE. That said, we don't use daycare and lately I've noticed that it's like I'm the freak. Lots of parents look for EDUCATIONAL daycares. Children suddenly need to be formally educated as young as 1! WTF? Oh gotta go. More coming!

  7. My main concern with homeschooling (and the reason I don't plan to do it) is that I want to be the parent and not the teacher. I like my role the way it is and would rather let someone else do the teaching.

  8. As you already know, we homeschool our children. We always have and we don't plan to stop at any point in the foreseeable future. There are a lot of myths that surround homeschooling-one of the biggest being the socialization aspect. We have been to many homeschool co-ops, classes, field trips, and outings with other homeschoolers and I have never really run across any kids that were anything other than typical. My kids play with our public-schooled neighbors after school, go to birthday parties, attend church, play sports, and do just about anything that other kids do these days. We have both unschooled and followed a curriculum and I have found that (for us) a curriculum works best because of the number of children and their wide variety of interests. We function best with some structure, although that's certainly not true for everyone. Homeschooling works well for our family and has been a big blessing with our frequent moves as well.


What do you think? Feel free to agree or disagree, but hateful comments will be deleted.