Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Home School~Yay or Nay?

Spencer and Ross at home and in school.

A long time ago when we was growing up in the 50s and 60s, I don't think anyone went to home school, at least I never heard of it in the olden days. Maybe it is just my skewed perception, clouded by decades, but in those days school was pretty simple.

You went five days a week, 8:30 t0 3:30. No fancy schedules, ski breaks or Martin Luther King holidays. Just Christmas and Easter vacations and a few other days off that coincided with national holidays. 29 out of 30 kids did what they were told, when they were told and how they were told. If you did well you were rewarded with good grades and the praise of your teachers and parents. If you misbehaved you got in big trouble from all of them. You could count on your parents siding with the teacher and you knew that whatever the school dished out for your punishment, it was milk toast compared to what was coming at home.

Being able to study without distraction has
been good for Spencer and Ross.

When we were raising our kids 25-30 years ago, it was just starting to seem like the school system was not quite right for a lot of the kids. Parental dissatisfaction was on the rise. Alternatives cropped up including charter schools and home schooling now and again, but still at least 90% of all school age kids attended private or public schools.

As young parents we were of the mind set that public school would be OK, as long as we did our part at home. Our kids stayed in the mainstream and didn't cause us too much grief, so it worked out fine.

Given the option to home school I think we would have both chosen regular schools because we felt we wanted our kids to have the socialization of school, a little microcosm of the adult world so they could become accustomed to it. Besides I had enough to do and I had already been to third grade and, quite frankly, had forgotten most of it! Also Jim worked in the public school system both as a teacher and an administrator, so he had high hopes that the ideal public education was still available and attainable.

The boys wear "uniforms" to school.
These white polo shirts and khaki pants
remind them that they are in
school even at home.

But times have changed. And I think the public school system in many cases, leaves a lot to be desired. We feel very fortunate that our grandchildren that do attend public school, have an exceptionally wonderful school. They receive a great education and so much enrichment in their school. There is lots of parent involvement which makes a big difference. But their school is way above the norm! And there is a big waiting list to get into it. Their elementary school is the exception to the rule.

The boys are working in a lot of the same
subject areas, which they enjoy.
Laura has set up a large area in the basement
that is used exclusively for school, during scho
ol hours.

I think a lot of what has changed is based in individual dysfunctional families. Too many lawsuits filed against school districts, too many parents unwilling to support school authorities over behavioral issues, too many kids with entitlement issues, a hugely diluted value system as a country, too many latchkey kids, etc. etc. There are too many teachers that cannot curb their bad language, stop showing R-rated movies to fill up their curriculum, and cannot dress decently to stand in front of a classroom. Too many questionable things are being taught and things that have held our country together in times past, have gone by the wayside. I could go on and on.

But if our children were young now, I would definitely be considering boning up on my reading, writing and arithmetic. I would maybe even stop starting sentences with And. One reason I feel that way is that the biggest thing that public school used to have going for it, the socialization, is no longer as desirable. I wouldn't want our kids exposed to all the pathology of our current society quite so young anymore. They just have to be armed and fortified so much more at home, to make up the difference of the way things were and how they are now. It takes tremendous time, and energy from a mother and a father and from grandparents too.

Beads...a fun way to learn spelling!

I know home school is not for everyone, but I truly respect those parents, like Laura and Robert that are doing it. Adding the military into the frey, and the moving all the time, I think it has been very good for them. And the boys love it. And they are learning so much. Also home schoolers have joined forces and they do a lot with other kids that are from similar backgrounds and value systems. They have plenty of friends and enrichment through that and also their church activities, and their extensive travel.

Whatever a family chooses as the method of educating their children, the most important thing they have to remember is that parents, not schools, are responsible for raising children.

Parents have the stewardship and responsibility to teach their children according to the dictates of their own hearts. They have every right to teach them about God, prayer, morality and respect for their country. And the right to teach them from the best, wholesome good books, to teach them how to problem solve and to grow up in a healthy manner and to live a fulfilling life. If they have all the tools for successful living, they will be better able to cope in this crazy mixed up world we now find ourselves living in, when they become adults.

Speaking of the best books...
Here the boys are doing their morning devotional,

singing a hymn and reading the Old Testament.

Both Jim and I firmly believe that many of the ills of society have their basis in dysfunctional homes. Any family that gets it right at home has a very good chance of getting what they want. They will produce healthy, good, contributing adults as the leaders of tomorrow and our hope for the future. We believe that faith in God and the basic tenants of the Gospel are at the core of that success.

Quite frankly, we are glad we are not raising little ones anymore and that our kids are responsible, good parents making wise choices for our grandkids. The significance of that blessing cannot be under stated or under rated. We have an enormous respect for all of them.

{{And Mrs. Callabash...I bet you would agree!}}


laura.elizabeth said...

What a great post Mom. Homeschooling is tough, no doubt about it but I think there are times and places and people it works well for. We are definitely enjoying our homeschool experience this year. We love being able to spend so much time with Robert- it really has been a huge blessing for our family.

I am not sure what future years will bring for us but I have discovered, like you said, that where a child is educated is not nearly as important as how they are educated. And that when it is all said and done it is my responsibility to make sure they are prepared to be successful, happy individuals, husbands, fathers and providers!

LA Adams said...

I'm right with your kids! My sister and her husband were moving constantly and then joined the Air Force and having the kids in home school made a huge difference in their life. When they got to high school she had them go with the kids in their ward to the public school and they were academically way ahead (nice for scholarships and things!) and the youngest girl became the student body president - which goes to show the social side worked well too. They always had families and teams they were part of and associated with.
I am 100% behind the dedicated parents who go to soooo much effort to educate their children.

Julie Harward said...

I think compared to some of the schools out there... it's a great blessing for them. I would never have had enough patience to do it myself but this looks wonderful! :D

Nellie's Cozy place said...

Hi Bon Bon,
That is a great post, cause it is hard being a homeschooling family.
We never did that but I know many families that did, and have turned out some fine children. I am hoping that if and when we have grandchildren they can be home schooled cause I shutter to think but the school system is gonna be like for them. I have 2 SIL's that teach school, on kindgergarten the other middle school, and the schools get worse by the year.
Course, with Jim being a teacher you already know that!!
But good for Laura and Robert.
Hope you are doing well. Know you must be getting excited about your trip.
Love ya, Nellie

Shaun at Oak Den said...

Wa-hoo for home education! I'm in my 21st or 22nd year of doing this. It isn't for the faint-hearted, that's for sure. There is no better way to have all your personal weaknesses revealed to you and opportunities given to make those weaknesses strengths. It is a journey of self-discovery for the mom as much as it is an educational journey for the children. The greatest blessing? The bonds I've created with my children that are helping us get through some rough spots in life. The quantity of hours we've spent together are making a difference now. And... the selfish part of me wonders why I should let someone else spend so much time with my kids? I want to do all the fun stuff with them!

Shaun at Oak Den said...

P.S. I'm so excited you're in New England! I hope to go back someday. RS is keeping me really busy, oh my goodness! So busy! But it is really good, too. I can feel myself changing and becoming a better person. Primary really is my first love, but I'm gaining a new love and appreciation for RS and the sisters in my ward. So thanks for your words of encouragement. They were appreciated!