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Why homeschool when you live in a great school district?


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We are fortunate to live in a really great school district. DS went to the neighborhood school for kindergarten and enjoyed it. His school is well funded enough to have arts, music, PE, a well stocked library with a full time librarian, strong parent participation in the classroom, field trips, and access to specialists. (DS received personalized services for learning issues that wouldn't have been addressed in most CA schools because of funding cuts.) It's one of the best elementary schools in the state and acts a lot like a private school; it feeds into a system that ends in a high school with 96% of its students moving onto college, many of them Ivy League. If you were going to go to public school, this would be the one... Except...

 

We're not financially well off and the other students are. The expectations on these kids are really high academically and DS was one of the few kids entering kindergarten who wasn't reading yet. The school is not diverse, even though the surrounding community is, because district lines are cut around lower income areas and just about everyone who attends has a high income (which in our area, that means white and Asian almost exclusively.) Our family really doesn't fit in.

 

Add this to the fact that I generally believe that a kid will get a better education at home, one-on-one, and that childhood is so short that I don't want to give up most of the day to his teachers, and I really would like to home school.

 

DH is NOT for it. We have made sacrifices to live in this neighborhood (living in a small, beat up house DH inherited.) DH thinks that people move here to go to the schools and it's foolish to homeschool when they already have all the resources to give a top-notch education. We're not religious, so that isn't a consideration.

 

What does the Hive think? What are reasons that would convince DH to try home schooling when the neighborhood school is so great? Or should I just continue after schooling/summer schooling to fill in gaps and go deeper than a classroom can offer?

Edited by JoLuRu
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First, until you can hold all of the instructional materials, including teacher manuals, in your hand and read them cover to cover, you don't know for sure what kind of education is going on in the classrooms. Second, there are no guarantees that your dc will get *good* teachers every year, and it only takes one bad year to totally mess up your child. Third, the best school in town still can't beat the one-on-one insctruction that goes on at home. Fourth, the school still has to move your child along with all the other children in the class, regardless of whether things are too easy or too difficult. Fifth, it is not possible to truly discover each child's specific gifts that will help determine his path in life when the children have to be shuffled through every year.

 

How am I doing so far? :D

 

Also, California schools have had a BAD rep for many, many years. Just because people think that school is the "best" doesn't mean it is. You know, you can chat with a group of people who all agree that public education has tanked...except for *their* children's school, which is "the best." Hello? Y'all can't all have "the best" schools.:glare:

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Our local public schools are pretty good.

 

But public education is a one-size-fits-all thing. My oldest two kids did great (though DD18 chose to homeschool her senior year so she would have more time for her music). But for my younger two, it really isn't a good fit. DS16 is back in public school for high school (after being home for 4 years) and doing well now, though we take it year-by-year for him. For DD11, it's not really an option - she would do very very poorly in a classroom environment.

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Well, I agree with you that an individualized education where the student to teacher ratio is 1:3 will probably result in a superior educational experience. That is one of the main reasons we are homeschooling.

 

Another reason is that I worked in a great school district before I had children, and was routinely shocked at how children behaved and the things they talked about....as early as Kindergarten. I do want to protect my kids from negative social influences, and keep them innocent longer. I want to be present and involved in my children's early social experiences.

 

Of course, we are religious, and so do not appreciate the worldview that is conveyed in subtle and not so subtle ways that conflict with what we are endeavoring to teach our children. We are moving in a few months to one of the most highly rated school districts in TX....In the Bible Belt, no less. And still, we will choose to homeschool.

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You're very helpful! Thank you! Many of those are the reasons I've thought of, but having it written out is helpful to present to DH.

 

(You're so right about the California school system being notoriously bad! However, the high school our elementary feeds into is one of the top 100 in the country on US News and World Reports, so it really is one of the "best" for whatever that means. :) )

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No school, no matter how good, can ever work at exactly your child's pace. They will always either be slowing him down or rushing him forward.

 

If other children are already ahead of him, he is aware of that. Keeping him in a school where he is behind may lead him to make false conclusions - that he is not as capable VS he just didn't have as many resources as those other children.

 

Finally, being one of the "poorer" kids will be very bad for him socially unless he is a sports prodigy.

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I just wanted to add that for many traditionally schooled students, afterschooling is a near impossibility. As a 3rd grader, my son never had less than an hour of homework a night, and often two hours. Bedtime has to come earlier when they need to get up early, and they need time to play and eat. Considering that he has about 5 hours from when he gets home from school until he needs to go to bed, we just haven't been able to work in any schooling other than what is required by his teachers.

 

We are in an excellent school district--my son's school is a 10 on greatschools.org. Their science and history education is abysmal. They spend the entire school year focused on learning the schools necessary to score well on the MSP (our standardized test), so the focus is almost entirely on reading and math. It's not terrible, he had excellent teachers last year and definitely was doing better there than he had been at home, but I would consider my son to be somewhat of an exception--he has some behavior disorders and really needs the order and structure school provides. I think most kids are better off at home.

 

However, if your husband isn't on board, I would proceed carefully. Homeschooling at the expense of family unity and peace would probably not facilitate the goals you are seeking. Many moms in your situation only commit to one year at a time and use that time to show their husbands all the benefits of homeschooling and introduce them to other homeschooling families that are doing well.

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Finally, being one of the "poorer" kids will be very bad for him socially unless he is a sports prodigy.

 

This is one of the major reasons that I am not sending my dd to a prestigious private school in a nearby city.

 

ETA - It is not a great school district for your child if it is not a good fit for your child.

Edited by celticmom
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A big reason for me is not having any control over WHAT they are taught. In 5K the class was taught about MLK and then all the children started labeling each other black, white (what about the others?) Before this there was not talk or realization that any of them were different. This really bothered me because we live in a very racist society and no one needs to be pointing this out to young children. There will be plenty of time for prejudice agendas.

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(DS received personalized services for learning issues that wouldn't have been addressed in most CA schools because of funding cuts.)

What types of services?

 

Does he have a 504 Plan or IEP on file? Or was it simply tutoring?

 

I taught for many years in CA and can share even in the best schools, by the time a child with some learning issues or official learning disabilities can begin to falter by grade 3. This is due to the academic pace amping up and more workload/homework/projects. By the time Junior High hits, the love of learning or ambition to excel can further be hampered by peer groups or adversaries.

 

That being said, I have also seen families who formally homeschooled up to 7th grade allow their kids to enter public school. And their kids did very well (it was not a stellar school district, by the way -- but a wealthy neighborhood) with one being Senior Class President (now a college sorority member & runner up for a Miss Texas county pageant), another National Merit Scholar, one was very popular, one was a cheerleader, and the younger ones are in junior high now doing very well with Honor Society and cheerleading. The parents were very involved with PTA and volunteerism. They made sure their kid's friends hung out at their home, for example. And the family was very active in church & youth group. The parents were poor as church mice and their kids learned early on if they wanted to have nice clothes or a car... they had to get a JOB. It also forced them to be more mature and learn quickly about life lessons. So the combination of growing up in a large, loving, and poor family who had their kids attend public school worked for them. HTH

Edited by tex-mex
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ETA - It is not a great school district for your child if it is not a good fit for your child.

 

Oh, I like that!

 

All the reasons in the posts above as well. I'm not sure I saw this reason above (apologies if I'm being repetitive): if the vast majority of kids are a lot wealthier than your family, yours will most likely be teased and/or shunned for not having the right name brand clothing, the cool toys, etc. Why put them in a setting that will breed discontent?

 

We homeschool because it's the best thing for our kids for several reasons. We live in one of the so-called best districts in the state. Even homeschoolers who live in different districts wonder why we homeschool. Our decision to homeschool has very little to do with the schools themselves. What are your reasons for homeschooling, as opposed to your reasons against sending your kids to school?

 

If you and your husband have a fundamental disagreement about homeschooling, you will have to work that out. But "the schools are the best" really shouldn't be the only reason for sending a kid to school.

Edited by marbel
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Have you asked other parents about the homework load their kids have when they get to third or fourth grade? My experience with the "best" public elementary schools around here is that the kids have insane amounts of homework. I like my kids. If I may brag for a minute, most people like my kids. They are crazy busy into their activities (swimming, gymnastics, baseball), and if they were in public school, something would have to give--homework or pursuing their passions or ever seeing their parents.

 

Plus what everyone else said.

 

Terri

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Like my sig line says I believe that education is the transmission of culture. What culture do you want to convey to your kids? The culture of consumerism and/or worldy success? Because that sounds like the culture that is being conveyed in the local school system. If your kids can't compete $-wise, chances are that they will begin to wear masks in order to protect themselves and see you (the parents) as somewhat unhelpful.

 

I would ask your dh what his academic, social, spiritual, even physical goals are for your kids. And then ask yourself that question. Homeschooling isn't a perfect fit for everyone, and maybe your dh has some great points, concerns, beliefs that you need to take a hard look at. Otoh, you have a strong desire/belief to keep your kids at home. Get clear about what your vision for your kids IS. Who do you want them to be when they grow up?

 

My dh tutored in San Marino county in S.CA.-- one of the best school districts in the world. He had high schoolers who owned businesses worth $100k's and eled kids with cell phones (in the 90's). The owner of the turoting center actually made it a biz policy NOT to accept kindergarten kids for tutoring becausae it put so much pressure on them. That is what I would be most concerned about in this district- the pressure to perform- how well do you measure up? (starting with clothes and continuing on with family $, academics, etc). Maybe you are interested in having your kids go to an Ivy or an academy- that is worth considering. If your kid is invested in a being a state senator or pres of the U.S. then this public school woudl probably be the way to go.

 

If you have other values, goals, then get them clear and decide what the best way to persue them would be- together with your spouse.

 

For years I disagreed with my dh about a specific areas of homeschooling. In retrospect he had an excellent point that would have served our oldest dd much better than "my way." We just didn't have the communication tools we needed at that time to really hear and understand each other on this important issue (educating our kids is an incredibly important marital issue imho!) Remember, you and your dh are responsible together for your kids together- it's not your way, or his way or the right way- and both of your input is important to the process.

 

I would spend time asking and really listening to your dh's reasons for his interest in the p.s. When people feel heard and understood they are often more ready to listen to someone else's pov.

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Personalized instruction is my #1. Especially when dealing with an LD, it's crucial to pick and choose curricula based on the child's needs.

 

Ex. If a child is dyslexic, that effects their math work if that math is 98% completed on a worksheet. If the child has the opportunity to just learn the math without trying to fight the dyslexia at the same time (reading/writing), then that child might stay on grade level in math...or find a unique gifting for math. (Ditto this example for history/science/literature.....) Some LD's make *classroom* learning next to impossible, no matter how wonderful the classroom.

 

 

 

Ex. Remediating an LD takes intense work and time. If the child is fighting through an LD to try and stay with a class (see Ex above) that will take all of their mental energy. They will have nothing left in which to actually overcome the LD. At that point, it matters little how wonderful the specialized help is b/c the child isn't capable of receiving that help...not to mention, any turn-over in the teacher/tutoring staff (even normal year-to-year switch) will cost precious time.

 

 

I went to a great high school, if we compare US high schools. Believe me, they cherry-pick students for their Ivy League brags. ;) Starting in elementary school, certain kids are given more attention (given the better teachers!). By Jr.High, everything is tracked out. By JR/SR year in high school, there are 5-10 students who are receiving that prep for the Ivy's...and the rest will do what they do. So what I'm saying...unless you have a grandparent/aunt/uncle in that community in either politics or big $, don't count on your precious dear being in that 5-10 students.

 

 

That said, I think that the one-to-one instruction is most important in the early years. Even if your child isn't cherry-picked, if he has the basic foundation laid well in K-8 he can probably do very well in the high school regardless.

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I live in a school district similar to what you describe. High performing, very few low-income, feeds into one of the best high schools in the state, a school with very high graduation/college rates which gets many students who went private or homeschooled until high school, gets tuition students, etc. At least the high school I know it really is as good as it seems since my dd has just graduated from there.

 

We certainly don't have the income of many of my dd's friends but she hasn't had any problem being accepted at her school.

 

We homeschool because my son has very specific quirks and needs that would not be met in even the best school. He's gifted, adhd, has sensory issues, and a few other quirks. Schools can usually handled gifted OR special needs but not both in the same kid. Putting him in a group class would be miserable for everyone involved.

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I was one of those kids. I was a scholarship kid in an uber rich, private school where 80% go to Ivies. Yes, it can be a decent education, but the weird social dynamic is pretty screwed up.

 

A really good private/public school will still have the bad stuff that a crappy school will have, they just ignore it, don't acknowledge it, or find a scapegoat. There will be bullies, drama, favoritism, drug, sex, you name it.

 

If I still lived in Chicago, as an alum, I could send my kids where I went (and still get a scholarship, BTW) and I would NOT DO IT IN A MILLION YEARS. The education was great, but school is more than an education. I have only recently "gotten over" damage done there. I prefer to save my kids from the emotional anguish that I endured. If they want to go somewhere for high school, after their personalities are well formed... I might be ok with it... but kids are nasty, it doesn't matter what school it is, KWIM?

 

You shouldn't let the illusion that it is a great school pressure you. Think of it as a way to keep your house value up, and make it an easy sell.

 

Whatever choice you guys come to, will be ok. All schools are not horrible, you just need to go into it with open eyes. A good school/district does not automatically mean life will be great and your kids will go to an Ivy. That is more than possible, and with happier kids, without the school. :D

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When I first learned about homeschooling, my son was already in Kindergarten and things weren't going well for him. I researched homeschooling, reading everything I could get my hands on, for 2 months. My DH wasn't totally on board but he did agree I could pull our son out and homeschool him for the rest of the year and reevaluate before the new year began. In other words, we started homeschooling with the school being our safety net. Well, after a few months of homeschooling, my DH actually thanked me for homeschooling. Our son was thriving in the environment we created for him. DH was 100% on board after that. Homeschooling your son now isn't a decision written in stone defining forever. Ask your DH for a year and you'll reevaluate next summer to see how things went.

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We live in a district like yours ... one of the best in the state. Many who move here just for this district look at us like we are nuts when they find out we homeschool and just assume we are religious fundies. But, my goal for education is not simply high test scores and getting them into the right college. My goal is to raise my children to be healthy (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually) and happy. The schools here are pressure cookers, academically, socially, financially. We live in an area of town that I think is lovely, but most of the kids around call it "the slums" (since when did 3 br, 2000+ sf, well-taken-care-of homes on nice lots with mature trees become a slum?)

 

We homeschool for the lifestyle. Academics are very important to us. While I know the local schools appear to have excellent academics, so much of it rankles with me. There is definitely a cookie cutter approach and all this worry about being behind. Heck, the only "play-based" preschool here closed its doors after nearly 30 years in the community because parents complained that the children were "not ready" for kindergarten. I think academics are pushed way too soon here. (And I have one who was ready for it, but my other two were not.)

 

I like the idea that my children can be individuals here at home. At school, my oldest would have either played down his abilities to fit in or been horribly bullied for being his eccentric self. He would have learned that dinosaurs were not cool after kindergarten. This is a boy who was reading from science journals by 6th grade, because he was so passionate about dinosaurs.

 

My middle child suffered from many sensory issues. I think he would have learned to hold it together in school, but would have been a complete nightmare at home. Also, since he is a sensory avoider and would shut down when things got too overwhelming, they probably would not have noticed what his issues were and just assumed he was slow. I doubt we would have gotten the right help for him under their guidance. He is very bright and insightful, but none of that would have been apparent to people when he was in shut-down mode.

 

Dd would probably adapt best to the school environment - she is the most adaptable of all of them, especially socially. That in itself would worry me. Also, I don't think she would have thrived academically. She would not have been allowed to blossom into reading (going from barely a 1st grade reading level at the end of 2nd grade to reading 500 page novels by the beginning of 3rd. They would have insisted that she get special help and tutoring (which meant Sylvan and coming out of my pocket.) She would have been demoralized and never developed her love of reading. Similar with math. She struggled for a while. Now, she is getting it and sees math as interesting.

 

I could write a novel here, but I will stop here.

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"Great" is relative, especially in the NCLB age. While some public schools are better than others, none are immune from the mad rush to hold one single metric as the only metric. I think it's as if you went to the doctor's and all he was allowed to do was take your temperature. Oh, you're not feverish? Then you must be great.

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For us, it came down to asking more why we DO homeschool not why we DON’T send our kids elsewhere (either to the good public school or to a small private school that many of our friends’ kids attend and that I do think would be excellent).

 

For us it came down to that we enjoy the lifestyle and the family culture that homeschooling creates. I like that we can all learn together. I like being with my kids and I love having the opportunity to have them home more than they are away. We like having the flexibility to go on vacations when we want. We like being able to take breaks when we want and focus on interests and passions of our kids to an extent that school just can’t, no matter how good a school it is. I like that learning becomes more and more something that happens all the time for all of us and not just in a certain building on certain days of the week during certain months of the year.

 

We school primarily for academic reasons and we still think we are giving them as good an education (or better) than they would get elsewhere. But it was helpful to realize that even if we are blessed to have other good choices if we needed them there are a lot of other benefits that go beyond the purely academic.

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Like my sig line says I believe that education is the transmission of culture. What culture do you want to convey to your kids? The culture of consumerism and/or worldy success? Because that sounds like the culture that is being conveyed in the local school system. If your kids can't compete $-wise, chances are that they will begin to wear masks in order to protect themselves and see you (the parents) as somewhat unhelpful.

 

I would ask your dh what his academic, social, spiritual, even physical goals are for your kids. And then ask yourself that question. Homeschooling isn't a perfect fit for everyone, and maybe your dh has some great points, concerns, beliefs that you need to take a hard look at. Otoh, you have a strong desire/belief to keep your kids at home. Get clear about what your vision for your kids IS. Who do you want them to be when they grow up?

 

My dh tutored in San Marino county in S.CA.-- one of the best school districts in the world. He had high schoolers who owned businesses worth $100k's and eled kids with cell phones (in the 90's). The owner of the turoting center actually made it a biz policy NOT to accept kindergarten kids for tutoring becausae it put so much pressure on them. That is what I would be most concerned about in this district- the pressure to perform- how well do you measure up? (starting with clothes and continuing on with family $, academics, etc). Maybe you are interested in having your kids go to an Ivy or an academy- that is worth considering. If your kid is invested in a being a state senator or pres of the U.S. then this public school woudl probably be the way to go.

 

If you have other values, goals, then get them clear and decide what the best way to persue them would be- together with your spouse.

 

For years I disagreed with my dh about a specific areas of homeschooling. In retrospect he had an excellent point that would have served our oldest dd much better than "my way." We just didn't have the communication tools we needed at that time to really hear and understand each other on this important issue (educating our kids is an incredibly important marital issue imho!) Remember, you and your dh are responsible together for your kids together- it's not your way, or his way or the right way- and both of your input is important to the process.

 

I would spend time asking and really listening to your dh's reasons for his interest in the p.s. When people feel heard and understood they are often more ready to listen to someone else's pov.

 

 

I so agree with LL's post, and most especially what I bolded (though I would agree more with Josef Pieper, that leisure is the transmission of culture :001_smile: ).

 

We were just having this talk at my breakfast table with the kids. One of the neighborhood kids is causing problems in our house (certain character choices he's been allowed to make), and we were talking about the differences of our family culture and how it differs from his, and why. How we make it so, and what kind of culture public school gives a child.

 

That is #1 on my list of why we homeschool. I fought with my Dh tooth and nail to homeschool mine, and now he sees.

 

It is very hard choosing something different than the way you were brought up. Some people interpret any different decisions as an insult i.e.; 'what they had wasn't good enough', and 'if it's good enough for me, it's good enough for you'. That's what keeps generations of people down, and it's a trap of pride.

 

So, for us, it's an issue of culture first, and education second.

Edited by justamouse
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(You're so right about the California school system being notoriously bad! However, the high school our elementary feeds into is one of the top 100 in the country on US News and World Reports, so it really is one of the "best" for whatever that means. :) )

I'd still have to walk the halls and read the children's assignments. A friend whose dh was a teacher in a public high school in the San Jose area had thought she'd let her children go to the public school where their father taught, which was also supposed to be one of the "best." And then one day she was at the school and saw some of the writing assignments which had been posted on a bulletin board, and that was the end of that. I forget now (it's been over 20 years since we had that conversation, lol) exactly what it was, but it had to do with murd*r and blo*d and guts and stuff.

 

IOW, academics isn't the whole story. The emotional and physchological impact of the content and the assignments cannot be underestimated.

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We live in a great school district. The only reason we can even afford this town is because we bought at a good time - no way we could move here now. I admit I am having the kids try out the high school this year, but I feel that by now they've got a solid foundation, they know who they are, and they can take individual classes based on where they are and what they're interested in, be in honors classes where the kids are (hopefully) more interested in academics than name brands, not have to merge with the average level. And I'm pooped - so it is nice to have the option of a good school system.

 

But all those things were not true in elementary and middle school. I am just not impressed with elementary and middle school education in this country period, even in "excellent" districts. Everything's taught to the middle of the herd. Advanced or behind, if you're lucky it's pull-out and then they often don't do the pull-out at the same time as what it's replacing so you miss another subject. "Helicopter" history, where you just learn over and over about the Pilgrims in November, MLK and Harriet Tubman in January, and Lincoln and Washington in February, without any context. Writing for quantity not quality. Everyday math, need I say more?

 

My brother teaches in the next town over, which is considered even "better" than ours. People move from all over even into apartments just to get into that district. It's cutthroat (academically more than socially). So much that I'm not sure I'd put my kids even in the high school there if I lived there. But I'm not sure the school can take credit for the great high school math scores when virtually all the elementary and middle school kids are enrolled in an afterschool Russian Math school to the tune of major $$$ - where are they really getting those skills? My brother had to hire a math tutor for my nephew to keep up - the kids are advanced in math, but it's not the school who should be taking credit.

 

You can always reevaluate as time goes on, but especially for elementary & middle, getting comfortable them in your their own skin, letting them be kids and not preteens teenyboppers by 8, laying a strong foundation with very low student-teacher ratio, being able to tailor the education to the student in both interest and level individually by subject - those are invaluable.

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Personally, I don't feel that the "poor kid in a rich school" argument is going to be very persuasive if your dh is a very rational thinker. It's more of an emotional argument that probably means more to you that it does to him.

 

Sounds like for you it is a question of afterschooling vs. homeschooling? What has been the benefit of afterschooling for you so far? Is some of the material taught at the school presented in a way that doesn't work for your ds? Does he need more one-on-one attention than the school is giving him? Whatever your reason, if afterschooling is working for you, I would bet that homeschooling would produce much better results. Schools waste time. You are spending what should be your child's free time teaching something that should have been taught in school. Why should you have to afterschool? Why isn't the school teaching him enough during the hours they have him?

 

Focus some on the issue of free time. Your ds needs free time to develop interests and talents that are important to him. He needs time to run and explore -- and all of that is beneficial to his mind as well as his body. Instead he is spending that time waiting in line at school, waiting while the class quiets down for the teacher, waiting while the teacher works with kids who are moving at a different pace from him, etc.

 

Does the school still have recess? Research has shown that this improves academic performance. Many overly-academic schools have thrown out this important part of the day.

 

Definitely find out about what curriculum they are using at the school if you don't already know. Odds are there is some subject that the curriculum is either objectively mediocre or just not a good fit for your ds. What do you know so far about his learning style? Is the curriculum able to give him that style of learning? My bet is that you could find something better if you were teaching him at home. (And maybe you are already using that better curriculum for afterschooling!)

 

We chose homeschooling long before we knew what school district we would live in, and we are still renting, so it could still change for the better when we buy a house. But like a pp said, we homeschool because of what we like about homeschooling, not because of what we dislike about public schooling. A few things that motivate me:

 

  • The ability to customize education -- even to make changes mid-year if needed.
  • The ability to teach at precisely each kid's pace to help him achieve his maximum potential.
  • One-on-one instruction. Your kid is not getting it in school (at least not much), and if you're afterschooling now, he is getting it at home. Which is working better?
  • The opportunity to study more (or different) subjects than the school focuses on. For instance, I loved languages, but I was limited based on my school's offerings and the number of subjects I could choose. In elementary school, I couldn't even sign up for a class based on interest... the whole class was shuffled to the same "extras."

 

Edited by cottonmama
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Because I want a closer relationship with my children than attendance at school would allow.

 

Because I want a richer environment - in the arts, learning resources, living knowledge, social opportunities, spiritual learning and growth - than any school setting can provide.

 

Because I believe that school requirements are based on arbitrary standards and excessively cater to test-taking, creating anxiety and a false sense of success and failure.

 

Because the school learning environment is necessarily artificial, with little regard for how students learn naturally and individually.

 

Because school appears to take over students' lives - their "free" time, their social lives, their thinking processes, their identity - more than I would ever want.

 

Because school doesn't give opportunity for students to practice social graces with a large variety of people in natural environments and real-life situations.

 

Because school trains students to be conformity-driven with poor critical thinking skills and a fear of making mistakes or exploring outside-the-box possiblities for problem-solving, passions or self-identity.

Edited by Alphabetika
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I live in a great district. It sounds very, very similar to yours. We homeschool because we don't want an institutionalized education for our kids; we don't want their peers and teachers to get most of their formative hours. Our Christian worldview plays a large role as well. My dd did go to 8th grade in this district, and lets just say that while I did think they did a good job academically, the character of the kids and some of the teachers convinced me that we are making the right choice in not sending our other kids.

 

All that said, you need your husband's support. Homeschooling is hard enough as it is. Without both parents on board, I think you're setting yourself up for failure. Third grade seems to be the year that a lot of public school reality comes crashing down. We started homeschooling after my dd's 3rd grade year. I know a ton of people who made the switch during or after 3rd grade. Maybe your husband's opinion will change over time.

 

I suggest in the meantime that you spend as much time as possible in the classroom and see if over time you can sway your dh.

 

Best of luck to you,

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However, if your husband isn't on board, I would proceed carefully. Homeschooling at the expense of family unity and peace would probably not facilitate the goals you are seeking. Many moms in your situation only commit to one year at a time and use that time to show their husbands all the benefits of homeschooling and introduce them to other homeschooling families that are doing well.[/quote

 

:iagree:

 

Also, we live in a great school area. My husband teaches at a high school he would want his own children to attend. But just being around the other little 5 yo girls who have been to preschool is enough for me to want to avoid public kindergarten like the plague. While they may being doing great on tests and have access to a variety of opportunities and service, that can also happen just as successfully at home! And it will be without the catty, mean spirited teasing that already is taking place before the first day of school. These girls are children of family friends, and close friends from church. :( Remarks like "you're not pretty, I'm only friends with you if..., I don't play princess, that's for babies" I was shocked to see that what you wore and what you liked to play with could already ostracize a kindergartner. I thought that happened in 3rd+ grades! I have nothing against the teachers or schools, but I don't want the other students to have an iota of influence on how my child treats and views the world. I know that not all public schooled children exhibit those behaviors, but kids tend to sink down to the level of those around them. Maybe we just have bad luck in finding sweet, kindhearted little girls. Yes, I want to protect my children. I want them to be better people.

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You've gotten a lot of great replies so far. I would add (and maybe someone said this and I missed it) that just because a school is very good right now does not mean it will continue to be good.

 

The high school I went to used to be one of the best in the county. It's now a complete dump, one of the worst. This happened very quickly. There was already a big difference between my freshman year and senior year. By the time I graduated from college, it was like a totally different school.

 

Also, I want to stress what others have said that just because a school has overall good test scores and sends students to Ivy League schools, it in no way means they aren't letting some kids fall through the cracks. If they're catering to the top tier, that usually means they're not doing their best for the bottom tiers.

 

And, of course, the bottom line is that most of us aren't homeschooling to escape bad public schools (though many people start out that way). We're homeschooling because we believe homeschooling is inherently better than public schools - whether that means that we have a student who wouldn't thrive in a public school, or whether that means that we value the different lifestyle homeschool offers, or whether we believe that no public school (no matter how highly ranked) is going to give a sufficient education.

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You guys have really hit all the reasons I want to homeschool so succinctly!

 

I know this won't work without everyone 100% on board. I'll show this thread to DH when he gets home tonight and perhaps he'll see why this is important to me.

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What makes a school district great? Is it the test scores, the culture, the parents?

 

We live in one of the top districts in the state. Both ds and dd have attended the local elementary school. Ds 15 had some nasty teachers. I mean downright nasty. Name calling, labeling, etc. On the other hand, dd has had excellent, caring teachers.

 

Middle school was a wash for ds 15. Dd will not be attending there, no matter how much the staff has changed.

 

No one can give your child what you have. You obviously want something better for your child that you know that only you can provide. Make a compromise with dh. Try it out for one year. Evaluate the pros and cons, and decide whether it is something you want to consider continuing on with. The school will always be there.

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Most school districts, even "great" ones, are a one-size-fits-all experience. My kids don't fit that. Square peg, round hole.

 

We live in a supposedly excellent district, and indeed chose our neighborhood for the schools. Now, most of my kids attend a charter that is a lot more flexible than a traditional PS. For one of my kids, the charter wasn't cutting it, so I homeschooled her for a while.

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If after discussion there is still not agreement and they do end up in PS, you could always start now with afterschooling and start planning a long term educational plan.

 

He may be willing to meet you halfway on getting materials, books, supplies and that sort of thing; heck he might even jump in and offer to teach certain portions of academics he himself has a love of.

 

Once you start handling the books and flow of it all, you'll see a huge difference in the quality of materials used, and the fact you can customize the teaching to their learning styles and interests.

 

(That's a definite drawback in PS, no customization to intense personal interests that's not on the general radar there)

 

Bolster yourself by preparing different plans for different scenarios... full-time at home, home school...afterschooling/before-schooling...summer school...extra enrichment for everyone...just whatever you can comfortably weave in your family life.

 

Someone upthread mentioned 3rd grade as the magic line; I have to agree with that experience. It's happened in my life twice at that age.

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We live in the "best" school district in the state and still chose the homeschool/private school route. The reason? Just about always, school districts are deemed "great" based solely on standardized test scores. It is well known that a district's standardized test scores are strongly tied to the socioeconomic level of the community it serves. The schools themselves aren't fueling the "great" test scores; what's fueling them is well nourished kids (in body and mind), parents who are highly educated themselves bestowing whatever comes with that on their children, and the local Kumon center.

 

Homeschooling, if you do it very well (and it happens quite often that it is not done very well), will always be better than traditional school if your goal is academic learning simply because of the ability to tailor things so exactly to the student.

 

However. Are you willing to put in the work required to homeschool very well? While it is fairly easy to homeschool a first grader well, it gets more difficult each year, and, at some point, you will need to put a lot of time into learning yourself to ensure the "profound understanding" (to borrow a term from Liping Ma) required to teach well. If you decide you are not willing to do this and you still want to keep your children at home, you will probably end up farming out their coursework, most likely to an online source, which is frequently (but not always) not as good as the "great" local school's offerings.

 

Of course, there are a multitude of reasons to homeschool that have nothing to do with academics. Better socialization (though not always better social opportunities), more family time, more flexibility, more time to devote to special interests, and so forth. But your question seemed to center on the academic aspects.

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