Monday, April 16, 2012

I'd never do it, of course, but...

... sometimes I feel drawn to the homeschooling option. For whole minutes I'll sit and imagine how cool it could be.

1. There would be more time for music practice. Lessons and practices could happen during the day instead of being crammed into afternoons.

2. Rather than learning the very basics of the Australian political system again (3rd year in a row!), Nathan could write opinion pieces on the US republican primaries.

3. I'd have time to teach Joel how to spell or to teach him strategies for how to not let bad spelling stop him from conquering the world. And we'd write stories together.

4. Micah and I could play duets. We'd do this instead of the boring bits of SOSE and Science.

5. We'd never, ever have school assemblies. This, in itself, makes home schooling worthy of consideration.

But I'd never do it.

Here are five reasons why.

1. I'm an extrovert. Schools are places full of people. I can't imagine robbing my children of the opportunity to go there.

2. I'd be really, really bad at making my kids learn things that I thought were boring or pointless. Under me, my kids would have a skewed education.

3. Schools have bands and orchestras and choirs. Right there. On site. Free(ish).

4. I think I want my kids mainstreamed as much as possible. The christian thing is weird to the world. I don't think I want other stuff to be too.

5. I couldn't work if we homeschooled our kids. This would mean we couldn't afford to pay the rent. Homeschooling would be bad if you did it while living in a car.


  1. You wouldn't be living in a car!

  2. Music, politics, writing great literature and developing world conquering plans. Hmm, that does sound like it would make for an interesting curriculum.

    Re 4. I hope that the homeschoolers out there reading won't take offence to what you've said. But I think I get it. Lately I've had a couple of conversations with parents who homeschool (one via facebook with a person who was a work colleague many years ago, the other with a new person at church who is contemplating homeschooling her little girl when she starts school next year, with two active little boy toddlers also on the scene) and my reaction was that it just sounded a bit too much (and yes, if I'm honest, too strange) for me to cope with. In saying all that, I do think it's an option that many Christians are strongly convicted to pursue and that's okay. In the second conversation I just mentioned, I ended up feeling like I should apologise that my kids were in the state school system (I did say that they were, and a friend who was also part of the conversation actually pulled me up on it because she thought I sounded too apologetic about it!) because sometimes I feel like the homeschooling crowd think of people who use the public education system as being a bit unusual too.

    Anyway, I think I react the way I do because it's just not for me. The introvert in me needs a break from my kids sometimes, and school gives me that.

  3. I can even say I've tried home schooling and that it didn't work for us. As an extrovert it did feel very restrictive. The break from the kids definitely helps us to get along better! But as for being weird, we're missionaries, that is a pretty extreme weirdness that we're never going to overcome!

  4. I probably should preface my comment by saying that I have homeschooled all my children for some years, but now the school-aged ones are happily at a state school, and I am not wedded to any particular option, but I think schooling is a matter of freedom and wisdom, and will probably look different for each family and even each child.

    I wonder if some of these points are more relevant in Queensland than elsewhere? For example, point 3 on your second list - my understanding is that the Queensland state schools music program is way better than in any other state. And while music tuition may be cheaper through school here in Victoria, it will still cost us hundreds of dollars this year for my son to play in a band, whether he has lessons at school or elsewhere.

    And, as for point 4 in the second list, Queensland is apparently the most restrictive state in the country in which to homeschool, and many of those who do it do so illegally, possibly adding to the feeling of "weirdness". In Victoria, which is the easiest state in which to homeschool, we have met all kinds of people through homeschooling networks (and there seem to be at least as many non-Christians as Christians). It's interesting too, that my experience in Victoria has been that homeschoolers are more likely to send their children to state schools than to independent ones. I don't know if it would be the same in Queensland.

    And I take your point #2 (second list), but doubt that anyone's education is without bias. I went to state schools for 13 years, and while I generally enjoyed it, some areas were woefully inadequate.

    I'd have to admit that the points on your first list are close to the reasons I homeschooled as long as I did. We just really liked it, and it gave us a lot of time and freedom. And for many families it isn't all or nothing, it's a year-by-year decision.

    1. Interesting. Thanks for that.

      " my experience in Victoria has been that homeschoolers are more likely to send their children to state schools than to independent ones. I don't know if it would be the same in Queensland."

      Certainly not in my experience. It would be interesting to compare HS clientele across the state. Very possible my views are biased by what I've seen.

  5. Homeschooling would be bad if you did it while living in a car.


    1. Admit it. You read my blog for this kind of incredible insight.

  6. I will be sorely tempted by Khan academy & podcast lessons (say from iTunesU) which I really enjoy myself. I remember asking my dad to explain algebra when I was perhaps 7, and us both getting enormously frustrated in about ten minutes of him trying to explain algebra and then use the binomial theorem to show it was useful. But these days, there are simply stellar resources available for free, some are geared for the bright primary schooler and some of which wouldn't be out of the reach of a bright primary schooler despite being aimed at an older audience.