Monday, May 25, 2015

100 Reasons Why Homeschooling is [NOT] Good for Families

Originally Posted by Marianne Sunderland in her blog: ABUNDANT LIFE

I find several arguments wrong with Marianne’s list and would like to run a commentary about what I think from the perspective of the kid who was has survived homeschooling. All too often, homeschool mothers like to brag about how homeschooling is better. They don’t like to face the real truth that they may be messing up their kids permanently. Maybe they have been homeschooling so long that being a homeschooler is their identity and they couldn’t fathom not homeschooling their children, no matter how far behind they are in school.  Whatever the case, many mom’s eyes are blind to the real truth of homeschooling.

My words are in red.  

Homeschooling is Good for Kids

1. No continual comparison to other kids their age.  We all want to be accepted and liked.  Without the continual comparison afforded by being in school all day, 185 days a year, kids are more free to be themselves. In reality, they only know how to compare themselves to their siblings, because let’s be honest, that’s who they see the most often.

2. Limited peer pressure.  I don’t think we should put our kids in a bubble but I like being able to allow my kids the freedom from living under peer pressure day after day. In reality, the kids are in a bubble and will be shocked by life when they go to college.

3.  Time to explore interests.  With the one-on-one tutoring style of the homeschool environment, kids are generally able to finish their studies much quicker – allowing more time for exploring interests. Time to do more chores because the mother is too busy with her life or has too many kids. The faster school is completed, the more slave labor the mother can use the kids for.

4.  One-on-one teaching.  One-on-one teaching allows individualized instruction that meets kids where they are at allowing them to push ahead or stay back, if necessary. With many kids in the family, often time there is no one-on-one teaching. My mother never taught me after I was old enough to do school on my own. She was helping the needier younger children.

5.  Lots of time to play.  I always say that young boys should dig for at least 15 minutes a day.  Seriously though, young kids learn SO much through play. Lots of time to play because their mother may get mad at them and call school quits for the day because she needs a break from her kids, so of course they go outside to play so she can be left alone.

6.  Lots of interaction with adults.   This speaks directly to the issue of socialization.  Kids who are socialized by all ages, including adults, are exposed to much richer experiences. Yes, the kids do interact better with adults, but speaking from experience, our peers are a mystery to us. We’ve missed some of the nuances that are taught socially in school. I fear that I will forever feel that I am missing something during social situations with my peers.

7.  Lots of opportunities during the day.  No day is the same in the homeschool.  Taking field trips are a natural progression of the homeschool lifestyle. All too often, field trips are trips to the supermarket. Sorry, you can’t write that off as a field trip for all 10 years of their homeschool experience.

8.  Learn at their own pace.  We homeschool with mastery in mind.  If a child misses half of their spelling words, we review them until they are learned rather than skipping ahead to the next list of words.  It is not uncommon to have a 5th grade homeschooled student in 5th grade in one subject and a higher or lower grade level in another subject. “Learn at their own pace” and never get pushed to do better.  I “graduated” high school having never taken geometry or even finished Algebra I. My pace was stagnate after 8th grade.

9.  Outperform their peers on standardized tests. (source)  Not that I’m big into standardized testing, but this fact does impress the homeschool naysayers. Except for in the math sections...

11.  Homeschooled kids tend to think more independently.  We want our kids to be independent thinkers, better able to discern truth. Sure you do… Most homeschoolers think independently from other people, except not from their parents. If they thought differently from their parents, they would just be punished.

12.  Individualized education means less boredom.  Not that my kids are never bored but teaching them in ways that they learn best do tend to keep their interests more than a dry textbook approach. That’s a good way of saying that her kids are kinetic learners and that’s why they are learning how to cook an entire meal for the family. So the mother can do other things.

13.  Work for knowledge and not for grades.  We don’t give grades in the elementary grades.  We are working more towards laying a foundation for future learning than for performing on a test. That’s short for, “I’m being lazy, and besides my children never even finish the book, so I just make up grades or not even give them.” No joke, I created my high school transcript, gave myself grades based on how well I think I did, then calculated my own GPA.

14.  Homeschooling methods often instill a love of learning. A love of learning for reading and anything Jesus. As previously stated, homeschoolers can read and often love to read, but their hatred of math keeps them from doing well in it or even finishing.

15.  Homeschooling encourages the growth of authentic social skills. Have you seen any homeschoolers? It’s hard to have social skills with friends and peers when you see them maybe twice a week if you’re lucky.

16.  Homeschooling allows kids to be sheltered from some {unfortunate} realities such as school bullies, weapons and violence, illicit sex and troubled kids. Hold up, previously Marianne stated that she didn’t want to put her kids in a bubble.  Sheltering your children is putting them in a bubble.  If you completely block the realities of LIFE, then what will they do when they grow up and go to college?

Homeschooling is Good for Moms [Sounds like “Mom” wants to do this for herself]

17.  Can really know their kids.  This can sometimes be a bad thing in the sense that our kids’ character flaws tend to mirror our own flaws as parents.  Painful as that can be sometimes, being around our kids all day long does afford us a unique vantage point to view their hearts. Yes, your children will see all of your flaws, especially when you get upset with them and cuss at them during a math lesson like my mother has done on several occasions with my younger brother.

18.  Can teach with the methods that work for each child.  I am all about the freedom we enjoy as homeschoolers.  Varying our teaching methods is not only good for kids, it is good for moms, bringing more effective and enjoyable teaching. This is assuming that the mother works with all kids and doesn’t forget about one like my mother did with me.

19.  Can teach with real life.  It’s hard to raise animals in a classroom or to do many of the hands-on projects that homeschooled families have access to. This can easily turn into a full scale farm project.  My families project has turned into a money maker that keeps my younger brother strapped to the farm because who would milk the cow?! if he wanted to go to a sleepover.

20.  Can teach with interest-led learning.  Completing the 3 R’s can be done fairly quickly in the homeschool, allowing kids to pursue their interests in the afternoons.  Our kids have bred animals, traveled extensively, pursued sailing, internships and careers long before they graduated from high school. The 3 R’s was used in the 1800’s.  Now most conventional schools also teach geography, history, religion other than your own, science (including evolution), and sex ed.

21.  Can relax and learn together.  In true one room school house fashion, younger kids learn alongside the older kids and many older kids are natural teachers of the younger ones.  This is indeed good for moms! Yes, good for mom so she has less work to do because she’s making her children take care of the younger children.  Kind of like the Duggars do! You saw how that turned out for them...

22.  Can observe kids’ talents.  The day-to-day time spent together as a homeschooling family allows parents to observe budding talents and interests at an early age.  I’ve already mentioned how the shorter school homeschool day allows for more time to pursue those interests. If you have the money to help with those talents. If not, I guess the kids can always sit in their room and read all day since that’s their only way out like it was for me.

23.  Can observe kids’ faults and correct.  Spending all day together gives parents the unique {albeit tiring at times} ability to see and correct their kids’ character faults consistently. Spending all day together can make you bat shit crazy!

24.  Unique opportunity to help form their character throughout the day.  I try to look at my kids misbehaviors as opportunities for character training.  We have lots of these opportunities! The kids never have a chance to be themselves.  Lots of homeschoolers like to use a method that forces kids to be immediately obedient.

25.  Forced to handle behavior problems so that the home is a peaceful place. When I was a young mom, I yearned for time alone, away from my family.  Now, 24 years later, that myth of ‘me time’ has been blown away.  It simply does not help!  What does help is to face behavior issues straight up.  The result?  A more peaceful home. In the process, the mother can make sure her children are scared of her temper tantrums so that they learn to behave.  It’s not like they have any means to get away from her.

26.  Able to be with kids all day and not leave them in someone else’s care.  I know that there are some amazing teachers out there – even teachers that are way more talented than me.  However, no one loves and cares for the well-being of my child like me. It’s called being a controlling parent.

27.  Can walk kids through difficulties they face.  Of course all parents are able to do this but helping kids within the more intimate homeschool community is awesome because like-minded parents can model conflict resolutions that really work. What difficulties? Marianne already said that she sheltered her kids and took away peer pressure. What’s left?

28.  Experience the ‘firsts’.   Not only first steps etc, but reading their first word, losing their first tooth, and other life milestones. Can be done just as easily in public or private school.

29.  Stretches us to grow in knowledge.  I have learned so much from homeschooling my own kids.  Although I would be okay if I never had to teach another person to solve for X and Y! This is assuming that the homeschool mother will put forth the effort to learn too.  My mother didn’t.

30.  Stretches us to grow in grace.  Kids tend to mirror our own weaknesses.  Boy is this humbling!  Thankfully, with some humility, we can learn to bear with one another and grow in grace. They mirror your weakness because they have no one else to mirror because they have no peers let alone friends.

31.  Stretches us to grow in humility.  See above!

32.  No high pressure mornings trying to get everyone out the door to go to school. That’s an excuse.

33.  Kids’ fresh insights and ideals are inspiring. Can also be seen in public school.

34.  I am learning to appreciate the everyday. Yet again, has nothing to do with homeschooling. There are other ways to learn how to appreciate everyday.

35.  Seeing the lightbulb go off when your kids really ‘get’ something and knowing that it was you who taught them. Controlling much?

Homeschooling is Good for Families

36.  Siblings are best friends.  It’s true. Watching our kids develop strong relationships with one another was an unexpected blessing of our long term homeschooling lifestyle. Siblings are the only children seen on a regular basis.

37.  Kids learn what it means to serve out of love.  Our kids have had ample opportunity to help teach and care for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  It can be hard at times but also very rewarding and life-changing. Yes, siblings also make the best babysitters because you can use them for free and they’re never busy!

38.  Kids learn to cook.  This may have occurred out of sheer necessity but the benefits are still there!  I could barely cook when I went off to college and neither could my roommates.  Top Ramen and rice were the extent of our cooking repertoire.  This could also fall under the ‘good for moms’ category.  :) Can learn to cook because mother is too tired to do any cooking or cleaning, let alone teach her children.

39.  Kids learn to care for one another.  Schooling family style necessarily means that everyone pitches in to help. This fosters a strong sense of love and care for one another. Yes, the children also spend so much time together that they learn to hate each other.

40.  Kids gain experience with many ages – not just their grade.  This fits in with numbers 30-33 above.  Homeschooled kids are comfortable and compassionate around kids younger and older than themselves. Homeschooled kids are also uncomfortable with their peers especially when they get out in the big world and hopefully go to college.

41.  Fathers have more opportunity to be involved in sons lives.  In our own family, our teen sons go to work with my husband and learn our boat building business.  Both of our oldest sons have been competent in the marine and yachting business before graduating from high school. “Learn our boat building business” is code for free slave labor.

42.  Can create our own schedules that work for our families.  From daily schedules to yearly schedules, homeschooling allows families to structure their days, weeks and years to suit their own unique needs. Sometimes to the unique need of two parents working full time.  How does that work? It didn’t. My parents failed at it, but didn’t quit their jobs. If you can’t have one stay at home parent, don’t bother homeschooling.

43.  Can transfer family values and beliefs.  I know that for our Christian family, passing along biblical values to our kids is super important and one of the main reasons that we homeschool.  Homeschooling provides the opportunity for us to pass a long a Christian worldview in the day to day of life. It also protects the child from learning any other belief. Seriously, if you are worried about public school undermining your religious beliefs, then they must’ve been pretty weak beliefs.

44.  Necessarily limits negative influences.  While people are people no matter whether you homeschool or not, homeschooling provides more freedom to choose who your family will spend time with, or not. It’s called a controlling mother who won’t let her children learn from the world.

45. Provides a safe learning environment.  With the increase in bullying, drugs and school shootings, homeschooling provides a safety for our kids to learn and grow. Unless you happen to be gay, lesbian, or anything other than what your parents want you to be. Then all rights are taken away from you and no one knows any better since there’s no one to check up on you.

46.  Can take vacations during the school year.  Many homeschool families take advantage of the inherent freedom in scheduling and take family trips in the off-seasons when travel is less expensive and less crowded. Especially since their children don't know how to interact with their peers.

47.  Relationships are stronger with parents resulting in parents being more influential than peers. The controlling parent should never let anyone put ideas other than their own into the child's head.

48.  Families can learn together. Learn together, go to church together, eat together, share room together, drive together, date together, and NEVER DO ANYTHING ALONE.

49.  Kids have a natural sense of wonder.  Homeschooling allows families to explore new things together. Because their mother is too scared to let them do anything by themselves.

50.  Homeschooling means parents are available.  Parents can be ‘there’ for their kids when they need to talk. As long as it isn’t about sex, them being an atheists, LGBTQ, or anything really controversial, unless the child’s ideas match their parents.

Homeschooling is Good for Learning
51.  Students can study a wider variety of subjects than is offered in school. While they slack on their math.

52.  More in depth studies.  When something in of particular interest, it can be studied in depth – no mile wide and inch deep learning here. Sometimes things get missed in the process though.

53.  Younger kids observe and learn from older kids [especially while the older kids spend all that time babysitting].

54.  Everyday life is all about learning  – from trips to the grocery store to fixing plumbing, caring for babies and preparing meals. Life skills are great, but only go so far with getting them into college.  

55.  Kids learn to think, discuss and explore thoughts without fear of being laughed at or ignored. They only fear of being disowned from the family.

56.  School hours are for learning.  When you are done, you are done, even if you finish early. Especially when the mother gets mad and call it quits for the day.

57.  Learning about running a home.  Our kids can practically run the entire house by the time they are 10 meaning that they can cook, clothe and care for one another and the house. I also knew a boy who learned how to open cans and feed his younger brother by the time he was 7. That boy was taken from his home because his parents were drug addicts. Is that really something you want you kids associated with?

58.  The birds and the bees.  Learn about ‘sex education’ from parents in a way that parents deem appropriate. Sex ed? What’s that? I never learned it.

59.  Unhurried learning can take place. Or no learning. Whatever is cool.

60.  Real, meaningful work.  No busy work. That’s a lazy way of not buying all the curriculum needed or having the kids actually practice anything.

61.  Creativity is encouraged.  Ingenuity and outside the box thinking is encouraged. As long as it's within the parameters set by their mother.

62.  Learn to challenge assumptions.  Talking and thinking together outside of a curriculum allows deeper thought and reasoning. Except for Bob Jones University science. That curriculum is the truth. The world is only 8,000 years old, evolution is only a theory, and the world is not warming. Don't ever question Bob Jones!

63.  Kids learn.   Not just how to pass the test. What tests?

Homeschooling is Good for Kids With Learning Difficulties

64.  Good for different learners.  Some kids need to move to learn, some need to talk or see or hear.  Homeschooling allows for kids to learn the way that they learn best. Homeschool parents also know more than special education teachers with 20 years under their belt; parents can just google stuff to learn it…. said no one.
65.  Homeschooling allows kids the freedom to figure out how they learn best by trial and error. Especially when mom is off at work and isn't there to help you.

66.  Get the help they need.  As the parent of kids with dyslexia, we were able to get the exact kind of help we needed. Or not. My mother won’t get help for my brother with dyslexia for fear of being found out for how behind he is in school.

67.  Get help when you need it.  I talk to many parents of kids with dyslexia and other learning struggles.  The difficulty in getting the schools to recognize their kids troubles and to get the help that the kids need can take years.  When we realized that we were out of our depth with our kids reading struggles, we hired a tutor right away. That’s assuming that you have the money for a private tutor.  Haven't you seen all the articles about how to homeschool cheaply?

68.  Progress at their own level.  This is never more important than with a child with learning struggles. My brother with dyslexia who is now 16 is doing 6th grade math, and has my mother read him the text books. He hasn't done science in a long time because the requires studying and my brother can't do that on his own because he doesn't know how.  How’s that for progressing at his own level?!

69.  Little or no comparison to kids who are traditional learners. No friends either.

70.  No medications.  I know for a fact that at least 2 of our non-traditional learners would be encouraged to take medication if they were in school.  We have been able to tailor their learning so that they can move, do shorter, more intense sessions and be outside more so that they are better able to concentrate and pay attention. Sometimes they enjoy the medicine because they are able to focus better and enjoy acting normal. Medication isn't the devil you make it out to be.

71. Use curricula that work.  I don't often use the term learning disability.  After parenting and educating kids with dyslexia for 24 years, I understand dyslexia to be a learning difference.  This difference requires different teaching methods. It’s still debilitates my brother.

72.  Use methods that work.  If something isn't working, we can change it.  We can choose which ever method works. Jumping between curriculums creates large learning holes.

73.  Provide accommodations as needed.  No need for complicated and emotionally draining meetings.  Just give your kids the accommodations that they need to succeed. Sounds like she’s taking the easy way out with homeschooling.

74.  Finding what they are good at.  For kids who struggle academically, it is super important that they find what they are good at – especially during the school years.  Knowing what they do excel at helps their confidence. Also having friends would be nice.

75.  Taking breaks when needed.  For whatever reason, some days teaching kids with dyslexia is like going to battle.  Nothing is clicking and every minute is agony.  Homeschooling allows for taking a break for a day or switching out one activity for another.  Usually the next day, learning is back on track with emotions and relationships in tact. Too bad my mother couldn't take a break before she explodes and cusses at my brother.

76.  Can be taught with compassion.  Kids who don't learn like you do can be frustrating.  Ask me how I know!  I have heard way too many stories about uneducated teachers misjudging kids with learning issues and therefore mistreating them. Parents also mistreat kids. With homeschool kids, no one is there to check up on the parents.

77.  No falling behind.  What does that even mean? It means that your kids can get so far behind that they can’t score well enough on the ACT or SAT to get into college.

78.  No getting lost in the system.  Mom and Dad know exactly where their kids are and how they are doing every day. Except for with grades since “Mom and Dad” never give out any grades because they don’t believe in that.

79.  No labeling.  To read more on my thoughts on labeling – read this.  My kids with dyslexia know that they have dyslexia and they are okay with it. Saying they have dyslexia is labeling them...

Homeschooling is Good for Health

80.  Sleeping schedules.  Research has shown that many  kids today are not getting enough sleep.  Homeschooling allows for plenty of sleep. You get tons of sleep when you're depressed as I was too. What’s there to get up for anyway?

81.  Sick less often.  Less exposure to germs means fewer colds and other illnesses. Also means fewer friends.

82.  Stay home when sick without missing assignments.  But you never get sick because you don’t have friends.

83.  Eating healthier foods.  It is easier to have a homemade, whole food diet if you’re not packing it! Also only eating mom approved foods because she’s CONTROLLING.

84.  Essential oils. We diffuse essential oils when there is cold or flu going around.  We also use essential oils for our kids’ attention issues with great success. That’s called quackery.

85.  School can be done outside.  Vitamin D anyone? That’s if the truancy police don’t catch you first.

Random Reasons That Homeschooling is Good for Families

86.  Can do school in jammies. Since you don’t have any peers.

87.  Can do school with pets. Pets can be very distracting.

88.  More time to care for and play with pets. Because who else would milk the cow!?

89.  Lots of family read aloud time. LOTS AND LOTS OF FAMILY TIME.

90.  No homework and the fighting it inspires. No pushing yourself to get anything done.

91.  No busywork and the boredom it inspires. Tons of boredom from not having friends though.

92.  No uniforms or other clothing pressures. This way, the girls won’t know how weird they look when they are only allowed to wear long dresses with long sleeves, or else boys will be tempted!

93.  Taking ‘field trips’ to the beach when it is hot, even when it is a school day. Because your mother needs a break from you too and you’re sick of being in the house all day long every day and never going anywhere besides church on Sundays and to Walmart on Thursdays.

94.  Birthdays are school holidays. Too bad you don’t have any friends to invite over.

95.  Field trips to Walmart.

96.  Long term travel to avoid the social service officers.

97.  Dual enrollment if you’re lucky enough to pass the tests because you’re so behind in math. Yup, I had to take remedial math because I couldn’t pass the ACCUPLACER test to take a college level math class.

98.  Work experience = slave labor

99.  Look at the statistics. “The trend in public schools show that the longer a child is in the public schools, the lower he scores on standardized tests.  On average, the home education students in this study scored above the national norm in all subject areas on standardized achievement tests… well above the national average.” Except for in math…

100. And more statistics. “The average homeschool 8th grade student performs four grade levels above the national average.”  This study did not account for the expected grade outcomes.  In expected grade outcomes based on sex, age, race, and income, homeschoolers excel at reading but do worse than expected in math. There was also no source listed for this quote Marianne wrote, so I found one for you if you are interested.

Literally, the world is your classroom except when your mom limits it to Walmart and church because she has no time to drive you to you're friend-that-you-never-had's house.