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Think You Could Never Homeschool?

Confessions of a reluctant homeschool mom.

by
Paula Bolyard

Bio

June 17, 2013 - 9:00 am
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But then I have a picture in my mind of my precious boys snuggled up with me on the couch as I’m reading Johnny Tremain to them. The snow is piling up outside the window as a fire crackles in the fireplace. The American Revolution is jumping off the pages and coming to life for them as Johnny helps Paul Revere warn that the British are coming! We have already read a couple chapters from the Bible that day, a chapter from a missionary biography, and have worked on memorizing Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If.” Later in the afternoon the boys are scheduled to do some independent reading, work on a science lab (growing radishes), and complete their math lessons. But for now, they beg me to keep reading Johnny Tremain  — and because we are homeschoolers, we have the freedom to keep reading all afternoon if we want to. And we do, because I want to know what happens to Johnny and Paul Revere.

Those are the days that define homeschooling for our family. The warm, cozy days with learning and nurturing and imparting of wisdom with dogs at our feet and dinner in the crockpot. Those days far outnumbered the stressful, unproductive days. On balance, our entire family — parents included — received a fine educated and we didn’t mess it up.

My husband and I, like most homeschooling parents, started out unsure of ourselves and wondering if we were capable and qualified to take on the awesome responsibility of educating our children. We made it through kindergarten and then first grade, and eventually realized that this wasn’t rocket science — not until at least high school, anyway. Homeschoolers are not some exceptional breed of humans who were born with extra measures of patience, discipline, or intelligence. We prayed a lot, learned along with our children, made mistakes, made corrections, and carried on.

Homeschooling can be a wonderful, rewarding experience for a family and, I believe, the best educational choice for many — if not most — families. Parents, who love and understand their children better than anyone else in the world, are well-qualified to educate their children at home and should seriously consider taking on the challenge.

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Recently "retired" from homeschooling, Paula is an unapologetic Christian and Constitutional conservative. An enthusiastic Tea Party supporter, she is a member of the Wayne County Republican Executive Committee. She is also a contributor at Ohio Conservative Review. Paula lives in N.E. Ohio with her husband, two dogs, and two parrots.

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Top Rated Comments   
Hey, I went to 13 different schools b4 I got out of high school, I home schooled myself. Of course back in the early 70's you could still pick up the next level of Latin [4yrs for me] at any decent public school. today "Latin" is a race category. Did I have homework, you bet: did my parents care as long as the G.P.A. was maintained, not so much. In fact as long as my grades were good, my friends and I were free to hunt each other with BB guns until the streetlamps came on. About the Latin thing; I was an altar boy in the Episcopal church way back when being an Anglican wasn't short hand for latest liberal trendy thingy. God Bless all who home-school and remember you're never obliged to socialize stupid.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not to mention the prison-like atmosphere in many schools these days -- metal detectors, drug-sniffing dogs, security guards, lock-downs. What kind of future are they training these kids for?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"You (We) need to lobby for a tax deduction for home schooling parents."

NO! Please, as a homeschooling parent struggling financially, I BEG you to DROP THIS IDEA! THIS IS POISON!

A tax deduction or a tax credit are legally government subsidies. So saith the Supreme Court.

Where government subsidies go, government controls are established. Legally.

We do NOT want deductions or credits!

We just want to be left alone!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (40)
All Comments   (40)
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My wife has homeschool our five kids since 2000. She will finish around 2020. Our decision to homeschool was emphatically confirmed when our youngest had to go to public school for a year. That fall we were instructed to send about $100 of school supplies with my daughter for her use and for the use of the other kids. If we did not, we were informed that the teacher would have to pay for paper, pencils, kleenex, etc. out of her own pocket. Are you freaking kidding me? After decades of obscene funding increases? Let. It. Burn.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is very much our story, an early reader and a desire to provide her with continuing challenge with no budget for private school. Turns out she had a passion for art and is now in college, on scholarship, pursuing a BFA and working p/t. Child #2 was ready to read early, but not to SIT - all boy. He's in community college now, pursuing his passion for public speaking and working in the great outdoors. I have two still in homeschool, and it is not yet apparent what they will become. I want to say that it's been a great thing for our family, but every choice has tradeoffs. We just know the pros are greater for us with homeschooling--and we have met and worked with some of the greatest people in community organizations as well as homeschool groups. It's been a great ride!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Montessori works too. Our kids could read by age three. By five, they could read well. By third grade, they were reading "Lord of the Rings."

You can send them to public schools if you choose, but you will put in just as much work as you would have homeschooling them if you don't want them ruined.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
On the opposite end of the scale, homeschooling works great, too. We've had some of our kids be stellar early readers, but we have one daughter who is profoundly dyslexic. Reading was a tremendous chore for her. If she'd been in a traditional school her entire education would have been compromised. But we were able to work around it until all of a sudden, at 13(!) her interest in reading and writing bloomed. Now she's devouring novels like mad and wants to be a writer herself. She still struggles with her dyslexia, but she's had time to develop coping mechanisms without having to bear the "special ed" stigma.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's not just about getting a good education.

It's about avoiding a bad education.


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hey, I went to 13 different schools b4 I got out of high school, I home schooled myself. Of course back in the early 70's you could still pick up the next level of Latin [4yrs for me] at any decent public school. today "Latin" is a race category. Did I have homework, you bet: did my parents care as long as the G.P.A. was maintained, not so much. In fact as long as my grades were good, my friends and I were free to hunt each other with BB guns until the streetlamps came on. About the Latin thing; I was an altar boy in the Episcopal church way back when being an Anglican wasn't short hand for latest liberal trendy thingy. God Bless all who home-school and remember you're never obliged to socialize stupid.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"remember you're never obliged to socialize stupid. "

Love that line! :D
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think all parents should keep their kids home for awhile, teach them to read and write and early math.....If you can read this blog, then you can teach your kids THAT much....My first child went off to school as usual, but I homeschooled the 2 younger ones for 3 years....then sent them off...already readers and ready to run with their education. I pulled their older sister out of 5th and 6th gr at the same time...it was a little harder for her to adjust to homeschool and I sent her back to public school for 7th gr on. I think I could have taught the little ones all through if I hadn't decided to go back to work full time. Yeah, I'm a public school teacher, but not sure that made it any easier to teach my kids at home. I love having homeschooled kids in my classes...they are different...maybe even peculiar....but in good ways!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ah, teaching your kids to read. This is probabaly the most important thing other than teach them God's Word that you did. In fact, these go together, but you know that. I am apalled at the number of 20-somethings in my chucrh that do not read at all.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Your essay evokes vivid images of Norman Rockwell.
I believe your kids are achieving maturity and understanding that leads to exceptionally capable and articulate individuals. And are receiving a more rounded education than standard public inculcation.
You are also fostering the traditional nuclear family which is the basis of our humanity.
Thanks to responsible parents and students like you, your neighbors and relatives can expect to live in a highly advanced and developed community.

You (We) need to lobby for a tax deduction for home schooling parents.
And I, (blessed with several grandchildren and step grandchildren), should lobby for a tax deduction for grandparents that provide a camp for their teenage grandchildren. (Fishing, boating, travel, and field trip expenses pile up in addition to how much food & drink they can consume; Wow! They go to public school, and many days the teenagers get two breakfasts because of free breakfast at school).
Even the senior citizen discounts don't have much of an impact after a while.

If I were a homeschooling parent, I would plan field trips to science museums, marine aquariums, local businesses and factories that conduct tours of their facilities.
I have a question though;
Can you apply for "Meals on Wheels" to deliver the "free school lunch"?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Cybergeezer,

You are right about the benefits to the traditional nuclear family. The vast majority of homeschoolers are part of such families.

Many homeschoolers are cautious about accepting tax credits or subsidies of any kind. More often than not, such credits come with strings attached, whether it's a state-mandated curriculum or required state tests. Most homeschoolers just want to be left alone to educate their children without government interference. Of course, homeschoolers are a diverse bunch and you'll hear a variety of opinions on the topic.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mrs. Bolyard;
I have to admire you and Mark v for your home schooling discipline, and the fact that you guys do your homework by keeping abreast, and active, in current events.
Godspeed.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Adam Gadahn former California heavy metal rocker and current translator and right hand man to Ayman al Zawahiri (Osama's sidekick) was homeschooled.

Back in the day when homeschooling was seen as the province of quacks, which Adam's parents likely were.

Society's view of homeschooling has radically morphed over the last couple of decades, apparently with a lot of justification.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"If I were a homeschooling parent, I would plan field trips to science museums, marine aquariums, local businesses and factories that conduct tours of their facilities."

We do! This is kind of de riguer for homeschoolers.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"You (We) need to lobby for a tax deduction for home schooling parents."

NO! Please, as a homeschooling parent struggling financially, I BEG you to DROP THIS IDEA! THIS IS POISON!

A tax deduction or a tax credit are legally government subsidies. So saith the Supreme Court.

Where government subsidies go, government controls are established. Legally.

We do NOT want deductions or credits!

We just want to be left alone!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The most I would say is that if we ever get to where we have a voucher system, we be allowed to do something constructive with the voucher, but again, you are looking at all the strings that come with it because government will argue it's there where I would argue it's mine, money I would have saved to spend on my son's education had they not taken it from me.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'd never take the voucher. You take the devil's coin, you dance to his tune.

I want nothing more than to keep government busy-bodies far away from my children.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You can argue what you like, but the SCOTUS has already ruled on tax exemptions and tax credits. They ARE a subsidy, and they DO come with government controls on how they can be "spent". That's so solidly established in law that it's unlikely anything short of an Amendment will change it.

Vouchers may be a different beast altogether. Proponents have claimed they are free of such strings, as they have been deemed a "grant in aid" to the minor, NOT to his parents, and, for reasons fathomable only to a lawyer, some say these do NOT come with strings attached.

However, the SCOTUS has not weighed in on that yet. I am VERY skeptical of them coming with no strings attached.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Right, you guys; I can see where the government, and it's Unions, would want to insert it's authority into this program, and dictate some authority to the home schoolers.
But, if homeschooling becomes a large enough community, you can bet animosity will set in, and be agitated by the media, which will drag in state governments to exert some control. States would be losing federal revenue with a significant number of kids being home schooled. And of course, the Feds and Unions would have to exert their power.
It's a damned shame We can't trust our politicians or government any more.
I can see where home schoolers have to keep a low profile, and an active suspicion.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"if homeschooling becomes a large enough community, you can bet animosity will set in, and be agitated by the media, which will drag in state governments to exert some control."

The homeschooling community has been fighting exactly those battles for a few decades now. God has protected us.

One of the ways He has done that is through the excellent work of the Homeschooling Legal Defense Association. I've had the privilege of getting to know Michael Farris, one of the founders. American needs many more like him!

You should check them out:


www.hslda.org


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
P.S.
And thank you very much, Mrs. Bolyard, for such a nice diversion on a news site that has all the latest up to date, sensational, tragic, parasitic, news that is commanding all the headlines recently.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Too bad, public school when I was growing up was, generally, a blast.

Oh yeah, boredom and repetition (practically ruined history), but exposure to fine minds, teachers who were fluent in their subject matter and completely focused on their students' enlightenment.

Rare today, I guess.

Socialization, interaction, group dynamics, friends...experiences very hard to replicate when it is just mom (or dad), books & the kids.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I had one of those public school systems, too, but it was already starting to change by the time I was graduating. The chemistry teacher who taught a college level Chem II only taught it because he was allowed to hand pick those kids he felt were mature enough to handle it. He basically gave us a problem and "left" us with an open chem and equipment closet for a set number of days to try to figure out how to solve it. Essentially, he had to be able to trust us or his Chem II would have been a dangerous class. The year after I graduated, they started picking his Chem II students for him (someone's parent complained), and the year after that, he retired. He was part of the crew that made the first man-made diamonds and genuinely loved his subject and teaching. We had a whole crew like that, and they started taking the freedom away from the teachers in my last year or two.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That's a common misconception.

Actually, studies show that home schooled kids are much BETTER socialized that their counterparts in public AND private schools.

How can this be?

Well, think about this: Once you got out of school, where in your life could you go to find yourself surrounded by almost nobody but people who were within a year or two of your age? Are jobs set up that way? Anywhere?

The grade segregation that is normal (and pretty much necessary) for standard schools is a very STRANGE, very ARTIFICIAL environment, duplicated nowhere else in life.

And by the way, we get together with other homeschoolers a lot, so no, it's not just Dad & Mom and the kids.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not to mention the prison-like atmosphere in many schools these days -- metal detectors, drug-sniffing dogs, security guards, lock-downs. What kind of future are they training these kids for?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And the random student that has been compromised by some drug dealer intent on expanding his network.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Its not too bad, actually. Public school was designed to transform America (in Obama's phrase), buy filtering those who rule from those to be ruled.

In a few places in a few times, the adults involved overcame the design to do some good, but they were exceptions, and the system was designed so that the next generation wouldn't be so antagonistic to the destructive design. Government systems are destructive according to the number of generations they have effected - each more destructive than the last. So your nostalgia is true to a point.

For the full explanation, read Link.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When I was in elementary, jr. high, h.s., government systems were not much in evidence. Schools were locally controlled, administered and, the big difference, financed locally.

I used to teach and watched up close and personal the infestation of gov't money & gov't programs, the over-emphasis on standardized tests, those tests becoming a ridiculous gold standard of whether or not the federal cash cow would continue.

Now Barry & Co, I read, have set forth a new total learning whatever that de-emphasizes the classics in favor of reading junque like the govt's new initiative for making you a robot, à la Brave New World.

And that school districts are adopting this crap.

It's a travesty, as far as I can tell.

However, I'd still say that group schooling (private, public whatever) offers a dimension to human development that is hard to replicate in home schooling and that there is more to the experience of developing the child's mind than book learning.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is why I plan to try to get into a home-schooling co-op group. It will give our son a group feel with peers while also keeping him clear of the machine which is becoming a devourer and destroyer of minds.

My son loves books and reading and what they're planning to put into the curriculum will absolutely kill that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sorry, messed up the link. Look up "Underground History of American Education" at Amazon.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Public school's greatest illusion (and there are many) is that the academic rigour they bring is great and hard to duplicate. They instil this illusion by holding your kid for 6 hours a day and working really hard. Parents then think that they will have to duplicate that effort in order to educate their kid.

Its inspiring to hear your story, but its also kind of sad that you were apprehensive about taking on the task. There really isn't that much to it. Probably the key to the puzzle is the notion of retention. Public school kids probably retain 1/10 of what they are taught. If you can get your kid to retain 50% of it, that means you only have to teach 1/5 as much stuff and get the same result. The actual ratios are probably less severe than that, but you get the idea.

How do you get the greater retention? Probably through the notion of curiosity. Kids retain what they wanted to know in the first place. How do get curiosity? That's easy. The public schools remove it from the children as a matter of course, so just don't do that (which you won't) and you win.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Having been a public school teacher for a few years and then working with kids educationally one-on-one, I can also say that a huge amount of time and effort is wasted in a group setting. You don't have to spend 6 + hours with your kid to get the same amount of learning as he or she would get in the standard school day. The intensive time of one-on-one will be much more efficient in terms of learning and retention. And when you are effectively "in-class" all year, you can afford to spend less of your day intensively learning and drilling, too, to cover the same amount of material.

Right now, my tentative plan is to spend our mornings with the sit-down learning because that's when my son has the most patience and attention, stop at noon for lunch, and spend our afternoons with an active class of some sort of other like an art class or athletic class.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
IF I had not been able to afford the private schools of my choice - all are NOT equal), surely public schooling would have been unthinkable, mainly due to their indoctrination.
The fact of the matter is that home schooling is looking better and better, at least if one knows the score - http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/12/25/domestic-terrorist-bill-ayers-educator-too-exhorts-control-over-the-kiddies-addendum-to-first-they-came-for-the-kiddies-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

Think about it. Long and hard.

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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