Friday, November 2, 2012

Types of Homeschoolers

This rant was sparked by the comment described below about World of Warcraft.  Ignore it if you choose to, but I felt like a little rant was in order.

I figure that you can raise your kids in whatever fashion you feel appropriate within the limits set forth by the Division of Youth Services and the standards of human decency.  As long as you don't slip over into abuse or negligence, it's probably none of my business to tell you how to raise your kids.  And no, spanking isn't abuse. Schooling is one of those parental choices.

In my experience, homeschoolers' reasons fall into three basic categories.
  1. Those who feel they can do a better job.  This parent is usually well educated and has the ability to spend the time necessary to do the job right.  Sometimes, this is a work-from-home parent who can work from some really neat places, so they travel a lot and take their kids on a grand tour of the world. Perhaps the child is truly superior and the parents are nurturing that ability and don't want their child to slow down in any way. These people I have no problems with ... take your kid out of school ... he'll be fine and go to a decent college (or not) and live a good life.
  2. Then there are the religious reasons. These range from "the public school is too permissive and my kids are going to learn about all those horrible things and start doing drugs and forget about God" to a simple desire to have theology classes and a more spiritual approach to life.  This group, I have no problems with ... raising your kids in a closed environment probably isn't the best idea for psychological development, but it should be a choice that parents can make for their kids. Living a more religious life among the Heathens is a choice.
  3. Then there are the assholes, the parents who "homeschool" for asinine reasons. These are the ones who take their kid out of school so he can play Guitar Hero "professionally" or who sign the papers and let the kid sit at home all day long or make him go to work for the family business because they don't want to pay a real worker. I'll include here the racist clowns who "homeschool" because they don't want their kids in a building with "spics and niggers." (A friend of mine was visiting his nephew and noticed them playing World of Warcraft early around noon.  He asked who everyone was and was told that they were all Texas kids whose parents didn't want them in public school for that reason ... although on WoW, they can't use that language, so they have to say 'S&Ns")
Of course, none of these reasons justifies the "voucher" idea. If your town opens a public school for all of those who wish to take advantage of it, it shouldn't have to pay to send your kid somewhere else.  If you want to buck the group and get something special, I think the town/state should allow you to do so and not make a fuss beyond asking for a description of the curriculum/syllabus, but you need to provide that something special at your own cost.


  1. When I first began homeschooling, I did it because staff locked an older child in a closet! I think there are many children who have been abused in school by teachers and you just don't see accurate statistics out there.

    I've homeschooled for about six years now, and I do see people who are concerned about the Kansas City School District because there HAVE been violent incidents in which children have been doused in gasoline, set on fire, attacked physically, and whatever else. So race can get mixed into safety concerns/avoidance issues very, very easily. Knowing your child is a different race than most in the school and can be a target is I think a valid reason. (For that matter, I do know a black homeschooler who pulled her children b/c of racism in the system; they assumed because her children were black that they were more "ghetto" and the mom must not be married and so on. Race is just not an easy topic all around.)

    I wouldn't assume that because some kids are free from about noon on that they are doing nothing and homeschool because they don't want to be exposed to "S and N." My homeschooler is up and at 'em at about 6 am and by 12:30 or 1 pm has the entire day to himself to do as he pleases. :)

    I think if the parents want to push their kid to be a professional of some kind, more power to them. From my side of the fence, it makes me sad to see kids who are pressured to do well in every subject in public school where their deficiencies will be exactly what's focused upon. There is a balance there somewhere.

  2. A clarification, HappyElfMom: "I wouldn't assume that because some kids are free from about noon on that they are doing nothing and homeschool because they don't want to be exposed to "S and N."

    My friends nephew asked the other online players why they were homeschooled. That's what they said.

  3. ^ As a home schooling parent, I don't think I've ever met the sort of family you just described. Holy cow. I do believe they are the exception, rather than the rule.

    I would also like to dispel the notion that kids who are homeschooled for religious or spiritual purposes are necessarily in any more of a cloistered environment than public school students. At least in our homeschool group (which is multi-denominational), we discuss issues facing society and attempt to prepare our children for fulfilling and purposeful adult lives.

    We also tend to get involved with volunteer activities that take us further afield than the confines of the classroom. For example, one of our families does mission work in Russia, and another in Mexico; other families do volunteer work locally, and several are active politically. Most of the kids I know are involved in other interests, such as scouting, mountain biking club, etc., where they meet and befriend people who are not "churchy". We are simply not that stereotypically insular or uniform in composition.

    Our homeschool debate group has had the good fortune to host some very interesting speakers, many of whom have graciously donated their time because they see it as an investment in the future. I doubt these opportunities would have been available to us through the public school system, since the arrangements were made via grapevining and since some of the topics might have been considered to be too controversial for a public school setting.

    From our family's perspective, the biggest disadvantage has been the lack of access to lab-based classes and school sponsored sports, although in our state kids can supposedly take advantage of public school programs even if they are home schooled (we pay taxes to support schools, after all). In practice, it is difficult for public elementary and secondary schools to accomodate part-time students - and they do so grudgingly, in my experience, so we don't do it.

    As far as schedules go, we meet one day a week during debate season. That day is pretty much full. On other days, students organize their own time to meet their other obligations, so it's a fairly loose system. It seems to work pretty well, though!

  4. You missed a reason. My daughter had a serious medical issue that caused bladder issues. Not only would she try to "hold it" causing infections, she couldn't succeed. So we home schooled.

    I've run into all the types you mention above, and I'll be the first to admit that I was a lousy teacher. She joined the public school system at the end of her 3rd grade year, and today she teaches kindergarten herself.

    I am also a teacher -- not of elementary! I have no talent for that age group. Instead, I teach high school English. And after 11 years, I'm burning out.