We are not against homeschooling.
A lot of people who don’t do it are. Their arguments include:
Lack of social interaction. Not being with same-aged peers. Home schoolers can’t possibly get all the academics they need. Lack of extra-curriculars. OMG, what about the sports.
These are pretty well straw arguments.
Our major point is that you should compare homeschooling to the alternative… and well, the alternative often sucks big-time.
Little social interaction beats mandatory interaction with Mean Girls, and if one wants voluntary social interaction there are about a million organized after school activities one can do, even if there isn’t an organized home schooling situation in your area. And who needs same-aged peers when you’re out-of-synch?
Home schoolers tend to do better on average on the SATs and motivated ones can learn faster with an individualized curriculum when they don’t have to wait for their peers or spend all that time transitioning. All that wasted time being bored stiff counting ceiling tiles and the teacher won’t let you read under your desk.
Extra-curriculars can be paid for, as can sports. If one cares about sports. Which one doesn’t necessarily. But public school often cares about nothing else, that and cheerleading.
(Aside: We are a little creeped out by people who homeschool because they belong to a religious cult and don’t want to introduce evil influences like Harry Potter, but if they weren’t homeschooling they’d be sending their kids to cult schools. Our little area of the Bible belt even has part-time schooling options for such folks. Sure, they cost money, but in theory if the money is going towards the church anyway maybe it can count as part of their tithe. Or some kind of financial aid thing can be worked out for tithing members. Such folk are not the only people who homeschool, and we’d be creeped out by them even if they didn’t homeschool. At least if they’re home schooling they’re not trying to ban books from the school library.)
We sure wish we had been home-schooled. At least through middle school. Especially middle school. But elementary school too with only a few exceptions for stellar teachers (and those exceptions for only one of us). But we weren’t. And the therapy still hasn’t fixed all the trauma.
So we’re not homeschooling, and we hope we never have to (both because we work full-time and because one of us doesn’t have kids). But more power to the folks who do. Especially in this no-child-left-behind everyone-gets-a-trophy environment. Especially if your kid is different and different is not what your school system is looking for. Help your kids learn how to think and not have a sense of entitlement, and we’ll be happier when we get them in our classes.
What do you folks think? Home schooling yea or nay? Be respectful! Your answers will be graded for critical thinking and grammar. (Kidding! We won’t grade your answers– we will just provide our usual thought-provoking probing questions to increase rather than cut-off conversation. But still, be respectful.)
p.s. This list is interesting.
p.p.s. Confidential to PZ Meyer. By not trying to fix your local school system you are also just as bad as those anti-vaxers. In fact, you’re worse than the home schoolers you decry who pull their kids out of dangerous or failing districts because you should have all that extra time to join the school board etc. because you don’t have any K-12 kids to take care of. Also, you should be donating money to the district to atone for not having (more) kids, at least the amount that they’re not getting in federal funding. How dare you be so selfish. We will be ranting this in full at a later date (title: Stupid “You should be doing more” arguments from people who aren’t doing anything) . [Update: In case it isn’t clear, this confidential is sarcasm– we think property taxes are enough mandatory supporting of public schools for *everybody*, with or without children. If you want to do more, great, but there’s a reason we have taxes. Maybe those taxes should be higher or the federal contribution should be higher to poorer districts, but that’s an issue to take up politically, not on the backs of individual children.]