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home schooling

So, I keep coming across people mentioning they were "home schooled" on these boards. Forgive my ignorance, but I moved to the US a few years ago from the middle of Europe and have never come across this, so I am genuinely curious. Where I grew up, children *have to* go to school until at least grade 8 I think (after that its optional/ depends on your grades). As in, the police and/ or child protective services will get involved if the child does not show up for a certain number of days (and its not a medical issue). So, is that not the case here? I have never come across anyone who was home schooled in real life (I'm not even sure I have heard of this until TK). How do you follow the curriculum? Who makes sure you actually do the work? Your parents? Does this mean one of your parents was a stay-at-home-parent? What if you don't understand the material and your parents cannot explain it? How do you get your degree, do you just go somewhere and sit for an exam? Also, how/where do you interact with other kids? What about things like team sports? School plays? Math competitions? I just can't imagine how this would work - but clearly it did for many people on here, so I'm interested to hear about your experiences. 
- The stars, like dust, encircle me in living mists of light. And all of space I seem to see in one vast burst of sight. 

Re: home schooling

  • I wasn't homeschooled myself, but I know a lot of people who were or who homeschooled their own children.

    For example, a good friend of ours homeschooled both her boys in part because a) they're a very religious family (not in an area with many options for religious schools) and b) their eldest son has very severe ADHD and was struggling in public school. She was a stay at home mom who worked part time teaching piano lessons, so she was able to organize their schedules for school around her lesson schedules. The area they live in actually has a pretty large home school community - families will often team up with each other and form "classes" for theirs kids based on each parent's strengths. For example, our friend did a lot of the history and other humanities classes, while another mom did the math/science ones. As for socializing, the kids tended to socialize mostly with other homeschooled children, both in these group classes and in other after-school programs. Particularly a theater program that was very popular with the homeschool community as well as religious families in the area. There were also club sports teams they joined, community bands and orchestras, etc. Some people here in the US have this stereotype that homeschooled kids are awkward, don't know how to socialize, etc., but she did an amazing job making sure that was not the case. Her two sons grew up to be incredibly sweet, smart, very polite young men. When they were high school aged, they both took classes at a local Community College (more socializing) - one is now working full time and the other is a senior in college.

    Where I live now (WI) I see lots of commercials on TV for an online k-12 program that's free for families to use that allows students to be homeschooled but use the state's curriculum. I don't know anyone who's done it (none of our friends here have school-aged kids), but it's another option I suppose for home schooling that doesn't require the parents to lead classes for their kids.
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  • louxnoellelouxnoelle #patriotsnation member
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    I personally was not homeschooled so I can't give any insight as to how curriculum is dealt with, but in terms of socializing, there are at least two options that I know of:

    1) At least in my district, a homeschooled student is still eligible to try out for sports teams. I'm not sure if this applies to all extracurriculars (clubs, plays, etc.) but my friend's sister is homeschooled and plays for the local school's sports teams throughout the year.

    2) An acting student of mine is homeschooled, and her mother was telling me about how there's a little network in her area of all the homeschooled kids. Parents will post "Going to the art museum at noon on Tuesday," and others will link up with them for "field trips." It came up because she was wondering if I would be able to facilitate a drama club type of thing for them.

    Socializing was always one of my biggest questions re: homeschooling, so I found both of these developments really interesting.
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  • hellosweetie1015hellosweetie1015 Where the skies are so blue member
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    I was homeschooled for ten years! I spent junior and senior years in a traditional setting mostly because I'd outlearned what I could be taught by my parents.

    My young elementary years were in California. The school district we were in had a fantastic program. There was a whole classroom experience that we did once a week, and a resource teacher with the district that came and checked my work once a week and did a little bit of knowledge testing to make sure I was actually learning what I was supposed to be. The district had all of their curriculum available through the classroom/resource teacher, so I was a student in the district, just educated at home.

    When we moved to Alabama, the district connection went away. The resource teacher was fantastic, though, and kept us in a good curriculum through mail and email and stuff. Alabama had no real homeschooling programs then (it's getting a little better but not much); their law was that homeschooled students had to be enrolled in a "cover school". A lot of them were basically churches and crappy religious organizations teaching Abeca. (Abeca is not recommended from my perspective; I did it one year and told my mom I'd rather do public school than Abeca again.)

    As far as socialization goes, I was an issue. I was painfully shy, so that was a struggle. But it would have been a struggle in traditional school too. But my siblings played sports in rec leagues and we were involved in church activities, and when I was in middle school a drama group was started by a couple of homeschooling parents, so we got to be with kids our own age, and older, and younger.

    I will say that homeschooling prepared me FAR better for college than my traditional schooling. I learned how to learn independently, and how to create effective study guides for myself, as opposed to the useless study guides some professors gave out.
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  •  I will say that homeschooling prepared me FAR better for college than my traditional schooling. I learned how to learn independently, and how to create effective study guides for myself, as opposed to the useless study guides some professors gave out.

    This was a big factor for me. My professors did a lot of "go home and do the homework tonight, and I'll teach you the lesson tomorrow" that freaked my classmates right the hell out. "How am I supposed to do the homework if you haven't taught the lesson yet?!" You... read... the chapter? They were totally incapable of guiding their own study. I got a job tutoring and was actually able to tutor courses I hadn't taken yet.

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  • lurkergirllurkergirl ATL member
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    Others have it well covered, but I want to add that where I live, there is a current trend toward home - private hybrid schools. Some people view this as the best of both worlds.




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  • hellosweetie1015hellosweetie1015 Where the skies are so blue member
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     I will say that homeschooling prepared me FAR better for college than my traditional schooling. I learned how to learn independently, and how to create effective study guides for myself, as opposed to the useless study guides some professors gave out.

    This was a big factor for me. My professors did a lot of "go home and do the homework tonight, and I'll teach you the lesson tomorrow" that freaked my classmates right the hell out. "How am I supposed to do the homework if you haven't taught the lesson yet?!" You... read... the chapter? They were totally incapable of guiding their own study. I got a job tutoring and was actually able to tutor courses I hadn't taken yet.
    Yep.

    Also - when I had a particularly bad teacher, I was able to learn what I needed to without the teacher. I can remember my freshman chemistry class, more than half failed it because the teacher was shite. I passed only because of my ability to teach myself. (I barely passed though. Chemistry and I do not get along.)
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  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
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    I went to public school, but homeschooling counts as "attending school" as far as the law is concerned. I don't know if state dependent, but in CT you had to attend to school until you were 16.

    The kids that were homeschooled in our district were able to participate in the graduation ceremony. Not sure about clubs or sports because I don't remember anyone that was homeschooled on our teams.
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  • FiancBFiancB MinnesOOOta member
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    You still have to teach certain curricula and pass certain tests, so it still is considered "going to school". We have similar laws where kids have to be getting documented education in some capacity up to a certain age- I think you can drop out when you're 16?
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  • This is all very interesting, thanks everyone for sharing! I think I see how homeschooling can work (although it is hard for me to imagine, I feel like I would have been too lonely studying by myself most of of the time), but I am still wondering about the motivation ? i.e. why would your parents want you to be homeschooled rather than go to a regular school? One poster mentioned religion. Is that the main reason, or is it because your parents were not satisfied with the curriculum offered by the 'regular' schools in your area? 
    (you = general you) 
    - The stars, like dust, encircle me in living mists of light. And all of space I seem to see in one vast burst of sight. 
  • mj8215 said:

    This is all very interesting, thanks everyone for sharing! I think I see how homeschooling can work (although it is hard for me to imagine, I feel like I would have been too lonely studying by myself most of of the time), but I am still wondering about the motivation ? i.e. why would your parents want you to be homeschooled rather than go to a regular school? One poster mentioned religion. Is that the main reason, or is it because your parents were not satisfied with the curriculum offered by the 'regular' schools in your area? 

    (you = general you) 
    Lots of reasons. Religion, other disagreements with what is/isn't taught, or the way in which things are taught, your child's own learning style not being compatible with learning in a traditional school environment, medical reasons like severe allergies or weakened immune system, family travel conflicts, whatever.

    My parents didn't agree with the teaching methods utilized at our particular school, didn't think we were being challenged enough, and thought we'd do better at home. They were right.

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  • hellosweetie1015hellosweetie1015 Where the skies are so blue member
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    mj8215 said:

    This is all very interesting, thanks everyone for sharing! I think I see how homeschooling can work (although it is hard for me to imagine, I feel like I would have been too lonely studying by myself most of of the time), but I am still wondering about the motivation ? i.e. why would your parents want you to be homeschooled rather than go to a regular school? One poster mentioned religion. Is that the main reason, or is it because your parents were not satisfied with the curriculum offered by the 'regular' schools in your area? 

    (you = general you) 
    Lolo did a fantastic job listing some of the reasons parents consider it.

    It wasn't religion for us, it was just that when I was young, we moved a lot - I think I lived in seven or eight houses as a kid. Plus we traveled a lot outside of the moves. Because my siblings and I were homeschooled, we weren't tied to traveling at certain times - we spent a month in September / October on the opposite coast from our house one time in my fifth grade year. My 9th birthday was spent in the Grand Canyon. I think my 11th birthday was in Seattle or Vancouver, I can't exactly remember which. I got the last Furby the Walmart in Eugene, OR had that year. I saw snow in Albuquerque one year. I was in Kingman, AZ the day Princess Diana died. Our travels weren't tied to June or July, so we got to do a lot of stuff that traditional school options don't allow for.

    It also had to do with the way we learned. I could read at a first grade level by the time I was four. My parents took me to a private pre-k to enroll me and they turned them away because they only taught letters and numbers and colors and shapes, and I would have been bored out of my mind. My brother - he can't really absorb the things he reads. He can read, but his reading comprehension isn't great. So she was able to work with him to help him, and let me be largely self-sufficient.

    I will say that I'm the only one of us who truly benefited from homeschooling more than I would have traditional options. Bro probably would have been diagnosed with a learning disorder, which - in the right district - would have helped him more than my mom did. She was patient and helpful with him, but she didn't have the training to really help him cope, so he had to muddle through it largely through bullheadedness.
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  • FiancBFiancB MinnesOOOta member
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    Homeschooling often gets a connotation as being done by religious nutjobs that want to shelter their kids. Yeah, that happens, but not as often as people make it sound. My bff's family homeschooled, and if anything they were superliberals that wanted to shelter their kids. Ha. 

    I personally am strongly considering it. I think school wastes a lot of time and the lack of personal attention makes it kind of impossible to really learn. I have a learning disability BUT am also pretty smart, and if our kids are anything like us I think they can really benefit with more attention and individualizing. By its nature, school takes a one-size-fits-most approach and I think we can do better. 

    Plus it helps that H is a teacher. And the things he stinks at, I am good at, and vice versa. I'm interested in Montessori schools as well. Anything that's more student-led than teacher droning, basically.
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  • I think everyone else in this thread really explained it well. I was homeschooled because my learning style is not at all like what is utilized in public or even the majority of private schools. I was 5 years old and they kept pressuring my mother to get me on Ritalin because they thought I couldn't pay attention. My mom used to be a teacher and she disagreed, she thought I was just a normal child. We're not religious at all, by the way, so it had nothing to do with that. I'd say a ton (or even most!) of homeschoolers nowadays aren't even the religious stereotypes people usually think of. 

    What's interesting is now I'm considering abandoning a career in the counseling world and going into teaching.


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  • KytchynWitcheKytchynWitche Ridin' the Zebra member
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    I was traditionally schooled, but here in SA you just have to be registered with the Department of Education as a home schooler. You can only "officially" home school to Gr.9, and there are rules as to what MUST be in your curriculum. You have to take a government recognized curriculum for Gr.10-12, because you need to have an NSC (National Senior Certificate) or equivalent IEB (Independent Examinations Board) to go to a tertiary institution or get pretty much any job. There are loads of correspondence course options for Gr.10-12 though.

    My ex did correspondence his last two years of high school because none of the schools he was zoned for offered the subjects he was interested in and the family didn't want to move JUST for him to go to a different school. 

    I re-did some Gr.12 subjects by correspondence (even though I already had my NSC) because I was hoping to improve my grades to get into university. I didn't manage it though.

    The kids (twins) that my SIL used to au-pair for were home-schooled to Gr.8 (start of high school in SA) because the family travels all the time. They're now at a private boarding school.

    I don't actually know anyone who was home schooled for religious reasons, but we have a LOT of private religious institutions so mostly if the parents feel very strongly that the kids need to be educated in a [insert religion of choice here] way, they'll send them to one of the private schools.

    The general standard of education in SA is pretty bad, so a lot of parents choose to home school because of that.

    Cost might also be a factor for some parents. Government schools are (generally) not free here, some of the fees are quite high, and of course, the fees are even higher for private and semi-private institutions (where the standard of education is generally higher as well). 

    And then of course there's the fact that pretty much all schools here use the same approach which doesn't work for all children, and that class sizes are not conducive to individual attention. Most of the schools I was at had 30-35 students per teacher, which is pretty average, but a lot of the poorer schools have 60-70 students per teacher.

    There are lots of factors, really.
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