Home schooling is a very touchy subject, so I will start this post letting everyone know I am about to be very offensive to some. I do not mean to. If you are looking for pros and cons and objectivity, this is not for you. I have an opinion, and a stubborn one at that.
With that said, I am in no way trying to tell you how you should school your child. Home schooling works very well for some people. I have friends and neighbors who have had great success with the method. My kids are currently in day care and far from joining the ranks of school age children. But when they do, I will be sure to send them to public school.
Here is a little back ground. Growing up I was very sheltered. To the point where I had not really come into contact with other children until I was six (God forbid I caught a cold). And then it took me about ten years to figure out how social interaction works. In fact, I am still trying to figure it out.
There are certain things children learn directly, or indirectly, in a school setting that just cannot be replicated in the home. I have no problem dabbling in the world of academia. When it comes to other people’s children. I am a mother, and therefore partial and biased. As far as I am concerned, my children are perfect and brilliant in every respect. Which is why I need someone else to burst their little bubbles and identify the problem areas where they need improvement.
Home schooling provides too sheltered of an environment. Even when there are multiple children. I think kids should be exposed to being around people who they are not immediately related to, and who do not have a vested interest in their well being and pending success.
They need to come into contact with the school bully (but only briefly). They need to make and lose a few good friends. They need to know that not everyone has their best interest in mind.
They need to learn that they must share, and not only with their family or those they care about.
Currently one of my daughter’s favorite books, Pinkalicious, has a wonderful line “you get what you get, and you don’t get upset.” Sometimes you do everything you are supposed to, and in the end you get cheated with no fault of your own. Sometimes there are things you are just not good at. And someone needs to tell you. You may be great at science, but can’t write a short story to save your life. You may be well coordinated, but really a terrible dancer. Someone needs to tell you that too.
As a parent I want to be honest with my children, especially when it comes to their skills. But also as a parent I am ill equipped to do so. Every poem they will write will end up on the fridge. I will clap and squeal at their dances. I will praise their artwork. And all of this will be genuine, because they are my babies. Someone else needs to tell them if their art won’t be in a museum any time soon (and I am going to refrain on my commentary on contemporary art). They need to know what their strengths are. But they also need to understand their weaknesses.
Once in a while they need to be misjudged. They need someone to tell them they won’t succeed, or that what they are doing is no good, so that they may try harder. They need a few unfair teachers, and they need to enter a system that just doesn’t care about them.
I want my children to grow up and become well adjusted individuals with a real sense of how the world works, not a skewed picture of how they grew up with mommy, daddy and their siblings at home. I mean, what kind of a mother would I be if I didn’t let my children experience getting screwed over by the world at an early age?