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Dispelling The Myths And Stereotypes Of Homeschooling

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Why would anyone consider homeschooling their children when there is a perfectly good free system made up of well qualified, trained teachers? I do not mean to knock those teachers who work hard and do a good job. I do realize they are doing the best they can. The problem as I see it is not all children learn the same way. Teachers are taught to teach in only one manner and the kids who have trouble learning in that manner cannot be reached. That is the problem with public schools - they teach in only one way and if you can't grasp it you fall through the cracks.

For me, the hardest thing to learn was advance maths such as Algebra and Geometry. My teachers taught mostly by rote. You learn a fact, drill it in and then apply it. I had to teach myself how to do it much later when I realized how I learned - by analysis. It was just that I could not grasp those concepts without a model before to understand the whys of it instead of memorizing the hows of it.

My daughter was born three months early. As lucky as she was to come out of it healthy, she did have some issues of short attention span along with her natural state of stubbornness and impatience. I was afraid if she started school with the children the teacher may treat her differently as a problem student instead of a very bright student who needed a different approach to learning.

I have homeschooled my daughter in the past, but we came to a point where she decided she wanted to go to a public school and I agreed. She has received a great benefit to being at home for the first three years and is way ahead of other students in the learning process. She does wish to go back to school at home and regrets her decision because it seems as if public school crawls at a snail's pace. I have to give her extra assignments when she comes home from school to keep her from being too bored with learning..

Was this a good decision or a bad decision to homeschool? In some ways it was good. She is very smart and can pick up on things that go over the heads of other children. She loves to read and has an active imagination which has inspired her to draw and write short stories. On the bad side, she has never fully got the hang of printing while at homeschool as most of our work was oral or on the computer. She also was in tears because she did not know how to deal with bullies, but she got along well with her other classmates.

When most people think of those who homeschool children they automatically assume you are one of the Christian fundamental crazy people who will not associate with the real world. I remember one telephone repair person coming to my home when my child blurted out she was homeschooled he asked me, "So, what church do you go to?" He was stunned when I told him we don't go to nor believe in church. Then he looked at me strangely as I explained my husband is an atheist and I am a spiritualist.

In fact, a growing number of atheists, agnostics, and members of the non-Christian religions have come into favor of educating their children at home. This is due to the fact that they have a problem with the poor quality of public education. Schools have become more or less glorified day care centers where children are taught how to pass tests instead of how to think or learn.

Another assumptions people have are that the children will never be able to relate to other kids, have a normal life, or socialize in any proper way. My daughter has always been with other kids her own age when homeschooled and had no problem blending in when going to a public school. She was never once deprived of being in social situations with other children while learning lessons at home.

Believe it or not, there are other opportunities for children to be with other children from different walks of life than in a public school. There are actually places for children to go to be around other children other than a classroom or school playground such as the kids in your neighborhood, in the community park, at a library or a bookstore reading time for children, at a children's workshop,... The point is many of these places are full of people from many different walks of life that you would find in a public school, but they are only socializing with these children during free time and not while learning their lessons.

We are not the extreme stereotype of parents who homeschool, although there are some who exist. We are not afraid of our children getting gunned down in school. We are not afraid of them getting involved in gangs, sex or drugs by going to school. We do not even worry about letting our children go. Our decision to homeschool was not one based on fear, but to give our daughter the advantages of learning at home.

As others who do decide to homeschool, we want the best education for our child. We all homeschool our children before they go off to school. We try to teach them how to count, learn the alphabet, read to them, tie their shoes, get dressed, and lessons of morality. Through homeschool programs, we just extend the lessons we teach our children beyond the pre-school phase. Children do learn better when they are taught on a one on one basis instead of competing with one teacher and 20 or more classmates.

These are some of the greater reasons for homeschooling. You know your child and how they think, so you can understand how to approach their curiosity and help them want to learn more, to think and reason. Unlike a school teacher who has a set agenda that your child must measure to, a homeschool teacher must create an agenda with your specific child in mind. You are not forcing one method of teaching on a child. If that method does not work for your child, you are free to try another way to reach your child.

As for the socialization, my question to those who are pro-public schooling is why socialize in school? Yes, it is important for a child to learn how to relate to other people. However, school should be for learning. Social situations are times for developing social skills. Public schools do have recess where kids can learn how to relate to others, but you cannot deny a lot of classtime is spent on children disrupting the classroom to establish their pecking order of the group.

This form of teaching a child is not for everyone. You must be committed to your child and have the time, patience, and skill to teach. You must be prepared to follow the state guidelines in order to homeschool and stay within those laws. You must devote a set block of time for teaching. You should have outside resources to help you and your child as well as a good support group of others who understand what you are doing. Not everyone will be in a position to keep their children at home.

Obviously if both parents are working or are lack education, homeschooling is not a realistic option. Public school teachers do a fine job in spite of the limited resources. You have to admire the fact that they are able to do their jobs with as many kids as they have to teach. Of course there are some bad teachers in public schools, but for the most part, they do want your child to learn.

If you have the desire, time and resources, homeschooling is a good option for your child. One on one education cannot be topped. Look at the results of those who win national spelling bees, science fairs, geography quizzes, and history fairs where the majority of the finalists are homeschooled. That's not to say that if your child is homeschooled they are guaranteed to be brilliant to that degree, but if they are inclined to that form of brilliance you can nurture it more than a public teacher who must stick to a set teaching format.

Let's say your child has a passion with maps. In a public school they may devote only 1% of the school year dealing with geography. In a homeschool situation, you can cater to your child's nature and center all of the studies with maps. You can have them read about maps, geography and how people live in other parts of the world. You can teach them the mathematics that go into creating maps. You can teach them the history of the world through the maps. Even art and music can be map centered. A public school teacher cannot devote that kind of attention for the benefit of one student, a homeschool parent can.

If your child's interest was with colours, bugs, making stories, or whatever they think about most, almost anything can be related in other forums of education from English, Math, Science, and History to art, music and physical education. The point is to get at the heart of your child to bring out the best they can do. This fills them with an air of self confidence and self esteem so they are not afraid to learn more.

If your reasoning to homeschool is out of fear alone, then you need to rethink why you want to homeschool. Tragedy can happen anywhere. What happened in colourado and Kentucky are not new things to happen, but are very rare when you look at the big picture. Public schools are now more aware of such things and are more prepared for such incidents.

If you are not prepared to deal with the issues of homeschooling, you will not do a very good job. It takes a very strong person to do this since you will have to deal with the disdain from all the nay-sayers, public officials, and even relatives who just don't get it. Homeschooling is not a new concept and has been around longer than the idea of sending kids to a public school. People will tend to treat you like some weirdo nowadays if you admit to teaching at home.

Some of my other reasons for homeschooling are different from others. Aside from what I mentioned earlier, I do have issues with some of the topics taught in the public school that I feel is the job of the parent to teach. Sex education is one of those issues I think it is my moral responsibility to teach my children. The issue of prayer in the school keeps coming up and clouding the real purpose of school. I don't care one way or another if people want to pray, I just don't want the issue over their right to do so interfere with the task of teaching my child. Also, the blending of children with all sorts of learning disabilities with those of normal and high intellegence seems nonproductive since the education tends to be "dumbed down" so everyone passes. Instead of having a high brass ring for a child to try and grab, they are handed a cheap copper coin.

Let me say for the record, there is nothing really wrong with those who decide public schools are best for their child. Homeschooling is the best option only if the parent knows what they are doing. Social skills do not have to be only through school, so if that is your only concern about homeschooling, trust me, there are far many more opportunities for a homeschool child to socialize especially since the school day is shorter.

Your decision should be based upon what you can realistically offer your child. For some, it is a public school. For others, homeschooling.

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