Saturday, March 19, 2011

Great Comments

WOW! A couple of great comments have got me thinking, so I'll answer with some last thoughts before moving on to Homeschooling Series III.

I originally responded to Angela's questions in the comments section but am posting here with some minor edits for better searchable access. Plus, you'll see some additional thoughts triggered by Lyndsay's great comments.

After seeing in the last post that I value the socialization that homeschooling provides for its superior ability to prepare a person for family roles (i.e. being a wife and mother), Angela made the point that that the purpose of schools is education, not prepping for family roles. Very good point. Then she asked these two questions :

"So my [first] question to you is essentially this: if your third child is a boy [and he will need to prepare to support a family instead of be a homemaker], will that change your thoughts at all on the virtues of homeschooling over public education? My second question on subject would be this: if your child as some point asked to go to public school, would you agree to it?"

To answer the first question: absolutely I would home school my boys. I don't think the ability to have successful marriage and parental relationships are limited to only women. Fathers and husbands are just as much in need of knowing how to work together as are mothers and wives.

But, since you mentioned that the point of school was not to prepare for family roles, but rather to educate and prepare for the workforce, I might add a little blurb here about that. The idea that public education somehow makes a person more suitable to the workplace seems, to me, something that is widely excepted only because it happens to be the current norm. Homeschoolers, from what I read on the subject, are actually well excepted by the collegiate acceptance boards--usually because they have consistently demonstrated a much higher level of self-motivation and responsibility than those taught in regular public schools. If you're interested in studies and statistics, HSLDA has published some good figures.

One quick example that pops into my mind, however, is of a particular family of three boys from California were all home schooled using the "unschooling" method by John Holt. Basically this method means the parents do almost ZERO teaching or instruction, letting the children literally follow whatever whims of interest they have. These three boys were all accepted to Harvard law or medicine programs.

Thus, I believe because the academics are shown time and time again to be superior in the home school environment than in traditional public schools--as well as learning life-long social skills that will benefit family life--it is the best option for both boys and girls.

As for your second question: if my children ask to go to school, I would most certainly consider it. Especially after age 8-12, when children can be mature enough to make many decisions for themselves. And also especially as a dual-enrollment type of situation where they wanted to be in Drama, Debate, Orchestra or some other class done best in a group. I may still want them to do some of their subjects at home, but of course, the child's wants and wishes are important in any type of schooling.

Then I got a great comment from Lyndsay, too, sharing her great experiences in public school. I loved the comment because I have heard and read (and have personally experienced) so many negative things about public schools that I'm always eager to find people who loved their years in school. In fact, my husband is one of those few who loved school, too. I, on the other hand, hated it. Although I was an "A" student and graduated with honors, AP classes, the whole 9 yards, the only thing I really remember learning was (1) how to please teachers; (2) how to memorize just enough to ace the test before I promptly forgot everything; and (3) how to appear, socially, exactly how others wanted me to appear instead of being ok with plain me (something that took me years to overcome and I still struggle with at times).

I've noticed a common thread so far, though, in the handful of people I have known about who loved school: they all had involved families who emphasized education and took an active part in what their children were learning. Which goes to show how powerful the home can be--even if you choose not to home school full time!

This is fantastic!

One thing that really made me think, though, about Lyndsay's comment was how well children learn when they hear the same things reiterated by more than just their parents. That's a very good point and I think homeschoolers have to be diligent (and typically are) in making sure their children have opportunities to learn from many people other than parents by going on educational field trips.

And Lyndsay is absolutely right--how a person chooses to educate their children is most certainly a personal choice. Just because I'm detailing why I think it's best for our family does not in any way mean I look down on those who choose public schools for their children! Perish the thought! In fact, my own mother confessed to me that she desperately wanted to home school all seven of us kids but after much prayer, she felt that it wasn't right. It just goes to show that God always knows an individual's situation best.

However, stay tuned and keep an open mind because I've discovered some more enlightening things that may make anyone rethink and make an extra effort to see what God thinks about whether they are capable of home schooling or if home schooling is right for them! Such an exciting subject!

And keep the comments coming ... especially if you disagree. I'm still learning here as much or more than anyone.

2011Res: To Matt: You must be the best time-keeper in the universe to remember Brynn's odd feeding schedule (required to accommodate her still-lingering flu bug). You are amazing. To Heidi: today I savored your hi-pitched squealing laugh. I have never heard someone so young laugh so hard! Dear Mr H: today I did absolutely nothing for you because I felt like poo. You, however, cleaned the kitchen, cared for our sick little Brynn, AND made Heidi laugh her head off by making obnoxious fart sounds. Is she too little to be teaching crass humor? Nevermind. You are awesome.

P.S. Dear Diane: Thanks so much for the yummy chicken soup! It was totally worth dragging my tired, achy body off the chair that had molded itself to me.


Heather said...

Natalie--I love you, and I'm so grateful you are in our family. You can guess that since I come from the same family as Matt that I had a fabulous school experience growing up. I would probably argue that mine was even better because I had 10 very close friends with the same values as me to support me along the way and we still keep in touch. I think that peer influence growing up is just as important, if not more, as a teacher's influence. Anyway, one thing that I thought I might comment on, is whenever you comment on your negative experience in public school you only refer to high school. Was your elementary school experience really that bad as well or do you even remember it?

Also, in my personal experience--those that supplemented their homeschool education with taking some AP classes and group things like chior or orchestra in high school ended up doing the best. I think that story of the boys getting into Harvard is really inspiring, but a family I knew that homeschooled their kids had the oppoiste. None of their kids could even get into BYU. So just be very conscious about both sides of the spectrum (which I know you are doing, because you are Natalie). Also--with the whole "pleasing the teacher and memorizing things quickly and then forgetting it"--it doesn't change in College. And I do really really hope you are still planning on making sure your kids go to College. :)

One las thing-I think that its important to factor that NATURE as well as NURTURE goes into a child's education. I think you guys will be alright whatever you choose because you are so smart and you married a pure Genius. :)

love you dear! And know that we all support you no matter your decision. You shouldn't have to justify your decision to anyone but God and your husband, so just remind yourself of that as you keep posting away!

Natalie said...

@H: Yes, I had a tough time from about 6th grade on. Maybe some day I'll write about it, but it's not really important because any individual can overcome a bad circumstance--so the ultimate responsibility of whether I had a good or bad education was squarely on my own shoulders. I will note, however, that public education certainly did not HELP me overcome the things I struggled with socially, emotionally, or academically.

Also, how many homeschoolers have you known? If you know how to contact them, I'd love to talk to them and pick their brains.

BYU does accept home schooled children under certain circumstances. From what I've read a great way to get in to BYU is to take their concurrent enrollment courses online and BYU can see for itself how you do. In either case, here is BYU's policy:

Natalie said...

There is also a book titled "History of Alternative Education" by Daniel E. Witte who was homeschooled and entered BYU at the age of 15. He was--and I believe still is--the youngest graduate of BYU (at the age of 19 in 1992).