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Parents: What Were The Underlying Factors That Caused You To Choose Homeschooling Your Children?

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I am doing research for a Masters level education course and am thinking about writing my thesis on the sociological benefits and drawbacks of homeschooling. So many people argue that homeschoolers do not get the same amount of socialization as those who attend "traditional schools". I am going to start by looking at motivations for homeschooling versus sending your child(ren) to public or private schools.

23 comments to Parents: What Were The Underlying Factors That Caused You To Choose Homeschooling Your Children?

  • glurpy

    The reason I first thought of homeschooling was because of the sociological factors I saw in the elementary classroom I was teaching in. Unbeknownst to me, my husband was viewing sociological aspects in the junior high he was teaching at and was having somewhat the same thoughts I was: I didn’t want our kids in that.
    What didn’t we like? At the elementary level, I didn’t like the cliques I saw which started earlier and earlier, the peer dependency that was developping so young, the social ostracization of at least one child in the group, the fact that the primary societal models for these children were each other (kids of pretty much the same age), that there was so much social guidance these kids needed but couldn’t really get due to the sheer number of children and only one adult–who wasn’t even their parent.
    My husband, for his part, saw how junior high was basically just one big social fest, with a focus on being like the kids who were seen as popular, even if it meant dressing like a slut (there was one hallway in the school that was known as the Red Light Hallway for a couple of years). Again, the primary societal model for these children was each other; they really didn’t know any better since kids are designed to adopt what’s around them.
    We added to these concerns academic concerns and just the whole aspect of being a family and having our children truly grow up together (the school they would attend wouldn’t even let them play together at recesses).
    What we want for our children is not that they be hid from the world, but that they have proper instruction for the social aspects of life which neither one of us feels they can get as well at school than with us. They don’t have 18+ other siblings the same age 😉 so it’s much easier to teach them these things and guide them.

  • Question Addict

    We decided before our children were born that we were going to homeschool for at least the first few school years. We thought that 5 was just too young of an age to send our little ones away for the entire day, everyday, to be around people that we did not know.
    Once our children were born, we knew it was the right choice. We will be sticking with in until it no longer works for our kids. Both of our girls are well beyond their age group in just about everything. They are still young, but they both enjoy learning, it is fun to them. I too enjoy what we are doing. If my 3.5 year old were to be placed into school right now, she would be placed in the 1st grade. The gifted(I use that word because that is what the rest of the world uses and understands) program in our area is not worth the time it took to write this sentence. They do not start the program, such that it is, until the 3rd grade. The program pulls you from your class for an hour each day to go sit in the library for ‘independent study’. Which translates too, going to the library to read for an hour. That is not my idea of challenging a student.
    Good luck on your thesis.

  • Anonymous

    My first motivation was an objection to homework. I had neighbors whose kids were coming home with 2 hours of homework in the third grade. That is not education, that is indoctrination – getting someone to do something they don’t like for 6-7 hours per day then come home and do it some more.
    The longer I homeschool (this being our fifth year), the more motivations I have. One is that I get to offer my children a truly exceptional education with a personalized program and 2-1 student to teacher ratio. We learn the classics, Latin, history and more and have fun doing it.
    To address the socialization issue, I always point out that I am raising my children to be good adults – not good 3rd graders, middle or high schoolers. A lot of the “social” stuff that kids learn in school has to be unlearned later to fit in with the adult world. No flames here, please – I let my kids be kids. They watch Suite Life of Zack and Cody and Pokemon like other kids, but they also know what is appropriate in various social situations.
    There are many, many more benefits and motivations – morality and safety being two, but I’d be writing my own thesis if I were to go into it here. Feel free to contact me if you want more info. Good luck with your graduate work.

  • Thrice Blessed

    1. I want my children to be treated as individuals rather than being forced into a mold of some theoretical “average” child.
    2. I want my children to receive an education in academics, not necessarily in political correctness.
    3. I never want my children yanked out of their seats by their hair just because they are moving to the music that is being played on the class piano (yes, it happened to me in school).
    4. I want my children to feel free to like things because they like them, and dislike things because they dislike them, instead of feeling the need to conform to their peers.
    5. I never want my child to be told to put down the book and do school, especially if the book they are reading is an encyclopedia or classic work of literature (again, this happened to me all the time in school.)
    6. I don’t want my kids to attend school in one of the worst performing school systems in the world, where, even they are the best in the system, they are still only the best of the worst.
    7. If my child falls behind in a subject, I want him to be able to back up and learn what he missed, instead of falling further and further behind each day because he is missing a key piece of information that would enable him to understand the rest of what is being taught.
    9. If my child’s ability is third grade math, and first grade reading I want him to be taught at those levels instead of either being bored with the math that is taught in first grade, or frustrated with the reading expectations of third.
    10. If my child learns better while moving around the room I don’t want that to be interpreted as bad behavior or to have put on Ritalin.
    11. I never want a child of mine to be ashamed of being smart.
    12. I never want a child of mine called “teachers pet” because he is polite and helpful.
    13. I think children learn better when they aren’t worried about what the other kids think about their clothes.
    14. I think children learn better when they don’t have to worry about whether anyone brought a gun.
    15. I think children learn better when the person teaching them loves deeply and knows them well.
    16. I think children learn better when they don’t just look for the answer to fill in the blank, but have to internalize the information and respond to it it their own words.
    17. I don’t think its necessary for a child to play softball if they don’t like it, exercise is necessary, but it doesn’t have to be what an adult picks.
    18. I love my kids and enjoy spending time with them.
    19. I want my kids to know the difference between fact and theory.
    20. I want my kids to love learning, not tolerate it.
    21. I want my kids to learn how to interact socially with all ages and types of people, not just thirty other people born the same year as they were.
    22. I want my kids to learn social skills and manners from civilized adults, not 30 other kids who know as little as they do.
    23. I want to know what is going on with my kids, what makes them tick, what they are reading, what they like and what they dislike.
    24. I don’t want a stranger to be the one to see my child light up when they finally understand something they’ve struggled to learn, I want to see that myself.
    25. I love teaching my children.

  • jhg

    My husband and I decided that I would homeschool our three kids for many reasons. In public school the teacher to student ratio is crazy. One adult to 20-30 kids is nuts. There is no way one adult can give each student the attention and help that they need. Also the discipline that is allowed the teacher to keep his classroom safe is not around any more. Even in our small town we have had 2 shootings in the past 16 months in the high school. Kids are not being parented correctly in our society today and as much as some people don’t agree then just go out in public. When was the last time someone heard a child/youth say please, thankyou, excuse me, etc.? My kids are in preschool, 1st grade and 2nd grade. I feel as a parent it is my job to help my kids learn right from wrong along with just getting a good education. I don’t like the idea that the main effecting influence in my kids lives are other kids that I don’t approve of their behaviors. For 5-8 hours a day the main part of their day is spent with others who will influence with attitudes, language, etc.
    We have also decided to homeschool for religious reasons. There are things that we don’t agree with that are being taught as complete fact and truth.
    My husband and I were youth ministers at one point and were shocked that our high school group of 25-28, only 2-3 were able to read well. My 7 year old reads as well as the high schoolers did. This brings me to the educational standpoint. I don’t believe that the education given to these kids is what it should be. Not to say that someone can’t learn and do well in the public school system, but I have seen more times than not that someone homeschooled is farther academically than someone from the public school system.
    And what is school for? Some say for socolization, but my understanding was that it was for gaining knowledge. So with all these things factored in, we chose home school.

  • answer man

    First you must define socialization. If it is the peer dependence which is practiced in many public schools today, I want no part of it for my kids. Today in school, they learn all the right attitudes, music, friends, movies, tv shows, clothes, words and sex acts from their peers. They learn to buy in and comply like sheep or be ostracized or worse yet picked on. Homeschooling doesn’t shelter kids, as some claim, it educates them in an environment more like the real world than school does. Meet some homeschoolers…..not just one or two, but many of them. You will find well adjusted, level headed, independent minded, intelligent, likeable, people. This is why we do it. The results are far superior, and they do better on standardized tests as well.

  • ASD & DYS Mum

    Our number one reason and motivation to HS was due to our son’s profound giftedness. When he was 2 y.o., our [public school system] Parents As Teachers instructor warned me we’d have to look into alternative education, not the public school. She said it again at age 3. Then at age 4, our son was in the public preschool and many teachers were saying that their school system was not appropriate for him.
    I hadn’t planned on HS’ing, but it was our only option. I committed to only 1-3 years at first, but now we’ve started our 5th year. It still is the only educational setting that is appropriate for him.
    He does a lot “socially”: scouts, bible club, HS co-op w/ 114 other kids, CONTIG, church, indoor track, outdoor track, cross country, volunteering (church, missions) and loads of field trips where he’s on a first name basis with museum docents – even sitting in on focus groups. He also does a lot online with others. This week he’s participating in an online colloquia with a professor and employee of NOAA.

  • tamlynsw

    I decided to homeshool my son when he was 15 because our school system is very incompetent when it comes to special needs kids. He was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. He was a very confrontational kid who didn’t get along, in my opinion, with male figures. The teachers insisted that he did not get along with female figures. The last special ed teacher he worked with before I pulled him out of school was swimming in testosterone and had no business working around kids who would clash so fiercely with him. The school officials were too busy covering each others behinds to look after the best interest of my son. I am a single parent at the bottom of the economic chain and not seen as someone they needed to respect such as a parent who was a lawyer or doctor.
    There is so much more to the picture but I’m sure that answers your question.: Incompatibility between the school system and kids who can not be squeezed into main stream parameters.

  • busymom

    Home school information, research, and statistic’s can be found at:
    The National Home Education Research Institute.http://www.nheri.org/
    Home School Legal Defense Association.
    State requirements, and laws.
    Newspaper articles, research, and world wide home school information.http://www.hslda.org/
    A general home school information site that will give you many links, and articles that may be helpful, as well as personal testimonies are found at:http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/
    Good luck on your research paper.

  • Grannie

    What finally decided us to home school our Grandson was the lack of concern in the public school system. After requesting he be tested for over a year, we had him independently tested for learning problems.
    After discovering he was dyslexic, we shared these results with the school system. They in turn took over 2 months to set up an IEP program for him.
    The result of the IEP was additional pressure to finish work his class was doing while he was in individual instruction.
    The deciding factor to home school, we were on the brink because we knew one on one instruction along with books on tape would be beneficial but not available in public school, was when we discovered his second grade teacher was telling him “don’t bother trying it again, you’ll never be able to do it”.
    I’m not saying that the majority of teachers would have this little regard for a student, but I think there aren’t as many teachers that teach for the satisfaction of imparting knowledge to developing minds as there were 40 years ago. (when teachers actually DIDN’T make anything close to a decent salary)

  • Ms. Phyllis

    I began homeschooling my son in November 2006, his first grade year. He began the school year at a magnet school at one of the “better” public schools in our city. He had previously attended two years of public school pre-kindergarten and a private Christian home learning center for kindergarten with nine other children. Academically, he thrived in that environment. My desire was for him to attend a private/Christian school, but I did not have the resources for him to continue in private school. Therefore, I applied to most of the magnet school programs in my city, and he gained entrance to one of them.
    During his first week of first grade at the magnet school, he complained of boredom and said the students were doing “baby work” that he had already done in kindergarten; he emphatically stated that the only things he liked about the school were breakfast, lunch, and recess. Subsequently, I withdrew him from the magnet elementary school and enrolled him in our city’s first virtual charter school. However, the curriculum was not a good fit for him, and his attention span would not allow for being taught for five hours a day at home.
    After approximately seven weeks, I withdrew him from the virtual school and began teaching him at home with the curriculum of my choice. This worked pretty well for him; yet he still seemed to have a bit of trouble focusing, and I was already aware that he needed more speech therapy. So, I took him to a developmental pediatrician to see if there was some other issue; she diagnosed him as “cognitively gifted,” along with some challenges, i.e., needing more speech therapy and needing help with stimulation and overstimulation. He will soon undergo a complete evaluation with our neighborhood public school and will then receive special services via the public school. My goal is to continue to homeschool as he is thriving academically.
    Now that I know my son is cognitively gifted, I give him more challenging work, more creative hands-on types of activities, experiential learning, etc. I also teach to his learning style as I have learned it is largely auditory and kinesthetic. Homeschooling alows for teaching that is tailored to the individual child’s needs.

  • Jennie t

    One reason I chose to homeschool is because my 12 year old was just not being helped by the public school system. He has a.d.h.d. and dyslexia, and the first several years of his schooling, they just worried about keeping him from distracting the other students, not on teaching him anything. More recently, the main problems have been that he is so far behind from not really learning anything up to this point, and his continuing problems focusing and staying on task. The more he is in public school, the further behind he slips. The second reason I homeschool is that the public schools in todays time are just too full of bad influences. Kids today are not what they were when my Mom was a kid, and I know from expirience how difficult it is to maintain good values under such strong and prevalent negative peer pressure. In such an environment making good choices is punished and making poor choices is rewarded.
    As far as socialization goes, I do make sure he spends time around other kids his age. There are church activities, and activities with the home school group in our area. Also, he has some neighbor friends that he plays with almost daily.

  • Janis B

    Motivation from my husband to agree to home school was the behavior of teenage students who rode his public school bus. Motivation for me was that our son was in the 8th grade and was not learning. The teachers had given up on him and said he was learning at his potential.
    He has been learning at home for the past 2 years and is learning more than he did in school. He does well in one on one teaching and learning. It works for us.
    He is very social and that usually kept him in trouble in public school. He plans his own activities and is involved in playing community sports and loves attending high school games.

  • seanalsh

    The question is whether are not home school children are “socialized” What is socialization? Is it doing the same thing everyone else does or is it being able to be within a group of peers and being able to hold ones self up? My daughter wants to go to public school so that she can play with her friends. No!!! When I sent my daughter to public school it was because she was to learn, not to play. She can play at home. I home school because her 1st grade teacher was using her to help teach reading to the other children. Wrong, my daughter is not a teacher, she is a student. In public school, everyone is taught on the same level, not on the level they are on, home schooling I teach her where she is at. She doesn’t get as bored when she is actually learning something new instead of repeating the same concept over and over and over until all the children get it.
    My job is to teach my daughter socialization based on the morals and values my family holds, not the lack of morals and values others hold.
    Most importantly, I get to teach my daughter that God is good and that is what matters most. I don’t have to worry about the school teaching her about every religion except Christianity!!

  • Born-Again Libertarian

    My parents took me out of school for three equally important reasons.
    The first is that I was bored out of my mind. Everything was way, way too easy. I’d get what was supposed to be half an hour of work done in about ten minutes.
    Then, the classroom setup was retarded. ‘Community learning’, meaning a massive free-for-all where everyone can get up and run around and yell. We were all supposed to help each other, meaning a few wimpy smart kids (like me) ended up doing everyone’s work. That was really taxing on me.
    I also had the misfortune to use the words ‘not’ and ‘alive’, in conjunction, in a sentence relating to myself. So I was going to get shipped off to foster care.
    Now I’m unschooled. We’ve continued to be surprised at how well the human mind regulates itself, and on every standardized test I’ve taken (though I personally think they’re bull) I’ve scored at above college level in everything but math since seventh grade.
    It’s also a matter of efficiency. The current American public school system puts kids on a nearly blasphemously slow path, and then blames them for screwing up. If you didn’t hold these kids back, and force them in to a system designed to make unthinking soldiers who would march of cliffs if ordered, they’d all do pretty well. Ben Franklin had very little schooling, it didn’t hurt him.
    Here are the pros for me:
    -Lots of time with my friends
    -I like all my work, or at least don’t mind doing it. Why? Because I’m not forced to.
    -Adults aren’t scary authority figures, they’re people with more experience than me, who can also sometimes be pretty dang scary.
    -Freedom of thought. My family isn’t religious -father: minister’s kid turned atheist, mother: Long Island Jew turned neo-Buddhisty thing, sister: atheist, self: agnostic- but if I wanted to practice a religion, I could. I’m not being told by an administration what to think. I would be against it if the administration told me to be an agnostic.
    -Ability to handle more responsibility. School kids are in a weird environment. They’re forced to go to a place every day, expected to hate it, and then lavishly rewarded for fulfilling their forced obligations. If I don’t meet my obligations -though my parents aren’t my teachers- I’m just screwed. I don’t get a guidance counselor, or remedial classes. I’m just screwed. However, the system is at fault, not the kids.
    -Very little pressure to have sex, drink, do drugs, and very little emphasis on status symbols. Sure, it’s still there. We’re teenagers. But I think the reason kids in school rebel in stupid ways, is that they have no power over anything in their lives. School follows them home, over the weekend, over vacation, their grades are their self-worth- in short, it’s a degrading, stupid system and they need to have some kind of power. That’s why they have cliques. They’re oppressed, and one way of relieving that is being an oppressor. Now, there are still bullies. It’s still really, really cool if you have the newest iPod, or a PSP, or a kickass computer. But, since we all have a basic sense of our own competence and value, we don’t worship them.
    -Movies at 11 AM. ‘Nough said.
    -Amusement parks at 11 AM on a Tuesday. ‘Nough said.
    -Work from 9-12. Play video games 12-4. Hang out with friends 4-9. Sounds good to me.
    Cons:
    -Having to constantly explain and defend what to me is a relatively unimportant choice.
    -Dealing with all the negative stereotypes.
    -School kids gang up against me a lot.
    -Always being the weirdo.
    The first two are part of being alive, the second two will go away with time.
    Some nutcases homeschool. Some child molesters homeschool. Some people who shouldn’t be allowed to even think about kids homeschool. It doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, I’m generally against it in rural and many suburban areas: it would be incredibly isolating. (Note: Just because the local school is better than nothing, doesn’t mean it’s good.) However, child molesters and crazies send their kids to school, too. Some are teachers. Bottom line, nothing’s all good or all bad.
    The current statistic is that there are 1.1 million homeschoolers in the US. That number is inaccurate. There are way, way more. Many aren’t registered. Many are registered as private schools, or are enrolled in online colleges. Talking about the pros and cons of homeschooling, and what homeschoolers are like is stupid. Let’s put another word in there and look at it like that.
    ‘What are the pros and cons of living in Canada?’
    ‘What are Canadians like?’
    The main thing though is that school is a cultural thing for us. We assume it’s the norm, and our government enforces that by sending its agents out and collecting our kids if they suspect that they’re outside the program. (Translation: Getting picked up for truancy.) We assume that school is normal, and ascribe all these traits to it that are either part of humanity (like socializing) or they think school does things that it doesn’t. You can’t teach someone to think for himself, especially not via twelve years in a total institution. When the hell is your adult life like high school?
    This is going on way too long, but I hope it helped.

  • Anonymous

    My son was an average little boy as a preschooler. He was bright and funny and man, that kid could talk your ears off! I would never label him as “gifted”, just normal. Learned the usual things that kids learn as pre-schoolers…colors, numbers, alphabet, how to write his name and use scissors. Nothing spectacular, nothing delayed. But he was very insightful with good verbal and cognitive skills. At age 2 he would tell people things that he picked up from who-knows-where like “ducks have special oils on their backs” and “sharks do not have a single bone in their body, only cartilage”. He would choose a “victim”, usually a senior citizen…probably due to his close relationship with my grandmother…. and he would just talk, talk, talk. He was so funny and entertaining, like a ray of sunshine. At the places where we went regularly he made friends and people would seek him out and introduce him to their friends by saying “This is the little boy I was telling you about.”
    And then he started kindergarten. He was so excited to go. When I dropped him off the first day he just walked to his seat without even telling me goodbye. When I picked him up that first day he didn’t want to go home yet. When he saw me he said ” Why are you here? I thought you said we were going on field trips!” They were lined up at the door and he had no idea it was time to go home yet, he really thought they were going somewhere.
    I began to notice subtle changes very early in the year. I was a volunteer and also a substitute teacher at the school, so I was able to observe him, with and without his knowledge. He never got in trouble. He did what he was told. He loved his teacher. But the joy and the light was gone from him. He would raise his hand and answer questions when asked. He did all of the classroom activities. But he never volunteered information. Example: When they studied rocks (this was an environmental sciences magnet school) he did the worksheets and answered questions. But he never jabbered on like he would have outside of class. He didn’t even tell his teacher or classmates that he collects rocks. Before Kindergarten he would have been saying “I have a rock collection it is in a wooden treasure box my dad got the box for me my favorite rock is the blue one i also have a crystal in the box i got the crystal on vacation in hot springs…… “you get the idea.
    My parents (school teachers) and myself (former pre-K teacher) asked him about school and he would just say that (certain kids who shall remain nameless) got in trouble when they talked (or other spontaneous behavior…which in a roomful of kids can be a problem) and he didn’t want to get in trouble. He was becoming an observer, not a participator. A follower, not a leader. Introverted, rather than extroverted.
    My husband and I was worked so hard at not-working-hard to have a laid-back, free thinking only child and one year in a government regimented system had really thrown our son off track. Over the summer after kindergarten I got “my kid” back, slowly but finally. I had already considered homeschooling before kindergarten. I knew that I wanted to keep my out-of-the-box kid, not the line marching, rule following, auto-kid he was becoming. So homeschooling it has been every since. He is 9 years old now.

  • Christina L

    homeschooling is much safer from the violence in the public schools today, it saves the children from bullying, on the flip the children dont know how to properly function in the real world since they are sheltered from it. The child does not know how to deal with real life situations that other children deal with like peer pressure and choosing to be on the right path. i think home school (if not necessary) the parents should all the children to spread their wings, it is apart of growing up.
    -chrissy

  • There are many reasons I decided to homeschool. When I started doing my research I realized how much I wished my mother would have known about homeschooling and would have taken me out of the public school system to homeschool me. We probably would get along much better today if she would have. You see all the way through my 10 years of school, I was terrorized by the children. I was hit, threatened, beaten, parents threatened, hair pulled, kicked, spat upon, left on the side line, picked last, name called. I even once had a female problem because of a hockey stick…shall I go on? Once I got into high school, I ended up with the smokers and druggies. Hey at least they accepted me and did not do all that stuff to physically hurt my mother, my possessions or me. But outside of the smoking area the same things still went on mainly from the popular crowd…yes even in high school. For my husband, it was similar, but he actually fought back with his fist, getting in to trouble over and over again in high school. That is the kind of socialization we had as children.

     

    Because of this neither one of us graduated with high honors or high grades or worst yet, high self-esteem. We were not stupid by any means nor did we not learn anything, it was just that the teachers had given up on us because of who we had become, what we looked like, how we dressed and whom we hung around with.

     

    I vowed I was going to give my children a better way of life. Now that my husband and I had become Christians and realized that the schools not only allowed this kind of stuff to go on right in front to of their faces, but also blatantly left out God so morals were never to play a part in our socialized school system. We decided on homeschooling. Then we saw the results of typical test scores, typical homschooled children’s attitudes, the closeness to their parents, the way they react in society, how they care about people around the world and not just themselves at a very young age and we decided that this was they way for us to go.

     

    We could keep them from the socialized governmental school, have them have a better education, test higher then a typical traditional schooled child, meet people and interact with people of all ages and not be age segregated all while maintaining a close relationship with their family members, loving and learning about God and maintaining a moral guideline through the Bible all the way through high school. This is something that we never had growing up.

     

    Look, I know there are many children that go through school and never have any of this happen to them. And who knows, my kids may have been one of them, but just the fact that the schools allow this stuff to go on in front of their faces as they did with my husband and me, the fact that they take Biblical morals out of school, the fact that they age segregate, makes me want to look at other options. I have been homeschooling now for 4 years and my son and I love it. I have asked him a few times if he want to go to school and he always answers “NO” He likes being home, he likes the friends he has and he loves having school for only 3 ½ hours a day.

     

    I realize this is not a choice for everyone, but for us, this was the best choice, considering we live in the same house as I grew up in which means the same schools in which I went to school in. Hmmm food for thought!

     

  • Tom Cruise have dyslexia and yet he is still a very successful actor.,’*

  • dyslexia is not that debiliating but it is somewhat limiting to the kind of job that you can get;”,

  • my sister has dyslexia but she can live a very normal life eventhough she can’t read that much~”-

  • dyslexia can affect anyone of use but this disease is not very debilitating anyway'”.

  • there are many famous persons with dyslexia and it is not a debilitating disease. Tom Cruise is known to be dyslexic ~

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