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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

My personal reasons to homeschool

So there are probably as many reasons to home school as there are parents and students who are doing it. At this point in time, I am trying to get my head around some of the core issues involved in my decision to educate my son. One of the biggies is why the hell I am doing it.

  • I think I understand my son better than anybody else. This is being born out by his current school experience. He is bored senseless, and instead of challenging him, the teacher gives him pointless busywork to do. I have been to the school, asking for challenging work for him, and it gets me nowhere. I have become such a thorn in the teachers side, I am no longer invited to volunteer in the classroom.
  • I care about my son more than anybody else. I love my son more than anything or any one else on this earth. I don't care how much a teacher loves "children" in a collective sense or how committed she is to her work. She doesn't love all those kids like she loves her own kid. Or like I love mine.
  • I believe education should be rigorous, challenging, interesting, and inspiring. Mine was none of these things. I know I can do better.
  • I have been to the public schools. I taught as a cadre sub in the Chicago School System for over a year. I tutored Biology 101, Anatomy and Physiology, and some 3rd grade kids for extra credit when I was in college. What I saw was

    • Nursing students who could not reason deductively
    • college freshmen who could not do simple fractions or measure with a ruler,
    • High school sophomores who were reading at a 6th grade level,
    • 6th graders who needed a calculator for 6+4,
    • 3rd graders who could not answer a reading question that began with "why do you think . . ." because all they could do was search for the answer in the reading selection.
  • Textbooks are being progressively "dumbed down" and this is no lie. The difference between the book I had for Bio 101 and a later addition of the same book was just . . . astounding.
  • I can't afford the peer pressure. My mom was the only one I knew who didn't work, and I wished she did. All my friends had cool stuff and designer clothes. I felt horribly self-conscious about not having all that same stuff, and envious of my friends, to boot. They say it's different for boys, but I'm not so sure. Kiddo wore my runners singlet to school for purple day (the first week of school when they were learning their colors) and got teased for wearing a dress. How is it going to get any better? I work, but I choose to spend my money on things we can all benefit from: books, travel, and family activities and outings. I don't want to choose between the things I love doing with my guys, and designer duds for my kid. Besides, it is going to be a cold day in hell when my son dresses better than I do.
  • I wish I had had a classical education. And now we are BOTH going to get one, by George.
  • I love learning new things and I want to pass that on to my son. What better way to do it that to give him hands on, everyday experience of his mother having a blast learning new things?
  • Kids are only young once and this is likely the only one I will ever have. I want to enjoy every minute I can with him.
  • Morals and values are very hard to teach. It will probably take me all day . . . every day.
  • My work schedule puts me at odds with any school schedule. As it is, I have to work half shifts or else not see my son at night. Money for dancers is always tight in the winter months, so I had to work 4-5 days a week (as opposed to 3 during the good months) and as a result got to see my son awake only one hour a day--from 6:30 to 7:30 a. m. That is arguably the WORST part of the day, since we were rushed and neither one of us is really a morning person. Every day before he goes to school my son wants to know if I am working that night,and if I will be home for bedtime. Before he started kindergarten, I got to see my son EVERY morning and spend a lot of time with him before I left for work.
  • I am just a do-it-yourself kind of person. I am usually convinced that there is no job I can't do, if only I have a book and the right tools.

And my number one, best reason for wanting to home-educate my child:

A customized, personal curriculum in a private setting just has to trump a noisy, crowded classroom with 30 kids to one teacher. It just has to. Anyone could do the math . . . I would hope.

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