Thursday, September 16, 2010

I might have real hermit potential

I have never been a fan of homeschooling. I knew a family in the neighborhood who homeschooled, and those kids were weird.  It may just have been those kids, though (or perhaps the mother...) because I've since met other people who were homeschooled, and they turned out just fine.

But the more I hear about what's going on--and not going on--in public schools, the more I want to homeschool my kids.  Many schools aren't teaching cursive.  Kids aren't mastering multiplication tables because they can just use a calculator.  Don't get me started on library and research skills.  When was the last time a kid even opened a book to do research?  I suppose why bother, when you can just copy the Wikipedia entry? Why would anyone need to know how to find something in a library?  They spend so much time trying to get the kids able to pass the bazillion standardized tests that there's no time for, oh, P.E., recess, music.  Of course, even if they do take music, apparently all they do is bang around on tambourines rather than...you know...learn stuff.

When I was a kid, we went on one field trip a year. If we were lucky. It was usually to the zoo or the Rijlaarsdams' dairy.  Woo.  So educational.  I did enjoy playing in the cotton seed, but the educational benefits of that are pretty much zero.  Except maybe for learning which classmates have asthma.

Homeschoolers, though, can go on field trips all the time!  When it's not a production involving buses and permission slips, you can jump in the van (sigh) and head on over to the science center. Or library. Or bakery. Or animal shelter. Or symphony. Or whatever interesting place it is that enriches your education.  Why, take them to Einstein's for breakfast and make them pay with exact change and you suddenly have a math lesson!  Okay, so maybe you could do that with kids in public schools. Although it would have to be breakfast on a Saturday....  My point is there are lots of opportunities for enrichment when you're not sitting in a classroom seven hours a day, waiting for the kids to stop talking long enough that the burnt-out teacher can try to teach them something useful.

It's also helpful that I've read some blogs by homeschoolers.  They seem reasonably normal. And they make some really good points.  Seems like they do lots of fun things. Maybe not just worksheets all the time?  Maybe I'm embittered because I could have used sixth grade to learn stuff, but instead I did a buttload of word searches.  Word searches!  Not even crossword puzzles, which at least require some critical thinking skills.  On the upside, my word search technique is spotless.  You should see me with the kids' place mats at J.B.'s.

I texted my sister the other day and suggested we quit our jobs and homeschool our children.  She has teaching credentials and I have...a van? Plus I know my times tables!  Up to the twelves!  Sadly, that is an accomplishment in the younger generation.  But really, I am seriously considering it for my future hypothetical no-I'm-not-pregnant-but-thanks-for-asking children.  That, of course, requires a financial situation that allows me to stay home. Which, uh, is not our current one.  But since my children are imaginary, I guess there's time.

5 comments:

  1. The problem is that schools are mostly set for the lowest common denominator and that means there are lots of bored kids, lots of mundane stuff and a whole lot of paperwork for the teacher. Homeschooled kids have a smaller group to manage, usally not more than two to a grade level, so it's easy to tailor lessons to their ability.
    I DO NOT get skipping multiplication tables. I use those ALL THE TIME. I really do.

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  2. I've debated over this one as well! Your note about being educated about who had asthma made me burs into laughter. You're awesome!

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  3. Sorry I'm a few days late here, but I can't believe that you blogged about this! I was searching for a pumpkin muffin recipe on Pioneer Woman just last week, and came across an article about homeschooling (love/hate relationship with excess info on internet).

    Anyway, I have many similar feelings, especially since meeting a few families here who HS well (i.e. not weird kids). One other concern I have is the amount of time required. Public school kids are gone for 7 hours a day, and THEN come home and do hours of homework. HS kids spend about 4-5 hours a day total studying, and then they're done.

    My main holdup is not having that time away from the kids. I guess what I really want is for someone else to homeschool my kids for me... :) Can I be your neighbor in a few years?

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  4. I've been thinking of homeschooling JJ. Do you remember what blogs you had read?

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  5. Oh, you know. Google Reader. But check out Pioneer Woman's homeschooling tab.

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Be nice.