I feel uncomfortable about the home schooling craze going on in the U.S. a' la Michelle Bachmann and the tea party conservatives and libertarians.  Bachmann's appeal is worrying me as it is. I would like to educate myself on the issue because I have a gut feeling that home schooling is pro-Christian and anti-secular in nature.  And I just can't see how a child can get a well-rounded education in that sort of setting.  Am I being paranoid?  Are these home-schooled children able to enter public college universities or are they cloistering in religious universities? Are there any good books/resources about this subject out there?

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I suppose parents should find what works best for them and their children and their household budget.  No approach works best in all cases and I do think your observation of this being a 'middle class' phenomenon is true.  It's the 'indoctrination' part that worries me but I now understand it's not always that way with homeschooling techniques.  This being 'set apart' from what most kids are experiencing isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Socialization can mean different things to different people!
I'm a Mid-West, Middle-Class, Liberal, Atheist, Homeschooling Mom!  My daughter was never homeschooled, my son has been since 4th grade.  She was fine in public school, he wasn't learning much at all.  We have many secular, homeschooled families we've been in homeschool groups with.  My son will start community college next spring.  He has friends that are homeschooled and friends that are not.  He would like to meet more girls though! lol.  I have seen the homeschooled religious-freaky people who isolate their children from anyone who doesn't think their way.  Ugh.  Homeschooling has been very good for us though.  My son is a great young man if I do say so myself! :)

Booklover,

   That's refreshing to hear.  I think we all may often make assumptions.  I'd love to hear from other secular homeschoolers. 

I agree...I've made assumptions about the type of parents who home-school that I probably shouldn't have... I would like to hear more about the methods of "secular" homeschooling.  I wasn't sure if such a thing even EXISTED.  I've lumped people into the ultra-conservative brand of homeschooling I suppose: protecting children from heathens who would tempt them into freethinking individuals!  I suppose public schools often fail to provide the environment of community and learning that my idealistic vision of schools should be...but children need to learn to get along with others outside their family group so I often considered home-schooled children as 'missing out' on the social lessons of group involvement.  I suppose they can learn those things in other settings, as well.

Okay, that pretty much defined my previous way of thinking about home-schooled kids.  Thanks for enlightening me.  That was pretty funny and I enjoyed reading comments from people that didn't "get the satire". 

 

I see what you mean, but the non-socialization, esp. in a case like ours where we are not trying to keep our son away from anyone, is really a non-issue.  He took homeschool classes taught through our awesome museums here (science classes), we were in several (non-religious of course) homeschool groups, he has friends from private schools,  public schools, and homeschooled friends.  Also he takes guitar-lessons, took swimming, did go to Hunting Learning Centers for math-tutoring because I am not a math person and higher math and I don't get along, lol.  I think he's learned how to socialize with people of all ages, etc.  I WILL say the one thing I think he's missed-out on is meeting many girls his age (a couple, but not many).  So he's looking forward to Community College next year and it just goes from there.  We sort-of had a homeschooling way we put-together that included sitting at the table learning from a text to 'un-schooling' which is learning from just doing in life.  Our own style.  It worked for us.

I have seen what you are picturing though with some ultra-religious homeschoolers and it is NOT a pretty sight.  One kid told me flat-out as soon as he was old enough he was getting the hell away from his parents and never looking back.  Sad.

I'm very interested in homeschooling as an option if we end up in a district with beliefs we don't like - for instance, our current home is located in a district where spanking classes are a requirement to get a job as a teacher here, and there's absolutely nothing seen wrong with that.  I don't like the idea of children feeling threatened by physical harm as a method of motivation for learning, so I would never allow my child into this district.

 

But, one thing that I don't know how to work around is the logistics of it all.  In our current situation, I'd never send my child to a school because I see no option that I like.  However, we don't always have the luxury of me not working, and day care essentially stops once children reach kindergarten age.  Do homeschooling groups meet routinely enough that I could in theory hold down a part time job? Or do the parents really need to be able to live on one income?

Elyse,  if anyone ever spanked my child (when they were children, lol) I would have gone ballistic!  I have read stories of kids being homeschooled when parents could stagger their work-schedules or a grandparent could help,etc.  It also depends on what state you live in what the requirements are.  Illinois is the 3rd easiest state to homeschool in.  No paperwork, etc.  But that can also be bad for kids whose parents are not commited to making sure they get educated, use them for babysitters for younger kids, etc. 

Nothing is perfect, I'd just say you have to research, research, research to decide what is best for you and your family.  It can be a very rewarding experience.  I am grateful we were able to do it on one income, but I've heard it can be done other ways!  Good luck to you & yours!!! :)

As a retired high school teacher I've seen a number of kids who were home schooled through middle school and then sent to public high school for the last 4 years and I would say their education ranged from horribly unprepared to extremely well prepared. It all depends on the ability of the parents and their commitment – because it requires serious commitment and a better than average intellect to do it right.
If the parent(s) can't meet that criteria then they are doing the children no favor and are in fact putting them at a serious disadvantage.
I was a high school teacher for 30 years but trying to teach my own daughters anything was pissing against the wind – they are in their 40's now and I'm still pissing in the wind..

There are SO MANY resources out there that parents can use to educate their kids if they are dedicated.  You don't need to be an expert in every area.  Some kids come out of some school systems barely being able to read or do simple arithmetic.  Different strokes for different folks. ;)

I'm considering homeschooling my own children because I am a better teacher than many, many of the ones I had in school.  I think that kids can be better educated at home, depending on the quality of the teacher and the temperament of the child (just like at "regular" school).  Honestly, you probably know some homeschooled people, you just don't realize it because they don't conform to the religious conservative/socially awkward stereotype so many people have.  

There's a lot of homeschooling philosophies that don't have anything really to do with religion (or that could have the religion easily taken out).  It's been a while since I did any research on it, but Pioneer Woman (don't judge me, haha) has a homeschooling section on her blog and it's not overtly religious.  They talk about curriculum and logistics a lot, and not so much about the different philosophies, but it would give you a different perspective.

My experience has been if the parents are freaks, the kids are freaks, homeschooling or no.

Another atheist homeschooling mom here.  I have three sons who will be in grades K, 2, and 4 next year.  None of them has ever been to public school full time.  They do go once/week for art, music, gym, lunch, recess, library, time away from annoying old Mom, etc.  We homeschool for academic reasons.  I went to the schools here (and I have friends whose kids are in them now) and they do not have the same academic goals I have for my children.  (They don't teach grammar beyond a few of the parts of speech, they don't teach poetic and literary tools much (a little alliteration here and there, but not more than that), they don't offer second language until high school....  I could go on.)  They're not the worst schools ever, but they don't live up to my expectations. 

I have met several homeschooled-through-high-school people in college classes.  They seemed as capable as most, and they didn't have weird fits of religious fury when I said the 'f' word or anything like that.  I'm sure there are some homeschool messes, but I've seen examples of success (at least as far as I could tell).

I am not middle class.  We are broke as hell, but the education of my children is my first priority.  I will die young, from something preventable, probably toothless, with not a penny to my name and a wasted M.A.  My children shouldn't get the education the public schools are giving out just because we aren't bringing in lots of money.  I will take a hit for that, but I'm not passing my problems onto my children.  What you can and cannot afford depends, in part, on your priorities.

Although all of the homeschooling moms I know irl are middle class ladies, I "know" several homeschooling moms on the Internet who are on public assistance.  (I believe for welfare both parents must be working or in school so they wouldn't qualify for that, but they get some amount of food assistance.  Perhaps their children get state medical insurance.)  Priorities.

Also, I do work part time.  I am lucky enough to have a job with lots of downtime (not a lot of pay, but that's the trade off, right?) so I can research and plan lessons, books, methods, etc. while I'm at work.  One of the days I work is the day my children are "in school" for their once/week classes.  I also occasionally work from home scoring standardized tests (though I feel like the devil when I'm doing it).

 

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