Have you ever written a post on your initial decision to homeschool?Why no I don't think I have, but an excuse to expostulate is always welcome.
My decision to homeschool came when I was about 17, I was thoroughly fed up with school, and swore that my kids would never have to put up with that kind of crap. Of course, I was a math-/computing- prodigy, taking CSC 110 at the local college when I was 9...and the continuous dispute between me and my parents was:
Parents: Do your homework.
Aretae: It's stupid work.
Parents: Yes, but you need good grades.
A: It's so stupid that my brain's going to melt from extra stupid-lasers.
P: Please do something, and turn it in. We know you won't learn anything, but the grades are important.
Of course, I was also the kid who was unmoved by punishment or restriction. If you don't get good grades we'll ... nothing worked. I could not bring myself to take the schools' worthless approach to learning seriously, threats, punishment, or anything else.
Anyhow, I've been involved with homeschooling for about 15 years now, and there's one question and ONLY one question worth asking:
Is the cost of one parent not working (much) outside the home (I threatened to stay home with the kid if my wife wouldn't back in '01) worth the benefit of keeping your kid away from the crap they get in school.
- Closer family -- In an awful lot of modern families, kids are somewhat external to the family...with most/all of their cares/interests elsewhere. Not true in homeschool families. Kids share with parents/siblings... you have a better, closer bond with your children than if they're schooled.
- Academics -- A long time ago, I read something that suggests that homeschooled kids are, on average, several years ahead of traditionally schooled kids in general. My aunt the college admissions councilor says that there's coming to be a preference for homeschooled kids who know are better learners. Since something like 6-9 minutes of each school hour is devoted to learning, this isn't shocking.
- Socialization -- The Lord-of-the-flies social aspects of school are atrocious. Single-age kids competing with one another for scarce resources (teacher favor, class position, etc.) is about the most toxic social environment anywhere outside of Daytime TV. Drugs/gangs don't help.
- Obedience -- I know I've said it a billion times...read Gatto's 7-lesson schoolteacher...and assume he's not exaggerating. You know how the formalists say "people need to be led". An awful lot of that is schooling where they're taught to need to be led. Schools teach obedience. I don't like that.
- Freedom -- I'm a hard-core libertarian. I think that freedom is good. Homeschooling massively increases the opportunity for freedom for the kids.
- Flexibility -- 1 parent working substantially increases family flexibility. If you're Foseti who tours the world on his job, or Aretae who used to travel the states...it's nice to have the ability to bring the family with sometimes.
- Family size -- Homeschooling tends to lead to larger families. Interesting correlation...can't prove causation.
- Financial -- 1 income household is a BIG difference. However, if one parent makes substantially more, one parent isn't working already, and/or the other parent would spend more (on clothes, on cars, on childcare after school, on private school), this might be mitigated
- Time away -- most people do much better if they have some time away from the kids. Folks starting homeschooling don't realize how important it is for the homeschooling parent to get some time away, doing stuff with other adults.
- Abnormal -- It's weird. It's not the same as expensive private schools. It doesn't sound good at dinner parties. It takes over your life, finding stuff, and then explaining why you're doing it.
- Difficulty -- the homeschooling parent works hard to help the kid learn. And there's little in the way of guidebooks, you actually have to learn new stuff all the time. And your first plan for how things will go won't work. Probably not your 2nd, 3rd, 4th plans either. "I had 6 theories, then I had 6 kids, now I have no theories".
Good luck with the decision, if you're thinking that way.