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November 24, 2009

Are they behind? Homeschooling vs. Public Schools

A while back I gave my opinion about Public Schools, Homeschoolers, and Socialization. Now I feel as if it's time to give my opinion about comparing homeschoolers to public schooler in general. This like the other post is a bit of a rant! Let's just say you have been warn!

I love my kids and like most moms I think my kids are the best! I'm often very proud of what they can do, and perhaps time to time will boast about their accomplishments just like any other mother would do. I will also at times will compare what my kids are learning here at home to what some of my friend's children are learning at pubic and private schools. I do this really for myself and not as a means to say my kids are smarter, more advance, etc.

Honestly, I'm really sick of those types of generalizations. It makes my stomach turn in disgust. As my regular readers will know my son, Superstar, is recovering from ITW Surgery. Over all he's doing good, but does have a bit of a break down in the afternoons, evenings, because he's overtired. I made mention these break downs in a live internet chat recently. I even mention  that at one of these break down moments Superstar flipped out crying that he didn't want to die.

You see he was complaining that his leg itched and we offered to blow-dry it for him. DH told him how blow drying it would take the water away and that's when he lost it and started to say "I don't want to die". When asked why he felt that he said "I need water to live, so if you blow dry it away I won't have any". Cute I know! When I mention this in the live internet chat a poster came on and said something along the lines. Got to love those homeschoolers they are so smart!

Really? I just wanted to say hey, hold on, wait a moment.... My kids are not smarter just because they are homeschooled! Sure homeschooling has it advantages, sure test scores for homeschoolers tend to be better; but lets be honest, homeschoolers are NOT any smarter then those in public schools. Let's get of our high horse and have a reality check!

Public Schools are NOT evil! I sent my kids to a public school and I would do it again tomorrow if I felt that was best for them. I have no real ills again public schools. As a matter of fact I have a vested interest in how my local schools do because I still pay taxes for these schools. I care about what is taught, how things are handled, who the schools employ, because I still support these schools via my tax dollars. Let's not throw out the baby with the bath water okay! Sure, they aren't perfect, but how can they be? Even homeschooling is not perfect! Nothing is perfect...

I have seen homeschoolers posse questions like "Is it normal for public school children to be so far behind?" Behind compare to what? To what your little Johny or Janey is doing? I thought I read in the parent manual, that came the day the kids were born, that we aren't suppose to compare our kids to other children. That they all develop and learn at their own rate, blah, blah, blah.

We tell ourselves that. We say we shouldn't compare, but then they hit school age and it all changes. All of the sudden it's my kids can do this, mine can do that, we can explain how quantum physics work at the ripe age of 7. We can write a paper, have proper grammar, we can....the laundry list goes on and on and on.

IN GENERAL homeschoolers get annoyed when their kids are compared to public school students, especially if their child seems "behind". (Behind compare to what exactly?) If a person was to compare a homeschool child to a public school child and the homeschooler seemed "behind", the homeschooler would automatically tell you "Well we learn at our own pace. We have plenty of time to 'catch up', etc". In other words it's okay, no biggie. BUT at the same time if the homeschooler is "ahead" then it's a in your face attitude: Homeschooling rocks, My kids are so much smarter, etc. These were GENERALIZED statements. I know NOT all homeschoolers feel this way, but I'm seeing it more and more and I'm disgusted with the attitude.

Perhaps some of it's a natural defense to defend our children and our parenting choices. Perhaps some of it's just plan pride. There is nothing wrong with either one of those things, but lets keep in mind how we feel about those things, when talking about public schools and public school students. Let's get off of our high horses, accept people for who they are, and learn to help each other grow and not stand around comparing and gossiping about how so much better we are because of...

Yes my kids are homeschoolers! Yes my kids have areas they exile in, but they also have areas that they struggle in. Yes I'm proud of my kids and will boast about their accomplishments. However I want to be clear my kids are NOT smarter just because they are homeschoolers.They are smarter because I am their mother! (FYI: that's a bit of a sarcasm there.)

Honestly, the statement my son made about dieing and water was made because that is his personality. It HAS NOTHING to do with the education he has gotten or where he goes to school. I know my son, and I know, he would have made that statement even if he was in public school.

If he was still in public school I know that response to that statement would not have been "Oh public school kids are so smart"; The response would have been something along the lines of "What a sweet kid" or "Poor thing, to have so much worries right now"; or "I hope he feels better soon". Or my personal favorite "LOL-Kids really do say the darndest things don't they!". They would have a chuckle and moved on, not make a statement about his education or where he went to school.

I just wanted to end with if you are going to compare your child's education to other child's education keep some things in mind.

  • 1) Not all schooling methods are equal
  • 2) Not all curriculum are equal.
  • 3) Not all homeschooling curriculum are equal
  • 4) Not all schooling methods follow the same scope and sequences
  • 5) Each child is different and despite what they are expose to will learn at there own pace.
  • 6) Not all schools have the same priorities
  • 7) Not all homeschoolers have the same priorities.
  • 8) What seems like a valid comparison could actually turn out to be comparing apples to oranges.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! I feel the same way. I also hat it when, because other parents have encountered these attitudes with their homeschooling families, they automatically go on the offense with me - a new homeschooling mom. I assure them that while I do believe that public schools in our area have improvements to be made, that I'm homeschooling "for now" and that if it ends up a better fit for my son to go to the school a block away from where we live, I will absolutely send him there! I got great academic prep from my public school growing up. I'm hoping to, however, have my son educated as a whole person and to create intimacy in our family, a key ingredient missing in many families today, resulting in the numerous divorces we see. Thanks again!


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