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Does anyone homeschool here?

thefern profile image Fernando B πŸš€ ・1 min read

I am curious how many people here on Dev.to homeschool their children (all around the world, not just US), since I'm not part of many communities I figured to ask here. With Covid19 upon us (and not going anywhere anytime soon), virtual school has been a complete disaster in my experience both for my children and for me. I have a 9 and 10 years old in the same school. One kid is under worked, the other over worked like the number of assignments is insane. Teachers barely know how to use the site, they put some assignments on the calendar others are for you to find within the deeply nested links. Then they have this virtual attendance system which I don't understand at all, kids need to check in at 9 and then 2:30 even if they are done with the day's school work. I'm so done with public schools to be honest. Yesterday I learned that the districts need this virtual attendance for funding, that's why teachers been texting and calling like crazy even after my children are done with their assignments.

I am looking mainly for secular (non religious) curriculums I'm kind of liking book shark as a whole kit, but definitely not discarding online curriculums. Besides the core requirements in Texas, I want to add Electronics and Programming to the curriculum since I can teach those two.

If anyone is in the same boat or has been doing it for a while I'd like to hear your experience.

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yellow1912 profile image
yellow1912

I think by going to school you are forced to socialize, adapt and learn how society works as a whole. I'm not sure if homeschooling can teach children all of that. I like the idea of homeschooling, I like to spend my time with my children as much as possible. At the same time, I'm afraid that it will not prepare them for the harsh world out there. And I'm not going to be around for them forever.

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Mike Bybee

That is the #1 criticism of homeschooling by a long shot (seriously, "But what about socialization?" is a running joke and a meme in homeschooling communities) and it's patently false.

What "socialization" do you learn in public schools?

  1. How to stand in a line (which you can learn at any movie theater, theme park, zoo, etc.).
  2. How to wait around for a bunch of administrative crap (if you really want to teach your kids that, take them to any government office).
  3. How to interact with your own age group only, plus adults in positions of authority (including terrible teachers, protected by worse teachers unions, who are almost as bad as police unions when it comes to impeding the discipline and removal of "bad apples"). Interactions with (only slightly) different ages generally come in the form of bullying or being bullied.
  4. By loading kids down with homework (after 7 hours of sitting in the same rooms with the same kids), schools actually deprive them of opportunities to socialize.
  5. That life is, like the education handed down (aside from the occasional advanced or remedial classes and electives), one-size-fits-all.
  6. That being unique makes you subject to ridicule and abuse.

Any experienced homeschooler will tell you that:

  1. They often cover a full curriculum (including subjects like history which are neglected to an almost criminal degree in public schools) in less time (it's not uncommon for homeschool students to do a full day's learning in 4 hours or less).
  2. They are free to travel (and incorporate learning opportunities into said travel, like a steady series of field trips with assignments and cultural immersion, across the state/province, country, or even the world).
  3. Homeschoolers often meet up in local groups, when they're not free to socialize in the real world instead of a contrived box.
  4. They interact with diverse age groups constantly.
  5. Education is tailored to the individual learner instead of an overcrowded classroom (sometimes 30+students); and is often interest-driven, leading to more specialized opportunities for socialization.
  6. That uniqueness should be encouraged and celebrated, and often is in homeschooling.

The socialization opportunities afforded by homeschooling are not only more plentiful and diverse, but far more healthy.

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bernardwiesner profile image
Bernard Wiesner

That is the #1 criticism of homeschooling by a long shot (seriously, "But what about socialization?" is a running joke and a meme in homeschooling communities) and it's patently false.

It is for a reason, because in many cases its true. Yes if parents are very involved in the process, form local groups to meet up with other homeschoolers, put their kids in clubs, etc, its possible to increase socializing, however in many cases this is not the case and homeschooled children dont interact much with the outside world, other than a small family circle, and become quite awkward when interacting with others.

I totally agree with a lot of the benefits you mentioned, but socializing is not among them. Parents have to be very aware of that factory if they decide to homeschool their child.

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insanepotus profile image
STOP INSANE POTUS

Patently wrong. As a 12 year homeschooling parent very involved in the homeschool community, I can attest that most, if not all, homeschoolers are better socialized than their schooled counterparts.

Let’s let that tired myth die, please.

We are barely home. Classes, field trips, museums, park days, get togethers, competitions, volunteering, jobs...homeschoolers experience the world and learn from real life far more than schooled kids and are not just around children their own age.

When else in life are we cooped up all day, week, and year long with only people born within a year of our birthday? And then, told not to socialize or talk or we get in trouble?

Homeschoolers collaborate, travel, work in groups, have to figure out social niceties, and typically avoid bullies and ostracizing and cliques because there is more supervision and more parents around (it takes a village).

They also go to college, trade schools, and start businesses. There’s no epidemic of former homeschoolers on welfare last time I checked. My eldest just graduated in June and got an A in his first community college course over the summer.

And now? Now many more are getting to have this wonderful experience due to Covid. An education tailored to the child and their interests? More time in a day to get school done and move on to hobbies, projects, and interests? This is the way.

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stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee

but socializing is not among them

Literally everything I listed includes more (and more diverse) socialization than public schools can offer.

If parents are very involved in the process

By definition, they are - unlike those pawning off their kids on the state's glorified free daycare.

Even among the stereotypical homeschoolers who withdraw their kids from schools for religious reasons (and I can assure you there are plenty of secular homeschoolers, I spent the last 5 years building an LMS for them), the parents are heavily involved and the children are socialized.

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bernardwiesner profile image
Bernard Wiesner

My main argument was to your point:

That is the #1 criticism of homeschooling by a long shot (seriously, "But what about socialization?" is a running joke and a meme in homeschooling communities) and it's patently false.

Its not a joke and its not patently false. What part dont you get I am trying to make? I am just saying that by definition, if you "home school" there will be less socialization. Can you make it up? Yes, but it requires additional effort.

Am I against homeschooling? Of course not. Did I say children get better education or healthier social relationships at public schools? No. I just am saying that by definition those children that spend a big part of their day around others will have more interactions with others and socialize more than those that are home-schooled and stay at home. Dont you agree? Being in a class with 20 plus students forces you to interact with those around you if you like it or not. At home, you dont have that kind of dynamic.

By definition, they are - unlike those pawning off their kids on the state's glorified free daycare.

No they are not. To be "very" involved requires a lot of time, and that means having some good financial stability, having both parents involved and many other factors that many households do not have.

In the US homeschooling has a stronger community support, but what about other countries? In many countries you are an isolated homeschooler if you choose to take that path.

I will also address the only 2 positive points you brought that are relevant to the topic regarding homeschoolers.

Homeschoolers often meet up in local groups, when they're not free to socialize in the real world instead of a contrived box.

This is the whole point I am making. If you can organize such local groups and often meet up then go for it. What I am saying is that often this is not the case and these local groups are not formed. I personally know a few homeschoolers that never had such local groups and if they did it was very seldom they would meet up.

They interact with diverse age groups constantly.

How exactly? Other than close family.

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stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee

I seriously question your socialization if you think it has to be compulsory and uniform.

You're ignoring everything I've said about the massive time and cost savings, and the additional opportunities for socialization afforded by them; and you still haven't answered why you're giving public school parents a pass on their dereliction of parental obligations, rather than holding them to the same standard you do homeschooling parents.

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bernardwiesner profile image
Bernard Wiesner

I seriously question your socialization if you think it has to be compulsory and uniform.

I never said that.

I think you are misjudging and misunderstanding what I am saying and are becoming too defensive.

I like homeschooling and I see enormous benefits in it. I agree with most of the other points you mentioned about the benefits of homeschooling. I regard homeschooled children often more smart and intelligent than other non homeschooled ones. The only point I disagreed with you is the socializing one, its the challenging one to get right with homeschooling and is the biggest factor parents should care about if they decide to pull their children out of public schools. Parents have to make sure their children can meet up with other homeschoolers and organize club activities for their children, ideally on a daily basis. If this is possible, its a great option to consider pulling the out of public school.

You misjudge me if you think I am against homeschooling. My issue was simply that you made it look as if the socializing part is not an issue and no need to worry about that. In fact its the most concerning issue and should be cared most about if you decide to homeschool your children.

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stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee

Of course you should care about it. But that's the thing: If you're withdrawing your child to homeschool (or making the conscious decision to do so from the start), then chances are pretty good that you do. I pointed out above how this conversation turned from "but what about socialization?" to "well sure, if the parent really cares..." (and apparently continues to do so... But again, somehow it's ok for public school parents not to care?).

And I'm saying that socialization comes in far more forms than just standing in lines with the exact same kids in the exact same groups day in, day out. It comes in the form of some of the most valuable lessons in life: Conversations with elders. And with other children of different ages. And in seeing adults interact with one another and being a part of said interactions, rather than just being "talked at" (as opposed to "spoken to") by the same authority figures every day.

Sure there are the occasional, stereotypical, isolated weirdos. There are plenty of those in public schools too, relegated to such by the cruel social structures of the popularity mob (usually the cool kids who don't amount to anything as adults).

And no, it shouldn't be "cared most about." A complete, comprehensive education (including heavy study in history, so often an afterthought in the current public obsession with STEM scores), in which socialization is just one of many components (albeit a critical one), should be top priority.

bernardwiesner profile image
Bernard Wiesner

Did you even read what I wrote? I will emphasize it again. If parents are very involved, meet up with other local homeschoolers, get their children into clubs and make sure they get a good amount of socializing outside of the family circe, yes that's ideal. But as I said in many cases this is not true. Many homeschoolers grow up in a small circle of family/friends, and when they go out to universities/outside work find it hard to socialize and integrate.

Maybe your curriculum and setup has worked well, but I am talking about many other cases where its not possible meet up with other homeschoolers as easy or there are not as many opportunities to join clubs etc.

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yellow1912 profile image
yellow1912

You seem to think everyone can afford to do all the things you list. Sadly many of us have to work really hard to earn a living. There are stories of home schooled children who never stepped foot outside of their houses. Obviously that is the wrong way to do it. But one should be aware and concerned of all that before making a decision that could potentially destroy his or her child's life. No?

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insanepotus profile image
STOP INSANE POTUS

β€œIn many cases that’s not true”

Backed up by what evidence of yours?

30 years ago people homeschooled with park day and the library. It doesn’t have to be expensive. There are second and third generation homeschooling families now as a result and as I said, they’re not on welfare, they’re successful. The founding fathers also didn’t have a lot of resources beyond books and their families and communities, and I’d say they did ok. The stigma that homeschooling is sheltering or ruining kids is not backed up by any evidence! What evidence do you have that it is beyond your tired stereotypes?

Of course parents should go into it wide eyes open and thoughtfully, as they should with any decision regarding their kids. But to pose they should because it could β€œdestroyβ€œ their lives? Ha. Check out the 2014 study by the government about how 10% of schooled kids are abused by school officials. Look at the graduation rate and the drop out rate for public schools. Shootings, bullying. Which option is ruining kids?

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insanepotus profile image
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Mike Bybee

At the elementary school my ex and I withdrew her daughter from to homeschool (whose administration tried to lie to us and say we couldn't withdraw her until what amounted to the required enrollment date for their next tuition payment from the state for having her in the head count, until I got HSLDA's lawyers involved) there was a case of a STAAR test tutor molesting a little girl on campus right after we withdrew ours and that was more than 3 years after the linked article on the subject.

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stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee

You seem to think everyone can afford to do all the things you list. Sadly many of us have to work really hard to earn a living. There are stories of home schooled children who never stepped foot outside of their houses. Obviously that is the wrong way to do it. But one should be aware and concerned of all that before making a decision that could potentially destroy his or her child's life. No?

Bad parenting is bad parenting. Full stop.

There are stories of kids dying in mass shootings. But you're not blaming public schools for that, are you? It's either liberals blaming guns, or conservatives blaming mental health, but nobody stops to think that the cost of punting to the state their responsibility to see to their kids' education is leaving them as vulnerable as fish in a barrel. And whether your answer is "more security" or "arm the teachers," a crazy person who sees a gun free zone will likely still take many casualties before stopped.

As for the cost of education, even the cheapest states spend five figures per child per year, whereas you can successfully homeschool for less than $1k/yr (even with more than one child in some cases). Even the time investment is little more than what a public school student spends doing homework every day (but I don't hear you bemoaning their parents' lack of involvement).

And there are countless stories of public school students whose parents (if they even have parents) have them living in the absolute worst conditions. My current girlfriend is a public school teacher who, before transferring to special ed, was tasked with getting the most broken of children in the worst of homes to stay in school long enough to graduate. Many of them didn't, largely because their home lives were so shamefully bad.

So what were you saying about destroying lives?

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thefern profile image
Fernando B πŸš€ Author

On another hand I can attest US education isn't the best in the world. I studied elementary thru junior high in Mexico and high school in Texas was a joke. I didn't learn much in public school in fact my uncle would give me college math assignments at home.

The other gripe about public schools is that they are highly biased my kids would come home talking about teachers promoting presidential candidates, that's unacceptable for me. Just imagine what else is biased.

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Mike Bybee

I'd also like to point out that the argument against homeschooling went from "wHaT aBoUt sOciALiZaTiOn?" to "well sure socialization is possible if the parent cares, but what if they don't?" and "you assume parents have that luxury" when the author clearly cares about what is best for his children, has done the research, and is able to do this.

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Fernando B πŸš€ Author

I understand, that's one way to look at it. Socializing is something I was never good with because of my parents constantly moving to different cities due to my father's job. Here there's a place where people that homeschool can meet up. Right now my biggest concern is covid, I've seen so many schools reopened and cases going through the roof. So for now socializing is the least priority, but definitely something to keep in mind. I think if you raise your children to be good people they'll be ready regardless. I personally knew a coworker that homeschool until high school and his children enrolled in college and did pretty well.

We also have to keep in mind today's school system is still the same as system that was built when the industrialization (40s) era begun. School all around the world has nearly the same curriculum. I encourage you to listen to this talk ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_do_...

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Mike Bybee

Safety is one of the best reasons to homeschool; not only right now due to COVID (and it's insane to me that parents are so obsessed with their glorified free daycare that they're willing to disregard the threat, when schools have always been petri dishes for disease, lice, etc.), but from other physical threats (how many homeschool students are the victims of shootings or other violence?).

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Kevin Hoyt

We have homeschooled our daughter since third grade. We used a variety of curriculum early on, trying to find the best fit. I think our favorite was Time4Learning, which we used for a few years through eighth grade.

For ninth grade we used Indiana University's online program. It was very college preparatory focused. Not a bad thing, but a bit too rigid for us - for example, old-school classics like photography, or business were not a course options.

For tenth grade, through today (eleventh grade), we have been using Nebraska University's online program. They have a large number of course options, their counselors will cater to your child's learning/career goals, and they even work with other programs when you want something they do not offer (our daughter is taking sign language for her language credits through BYU). They even have an on-campus formal graduation if you do not want to miss out on that experience.

We focus on (augment?) socialization through involvement in standard extra-curricular types of activities. For example, our daughter is a fourth degree black belt in taekwondo where she has made many friends. Now in their teens, they get together for various activities just like any other people of the same age.

And she's encountered many of the same trials of human interaction as any other person - disagreements, falling apart as friends (for whatever reason), boys, etc.

Homeschool means you can learn anywhere, so we have also traveled extensively as a family. What better way to learn about other cultures, historical events, etc. than to actually spend time there?

The biggest tip I would have for a parent on the homeschool path is to be intentional. That is to say that you cannot just drop them off in front of the curriculum and be done with it. You have to be involved in the learning process at some depth. If they are learning basic maths for example, find ways to call out where/how it is useful to you as you go about your family business.

Early on we helped organize her days. We keep her assignments and let her put gold stars on them so she can see her progress. These days she mostly does not need our guidance, which is my favorite outcome of homeschooling. She has learned to learn, not just memorize and regurgitate facts. We will regularly find her on YouTube learning about things around her desired career path (doctor) for ... fun. For fun! What high school junior intentionally seeks out more learning?

It is not for every child/parent, but we have no regrets about taking charge of her education.

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thefern profile image
Fernando B πŸš€ Author

Thanks for your comment. We picked time4learning for now, and see how things go. I agree homeschooling gives you so much flexibility. Kids are excited, public school put so much stress that we are glad to get away from it.

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Mike Bybee

@kodaman2 I speak as both a homeschooling parent (at least before my ex-fiancee and I split) and as someone who spent the better part of the last 5 years architecting an eLearning platform for PreK-12 (unfortunately, one of the bootstrapping cofounders had to step away for both personal and family health issues, still waiting to see what I can open source and/or release as a product on my own in lieu of an angel investor who won't change the vision swooping in), and I spent that time learning a great deal about homeschooling both for personal and business reasons.

One thing I can tell you is definitely worth looking into is the Big History Project. It's linear history starting at the Big Bang, but also multi-disciplinary (one example is algebra during the "Golden Age of Islam"). It's free and offers resources and support groups (on Yammer) for public, private, charter and homeschool teachers alike.

It's based on what Bill Gates has referred to as the best college course he took.

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Fernando B πŸš€ Author

Thanks for your comment. I look forward to BHP. I am hoping after the first year I'd be able to develop a full time curriculum site.