Has anyone here experience in homeschooling a child, or being taught from home themselves? I am interested in alternatives to public school, and having already versed myself in charter schools.

I have heard more negatives than positives, so far.

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I was, all the way through highschool. My parents did it to keep me away from the poor quality and fundamentalist highschool that was in our area (and the only one available). It was kind of the opposite of the usual reason people are homeschooled. 

Thankfully, my parents were very structured about it, and used a correspondence program for highschool to supplement (so I did get a legitimate diploma). They also got me involved in other extracurricular activities (soccer, boy scouts, etc) to socialize and expand my network. I was even given the option to attend highschool once I was ready (at about age 13 or 14, or whatever age you are when you're a freshman) and declined. 

Overall I would say my experience was positive, it allowed me to develop quickly, attend college at 16 for two years as a dual enrolled student, and hold a part time job to save money. I would say that I am particularly motivated though, and to someone who needs more structure or doesn't have the motivation, it might have been more difficult. 

This is, of course, ignoring all of the social connotations that went along with it. People have, and sometimes still do, judge me for being a homeschooled kid. Despite the fact that I have a masters and two bachelors, they still think I must be behind, weird, etc, because of the highschool experience. Thankfully, I don't give a shit ;)

I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I'll do, and to be honest I don't think I will homeschool my kids. It requires a lot of time from the parents, and I'm not in a career that allows that. Further, I will move to an area that has an excellent school (much better than the options I had as a child), which will help. Finally, the socialization a kid can get in a classroom is huge. Had I not gone to college early while still in highschool, I think I could have been a much less social person now. 

It all depends on where you live, how much time you want to put into it, and how motivated the child is. There are risks on both sides, but I think with proper supplementation and guidance, public/private school can be a very positive experience (perhaps more than homeschooling). 

All of this, though, is my personal opinion, so don't take it for science. Please ask more if there's something I didn't touch on, too!

I was, all the way through highschool. My parents did it to keep me away from the poor quality and fundamentalist highschool that was in our area (and the only one available). It was kind of the opposite of the usual reason people are homeschooled.

Can you expound on the schools your parents avoided? Strictly religious? or nationalist as well?

It all depends on where you live, how much time you want to put into it, and how motivated the child is. There are risks on both sides, but I think with proper supplementation and guidance, public/private school can be a very positive experience (perhaps more than homeschooling).

I suppose I am underestimating the power of my influence over any children I have in supplementing them with their school education. I just do not want them to hold these ideals that I have seen many of my own public school peers come out with. Nationalism, Capitalist bias, Hierarchy mentality, Consumerism ... I want to raise intellectual, bohemian rascals. Children of the Earth, not children of America.

I certainly realize that my paranoia of these societal systems surpasses my trust in my own influence. Perhaps when I finally have children I will see more clearly.

"Can you expound on the schools your parents avoided? Strictly religious? or nationalist as well?" 

- There was only one highschool in my part of the state, (I grew up in southern Missouri), and there are documented cases of teachers treating students poorly based on things like them being democratic, liberal, non-christian, vegetarian, etc. Essentially, there was a lot of intolerance and my parents didn't want me to be involved with that (and I really appreciate that). Additionally, the school did not prep people well for post-highschool education, both academically and socially. A large portion of my highschool either dropped out, had children, or both, and not many went to college (including the two year college in the same town). 


"nationalism, etc"

-I think that it's difficult to make a full opinion until you have children. I have clearly made opinions (and don't have children) and I expect them to change as I continue to get older and better educated. I think that with the proper home environment, though, you can counter a lot of the misinformation that could come from a school like my hometown. Of course, you have to be careful and make sure you don't go too far in the other direction...I sometimes am afraid of doing that and for that reason what my kids to be exposed to it, just so they can have a rational reason to reject it ;). 

Of course, you have to be careful and make sure you don't go too far in the other direction...I sometimes am afraid of doing that and for that reason what my kids to be exposed to it, just so they can have a rational reason to reject it ;).

Yes, I often forget this when thinking about it. How could my children develop true critical thinking if I only drill my side of the argument? I would be no better than the people that drill the other side of things.

I homeschool my three children.  We have always homeschooled and the oldest is currently in 4th grade.  We homeschool for academic reasons such as:

Different people learn best in different ways.  Homeschooling allows you to get to know how your child learns and tailor his education accordingly.  Public schools purchase one curriculum and force it on all children regardless of learning styles, strengths, weaknesses, interests, etc.

The public schools here do not teach prescriptive grammar beyond maybe 3 or so parts of speech. 

The public schools here do not offer second language instruction until high school.

The public schools here do not teach poetics beyond, "This is a poem.  Look!  It rhymes!  That there is alliteration."  They do not teach meter at all or other poetic structures and devices.

Shall we talk about novels?  They don't require a child to read a full novel until middle school here, and then it is minimal - about one/year. 

The math taught in the public schools here makes me barf.  It is called Everyday Math.  If your school district uses it, look it up.  You could also look into a book called Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics by Liping Ma.

I could go on and on, but the point is that I have higher academic standards for my children than the public schools.  Public schools are there to offer the bare minimum, not excellence.  You can't afford to eat all organic with food stamps.  You can't get name brand prescriptions on Medicaid.  You are unlikely to get an excellent education from a public school.  There isn't enough time and money to provide each child with an individualized education, and they aren't going to spend time teaching Latin to Bobby when so many of their students are struggling to read English at grade level.

If you're concerned about socialization check out your community and even your public schools.  Some districts allow homeschooled children to attend public school for art, music and gym (at the elementary level and other classes in higher grades).  There are probably programs in your area specifically for homeschooled children - maybe at a zoo or a museum.  4H is an option as well.

Thank you for the input. These are very good points. I believe I would have a higher standard than public schools as well. That can sort of bleed over into charter/private schools, as some that I've researched seem to be much more rigorous, and offer languages as soon as elementary school.

I homeschooled my oldest daughter for several years while we were living in the south. I didn't trust the education she would get from a public school system in the middle of the bible belt. I did have a bit of difficulty finding other homeschooling groups and organizations that weren't full of fundamentalists but once I figured that out, the homeschooling was an overwhelmingly positive experience. I think the majority of negative stories you will hear probably come from children who have been homeschooled as a way to keep them sheltered.

Once we moved back to my hometown in Maryland, my daughter entered the public school system. She started a grade ahead and had absolutely no problem with the transition.

I was home-schooled and I learned more in four months than all the years prior-- then my dad had to work and my brother and I just slacked- we naturally spent a lot of time at the library and watched the discovery channel- that was just us being bored- an again I think the time helped me develop much better than the horrible horrible horrible schools that I would otherwise have gone to. Now that I am 29 and do very well at work I can now safely say that I would have been better if I learned multiplication, reading, writing, sentence structure and then left me the hell alone. Sure history, science, literature and PE are great things to learn. Today I am the first person people go to for explanations on those things and I learned it all long after I gave up on the system. I can't think of a place less conducive to learning than the schools in which I attended other than modern schools of course

I homeschool my children, also for academic reasons.

I'm also in Missouri and taught public school for a long time. When I was teaching special education part of my job was to support high functioning students with learning disabilities in the regular classroom. One classroom I was in was the high school biology class and i witnessed the teacher flat out refuse to teach evolution as fact and spew apologetics at the class. She did this with the full support of the principal, superintendent and school board. When I worked in the elementary teachers often discussed how they could "slip" the "true" meaning of Christmas into the curriculum, among other christian beliefs.

We began homeschooling with the intent to school at home (that is follow the public school model with our own choice of curriculum) but rather quickly began leaning into unschooling. Unschooling is misunderstood and often misrepresented in mainstream media and circles but when done well it is a great fit for freethinking parents. Basically, we want our kids to understand that learning is not something separate from the rest of life, it is a way of life. Critical thinking, asking questions, digging for deeper truth and understanding should be applied to all aspects of life. We accomplish this by exposing our kids to a lot of intriguing and interesting information, encouraging questions, facilitating the pursuit of their interests and discussion, discussion, discussion. Those discussions generally include modeling critical thinking instead of just doing it all internally.


Yes, they know the basics. Yes they understand math and science above and beyond what they would if they attended our local public schools. Yes, they are both good readers and writers. No, they haven't had a great deal of formal instruction in these. More important (to us) than them learning all that students in public school learn is learning what students in public school don't. Researching information (beyond writing one or two papers in high school that judge the writing more than the research methodology), applying critical thinking to that information to distinguish good information from bad, recognizing logical fallacies, etc. Unschooling has been a great tool in reaching that goal.

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