Monday, March 10, 2008

Mediocre Homeschoolers

It's 2:09 am and I won't be able to sleep until I get this off my chest.

I'm sure most of you have heard about the homeschooling legal issues in California. That's not really what I want to talk about. That's one courts opinion and it hasn't changed anything yet.

I've been torturing myself by reading the comments in the news articles. My blood pressure is through the roof. As a homeschooler the obvious comments bother me, of course. Socialization, teacher credentials, religion, etc. What is not obvious is what the other side says, my side, that equally bugs me.

I should start by saying that I soared through public school unhappy but with a very good GPA. I was in advanced classes and it was assumed/pushed on us that "of course" we would go to college. By the end of my sophomore year of high school I begin to crack. My near 4.0 turned into a 1.5 my junior year. I sat in my advanced classes but didn't do any work. I was terrified and having my own teenage break down. I left school at the end of my junior year. I homeschooled and finished my senior year in 2 months during the summer with a 4.0.

What scares me about some homeschooling proponents is all of the 'my kid is in 2nd grade and reads at a 6th grade level' and all the list making of how this homeschooler went to Harvard and that 2 year old won the 8th grade spelling bee.

I do understand where these people are coming from. People want their choice to be validated. They don't want to be seen as the crazy liberal hippy or bible thumping abortion protester. (I'm not saying there's anything wrong with either) They want homeschooling to sound reasonable and beneficial.

I want those things too. I also don't want there to be a bunch of stressed out kids with parents pushing and pushing and pushing so that they can prove they, kids and parents, aren't slacking. I want average to be ok and good enough. I want my kids best to be good enough. I want it to be ok if he likes math better then writing and do better at it. Or if she likes science but not excel at reading. If Isaac or Ramsey want to go to Harvard, or beauty school, or own a business, or be a mail carrier, or a stay at home parent, or a plumber, or a volunteer...... I want any of those things to be good enough. I want my kids to only have to prove things to themselves.

Anyone know where I'm coming from.


Ricki said...

Well, as someone without kids and who was also educated in the public system, I can only speak from my experience as a teacher now. And from what I've seen, homeschooled kids (whether they've been pushed or not) often seem to have a broader and stronger educational base than the ones who went through the public realm. That's not to say you can't be well-educated by the public system (I like to think I am, for instance!), but there's definitely something to be said for individualized, one-on-one teaching.

lao80 said...

My mom is a teacher with her masters and PHD in education and she says straight up 'keep them out of public school'.

lola coca-cola said...

Ugh, I'm too laaaazy. I don't waaaannnaaa home school. We will try public school, probably, and then beg, borrow, and steal to afford private.

Jill said...

Oh so weird! I have been drafting a blog entry in my head for awhile now about rushing kids into things. Let me sum it up in a scattered comment. We rush our kids to be born in this culture with induction drugs and unnecessary elective surgery, then we stick them in preschool at three so they'll be ready for kindergarten (which is NOT supposed to be an academic year), during which (kindergarten) they're taught things beyond their developmental level and tested on them. I was barely 4.5 years when I started kindergarten and had to go alone to the first grade class for math and reading. It's one of my mom's biggest regrets in life and she's a primary teacher. Like you, I crashed and burned in my teens (17 at a top West Coast university). I had no idea that I was doing the same thing to my daughter, but all I've known is to jump through academic hoops. People have different reasons for homeschooling and the freaky smart child that composed a symphony on his Lil Tykes plastic piano and recites Shakespeare at 24 months is a fascinating anomaly but irrelevant to the issue of justifying homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials. The government already controls the standards and homeschooling parents are held accountable for their children meeting those standards. So if they meet them, who gets to gripe about how they meet them?
I'm not planning to homeschool, but would like to reserve the right to change my mind one day midstream, credential or not.