Because I Was Homeschooled, I’m Not Homeschooling My Daughter

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homeschoolingEvery morning, after eating a breakfast of whole wheat biscuits and gravy, with milk straight from the cow, my brothers and sisters and I would gather our worn notebooks and stubby pencils around the table and begin our lessons. But first, we prayed and my mother read from the Bible. Tacked behind her on the wall, were flash cards with Latin words on them, a poster of the cursive alphabet and a large wooden spoon, inscribed with Proverbs 13:24, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” The bowl of the spoon was cracked.

Our kitchen table was a large giant oak slab, built to accommodate all eight of us children, as we huddled together to learn multiplication, Latin roots, Roman history and copy out poems and Bible verses in our scrawling script. If I finished my math early, I was allowed to hide away behind the holly bushes and read.

When the birth of my brother Noah, who was born both Down syndrome and autism, forced my mother to send me and my older sister to school, I was able to skip ahead into AP Biology and take composition and English classes with upperclassmen.

Yet, despite the memories of warm biscuits and days spent lost in the worlds of novels, I will not be homeschooling my daughter.

According to the National Home Education Research Institute, in 2009, there were 2.5 million home schooled children in the United States. And while parents may home school for a variety of different reasons, 72 percent of those who responded cited religious and moral reasons.

This was my family. Our parents homeschooled us with the desire to remove us from the influences of “the world,” which meant anyone who was not Evangelical. I sat through lessons and read books where Charles Darwin, persona non grata in our family, was blamed as the source of all godlessness—Nazis and Democrats, chief among them. We went to seminars where feminism was blamed for the lack of care and nurture provided to children in families where mother’s worked.  My mother played us tapes of a series of lectures given by a conservative, homeschooled family of 20 children on topics like, “virginity” and allowing your parents to choose your spouse (only for women, of course). In high school, when my parents had decided I had been corrupted by “the world.” I was sent to a camp, where a leader told me that all good women needed to “bridle their power, like a horse restrained.”

This type of homeschooling may seem like a small minority of the population, a Duggar-ish aberration from the norm. But they are a vocal and powerful group. And despite only 25-30 percent of the country identifying as this brand of Evangelical, they have a large sway over the national conversation. Just ask any non-religious unschooler how hard it is to avoid this brand of homeschooler in homeschooling groups.

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  1. Tammi M

    August 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I’m a Christian mom and I homeschooled my son for a while and it was a rewarding experience for both of us. It certainly sounds as if you were at the receiving end of the more draconian type of homeschooling even other Christians are wary and weary of! Trying to ‘shield’ kids from the ‘world’ is counter-productive and even hurtful- as a Christian my aim is to teach them values that will encourage my kids to be ‘salt of the earth’, to be confident in their faith and productive principled adults in the world. A tall order, I know. My son could choose to abandon the faith altogether, or turn out like you (no offense), angry that I didn’t prepare him enough for the world (or public school :-), that the laws were too stringent and limiting… But your post just goes to show that no matter how hard a parent might try to ‘indoctrinate’ a child with Christian principles and a fear/loathing for the ‘world’, that child is still a free moral agent, autonomous decision maker and unique personality. In other words, just because I teach my child that Darwin was godless is no guarantee that he won’t pick up Richard Dawkins’ God Delusion and start asking questions. I’d love to start homeschooling again- extra math lessons, swimming and piano too… So sorry that your experience was such that you wouldn’t want to ‘wish’ it on your daughter. Many homeschooling Christian parents have come a long way from the Duggar-esque type of teaching, but it sounds like you also had it with anything that sound conservative, or even Republican 🙂 PS.Do some parents really want to choose husbands for their daughters? Wow. A little weird.

    • lyzl

      August 21, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Well, that’s not entirely true. I’m married to a Republican. But ultimately, I’d like to teach my daughter to embrace her free moral agent and autonomous decision maker, rather than leave her feeling like doing so means she’s bucking the system.

  2. Kelly

    August 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Bravo. I too was raised in that kind of pigeonhole. My role as a mother, and nothing else, clearly laid out for me, and education was low on the list of tools needed for that. Going to a perochial school barely raised that level of learning. I am the only one of four to have broken out of that bind and gone on to graduate from college and do something I feel is meaningful in life. And I want that for my kids as well. Unlike my nieces and nephews, who are being homeschooled by my siblings, none of whom attended more than a semester of trade school. What will they be equipped for?

  3. Becky

    August 21, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Although I wholeheartedly respect the fact that it is your decision to educate your child however you want, I have to disagree with you. I was homeschooled until high school, and I graduated in the top of my public school class with a lot of dual enrollment credit through a local university. In school, I noticed no gaps in my education. In fact, I felt knew more than my peers in certain subject. They learned the information, spit it out onto a test, and then forgot it. I didn’t. I was able to learn how I wanted (and when I say learn, I really mean LEARN, not just cram and forget), and so I learned when and what I wanted past the required curriculum.
    I was sheltered, I wont lie, but it didn’t impede my social development or anything else at all when I started public school. I wasn’t told that Darwin or feminists were evil, I was let to make up my own mind. I never once felt brainwashed, in religious aspects or otherwise. I got out of the house and spent time with people outside of a school setting, and I think that it was better for me to get used to “real life” people and not just the ones in the bubble of public school and academia. Your time with homeschooling sounds a lot different than mine, and I’m sorry that you had a bad experience. Just don’t rule out homeschooling until you see the infinite ways it can be done. I count myself both in the 95% that were glad they were homeschooled and the 85% who would homeschool their children. I think it creates much more intelligent, well rounded and more mature individuals (when done right) who are better suited in the long run.

    • lyzl

      August 21, 2012 at 8:31 pm

      If you read the entire article, you’ll see my arguments for not homeschooling her in other ways. And the socialization issue that you are refuting is moot, because I don’t even bring it up. There are more arguments against homeschooling than socialization. And I too graduated from the top of my high school class, graduated from college summa cum laude and got to grad school on scholarship. But I’m still not homeschooling, because I ultimately want her to learn from other viewpoints and experiences outside of our home and outside of my “wing” so to speak. Also, I don’t agree that parents are always the best instructors. True, learning does start at the home, but that doesn’t mean I’m the best science teacher.

    • Becky

      August 22, 2012 at 12:23 am

      I didn’t just mean socialization in the way of the common complaint. I was also responding to the sentence “It took me years to untangle myself from what I had been taught from what I wanted. And to be quite honest, I’m still working away at some of these mental knots.” That, to me, could indicate some problems in socialization. Socialization doesn’t just mean parties and time with peers.

      I completely agree with you that your daughter should learn from other viewpoints and experiences outside of the home. However, I don’t think that homeschooling in any way hinders that. As I said, I never once felt brainwashed because there were so many other people in my life outside of school and the home, and many of them had completely different viewpoints than my family.

      As for being the best science teacher, that is what textbooks and curriculums are for. There are so, so many out there and they can cater to however a child wants to learn. For example, if they like to read, there are curriculums centered around reading lots and lots of books. If they hate reading, there are others that keep it to a minimum and instead focus on hands on learning. As Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” I just think that public school expect all of its students to climb trees, so to speak, when some of them are better suited to swimming.

      But again, I mean this with the greatest respect for the fact that it is your decision how to educate your child. I just don’t think that you should write it off for everyone. For some, it really is the best option.

  4. Nohbdy

    August 21, 2012 at 11:33 am

    I want to homeschool but we are NOT religious. I just feel it’s a great way to provide a love of learning and allow children to learn the way that they learn best. My daughter is nearly 3 and I can see how when someone sits her down and tells her to accomplish something, she rebels. But if you guide her and provide to her resources then she thrives. I am having trouble finding local support groups that aren’t all about religious teachings or “meek” (at least sounding meek) moms. I am loud, obnoxious, overbearing, crude and can be foul-mouthed at times. Where are the homeschool mommies who are not opposed to people like me? I can NOT be on my best behavior all the time! I’m just too much of an ass to accomplish it even if I try… I got stuck at a lunch with what I call “best behavior mommies” (ones who expect mommies to behave as perfect – and then insist their children do so too). I couldn’t take it for even a full lunch! Where are the homeschool mommies like me??

    • lyzl

      August 21, 2012 at 11:05 pm

      I hope you find them! Best of luck to you!!

    • CW

      August 23, 2012 at 8:38 pm

      Most homeschoolers these days are not superfundamentalists like the author’s parents apparently were. Homeschooling is a LOT more mainstream than it was 15 or 20 years ago. Seek out your local “inclusive” support group- they welcome families without regard to religious affiliation. My local inclusive groups has families from a wide variety of Christian denominations, Judaism, Mormonism, Islam, Buddhism, Bahai, Wiccan, and plenty of secular folks as well. It’s actually WAY more diverse than the public school I attended growing up, where half the kids were Catholic, and nearly all of the rest attended one of the 3 mainline Protestant churches in town with only 2 Mormons, 1 Jew, 1 Baptist, and 1 Christian Scientist.

    • Zoey

      August 25, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      I have almost 3yo old twins (and an almost 2yo) and I want to HS (secularly), you sound like my kinda lady! Too bad we don’t live near each other and can form our own group!

    • Go Girl

      August 25, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      There is a home schooling system where I live, where the students work with a qualified teacher but they do all their work on the computer. I have worked for them and it is an excellent way for students to still work with a teacher, but also have their parents there as the main support.

  5. SB3

    August 21, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    We are homeschooling our daughter, who is 5 and a kindergartener this year…we plan to do it for the long haul. We have been teaching her since birth, so why not continue…and we enjoy being with our child. My husband is also involved, since we both have full time professional careers, and we offset our schedules to be available. It is such a positive experience for us. I was completely distraught when considering public school…among other reasons, I do not think children should be expected to conform to the cookie cutter mold imposed on them via the school system. I feel the same way about private schools. The world is full of opportunity for hands on learning. We are involved in a Co-Op once a week, field trips with other children, and attend various events/classes based on my daughter’s interests. The world is made up of all sorts of people, with all sorts of beliefs…we encounter this in our daily lives, but we respect others and we live as we live. In no way would I ever hold my child back from experiencing life, other than to protect her from harm. Your experience sounds less than desirable, but to continue placing a stigma on homeschooling is very close minded and reinforcing this idea for others who are not as open to the opportunity. It seems that homeschooling is becoming more of the norm than traditional schooling across the board, and many people, with many different beliefs, are embracing it for their children…not to shelter them, but to ensure that they are able to live life to the fullest and be well-rounded, well educated, and productive members of society. Summing it up, I suppose the best way to look at this is to say what works for some doesn’t always work for others. And realistically…assuming everyone is able to homeschool their children is absurd. I am grateful that there is an education system in place for some, regardless of my opinion.

    • lyzl

      August 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm

      I am not reinforcing a stereotype. I’m calling out a system. And I also talk about why we aren’t homeschooling her in other ways. Ultimately, I want her schooling to be bigger than me and the experiences I think of for her. Also, despite having a masters, I don’t think that I am capable of teaching her things beyond my skill set. And having once been part of those co-ops, I actually believe that public school and private school offers more options for learning. But I agree, ultimately that what works for one doesn’t work for others.

    • CW

      August 23, 2012 at 8:47 pm

      “I want her schooling to be bigger than me and the experiences I think of for her.” So do most homeschoolers today, few of whom are the kind of ultrafundamentalists that your parents apparently were back when you were growing up. Homeschooling has become a LOT more mainstream over the past couple of decades. Few modern home educators cloister their children at home- “worldschooling” is a more accurate term for the education received. There are SO many opportunities these days for classes, co-ops, and other group learning. It’s actually easy to get overscheduled and do TOO many outside activities. These are opportunities not available in the “all test prep all the time” public schools. The public schools in my district no longer offer art, music, or PE due to budget cuts. My kids get to do homeschool classes for all 3. You need to realize that while your homeschool experience may have been less than ideal, modern homeschooling is totally different.

  6. Karen

    August 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    I am a Christian and considered homeschooling. I thought it would be good to keep my children away from the negative things that I associate with many children I have seen in pubic school. THe profanity, the rampant promiscuity, the way children bully each other, etc. I didn’t homeschool for one of the very reasons you list here. I was certain that I would not teach them everything they need to know. My husband also felt that keeping them cocooned from negative outside forces was an unnatural way to raise children and that it would leave them ill equipped to live in the real world.

    I don’t think religious education is bad but I do believe it can be done even if the child is not home schooled and it does not necessarily mean that the children are being indoctrinated with ideas that are anti-woman or constraining to who a young woman could be in this world. I don’t think you can necessarily extrapolate your experience to what other Christian home schooled children will be receiving.

    • lyzl

      August 21, 2012 at 11:03 pm

      Sorry to tell you, but as a homeschooler, I saw bullying, profanity, alcoholism and lewd behavior among homeschoolers. But I agree, my experience is just mine, but I know that its not that uncommon from the experiences of others. I know because I was not the only one in my family or in those co-ops or churches where these lessons were taught and modeled. The only difference is that I talk about it in a public forum.

      But I agree, religious education isn’t bad and can be positive. And while, I don’t regret my experiences, I also wish to choose a different set of circumstances for my child.

  7. offended homeschooler

    August 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    “without alienating her from the world”? wow.

    • lyzl

      August 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      When you homeschool, you relegate your child to a minority and yes, that is alienating, whether you do it religiously or nonreligiously.

    • offended homeschooler

      August 22, 2012 at 7:20 am

      your post — well, *your mind* is full of inaccuracies. when you homeschool, you do not necessarily “teach your child” — homeschooled kids have coaches, mentors, teachers, classes, co-ops, junior college, and more importantly they learn to teach themselves. they have the opportunity to take some responsibility for their own education.

      rather than being alienated from the world like kids sitting in cement-block classrooms with twenty of their same-age peers, homeschooled kids get to live in the real world every day — being part of a more diverse community, volunteering, participating in community events, and so on.

      not only are you ignorant, you are proudly ignorant. as for homeschoolers being in the minority, maybe next you can write an article on how happy you are your kid isn’t asian, or adopted, or transgender.

    • Nora

      August 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

      Alienating? I’m guessing you haven’t met a great many homeschoolers. Or you didn’t know you did. I homeschool and associate with many homeschoolers in different groups who use all different styles and they are all extremely well socialized. Ahem, often better than the kiddos from public school.

      Does that also imply that being any kind of minority is bad? Should be all be white, apple pie americans? Just wondering.

    • Nora

      August 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      Ahem…yes, I just realized that you’re the article author. Still, I can’t fathom the idea that homeschool=minority=alienation. Just doesn’t pan out with research or personal experience.

    • lyzl

      August 21, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Also, don’t get mad at Mommyish, they’ve published a few pro-homeschooling articles this week and last week!

  8. laffingdukk

    August 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    This comment is written to the author, but many things I’m saying are also in response to the comments I’ve read, not necessarily the article. I completely understand and support your decision for your daughter (and if I didn’t, why should you care? she’s your kid!)

    I’ve always said that just because a parent loves his/her child, or is educated, doesn’t necessarily make him/her the best schoolteacher in every subject for his/her children. It seems obvious, just like a math teacher may not be the best history teacher, depending upon the individual of course. I completely agree with you on this one.

    Interestingly enough, my siblings and I were first sent to public school, then as we became older, we went the the christian school equivalent of your experience (not to completely compare it, but it was alienating, backward, and had many gaps. In addition, there were child abusers, molesters, and people masquerading as both teachers and religious leaders who were neither. There were also a couple good teachers, and a couple good humans who were poor teachers.) Hence, both my brothers exclusively homeschool their kids, for so many, many reasons, but primarily to make sure they get a superior education rather than a mediocre or poor one.The eldest brother has 2 PhD’s from Berkeley, has numerous credentials and IQ points 🙂 (big sister talking there.) But for a couple years he attended this christian school that was part of the ACE program…supposedly child paced, accelerated, etc. But the school couldn’t keep up with him, so he is still angry, over 30 yrs later, at all the wasted weeks and months where he sat alone in his cubicle with nothing to do, because more materials had not arrived in the mail yet. At another christian school, he was given an F on an English paper that was A quality, b/c he proposed that there were several gods…His kids are all under 9, they are learning Mandarin, could do basic math before they were 5, could assemble puzzles before they could talk. He takes them to Japan and Singapore on business and they absorb the culture and language like sponges. Every sentence (it seems) he speaks with them is teaching them something. His wife also does this, with her different areas of expertise. All this to save his kids from the poor education he received, just like you are doing with your daughter. My other brother and his wife are raising their children similarly for the same reasons. We too were told to only go to a Bible college, public school was worldly and might corrupt us. The amusing thing is, I was an atheist by the time I graduated from Christian school…however, I changed my mind after years of science at public universities…the universe is too perfect for there not to be a God, in my opinion. But sheltering me from the world of academia did not teach me to believe in God or anything else religious, because for one thing, that really isn’t the domain of education–to teach religious faith–altho I think teaching about religion–including others religion–is part of a well-rounded education.

    Kids do not need to be sheltered from anything, other than unsafe situations which they are not ready to handle by virtue of their age, temperament, etc. Instead of sheltering or isolating them, we should be exposing them to different ideas and situations, and then EQUIPPING them, training them. We need to teach them not to accept things at face value, but to research, reflect, think critically, judge evidence and also how to listen to intuition. How to keep an open mind, and that its ok to change your mind if you come across new information. How not to be a sheep or a lemming.
    The best teachers I’ve ever had were in California Public Schools. I also believe my nieces and nephews are getting a superior education by being homeschooled. And I am absolutely sure there are good private or parochial schools, in spite of my family’s collective experience.
    We have to balance two opposing truths in educating our children–One is that we alone are the most invested in our child, and we alone are ultimately responsible that she/he is educated to full capacity. The second is that we are not always the best educators of our children in all areas, and our children need teachers who help our kids learn best, whether they are taught by us or other trusted people in our lives. Parenting is an awesome responsibility–may we all be worthy of the title.

    • lyzl

      August 21, 2012 at 10:57 pm

      I think ultimately, the fallacy of homeschooling is that it purports to create non-lemmings, when in fact, it just creates a different type. Ultimately, I agree. Learning begins and ends in the home. But does that mean I am my child’s best educator or should I be the sum of all of her experiences? No.

      And I find it ironic that all of the things that my parents wanted to shelter us from through public school, we actually found through home schooling. I think the ultimate lesson is that no form of education is perfect, but I want my child to understand how to be active and engaged with everyone around her, even the ideas and people and systems that we find less than desirable.

      And agreed! I spent most of my life being taught how public school was awful, but in HS when I went to public school, I met amazing teachers who taught me so much beyond and outside the limited worldview I had been presented.

    • laffingdukk

      August 21, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      “lemmings of a different type.” Well said. I didn’t want to digress too much, but I think a child’s educational experience also completely depends on how the parents approach life in general. In other words, lemmings are more likely to breed lemmings 🙂

    • lyzl

      August 21, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      Agreed. I think its ironic, that I’m not homeschooling, but I do believe that education begins and ends at home. If you raise a child to love learning and life, home schooled or non, I think that is what will happen.

    • Kelly

      August 22, 2012 at 10:49 am

      OMG the ACE program. I remember that. What a useless system. SO easy to cheat. I saw that constantly at one of the schools I was sent to.

    • K.G

      August 24, 2012 at 1:24 am

      Could not agree more. I’ve had many conversations with people lately where homeschooling gets brought up and with each of these conversations I just say I know I would be an awful teacher. People go to school to become teachers and doctors and I’m not going to try to take their place. While I know there are home schools that are excellent, it’s not something I can or want to take a part in. And my children would suffer if I tried. What worries me is that home schooling is starting to become “trendy” with people doing it solely because they just like having their kids around. If mothers like me are homeschooling their kids for this reason, their children are going to be severely dysfunctional in the real world.

  9. Wendy Callahan

    August 22, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Excellent article. I’m a secular homeschooling mom (our family is Pagan, so we’re theistic, but obviously not your stereoptypical homeschool family; we do not home educate for religious reasons, but academic ones).

    It is unfortunate that the stereotype of the uber-Christian homeschooler still prevails, when so many homeschooling families are non-religious and choose home education for a completely different reason than sheltering a child, indoctrinating them, etc.

    I think sharing your feelings about the experience is important, and what matters is a parent’s freedom to make their own choices about what is best for their child(ren). Homeschool, public school, private school, charter school, and more – none of them are perfect. We just have to weigh the options, make the best decision we can for our children, and go from there. 🙂

  10. Madeline

    August 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    I was home schooled, and I probably follow the majority 95% who really liked it. One thing I struggle with as an adult is when I tell people I was home schooled, I did like it, I am a Christian, but I’m not one of THOSE. I feel compelled to distinguish that I’m not an uptight, hardcore, (yet somehow meek and drably feminine) neo-conservative. And neither is my family.

    I had the upshot of being in a family that was slightly more “normal” than the typical fundamentalist flavor of home schooling. Yes, we had Christianity, but my parents were realistic enough to know that you can’t shut out “the world” (gah, I really hate using that term!) entirely.

    They didn’t want us to be in a CONSTANT stream of amoral bullshit every single day, but they dealt with it naturally when it came around – because inevitably it did – this is planet earth. My parents had expectations for me. They didn’t want me to drink, do drugs, or dress really provocatively. I think most parents want that. But we had lots of open, frank discussions. I knew what condoms were. I went to parties. I did not wear a head covering. And as I got older, the rules dropped away and by the end of high school, I was basically autonomous.

    As for co-ops and things like that, yes they were flawed, and yes I have memories of my Mom leafing casually through a text book, shrugging flippantly and saying “eh, you don’t need to know this part.”

    But I can tell you that I was lucky enough to be in a community of a really smart group of women, who taught me a lot about poetry, slugged me through algebra, and ran my ass around the Presidential Fitness Test. It can work. I learned a lot about academics, and also about different points of view. Mrs. H asked me if I ever thought that God could be a woman, and Mrs. W asked me to play a nun in a play about St. Edith Stein. I ran a pretty wild gamut.

    I think there’s some truth to the statement that home schooling simply creates different lemmings than public or private schooling. I suppose what I’ve come to is that it’s impossible NOT to imprint your child with some sort of doctrine, and that education is one of the most formal ways to do this. I think that home schooling is absolutely NOT for everyone, and it can go bad pretty easily if left unchecked.

    What does sadden me, is when people automatically assume that passing your beliefs and values to your children is akin to brainwashing. It’s not always like that, and not all parents are militaristic about it, especially in home schooling circles. Like I said, if you don’t indoctrinate your child, someone else will, and I would like to control that when the time comes. Prayerfully, I’ll have the wisdom to do this in a way that does not condemn my child, or make them feel trapped.

    That’s my theory, anyway.

  11. Nora

    August 23, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Because I was public schooled, I will not be public schooling my children. 😉

    • CW

      August 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      The overwhelming majority of homeschoolers I know would agree with you. I won’t inflict the 13 years of boredom and the emotional torture of jr. high cliquishness I had to endure as a public school student upon my children unless it became absolutely necessary.

    • Just Me

      August 25, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      Because I am a teacher, I want to home school my kids. Is that wrong?

  12. theresearcher

    August 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    I appreciate where you’re coming from, and my sister-in-law (a doctor and mother of a six-month-old) has said very nearly the same thing for a while now. What I have pointed out to her is that homeschooling doesn’t create or require a certain worldview; it simply magnifies the worldview of the parents who are doing the teaching. The same is true of the education: the whole point is the it’s NOT standardized. Smart, well-educated, well-rounded, conscientious parents stand a pretty good chance of producing kids who are the same, but goodness knows some people (or some skills or subjects) are also at risk to fall through the cracks.

    I was homeschooled, and I plan to homeschool. I even participated in the HSLDA survey you mentioned (I was a college freshman at the time), and I would still respond the same way to the questions you cite. The question *not* on the survey was “Will you homeschool *in the same way* that your parents did?” The more of my friends and peers that I talk to, that seems to be the sticking point: many of us want to homeschool, but do NOT want to re-create the same environment we grew up in. We will be more open, global people with perspective our parents could not have dreamed (and, perhaps, did not wish).

    For me and my husband (thus far childless after five years of marriage and holding out ’til we’re ready, thankyouverymuch) this has involved a total re-imagining of the logistics of home life, particularly in the area of gender roles. If all goes according to plan, I’ll finish this flipping PhD and make a career as an academic, while he does IT work from an internet connection, and everybody gets what they want in the perfect-for-us scenario of a Homeschool Dad.

    My point is not to say “but I was homeschooled and I turned out fiiiiiiinnnnne,” thus somehow refuting your point. If there were holes in your education, it’s great that you recognized them and strove to overcome them on your own. Another homeschool graduate’s academic credentials (mine or anyone else’s) have absolutely zero bearing on your K-12 experience, because your mom didn’t teach me and my mom didn’t teach you. I totally sympathize with your point, but I imagine that your home life right now is already quite different from your childhood experience, and certainly you wouldn’t revert if you were to start homeschooling your daughter. Your mom wouldn’t be teaching your daughter, which is a relief, isn’t it? : )

    My other point is this: Good for you! I’m glad that you and your husband have made this decision for your child at this time, rather than caving to either guilt trips or the unquestioned status quo. I also like the idea of saying, “What is the best education available for our kids this year?” If we can provide it ourselves, awesome. If not, we’ll look elsewhere, and I’m glad you’re doing the same.

  13. Tori

    August 23, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    As a public middle school (and community college) teacher with a Master’s Degree in my subject area, I had to weigh in. I’m seeing a lot of public school attacking in the comments, and it’s very frustrating to me. I am what my state considers a “highly qualified teacher,” and I work hard every day to see that all of my students get a quality education. Homeschooling parents care deeply about their children, but very few of the ones I know are qualified to teach them in all subjects. Teachers have degrees in elementary or secondary education, and if it’s secondary, then it’s a specialized subject. I don’t have a problem with parents who have teaching degrees homeschooling. About the other concern, that public school is a dangerous place, I am one of many dedicated and caring teachers in my building. We take
    bullying, curse words, and cruelty very seriously, and we don’t allow
    it. I have gone to every high school graduation of the groups I have
    taught, and I am proud that I have former students tell me they learned
    so much from their years in my class that they still carry with them to
    this day. They are headed off to college, military service, and
    adulthood. I feel honored to have been a part of their life stories even
    if it was just for one year. My own children are in public school, and I
    trust that their teachers will do their best just as I do every day.

    • Zoey

      August 25, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      “Highly Qualified Status” can be achieved very easily, its not that much to brag about

    • Angie

      August 26, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      I think she’s not trying to brag, Zoey. She may just be saying that teachers work hard and have degrees. And in my state, highly qualified means a bachelor’s degree AND teaching certificate (which requires lots of hours of observation in classrooms outside of college classes, student teaching, and a massive online portfolio), and a master’s degree in their content area. I’m sorry, what did you say you do for a living?

    • Go Girl

      August 25, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      Zoey, please demonstrate for us how easy it is to get.

    • Steph

      August 29, 2012 at 11:13 am

      Yes, you may be, and your school may be safe, but our local high school had a shooting on the first day of school, and last years drop out rate was 6%. So, is your anecdote the correct one or mine?

  14. Amanda

    August 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    The large amount of grammar mistakes in this article are a compelling argument for why people should not homeschool their children.

  15. Kristina White

    August 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Wow, very strong opinions here. My child goes to public school. I have one starting middle(6th grade) and one that will start kindergarten next year. My daughter loves school, and her friends at school, and because she does I wouldn’t homeschool. I do however, fill in her education. We go to art museums. We go to sci-works, planetariums, and loads of other festivals and activities. I think its a personal choice, but I honestly look back on my education, and even in the face of being occasionally bullied, I wouldn’t change it. Even the simple memories of someone doing something funny in class, or going to my first middle school dance, those are such important fun times, I think it takes away from a child to keep them at home. Even if you have playdates, and groups, they need time away from their parents to really find themselves.

    • CW

      August 26, 2012 at 12:55 am

      FYI, most homeschool support groups sponsor formal dances (ours has one each in the fall, winter, and spring), so homeschooled kids won’t miss out on those types of events.

    • Trinket

      November 12, 2014 at 12:18 am

      Oh, yeah. My friend’s kids went to those “formal dances.” 20 girls and 3 boys with everyone in their “modest” (’cause it’s hottest – blech) homemade gowns. I am so dead serious. I’m not sure they even danced at the dances. Super fun!

  16. Meg

    August 28, 2012 at 12:12 am

    I liked reading your point of view, and commend your courage. It’s almost comical, that across the spectrum, here I am, a science-loving mom, who homeschools because I DO want my kids learning real science, and not being indoctrinated, but on my end of the table, I hear from public schooled kids where I live, that their science book has a sticker in it saying that evolution is “just a theory” and that they don’t have to believe people came from monkeys. One even told me plants aren’t alive, because they don’t move. So my husband and I homeschool for reasons that are diametrically opposite to the reasons your parents had. We also don’t want to be our kids’ sole teachers, and believe that if you get a kid reading and doing math (in our case, the Japanese Soroban for arithmetic), and make sure they can write legibly, you can essentially enable them to reach a point of independent study, and then get them mentors as well. Just about everyone I know has a story to tell about some homeschooling family or another, that they met or heard of, who homeschool to keep their kids secluded from the world, from science, from others with different viewpoints. And I certainly am not proselytizing to you, to homeschool your kid! But if it does your heart good to know, there are a lot of people now choosing to homeschool, not to keep their kids from the world, but to get their kids out into it, more often, and to give them the chance to collect mineral samples, see museums in the off season, have sleepovers with their friends any night of the week, or pursue theater, dance, or an instrument more hours per day than schooled kids can spare, if that’s their passion. And maybe it will make you smile just a little, to know that my sons will be every bit as good at cooking and housework, as my daughter, and she too, will change tires. 🙂

    • Sameena Bogler

      June 25, 2014 at 6:03 am

      Dear Meg,

      This is exactly why we have been homeschooling our son (now 7). The wonderful, precious time that we have had has enabled him to learn piano to recital level, he has a reading age of 11 (just tested in a school) and is doing maths and writing several years ahead of his age. As important, he has had free time to read, to play and just to relax and we have such a happy, secure and mature boy as a result who so many people like. I wonder if you would be able to get in touch. In January, we sat him for exams for a London’s top school for boys – really as a test of how we were doing academically – and he did so well, that we face the real possibility that he may get a place (over 250 children take an entrance exam to this school for 20 places). I now feel completely stuck and wish we had not gone down this road. The pre-prep school he is in now (the one before the more serious one he has a place in) has shown my husband and I how low-level even private education can be. We don’t see what he learns, we have no control over it – all we see is homework set with mistakes in the questions or things not being properly checked and a low standard of explanation (so much through video). Yet this pre-prep school is extremely highly-regarded – really it is possibly the best pre-prep in London. The reason we criticise it is that our standards are not the standards of most parents today. For parents who have never homeschooled, this school is considered a holy-grail. But I know what a high level education can achieve – and the fact that the other parents tell me how admired my son is just shows me that – it does not make me proud but depressed about modern standards. I want to return to homeschooling at least for a few more years, but I feel sucked into the system, even after just six weeks of it. My husband is supportive of homeschooling – he sees the results – but he is nervous of us turning a place down at this next school where he may have a place. His family is not very supportive of homeschooling – though again, they love the results and when you discuss the details, they agree how poor even private schools have become. But their overall take is that all children should go to school. So I need a special kind of courage to turn down this place. I know in my heart how well homeschooling has worked. I am from a family of educators and teaching comes as naturally to me as anything I have ever done – I am passionate about literature, science and history and strong at maths – in all of these areas our son knows these subjects in more depth and more solidly than any of his classmates. After six weeks at the school, he took exams – he came top in maths (100%) and in creative writing and stood first in the class. The school never thought to give us credit (schools cannot ever admit that homeschooling works better – it is in their interests to maintain their control over families and, in many ways, to divide families). Our family time is being compromised by the time away at school – everything else that is meaningful has been squeezed into a few short hours. I wonder if you would have some time to talk to me about this? If so, I am on +1 646 651 5598 or [email protected]. I would be so grateful as I feel quite alone in this..

  17. Shaun Connell

    January 7, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Because, obviously, people who go to public school have perfect grammar.

    • Katherine

      May 21, 2013 at 11:15 am

      I don’t know where you received your education, but a sentence should not start with “because”, as because is a subordinating conjunction!
      I would never homeschool my daughter despite having completed more formal education than 100% of homeschooling parents I know, and probably most professional teachers, too.

      The fact that I have two graduate degrees and a PhD does not make me a teacher. As a uni lecturer, I deal with several previously homeschooled students, and as a group, their papers and exams are well below average. I realise that my experiences are subjective and may not be representative, but they often struggle with basic concepts of logical reasoning, and frequently commit formal, informal, and propositional fallacies.

    • Nancy W.

      July 29, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      There are lot of issues with the school systems and often it depends what state you are in. In my state, kids are leaving high school unable to read or do basic math and now they are taking away even more funding from our schools. The only real issues that seem to plague homeschool kids here over those sent through the school system is in the sciences. I guess when evolution is off the table other subjects just filter out naturally as well. Oh, and I personally think that people who are obsessed with grammar rules and spelling errors are compensating for a weak intellect and even weaker sense of creativity. (Priorities are important in life, you know?)

    • Me

      January 23, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      In all your vast knowledge you have forgotten that periods go INSIDE the parentheses….genius.

    • Me

      January 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm


    • What

      February 20, 2014 at 7:03 am

      Your a douche! How’s that teacher? Get over yourself! We are not writing papers here!

    • snowplow

      November 12, 2014 at 12:10 am

      Uh …. “You’re.” You may not be “writing papers,” but you are giving people a glimpse into your intellect/abilities by what you write here. Those of us who are skeptical about homeschooling end up having our reservations confirmed when we see the poor quality of some of the homeschoolers’ comments. Sorry, “Me.” You’re/your is basic stuff.

    • snowplow

      November 12, 2014 at 12:11 am

      That was in response to “What” not “Me.”

    • Sameena Bogler

      June 25, 2014 at 6:14 am

      Hi Katherine – I am copying you on my post to Meg. You might want to see how homeschooling can work. To get into what is regarded as the best London prep school with no institutional schooling, suggests that the results of homeschooling can be stellar. Not just academically, but our son is a nice child – not angry or stressed or hating education. People ask me why I am now trying a school (six weeks into it) and I tell them because I wanted to see what went on. It has been very disappointing. Teachers who don’t know why you would want to give your child a original edition of a book because they have never thought about modern editing and why we might oppose changing the character of a story through politically correct thinking. There are so many subtle nuances to this – a parent who homeschools properly will think through everything and will want to get it right for her child. Schools only approximate to this..they simply don’t and can’t care as much and it really shows…surely all of us care about education enough to care if our child gets a poor version of what we think they should know. Yet we hand over the job to people less able than we are. As for grammar, I worked at a global news magazine (a good one) and you can be freer than you think about starting a sentence – especially in a forum like this. Not using perfect grammar, does not mean you don’t know the rules. My experience of schooling so far, is that many teachers don’t even properly know the rules…

      below is an email to a poster above..
      “This is exactly why we have been homeschooling our son (now 7). The wonderful, precious time that we have had has enabled him to learn piano to recital level, he has a reading age of 11 (just tested in a school) and is doing maths and writing several years ahead of his age. As important, he has had free time to read, to play and just to relax and we have such a happy, secure and mature boy as a result who so many people like. I wonder if you would be able to get in touch. In January, we sat him for exams for a London’s top school for boys – really as a test of how we were doing academically – and he did so well, that we face the real possibility that he may get a place (over 250 children take an entrance exam to this school for 20 places). I now feel completely stuck and wish we had not gone down this road. The pre-prep school he is in now (the one before the more serious one he has a place in) has shown my husband and I how low-level even private education can be. We don’t see what he learns, we have no control over it – all we see is homework set with mistakes in the questions or things not being properly checked and a low standard of explanation (so much through video). Yet this pre-prep school is extremely highly-regarded – really it is possibly the best pre-prep in London. The reason we criticise it is that our standards are not the standards of most parents today. For parents who have never homeschooled, this school is considered a holy-grail. But I know what a high level education can achieve – and the fact that the other parents tell me how admired my son is just shows me that – it does not make me proud but depressed about modern standards. I want to return to homeschooling at least for a few more years, but I feel sucked into the system, even after just six weeks of it. My husband is supportive of homeschooling – he sees the results – but he is nervous of us turning a place down at this next school where he may have a place. His family is not very supportive of homeschooling – though again, they love the results and when you discuss the details, they agree how poor even private schools have become. But their overall take is that all children should go to school. So I need a special kind of courage to turn down this place. I know in my heart how well homeschooling has worked. I am from a family of educators and teaching comes as naturally to me as anything I have ever done – I am passionate about literature, science and history and strong at maths – in all of these areas our son knows these subjects in more depth and more solidly than any of his classmates. After six weeks at the school, he took exams – he came top in maths (100%) and in creative writing and stood first in the class. The school never thought to give us credit (schools cannot ever admit that homeschooling works better – it is in their interests to maintain their control over families and, in many ways, to divide families). Our family time is being compromised by the time away at school – everything else that is meaningful has been squeezed into a few short hours. I wonder if you would have some time to talk to me about this? If so, I am on +1 646 651 5598 or [email protected]. I would be so grateful as I feel quite alone in this..

  18. Lauren

    January 9, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    To Lyn who wrote the article, I’m so sorry that you had that kind of forced strict experience, but it sounds like that was a long time ago and times have certainly changed. The beauty of home education now is that it can be tailor made for individual families. So although you had a negative experience that doesn’t mean that all children do. I’m certain you would do things very differently if you so chose to homeschool your child.
    Now as a homeschool mom myself I can say that it’s not for everyone so this should be a well thought out decision for you and your child. Both of you should be happy, of course there’s going to be bumps in the road just as there would be in traditional school but If it ever seems to not work out there’s nothing wrong with sending them back to school.
    Also if your child should happen to have any special learning needs they could get all the one on one attention they could possibly need, that wouldn’t be as available in public schools unless they are in a special needs class which still isn’t one on one 100% of the time. Not to mention they could learn at their own pace. Which I can admit that I think I could have greatly benefitted from when I was in school

    I hope this gives a more positive perspective.
    God Bless.

  19. Lana

    January 16, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    LOVE this article! I am not sure what I’d do as I hate the idea of sitting at a desk all day. But I don’t like the lifestyle, the control, and even if you try to stay out of it, I find homeschool people at large to have very small mindset. And I say that as one who was heavily involved in homeschooling as a kid and still as an adult to a large extent.

  20. blh98

    January 29, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I just recently started homeschooling my kids for a number of reasons (not in any specific order)…1. Being in 6th and 8th grade, they do not know how to spell properly 2. The lack of leadership and concern for the safety of the kids. 3. The lack of concern for the success of the kids (I had two A-B students (one in 7th grade, the other in 10th) with the same teacher, FAILING math, which was the case for many of the students) and NOTHING was done about it no matter how many times I went to the principle. 4. Socialization! Nowadays, it’s a joke! Kids don’t know how to socialize in a healthy manner. Everything is about sex. With cell phones and facebook (which my children do not have and will not have until they are old enough to purchase and pay for themselves) and parents who don’t monitor any of it, the kids are destroying themselves and others around them. These are the main reasons I have chosen to homeschool. I feel that I can do more for my children than I have seen being done for them in the school.

  21. Hope Mielke

    March 30, 2013 at 1:03 am

    Not all homeschooling is like that. My family is Christian but they are NOT BY ANY MEANS legalistic.I believe that Christ is my savior and that he died on the cross for my sins. However my parents and I know that making mistakes is part of life…in fact they had me at age 16. They have done a good job of letting me be my own person while still guiding me in the right path. Next year I will be going to public school because my parents believe I am strong enough in my own mind to handle my self with poise, while still having fun. Also my mom wants to go to college and our lives have gotten too busy. However homeschooling has been a great experience. However I understand where you are coming from. I have friends whose parents are very legalistic and I don’t think its the right way to teach a child.Instead of guarding me from the world, my parents have simply told me how to deal with it. I have public school friends and there is not a big difference between me and them.

  22. iwanttogotoschool

    April 3, 2013 at 12:09 am

    I am currently being homeschooled and I hate it. It not only cuts off my social connections but I am not learning half the stuff I could be. If I have children there is NO WAY I am homeschoolinng them. Some people argue they ‘want their kids to have life skills’ but I think you can teach a kid ‘life skills’ while he/she is in school!!

    • Jill

      May 12, 2013 at 11:47 am

      What do you think you are missing? Get thee to a library and find out! If you aren’t allowed, then take heart, you WILL grow up and make your own choices. If your parents don’t like your choices, tell them they brought you up to be a free thinker, and thanks! You can go to college when you are 30 if need be!

  23. Rebecca

    April 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    If I had been homeschooled by your mom, I wouldn’t homeschool my children either! YIKES! Thankfully it doesn’t have to be like that.

  24. Rebecca

    April 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Yep! And our kids have family, babysitters, and activities. They aren’t always with us just because we homeschool. but it is true our kids spend more of their waking ours with a parent than with a public school teacher. We actually did try public school first. One teacher abused my child. Another taught him nothing. A third created behavioral problems. Our child was going into 2nd grade and still couldn’t read (he was operating at the same level as a Kindergartner). We pulled him out of school, homeschooled him, and had him “caught up” within 6 months. Since then, we have been homeschooling our other children with great success as well. They get PLENTY of socialization. They get PLENTY (but not an excessive amount) of time away from us. And they learn PLENTY of things from people other than ourselves.

    Homeschooling isn’t for everyone. Anyone who feels they can’t do as good or better than a public school education is completely right in their decision not to homeschool. But just because they couldn’t cut it as their child’s teacher doesn’t mean there aren’t parents out there who can.

  25. Homersteve

    April 28, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks for this response. I’m a dad and I’ve been homeschooling my 6yr son. I think I’m sending him to 1st grade public school though next year. I’m caving into the peer pressure around me. One problem I have is listening to the rants of naysayers. Your last paragraph I have always believed. But I don’t have support from family around me and I don’t want my son to grow up and feel the way the person in this article does. What a weird time we live in where things that were so black and white are now grey. I went to public school and it was hard socially. I quit when I was 16 and never looked back. I went to the military and got a college degree. I want to shelter my son, but I was exposed and made many wrong decisions. I hurt a lot of people and myself. There are scars that have never healed. I don’t want my son to have to go through that, but … I don’t know. I’m tired. Sometimes lost. One day at a time.

    • Ray

      August 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm

      In response to the parent above. I am a parent whom was schooled by the public system. I have a 6yr old son as well. I have been teaching him since he learned how to talk. I, like you didn’t have the support of my family, friends, his pediatrician, etc. I agree it is hard, however, I feel you are doing the right thing homeschooling. I can proudly say that I had my son tested(mind you, he just turned 6 on July 8th 2013), and he tested at the second grade level in Reading, Math, and English. His favorite subjects are History, and Science. As for those whom have negativity, you have to ignore, otherwise what are you teaching your son?….subcome to peer pressure because they dictate your life and whom you will grow to be? Ask yourself that before you decide to enroll him in the public system. I have good and bad days as far as homeschooling. Having the support would be an added bonus, but the most important aspect I keep in mind is that when I’m gone from this earth, my son will remember the precious moments we had together. When he reaches adulthood, and has children of his own, he will remember the love and devotion he was given. Lots of people think most homeschoolers are socially inept, but my son is like me… Outgoing, outspoken, loving, and understanding of all people and creatures no matter the age, color, sex, and ability. Remember our children are a representative of our self. How would you like your child to remember you?

    • GlamMami

      March 27, 2014 at 4:13 pm


    • Zachary

      June 24, 2014 at 1:40 am

      “Whom”–You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    • loveali1

      October 20, 2014 at 5:49 pm

      Thanks Ray, I also have a 5 yr old and an 8 yr old- I am
      homeschooling, it is because of the junk that they would be taught in public school that gets blended in with the curriculum as well as the influence from other kids that I myself experienced as a public school student that now drives my decision that in order to keep them rooted on the right path, this is my only choice. The world has become amoral, scary in that they don’t mind teaching your children and doing things to your children what we did not give our consent for them to teach or to do. HomerSteve, there may be a good support system or even a co-op that you find you like in your area, check online. Don’t be afraid to stand for what you believe in, You are not alone, God is with you every step of the way and so are many parents who understand your cause fro homeschooling. 🙂

    • limey

      November 11, 2014 at 11:09 pm

      Second grade is generally 7 years old. Your six-year-old son tested at second grade level, one year above him? Big whoop.

    • Bert Matos

      May 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      The education of your child is your responsibility only, don’t leave it on the hands of the state. I have had no support from my family and many naysayers around me but that doesn’t mean I will send my children to school. Just because this article presents a family with super tough religious believes doesn’t mean we are the same. Teach him at home you see your rewards.

  26. Jill

    May 12, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I wouldn’t want my child to do all his or her homework on a computer. And as a “qualified” teacher, I can tell you, the qualifications are to help you teach as the state as deemed best (teach to the test). There is a lot of talk in education classes about how things are headed in the wrong direction, but teachers have little power or autonomy any more. Any intelligent, well-adjusted parent can homeschool, I think, at least through elementary or middle school. Public schools aren’t evil, they are needed for a free society, but qualifications don’t mean a whole lot.

    • B

      May 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      “Teaching to the test” is a far cry from what is best. I have seen the students who enter college from this style of education and besides not being able to wipe their own back sides they have the mentality of toddlers! I grew up as a publicly schooled kid and though I will not comment on schools outside of Arkansas I can testify to the quality of public schools in my area. It was a nightmare of a hole in the earth back then and it has only gotten worse. I challenge any parent who cares anything about their children to try our public institutions for just one day. (They would make evil grab a favorite blanket and thumb-suck uncontrollably.)

      I do agree that an “intelligent” parent should be able to effectively teach their own children, however I am not confident in the level of intelligence among our locals. I am not saying that I am a perfect home schooling parent, but at least my child is literate. Our local co-op is run by fundies and the last leader (that I knew) had a third-grader that could not yet read or write a simple sentience. This group thinks that indoctrination takes precedence beyond literacy, thus the emphasis of these kids’ education lies within the boundaries of a rather famous collection of religious text. This is EXACTLY what the author was talking about. Of course around here you can bag pretty much any job you want for any pay range as long as you carry a label of faith and stay up to date on your STD screenings. (This is in spite of the fact that you may not be able to poor piss out of a boot with the instructions on the heel.) Who needs to be “learnt that fancy schoolin’ ” when you live in the south??? I mean, your highest positions around here will either be Elder or head bartender, possibly both. (Yes, I am completely allowed to make this comment due to the fact that I was born and raised here. Believe me, I question my motives for remaining in such an environment every single day of my life.)

      On the note of qualifications…OMG! I had to tutor a student roughly a year away from certification that could not wrap her head around percentages! I’m no Einstein, but what good could this woman possibly do for our society’s children? Granted, I can’t teach at the secondary school level (with my multiple degrees) because I don’t have “a teaching license”, so perhaps there is something special this lady can do that I can’t. Oh yeah, now I remember. She is willing to spend eight hours every day with our city’s beasts…er…um…children. Kudos! I wanted to plow into the back end of a pick-up full of them this afternoon as they waived and spat at my wind shield from the truck bed. That lady that I tutored may not be versed in the “3 Rs”, but she sure can wrangle some monsters! Now that’s qualification! And yes, we do need a place full of people just like her for a free society; free from everybody’s ill-behaved offspring.

    • Katherine

      May 21, 2013 at 11:54 am

      Dear B,

      Thank you for your eloquent and relevant post. Unfortunately, most homeschool mums fall into the category that you, and the original author, mentioned: indoctrination over education. Group think and peer pressure are very prevalent in these circles who literally build a wall against the corrupt, outside world. Like you, I have multiple degrees, including a PhD in sociology and social anthropology from a rather well-known uni in the UK, and I too lack the credentials to teach at the secondary school level. I am not too familiar with the primary and secondary school systems in the US, but in the UK, teachers receive training in paedagogy and paediatric/adolescent psychology.

      Perhaps an intelligent person ought to be able to teach a child at the primary school level, but from what I have gathered during my three-year stay in Washington, DC, Americans apparently do not study English grammar, orthography, geography, world history or foreign languages at all! My neighbour from across the street homeschools her two daughters, and the older one (almost 12) still hasn’t mastered multiplication and division, whilst the younger one struggles with writing simple sentences and adding numbers under 100. Mum, who supposedly has a college degree, says things like “me and her went shopping” instead of “she and I went shopping.” The other day, I overheard their dad saying that Artesian refers to a craftsman! Yikes! Artesian, after the French province Artois, is a type of well or aquifer, whereas the skilled craftsman is an artisan! The pronunciation isn’t even the same…

      After the Boston Marathon attacks, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in DC issued a statement to clarify that the Czech Republic is an EU member, whilst Chechnya is a part of Russia and is located in the North Caucasus. Sorry, but such people should not be trusted to “educate” their children.

    • kiki

      May 23, 2013 at 9:54 pm


      Your comment is condescending and full of sweeping judgement. I’m sorry your neighbors were louts, but don’t judge an entire country by them. I was educated by a well-regarded university (along with a handful of trade schools) and more than that I identify as a passionate autodidact. I want this for my son too. So I home school, not because I am interested in indoctrinating anyone. I teach my kid because he gets a superior education that way, and because I am fortunate enough to have the flexible schedule to allow it.

    • Kiki

      May 23, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      I am unable to edit my comment, but I want to add that anyone who thinks they can teach their child best in all subjects at all times is a better teacher than I am. Of course, we all have strengths and weaknesses. I live in a state that nearly requires that any truly educated person speak Spanish. I speak French. I don’t speak Spanish, so my kid goes to a Spanish class. As he advances in math he will outgrow my ability to teach him. Same with piano. Same with kung fu. So, shazam! Tutors! There is no law that I’m aware of that states home school = sitting at a kitchen table with your mom all day.

      Am I lucky to have the resources? Hell yes. But that’s another story.

    • snowplow

      November 11, 2014 at 11:59 pm

      I agree. (Neither should “B” above with all the errors in her posts. “Waived” for “waved”? This is basic stuff, Murrica!) Why can’t homeschoolers be required to pass an SAT-like test before they’re allowed to homeschool? A good parent does not necessarily a good teacher make. I know a family with 8 kids, all homeschooled, with 5 of them of legal adult age up to the age of 31. These 5 adults *still live at home* and can neither spell nor write a decent sentence. They’re essentially imprisoned morons created by moronic parents and yet moronic parents like these and others still want society’s seal of approval for their crappy homeschooling. Isn’t the proof in the pudding? If your kid can’t spell, write, understand grammar, do basic math, etc. — you FAILED. Sorry. Just because you homeschool doesn’t mean you’re good at homeschooling. I know some who’ve done a good job and I know some who’ve done a horrible job and, yet, they all want our approval. NO. Do a good job, THEN you get approval. Isn’t that how the world works anyway?

  27. Jill

    May 12, 2013 at 11:25 am

    What?! Enjoying your children will make them dysfunctional?

    • fabshelly

      May 14, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      No, that’s not what she said at all.

  28. Jill

    May 12, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Most schools have zero tolerance for bullying. But it still happens. I know this, as I used to teach and now I work as a substitute a couple days a week. Bullying is the number one reason I want to homeschool, although I have heard bullying or shunning occurs in homeschool groups as well. I am torn, as a teacher, I love education and want to be in the schools, but also as a teacher, I can see that teachers are restricted and schools have to engage in a lot of crowd control which dehumanizes students.

    I am highly qualified, but I learned nothing in college that I couldn’t have read in a few books. I am not saying teachers aren’t intelligent, hard-working people, and I believe they are professionals who deserve a good salary, but not for the educating. They are professionals at crowd control, getting the lesson out to a general group, and upholding the school rules.

    Now obviously, some parents may not be qualified to teach their kids. Illiterate parents, abusive parents, and neglectful parents come to mind (the type that can’t make their child come to school everyday, probably aren’t going to be successful teachers, unless school is the issue).

  29. Jill

    May 12, 2013 at 11:38 am

    All I had to do was pass the Praxis II test in the subject area. I have 8 certifications this way. Today I have a job offer to teach math at a rural high school. I have not passed the praxis in high school math (I don’t think I could!), but since I minored in math in college, I could still be considered highly qualified.

    • fabshelly

      May 14, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      In this state you have to have a Master’s.

    • B

      May 19, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      In Arkansas you have to have a pulse…maybe not that if you know the right people.

  30. Jill

    May 12, 2013 at 11:40 am

    The same as you. You broke out, they might, too. You may be their inspiration:o).

  31. fabshelly

    May 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    If getting a Master’s degree is easy.

    • Lily Strom

      May 22, 2013 at 12:10 am

      The majority of education masters degrees are earned online while teachers are working, and absolutely nobody fails. The programs are designed to help teachers meet state requirements; they are not designed to make teachers into better teachers.

  32. Praying MOM

    May 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Homeschooling is a choice, and I truly believe it’s not for everyone. That being said, there is no reason to look down on those who choose to or not to. A thriving homeschool is not that different from what goes on in a public school classroom except for the fact that hopefully your child is not exposed to lewd and crude comments, and you can control the subject content to be age appropriate. Some children are not emotionally ready to deal with all that this world exposes them to at such an early age.

    I homeschooled my two older children starting with my oldest child in 3rd grade. The public school system was failing her in a big way. She was excelling in math, reading, and English skills. It was no longer a question of supplementing at home, I was teaching her at home, and she was the teacher’s aid at school. When they got into highschool, the homeschooling was not what was best any longer. They are both currently in large public highschool since there are no Christian schools offering highschool education close enough. I am still homeschooling my youngest son.

    Am I a Christian? Yes I am. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As I endeavored to homeschool my children I used a biblically based curriculum. No apologies will be offered for that. My children not only learned more about their creator and Savior, they also were kept to a higher standard of education. They write well, and know how to articulate what they think and feel in an appropriate, respectful manner. They know what God says about submission to authority. I truly believe it is because we had those early years together. I had an opportunity to train up my children in the way they should go.

    This generation of children are unfortunately becoming the “whatever” generation. They frequently stand for nothing, because they don’t want to offend anyone, but they don’t have respect for authority because they want to be their own authoritarian. That’s not who our founding fathers were, and that isn’t who we should want our children to be.

    On another note, “meek” is not “weak”! Meekness means there is self-control present, which by the way is a rare trait in young people today. Have you watched the news lately? How sad and selfish Americans have become 🙁 Christians need to be praying for our nation. The Bible says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.” You don’t HAVE to believe that, but our country’s history has proven it.

    Lastly, homeschooling is what you make it. Just because you hated it, doesn’t mean your child won’t love it. Just because your parents did things a certain way doesn’t mean you have to. I know I wouldn’t be able to do it without God’s help. He loves my children more than I ever could, and He already knows what is best for them. So when it comes to the places where I might have fallen short, He is always there to fill those gaps. I am so thankful for that. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

  33. Shinelle

    May 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    God have mercy on your bitter, backlid soul. You don’t know how blessed you are to have had God-fearing parents. Shame on you.

  34. B

    May 19, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    I hear you! I am a normal human being (that happens to be Pagan) and the groups are just weird to me. We don’t do them at all. Plus, those moms aren’t really like that. It is just show. You see them in places “off the record” sometimes (like Wal-Mart) and they are crazy, Nazi-like trolls with all 20 of there grunions. I live in the south and being as different as our family is doesn’t exactly go over well around here. Of course, we prefer the isolation to the Bible-thumping racists any day of the week. We just do our own thing.

    • Wannabevenus

      February 2, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      I think criticizing their family size and choices makes a person just as narrow minded. Live and let live and thank God and the universe we DO have choices in most places.

    • kato

      November 11, 2014 at 11:43 pm

      You mean “their” grunions?

  35. B

    May 19, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    I totally agree with you, Zoey. During my time as an undergraduate I shared classes with those who were specializing in an area of education. For example, pretty much any intro class for the sciences had them speckled throughout. Of course, they struggled in our department even with freshman and sophomore level science courses. I hate to tell you people this, but getting a degree in “education” is gravy. “Specializing” under these degree plans does not a “specialist” make. Zoey is absolutely right. I am not saying that a person following their dream of entering the field of education should not be proud of their accomplishments. I am saying that “low-man-on-the-totem-pole” areas among post secondary degrees includes education as a major. I have seen countless eager newbies in college change majors TO education because they can’t handle a hard science degree.

  36. B

    May 19, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Honestly, even if she tests whoopie cushions for a living, she is capable of making this observation about public school employees.

  37. Lily Strom

    May 21, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Most math teachers aren’t qualified to teach algebra either. My husband, an engineer with a Ph.D from a top-tier school, could teach math and science fifty times better than most public school teachers.

  38. Lily Strom

    May 21, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    I’m a teacher and I want to homeschool too! My parents have been teaching for 30+ years, and they say they would not send us to public school the way schools are today.

  39. Lily Strom

    May 22, 2013 at 12:02 am

    Seriously? Have you ever taken university education classes? It’s a bunch of namby pamby projects. Once, in a Communication in the Classroom course, I sat through an entire lecture about the differences between a “hot dog” and a “hamburger” fold. Give me a break.

    I’ve taken entire science-based courses in learning and memory, motivation, and human development and graduate-level statistics based courses in psychometrics and psychoeducational assessment, yet I am not qualified to teach.

    Just the other day, one of the teachers I work with asked me what a cohort is. She couldn’t even figure out how to interpret her recent standardized test results, which is pretty remarkable considering her job depends on those test results!

  40. Kiki

    May 23, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    We are in the East Bay of California. At least I am.

  41. Mrs.K

    May 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    I would love to homeschool my children however I dont have that kind of patience and I need my space. Otherwise I would defnitely do it. My older son is very reserved and has become the invisible child in his class because of this however at home he is outgoing and noisy. I just think he is a sensitive child who would thrive in a nurturing homeschool environment.

  42. Missy

    June 23, 2013 at 9:21 am

    I homeschooled my daughter since second grade and it was a mistake. We couldn’t find friends because I am not the right type of Christian , believe in state testing and teach her that the bible is the word of god but he changes his mind sometimes. So in my quest to shelter her from bad influences in school my once very social daughter is a bit more awkward and has no close friends. So I’m putting her back in school so she can , as she told me “have more in common with other kids.”

  43. Sn0wJ08

    June 24, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    hahaha!! I haven’t had friends since I started my family for the same reason. I am 29 with 4 kids. I decided to home school my kids because I can’t stand the way the schools try and get in your business constantly. Ladies at the front desk as well as the principal treat me like a child because I look twelve standing 5’3″ tall with a face full of freckles. I have been to college on and off the last 10 yrs between children…had straight As but learned nothing of use…what a joke!! My husband and I do not have college degrees yet he earns between 2 and 3 hundred grand a year. I was raised by my dad. I was surrounded by a blue collar boozers and I turned out quite well. I’m quick with a joke or to light up your smoke 🙂 .. and have all the street smarts I need to stroll down any dark ally without fear. I want to homeschool because I think there are many things the school doesn’t teach about the REAL world. When it comes time to get a job and negotiate a proper wage,these kids are lost. Most people become teachers because they can’t put their book knowledge to work and make some real dough. Trust me…if they knew how to make some real money they wouldn’t be teaching. If you want your kids to become teachers then send them to school. If you want your kids to make money and provide well for their family then teach them how to make a buck!!!! The only subjects that are important are reading comprehension and math…we all know how boring and full of bullshit the history books are. After they master those basics we should let our kids veer towards their own interests. If they learn what they want to learn they will be good at what they do and enjoy their job. My main job as a parent is to prepare my kids to live on their own comfortably and provide for their family if they chose to have one. I left home at 18…Dad said all he owes us is room and board until we reach 18…anything else we wanted we had to EARN!!! whats with all the mid 20-30 year old adults still living at home these days??? PUBLIC SCHOOLS! Fathers need to teach their boys a trade!
    I’m in Alaska and may be the only home school mom that is not a crazy, bible thumping, fool!

    • Beck

      July 10, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      If you were standing here I’d high five you!! Thank you for your frank encouragement. I’m am so strung out on planning, scheduling, and I have nightmares because my kids’ SAT scores weren’t genius level. My 11 yr old was in the 85th, my 9 yr old in the 75th, my 7 yr old, at grade level or one up for everything. Am I failing? The pressure that this is all up to me is about to break me in two.

    • tuesday

      November 11, 2014 at 11:40 pm

      Yeah, but if you knew enough about grammar, spelling, and punctuation, you wouldn’t make these errors — even writing fast. Homeschoolers are so prickly and defensive about the lacunas in their knowledge that they try to act breezy about the fact that they have those blind spots and say things like you just said — “Hey, grammar freaks, I’m just writing fast” – as the reason for why their writing is riddled with errors, as yours is. Anyone who’s actually good at English and grammar wouldn’t post a comment with so many mistakes. Their firm knowledge base wouldn’t allow them to put that out there for the public to read. You shouldn’t be the one to teach your kids English and, I’m sorry, it IS important to be able to communicate effectively – both orally and in writing — in order to make a buck in this world, as you say you want your kids to do. It’s clear you don’t give a “dam” and that’s what’s sad. “I don’t give a crap about my poor English skills and I’m homeschooling my kids! Yay, me! Respect me!” (It’s “damn,” btw.)

  44. dee

    July 6, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Hey, you sound just like me! I’m currently homeschooling my kids and can’t fit in or understand these homeschool moms. They’re so soft spoken and sweet ALL the time. That can’t be normal. Please tell me you live in Ohio… Lol

  45. MB

    July 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    What a sad representation of homeschool. There is so much out there than what this article states. I was public schooled and you wouldn’t believe the gaps in my learning. I couldn’t even tell you where Antartica was. I now homeschool my children (oh the horrors — I should be shot because I am not my child’s best teacher, psh) and I actually closed those gaps by homeschooling my kids — learning right along with them. Homeschooling is not about shoving your agenda down your kids throats. Honestly though, everyone has a world view. What’s so wrong with encouraging the one you have and passing it on to your kids? I’m not saying that you shouldn’t show them other options, but I don’t tell my kids Darwin is evil. I don’t think I should be behind a stove all day or barefoot and pregnant. That is not the norm of most homeschoolers I know. And honestly, isn’t your worldview being imparted to your child by sending her to public school? Aren’t you sending the message of how you think to your child? So why is it wrong when homeschoolers do it? Also I’m not against teachers, but why is it parents are good enough to educate their children when they are little–teach them to be safe, how to share, how to be kind, ect but the moment they hit age 6 or 7. now you must pass them off to some school district that has NO idea how your child ticks. Parents are their children’s best teachers because they get to know their child. In school, they get passed on from one teacher to another and do you really think those teachers have time to understand your child the best? No, they don’t. I have a special needs child and talk about gaps. The public school just wanted to push her through instead of working with her where she was at. It’s sad. I’m glad I’m a cooky, nut job, unqualified teacher of my kids. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Time will tell if my kids will grow up and despise their learning. People always tend to think the grass is greener on the other side. Your mom is a champ for all the work she did in homeschooling you and your siblings.

  46. Candice

    July 29, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    I had the same education PLUS bullies at my private Christian school is scary small southern townsville. No one comes out perfect from childhood but I’m glad you are thinking a lot about you kid’s education and how much you want for her. It’s better then indoctrination and fear.

  47. JJwrites

    August 7, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I attended public school. I was largely ignored because I was in the top percentile of standardized test achievement. I was so bored so much of the time, waiting, despite being in the gifted program in a nationally acclaimed school. I also was also the weird child, teased enough that I attempted suicide. My daughter is far more intelligent than I am, albeit much more socially adept. Other children flock to her. Her father was the same way, and while very popular, got into a lot of trouble in his boredom despite bring advanced a grade.

    I am atheist myself and have no intention of forcing any belief on my daughter- and certainly not female subservience, I will not force her to wait because she’s “already too far ahead.” I talked to the schools before I made the decision. They still separated “gifted” with many children who are just hard workers with good home lives who actually don’t learn much quicker.

    There are serious flaws in many public schools for many children and as long as it is not the best place for my child to learn, I will homeschool.

    My own public school experience convinced me.

    I am not opposed to oversight in terms of student achievement and treatment unlike many. I do oppose minimum requirements for parent teachers because I know idiots with advanced degrees and insightful, intelligent people with a gift for teaching with no degree, and its their own child.

  48. Becky

    August 31, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Did you find anything about your homeschool education to make you a better person in the long run or would you say that it was detrimental to you in every way? As a homeschool mother I found your perspective interesting. Do you think if you had embraced the “religion” of your parents your feelings about your homeschool experience would have been different. I think all parents homeschool or not impart their world view on their children. I feel like I have had to work through a lot of my public school experiences in many of the same ways you have had to work through your homeschool ones. I had gaps as well and was “indoctrinated” in the philosophy and world view of the teachers that taught me. Thanks for your article.

  49. Kids 8 My Brain

    September 4, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Like having them around? Ha!! I’d love to get rid of them for awhile.

    We’ve been unschooling our children essentially since birth – they are now 6 and 3. The 6 year old decided she wanted to go to school, so we let her. Now she is realizing it isn’t what she thought it would be, but I keep telling her to stick it out. The break is doing mama some good!

  50. poopjuice

    September 9, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Homeschool is an excellent choice for children who have a dedicated parent who is enthusiastic about learning and is willing to put in the time and effort. Those children will far exceed those in a public school setting every single time. No-one cares about your child like you do.

    Unfortunately, too many kids are bored out of their minds in public school. There is no enrichment, just endless worksheets, movie days, pajama days and “educational” TV shows. My 10 year old actually complained to me that she was worried she wasn’t learning enough in school because the teacher spent most of her time yelling at kids, texting and giving them coloring sheets to do. I brought her home and she learned latin, tested two grades ahead on the state mandated testing in math & reading (after only 6 months at home), did a lot of hands-on learning with the more “boring” subject matter (in the eyes of a 10 year old) which made it fun for her. We had a great time doing art since I am an artist it it was very natural for me to teach her. She takes martial arts in place of P.E. and has taught herself piano on her own – no pushing, begging or prodding.

    The fact that we could openly discuss God was a bonus and it was wonderful to be able to incorporate that naturally into our lessons without being overbearing. She now talks about God as if He is a good friend that visits frequently 🙂

  51. poopjuice

    September 9, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Not at all! But why? What is it that makes you feel this way?

  52. Heidi

    September 28, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Thank you sharing.

    I grew up in a non religious public school home and had a ton of gaps in my education and was totally unprepared for high school and for college. No one bothered to read me the Bible. My Dad did talk to me about history in the car. I love history. I homeschool because I just don’t think public education is all that great. Some is. Some is so awesome! And some totally sucks – like my 3rd grade teacher from Germany I swear she was a Nazi – NO for real! My chemist teacher that didn’t teach up at all. He left 20 11-12th grade students in the room to figure out the assignments every day while he drank coffee, then yelled at us the day after each test about how dumb we were. The high school government teacher that talked about the TV show “Alf” everyday all year. Id on’t know you get goo and bad where where you go. My homeschool group is nothing like the one you describe. I know a few people that hold to that line of thinking. Maybe 2% of the homeschoolers I know. I am not sure that big blanket statements can be made. I am sorry that your parents held those views. I don’t, my husband doesn’t. My husband is a full participant in the home from laundry to cooking to repair to whatever. We boat hare full participants. There are so many models of things. You should do what you want. But realize that not all homeschooling looks like yours. I know all public schooling did not look like mine – I know a lot was better and a lot was worse.

  53. DanOOOO

    September 29, 2013 at 12:21 am

    The National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) is not a
    legitimate research entity. Dr. B. Ray answers questions on his sampling
    by saying you must purchase his product to find out information on his
    methodology. Legitimate researchers freely share their research
    methodology. Therefore I have never used his numbers on what
    homeschoolers believe, how they homeschool or even their test results. I
    can say he has been connected with HSLDA and their alias which
    DOES represent conservative evangelical Christian homeschoolers and
    their advocates. Therefore I do not agree with the author’s claim that
    72% homeschool for religious or moral reasons.

    I most certainly agree these homeschoolers are a very vocal group. I and many, many others have spent years fighting representatives of this type of bias,
    interfering and often vicious group.

    We homeschooled for moral (bullying and sexism) and educational reasons. We believe in children’s ability to learn when and what they wish. I’m sorry this author had a horrible experience. This may represent the experience of many
    HSLDA/NHERI families and advocates but this does not representative homeschooling as a whole.

  54. Brunhilda

    September 29, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    I must point out, I was homeschooled quite successfully, but then again, my mother was an actual public school teacher for the elementary grades for 15+ years before getting married/having kids, and so she actually knew what she was doing. Not only that, but there was no religion aspect to our education, unless we chose to read random religious books.

  55. Alice

    October 5, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Becky, I admire your courage to choose a path diverging from that with which you are familiar per your upbringing; this shows independent thinking. However, I wanted to share with you my circumstances, which drastically differ from your own, so that you might be able to have a complementary perspective; more information can’t hurt right? My family left a severely corrupt Communist country, and I was raised by uber-capitalist post-Communist extremists; my parents both have masters in engineering, and my Mom is a staunch feminist. Because of financial reasons, we went to public school for most of our lives. Granted my experience was particularly negative because at first I didn’t know the language but, let me give you a portrayal of the “kinds of things” that went on there. In 1st grade we were all crowded into a large gymnasium of over 200 kids at least, and piled before a large projector screen; there, completely moronic cartoons were played while we were fed ice-cream, and my peers would jump up and down and make monkey noises to Ren-and-Stimpfy. If you are not acquainted with that cartoon, a quick perusal will be very entertaining I’m sure. At recess, because I was “gifted” in part, I was excluded from almost all social activity; I spent my recesses crying by the wall, and at lunch people hurled food at my head. My mother insisted on dressing me like a boy, and would not allow me to wear pink or have dolls; I was also not allowed to pursue art, and my colored pencils were broken because “only math and science count”. Though not homeschooled, I can almost promise you I had less of a social life than you did; I spent my entire life, through high school, buried in whatever inane academic activities would garner a “higher GPA”. When I was in high school we did move to a better school district, where I was often teacher’s pet – however – despite this splotch of positive, the overall schooling experience was rather negative: even these teachers (outside of AP teachers) – were hardly as qualified as my parents, who did most of the heavy lifting when we struggled with any scientific concept. Worse, we were surrounded by extreme peer pressure, and vicious competitiveness; this was only exacerbated later in the top 10 colleges my sister and I went to. We were never taught about morals, or social graces; consequently we had a lot of problems fitting into society, problems it cost us dearly to “undo”. Additionally, for my younger sister things were particularly bad; she only sometimes managed to achieve academically and fell into a culture of extensive drug-use and appearance-based definition. I can’t go into everything that resulted from that, but, it was not pretty. Since the time when we were in school, the public education system – yes even the BEST of the BEST of them – have disintegrated into a place that is extremely laden with pitfalls; of course we can’t protect our children “forever”, but I’ll tell you though I fully “felt” the adult as a teenager, I was extremely emotionally unstable retrospectively – and it’s a damn blessing that I was fat at the time or God knows what example I might have followed. My point is not to illustrate how terribly my life was going – but rather to paint this as a best-case-scenario: had I been able to fully integrate into the culture around me, I might have been A.) doing drugs B.) having premarital sex resulting in – no, probably not children with adequate contraception – but possibly disease, and worse – emotional heartache it would take years to heal or C.) not learning much of anything of use. I highly encourage you to spend a day sitting in a classroom the full day at your local public high school; forget what the teacher’s are telling you and watch the social dynamics at lunch, and recess. Determine whether you are fully comfortable gambling your child’s sense of self there. My parents took that gamble and it turned out “okay” for us, but the gamble was considerably lower at the time we were in the system. A group of teachers I overheard at lunch one day put it this way, though “these parents, they run to the best school system thinking we’re going to raise their kids; they have no idea how exhausting it is to “teach” 30 kids – and I just *hate* those parents that are all surprised their kids are doing drugs; let me put it to you this way – either YOU pick your kid up at 3:00, or the drug dealer will – and HE will be on time.” These teachers teach at the cream of the crop magnet school in the area. It turns out they also told an autistic kid to “run around and flap your arms like a chicken” when the 4th grader was confused what to do at recess. These are the “best of the best” in our area. I might go back to work when my youngest turns 5 but, it’s with extreme hesitation and fear that I do so, if I do so – and purely, purely for financial reasons. In my opinion, there’s nothing shameful in focusing on the home and children; all my life I have been GUILT-ed for doing so. It seems to be the flip side of your situation – and let me tell you – it’s not pretty; there are few things so heartbreaking as leaving your infant in the care of someone else – yes even extended family – to go back to work. I’m extremely grateful despite our loss of income that I do not have to go through that hell at this time. You might find out of the outpouring of love in your heart for your child, out of a pure, God-given protective instinct, out of the sheer joy that that little bundle brings that the freedom of being a career-woman suddenly feels like a giant burden you’d rather put down for a while. Then again, my Mom did not feel that way she claims. But then again she visits us twice a week even now. Anyway, I’m sorry to ramble but, take it from my Mom, she always wonders how things “might have turned out” for my younger sister if she had “been there”; and she’s an uber-feminist mind you. Being there is so critical; I was unable to fully academically perform before I found someone who made me feel unconditionally supported. If your Mom gave you that, she gave you GOLD. Sorry, I’ll be quiet now. God bless.

  56. Mike

    November 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    I hate being home schooled. I don’t have any friends, and I feel like I’m not learning anything.

  57. Paul Dunahoo

    November 27, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    I am finishing up home school right now in college. I too have huge holes in my education, where it is quite clear that I would have had the education I needed in public or private school. If I marry and have children, I will not have my wife and I homeschool them.

  58. Paul Dunahoo

    November 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    I wish I had parents like yours. It would not have changed my opinion, but gosh, it would have made life a lot easier for me.

  59. Katie

    January 12, 2014 at 4:36 am

    I’m a teacher and i will be home-schooling my children using secular resources.

  60. essay services

    February 9, 2014 at 5:09 am

    Your blog really make sense to us. It gives some good perspectives of education which is more efficient for those learner’s from the home schooler.

  61. Just a guy

    February 9, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    My wife (state-certified teacher) homeschooled our kids all the way through 12th grade. They dropped out of college.
    She makes excuses and says it’s because they don’t know what they want to do when they grow up, but it’s really because they couldn’t handle the load.
    This mainly stems from holes she left in their education (math & science) and from the lack of structure they received during their schooling at home. I had virtually no say in their curriculum because she was the “expert.” Her priorities for the kids were religion, art and reading.

  62. foxtails

    February 18, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    This is right. It is not always the most healthy for children to be isolated. This is also wrong to think that all homeschoolers isolate their children. There are many homeschoolers that are more social and involved through community than most pubilc schoolers. it’s about your schooling method within the homeschooling sphere not actual homeschooling that is the problem.

  63. Carolyn McBeth

    February 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I’m homeschooled (forced) and I absolutely hate it. PLEASE PLEASE!!!! Do not force your children to do so. I have cried so many times about it, covering my bed in black lines. Let your children find the best way to learn. I can’t learn this way and all my friends were banned from me. Please any parents who are reading this. communicate with your child!!! It will improve your relationship, and the only way your child will behave is if you are putting up the right walls. In my experience, my mom wasn’t Christian until 6 years ago. But then when she was, she started dieting crazy, acting crazy, and BEING crazy. She freaked out and made us find a new church, pulling me away from choir and friends (who were christian).

    And then we found a church called Faith Journey. To me the church is fine, but EVERYONE IS HOMESCHOOLED. After 3 years my mom finally broke and decided, “Hey I’ll force my 13 y/o and 15 y/o into homeschool.” Now it’s just me and my brother tying to struggle for a B, and nothing I say (even my dad) can change her mind. Every week (3-4 days)we go to her office and sit in the backroom doing whatever we can to fill the 10 hours we are there. And then everyday she comes in and we do lab work (she is an orthodontist and we make retainers)

    It’s hard work and there’s no pay. She keeps lying to us that she’ll hire someone, but she hasn’t in the past year she said she would. I can’t take it anymore. I’ve gone into complete depression, cut, and even thought about suicide. Last year I would have told you I was a very lucky girl and I was happy. Now I would say, “Help?!” I know it’s spoiled to think like this, but it’s destroying my relationship with my mom, causing me to harm myself, and I’m falling WAY behind. I had my whole 7th grade courses set up and then my hopes were destroyed and I got classes that were videos, no work, no help, just an old man talking non-sense to me.

    I wrote it before, I’ll write it now, “Help?”

  64. GlamMami

    March 27, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I absolutely agree with most of the replies above, however, your last paragraph touched me deeply. I am a former public school teacher who also decided to homeschool. After over a decade of teaching in public schools I knew that I wanted to be the one to set the moral tone for my child. Yet, I constantly feel that I have to defend my choice as people offer back-handed complements. I’ve even had people to say I would never “do that to” my child as if it was a punishment. I have seen a lot of terrible things in both “nice” as well as inner-city area public schools (eg sexually active elementary school age kids). I have seen incompetent and lazy teachers in both. In the depths of my soul, I know what I’m doing is best for our family, but the societal pressure can be challenging. We make use of multiple memberships for homeschooling days & events to supplement our days as I strongly believe in experiential learning. I also feel that this increases social interaction. However, there is always that person that makes me feel like we are weirdos because we choose differently than them. The world should not dictate our children’s values and that is what I try to keep at the forefront of my mind.

    • Julia

      May 22, 2014 at 5:09 pm


      Those could have been my words! I too was a public school teacher that worked in both Nationally recognized districts and urban districts and had the same experiences. Sexually active, drugs, violence, gangs (yes even in urber-rich districts), peer pressure, etc and we’re talking elementary grades and tiny little 6th graders!!! I knew after 5 years I had had enough. I was tired of being a babysitter for one, but secondly I grew weary of the lack of parental involvement. So many parents believe that because they send their children off to school that they themselves no longer need to be involved with their child’s education. I vowed I would homeschool my children and that’s our plan! They will not be subjected to group sex in the girl’s bathroom; sadly that happened in my last year of teachers. A group of fifth graders! I was still playing with barbies and hopefully, so will my girls!

    • tallen

      November 11, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      “Back-handed compliments” not “complements.” Oy.

  65. towerofshelly

    April 30, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Wow. It’s really too bad that you had such a horrible experience as a child. Unfortunately, recent statistics show that children who were home schooled fair much better in life, in many domains, than their public and private schooled counterparts. Sorry you were in that tiny minority sliver who did not benefit as much.

  66. Firstadmendmentisgreat

    May 7, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Idk, reading this makes me think you’re a brat rebelling against religious nut parents. Maybe everyone else that read this before thinks it but isn’t saying it??? Just because you didn’t like how your parents raised you doesn’t mean that homeschooling isn’t good. Or God isn’t incredible.

    For folks who run across this…. There are parents like myself who go against the norm home school grain of refusing to shave, wear jeans with tennis shoes, put our hair in a bun, cram Bible down my kids throats, don’t watch movies, listen to country music, or hide our kids from the world.

    Homeschool is an incredible tool and God is amazing. Both however fall victim to people who have radical agendas. Either ditch is dangerous.

    I hope this bratty rebellion doesn’t transfer to your kids as the result seems to smart but either way let us know how it works out for you .

  67. Amanda Pye

    May 29, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    I think the author has valid points, but when your child is dyslexic with health problems and the public school system says “We’re sorry but we are unable to help her” and the only private schools around you are religious and you’re not, you find you don’t have a choice. The public school system is failing kids all over the country and while homeschooling has it flaws, for us it is the best option

  68. charlotte.quevedo

    June 26, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Hmm. I was also homeschooled but only as a preschooler up to 6.5 years. When I first entered school I was very advanced in reading and writing, and I mean very very advanced. But after being in public school for years, I was behind in everything, though still gifted in language, I did not do my work. By the time I reached high school I had the holes you describe. So while my point is not to say that public school alone created the holes, homeschooling does not either. Children learn things at different times and some children will struggle in certain areas. It also sounds like your parents were not flexible on finding alternative ways to teach as it sounds like they used a box curriculum. For this reason I will not be buying a curriculum. The bottom line is that you are a victim of your horrible parents who, while, deeply brainwashed for sure, only wanted the best for you, and you have no confidence in yourself as a teacher. You could have just written that and saved yourself and your readers some time.

  69. Katie

    July 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I agree with this woman… yea public school sucks… but being born a girl and having the only influences in your childhood tell you how terrible that is (women are temptresses you know) takes an enormous toll on your confidence. There are enough homeschooling families that are like that, that there should be a system in place to protect children from the religious zealots that are their parents.

  70. Hannah

    September 25, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    I’m homeschooled and I hate it. My mom won’t let me go to a regular school because I’m not even in highschool but I’m doing AP Calculus, so she thinks that I’ll already know everything that is taught.
    *English is not my first language*

  71. snowplow

    November 12, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Do they learn how to use capital letters? No? I assume you’re not e.e. cummings? (And, come on. Choosing to be in the minority — as homeschoolers do — isn’t the same as *not* choosing to be in the minority. Apples and oranges.)


    November 13, 2014 at 10:58 am

    With overwhelming homeshcool groups and support in many states it is possible to have a more rounded homeschooling experience. We are learning more now than 20 years ago on how to homeschool and with better results than our parents. Don’t let your parents mistakes keep you from a great idea. Most schools and teachers are not an extension of our morals and values and this is why we homeschool. We have greater resources than ever before. Seeking a public school system for your parents failures is hardly the best solution, it’s merely an excuse for not expounding on a biblical idea.

  73. Pingback: Notes From a Homeschooler: Michelle’s Story, Part One | Homeschoolers Anonymous

  74. Ilona Higginson

    July 14, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    This article is great! If it help, you can teach your child to read, this video reveals how any child aged 2-9
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