Playing Defense on Homeschooling | Teeny Manolo

Playing Defense on Homeschooling

By Glinda


The internets are abuzz at the recent Salon article by Andrew O’Hehir and his attempts to explain why he and his wife have chosen to homeschool their children.

I myself have gone back and forth, up, down, and sideways on whether to homeschool our 1st grader. 

In one sense, the thought of a curriculum tailored to my child and his specific interests greatly intrigues me.  My little one is definitely an out-of-the-box thinker, and I would like to keep him that way.

In this thought, I have an ally in Mr. O’Hehir:

The real purpose of all this formal schooling is to get the kids out of the house and train them to stand in line and follow instructions while mommy and daddy get back to their ultra-important lives as economic production units. 

Uh, a little defensive there, are we Mr. O’Hehir? There is a definite tone of holier-than-thou to the article, and I think that is what has made people react so strongly.

But it’s weird, because some days I feel like what he wrote is the absolute truth, and other days, I wonder exactly how I would be teaching my kid to learn how to function without me in normal society when all he does is see me 24/7. I also know that I have some serious shortcomings and perhaps even a mental block when it comes to anything but the simplest of mathematics. Would I really be doing him a favor by becoming his math teacher, or would I pass on my phobia to him, even without meaning to?

So my husband and I are literally taking the public school thing on a day by day basis. I’m willing to homeschool if for even one second I think that going to school outside the home is doing him a disservice of any kind.  And that includes both social and academic learning, and I’ll be honest, right now my son needs more social interaction than I think I could give him at home.

What about you? Have you thought about homeschooling, or has it never even been an option for you?

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5 Responses to “Playing Defense on Homeschooling”

  1. KESW Says:

    I hadn’t yet heard of that article and I’m now simultaneously intrigued and terrified to go look it up — homeschooling is extremely near and dear to my heart, as I am a product of that system. Yep, kindergarten all the way to high school graduation.

    Homeschooling is definitely not for the faint of heart, but then again neither is parenting. My mom worked extremely hard to make sure that we had outside interaction, and as we were blessed enough to grow up in a really good community of lots of other homeschoolers, it was easy (playdates weren’t constricted by school schedules and midmorning grocery store trips could be field trips as we learned about unit prices and whether that 12 ounce can of tomatoes was really a better deal than the 8 ounce can :)). From Pre-K on I was involved in kids groups such as Campfire, Pioneer Clubs, then in cooperative art, music and gym classes with other kids my age. I started piano lessons at 8 and learned to interact with “professional” teachers through that. I played in a homeschool band from 6th through 12th grade, and in my junior and senior years of high school, I took some courses such as Spanish and Physics at a local community college for free through my state’s dual enrollment program, so I got some “normal” classroom experience before I went to college.

    My mom is still going strong on my littlest brother’s junior year of highschool. She is taking Chemistry, Algebra and German along with him, just about two weeks ahead so she can answer his questions. She’s also taken along with us Logic, Geometry, and Latin. I’m pretty sure every year she’s looked at the fall with a sense of “Why am I doing this again?”, but I’m so grateful to her for my experience. I know that because of how I learn and function, I would have been so bored and unchallenged in public school (not to mention we lived in a bad district — maybe in some I would have been challenged but not this one), and I’m now a much more independent, creative thinker than I would have been otherwise. I also have a brother with learning disabilities who would have struggled even harder in a group setting than he did at home.

    So all in all, yes, I love homeschooling, I support it, and I’d definitely do it with my kids. I actually ended up marrying a fellow homeschool grad (who blows my mind every day with what a genius he is) so we’re completely on the same page with our hopes for our kids. I know it will be a lot of work, but I really do believe in it as an excellent system for many different types of kids, if it’s done right.

  2. Awesome Mom Says:

    I considered it strongly but when I saw my son happily doing school related things for other people that he fought me tooth and nail on I decided that public schools were for him. Another advantage for him being in public schools is that they have access to specialists that I would not and they are able to help him in ways that I can’t.

    My middle child may be a different story. I know he will want to go to school like his brother but I could also easily see myself homeschooling him since he is a lot more easygoing and does not have the special needs of his older brother.

  3. Phyllis Says:

    I’d rather perform surgery on myself than homeschool my kids

  4. Kimmer Says:

    Homeschooling isn’t for everyone. We’re all choosing what is working best for our families. I did read the Salon article, and was annoyed at what I saw as a superior attitude. I don’t think he did much to advance the cause of homeschoolers.

    As for my family, homeschooling is currently working for us. We get lots of social interaction with so many different people, and I like that we can tailor their schooling to what they need and are interested in. It’s not always easy–juggling the schedule is really challenging, but the payoff is really worth it for us.

  5. Spring Says:

    I homeschooled my oldest daughter for three years and I’m very glad I did. She has some severe learning problems that the public schools were not able to address and the private school we had been sending her to became too expensive once she moved up to 6th grade. Homeschooling (or maybe selling a kidney) was our only option at that point. However, this year she started high school and after a lot of careful thinking and some research I found a charter school nearby that is a good fit for her. She’s very happy where she is. Fortunately, we live in an area that has a great network of other homeschoolers so we weren’t isolated or stuck ‘at home’.

    Homeschooling is definitely not for everyone, but I would like to see it better accepted in society (Especially without the pop quizes my daughter got when people were told she was homeschooled).

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