Tuesday, April 2, 2013

the case for homeschooling

Last week when I was at the Anchorage Museum (read about our visit, here), I noticed a small group of kids with quite a bit of variety in ages. I noticed that there were nearly as many adults with, both men and women, and they didn't seem to be affiliated with any school. I was pretty curious, so I was happy when one of the moms commented on how cute Riggs was - it was the perfect chance to learn more about her little group.

Turns out they were a homeschool group, and long story short, they meet two or even three times a week to go swimming, go to the zoo, visit the Loussac Library, or in this case, visit the Museum. Chatting with her about their little group brought the whole school question back up for me in regards to Riggs. Public school? Charter school? Private School? Homeschool? How am I supposed to decide which option will be best for him and any other, future children?

A friend shared an article on Facebook the other day that listed 18 good reasons to homeschool your children. You can find the article here and read over it for yourself if you're interested. I found all eighteen reasons to be pretty substantial, but one stood out to me in particular.

"16)   Better socialization, less unhealthy peer pressure and bullying.  Our kids no longer beg for video games we don’t want them to have or clothes we don’t like, or junky snacks they saw at school.  One of our children struggled socially in school, and his schoolmates were ruthlessly mean.  Despite a school anti-bullying policy and our best efforts to work with the teacher, nothing changed.  Last year he played alone on the playground everyday.  Now he’s organizing playground games at our homeschool co-op, and he’s smiling again.  No one has ever said an unkind word to him at our co-op, because every child is there with his or her own parent.  Our kids have plenty of time with friends, but without  the unhealthy peer pressure and bullying." source

The introduction of unhealthy influences has always been one of my biggest concerns about public schools, and even charter and private schools. I want Riggs to like something because he really likes it, not because 'everyone' else likes it. I want to be able to control who he spends the majority of his day with and for him to spend time with other children whose parents are responsible, loving, and similarly-minded when it comes to the major issues. And when I say similarly-minded, I'm talking about what they expect of their children, not politics or religion. Some people disagree with this approach, with the idea of 'sheltering' their children too much. Personally, I think that it's my job to protect and shelter him, to let him be a child as long as possible. 

What are your thoughts on this issue? Were you home-schooled and if so, what was your experience? If you read the article, what did you think of it? I realize that it might seem somewhat premature to be thinking about school when my child is only 14 months old, but there's so much to think about and research and prepare for! I also want to prepare him a year or two ahead for which ever schooling option we decide on, especially if we decide to send him to school away from home.  


  1. I understand your concerns about public schooling.I think if you you choose public or home schooling Riggs will be fine. The reason I say this is because you and your husband has strong family values. My kids are very well rounded they don't give into trends and they rarely ask for the trendy thing that's going around. Some of my kids are very popular and some stay with in the comfort zone of their church friends. I know my children are shining examples of , Chasity, Integrity, Kindness, divine nature, individualism . They are the trend setters of modesty, good smart words, fun clean play. I know my kids make a differences in a world where morals are lacking. I know these things because of the phone calls emails and letters I get from there teachers ,coaches,friends parents and their friends.

    My kids have also learned very vaulble lessons in public schools that if they were in a sheltered inviorment they would not have had the chance to exspeance both positive and negative. Exspriances that will help them in life. I think home schooling is great don't get me wrong it has many good perks.I just wanted to tell you that public school is not the big bad wolf.

    I think Riggs has the advantage of Alaska schools. I loved our time in the valley public school system it was very positive good teachers and the kids were great.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, I think you have a really valid point and it's really good to hear about someone else's experiences with this 'debate' lol. :)

  2. I'm 100% the same way and think almost exactly the same as you do. I really want to home school, but then I wonder if my son will miss out on the things I loved so much about school...sports, dances (most guys wouldn't love this as much as girls), other clubs. I battle with this all the time.

    1. It's so hard isn't it?! I know I'm going to second guess myself a little either way we decide, but I just want what is best for him! I loved my public school experience, but that was also 20 years ago...

  3. Ugh, I just wrote out a long response and it was deleted before I could publish it.

    I was homeschooled for 3 years in the 90's (in Anchorage) and it was a very negative experience for me. My mother had social issues and projected them onto my younger sister and myself. She pulled us out of public school at an age where social development is absolutely crucial (7 and 9 years old). This had very long term effects for us that we still deal with to this day.

    My opinion on the topic of socialization is this: any of the troubles a child can encounter in public school can be encountered in the adult world. There are bullies, bad food choices and awkward situations of all kinds when you go into public and the workplace. Why not teach our children NOW what they can do to work the situation? A teachers job is not to referee and instill morals and virtues. The work in those departments fall to the parents regardless of what type of education the children are receiving. You form your child to either work hard for something or take a half-assed approach. To either be a kind person or a bully. To be forgiving and patient or bitter and indignant.

    As for the educational side...I am a firm believer that as long as a parent is involved (daily with homework, communications with educators and making their child accountable) then a child can receive a great education from the public school system (especially in Alaska). Some children may need more than others but all deserve the support of a GROUP of educators inside and outside of school. Teachers, parents, tutors if needed and even extracurriculars will make a well rounded learner.

    From a woman who was homeschooled: My children will be public schooled by day and homeschooled by night.

  4. Great post. I think its good that you are cosidering your options now so you can research what you and your husband think is best for Riggs and future kids. The great thing about Alaska is that we have these choices.

    We homeschooled my oldest for Kindergarten and my middle child is in ASD preschool with the special ed program. I think there are pros and cons to each choice. What really helped me is writing down all these pros and cons then looking to see what is the most important to OUR family, not anyone elses.

    I struggle with the decision of homeschooling, then i sturggle with the decision of my daughter in public school. I love being able to be with my son and watch his love for learning. He loves animals, so thats what we learn about. I love the freedom to learn what we want to learn. I know he would do well in public school. But what is really important to us is his emotional needs. One doesnt send kids to school to learn this, you mainly go to school for academics. When my son is hurt, angry, sad, happy, etc, we can talk and process it. We do life together.

    My daughter who is in the ASD is doing well. She has a great teacher and I love how far she has come. She will be going into Kindergarten next year and that worries me because she has a hard time processsing things.

    Honestly, I dont know my kids peers teaching my kids what is socially acceptable. There are a lot of things that are socially acceptable that is not okay with me.

    My son can hold a converstaion with an adult because he interacts with people of all ages. Not just his peer group. Does he know how to stand in line or raise his hand; no. But we get to talk about that when we go to classes or to the library. I get to teach him that.

    I went to pubblic school, I turned out okay. But I just got by. I wonder what it would of looked like if I got to learn the way that fit my style, concentrate on what I love. Who knows.

    There is weird people in public school as well as homeschool. My advice is to find out what is going to work for your family, what is your family values, and run with that. Stand firm in whatever decision.

  5. I agree with Jenn and Amy, so I won't repeat what they said. However, I will say, my one nephew has some social issues and I've seen my sister struggle with the public school system in handling these issues. As a public educator, I cringe when I say this, sometimes there are just too many kids in the classroom. It's hard to give students the individual attention that they need. If your child is well adjusted, he will do just fine, especially because I know you and Steve will be very active in Riggs' schooling.

    However, Charter schools can be a great option into tailoring Riggs' education to fit his learning style. The school I taught at had a Charter school within it. They were completely independent from us, but they would come and take our electives since they don't have a lot of options (another not so great things about Charter Schools...most likely won't have classes like Mr. Browns, etc.). One pitfall I saw was that they were so worried about keeping their numbers up so that they could receive all the funding they needed, that many times their students would get away with murder! I had one student caught cheating, she left my classroom (without permission), and went crying to her principal. He came back and asked me (in front of the student) if I wanted to reconsider my decision of giving her a zero because she was "a good kid and you [meaning me] just didn't understand the situation." I was appalled! I had to meet with her mother and MY principal, where my principal completely backed me up (thank goodness)!

    So basically what I'm saying is, if you are considering a Charter School, you will definitely want to visit it on multiple occasions (sometimes unannounced) to make sure it's the right fit for your whole family.