Friday, March 04, 2011

More Thoughts about School: The Negatives

The next thing that Mrs. Rivero suggests in her book, “The Homeschooling Option: How to Decide When It’s Right for Your Family” is to lay out your concerns and fears about homeschooling. This way you can look at the pros and cons and decide if you think you can over come the obstacles or not, and if the decision is worth it for your family.

Do I know enough to teach my child? While, I’ve been through college and took some education classes, and have always planned to teach, I still have this doubt. I planned to teach high school history, I don’t have the foggiest idea about how you would teach a child to read. I don’t really even remember learning to read, I’ve just been doing it, seemingly, forever. While, Gary is more draw to the initial benefits of homeschooling, I am more interested in the benefits for high school aged kids. As a result, I wonder how in the world am I suppose to be able to provide my children with adequate math and science skills? It’s been awhile since I did that, and I never was able to teach myself math. While I did well in it, I mostly attribute that to Daddy’s patience and Mr. Henderson’s skill as a teacher. I still didn’t like the subject and I’m not sure how much I’ve retained. I strongly believe that in this day and age you need a good foundation in science, math, and computer skills to get a good job. I feel this is especially important for boys if they have a desire to be the sole provider for their household. While I know there are homeschooling groups and co-ops out there is it wrong for me to consider homeschooling knowing that I can’t provide a chemistry lab?

Finances are my biggest concern for me. I’ve told Gary if we were to do this I would want to do it right. If you can’t go to any of the places you are studying about, then you might as well do the public school thing and get your 3 or 4 field trips a year. When we study the civil war, lets then head up to see my folks, and take a day trip over to Shiloh. Oh when we are doing biology lets go out to one of the gazillion nature reserves or state parks around us. If we go the curriculum route, you are looking at anywhere from $300 to $1000 a year per child. I don’t know what job Gary might get, but I know that it won’t make that possible. Even if I build my own curriculum, borrow extensively from a library, and buy books second hand, it’s a real expense. If we can’t afford to give our kids a great education, I think it would be far better to put them in the school system, and supplement that at home, the way my parents did for us.

I wonder too if my kids will respect me as a teacher, when I am also Momma. Once again, from my own experience, while I asked Mother once to homeschool me, I don’t think it would have ever worked. We didn’t have much mutual respect, especially on my part. And I don’t see how you can learn from someone that you won’t listen to. I mean seriously, the kids drive me crazy now. Imagine how crazy I’ll be after homeschooling several for 12+ years.

I know I shouldn’t care, if it’s the right decision, but I can’t help but wonder what my parents and grandparents will think. As I’ve mentioned before, we are a seriously strong public school family. And while I loved going to school in many respects, and I’m not making any statement about they way I was raised, my homeschooling parents say that their parents felt like their decision to homeschool was a slap in the face, criticizing the way they raised their children. I’m sure they will be disappointed at least or think that I’m crazy and shortchanging their grandkids future. And I can’t blame them for that, I wonder it as well. Will they really be prepared for college? What if I completely end up screwing up their future? What happens if Britt is bright and interested in nuclear physics and astronomy, and when he leaves home to pursue those dreams, I’ve failed to provide a good enough base in math and science for him to reach those goals. What if I rob him of the chance to do something truly great with his life, go to the moon, and bring Grumps back a moon rock? I know if we were to start and realize that for us it’s a mistake that they could then be tested and enrolled in public school, but what if I don’t find out it’s been a mistake until Britt is 20 and can’t make a go of it in college?

On another level, I wonder if homeschooling would be robbing my child of some of the joys of childhood. Going to buy that brand new Strawberry Shortcake book bag before kindergarten, and I still remember picking out that purple Beauty and the Beast lunch box before second grade. I remember my epic fail in second grade of spelling face “f-a-s-e” that year in the spelling bee. I remember going to my first football game in 2nd or 3rd grade and being all decked out in black and gold. What about in 4th grade when we all rode the school bus down to Montgomery to spend the day at the state capital with my best friends and those teachers I adored. I remember having silent lunch several times because our class wouldn’t behave so me and Brock made up stories, and then talked about the stories on the playground, and drew the characters. What about the spirit stick and pep rallies, and homecoming in high school? What about the junior/senior prom? There were a lot of moments that I wouldn’t want to relive about high school, but there were a lot of good times too. Is what we would gain from homeschooling worth what they lose in a public school?

The final downside is personal. I want to teach, I’ve always wanted to teach. While this would give me that ability to do some teaching since Gary strongly prefers me to be a stay at home mom, what I really want to do is finish my masters and get my doctorate and teach and research as a college professor. If we homeschool, I can’t think about going back to school when the kids get into school. And I doubt that after they are grown that I can think about having a real career. Instead, I would be spending a lot of time and effort to do something myself that could be done just as well through the public school system. Quite frankly I don’t know that I want to do this.


Kelly Spezzano said...

Have you looked at all into the Florida Virtual School? You get the best of both worlds (the public school system teaching your child, but the freedom to instruct from home) Plus, Melissa told me that with having Connor in that program, the state sent her a $1200 curriculum for FREE and the kids take one field trip a month (and she can bring all her other kids too) the record keeping is managed online by the state so it is still considered accredited... just a thought

Hannah Sue said...

it might actually be better to homeschool when they're younger, rather than starting when they're older. If you yank them out of public school when they're teens, they might be a bit irked at having to leave all their life-long friends. And of course the younger grades are easier to teach in math and science.