Feb 07

Home Schooling: To do or Not to do that is the Question

Before our little baby girl even arrived my wife and I sat down and had a few somewhat serious conversations about home schooling.  As a public school teacher I was more in tune with the idea than my wife at that time.  While we are still a few years away from her going to school, every day we are with her we feel stronger about home schooling.  Not that we are “Tiger” parents by any means, but we teach her new things every day and she is such a quick learner.  Now that might be the proud parent coming out, but what parent does not want the best for their child?

There are several reasons that we are leaning towards home schooling, first and foremost is we want her to have the best chance at a well-rounded education.  While that still can happen in a public school and certainly in a private school unfortunately with the new trend in education where testing has become king more schools take away from the whole and place more of an emphasis on just what is tested.  I know of schools that will literally teach the tested subject in all of their classes.  For example if they have to take a biology test then all science classes place an emphasis on biology.  Some schools will even go as far as to take students out of the class and have them repeat it the next year just so they will not lower the overall test score for the school.

A second reason we are leaning towards home schooling is the new common core standards.  I am all for having standards and rigorous ones at that, but to see how they are being implemented and some of the assignments brings up more questions than answers.  When students have to draw out little boxes when a simple equation will solve the problem, it seems like a good way to make some students hate math.  If the test has no questions that deal with fictional writing most teachers will also drift away from using the classics that countless generations learned from and go with what is on the test.

The third of a growing list of reasons is what type of students our little girl would be around.  Now most of the students I have ever worked with and taught are inherently good kids.  This is coming from a teacher who has spent my whole teaching career working in what would be classified as a “failing” school.  I have been successful in many different arenas at those schools in ways that mean the most to me like when students come up to me long after I have taught them and thank me for being their teacher.  Also ways that probably mean the most to my supervisors which is raising the test scores year after year.  Unfortunately I also know how much class time and occasionally whole classes or subjects can be ruined by a few students that do not want to be there.

We realize that homeschooling is not for everyone or every student so we will continue to think long and hard about home schooling because there are definitely worries there as well.  Like how do we get her socially engaged what clubs, activities, sports, or organizations should she belong in and how many?  Where do we get the curriculum from and what pace do we set? How do we afford only having one parent working on a teacher’s salary?  We have hundreds of other questions along those lines so if anybody out there has suggestions, tips, or advice we are all ears.

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