overwhelm me.

OK, so I'm going to rehash an old subject here.  Let me get my disclaimer out right now...the opinions I may express throughout this piece are my own and based on people I have met and interacted with.  They are a work in progress.  By no means is it an exhaustive list of...well, anything.  This is JUST my thought process at the moment on a subject that will vastly effect my family.  I'm willing to say my fears out loud here so that other may 1) relate, 2) share a difference of fact and/or opinion and 3) expand my horizons by doing such.


So we are talking about homeschooling again.  There is just SOMEthing about it that keeps pricking at my heart and I can't help but want to investigate the avenue completely until I feel a definite yes or no in regards to whether or not we are supposed to do it.  Doug does not completely oppose the idea and I believe that our opinions/thoughts/ideas on the matter are similar.

Here my best reason for sending Moses to public school:  I get a break from him.  Completely selfish but true.      

Add that to: I have NO idea where to start with home school and you have (almost) my complete basis for sending him to public school next year.

That's really all I have in this category.  Almost.  I will get to my last reason, but I bet you could guess what it is.

Here are some of my reasons for wanting to home school: 
-remaining the largest influence in his life.  I want to ensure that the foundation of his life is Christ centered and not world centered.  I want his education to be saturated with Christ.  There are things being taught in public schools that I do not agree with.  Not that I FEAR them...but believe that they have no place being taught to young children whose personalities, souls and beliefs are still being formed.   

-believing that I have been equipped to be the best teacher for my child.  Even if I don't FEEL like I am, I know, that if this is what I am supposed to do...that He will qualify me beyond what I think I can do.

-wanting to limit the influences of the world on him.  I'm not saying I want him to live in a bubble forever but I feel strongly that public school is not where it is supposed to be on many, many levels.  This is NOT me saying that there are no good teachers and people in the public school system BUT you cannot convince me that one on one instruction is ever inferior to being one of 30 in a class.

-preserving family time.  My husbands job leaves us with an odd schedule.  That is likely never to change so long as he stays on this career path.  And I am OK with that.  We have always been able to work around it to make the most of our time together.  Public school would drastically change that.  Doug would go from seeing Moses for several hours in a day to a couple.  That is not OK with me or Doug or Moses (if he had a say).  I could teach in a couple of hours what it takes a teacher to do all day.  To me, this age is a PRECIOUS time to form the little men that I am raising...I don't want or feel it in his best interest to give that time away to others yet.  I just don't.  Plus, I love the idea of family field trips.  We live in a historically RICH area and it would be awesome to visit these places and call it school

We have already agreed that it would be an open ended time line...meaning that we would take it year by year and see how it goes.  Maybe we are only supposed to do this through elementary school?  Maybe until high school...who knows?  Not us yet.  

Whenever I bring this up to anyone, you wanna guess what comes up?  Go ahead...think about it.  People say one of two things to me: 1)We are called to be a light in the world, as Christians and 2) aren't you worried about raising a social reject? Not stated like that, but overwhelmingly implied.

Let's start with number one.  Are we called to be a light in the world?  Yes.  Is this limited to a public school setting?  No.  Young children are so easily swayed by others...teachers, friends, etc...that I would like to do my best, in their young years to build a firm foundation, from which they can defend their beliefs and love of Christ.  My kids not going to public school in their young lives does not mean they won't be lights to the world.  And lets be honest...which do you hear more of...a kid coming home from school with a nice, new, naughty word or a kid coming home to announce that he became saved at school through his six year old buddy Timmy?  Not that it can't happen...I'm just thinking that we don't live in a culture anymore where the latter is more likely than the former.

Number two.  I will admit...this is my biggest fear and my biggest reason in the "con" category.  I am not overly social.  My husband is an introverted, introvert. 

But more importantly...I have had many, many negative impressions of homeschooled children and their social skills/ability to function in society over the years.  I am not saying ALL.  Please hear me.  I am sure YOUR child may not be this way at all...and if so, please email me to reassure me that it is possible to raise a socially functional child who is homeschooled and delightful. 

At the risk of hate mail, let me tell you about some of my experiences with homeschooled kids...

My best friend of many years was homeschooled.  As was her siblings.  She was and still is, very socially odd.  You could pick her out of a crowd easily...based solely on her lack of social skill...ability to carry a conversation with someone new, recognizing social cues, etc.  I only managed to become great friends with her via a mutual acquaintance.  All of her homeschooled friends that I met? Weird, weird people.  I'm just being honest.  I loved her dearly and valued our friendship but she did NOTHING to convince me to ever homeschool.  One of her brothers, equallly weird and oddly attached to his mother.  The other brother...off the charts, tree loving hippy who will refuse any NEW non-handmade gift (that has to be made of natural items)...last I heard he was living in the WOODS of North Carolina in a shelter of his own construction.

And 90% of my exposure to homeschooled kids...pretty much the same.  Seriously lacking social skills and basic human interaction abilities.  It's like they were taken 75% of the way and left there or something.

Please don't read this wrong and send me ugly words.  I am not saying that either side is wrong or right but I do believe there is a RIGHT path for everyone and I am just trying to figure out what that path is for us.  I believe that YOU made the best decision for your child and I am trying to do the same for mine.   

Right now, I am leaning towards grabbing a few workbooks and starting slowly this year to see how we do (a year that Moses is in pre-school anyway).  

If you would like to share a comment with your experiences and win me over to your side...that would be awesome.  Want to send me a homeschooling starter kit?  Well, that would put you on my Christmas card list.   

Please tell me that I have just had a run of bad experience and that my examples are not the norm?       
Please tell me that you started here one day and had the same fears and it all turned out wonderfully?
Please share all of your tips...your favorite curriculum or teaching items? 
Please tell me where to start?  What do you have to have?  What do you wish you hadn't bought?

Please tell me something...


Rachel said...

Hey Crystal! This is something I've thought a lot about also... however, growing up in a Christian household I definitely picked up a lot of negative/non-Christ centered habits/thoughts from public school. But you know what? I was also (truly) just as interested in sharing Christ with others in a loving way and once girl even accepted Christ (at least partially) as a result of our friendship.

In high school my biology teacher had us each teach a chapter from our book to the class. She assigned me the chapter on evolution. I did research and took the opportunity to teach ALL the theories about how the world came to be. I learned a lot, solidified my faith and my teacher was impressed.

On the homeschooling side though, I know there are ways to keep your kids involved with other kids so they develop socially (maybe someone who has done that has suggestions?)

I have no idea what I will do with Melody, though I am very seriously considering home-school through preschool to give her a chance to have a firmer foundation before sending her off to be schooled by someone else.

And like you said... you can decide one year at a time- it doesn't have to be a forever decision... either way you can always change if you think it isn't working out, right?

Praying God leads you clearly!

Sarah Rachel said...

This has been a subject up for a lot of discussion recently among my social circle here in Roanoke. I have always been personally opposed to homeschooling my kids for the reasons you have already covered. I grew up in a solid Christian home, went to public schools my whole life, led SEVERAL (seriously- it was like a regular thing at my elementary school slumber parties =)) kids to Christ, lots of other kids came to Christ through coming to church with me, VBS with me, and then in high school- to Young Life with me. I am so thankful my parents chose to send me to public schools (they considered both private schools and because God was able to use me in some pretty amazing ways (looking back now). I also feel like I was better prepared for college and the world during those times. My husband went to private schools and I really think that has a lot to do with the struggles he had staying on the straight and narrow in college. My kids will most likely go to public schools. Alan and I have started praying now that God will use our kids in powerful ways in the public school system and we plan on being involved and hopefully ministering to the parents and students. So that's where I stand.
YOUR reasons for homeschooling are awesome and especially the one about Doug's time. You can't get that time back and I think it makes so much sense.
This is what I have to say about homeschooled kids- Roanoke has COMPLETELY changed my mind about them!! There are SO many amazingly cool, fun, mature, socially capable homeschooled kids here! Our church has a lot of them. I'm close friends with a lot of the coolest homeschooling moms in the world. They love Jesus, love people, and are incredibly smart AND cool! They have co-ops of sorts and classic conversation (not sure what that is?) classes and sport teams and they do Young Life with the public school kids and they are well dressed and...awesome. I've been blown away! I don't know what the homeschooling community is like where you are but I think that makes all the difference. A lot of the kids take a couple classes at the high school so they get a taste of it but aren't full time students. One of my mentors has homeschooled her 4 kids and they are amazing. They fit in effortlessly in college, at work, at our very large church youth group. They are confident and well-spoken and attractive (in addition to knowing and loving Jesus so much). They defy every stereotype. And it's not just her kids. It's this WHOLE group of them. These ladies have figured it out. I'm so impressed by them and by all their kids! So I would suggest with your situation to look into what kind of co-ops, schools, groups of homeschoolers there are in your area. I think the socially inept ones are the ones who are kept from community. Community is something that the bible is all about. We're not supposed to be isolated. =) There's my novel!

Melissa said...

First I would like to give you some verses to read on.

3 John 1:2-4
Proverbs 22:6
Proverbs 13:20
Isaiah 54:13-14
Luke 6:39 (This is directed towards the school system, they do not fear the Lord.)
Jeremiah 10:2
1 Timothy 1:5

There is also a Pastor who has a radio broadcast who has a lot to say on homeschooling. ( generationswithvision.com )He has a lot of good stuff about homeschooling and has even featured Ken Ham on his broadcast.

I am all for homeschooling, even though my baby girl is not yet old enough to be in school. However, my little sister who is 10 has been homeschooled her entire life. She is not a social reject, but is extremely intelligent for her age. She has no problem carrying a conversation with an adult and can sometimes be shy around kids, but ultimately is just like any other kid once she gets to know them.
My husband has met many people like the ones you have encountered as far as the "hippy" homeschooler. In my case all of the homeschooled people I have met have been well adjusted, devoted Christians. Most of whom are actually making a difference in their community.
I believe that if you kept them involved with some sort of group of kids their own age they would be fine. Maybe get them involved in their Church, 4-H group, Awana, something of that sort? Or you could reach out to a homeschooling group with kids their age. There are plenty of ways to keep your kids involved in social activities. You just need to think about what is really important to you and your family. Also I think the fact that you have been wrestling with this idea for quite some time says a lot. In these types of cases with myself it always seems like I am the one who is resisting what the Lord is laying on my heart. Usually I am the one who is being selfish... saying, but Lord! This may not be the case for you, but it could be. ^_~ Just think about who you want teaching your kids... who you want influencing them. Do you want the world to influence them or do you want the Lord to be the main influence in their lives?

I think I will stop rambling now, lol. I could go on forever! Anyways, good luck with your decision! I hope I have helped in some way. ^_~

Karen S said...

I have a lot of thoughts about this... because you had a lot of thoughts for me to think about! It's clear you have been poring over all the pros and cons, which is as it should be -- it's a big decision!

However as you point out... it's not something that will be written in stone. You can see how EITHER option works and then adjust or keep on that path!

All the reasons you give for wanting to homeschool are very legitimate. I will posit that I know some "weird" kids... who are homeschooled. And I know some "weird" kids who go to public or private school! I know my kids will be weird no matter how we school them. ;P

Unknown said...

Well, we started homeschooling when my oldest two were 8 and 6, my younger two have always been home schooled. My children are now 26, 24, 18 and 14. We do not homeschool for religious reasons, but for the other reasons you listed. The only way you could pick my children out from a random assortment of people their ages would be because they are totally comfortable talking and interacting with people of all ages, they are also not all caught up in popular culture like their schooled friends are.

Oldest did not go to college, she lives on her own and has 2 young children (just like some kids in school, she has always struggled with impulsive and edgy behavior and resulting poor choices -- but I have no doubt that had she been in school she may have had her first child by 16 or younger, rather than at 21!) and does the best she can with what she has.

#2 recently graduated from college, with a teaching degree and has moved to Austin TX where she is working in her field (we live in Memphis, which is very economically depressed). She played soccer from age 11+ and most of her friends came from that. She worked 2 jobs all the way through college. She has received job offers for every job she ever applied for. She was also a phenomenal babysitter -- no doubt from experience with the younger siblings -- but that gift manifested from the time she was 2 yrs old, long before the siblings came.

#3 has one more year of high school. Everyone loves her. She took 2 college classes last year, making A's, as a dual enrollment student. She just got back tonight from going with her boyfriend and his parents to get him settled in college up in PA (boyfriend graduated from a regular school here) -- his parents love her and think she's just wonderful. She fences and has lots of friends both in the neighborhood and from various activities.

#4 also has lots of friends, both home schooled and conventionally schooled and is very well regarded by everyone and their parents.

Now, my girls all dressed kind of strangely when they were younger -- we jokingly called it the homeschool look. When girls are in school they tend to quit wearing dresses pretty quickly, because of playground incidents. Homeschool girls tend to wear dresses as much as they want, often with leggings or shorts underneath for playground activities, and do not adopt the over sexualized look of popular culture, whether they are faith based homeschoolers or not. Homeschooling does allow them to march to their own drummer for much much longer than their school counterparts.

fwiw, we always consider homeschooling on a year to year (if not month to month basis) but it's worked for our family for 18 years now.

As a support group leader in our area, I would suggest you find some homeschool support groups where you are and maybe attend some meetings or park days, try to get a feel for the community and where you might fit in. Here we have both faith based support groups and (our group) a secular, inclusive group. You might order some catalogs for curriculum providers -- check out Sonlight and Winterpromise and My Father's World.

Anyway, I don't think my kids are too weird, unless it's in a good way. They've all had friends, boyfriends (not the 14 yr old yet), and seem to have it way more together than I did at their ages (except the oldest, but she has bipolar issues). I hope this wasn't too long and helps you some.

SarahinSC said...

I could write a novel for you about the pros/cons of homeschool/public/private school. I have taught in both public and private schools and currently homeschool one of my two sons. The other attends our local public school. No matter where or how our child learns, it is our responsibility that our child grow spititually, mentally, emotionally, physically and academically. I did a lot of praying to decipher what was the best path for my boys. You will make the right decision! If you don't, try the next option! If that doesn't work, try the next option!

Allison said...

I didn't see it mentioned, are there no private, religious schools in your area of your denomination? I don't know what you are, so I don't know if it's an option. Homeschooling seems to be more popular in the Catholic circle.

One of my good friends homeschools, although her oldest is only 7. But her kids are honestly the nicest and most well-behaved kids I have ever met.

Also, look into homeschool groups. That will help your kids get interaction with others to help build the social skills.

MJ @ 517 Creations said...

I love that you're so honest about this topic. I am a former public school teacher, who also taught in a Christian school, and am seriously considering home-schooling my 3 1/2 year old son. Many of the reasons are the same as yours, but one of the main reasons is similar to yours - my husband's crazy schedule. He's a youth pastor and definitely does not work 9-5. We love his job and love that my son and I get to tag along on a lot of cool experiences. Logistically it would just work best for us to home school, where I could cover all of the material in a few short hours and weren't tied to a school calendar.

Having said all of that, we definitely plan to put Grayson in school at some point - maybe junior high? - so he'll be able to be involved in athletics, if that's something he continues to desire.

Good luck with your decision! I know you'll be praying about it and hope that God will totally reveal what is right for your family!

Lindsey said...

i've checked out your blog a few times, but never have commented (i don't think.) but i recently went through my own "homeschool" questioning.
first off, i don't believe for a second that "good christian" folks should homeschool only. i also don't believe that god has told us, as in all of christians, to homeschool.

i felt strongly that god was calling me to hs my oldest son last year, but not my daughter and my youngest is still too small. so i pulled my over so eager eldest child out to homeschool. i had really hoped it would work out. i wanted it so badly. but it became obvious to me and my son, that he belonged back in school. i truly felt that god called me to try it with him so we would "know" and then pointed out to us that he needed to go back.

he actually is the type to talk to his teachers and those around him about god. he often writes his sentences about faith. so is his a good influence :)

i won't go into all the details here, but feel free to email me if you have any questions regarding my own experience. i think hsing is a great option for parents and can be done wonderfully. i also think sending your kids to school is also a wonderful option for so many reasons. don't feel pressured by what the "christian world" says we should do either. i ran into many people who felt public school meant you really didn't love your children they way christ wants us to love our kids. :(

Unknown said...

During the time I worked for a (very large) public library system, I thought it interesting that I could ALWAYS tell the homeschooled kids from the traditionally-schooled kids immediately. How? They had such GOOD social skills! Really! The homeschooled kids were able to ask intelligent questions and carry on a comfortable conversation with adults. The traditionall-schooled kids (especially tweens and teens) seemed very socially awkward to me- like they only spoke to me because they HAD to, and even then I could tell they were uncomfortable and out of their comfort zone. Their questions were stilted and canned, and you could tell that people my age (20-something!) were considered *not cool* to talk to.

I would inevitably ask "how's school going?" just to test my theory, and was constantly dead-on. I told my husband- we've got to homeschool! Those kids are so well socialized!

I really just think it depends on *how* the homeschooling is done. A hermit-like homeschooling family that is sheltering their kids constantly will surely come out with kids a bit odd on the social spectrum. But homeschooled children who are fully immersed in a full and varied life are, in my opinion, simply delightful.

Praying for you as you discern! :)

Shanea said...

I teach and I have some very close friends/relatives who homeschool. Trust me: there are weirdos in both groups. Spend time in prayer and contemplation and the answer will be revealed. Also if you decide to homeschool, know when to outsource. Passion for the subject you teach is something that seeps onto the learner. If you don't get it or aren't excited about a subject, don't be afraid to get help.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us. I am certain that you will figure it all out and change if you need to fit your family/needs.

Bethany said...

I was going to write and tell you how not all those who were home schooled end up socially deficient. But I think you have plenty of examples. I count my siblings and myself among those who know how to function well in society after being schooled at home. I think we can all point to home school students who stick out like a sore thumb.

On the flip side, I've known a public school student who could barely look a classmate in the eye and was carried on his mother's hip to the classroom door until 3rd grade when the school officials told the mother no more. I've known a private school child so shy she could only whisper an answer to a classmate who would then relay the answer to the teacher. If you take that sort of a child (coupled with the right type of parent) and stick them in a home schooling situation, then yes, I believe problems may be exacerbated.

I've never thought that home schooling was for every family. I firmly believe that it can work out well for more families than are currently giving it a go. But what I think it boils down to is: Do you feel God calling you to home school? If then answer is yes, then if I were you, I'd stop weighing pros and cons and just obey.

Would it be easier if I were teaching in public school (and getting paid) than staying at home to teach my own? You betcha! And there are many days when I just want a break, but don't get one. But we know that this is what God has called our family to. Even if that makes finances really tight for us... that's my personal faith struggle with home schooling.

Are you willing to home school if God calls you to it, even if that meant a guaranteed life in Nerdville for your kids? (Could this be your faith struggle with home schooling?)

Remember, that your boys are not yours! They are God's and He loves them and has a better plan for their lives than you can even dream! Spend time seeking God's face-- not the world's answers to your schooling choice. And then trust Him that He will do great things if you walk in obedience.

I'll be praying for your family as you decide.

Artsy Matilda said...

Crystal! You know all about my homeschooling thoughts. I just wanted to say ... introverted introvert! Poor Doug! {You crack me up} :-D
Please believe know you will do the perfect thing for you and your family. Follow your heart - your head will catch up! Sending you prayers and hugs!

Anonymous said...

We decided to homeschool our son and just started kindergarten today. :) Our reasons were somewhat similar:
1) My husband has a weird work schedule and he wouldn't get to spend much time with Jer if he were in public school. He also travels back to our hometown three times a year and since we homeschool, Jeremy and I are able to travel with him and visit family.
2) It takes a lot less time than public school which leaves more time for him to just be a kid and explore things that interest him.
3) To keep him safe. Our neighborhood is pretty ghetto and one of the reasons that we moved here was to "be a light" and make a difference in our community. However it is not a very safe place to be. Jeremy plays with the neighborhood kids but only under our supervision. I would honestly fear for his physical well being if he were to go to the school down the street. Not to mention the fact that the kids around here swear like sailors and refer to my son as "that white boy".

Still, homeschooling is tough and there are many days that I wish I could take a break from him. Maybe your husband could take your boys on outings every once in awhile to give you a break.

As for the social aspect....well you are kind of right about a lot homeschoolers being weird...and that is coming from someone who was homeschooled 5-12 grade! Maybe it was because I started out in public school but people are always surprised that I was homeschooled because I'm not socially awkward like most homeschoolers. I know a lot of homeschoolers who are pretty normal but I have also met just as many weirdos.

If you aren't naturally social and don't have an active social life then the best way to help your kids develop socially would be to get involved with a local homeschool co-op. The strangest people I have met were the ones who lived out in the country and the kids rarely hung out with anyone outside of their family. I think the worst was when I thought a guy and girl were dating because when I first met her she came in and sat on his lap. Then I found out that they are brother and sister! WEIRD!!! I am still friends with that family and they are great people but WOW. I actually had a huge crush on that guy for awhile but then that happened and totally freaked me out.

Anyway, we are waiting until we move to really get involved with a co-op but our son hangs out with other kids at church and we have very active social lives so he often gets to hang out with kids of all ages. He is very outgoing and makes friends easily. Adults love him too and I think part of that is because he isn't around little kids all of the time. He is intelligent and can have a real conversation with people. I have even had several people who told me that they can't stand kids but they really like hanging out with Jer.

So...yes, it's tough and will take a lot of effort but I think that the benefits make it worth it. :)

Karen said...

I'd love to chat with you about this sometime - I've done a lot of research on the subject in general and homeschooling in our area, and I have too many thoughts to type out. But I will mention a few things. We were planning to homeschool but clearly felt God leading us to put Nathan in public school this year for first grade, and it is so clear that this is the right decision for him for this year. We'll be praying each year for each kid as to what to do.

I know you're hoping to move, but Cville has an amazing homeschool community, and I'd suggest subscribing to some of the local message boards and such to get a feel for things, which may benefit you even if you decide to move because many things they discuss are not location specific. There's also a support group that meets at First Baptist once a week that welcomes even people just considering homeschooling. I can give you more info on any of these if you like.

As for the socialization aspect, I second what many others have said about how the homeschoolers I know seem better at socializing than the other kids. That is actually one of the things that drew me to consider homeschooling. One of the main reasons we want to homeschool is because we want our kids to do youth group and sports and scouts and awana and all sorts of other activities and we know they would only have time to do all those things (and keep some family time) if we homeschool.

The most common suggestion I had for curriculum for preschool/kindergarten age is "Five in a Row". I think they may have it to check out at the library. We never did it because Nathan did kindergarten at ECDC (by the way, their kindergarten teacher is fabulous), but many others seem to like it.

L, M, P, W and I said...

Okay, I'm a lurker .. . I check your blog frequently for your incredibly creative ideas and I love your honesty. Tonight I felt compelled to hand you my 'two bits worth'! I am a teacher (although I stay home with my kids now) and we are a Christian family. We did A LOT of research when it came time to enroll our first child in school. I taught many years in the public school system, ran my own private tutoring company, put on weekly workshops for homeschool parents/students, tutored many homeschool students who were far behind where they should have been academically, etc.. My conclusions: if you have no other option (i.e. distance from schools) and/or your child is incredibly unique and the public system will struggle to give him/her a good experience, then give homeschooling a try. Otherwise, start school and see how it goes. All the bad influences are going to come along sooner or later. My observation is that they have a lot less negative affect the younger the child is when exposed. Another observation: many home-schooled children are behind academically and socially. Additionally, teachers take 5+ years of post-secondary education to become good teachers. Let them do the job! All that being said, if your child is having a really negative school experience, then definitely examine your alternatives. So . . . we went through all this figuring out stuff with our eldest and we've gone with the school system. Although there are have been a few minor negative events, situations, etc., the positives for sending her to school have far outweighed them. At this point, we are content with our decision but will revisit it if we (and/or our children) are ever unhappy and unsatisfied with their school situation. Okay . . . off my soapbox . . . not sure if any of that could help? Good luck making the best decision for your family! Take care and thanks again for your blog - it provides me with a lovely moment of enjoyment at the end of chaotic days! - Michelle on the west coast of Canada!

Melissa said...

Oh my! You've had a run of bad experiences :)

Here's a success story for you. My middle dd, now 12, has been homeschooled for the last 7 years. She just got into the gifted and talented performance class at high school. All the teachers say 'she shines'. On her first day, knowing nobody, she made 3 friends. On the second day she had an invite to a sleep over party and a stack full of phone numbers :)

It's all in the temperament, not in the method of schooling.

Don't let your previous experiences put you off trying out an education adventure!

Kristin said...

I was home schooled frol first grade till I graduated along with my brother who is 2 years older. We are also children of a baptist pastor. My brother started out in a Christian school due to the public school system in our tiny town being not good. Mybparents decided to home school us to be more involved in our lives and because of the christian schools doctrine.
This all said, I can't tell you how many people I meet that are a bit shocked to find out I was home schooled and a pastors kid. My brother I are both married, I have a son, we have both run our own businesses and graduated from college with degrees in creative fields. Graphic design, interior design, and photography. I would say we are normal, not introverted, and have a good balance of modest humility and an understanding of the world.

I loved being home schooled. It was great because we did a lot of hands on learning which is how my mind works best. My brother and i where involved in homeschool groups, youth group, group sports, and had friends in public school too. I think a huge part of the way we were raised was to not be afraid of things that are different and to embrace people.

I personally will not homeschool my kids. My husband and I have decided to send ournchildren to public school even with my schooling coming solely from my parents, and he and his siblings being home schooled and in public school depending on the child. But i only will not homeschool because I do not think I am equipped tomdo so andi don't feel that's what God has in His plan for me. I think it is a hard decision to make for sure and I hope you get a clear direction from God.
There are so many homeschool groups you can get involved in. Just keep looking till you find the right fit. Because I definitely unwestabd the weird factor as a lot of my homeschool friends where different. :) but you will find that in any setting in think.
I hope this view point helps a bit. I have so much more I could say on the topic, but i am sure you don't want to read a novel here. :)

Lori Scheffer said...

There's a (mostly) normal homeschooler you already know: Tim! He was homeschooled during middle school and appreciated it. We're planning on homeschooling like you said year by year without promising ourselves anything. I'm really excited about it. M 4 yo and I practice reading for a couple minutes while his little brother naps. We talk about addition while I push him on the swing. And he likes the dollar store workbooks and flashcards. The problem with socializing in school is that the kids are surrounded by people of the same age and socioeconomic status. That never happens again in real life. Plus, don't you get in trouble for actual social interaction in the classroom? My kids know other kids of all ages and even know and love the nursing home residents down the street. I know homeschooling isn't the answer for some, and maybe not even for us. But for now, I think it is.

Lori Scheffer said...

I forgot to add: about the being a light unto the world, my kids aren't saved yet. I pray that they are soon like any Christian mom, but until they are, it's not like I can expect them to disciple.

Kim said...

My neighbors home school, they have four children. Each one is a delightful child. I have never found them to be socially awkward or struggle to have a conversation. Your children are not going to be social outcasts just because you home school. That said, Planet Money did a podcast a while back about how preschool is the number one return on investment to teaching kids the "soft" skills needed to succeed. This is referring mostly to acceptable social behaviors. So I say send them to preschool like you have and then keep them home. Honestly I think you wouldn't be coming back to this if it wasn't meant to be for you.

MargaretB said...

You're not alone with bad experiences of homeschooled kids :) I've had my fair share of interactions with socially awkward adults who were homeschooled. My husband and I both went to a very restrictive (and very small) Christian school (there were nine people in my hs graduating class, five people in his) and both of us are a little socially awkward in situations with new people or lots of people. We have always known that we want our kids to go to public school. I found this blog post that really describes our feelings perfectly:
however, I'm still on the fence about homeschooling part time during my son's early elementary years (maybe through second grade). I have a bachelors in early childhood and worked in a montessori school for the last two years and there are just so many things about traditional public education (especially for little ones) that bother me. The thought of my funny, smart, active son being forced to sit quietly at a tiny desk and work on worksheets and not learn very much hands on really breaks my heart. Kids who are more active and learn easier using hands on methods are really at a disadvantage and shouldn't be punished for their personality and learning style. The idea of all the testing (and all the teaching for the purposes of getting good testing results and not necessarily the purpose of the children learning and absorbing ) also bothers me. And there are about a thousand other little things that bother me. Good luck with your decision--I think that the fact that you care so much about this issue and have put so much thought and prayer into your children's education means that whichever you decide will be a good decision and your kids will be in good hands :)

Amy @ www.wideporch.com said...

I've homeschooled for 11 years now. I've seen a wide variety of kids. I find that the socialness of the kids has more to do with the parent's dispositions. Also, I find some folks think homeschooled kids are shy in public when they actually just aren't obnoxious and loud as many of their peers. (I think a kid that spends all day in a classroom has more of a chance of needing to be louder to get attention and be heard. Plus they feed off the energy of their peers and are just more hyped up. I sure was as a kid. So a calmer homeschooler can look shy when they really aren't.... their just patiently waiting to jump in.) But it's hard to describe homeschoolers in one lump description. Just as it is a classroom kid. There's a lot of awkward ones in there too.
Your reasons to homeschool are right on... all those things can be accomplished and I treasure each of them.
As for where to start... imho workbooks are what school teachers use to be able to assess a classroom of 20+ kids. They can quickly suck the joy out of learning. There's a place for them at times, but instead, Read books and talk about them. go outside and look under rocks. make lots of stuff. There are so many good homeschooling resources out there of many different styles. I could give suggestions if you're interested. (I assume we're talking kindergarten? maybe preschool?) Please let me know if you'd like a list of some topics to look into and I'll be happy to help.

Judy said...

I homeschooled "as needed". Oldest child for five years, middle child for three years, youngest child not at all. When they weren't being homeschooled they attended a local Christian school in the inner-city.
I took it year-by-year and considered the child's needs and personality.
I'm only a high-school grad with NO employable skills. My oldest son graduated college suma-cum-laude and spent a semister studying in Oxford with his wife.
He is presently 30, moving up the ranks in the company that employs him and also does free-lance writing and spends his free time acting.
All I did was act as his guide on the journey.
I think that many people in the field of education think there is a trick to learning. There isn't.
Since this is getting long, I'll just say that my other two kids have been equally successful. Most importantly of all, they are kind people. Think "Sermon-on-the-Mount".
There is not one right answer to this. You must do what you know is best for your family. Then rest peacefully in the choice you make.
And there is nothing wrong with rethinking and going in another direction as your needs merit it.

Happy Hodge Podge said...

As parents, it is our responsibility to "homeschool" our children no matter what type of school environment they attend. Lay a strong foundation at home and they will thrive in any type of school situation.
Our children both go to public schools. Every night, we eat dinner together and go around the table to ask "what was one thing you liked about today" and "what was one thing you didn't like about today"? Those answers prompt many conversations that allow us to reiterate our faith and beliefs and talk about how to handle all kinds of situations.
We do family devotionals every night, and each child does a devotional geared towards them (a teenage boy and a tween girl). We plan and do lots of activities together (Bible study, field trips, craft projects, etc). If there is a particular subject that our kids like at school (or maybe one they're struggling in), we research, do hands-on activities, and talk about those things as a family. An example, my son is taking a Physics class in high school. We are all using some of the things he's learning to build a water clock. The possibilities are truly endless.........
Public school does prepare kids to deal with lots of different types of situations. It would scare me to keep my kids home through their school years, only to send them off to college to have to face "real life" and be hours away from them when they need me.
Just my opinion....

Jenny said...

I certainly don't want to "win you over" to the homeschooling side, that is a decision between your family and God. I will tell you this, we have homeschooled from the beginning. I now homeschool an 8th grade daughter, a sixth grade daughter, a 4th grade daughter, a second grade son and K daughter. It is not easy or fun all the time, but my children are a joy.

There are weird kids, homeschooled or not.

My children participate in our town's rec soccer league. They blend in with every other child their age, except for: they will stop and offer help to elderly grandparents trying to find their grandchildren's soccer games on the field. They will help the little toddler at the snack bar trying to decide between purple gatorade or a ring pop, they will not argue with the refree, they will not argue with the coach, they will not argue with their team members. They hug us after their games, and sit with us to enjoy their younger siblings games. Our family bond is vibrant and strong.

We also know "schooled" children with strong family ties, good manners and emphathetic hearts.

My children are in no way perfect because we homeschool. They roll their eyes at fractions, phonics, and peanut butter and jelly for lunch again. They fuss and pick with each other...they also offer to make lunch, help a younger sibling with a reading lesson and play together in the afternoon. They still look to mom and dad as the proper authority, even if they disagree with us.

Rachel said...

I only ran across your blog for the first time yesterday and read your thoughts on homeschooling. I didn't comment yesterday because I really wanted to think about what you had said before responding.

I'm a former homeschooler. I went to Catholic school K-6 and homeschooled 7-12, which is less common than the usual, but we hadn't even heard of homeschooling before then. I'm 32, so this was the cusp of the big movement. When we started, there was always the question, "What's homeschooling?"

That said, while I wouldn't call myself completely normal, I definitely am still true to who I began in spite of (or because of homeschooling). My mom always told me that I marched to the beat of a different drummer. I took it as a compliment. =) When I went to college, I began doing more trying to fit in. I've also known a lot of homeschoolers. Even as an adult, 14 years post high school, I have many homeschooled friends. And they're very normal, down to earth people. They're highly motivated to follow their passions and range in interests from finance, to midwife, to librarian, to active stay-at-home mom. And they all have excellent social skills. I even asked my husband last night if I am normal, and he says yes, so if you can't take my word for it, you can take his. He went to public school.

Last, I'd like to mention that my parents tend to be very introverted, especially my mom. My sister and I struggled to convince them to let us hang out with our friends. We would look forward to homeschool group meetings or other activities. It wasn't all my parents encouraging it. I am an extrovert by nature, so that was a driving force for me to socialize. My sister was less so as a child and actually what helped her a ton was getting a job at a grocery store when she was in her teens. She eventually ended up in customer service and gained a lot of self-confidence and people skills to conquer her shyness. And now she's an extremely outgoing person.

Thanks for letting me chime in with my 2 cents!

Sandy said...

I haven't read the other comments, so forgive me if this is a repeat. This is my experience of i5 years of homeschooling. I have four children, ages 20, 18, 15 and 12. The oldest two have graduated and the younger two are still homeschooling.

First, the fact that you can't stop thinking about it, that you keep going back to it despite your still having some concerns is your answer. Why can't you leave it alone? Why keep coming back if you've never even met a homeschooler you could hold a conversation with? You know the answer to that question. You already know what you're going to do, that's why you're looking for reassurance. I did exactly the same thing.

Two, on the socialization issue, for us, it has never once been a problem, except for people who had a predisposed bias towards homeschoolers and would have said my kids were not properly socialized no matter what they did. I do think that many homeschoolers reject things that are common to our society as a whole, pop culture, for example, and this often makes them appear to be out of touch. They aren't, they've just made a different choice in how to live. They give their attention to other things. When I see homeschoolers together, they look like average kids to me. Some are shy, some are outgoing, some are social butterflies, some would rather stay home and read a book. Mostly, I see kids who don't care what anyone else thinks of them. They don't know they're supposed to try to fit into the group. They haven't been raised that way. They think they should be themselves, so they are. This appears odd to most people because it isn't what we're used to . I have had people think my kids were weird because they sat quietly waiting for church to begin rather than running around the sanctuary making noise with the other children or because they like their siblings or because they say 'ma'm' and 'sir'. This was seen as adult behavior, rather than them acting like 'normal' children. Somehow, well mannered children are considered an oddity. So be it. Yes, I find homeschool families who have interests I find silly or convictions I find misguided, but that would happen in any group of people I decided to look at. If someone wants to live in the woods, well, who am I to say that's wrong just because it isn't what most people do? The only reason we don't all live in the woods is because someone chopped down all the trees before we got here.

Anyway, your concerns will fade over time. Not soon, mind you, but over time. You will come to find your own answers to these questions. No one else's answers will ever satisfy you. You will see that some of the things you were concerned about weren't important at all and the things that were important are things won't even know about until you get a few years in. Take it slow, take a deep breath and know that you don't have to have all the answers today. Right now it's enough that you're a really great mom; that you are willing to ask these kinds of questions, learn from others and want the very best for your son. That's how I know he will be fine.

Theresa said...

Ultimately it is your choice. I agree that we are called to be light in the world. I agree that some homeschooled children are very socially inept....sorry, it is the truth. The biggest reason I personally am against homeschooling is that children need some time to develop independence away from mom and dad. If my moral compass is my mom and dad and they are ALWAYS around to direct my actions, when do I get to make a stand on my own?

That being said, I am in Canada. I have no idea what is taught in American schools. There are things I disagree with in the Canadian public school system. My children learn what is taught, then I tell them what the Bible says or what we believe as followers of Christ.

Hope you get clarity on what you should do soon.

Alison said...

Crystal...I love your blog. LOVE!

I am a long time reader and fellow crafter (your a way cooler crafter than me, but I try:) Oddly enough, I check your blog regularly on my lunch break at school.

I am an elementary K-5 Phy. Ed. Teacher in TN. Your post about homeschooling rocks! For many reasons. Here is my two cents...

Obviously, I believe in public education. I am totally not against homeschooling either though. My experience through teaching 9 years...I can easily pick out the homeschool children/turned public education children for several reasons...they carry convos with adults so well. Which is a catch 22. You want your child to carry a conversation with adults, sure. But they also need to carry conversations and interact with children that are their own age. Many times, my homeschooled students get bored of other children because they are used to moving a faster pace. My homeschooled children struggle with transition and change of schedule. Granted, I don't have a ton of kids that were hs, but overall, they do well in a public environment. Will I homeschool my two kids...HECK NO. Why? A BREAK. I don't want to be with my children all day every day. I want to be able to give them opportunities to flurish without me around all the time. I want them to learn how to create friends and work through situations without me being on their tail.

I think that you are going make a great decision for your family. It is a HUGE decision, but one that is an exciting one. Good luck with the path you choose!

God Bless...

ZanBryDesigns said...

Crystal I know that this is a hard decision for you and your husband to make. My son is a 1st grader in a public school. I will say that he has brought home some bad habits that I am trying to fix. Having said that, I still wouldn't change my mind about sending him. He was a very shy boy and he wanted nothing to do with going to school. My husband talked to me about doing Homeschool but I told him no that I don't have the patience for it.

My son in kindergarten finished sight words through 3rd grade. He can read on a level 2/3 he is making friends. I think it all comes down to finding the right school ( we have school of choice here) and then making sure that when he comes home your values are taught to him again.

My daughter just started Pre-k this year and I LOVE where she goes my son went there too they are taught to say their Thank You's before eating. At Christmas the school puts out Christian themed decorations.

But what ever you decided to do if it is not working out you can pull him out and homeschool or send him to school. If you ever blog hop try reading The Pleated Poppy her kids go to a school 2 days a week and she homeschools the other days. You might even be able to talk to her about it.

Good luck on whatever you decide!

Amy said...

As far as the socialization thing goes I have experienced the opposite. Most HS kids I know interact well with adults & are very insightful, intuitive & a joy to be around. It could be that some of the kids w/ social issues were going to have issues whether or not they were homeschooled or they were homeschooled because of an issue like Aspergers, etc. Check to see if there's a Classical Conversations program in your area. It's a homeschool school that meets 1 day/wk and teaches the Trivium.

Trish said...

just by reading your post, i feel that you have already made your decision... homeschool!

alaina atteneded young 5's full-time at a private school. we loved it. for kindergarten we wanted to send her full-time, but it was quite pricy. so we sent her part-time and homeschooled the rest of the time. it was a disaster! we barely ever did it and when we did we were just winging it!

this year. the same private school started a 'university model program' 2 days/week they go to school. the other 3 days she is homeschooled and they provide the curriculum and basically spell it out what we are to do when we are home! i am super excited about this! i am one that needs more direction. maybe if i would have purchased a curriculum and followed it to a 't' i would have done better last year, but i didn't. it was pretty easy to just do whatever. so i will keep you posted on how this year goes!

another option i was considering was the k-12 curriculum it is free... through the public school system. http://www.k12.com/ you just need to find out if it's available in your state!

i would definitely try it on a smaller scale this year while he is still in preschool.
i'm always worried about royally screwing up my children... but ultimately i want to spend time with them and as they get older they just spend less and less time at home.

Joy Morris said...

I've been following your blog for a few months now and love the things you create and your heart. I've just never chimed in until now :)

Before I had kids, I taught in the public schools. I grew up a PK and my parents put in my in public schools. That bias being said, I appreciate the public schools and will most likely be sending my boys there. I had experiences there that challenged and deepened my faith. I was able to share Christ with my friends (and kids who weren't my friends, but enemies) and believe that God used me throughout my school years. Most of these experiences I would not have had if I had been homeschooled. I am sending my boys to a Christian preschool and I went to a Christian College and felt the experience was great (and hope to do the same with my boys if they so desire).

I personally will not be homeschooling (unless God changes my heart) because I see many benefits in public schools and have some reservations for homeschooling that I won't go into here. I also know myself though and my perfectionism and I feel like I personally would struggle with teaching. Being a former teacher myself, I think I would too much pressure on myself to "do it perfectly". I have a lot of friends that do homeschool and many of them are in co-ops (Where you teach at home most days a week and then maybe 1 day a week come together for more of a "classroom experience"). I have numerous friends who are doing a Classical Christian curriculum and participate in Classical Conversations. Maybe you can look into that as a starting ground? It sounds like a good balance.

Thankfully, God has broadened my viewpoint over the years and shown me that each family is different and He leads each family down their own path. Continue to pray and seek him, and I'm sure that he will make it clear to you. Another random two cents: I know a lot of homeschool kids who can talk to adults really well, but struggle when talking with their peers, so just try to involve them in a group, sport, co-op, something where they will interact with their peers.

Tanna said...

I feel that public school is great for social interaction and learning. I believe strongly that what they learn in the moral and value department at home is what sticks with them and what they fall back on. They will use this in situations in school where they don't feel comfortable, like seeing someone else get picked on etc.

The other point I have to make is, my oldest and I could not do home school. He fights doing homework with me. My younger one could totally be a homeschool kid, excited about learning and doing stuff. A lot of your decision, in my opinion, needs to be based on Moses personality. Can you two work together at home. How does he act in social situations now? If he has the opportunity several times a week to practice them without you around, or at least not right next to him then I think he will be just fine.

Good luck!

Kelley said...

How a child turns out and what s/he leans depends on: the child (what kind of student, whether at school or at home), the teacher (whether at school or at home), the greater school environment (whther that is a public school, a private school, or home), the focus of the curriculum and methods used (no matter where it is taught), and the other people the child interacts with. When making your decision, check out the local elementary school. Don't try to choose in terms of public school as a whole, but in terms of THE public school that YOUR child will go to. Don't try to choose in terms of homeschooling as a concept, but of YOU as the teacher and your son as the student. Are you willing and able to plan his school day/ week/ month/ year and his learning? Will he be a good student with you? Finally, remember that it won't be the end of the world if you change your mind. My nieces were homeschooled for a while, then they decided to try the local public school. It was okay for one of them but really didn;t work for the other. They went back to homeschooling, but also spend some time in an enrichmnent program a couple of days a week where they learn the things their mom is less comfortable teaching and they have the experience of being in a classroom-ish environment with their peers. It's perfectly okay to re-evaluate and make changes based on what you think is best for your child at the time.

jaimelynn said...

I'm one of your blog-stalkers ... love what you say, love what you make, love your pics, but just don't comment ... for whatever reason. :)
Anyway, I feel compelled to share a little personal experience with this subject, just to help calm some fears, if possible. I was homeschooled all the way through high school. My first public school experience was community college at age 16. My parents did a GREAT job of giving me and my 3 siblings an excellent education, grounded in a biblical worldview, while keeping us in contact with other kids all the time. We did field trips with other homeschoolers, I took Suzuki group violin lessons and played in the city youth orchestra, and we were very active at our church with AWANA and youth groups. I was not at all sheltered, and interacted with other children (homeschooled and non-homeschooled) in many settings.
When I went to college, I have to admit that I was pleased when people were surprised to hear I had been homeschooled - pleased they hadn't guessed on their own because I knew about the stigma the awkward homeschoolers have given the rest of us. It's totally true - I've known those kids, too. BUT the ones who come out "normal" (if I can say that) are the ones whose parents were careful to make it a nurturing experience, but not a sheltered one. Parents who sought out activities and opportunities that would help their kids engage with others and grow into well-rounded little people.
I loved my education. My dad had a weird schedule, too, and homeschooling allowed us to spend time with him - much more than we would have had we been in public school. I became much stronger in my faith than I believe I would have otherwise, and I'm grateful to my parents for making a choice that was in my best interest.
All that to say, homeschooling was a wonderful experience for me, but I don't even know yet what we will do with our own children. I think we'll know when they become school-age, and we may even make a different decision based on each child's personality. But I do want to encourage you that YOU make the experience what it is. Your children won't end up awkward and with no social skills if you don't let them. They WILL end up with a solid education and an understanding of how to look at the world through Jesus' eyes if that is your commitment going into it. God bless as you figure out His will for your family!

Erin Lentz said...

Hi Crystal,

I've been reading your blog for a while now (I admit, I'm a lurker :)), but I just wanted to encourage you as you think and pray through this decision. I've been a teacher in both public and private schools for eight years, and I also have several friends who homeschool their kids. Some of my colleagues have very strong opinions about the lack of socialization among homeschooled kids, but honestly, the ones I know are lovely, sweet, responsible, polite, and completely comfortable around all types of people. You know your kids best. You will know what is best for them for each age and stage, and I think it is smart to take it a year at a time. If you haven't already, I would encourage you to tour the school that your kids might go to, and see if you can observe a classroom for a while in order to get a good feel for what their days would be like. (Not now, when the students are excited about the first days at school and most still want to please the teacher. But maybe in April, when they've got their routines down but they can almost see summer break over the horizon.) Anyway, those are my two cents. I'll be interested to know what you decide. Thanks for your blog! I appreciate your honesty and willingness to talk about things when are easy and when they are hard.


Krystle... said...

As you can see, you're not alone in processing the idea of home schooling. Our kids are 3 years, 18 months and 3 months and for sanity's sake, our 3 year old started preschool last week. Like you, we need some time apart. I have no expectations of him learning much there because he already knows what he needs to for kindergarten. I plan to send all our kids away from home for preschool.
We have the same worries about social interaction too. I'm fairly social and like to get out with friends but we're in an area with LOADS of people with kids the same age as ours. We do lots of play dates and I attend a weekly Bible study with lots of kids too. I've heard time and time again that it's up to the parent to work on the social aspect of things when homeschooling. If you're an introvert and stay home all the time, that's going to affect things. If you think you can be purposeful about getting out and getting to parks, museums, playdates, sports, and/or music, then you should be just fine.
I love the idea of taking the kids to interact with people of all ages, not just peers. When homeschooling, you have the freedom of schedule to take your kids to play games or color with the elderly or, when they're old enough, take them to read to younger kids in a local school, daycare, or church preschool.
My Aunt is a mom of 23. Yes, 23. And homeschooled many of her kids. She offered me a couple of books that you may want to consider.
Help for the Harried Homeschooler and Homeschooling (The Right Choice).
Hoping for clear answers soon!

Jane said...

wow! what a big decision. in australia there is only a very small group (and consists of a lot of strange people) however I have read lots of blogs from mums in the US who are successfully (it seems) homeschooling their children. I suggest you read http://www.lifeingraceblog.com/ Edie is great!!
all the best with making the decision. I feel as though you need to talk to some mums who know how to homeschool & raise them not to be wierd to balance out your information!

Jennifer said...

haha! socially awkward. my hubs was home-schooled and all of that rings very true. he's a great guy but i do think there are portions of his life, even to this day, that were made more difficult because of the way his parents home-schooled him.

is kindergarten required in your state? it is not in mine. check it out. if you are feeling a pull to home school, you could easily give it a test drive for the kindergarten year with no strings attached. if kindergarten is not required and you tried home school and loved it, you could stick with it, no problem! if you tried it and it didn't work out, Moses would still be able to enter public school in 1st grade with his peers and still, no problem!

i have four children and the oldest two are school-aged. i am a huge fan of public school but I would say we do some home-schooling at home, especially during the summer, simply because what others might call home-schooling is what I call parenting. i don't let the teachers carry the entire burden of my children's education, just like I don't let their sunday school teachers carry the entire burden of their christian education. we go over homework (or require homework, even if the teachers don't!), pray together, have discussions over what they are learning in school and in church, go to the library, volunteer together, play together, practice memory verses, etc, we are raising them. we are involved. school is just one aspect of their lives.

i do find it interesting that one could be okay with other people leading their sports teams, music lessons, art classes, awanas, scout activities, etc but somehow balk at another person teaching them at school. honestly, i don't get it, but maybe that it why HS was not the right choice for my family, and that's okay.

i love the comment from above: "BUT the ones who come out "normal" (if I can say that) are the ones whose parents were careful to make it a nurturing experience, but not a sheltered one." being purposeful about your choice, HS or no. i love that.

okay, enough rambling from me. i pray that you find peace in your decision. you have moses' best interests in mind, you really can't go wrong. hang in there mama.

b3designs said...

I don't want to say follow your heart because your heart is obviously torn. I will write my impressions knowing I have three children in public schools, grades 6, 5 and 3.

I feel the biggest benefit to public schools is the social aspect. Since you struggle with being outgoing and Doug struggles with being introverted, I'm sure you're boys have/will inherit some of thoese traits ~ although you might not see it yet. Public school might help.

So far my kids have learned to love with their hearts, be kind to classmates who are autistic, confined to a wheelchair, have downs syndrome or trisomy 18. If not for being in a public school, they wouldn't be exposed to this. My children have also be exposed to many children from different countries. They realize people celebrate God in different forms, and that's okay. They realize other families don't celebrate Christ and Christmas, and that's okay. That's why American is beautiful and we're allowed to practice whatever religion we choose. And they have learned about other religions.

We have a couple families of homeschooled children in our neighborhood. They are quirkly, a bit odd, but all around good kids. Their families keep them involved in girl scouts and boy scouts at our public school. They keep them in sports where other public school kids play. I think it's easier to integrate now than it was 15-20 years ago.

To be perfectly honest, I loved having a kid or two in school just to be spoiled a bit with my other one at home. It was a wonderful time with each of my children when I had them one-on-one.

One more thing, I haven't been disappointed at all with what has been taught to my children in school. There has been no questionable cirriculum. Some questionable kids, yes, but my children are learning invaluable lessons on how to deal with other people they don't necessarily care for, and that will help them later in life, esp. in the real world of work.

Rest well with your decision.

Joy said...

Hi there. I have to agree 100% about the social ackwardness of a home schooled child. And sadly, I disagree with most of the other comments on here. It has NOTHING to do with the parents social skills and has NOTHING to do with the amount of other extra activites the child does. I have some of the coolest, hippest cousins/friends known to man and they chose to homeschool. You ABSOLUTELY CAN pick their kids out of a crown any day of the week.

Nesha said...

I am an 8th grade teacher at a small charter school. I have a student in my class who has never been in a school setting outside of the home. He is the brightest kid in my class, a gifted writer, has fit in perfectly with the other students and is looked up to by his peers. He is socially average for a 13 year old (they're all crazy at that age) I think it all depends on the homeschool environment. He was part of a co-op and apparently, it is a successful one...and as a public school teacher and proponent for the last 14 years, I think that's really saying something

Jennifer said...

My daughter is 3. I think about school decisions daily. I get so overwhelmed thinking about it that I just cry. Our options are private school, public schools, or homeschool.
*Private school- I attended private school k-12, then went to a christian college. I had a great experience, but that is just not in the budget for us. Crazy expensive! Plus, I don't think anything that was happening at a public school wasn't happening in my private school, it was just in a smaller setting.
*Public school-scares me. I was a public school kindergarten teacher for 9 years. I cold not say a lot of positives. There were a FEW really good teachers. Most, in all honesty, I wouldn't hire as a babysitter, let alone someone to mold my child's life, education, behavior, and attitude for 9 months. Don't get me wrong, I have enormous respect for teachers and have never had a harder, more rewarding job in my life. However, trusting someone that I don't know with a life that God has sent me to mold and guide is just not something I'm all that comfortable with.
*Homeschool-scares me. Am I organized enough? Where do I even start? What do I do with the feelings of being judged by others that don't agree with homeschooling? Yikes! It's just overwhelming. When I talk to people about it, the main objection is socialization. I agree that school is used to socialize. Perhaps that is the problem. School is for education, not socialization in my opinion. I know my daughter would get the opportunity to social more if she was in school, but when I think about who she would/could be socializing with, is that really a good thing? If I did homeschool, I would make sure she was involved in several activities that allowed her to be with other kids. I wonder if some kids that are homeschooled really have bad social skills because of their schooling or if that's just who they are. I know several "school attenders" that have little to no social skills. I am an introvert, and attended school. I would most likely still be an introvert if I was homeschooled.

I don't know. I'll just keep praying and hope God sends me a flashing neon sign with the answer.

CJ said...

How I dislike the 'socialization' card that NON homeschoolers play. Public school kids are in a room all day with kids their own age, soon it becomes almost cult like to only hang out with those same kids. How is THAT socialization? Since dh and I grew up in public school we were determined not to have socially awkward children. We taught them manners which involved speaking to people of all ages, how to be well groomed, courteous, have table manners and so on. We were just told this summer by our childrens' employer (at a Christian Conference center that employs hundreds of young people each year)that of all the kids there he would NOT have expected that our two were homeschooled. He did say this with love and asked that we might try to understand what he was trying to say. We did understand. Our kids aren't socially awkward, they dress modestly but within the current teen style. I would say that homeschoolers have the chance to be more sociable than their public schooled peers. When we got together with other homeschooled families there was a wide range of ages represented. The kids ALL got along. If there were only older kids then my kids hung out and played with the older kids. If there were only younger children then my children learned to play and entertain the youngsters. Yes, sometimes they even got to play with kids their own age. We were able to spend a lot of time with various adults in different church activities - fundraising events, productions, service projects and mission trips. The kids were included and respected because they showed respect and showed up to participate. Their unsaved aunts and uncles open their homes to our children and their friends when they go on road trips and need a place to stay. Their unsaved aunts and uncles go out of their way to visit them while they are away at college or invite them into their homes for a holiday or birthday celebration. Over the years there were snide remarks from said aunts & uncles aimed at my husband and I for what we were 'doing' to our children. They would ALL (and there are lots of them)agree now that these two children and AWESOME young adults. They still have to stand their ground with these relatives but they have the Godly training to do so.
I LOVED homeschooling my kids. Yes, we had difficult days (or weeks). No it was not all easy and smooth. Yes, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I pray that my own children will want to homeschool their own children someday.
There is a terrible, terrible downside to homeschooling. One I did not foresee. After spending almost all day everyday with my children for 13 years it sure is an empty nest when they go off to college. :(
We used different curriculums over the years for various reasons. Email me if you have any specific questions or need encouragement!

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

Hi, Crystal! I didn't take the time to read all of the previous comments, so please forgive me if I'm being redundant. I have been a homeschooling mom and a public school mom. Right now all of my kids are in public school. As my littlest ones are growing I'm loving the idea of homeschooling them when they get to school age. I just always examine my motives to make sure they're not based on fear or guilt. (and for the little bitty preschool kids, I love something called Before Five In A Row. Have you heard of this? Read up on it online or email me if you want.) You are a great mom and you will make a great decision (: xoxo

Jennifer said...

Crystal, I would venture to say your past experience with homeschoolers has been negatively tainted, and they are not the norm. I am a mother of five and have homeschooled my oldest two boys (for the reasons you stated) since the beginning, and they're now entering 7th and 8th grades. It has been challenging and it requires great commitment, but it's not burdensome. Add to that a great homeschooling community (I'm in Montpelier, not far from you) and we get field trips, activities, etc. As far as social interaction, we have church (three times a week), sports activities (there are many organized for and geared toward homeschoolers as well as those offered by the county and schools) and other venues. All that said, last year we entered the public school system for my now 6yo who was diagnosed with autism over a year ago. He needs the constant interaction and "practice" with kids his own age as well as intervention with special education teachers. And my children at home need a break from him every day - and I needed the freer time to focus on the homeschooled ones. Once my 8yo daughter got wind of him attending public school she wanted to go too. She will only be there until the school's highest grade, which is 5th, then she will homeschool also. I say all this to say that I have experienced both sides of this - and honestly I was a bit terrified of sending them to public school. But I knew in my heart it was the right place for my son (which proved to be true over the course of the year) and my daughter has done well. You can try it one year at a time and see how it fits your family. VA is fairly friendly to homeschoolers right now. If you feel in your heart it's the right thing to do, then do it. The younger ages are the easiest homeschooling years in my opinion. Honestly, I don't think schools are a true social interaction. When again will children be clustered with a group of kids only their age for hours at a time? Homeschoolers learn how to interact with all kinds of people and in many more realistic situations simply because they are able to interact more in life, not a closed classroom. I know you'll make the right decision for your family. Hugs to you.

Stacey said...

Hi I just happened to stumble upon your blog. This is a subject that hits home for me. I have home schooled my kids for 5 years now. I went through the same thought process you are going through. Personally I think preschool and kindergarten are awesome for kids. My kids did both and now they are in 6th and 8th grades. My kids make friends easily, they have a social network. My kids know who they are and are not pressured into things they know are wrong, they are able to make decisions based on right and wrong. I had to have structure to teach my kids, I needed accountability, support, and it had to be inexpensive because we could not afford all of the curriculum. I opted to go with the K12 program. It was free through the virtual schools in the area. We really enjoyed this as it made it easy to incorporate our own devotionals into it. This year we are doing Connections Academy, same concept but still free. You have so many options out there. Pray about it and ask for confirmation. I also believe we are to be light in the world, however our kids need to be taught how to be light first. You are their first encounter with LIGHT, teach them well and let them shine!
I hope this helps somewhat.

ptmom said...

I just stumbled upon your blog searching for something else and had to chime in. I understand your fears about the social aspects of homeschooling. When I was a child, homeschooling was not that common and those I knew who did were not the most comfortable in social circles.

I homeschooled all my kids until the past couple years when my older two started school (2 years ago for 8th and 1 year ago for 7th). I still homeschool my 9yo. My boys made the transition to school very easily. Both are well-liked, well-behaved, and doing well in their classes. My oldest was captain of his high school wrestling team last year as a freshman and the coach often commented about his leadership skills and ability to encourage all his teammates.

I often hear comments from others about how well the kids communicate with adults and I didn't really understand what they meant until my boys began having their school friends over who don't look people in the eye or grunt replies when an adult attempts to engage them in conversation. My kids engage just as easily with adults, older kids, younger kids, and kids their own age. My 9yo daughter can play for hours with her 3 year old cousin in the morning, have a neighbor over to play in the afternoon, then join a group of adult musicians for an evening of Irish tunes. She has fun and is right at home in all those situations.

Some things I feel we did right...They were involved in multiple activities while growing up from taekwondo to wrestling to music studies to church programs like Sunday school and youth group.

We made an effort for them to get together with friends they made in their activities.

We encouraged them to follow their interests, talk to adults, and meet other kids with the same interests. Homeschooling gave us the opportunity to teach them at their own pace, time to practice their skills in activities, and still time to be kids and play.

I am thankful we were able to homeschool. We were able to homeschool my boys until they were old enough to have a strong sense of self identity. I am hoping that will help them to be less swayed by peer pressure. Right now it looks like my daughter will be homeschooled until time for college.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips