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Is homeschooling better than public school with the right programs and teaching methods that encourage learning?

In this time, where all education in America is becoming "standardized" and more emphasis is put on grades than learning, would pulling the student out from the school be a better decision than keeping him in on public school?

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    Feb 2 2014: The quality of public schools, of private schools, and of homeschooling is highly variable. If you are making a choice for your child, I would visit the options to make a choice based on your specific child and the options before you. I would not believe any broad statement about any sort of schooling.
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    Feb 2 2014: Homeschooling and charter schools each provide options that time and structure in the "standardized" education of todays public schools do not allow.

    Variables such as venues in the city for field trips, the instructors, the student, and the relationship between the student and the instructor. Just because your the mom/dad .. does not make you .. either liked or respected.

    Perhaps there is a combination of the three that meets the "best" criteria. As an example: Home school for the first three years, Public school up to the eighth and charter or a prep school/academy through the senior year.

    Emphasis should be on application / demonstration during the last four years ... not multiple guess or high stakes testing. Tests should be used as tools ... and guides ... for instructors to ensure that learning has occurred.

    Tests more accurately measure the teachers ability to communicate ... than the students ability to learn.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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    Feb 2 2014: I have experienced both worlds. First as a Home school Teacher/Mom for 5 of my 7 children; and then later, as a teacher in the public school system. I strongly believe that both have merit and that it is a highly personal choice. For my oldest (ADHD) son, home school was a perfect foundational choice for him. He was able to get the one-on-one instruction in a way geared to his learning style which enabled him to transfer easily into the public school setting with the one secret ingredient that many public school students are stripped of at a young age- and that is a growth mindset and the ability to know "how" to learn.
    I do not believe that it is across-the-board for everyone. However, I do believe that it is an optimal choice for some. My third son was in 4th grade when we put him into public school. Although he still retained ( for the most part) his love of learning new things and independently searching out new things to learn, the public school quenched that for awhile because of the restrictive faux standards that bogged down his time with redundant "busy" work and limited his learning.
    Now, as a teacher in a public school I bring with me that experience and my extensive desire and ability to differentiate (even with core standards) ;) I am finding it quite interesting that methods and instructional styles that homeschoolers have adopted for ages (and one of the many reasons they homsechool) is now being pushed as best practice strategies in public schools.
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    Jan 30 2014: Homeschooling is better than traditional schooling if parents know what they're doing and they have the necessary resources and help from experienced educators and vendors, and the children are committed and willing to work hard.
  • Jan 29 2014: Maybe home schooling can offer more than the standard schools available. Certainly home schooling is ideal for parents who want their child to grow up in an environment which they want their children to experience whether this is say a religious environment or maybe a disciplined one etc. However, most parents, unless they themselves are trained teachers, cannot teach the children every child learns at school. This probably works fine in primary school but many parents have no idea of physics or mathematics at the high school level.
  • Feb 18 2014: It's not about the education partt only, what about the social aspect of school? You get to learn about the behavior of other human beings, and learn how to function with them in a social setting. You get to meet other people your age, who might share the same interests as you etc.
  • Feb 16 2014: I think it depends on the parents ability to teach an open mind and learn the fundamental ways of how to learn as they teach their kids. I think that the public school system is on the decline and I hope it gets better for the US.

    Homeschooling is definitely an option for parents but I think my biggest concern with that is the social aspect of getting along with peers. Learning to get along with others is a big aspect of school and I'm not sure if that can be replaced.
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      Feb 17 2014: (Repeat)On Wednesdays I do after school tutoring for a mixed group of both homeschool and public school kids. I observe clearly that my P.S. kids actually lack a maturity in their socialization skills. Whereas, the H.S. kids in the group are able to flow freely and socialize intergenerationally. What most people do not understand is that the majority of homeschoolers are not "go-it-alone-ers." Most are active participants in homeschool groups, tutoring groups, youth volunteer and leadership groups, community sports group... oh, the list goes on! :) In actuality, they get more positive socialization time ( and time to learn effective social skills) more than their public school peers tied to a desk for almost 8 hours a day and told to not talk. My public school kids "socialize" only at recess and lunch- and now with social media and gaming dominating their world-not much after school. I also observe that their basic public social manners are severely deficient when compared to their homeschooled peers.
      Don't get me wrong, I am also a public school teacher and a youth basket ball coach so I am familiar with both worlds and therefore, calling it as I see it from first hand experience.
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        Feb 17 2014: As you are a public school teacher, would you say that "tied to a desk for almost 8 hours a day and told not to talk" is a good description of classrooms in your school? I have not seen this in the last several decades of involvement in urban public schools in my state. It is all inquiry classrooms with constant interaction among students and movement about the classroom.

        This must be really different in different parts of the country!

        People in TED Conversations and those out in the community can benefit from knowing what it is really like in public schools. There are many incorrect and out-of-date stereotypes too often repeated about teachers and classrooms.
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          Feb 18 2014: It depends on the teacher and how he/she chooses to engage their students. Every classroom will be different. With differentiation a class can be more actively involved. The addition of "brain breaks" facilitates this also. However, "social interaction" if you want to call it that, is not uncontrolled, it is guided by the teacher. Social interaction is not self-directed in class.What most people refer to when they speak of "socialization" they are referring to how students interact outside of a classroom. (Yes, I understood your sarcasm and that cliche's can go both ways ;) )
          In order to claim that homeschoolers lack socialization we must first define the term socialization. Socialization has nothing to do with whether you can make friends or hold a conversation. Socialization is about "cultural understanding and cultural knowledge." And with the way the majority of homeschools are run today they tend to have similar class experiences as their P.S. peers. The difference will be in how they treat adults, public & social manners, etc. One could consider that a "cultural" thing. P.Schools can be seen as having their own "social" culture. Therefore,if going to college is the issue, then just like any other student coming from "outside" the P.S. culture- it can be learned.
          Here is funny video about Homeschool created by a college student that was homeschooled.

          and then a re-make a few years later~

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        Feb 18 2014: I agree that the image people have of homeschooling does not capture what modern homeschooling often looks like.

        But the image people have of today's public school classroom is also a caricature and those who teach public school are a good community resource to correct over-simplified or out-of-date images.
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          Feb 18 2014: True, I see where you're coming from. But isn't the caricature of homeschool much more prevalent? I try to navigate both worlds, because of the tutoring students I work with, and the parents of the P.S. schools are the ones who push the stereotypes and react almost defensively. The H.S. parents are quick to explain that it is just a personal choice "for them" and that it's not necessarily the best option for everyone.
          On the other hand, I love the direction that this new era of public school classrooms are heading! I love my job! :) 21st century teaching is fantastic! :)
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        Feb 18 2014: I think the stereotype of public school classrooms is far more prevalent and far more destructive.

        I don't notice parents of public school kids thinking or saying very much at all about home schooled kids. I don't see any spirit of comparison or competition between these groups, at least not anywhere I have lived. The parents of public school kids and the parents of private school kids are mainly concerned about the education of their own kids, as far as I have noticed.

        This may be different in different parts of the country.

        I am glad you find 21st century public school teaching fantastic. Teachers with whom I have worked as a colleague or coach are working extremely hard and are highly student focused, trying to do their best to meet the needs of the diverse array of students they serve even in a single classroom.

        It is a demanding job, but teachers are drawn to it because it is their calling.
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      Feb 18 2014: From the article "Debunking the myths of Homeschool" by Lisa Rivero, M.A., author

      "Lack of socialization is one of the first criticisms raised by many home school opponents, but psychologist Linda Silverman notes the important distinction between socialization and social development. Socialization is the ability to adapt to the needs of a group, the ability and desire to conform. Social development, on the other hand, is the process of getting to know and be comfortable with oneself and one’s beliefs so as to better contribute to the needs of the group. The difference is between going along with the crowd and not making waves or standing out (socialization) and cooperating when necessary for the common good but also being willing to stick one’s neck out to make a positive difference (social development). As Claire puts it, “To me, a good education allows you to live life and not just get by. I just really want to know things and make a difference.”

      Extreme isolation is not an inherent aspect of home schooling. Many home school families participate in community classes, home school groups, library book groups, impromptu play dates, learning co-ops, and field trips shared with other families. When home school children do have time alone, it is often welcome, allowing for uninterrupted hours devoted to reading, daydreaming, writing, playing, and time to be a child. A normal school schedule plus extracurricular activities and homework allows the classroom-schooled child little time to hear, much less follow, her own internal drummer."
  • Feb 16 2014: Of course it depends upon the teachers and the results you want. If you want your kids to go to work for the government or corporate slave trade then you cannot do any better than the school system we already have.
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    Feb 7 2014: Since many concerned citizens of the world are worried about failing schools, imagine this scenario: All families with school-aged children will home school their children, meaning everyone boycotts traditional schools, at least for two years. What will happen?
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    Feb 4 2014: I was reading an article that wrote about how there are a great number of colleges and Univerisy that are allowing homeschool coalitions to use there facilities. Coalitions are great becuse the more families are registered and involved provides a greater pool of resources.. (Kind of like what we are trying to encourage our teachers here to do....become connected educators. Only they thought about it first.;) And,( also contrary to popular belief in the fairy tale that homeschoolers are being taught by uneducated parents. :) ) the majority of homeschooling parents are College educated, many with Masters or Doctorates. This fabulous pool of willing and dedicated , educated volunteers collaborates to create courses for the students. In this way, not only are talents and ideas shared, but so are resources gathered for the neccesary tools for whatever course(s) they come together to offer. I "rode along" with a friend of mine and her family to check his stuff out (this was in 2007 when we live in Maryland) and I was floored by the huge number of students they had registering. It came to OVER 2,000 students from Kindergarten thru 12Th grade. It was amazing. Last year when I first heard the phrase "connected educator" at one of our districts proffessional development seminars, I had to smile and thought,"Well, it's about time!" :)
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      Feb 4 2014: Laura, Are we saying the same thing .. connectED that Obama is pushing a initiative that seeks to connect 99 percent of America's students to high-speed internet .. Is that what you are discussing also.

      Apple, AT&T, Autodesk, Microsoft, O'Reilly Media, Sprint, and Verizon. Together, the companies will contribute more than $750 million to kickstart program, while the FCC will provide $2 billion through E-Rate and the Department of Agriculture will add another $10 million in grants.

      We have had discussions about the internet in schools and electronic classrooms .. etc .. Getting the initial funding is the easy part. Once it is in place and the system is converted to teaching with electronics .. the follow on costs for repair, replacement, program updates, etc .. will be left to schools that are broke and see funding being even further diminished. Once we enter is there any way to go back?

      This is another jump into deep water issue. We got Obamacare the same way and we are now seeing the real costs and issues that have come with it .. and today the GAO said Obamacare will cost approximately 2.5 million citizens their jobs. My policy has went up 463%. I ain't happy.

      I think it would be nice to see a projected cost and effects analysis. Also I hate to be a gloom and doom guy but the stated goal of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is to socialize Education under the full control of the federal government. STEM and CORE are steps in that direction because they are mandated with the threat to cut funds if not implemented. If all schools are "connected" it would be much easier to "control" what, when, and how .... a totally government run education system without either state or parental input.

      I am not against it ... But I also recommend that we test drive this Royals Royce before buying it. When you are already 16 trillion in debit and climbing is it the right time to start another unfunded program.

      Thanks for listening ... Bob.
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        Feb 5 2014: I am fairly sure Laura is talking, rather, about the practice that has become common over the last couple of decades of teachers collaborating in the sense of sharing lesson plans, looking together over student work, and exchanging ideas/trouble-shooting together. What is natural in other professions can sometimes be less convenient for teachers, because they are in separate rooms all day and have different planning periods from others who teach the same subject.

        For the last twenty years or so in lower ed, schools and districts have made it a priority to encourage teachers to plan and discuss problems together rather than conducting their classes like several little independent shops on the same street.

        I was team-teaching in the mid-80s, but by now it has become the norm rather than the exception to sync up in some respects or compare notes with those teaching the same subject or the same students or receiving students from a colleague or sending students to a colleague.
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        Feb 5 2014: Hmmm, I don't think that is the way we're using the term. ;) And yes, more like what you're saying Fritzie. For us, the term "connected educator". is more about educators being self-motivated life long learners. Realizing that the use of technology is less of a generational thing and more about it being fantastic tool for continual learning and growth. Yes, social media and its acceptance in our culture has been the catalyst to "connected-ness" but it's being used for more than entertainment. For example, I was doing a Unit on Figurative Language for some 6th graders. But this year, the classroom demographics of my 23 students (ELL, ADHD, 3 kids with physical disabilities, Autism, one kids that presents with extreme ADHD but only because he he was shot in the head a couple of years back, etc,etc) was such that I needed to turn my old plans on their head and figure out exactly how I was going to be able to differentiate the lesson in multiple ways in order that ALL of my students master the content. (not just pass- it's all about them and making a difference in their lives anyway. That's my job and I love it.) Anyway, in the "old days" your pool of "fresh ideas" was limited to your school building and co-workers. Now, however, wow! On one of the Teacher learning communities I am connected with I threw out the question to them asking for ideas that others have used and found successful. I got so many helpful ideas and responses that I now have a file full of options. I was able to email, and communicated back and forth with a fellow educator, from a different state, that had experienced this kind of demographic before. Yet, I have never met this person face-to-face! For me,that is an example of how I define being a "connected educator." But it doesn't stop there.That is only one example of how being globally connected we can have a bigger pool of resources and fresh ideas and opportunity for collaboration than we ever have before. :)
  • Jan 31 2014: I am for home schooling but there needs to be a social aspect to schooling. I have seen some home schooled students that could not interact with other students, adults and the rest of society. They did not pick up on body language and they spoke in public but with the wrong intonation.
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      Feb 2 2014: On Wednesdays I do after school tutoring for a mixed group of both homeschool and public school kids. I observe clearly that my P.S. kids actually lack a maturity in their socialization skills. Whereas, the H.S. kids in the group are able to flow freely and socialize intergenerationally. What most people do not understand is that the majority of homeschoolers are not "go-it-alone-ers." Most are active participants in homeschool groups, tutoring groups, youth volunteer and leadership groups, community sports group... oh, the list goes on! :) In actuality, they get more positive socialization time ( and time to learn effective social skills) more than their public school peers tied to a desk for almost 8 hours a day and told to not talk. My public school kids "socialize" only at recess and lunch- and now with social media and gaming dominating their world-not much after school. I also observe that their basic public social manners are severely deficient when compared to their homeschooled peers.
      Don't get me wrong, I am also a public school teacher and a youth basket ball coach so I am familiar with both worlds and therefore, calling it as I see it from first hand experience.
      • Feb 3 2014: I am happy that those home schooled children are so well adjusted. I have seen the opposite occur. It was a pitfall that family fell into. I also saw it in college when I was hiring - the home schooled individual could not work in a group.
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          Feb 3 2014: So sorry you had to deal with that. ;) I'm not saying that there are NOT families that choose the go-it-alone approach, I am saying that those familes are a small minority of the statistcally growing number of homeschoolers in our nation. And unfortunately, the minority always tends to be what is magnified and accepted as a truism. Kind of like the Jerry Springer shows. Now everyone stereotypes southerners as KKK, living in trailers and having"baby daddy issues. ;) I attest to this based only on my personal experience of 15 years working with students from homeschool,public, and private demographics. I will tell you this surprising observation,(surprising to me) the private school kids are the ones whomI find exhibiting the least appropriate social skills. Over the years, that truly came as a surprise to me.
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          Feb 3 2014: I have seen this more often as well, Wayne, in my long experience with these cohorts. One caveat in interpreting these anecdotes is that some families make the choice to homeschool because a child has social or emotional issues that have made the school environment a particular challenge.

          As Laura wrote elsewhere, it is now common for homeschooling families to take advantage of "classes" specifically for homeschoolers that bring students together with a teacher for various subjects. The arrangement then may have more the flavor of a private school.
      • Feb 3 2014: Fritzie,

        Agreed - you have to choose the correct school district that will support the home schooled student by allowing them into sport teams, art programs (orchestra, jazz ensembles, advanced art projects, etc.), academic teams, special academic programs, etc.

        I believe it is becoming more prevalent but 20 some on years ago. Many districts thought it was a waste of money and did not accommodate these practices. I know some districts around me that do not support it still.
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    Jan 30 2014: Its all about priorities. If you are "social" you will have to follow the social norms. You cannot avoid these being "social". You will have to either choose between the "right" and society or you must consider the society is going on right path. What humen are most oppressed of? Society! If you do not care "much" of what other people might think about you whether you are infront of them or you hear them at you back, everything you can do by yourself is the best. Why we just throw our children into someone else's lap? a teacher? we don't even know him/her. Sometimes not even the name. We do not know his/her past, mental approach, tendency towards morality and religious/social/human values. And you let him/her shape the future of your child? Why don't you? because you don't' have time? where is your time? earning? and then you give that earning to that school that has that teacher, don't know good or bad? If you skip that earning and you won't have to pay that. Simple!
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    Jan 30 2014: why do you ask, Nicole? Are you a mother and thinking about homeschooling your children? Or are you a young person and wishing you could be homeschooled? Or....?
  • Jan 29 2014: By high school there are great online programs that are online lessons since you won't by high school be as dependent on you parents for teaching you everything . For example you won't need your mom to teach you trig in the living room.
  • Jan 29 2014: Probably not, in all honesty.

    Its not that the public education system in the US is that good (I've heard the opposite, in fact), its that school's primary purpose isn't actually teaching. What the system is good at, however, is getting small children out of their parent's hair so they could work (the original purpose of school, which its still fulfilling well), and perhaps just as important, getting the kids interacting with other people their age on a daily basis and having a common background with others of their generation, something you simply don't get with home school. Social skills are honestly, more important then anything you'll ever be taught in school.

    The actual teaching part of school is secondary. Its also something that can be supplemented outside of school hours without formally homeschooling.