You wrote “On the surface home schoolers have admirable goals. But are these children getting a realistic picture of how society works and what will be required when they are adults and have to study, work, follow a routine, be punctual, cope when things don’t go their way and deal with many different personalities?”. I would like to tell you of my child’s picture of how society works from his experiences with school. Right from the word go, at every single parent teacher meeting the teachers would say the same thing, that he struggled to concentrate, seemed immature and lacked focus. This was said about a five year old who picked up reading and ran with it and raced to the head of the class in 2 weeks. In 3rd grade his teacher moaned and groaned about how he would have to repeat if he couldn’t concentrate and knuckle down and do his work. By the end of that year he started being very depressed and yet I felt the only option was school and encouraged him every day to do what he could. In grades 5 and 6 nothing changed, his teachers had the same comments to make and no-one could come up with any strategies to help with the situation.
Then came high school. From the very first day he had problems. He was the smallest kid in the class and was made to feel it. Every day he came home with a new story of how the other kids hated him and bullied him. His locker was broken into and he was constantly being threatened with violence. If this was in the real world we would go to the police and charge someone but at school the only recourse is the teacher whose hands are tied. We had the usual parent teacher meetings in which the teacher encouraged him to join clubs to get to know the students but these were the same students who bullied him. It was getting to the point that he was constantly sick with fear and missing a lot of days, then he was talking about mental institutions and suicide. There was only one way this was heading and that was downhill. I now knew how those kids that you hear of committing suicide or killing their class mates felt, the same way my son felt. It was heartbreaking and something needed to be done. The day he talked to us about suicide was his last day of school. We tell battered wives to get out of their marriages, why do we let our children stay in school when it could be just as abusive an institution as marriage can be?
I have since brought all my children home from school and the difference in all of them is amazing. The others were never in the same situation as my eldest and seemed happy at school but at home they have just blossomed. In regards to what they study each school teaches differently and the government can’t seem to make up it’s mind what curriculum they want taught anyway. I know because I’ve had 4 children at school and not one has learned the same thing in the same grade. The work I expect is of a high quality and I teach my children a love of doing their best, not just enough to pass a test. We do have a routine. I think every family with children at home has to have one otherwise our home life would fall to pieces. As to being punctual I can’t say that school ever taught me to be punctual, that is something I need to relearn with each child I have. And coping with things not going their way and dealing with people with other personalities are basics that are taught in any well balanced family and not taught in school where we are taught to conform and go with the status quo.
Our days are filled with things that we love doing and people we love to spend time with. Isn’t that the best environment to learn in?