To Home School or Not to Home School

Updated on September 21, 2008
D.E. asks from Shreveport, LA
24 answers

I feel like my 6 year old is having a hard time in school in all areas (reading,writing,spelling,math). He's getting a's and b's in school but the grades and the actual dont add up. I know the teacher is not giving grades because i sit in classes all the time. We are moving to another state within the next two weeks. when we get there we will soon be traveling the country for business reasons. Should I home school or should I stay home while the hubby is away so my son can go to school where we're going to live?

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S.M.

answers from Nashville on

I will always vote for consistency for the child...same school, same house, same friends...too important for development, even past the whole grade thing.

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K.F.

answers from Anniston on

Hi D.....
I have an ex-husband that traveled the country for almost 3 years because of business and we (my 2 kids and I) traveled with him for 2 1/2 years. Having done the single parenting thing for 8 months, I can honestly tell you it did not work for our family! Homeschooling was the best choice we made! My kids are now in 8th and 7th grade. My daughter was ahead almost 2 years when she went back to school this year and my son was right on grade level (he's a bit of a slacker sometimes).... the education that my kids got from traveling the country (with a bit of research ahead of time) is PRICELESS!!!! I wouldn't have had it any other way! I'm so glad that we traveled and homeschooled.

It's a lot of work on your part....so be prepared... you are the TEACHER(it's a job)...but it's so much fun and my kids loved it!!!!

If I can help in anyway...let me know!
Hope this helps...
K.

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K.K.

answers from Memphis on

As a homeschooling mother of a 6 and 4yo, I encourage you to homeschool. The rewards of seeing your child grow up in front of your eyes is unbelievable. We love the freedom that homeschooling gives us, and for you, it seems like a great opportunity. You can use a curriculum if you feel intimidated, but trust me, there isn't anything that you cannot teach him for quite a long time. We used several different sources for our homeschooling, including classes offered by museums/zoos in our area.
Also, your son can go at his pace- work on something until he really understands it, then move on. And since you are one on one, he will not get behind - you have time to move ahead on what he loves and is good at, and time to catch up on what he is not understanding. It is the second greatest advantage of homeschooling - the first is the relationship that you get to build with your child. Good luck

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R.M.

answers from Nashville on

If you are interested in home schooling your son for the rest of this year, I think that would be ok considering your circumstances of moving and getting married. As a former teacher, I don't usually encourage moms to home school; however, I did home school my son for kindergarten because we were going to be moving to a new state after the school year began. Home schooling is not easy, but it would give you and your son some quality time together while he adjusts to you being married. Also, it would be easier for him to begin attending a new school at the beginning of the next school year.

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J.I.

answers from Nashville on

I am a public school teacher and what I have found is that the children who are homeschooled don't often get compared to their peers. The parents think that the children are doing well but when they get back to a public school they are far behind. If your child is already struggling, I would recommend that you talk to the teacher to see if she thinks something else is going on. Does he have trouble remaining on task, retaining information? Is there some type of assessment the teacher can give him to see if he is on grade level? You may think he is struggling but he may be doing fine. If the teacher says he is doing fine and shows you evidence of this, then I wouldn't worry about him struggling - it may be your expectations. If there is concern, I would keep him in school for sure and make sure he gets the best and most complete education. If you feel you are completely disciplined then homeschooling may work for you. I am a teacher and I know that I would not be disciplined enough traveling the country.

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K.N.

answers from Jackson on

I think that you should try to homeschool him. I think that it would be great for you if you would be able to travel around the country with your new hubby, and I think that it would be fun for your son too. I think that it would probably be really hard to start out a new marriage with your husband traveling around the country without you.

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B.C.

answers from Nashville on

I am the wife of a teacher of 34 years. I am definately opposed to home school. I have dealt with home school students in my profession. Your child needs to be in a structured environment in order to development academic and most importantly social skills. Home school students lack so much in social skills. If your son is making A's and B's you do not have a problem at 6 years old. Teachers are educated to evaluate children without specific grades. He is just learning to deal with situation in the school. He will do fine. As for traveling around the country with a 6 year old I feel you should put the son first and enroll him in a school and see that he has stability in his life. Remember he has to deal with moving, getting a new step-dad and then you are considering traveling around the country. Just my thoughts and I hope they help. I am the mother of a 27 and 29 year old that attended public schools. One of them excelled and one did not but homeschooling was never an option.

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J.S.

answers from Jonesboro on

home schooling is great as long as the child is still able to get out and interact with other kids. my brother in-law is 16 years old and he has been home schooled since he started school he gets strait A's but all he does is play games and sit on the internet cuase his parents do not make him got out of the house. his mom works from 7am to 3pm monday-saturday shes off work sunday only at a nursing home and his dad works form 2pm to 11pm sunday-thursday hes off work firday and saturday he works at a hospital his hours kinda change hes a janitor/maitnence man/ house keeper person.. and his greandma home schoold him and shes 74 i think and his mom and dad have nothing to do woth him basicly. on sunday his mom goes and gets kids for church but he closes up when thay are around and stuff

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M.C.

answers from Texarkana on

I home-schooled for several years. It enabled me to go wherever we wanted, the boys took part in my college field trips and the younger (a drummer) attended the jazz band practices and performances with me for a couple of years. My schedule was much more flexible and my boys are both far better off than they would have been had they been forced to stay in schools that they weren't doing well in. The older, now 17, is in his second year of college. The younger is in 9th grade, public school, but he knows so many more things than his peer group it's amazing. Traveling creates so many learning opportunities! I hope you go with this idea. And another thing... don't let your kids get hooked into TV and video games. Give them books and lots of personal interaction with intelligent, creative people.

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D.W.

answers from Shreveport on

After looking into the laws of the new state, I think you should give homeschooling a try. My son is only four but we started homeschooling him this year. He loves it.He was recently tested by the school board and scored in the five and six year old range. And his social skills are fine. People who think homeschooled kids don't develope socially probably don't really know a lot of homeschooled kids. Most of them do a lot more volunteer work and extracurricular activities, and can handle being with people of all ages better. My son is very friendly, and certainly not shy or withdrawn.

Homeschooling would be really great with Traveling as well, because you could study new things relating to the place you are.I am really hoping we get to start doing that someday.

Before I started homeschooling, I asked a teenager I know who had recently been put in school, after homeschooling, which she preferred. She said if allowed she would go back to homeschooling immediately. She said she was usually done with her work by 11am and had the rest of the day to whatever. That was one of the reasons I decided to start. I had talked to a lot of parents who loved it, but finally I got to really talk to a student. She loved it too.

I don't think everyone will enjoy homeschooling, but you should give it a shot.

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A.K.

answers from Birmingham on

Hi,

Education is so important and something we all stress about!

There are MANY options, from public schooling, to private schooling, to a University-Model (R) school, to co-opping, to homeschooling.

I'm an educator, never in the public schools, my background is prep schools (where the kids go to Yale, not the state University). I am also a home educating parent.

Your choice is likely contingent on many factors: how disciplined you are at providing opportunities for them to learn day in and day out, your educational philosophy, and your support system.

I might suggest that you explore other alternatives. Find a University-Model school, a Classical school, or a homeschool co-op in your community and see if that might work for you.

My best to you.

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S.

answers from Memphis on

Yes, homeschool!! We took the risk and are homeschooling our Kindergartner and I can't imagine doing it differently now! It is great for families with a traveling parent. And you can teach him more since it is individualized attention. Most areas have tons of great groups to get connected with so you won't feel alone and he would have a steady group of friends. Read Lisa Whelchel's book on homeschooling; it is fantastic!

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L.L.

answers from Little Rock on

Go to the HSLDA website to find out the laws for the state you are moving to. Some states are very strict and may require college educated parents, precise record keeping, and more. Other states require nothing, with most somewhere in between.

I homeschool my 7 yr old son and it is absolutely the best for him. I can stay on a topic until he understands it. I can skip what he already knows. But it is a huge commitment. It takes me about 4 hours a day or more to complete the school day. It is hard to stay on task at times. But we love it. Our relationship has grown so much since doing this.

I have friends who travel regularly for their job and they homeschool. What an amazing education their kids have. As they travel to different areas, they make a point to see any historical sites as well. They also do lessons on video by Abeka and Bob Jones. That way they can still do lessons as they drive, or in the hotel. Another set of traveling friends invested in a lap top and do computer based lessons so they kids can complete them while sitting in the car or plane.

Finding and joining a co-op is also a good idea. The other members can help you understand the laws, make friends, and find a curriculum that works best for you. One of the ones I belong to offers classes, field trips, and testing that is state required for members.

When we were getting started, choosing the curriculum was the hardest part. One helpful place has been homeschoolreviews.com where other homeschooling parents share their experiences with specific curriculums.

edited to add: I am a former public school teacher with a master degree in education. Many schools are negative about homeschooling. One, they lose money based on average student attendance numbers. Two, most of the students they see that have been homeschooled are those that are returning because of failure, or neglect on the part of the parents. The families that are successful do not return their children to the schools. Until I began meeting the many successful homeschooling families, I was against it as well. All I had ever seen were the negative outcomes. But there are many many more positives than negatives. In fact, more and more research is supporting homeschooling as a positive. I am now a huge supporter of homeschooling. And I still believe that for some children public school is best. But that is for the family to decide - parents know their children best.

Unless you keep your child in the closet, their social skills will be fine. Especially if you are involved in co-ops, outside classes and clubs, religious activities, and such. My child plays with neighborhood children, is part of after school classes, plays sports, and does very well. If you live in a large area, the opportunities for homeschoolers is enormous with sport teams, bands, and much more. In the homeschool community, there are many that joke about the difficulty in doing school work when there are so many opportunities to be social.

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A.C.

answers from Dothan on

My children have been in public school and have been home schooled. I personally found the home schooling is what our family needs. That is for you to figure out. I am able to give my kids one on one that they do not get at school. (and by the way, I consider myself educated enough to home school my children) As far as structure is concerned, we have structure. We attend church and classes for home schoolers regularly. Good luck to you! Make your own decision, but do not let these anti-home school people convince you that public schools are the only way your child can get a decent education. I know families who have home schooled their whole lives, gee is it not amazing that their kids went to college and are successful adults.
And for all these uniformed people. No, home schoolers do not necessarily get compared to their peers and personally I do not find that a bad thing. Most home schoolers that I
know take the SATS yearly to ensure that are where they need to be. They also attend second language, music, and other extra curricular activities weekly at the church that is offered to them. You will find that anyone affiliated with a public school usually has a negative attitude toward home schooling.

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T.S.

answers from Little Rock on

Let me start by saying that we are homeschooling our kids. Currently they are in 5th, 3rd, and kindergarden. We love it and wouldn't change anything.

You really need to decide what is best for your family. For some people that's home school, for others private school, and others public. In your case, it would allow your family more time together, a definate bonus. It would allow your husband to participate in school, a definate benefit! It also gives you flexibility. As long as you finish the school work within the school year, you can work on whatever schedule works for you. That might be a traditional schedule, year-round, or something in between. But I do believe it takes planning on the part of the mom/teacher, and that takes time. You have to make schooling your "job". It's a huge committment, but well worth the results.

There are many great resources out there on home schooling. One of my favorites is "The Well Trained Mind". Most libraries carry it. It details what subjects to teach, how to organize yourself, and gives at least 3 recommended resources to use as texts for each subject. It uses a classical approach to learning. There are other approaches out there, so if you don't like it, try looking into another. Look for one that fits both your and your son's personalities. If you pick one that doesn't seem to work out, you can change it the next year. There are many rewards for home schooling, but it isn't for everyone.

I'm sorry to say that at least one of your responses is very uninformed. Home schooling has been legal and around for decades now and has been thoroughly tested.

The facts are that most home schooled students outperform students at local schools on standardized tests. Studies have been done on the "socialization" of home schooled kids and found that they normally interact at a much more mature level and are well socialized. Some may have challenges transitioning to a very large college, but so do many kids who attend traditional school. Nevertheless, there will always be people who oppose home schooling, so be prepared for it if it's what you choose.

If you have specific questions, feel free to forward them to me. Best of luck.

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J.K.

answers from Birmingham on

You should definitely consider homeschooling, whether you travel with your husband or not. If your son isn't learning well, public school is not going to fix that. I have experience with public school, private school, and home school, and found the educational standards in the public school were several grade levels below private and homeschools. The public school does LESS in a full 8-hour-a-day school YEAR than we did in one 4-hour-a -day SEMESTER of homeschool. (Of course there is much variation within public schools; it depends on your specific school.) And, contrary to the opinion of the teacher's wife, homeschool kids do great in almost all settings, including transitioning to public school.

Definitely contact HSLDA http://www.hslda.org/Default.asp?bhcp=1 for more information, and if you do homeschool, become a member. Hook up with other homeschoolers when you move to get support and advice.

Remember, you can always homeschool for a while, and if it doesn't work out, you can put him back in school. He'll probably learn more from the traveling than from a year in public school anyway. Also, you may decide not to travel much, but to home school anyway.

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V.P.

answers from Pine Bluff on

Hi, D.. Wow, to homeschool or not, it really depends on your personality as well as your child's. Some children really homeschool well, and other's don't. It may be a matter of experimenting to see how your child reacts. I homeschool my nine year old because she didn't adjust when we moved to a new area. She still has lots of social opportunities (that is extremely important): Church, Girl Scouts, Gymnastics, etc.

Another important area you will need to consider are the regulations in the state you will be living in. Look at them very carefully. Some have more serious restrictions than Arkansas does. Ark is actually very lenient on homeschool parents. Look up the website for Homeschool Legal Defense Association. They will be able to help you in that area. They could also tell you if you need to follow the rules of the state you live in or the state you are traveling through during your business travels.

Another thing you will want to consider, is a curriculum. I would never advise homeschooling a child without a set curriculum. I use the ACE program that I like very much. Go to www.schooloftomorrow.com to find that and look at it. There are really good curriculums you can use, but stick to one basic one. You tend to miss certain skills if you skip around.

I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]____.com with homeschool in the subject line. I'm sorry if it's too wordy! I tend to go on and on about the great experience we've had with our daughter!

V. Ponder

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J.H.

answers from Dothan on

D.,
I think done right, home school can often be a wonderful learning opportunity for children.If you are just starting out with home schooling, I would think the earlier ages would be easier. I know you have to be very organized, disciplined, and good with time management to get the work done, but you do have the freedom to structure your day the way you want. If you have the opportunity to travel the country with your soon-to-be husband and son, it could be a wonderful teaching opp. for you. You would be able to show your son all kinds of great things about the country we live in especially at a time when they are so curious anyway. I think that's one of the great things about home school, the classroom is where ever you want it to be. I used to teach swim lessons to a group of home schoolers, and they would do all kinds of fun field trips that you would never get to do in regular school. That's another thing, you don't have to be isolated. There are lots of home school groups that get togther at least once a week to either have class or some other activity. It gives the kids the socialization they need with peers. I hope this has helped. If you decide on regular school for your son, it's possible that maybe it's his current teacher and a change would be good. He could also be anxious about the changes coming up in his life. Have you discussed all those changes with him? What does he have to say about them? How does he feel?

Jessica H.

D.B.

answers from Memphis on

Homeschooling at this age is a great idea (I homeschooled 5 kids) and very easy to do. You can put together your own curriculum or purchase one. We used Alpha Omega Publications (http://www.aop.com/home/index.php?utm_source=cj&utm_m...) which uses workbooks and very self explanatory for the mom. If you have time to get it in before you leave I highly recommend them.

Traveling and homeschooling go very well together. In fact you can do a lot of research online of the places you're going & study about them. Have him write a small paragraph (or you write what he dictates) about where you've visited, make a picture album, draw pictures, make a memory book. So many options out there. There is a a wealth of information about homeschooling online. At this age, keep is simple. Find out what he likes and build on that. If it's cars...run with it. Study the history of the car, find some books for you both to read about them, find those books where you can 'learn to draw' them...

I think you'll enjoy it, especially with all the changes going on in your life. And know that you don't have to bring school into the home, don't have to be very strict or anything. Kids do great with schedules with flexibility, know what I mean?

Ok, I'll stop babblin'.

What business has yall traveling? Sounds exciting.

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A.T.

answers from Lafayette on

D.,

The first thing you need to do is get educated on homeschooling. Go to your library and get what ever you can on homeschooling. My favorite was "Homeschooling for Dumbies". We use a few styles together. Their father travels alot too and we occasionally go with him. Our kids have been able to see and do things that wouldn't be possible if they were tied to a school. With that said, I have one child in school. She is very strong willed. We chose to send her for a few years so she can get the fundamentals down and mature emotionally before we bring her home. Our son was homeschooled from the beginning. It was hard. Very hard!!! He is 8 and just really starting to read. Boys sometime take longer to develope mentally than girls. He is great at math and can do 3rd grader work but is only emerging into 2nd grade reading. I think he would have been left behind if he was in regular school.

Homeschooling isn't easy. But it is alot of fun. I have been homeschooling for 5 years and homeschool 2 of our 3 school age children (we have 4 girls and 1 boy). The decision came to us after having our child in a private school for 3 years. She was bullied by the same kid (a boy) since kindergarden with no help from the staff. The kid came from "old money" in the town we live.

None of our children are social invilids and we do not do "all" the thousands of things that are available to homeschoolers to keep them socialized. They can play with all ages of children and talk to adults with easy and manners.

I don't agree with Brenda who said they (homeschooled children) have no manners. That is something that is taught at home. My children have been social skills and table manners than my sister's (who is a hardcore teacher)children. I feel they fight for attention because there are too many in their class to get the one on one they need.

If you would like to talk more, feel free to email me.

God bless and good luck.

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T.C.

answers from Chattanooga on

My advice would be to homeschool. You are the best teacher for him, because you know his learning style better than anyone. And no one cares more about his education than you. Being together as a family is a blessing, and homeschooling gives you that opportunity. So I say "Enjoy being a family while homeschooling and traveling"
I have been homeschooling my children since October 2006. My children were in public school for a while. My sons grades were really bad. The teacher told me "not to worry, he is going to pass." Him passing wasn't my concern, him falling further behind was. The next year I started homeschooling. I feel that the school system failed my boys. As I sat and thought about it, I was already their teacher. They would have so much homework that it took them to supper time or after to finish, and that was with me helping them. They wouldn't understand the lesson at school, and I would have to explain it when they came home.
My husband wanted to start travel, doing turnarounds and shutdowns in the plants. So now that we are homeschooling we are able to do this. We have a daughter 10yrs., son 12yrs., and raising my nephew he's 15. Now the kids get to visit places they would'nt normally get to. They enjoy learning about the places that we visit. We are still learning the ropes, but I know I made the right choice.
Which ever road you choose to go may God bless you.

Homeschool Mom

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K.P.

answers from Huntsville on

Homeschooling can be really stressful, but if you are the type that can handle that (and deal with your son 24/7), it can be really great. You really need to look into the homeschool laws for the state that you'll be moving to. You may or may not be able to travel around in the way you want, and you might decide that the state's laws are too stressful or too much to deal with. We're very fortunate in that here in AL, our laws are so easy going that we aren't limited to very much, but some states are VERY strict and specific about their homeschoolers. So that's DEFINITELY something to look into first and foremost. Also, you never know what it's going to be like at the school you'll be moving to. That'd be a good thing to look into also. (Could be better, could be worse).

None of us can really honestly say DO or do NOT homeschool because homeschooling is definitely not for everyone. Just today I told a friend, YES homeschool and someone else that I just didn't think homeschooling was for them. We don't personally know you well enough to tell you whether you should or shouldn't. We can only give you advice or information on it. You just need to look at your options, look at yourself honestly, look at the state laws, and decide what you truly feel is best for BOTH of you.

Good Luck with it all!

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W.H.

answers from New Orleans on

After a very frustrating 1st grade year, i decided to homeschool my 2nd grader this year. he is so much happier and learning at his own pace. he no longer feels like a failure. the only difficulty is homeschooling my 6th grader at the same time. nights are free now with no homework -- but keep up the social activity. there are several very active home school groups and his does cub scouts and 4-H and upward basketball. it is a wonderful learning experience. they have been to civil war re-enactments, washington dc, etc... Statistically, homeschool kids score higher on all standardized tests than both public and private schools. i did tons of research at the library. hope this helps. W.

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C.C.

answers from Knoxville on

ABSOLUTELY HOMESCHOOL!!! I do admire public school teachers, they have a hard job, but I totally disagree with the advice from the ones who responded. I homeschooled my two boys until high school and it was the best thing we ever did. People who say that homeschoolers are not getting enough socialization just don't "get it". Have you ever watched a group of kids? Is that really the best way to get "socialization" - to be thrown to the wolves, so to speak? Every home school kid I ever knew - even the ones who seemed a little geeky or didn't relate as well to kids their own age - they re ALL happy, healthy, successful, well adjusted young adults now. And as for the teacher who said your son needs the "stability" of school - I disagree. What he needs right now is to be with you and your new husband! As long as you don't let yourself get stressed out with the travelling - just make it fun and don't try to do too much. At six years old children don't really need as much formal education as most people think. Try and find a copy of one of Raymond and Dorothy Moore's books - they have written many books on homeschooling and the effects of starting formal education too early.
I think you need to spend the next few weeks letting yourself and your son bond with your new husband. That will be the most important thing you could do right now.
Good luck and God bless!

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