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16
Aug

Why We Have Chosen Public School

by Tiffany in Children, Homeschool

Why-We-Chose-Public-School

More and more frequently I get comments on this blog or on Facebook about how I should be homeschooling. Many are well meaning. They think homeschool rocks and they want me to experience this bliss myself. A handful are a tad condescending. I do understand that many parents concerned with self sufficiency, natural learning and living, homesteading, minimalism, etc do opt to homeschool. I do not.

Here are some of the reasons why:

1. I do not want to spend every waking moment with my kids. Yeah I said it and yes I will OWN it. I have always been an attached parent. I became a work at home mom and built my own business so that I could be the primiary caregiver for my kids. I breastfed on demand, tandem nursed, co-slept with all my babes, washed their nappies by hand, wore them in slings and carriers, and generally devoted myself to their care in their younger years. They never experienced daycare (aside from my oldest), nannies, or babysitters. I almost never spent an evening away from them or a day even since I was pretty much single parenting for 6ish years while my hubby had an over-the-road job. This took a toll on me and my marriage and I am now taking a look at other parenting philosophies that don’t put so much stress on mom to be all for her children, all the time. I may still sleep with a six year old wrapped around me at night like a pretzel but I also make sure that my husband and I are having our needs met for child-free time. Having our kids in public school creates a window of time for the adults, especially since my husband works second shift. I enjoy the time. I need the time.

2. I want my kids to be exposed to lots of different ideas and concepts, not just those I personally teach and endorse. On one hand I may tell you that I will happily “brainwash” my kids when it comes to my ideas about equality, sustainability, and some aspects of politics. I want them to believe what I believe. I am not going to be all militant if they choose to believe something else but I have no problems with my opinion being the one they hear most on some matters. On the other hand I don’t want them to take my word for it. I want them to be exposed to many different ideas and opinions so they can make up their own mind. I am agnostic for instance but I rarely talk about that at home because I want them to make up their own minds. I even sent one of my kids to a Christian preschool so that they would have exposure to religion that I am not willing to provide. My youngest would likely have gone to the same school if he had not required early intervention.

Many, many parents who homeschool (especially deeply religious families) homeschool to insulate their kids and keep them from being exposed to thoughts and ideas that conflict with what they are teaching at home. I want no part of that. This is not to say that I will not try to dissuade them from opinions and behavior that I strongly disagree with but how can we truly discuss things if they have no frame of reference?

3. I want my kids to experience lots of diversity. Homeschool groups often tend to have many of the same kind of kids and families in them. If you are homeschooling solo then trips to the zoo or the science museum do not qualify as exposure to diversity. In our local public schools there are kids of many different races and religions. There are kids with two parent families, single parent families, and families with parents of the same sex. There are children with special needs and handicaps. My oldest son’s school even has classrooms with varied age groups all lumped together so that he might be sitting next to an 11th grader and an 8th grader. It is important for my kids to see that not everyone looks, acts, and thinks like they do and that this should be accepted and celebrated.

4. We tried homeschool and it was not for us. I actually DID homeschool for 1.5 years of my oldest son’s school career and it was in reaction to issues he was having at public school. I feel that overall it was a big mistake. He has Asperger’s and ODD and was unwilling to do any sort of school at home. Unschooling, which we also tried, was no help either. When I took him to a public school to be tested when he should have been entering 4th grade I was shocked by the results and by how far behind he was. I had to admit to myself that not only did I not enjoy homeschooling, I am just not cut out for it AND my son did not respond well to his mom also being his teacher. The stuff that any teacher could get away with requesting or requiring was cruel and unusual punishment coming from mom. Also, I am not a patient person. I have to admit that my personality limits my effectiveness as a home educator.

But to those that DO homeschool…I salute you and very often over the years I have wished that I could be you.

5. We require interventions (aka care provided to improve a situation). Hubby and I have two autistic boys and this puts them several steps behind their peers academically and socially. With special assistance I have seen my oldest son catch up to and even surpass his peers, depending upon the subject. Instead of being distracted by all the kids in a classroom full of 30 kids, he is now in a classroom with only 3 others. He gets one on one instruction in areas where he needs it.

My youngest child is now entering Kindergarten after three years of public preschool and is still nowhere near ready for it. He is going to seriously struggle with the academics and he is going to need lots of resources and help that I would have difficulty providing for him on my own. I am amazed every day by what public school can do for special needs children. Admittedly it can be like pulling teeth to get them to acknowledge that there ARE special needs but once you do establish what you need to, it is a gift that keeps on giving. Need a private car service to transport your kid to school because he cannot handle the stimulation of all the kids on a bus? No problem. Need a classroom with only 2-3 other kids in it? No problem. Need a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or speech therapist (or perhaps all three)? No problem. We pay more taxes in our current district than anywhere else we have lived but how can I complain?

6. Public schooling won’t improve unless caring, motivated parents are there to encourage change. I have often accused public schooling of being cookie cutter education and I have my fair share of complaints (despite what I just said above). I get pretty mad when I think teachers are being inflexible and unreasonable. I get hoppin mad when one of my kids is afraid to voice their opinion to a teacher or administrator about something that concerns them because they feel they will be punished for dissent. I have concerns when too many of the songs in chorus are about Jesus since schools are supposed to honor a separation of church and state. I think they need to relax when it comes to homework and stop being so laid back about bullying. I have concerns. You have concerns. We can’t do anything about those concerns if we pull our kids out of that environment and school them at home. Who will fight for the kids and parents who don’t have that option?

When I pulled my oldest child out of public school I was essentially giving up. I felt they were doing wrong by him and I could not get them to change. Who benefited when I gave up? No one. My son slipped further behind because homeschooling was not a good fit for us and the school got to wipe their hands clean of him and his issues. I did them a favor. That all changed when I was introduced by chance to a lawyer and special education advocate. She heard my son’s experience and jumped at the chance to do right by him. If I had chosen to return him to his old school she would have helped to force them to acknowledge his special needs and then accommodate them as required by law. Instead I chose to put him in a school created especially for children with special needs.

Now I am starting this process all over again with my six year old. This time I am determined to be the advocate my child needs and the parent who works for change from the inside.

7. You can still have an active role in educating your child even if they ARE in public school. Public schooling does not mean lazy parenting. Well, it can mean that but it doesn’t have to. If your child is struggling to learn because their teacher is not willing or able to adapt lessons to their learning style then get creative and work on these issues at home. Help them with gaps. Have fun with “unschooling” nights and weekends by playing educational board games or taking them to museums. You can expose to them all sorts of wonderful opportunities and experiences. You are not limited just because they go to public school.

Have them complete their homework with you. Volunteer at their school and become informed of the issues and see what they are learning. Join the PTA. Get to know their teachers so well they are practically on speed dial. And I don’t mean come to them with bad stuff (ie complaints) all the time…build a positive relationship. Don’t feel as though you need to relinquish control of your child’s education…think of yourself as a partner in their education. Everyone wins.

8. Private schools are flippin expensive! They are not an option for us but even if they were I am not so sure we would utilize them. My limited experience with private schools left me feeling that they were just as likely to provide cookie cutter education. At the religious school where my daughter went there was entirely too much shaming going on as well. Not so much a fan of that. If we did private schooling it would likely be Montessori or similar.

So, time for you to weigh in. Agree or disagree. What have you chosen for your family?

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

44 Comments

  • Erin

    Wow, I honestly hope my taxes aren’t paying for a private car service to take children to school… That is insane… Parents need to take SOME responsibility for their children and if that involves adjusting your work hours so you can walk/bike/drive/etc your child to school than so be it. In 15 yrs of pre-K through 12th grade there was NEVER a bus service at my schools and I had two working parents who somehow managed to get me to school every day… A car service… That’s ludicrous… Put your other kids in the car seats, load them up and take you own kid to school! For goodness sakes…

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      I don’t think it is insane as long as it is the exception and not the rule. School is compulsory and set at certain times that are not flexible. They set the district lines which may require your kids to go to a school miles away. Sometimes parents don’t have luxuries…like cars and flexible work hours. Some kids/families require assistance.

      Also my reference to a private car was in regards to special needs students who may have to travel 20 miles to get to their “special” school and may have issues that require a certain kind of transportation. Getting assistance like is not for the faint of heart. You have to fight tooth and nail to get it so it is not possible for any Tom, Dick, or Harry who is just too lazy to get up and take their kid to school, to access this kind of “perk”. Empathy is a wonderful thing.

    • Heather

      Where I live, the school board provides transportation for kids who live more than a particular distance from the school. Same goes for some special needs kids. Sometimes that’s buses but sometimes it’s cabs. I pay for that with my taxes. No gripes. I want all kids … not just mine … to have a chance for educational success. Even if I didn’t have kids at all, I’d still be paying education tax. That’s because it takes a village to raise a child and I’m part of that village no matter my age or status.

      My kids were able to walk to school or be driven.

  • Sue

    Homeschooling has worked for my family for 15 years now and I truly enjoy it. My oldest kids were public schooled through 5th and 7th grade and I’ve schooled the next two from K-12, and still have three I’m schooling. Is it right for everyone? Absolutely not! My hat is off to you for realizing that! No need to explain your choice; public school works for you and your family and that’s that!

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Thanks Sue. I often wish I were better suited for homeschooling because extended travel is a dream we have that we cannot access as readily with public schooling in the picture. Yet I feel that we are in a good place now. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/MaggieKenyonEvans Maggie Evans

    We have chosen to homeschool our children. I respect your choices and your reasons for them, but I disagree that public schools offer an advantage over homeschooling in terms of diversity. If my children were attending the public schools here, they would be in a classroom with 20 other children the same age, and the vast majority of them would be white and of similar socio-economic status.

    If #1 was true for you, due to your family situation and your children’s special needs, that is certainly a valid reason for the choices you made. For many other homeschooling families, mom does not spend every waking moment with her children. My children take music and dance classes, and participate in children’s theater- I do not have to stay there for these activities. My older children (8 and 9) have friends within walking/biking distance and can go play in the afternoons when their work is done. (They have friends who are homeschooled and friends who are public-schooled)

    On a side note: you said when your son returned to public school, he tested below grade level. I was wondering, do you know where he stood before you withdrew him from school? You mentioned “issues” that caused you to try homeschooling, and I think it’s possible he was already behind when you started homeschooling, unless you have some way to know otherwise.

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Maggie, I totally get what you are saying about lack of diversity in some schools. We had that same issue when we lived in a small town. No issues with that now that we live in the city.

      I am also quite positive that when I pulled him from school he was already well below his peers academically. I think they were turning a blind eye because they didn’t want to dedicate the resources they suspected he would need if thy addressed the problem. It was hard not to blame myself though for homeschooling him. I have made peace with it now I am better armed to handle “issues” in coming years because I got a crash course education in how to be an advocate for my child.

      • http://www.facebook.com/MaggieKenyonEvans Maggie Evans

        Don’t blame yourself. I have a LOT more respect for someone who tries homeschooling and then makes the informed decision that it isn’t the right choice for them, than the people who say to me “Oh, I could never homeschool,” who have no idea what homeschooling really means.

  • EJ

    Agreed! In my experience, religious school and some homeschool curricula teaches kids WHAT to think. I want my kids to learn HOW to think. And the bast way to do that, IMO, is to expose them to lots of different viewpoints, backgrounds, cultures, teaching styles, etc., and encourage problem-solving, rather than problem-avoidance.

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      So true. Thanks for weighing in!

    • Cherie

      I completely disagree with this statement, in my experience it is the opposite. My children learn different perspectives, we discuss them, and their independent thinking and learning is encouraged, as well as extensive problem solving.
      Whether someone homeschools or not is a personal choice, which I have no opinion on, but statements that are inaccurate and blanket, I do.

    • http://www.facebook.com/MaggieKenyonEvans Maggie Evans

      I have to disagree. I attended public school for 12 years, and the focus was very much on learning what to think rather than how to think for ourselves. My own children, who are homeschooled, are immersed in a culture where learning is the end rather than the means to an end. Our focus is not on grades or testing, but simply the acquisition of knowledge and skills.

  • Heather

    I applaud your honesty and your rationale. I have two grown kids (25 and 22) who are fantastic products of our public school system in Canada. Where I live on the prairies, private schools are far and few between. Almost all kids go to public school, wealthy or poor. It makes for a realistic mix of cultures and backgrounds. I approve. And like you, it’s not that I agree with everything, but I prefer to work within in the system, too, along with a whole bunch of other concerned parents. I always told my kids that, as a fact of life, they would sometimes get extraordinary teachers and sometimes they would get teachers that weren’t so great. This being expected, my kids would have to learn to adapt just as they will someday in the working world. It’s not bad preparation.

    I, too, would never have home schooled my kids mostly for the same reasons you listed and I’m happy to say I have no regrets. My kids have both been in the top 5% academically at the schools and universities they have attended … they are strong, capable, leaders among their peers, community-minded, socially well-adjusted, and everything I had ever hoped they might be. Thank you public school system for the role you played in their success.

    That said, I also applaud those homeschoolers who have what it takes to both education and socialize their kids … preparing them for a world that is far from ideal but their world nonetheless.

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Thank you Heather. :)

  • (((((HUGS))))) sandi

    I’m so sorry for this!!!! There is no ONE right way to do ANYTHING, save what works for YOU and your family!!!! ~written by a homeschooler~

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Thank you for the hugs Sandi. ;)

  • Erin N

    Thank you for sharing so openly! My oldest will start Kindergarten next year and we are weighing all of the options. It’s great to hear from a family who “chose” Public school. That perspective is hard to find, so I think it becomes easy to assume that parents of kids who attend public school haven’t made a “decision” for their kids to attend, but just landed there. There is a lot of info out there about why parents decide against it, so I really appreciate your balanced viewpoint, having experienced multiple schooling situations. And way to go, mom, for advocating for your kids! I just love that!

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Good luck with whatever you decide and thanks for commenting!

  • Coupon Cook

    I have considered sending my daughter to public school this year, and homeschooling my son. He will be entering kindergarten. It seems unfair to take that approach. But Each of my children have different needs. She needs more social interaction than I can afford to provide. He has severe asthma and allergies. I’m not sure the school building is the best environment for him. But we are going to try. She thrives in a classroom with 30 other kids. My son may or may not. He prefers to play alone. Even at church with plenty of peers he plays alone. He’s been such a sick baby that he’s horribly and unintentionally spoiled for time. He needs to see what its like to sit in a classroom and actually do work. He needs the competition that a homeschool environment can’t provide. But we are open to reevaluation if he continually becomes sick in that environment.

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Hope you find the solution that will work best for your kiddos. Thanks for sharing!

  • Carl

    Research has shown homeschool kids score 30% higher then public schools and 20% higher the private schools. It also shows HS kids adapt to collegs better the public schools kids. Collegs, including the elite eastern schools are heavily recruiting HS since they already know how to learn independently and do not have to taught. Also HS boost the GPA average. Socially HS kids are not gather into one room with the same age group, so they intermingle with different age groups more like the real world. Many more things I could say but you get the point. As Dr. Voddie Bauchman says, ” if you send your children to Ceaser expect Romans to come home.

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      I am guessing you are Christian?? Caesar of course being the symbol of an anti-God government. I hope my children will not “belong” to government OR God but thanks for the warning.

      • Carl

        Not really anti-God gov. But if you send your children to a broken (Detroit schools) expect broken children to come home. If they go to a secular humanist school expect secular humanist to come home, if they go to liberal school liberals will come home…ect. This is why I home school group think, not good for America.

        • Candy

          But I bet you don’t have kids that are Autistic either. There are lots of Charter schools plus school of choice in metro Detroit now so HS doesn’t have to be the only choice.

  • Christina

    LOVE your article Tiffany! For quite a few years, if I ever mentioned online that my kids go to public school I would get inconsiderate flack from homeschoolers about how bad the public schools are and we’d be sorry. I firmly believe that each family needs to make the decision that’s best for THEIR family, not for other families. We are very fortunate that we live in a good school district and both my kids like going to school. No situation is picture-perfect and the religious / private schools all have their fair share of behavioral problems, drugs, alcohol, etc as the public schools do. But the public schools get the bad rap. Going to public school also teaches many life lessons and I just had this conversation with my youngest tonight. She’s not thrilled with one of the girls in her class, who apparently can be mean on the bus. She knows that she needs to be polite and respectful to this girl because she’s a human being but she also knows that she doesn’t have to be friends with her nor does she have to put up with any of her bad behavior. the world is full of not-so-favorable people and often you’ll have no control over where or when you’ll run into them. The earlier they learn to deal with their peers in different situations, the better (IMO, of course)

  • Kristin Friesen

    THANK YOU!!! My oldest is going into kindergarten this year and also struggles with ODD. We have had him in public preschool but it was a sp.ed. program and a class specifically for kids with behavioral issues. His teacher recommended that he go on to mainstream kindy and NOT developmental kindy and that gave me a lot of anxiety about how he would do in a large classroom setting and worried that it would be too high an expectation and that we would just be setting him up for failure. After lots of debate we finally settled on a school but I am still nervous and doubtful. Your description of your homeschool experience is 100% what I envisioned mine would be, which is why I chose not to homeschool. Great article, it really helped me feel good about my decision!

  • Justine

    Attachment parenting doesn’t mean being attached at the HIP, it means being attached at the HEART…and you are doing the right thing!
    Public schools need our support; public school TEACHERS need our support. The system is never going to change if we just complain about it and stick our kids in private school or homeschool…thos options aren’t for everyone. Every child deserves access to free public education; we should be working to make this an choice that we are proud to make!

  • http://www.toscabaking.blogspot.com Tosca Bleeker

    Thanks for sharing. As a mom, you know what best for your children and you will try to give them all the need within your capabilities.
    It’s good to hear that there are school helping/teaching your boys!
    I can also understand you you want some adult time. I have a “free” day now. Finally time to clean the house, do some shopping, etc.
    (I think I have 1 freeday/mnth)

    We send our daughter to a Montessori school, but I believe our school system in the Netherlands is a bit different.
    Montessori is a bit different than a “normal” school, but also paid for by our government. (Not private, so no extra costs)
    Our second daughter will also be going the the Montessori school, we are nut sure she is a Montessori student, but we would like to try first before we send her to a public school.

  • Michelle Y

    I’m a home schooling mom for only the second year. I think your article was perfect and beautiful though! My kids will be in public school someday (private is not an option for us, either!), when I finally re-enter the work force. You sound like you’ve found a healthy, balanced place for your family, congrats :)

  • Elissa

    So well written, mama! I dream of being able to put my children in montessori private school but not sure if that is a fiscal reality. Number six really spoke to me. Thank you! :)

  • Penelope

    Lovely, well written article! The public schools in our area are out of the question. We can’t afford the better neighborhoods, and homeschooling wouldn’t work with our jobs. We send our daughters to a private progressive school. As for affording it, the best kept secret about private schools is most of them offer financial aid/scholarships!

  • Amanda

    Thank you for this article! Definite pros of public school are diversity of students/teachers and of ideas, I agree. You can be very involved with your children even if they attend public school. Yes, schools can only get better if caring, motivated parents support public schools and teachers. Our children attend public schools, I am a product of public school and my Dad is a Detroit Public School teacher.

  • http://twitter.com/retrohousewife5 Lisa

    I went to a private and religious preschool, went to public school until 4th grade and then homeschooled for the rest of my schooling. It’s fine that homeschooling isn’t for you, it’s not for everyone but does seem like you have some of the common misconceptions about homeschooling that many people have.

    I got more socialization homeschooling, instead of being around a few kids that were all my age, I was around kids of all ages and adults. My brother played soccer, I coached soccer a few years, was involved in church and youth group, all of those things had a different set of people.

    As far as learning different ideas, yes a lot of people in our homeschool group were like the Duggars, some even belonged to the group the Duggars do (ATI) and went to conferences with them but that isn’t as common on the coasts and even around here many families aren’t like that, mine wasn’t.

    We had a ton of magazines around, conservative and liberal even though at that point we were republicans (my whole family has now registered democrat), tons of books, my parents would buy any books we wanted within reason, my youth group visited other churches in town (it was a Presbyterian church and pretty liberal), we took music lessons, played sports, etc… My parents very much encouraged us to be our own people and we have done a good job doing that haha.

    Anyway, my point is homeschooling is amazing when it’s right for the family. My brother and I were both in a gifted and talented program and he was bored because he was above his grade level, I was struggling because I have learn disabilities. Those are my thoughts as someone that has seen a lot of forms of education. OH and for anyone that doesn’t know, my husband is a public school teacher and my FIL teachers education on the college level, so not anti-public school.

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      I don’t think I have misconceptions. Not all homeschool families are alike so not all homeschool experiences will be alike. Yet I was homeschooled for HS as was my brother, for longer if I recall. I am VERY familiar with homeschooling.

      • http://twitter.com/retrohousewife5 Lisa

        That’s my point, homeschooling depends on the family. Maybe I misunderstood but it seemed like you were lumping a lot of us together. I was more unschooled than homeschooled but I’m VERY happy I was. With my learning disabilities and being gifted, public school was not for me.

      • Laurel

        You may have been home-schooled, but I agree, you have misconceptions, especially as regards your opinions in #2. That may have been your experience, but it certainly isn’t mine, nor is it the experience of so many in at least one home-school group here in Southern NE. I am happy for you that you have made a family decision as to what is best for your children; indeed that is what we are all attempting to do, but I disagree with you on so much of what you have written in #2. And in #5, I know so many parents with children who need some type of special attention that practically have to sell their souls to get anything done. It certainly isn’t as easy as you make it sound in your description in #5.

  • Brandy

    I appreciate your honesty and am glad you shared your personal story. It is my heart’s desire to homeschool my son, but I’m gathering as much information as possible before making the decision (he’s only 2.5 yrs, so I have time.) I only know public school, and very, very well. I attended a whopping 7 elementary schools and then middle and high schools in different areas. I was under a lot of pressure socially since I was constantly trying to make friends and fit in. I think this zapped a lot of my academic potential :( . I guess I turned out fine, despite all the instability.
    Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, lack of diversity would not be a social issue for us if we homeschooled. I worry more about lack of family support. My mom is on board, but my husband’s family already thinks I’m overprotective and are anti-homeschool. This kind of makes me want to do it more ;) I’m also concerned about your point #6. Since I have flexibility, it would be nice to be very active in the public school and be an advocate for all kids there. We’ll see – I only have one child, so as long as I’m clearly assessing how he’s doing in either learning environment, we’ll be okay.

  • Sarah Carlyle

    Bravo! Great article! I thoroughly looked into homeschooling, and with many friends who have home schooled their children and I did notice everything was more or less one sided based on the parents beliefs.
    My oldest (10 ) is flourishing in public school, he is in advanced class and even getting straight A’s in them. A neighbor girl was struggling and guess what the public school took her under their wings and got the help she needed because there are a ton of resources at their finger tips. I am getting ready to send my 2nd off to kindergarden tomorrow and he *Gasp* attended pre-school. Just so he could get away from me and learn I am not going to me the number one in command all of the time.
    My kids are very well adapted little buggers and what the school doesn’t teach, we teach at home. Life skills can’t always be taught at sports practice because once the game or practice it over then everyone goes home. Then what? They didn’t get much time to really socialize with other kids because everything is so scheduled. Now at school they have lunch, recess, changing classes in the hall ways to interact, on their own, for their own. Just like the real world.

  • Mama K

    Yeah I agree its not a one size fits all thing… Public schools can be good schools and sometimes they’re best for a particular situation. Same with each of the other options (and bad can come of any of them as well).

    Personally I am not cut out for homeschooling either. I wish I was… but with my daughter at least, making it through prek years at home was rough enough. Thankfully we have an amazing private option here… is a co-op so costs are lower, there’s a lot of attention paid to diversity, tolerance and peace… and I love the curriculum (combo of methods). I know I’m lucky here though and the thought of moving makes me sad because of this school alone.

  • http://twitter.com/Eco_novice Betsy (Eco-novice)

    Very thoughtfully explained. It has been a bit of a surprise to me how many homeschoolers are online, but it does make sense. Just like there are a lot of SAHM. These are people who really need to build a community. As a former public school teacher in low-income minority schools and education policy researcher, I strongly identify with 6 and 7.
    But I am also very familiar with all the downsides of public schools. Still, it would be difficult for me to check out of the public school system because I really believe in public education as an essential part of a democracy and I want to help the institution succeed.

  • Sara Pearsall

    I love this article! We are planning on putting our daughter in public schools. We bought our house in a school district that we researched and discovered is one of the best in the state. I am a former teacher (will be again when she is a little older) and public school graduate. My husband was homeschooled from 8th grade – Senior year. We are both in agreement that public school would be best for her. She will get more than just our views on many topics. We both plan on enhancing her education outside of the classroom in several ways. I feel that your child’s education is just as much your responsibility as a teacher’s. Being a part of it, whether you are homeschooling or sending them to public school, is the best way to teach your child anything. You don’t have to hover over your child, just be aware and involved.

  • Michelle

    I am late to this conversation, but just wanted to add my comment on diversity. We started homeschooling last year. While in public school, my daughter spent her day with 28 kids, all white, with similar financial situations and similar religious beliefs. She spent all day at school, her evenings were full with homework and music practice. We never had time to participate in other activities that might offer her some diversity.

    Now that we homeschool, she participates in so many things we didn’t have time for before. We are not religious, but she participates in a school band at a private Christian school. We go on field trips with our homeschooling group that has members from many different backgrounds. In the evening we have time to participate in other activities we are interested in and we’ve met so many people so different from us. She has so much more cultural diversity in her life now that we are homeschooling, things she would never have had time to experience while attending public school.

  • Jackie

    Hi Tiffany
    I agree with many of the comments that you show courage and deserve kudos for speaking up about the reasons for your family’s decision to choose public school. But I also agree with Lisa that you express some misconceptions about homeschooling.

    You make some generalizations about diversity that assume diversity cannot be found outside a public school, and several comments point out many experiences to the contrary. You might have chosen words instead to express personal experience as just that: e.g., “There wasn’t enough diversity in the homeschool groups/activities we had available to us.”

    Further, you didn’t mention the wide array of choices in styles of homeschooling, and that there are many ways to give children a variety of perspectives and ideas besides schooling at home or schooling at school.

    Unschooling is not just ‘not schooling’. Speaking as a home educating parent who chooses to unschool, unschooling really isn’t something you can try and then say it doesn’t work in the short time you describe, and isn’t something done on “unschooling nights” as you describe. Unschooling is more of a philosophy than a methodology, and most unschoolers embody the philosophy in their family lifestyle.

    I am very happy for you, and any parent, that finds an option that works for their family. I still support schools, but I think the whole system needs a major overhaul, not just fine-tuning.

  • IThoughtIKnewMama

    I basically could have written #s 1,2,4,6, and 7 myself! Sharing!