If homeschooling is so great, why would you send your child to a traditional school?
I’ve been asking myself this very same question since I wrote the last blog post on this subject…
Let’s face it – homeschooling is a lot of work and a big responsibility. Although there is plenty of evidence to support the fact that any parent can homeschool their children and do it well if they really wanted to, therein lies the key to the whole argument – “if they really wanted to”. The fact remains that there are parents who don’t want this responsibility and prefer to leave it to the schools to do the job. The excellent results we see from homeschoolers are the result of dedicated parents who choose this path because they see the greater purpose behind it and have the conviction for it.
I believe that one of the reasons why homeschooled children do so well is because they have probably one of the best environments to learn in – they get dedicated attention from motivated teachers who are constantly looking for new ideas and educating themselves about what is available. If we took a school with great teachers – who are just as dedicated and motivated – and reduced their class sizes dramatically, don’t you think the results of homeschoolers versus traditional schoolers might be different?
Conversely, I wonder how great the results would be if the parents in question homeschooled the way some of us work at a job – just so we can get paid at the end of the month? How well would our homeschooled children turn out then?
So no, choosing to homeschool is not a decision to be made lightly.
Then there are the parents who work and do not have the time to homeschool. Some of these parents work because they enjoy work and would not want to quit even if it was an option – hooray for the freedom of choice. For these cases, there is nothing further to discuss. For other parents, they work because they need the income. If you ask some homeschooling parents, they will tell you that it is possible to forego that income and still choose to homeschool if you really want to explore that option. Since I am not in the position to advise on such matters, I can only point you in the direction of those individuals and you can ask them directly how they managed it.
There is also the argument that some children may be better suited for homeschooling while others fare better in a traditional schooling environment. Children are individuals with their own unique needs that vary as they grow so it is not hard to imagine that some of them might actually thrive in a traditional schooling environment. Additionally, the environment that suits them best may change as they grow older. For instance, a child might be better suited in a homeschooled environment during the early years and then later prefer to attend a traditional school, or vice versa.
Some parents might choose not to homeschool because homeschooling wasn’t working out for them. Similarly, other parents might send their children to a traditional school and continue to implement homeschooling elements to reduce some of the pressure on themselves or simply because it is what they prefer. Just as it is with every other issue in life, there are no stark black and white answers with homeschooling but a spectrum of grays.
And that’s where I fall in with Aristotle – among the gray…
When Aristotle was an only child, the decision to homeschool (at least in the earlier years) was easy and clear. However, the arrival of Hercules and a distinct change in Aristotle’s disposition has altered all the variables. I discovered that Aristotle was no longer receptive to being homeschooled by me – at least not at this point in his life. Why? For reasons I have begun to suspect, he chooses to become “incapable” in my presence. I’ve mentioned it before that his uncle has taught him more swimming skills in one session with him than I have succeeded in all the times I have ever taken him swimming. Here’s another example: when he is in Heguru on his own, he does really well – he is attentive and cooperative. The moment I walk into the class, he becomes restless, inattentive and uncooperative.
So even though, once upon a time, we did really well together, I feel that since the arrival of Hercules, we have never really been able to regain that comfortable working relationship we once had. I still largely believe it is a phase he will grow out of in time, particularly as his brother grows older and becomes more capable, but for now, I feel he is better suited being taught by someone else.
This arrangement allows me the luxury of concentrating on specific areas of development, such as his character, morals and values, and subjects of his choosing, such as dinosaurs, dinosaurs and more dinosaurs. At the same time, I can relax in the knowledge that school will help to round him out in areas that he refuses to focus on in my presence that I feel are equally important, such as team work, his social development, adapting to new environments, and Math.
What about you – do you homeschool or send your child to a traditional school? What are the reasons for your choice?