Do you think you would have decided to homeschool if you had remained in your house in California?
Yes, almost certainly, although I may have dipped into schools here and there if it seemed right or useful, like for language immersion. I love the freedom of homeschool.Â I’m really sorry that you had a bad experience with homeschooling, as I think that is rare. I’ve known many happy and successful homeschool families and my grown niece (who is a chemical engineer who graduated early from Rice, the top university in her field, got a 6-figure job before graduating, and bought her own home while still a teen) is a very successful example, so I have confidence in the method.
I’m not convinced that your homeschooling wasn’t a benefit for you, as look how well you have turned out, although it seems some differences could have helped a lot.Â I can’t help but be curious as to what would happen if you had been totally homeschooled, or if you had been totally schooled, as I think mixing school and homeschooling is more difficult. I was totally schooled (public schools) as was my husband (parochial school) and we tried many schools with our child (public, private, Montessori, Waldorf, gifted). Frankly, I think homeschool is a far superior method because you can gear it uniquely to the child.Â I sometimes think if I had to do it all over again, that I would not do ANY schooling with my child, as even with the best and tiniest schools, there is indoctrination, dogma, conformity, compliance and rigidity.
It’s truly a myth that homeschool is not good for socialization and that schools are. The opposite is true in my experience and the many studies that I have read. I think it is unnatural to keep kids imprisoned all day, doing mostly boring, rote learning for tests, and to only socialize with kids born their same year on short recesses. I think kids should be part of the community and socialize with people of ALL ages, have plenty of free time for self development and self-led learning, and that they are much better off being parent-attached and not peer-led with a Lord of the Flies mentality. Teachers are much too busy to monitor the ugliness, name calling, brutality and viciousness that goes on in schools between kids. NO ONE will love your child like you do and loving is the key to socialization. You know I’m a big fan of the book Hold Onto Your Kids:Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers and admire the Colfax family for living off the grid and sending three homeschooled boys to Harvard.
Mozart went to an amazing private kindergarten in California on a rural, 15-acre farm with animals, orchards and gardens they used to teach hands-on; with innovative, creative teachers trained in standard teaching as well as Montessori and Waldorf methods. They had classes as pottery, archery, unicycle, plays, stilt walking and juggling, etc. I volunteered daily, but even in that wonderful school with just 6 other kids in her class and less than 50 in the whole school and very involved parents, I was amazed at how hard it was to give the kids individual attention.Â It was still a mass-produced, dogmatic, inflexible experience. I learned that I could do much better on my own and save a ton of money to boot! I spent one full day there a week inside the classroom helping with literacy skills and could see for myself how much easier it was to just work with my own child. Two parents to one child is MUCH better odds. 😉 I also volunteered at her excellent public school and I observed it as even worse, despite it being a small, rich school with many volunteers and an assistant in every room.Â The school in Spain works, because we are there strictly for the language immersion. It’s very short hours and short months, and they let us come and go as we please.
Schools are usually extremely rigid and political places (families who volunteer and add money to the school have more clout). TheyÂ are not made to deal with exceptions – but every child is unique.Â Schools, sadly, are about learning for the test, and learning how to obey rules, not learning for learning’s sake. There are wonderful teachers out there, but most are hampered by the system and number of students. I don’t think our education system has worked for a long time and is totally not suited for the “new economy”.
When I see bright young adults who were unschooled like Ev Bogue or Eli Gerzon, or think of ones in the past like Margaret Mead, George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Edison, Jane Austen, etc., I feel confident that thinking and schooling differently will be the most supportive way to educate my unique child.