Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's Time to Hate on Homeschooling!

It's back to school time in some places and the rest are gearing up for a start date sometime soon.

Thus the time is perfect for blog posts and media articles to share why the person hates homeschooling. These are opinion pieces where the writer seeks to both convince us of how happy they are while trying to tell us that those of us doing what they hated should be hating their situation too. Well, sorry, I'm not in your boat and no matter what you say I'm not joining you.

These articles sometimes take the shape of a person who claims they always wanted to homeschool their kids, tried it, hated it, quit, enrolled the kids to school and have never been happier. (The saddest of these claim they homeschooled for a WHOLE TWO WEEKS or that they "experimented over the summer and decided it would never work during the school year so put them in for day one of school.)

They hate on homeschooling and try to get their readers to hate it too. I always want to say to these mothers, "Don't you realize different people are different from each other and just because you had a bad experience doesn't mean everyone will?" Another case could be made that, "Your children love school but maybe mine would not." Or it may be said by those who have used school and rejected it in favor of homeschooling, "Your children are having positive experiences but mine had bad experiences and are thriving with homeschooling."

Well I don't think those bloggers or writers care about painting a clear picture and thinking rationally or open-mindedly. Case in point a number of homeschool quitters will share they homeschooled using this one method they thought was perfect but didn't work. They are often rigid and closed-minded in their view of what homeschooling should be like that they never looked at other options. One issue may be that they were imposing their One Right Way onto their children without even considering that their children are unique individuals. Instead of designing the curriculum around the unique child they pick the curriculum or method and force it on their child. This goes back to one of the points about successful school teachers made in the book Teaching As Leadership, that teachers are always learning and asking for help and educating themselves on other methods or different ideas for teaching. My point is these homeschool-quitters didn't have what it takes to be a successful teacher as defined by the book. (The book is about schooling not homeschooling but I feel teaching information can be useful to home educator-parents sometimes.)

My advice for happy homeschooling parents is avoid reading those media stories like the plague. Just don't read them. If you get a Google news alert for homeschooling you will see the link, don't click on it. If you are on a homeschool chat list you may see a link to such a story, don't read it and delete all posts in the discussion thread without reading those.

The reason I recommend avoiding that nonsense is this is an important time of the year for happy successful homeschooling parents. This is when we need to spend our time enjoying the last good stuff that summer has to offer. It's the time when some of us are scrambling to finish planning things that we thought we'd have finished up long ago. We need to save our energy reserves for the real important work we need to do. To homeschool our kids takes our time and energy, don't waste it on reading stupid articles that you know will anger you or at least annoy you. Don't waste your time discussing with others your emotions on these articles either, as sometimes those add more emotional fuel to the fire.

Just hit that delete button or walk away from the computer! Focus on what YOU need to do for YOUR CHILDREN. No matter how much time you spend reading those pieces and reacting, no one else is going to be doing your prep work for you, your work will remain undone and in need of finishing. And if you have no prep work or thinking to do, how about using that time to do something fun with your kids or even just having a conversation with them?

Surround yourself with people and online reading that supports and encourages you instead of tears you down or incites anger within you. Try it if you don't alread do that.

P.S. Don't think those bloggers don't know what they are doing. Some of them seek more readership and know one way to get it is to blog controversial topics. They might get more hits on that one post but most readers won't become regular readers so what's the point? Once you know a blogger may be essentially using your emotions to draw your interest to click that link to navigate to their page so they can have you as one more visitor that day, don't you feel used? If not, you should. My advice is to find some blogs that lift you up and really interest you and become a regular reader of them. If you can find some with a regular number of posts that appeal to you, you've found a keeper. If the blog had just one or two high-emotion stories that drew you but the rest is uninteresting, forget about that blog, don't you have other things to do with your time than read posts that don't touch you or help you or entertain you in some way?


Internet Strategist said...

I happened across your blog searching for #homeschool on Twitter. This is excellent advice as their ARE many who just like drama and others who seek to discourage homeschooling for other reasons.

I applaud all those who make the effort to control what their children are taught. While homeschooling is no doubt far more challenging than packing your kids off to someone else you KNOW exactly what they are taught.

I suspect most would be shocked if they knew what kind of conditioning is happening in schools.

longshawhan said...

Love it! and completely agree!! this is only our 4th day of homeschool.. but already see it working out sooo much better. some parents/children just blend better in an educational environment.. the more open minded you are.. the better the education! good post!!

Erika said...

Totally agree!!!

Walter said...

I happened actually happened across your blog via google alerts (which I comb for my internship), and thought this post was especially interesting. I'm 22, went to public school all my life, and it's worked out pretty well I think. But, BUT, I think you're too right on some points. For me, it would be a delicate challenge educating my (unborn) kids. In my current state of ignorance and naiveté I feel as if kids could benefit most from a mix of different types of schooling, even if it's a year abroad during high school/college. And the comment about conditioning going on in schools - true, one cannot be too careful, especially when it comes to their kids! My main concern will be to enable kids to think for themselves.

Crimson Wife said...

The funny thing is that I've heard so many stories from people who decided to give up on HS & put their kids into traditional school, only to return to HS a few months to a couple years later after the "honeymoon" wore off.

Because of this, I take these "I used to HS but it's SOOOO much better now that my kids are in PS" testimonials with a grain of salt. Especially if the child in question is in the primary grades.

christinemm said...

Thanks everyone!
And this post appeared on a Google news alert? Wow, I never knew it picked my posts up. My alert is just for keyword "homeschooling" and my alert didn't show my own post.

christinemm said...

Thanks everyone!
And this post appeared on a Google news alert? Wow, I never knew it picked my posts up. My alert is just for keyword "homeschooling" and my alert didn't show my own post.

Contessa Kris said...

Couldn't have said it better myself. Why shove more negative things in your head. I have enough to focus on getting ready for this homeschool year than to listen to crud.

atara said...

WOW! How come I never come across these dramatic bloggers?