Friday, May 1, 2009

The Home School Movement

My wife and I have been home schooling our kids for the past 6 years. It was a difficult decision at first. When I was a kid, the only people I knew who home schooled were kind of like the Amish because they were so strict. I have nothing against the Amish. In fact I kind of envy them, but I digress... Anyway it seemed that the kids who were home schooled back when I was young had overprotective parents and probably were not allowed to watch anything on TV except PBS or eat anything but whole wheat bread. I am a product of prime time TV, white bread, and public school so I guess I don't fit my own stereotype. I actually enjoyed my entire public school experience and liked most of my teachers. I think that educators are some of the most influential and important, yet under valued, and under paid people in society.

When we decided to home school, my biggest concern was for my kid's social development. I also didn't want them to miss out on sports. That is also a common concern I hear from others. While this may be a valid question, I don't think my kids mind missing out on some of the common social interactions associated with Jr. High such as noogies, swirlies, wet willies, wedgies/melvins, titty twisters, cherry bellies, etc. There is a fair amount of babysitting that goes on in the class room. It happens in our home so it's bound to happen when you get hundreds of insecure kids together who are going through puberty.

One of the biggest factors in making the decision was that we didn't have time for all the homework. Homework seems to be geared to parents as much as it is to the kids. If you are teaching kids at school for 6 or 7 hours everyday why do you need to give them homework when they get home? I'm all for efficiency so one of the biggest advantages of home school is that it allows us to customize the time schedule and curriculum to each kid according to their talents and interests. My wife puts a big emphasis on their music education. I enjoy teaching them history, art, and humanities. I frequently use movies to teach about different time periods, philosophies, and historical events. They have math, writing, and science projects in addition to other practical things like learning physiology, gardening, business principles, current events, politics, and religion. We can also take field trips as often as we like.

We also don't freak out if a child is not at the same developmental stage in a given area as their peers. I remember the social stigma that came to some kids in grade school when they divided us up into color coded reading groups according to their reading competence. No announcements were made, but everybody knew the smartest kids were in the red group, the majority were in the blue group, then there were the few kids in the brown group who met in the basement with the janitors for their reading. I may be exaggerating, but I don't think kids need to be labeled as gifted or slow at an early age. Everybody develops differently.

My kids are involved in plenty of social activities. They are in scouts, church groups, basketball, dance, karate, art lessons, music academies, and they are constantly playing with their friends. One aspect of their socialization I've appreciated is that my kids don't look at their shoes and mumble when they talk to others or walk around texting while having permanent ear phones on to seclude them from the rest of the world like many of the "socialized" kids you see. My kids are not rude or obnoxious either. (At least not in public). I'm sure we are doing many things wrong when it comes to their education, but nobody has a greater interest in them than we do and I think that can compensate for the areas where we are lacking.

Home schooling has picked up a lot of steam over the years. More and more people feel drawn towards it and are compelled to check it out. It used to be that only responsible, concerned parents home schooled their kids but now not only normal people do but even immature parents like myself. I'm pretty sure the home school movement would not want me as a poster parent example. In fact some day my blog may be used as evidence in a court case against home schoolers. So the next time you come across someone who home schools, cut them a little slack because they just might be kind of normal. It may not be fore everyone, but remember that everybody home schools, they just may not realize it.

22 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I don't really have anything against homeschooling, other than I think I would lose my insanity as a parent!

Eric said...

What do you do when your kids get 'detention'? And, is it tougher for them to fake the grades reported on the report cards for you to sign?

Maui said...

Is there a way to stop following a blog? Now that you've exposed yourself as a wierdo, I have to rethink my devotion to your blog.

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

pertinent questions these comments!
Seriously though, the idea scares the shit out of me so I just can't.. I may probably regret it later but for now...nothing doing!

Kelly said...

I have a great deal of admiration for people who homeschool. I also love the Amish!

There are plenty of people doing it right out there. I have a feeling you and your wife may be some of them.

My children often ask me if we can please home school and I have to tell them no because I just don't have what it takes. Hope they turn out okay anyways.

Girl Interrupted said...

Good for you Chaka, sounds like you have everything covered, you know whats best for your children, you're spending quality time with them and they're having a great time. Whats more important than that.

Have a great weekend

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

My mother-in-law is furious that we're not sending the kids to Catholic school anymore after this semester ends. We pointed out that she's more than welcome to pay the $10,000 tab for the two of them.

Now she's trying to force us to homeschool the kids. My sister-in-law (wife's sister) is planning on homeschooling her two kids, I think, which is where my mother-in-law picked this up from, because we should all follow Jennifer's model of Christian piety and perfect motherdom.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

I think you are doing your children a valuable service by being responsible for their education.

I'd just be afraid I would F-the whole thing up.
I applaud you and your wife.

Gilligan said...

If I were my kids' homeschooling teacher I would teach them about kung fu movies and long restful naps.

Seriously, we considered the homeschool option, but chose in favor of wedgies and cell phone worship.

Chaka said...

Eric-It's hard for them to pull one over on principal Skinner.
Maui-Following my blog was a permanent choice. Sorry.
Gilligan- You can bet we have had some special units on Bruce Lee and Jacki Chan.
It's not as big a deal as people think. Thanks for being nice with your comments on my coming out of the closet post.

Jeanne said...

This just may be the most sensible argument I've ever heard for home-schooling.

My husband's ex-sister-in-law tried it with his youngest daughter (her niece) without noticeable success, but I think the damage had already been done by the time she tried it.

Lisa Loo said...

Ahhh--the home schooling closet. I think we have more people in here than the current gay revolution does.

I thought only people who were present at Ruby Ridge home schooled till I moved here to the middle of nowhere Montana. We have met so many great families that home school that we took the plunge ( way too many mixed metaphors but I can't seem to stop) and haven't looked back. This comment has probably given all non- home schoolers reason #345 not to home school.
To make a long story short--we have 2 kids that have gone to college so we musn't have scarred them too bad.
I'm going to go brush up on my writing skills now...

Atzimba said...

Looking forward to the time to homeshool as well... that being said I know the day will come when I would so want that yellow bus to pick them up and bring them back when I have cooled down :):):)
Learning, learning, learning... that's the whole point isn't it?

Big D said...

I'm with Maui and his 6" mullet... you just don't fit in with us "normal" people. I digress though I was caught up in fond memories of spending time in the basement with Mr. Fergussen... my grade school janitor.

Henry Cate said...

"There is a fair amount of babysitting that goes on in the class room."

I remember reading that one study found the average student in a public school received about two hours of instruction a day, with only three to five minutes of personal attention from the teacher. The rest of the time was just filler.

Robert M. Lindsey said...

WE homeschool too. I think too many people don't give themselves enough credit and are too worried about how they would screw up. Well, I can tell you the public schools sure screw up sometimes.

I think it's great for the kids and great for the family. I don't buy the idea that puting 28 immature kids together in a room is socialization. There are no jobs where you spend the day in a room full of people your own exact age and maturity.

Bee and Rose said...

Chaka! We are a homeschooling family too! My tween is smart, polite and respectful with lots of friends. My kindergarten girl is loving learning too!

I love watching my kids be in love with learning.

I will shout it loud and proud...I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING!

Der Grexxie said...

I envy you for being able to homeschool your kids. I have a child in first grade who is anxious about the yearly "final" and will spend nine school days in May taking standardized tests instead of learning. It makes me want to scream. Home SChool Rocks! No need to apologize.

Christe said...

I'm really struggling with whether to homeschool next year. So glad I found your blog!

MikkSolo said...

We were not a fan of typical public school options. Seems they were headed in the wrong direction for us. Though we weren't brave enough (crazy enough?) to try home school, we put them in a charter school, and are thrilled, overall, with that choice. We are still hugely involved as parents with the school and their education.
I have met most of your kids and they are AMAZING!

PS I want a review on your Movie Guy Blog on the new X Men! Just saw it last night and I loved it.

MikkSolo said...

Just went to your movie guy sight and enjoyed the Wolverine review. Thanks!

Beckalita said...

Being together as a family sounds like the best social experiment of them all!