On Homeschooling…

When my son was ready to start school, several people asked me why I wasn’t planning to homeschool him. Why would they make that assumption? Yes, I was a good student. But teaching is about more than knowing things. It is a skilled profession, and I am not trained for it. I suspect my son and I both lack the discipline it requires. Also, he is an only child and I felt that he needed the experience of being one of a group of kids.

By the way, nobody ever asked my husband if he planned to homeschool.

Our son graduates high school in a few weeks, and I stand by the decision to send him to public school. Yes, there are some things maybe I could have done better with one student than even a skilled teacher can do with 25. But there are many more that I could not do at all.

For instance, since 4th grade, Jon Morgan has been immersed in school orchestra. I can’t field an orchestra in my living room with a class of one! (In fact, I know many whole private schools that aren’t big enough to field an orchestra.) In high school, he has loved his AP Physics and Architectural Drawing classes. I don’t have the sophisticated lab equipment and CAD software to make those possible. And my own college calculus classes were decades ago; I couldn’t teach AP Calculus at the level of instruction his highly experienced teacher last year was able to provide. Or any level. Yes, there are resources for parents who homeschool, but they can’t match the advantages of having a teacher like my son’s AP Calculus teacher, who had taught the subject for 60+ years and really knew his stuff.

The people who thought I should homeschool also ignored the fact that I have a career. Because I work from home (I’m a writer), they thought I could easily fit a school day into my schedule! Many parents are now learning that this just does not work. There are not enough hours, and my mental energy would not stretch that far. Either my work would suffer, or his schooling would.

The last 10 weeks have proven that Jon Morgan does not do well in a less structured educational environment. The all-online work has been disastrous for him. He doesn’t know how to stay motivated and engaged without regular in-person contact with teachers and other students.

I am not saying that homeschooling does not work for some people. I’m sure it could be a good option for children whose needs cannot be filled at a traditional school, and for those whose parents are trained for it. (I have my doubts about it in cases where parents do it to avoid having their children learn real science and history, in favor of a version of science and history approved by their religious leaders.)

But I know it would have been a bad fit for my family.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: