Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Home Schooling

I went to public school from kindergarten through my Junior Year in High School. Though I always loved to learn and to write I basically hated public school always. So, any reason I could find not to go into the insanity and torture of public school I used not to go, especially through Junior High School. So, during the 1950s through 1965 when I completed my Junior year I considered Public School to be Evil, a necessary evil but still an evil thing perpetrated on me and my compatriots. I have not changed my view about public school in the last 50 years time. However, I loved my last year in a church private school in Santa Fe, New Mexico because I was treated like a gentleman and because I was the biggest and strongest person in the school so there was no one who I had to fight. This was wonderful. Also, I got to live in snow all that winter which for a Los Angeles boy that was really fun! So, I loved private school and college but always hated public school.

So, when an opportunity arose in 1980 when the 4th through 6th grades were sent to the Junior High because of overcrowding in the Mt. Shasta area in the grade school an 8th grader broke a 4th graders' jaw within 2 weeks of the change and my wife and I pulled all our kids (aged 9, 8 and 5) out of public school for about 5 years. Instead we put them on Independent study through Oak Meadow School (you can find it online today). It is one of the best things I ever did in my life for my kids for a variety of reasons. First, it allowed us to live on our remote property at 4000 feet where I had decided to build a house. Second, it made all our kids self starters and they stayed being "nice kids" instead of getting into all kinds of trouble like most kids do in public schools all over the country. My Logic professor at College of the Siskiyous later in fall 1990  said, "Public schools across the U.S. have ceased to be learning institutions and are now mostly reformatories and babysitting services." I agree with this for the most part as well. So, never have I been sad in any way that I home schooled my three children at that time  until 1985. At that point the oldest said he wanted to return to school as living so remotely while home schooling wasn't working for him. So, we moved back to the California coast and bought a business. So, even though my wife and I were not happy about this, our kids could have a better future and education long term than if we had stayed living so remotely.

For the older two kids who were extroverts being home schooled just made them more focused and able to make decisions and to take care of themselves in all ways. However, my youngest son was more shy like I had been until I was about 15 myself. And it turned out that he was also an undiagnosed dyslexic like my mother and grandmother were. So, home schooling actually helped him in many ways because he also had an IQ of about 150 which is very high. If he had been in a public school he would have been constantly shamed like all undiagnosed dyslexics are nationwide in public schools. This often turns them into criminals from all the abuse of the public school systems. Shaming is a normal part of the public school system to make kids excel. However, that doesn't help dyslexics at all and only makes them feel bad, get angry and sometimes commit suicide as  result. So, home schooling because of my dyslexic sons natural genius allowed him to teach himself to read because he liked Dungeons and Dragons games. Even now at 37 he still likes going to things like Comicon and other conventions where people play all sorts of games. But now he is a male nurse. So, home schooling allowed him to teach himself to read by wanting to know what it said below all the pictures in all his Dungeon and Dragons books. And when we all went to India and Nepal for 4 months in 1985 and 1986 he bought a full collection of Tin Tin stories starting in New Delhi, India with a ratty copy of "Tin Tin in Tibet" which he read over and over until he bought a full new set of Tin Tin books in Kathmandu, Nepal just before we left for San Francisco in April 1986. It was a pretty good deal for under 50 dollars there in Kathmandu. He still has that set and still reveres it and all the Tin Tin Stories as a collector.

So, by home schooling  we helped all our kids who eventually became a lawyer, a Fire Captain and a nurse respectively. So, we were very successful at least in regard to Home schooling and careers for our kids.

However, the disadvantages of home schooling  mostly come if you keep your kids home schooling after about age 12 or 13. This can be problematic unless they already have a pretty wide social circle of kids their own ages. However, if you can have enough friends and associates around your age between 13 an 18 it is possible for home schooling to still be useful and effective during these times. Also,you have to consider whether you are creating a child that will always have to live at home with you or are you allowing this child to eventually create his or her life anywhere on earth?  As the parent you must be very aware of what you are doing and the potential effects on the child's life. Otherwise things can get very quickly out of control with a long term situation you don't want in your life or your child's life.

Another caveat. I personally don't think it is a great idea to home school one child by himself or herself. There needs to be some sort of social interaction going on like all the kids in one family or a group of brothers, sisters, or cousins, so it is more interesting than one parent and one child. I think it is much less effective to home school one child than to have a whole group of kids multiple ages. However, to each his or her own.

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