Thursday, May 28, 2009

Homeschooling Thoughts

Our homeschool group has been a "yahoo group" since 2004 and has over 15,000 emails in the archives. Needless to say some subjects come up over and over again. It can get slightly tedious for those of us who have been reading the same thing over and over for the last 5 years. I'm not saying this to downplay people's questions (remember I just got rejuvinated at the convention--and really enjoy helping newcomers), but it is possible to search the archives of a yahoo group and see the same answers repeating themselves. All this to say two topics that have resurfaced again this week include negative stereotyping of homeschoolers in the media and the merits of joining an "umbrella school".

A local newspaper printed an editorial this week in which the author slammed homeschoolers. It was quite frustrating to read, and really shocking as well. In all of the years that I have homeschooled I have really never encountered any truly negative comments. Initially my mother-in-law had some negative things to say about it (at that time she actually had negative things to say about all aspects of our parenting). She has completely changed her tune though, to the extreme that she even called in a talk radio show to brag about how great her homeschooled grandchildren were turning out and to defend homeschooling in general (this is in Connecticut where homeschooling is not nearly has prevalent as it is in Florida). I imagine at least some people who receive our Christmas letter might sometimes shake their heads and wonder why we do such a strange thing. These are the people who we don't see very often and who don't have much or any contact with homeschoolers. I, however, have never had anyone ask me what makes me think I'm qualified to do such a thing or to ask me the most ridiculous of all questions "What about socialization?" At this point our lifestyle seems normal to us, and it is surprising sometimes to realize it is still strange to other people. Interestingly enough at the time that I read the editorial online there were 75 comments on it and at least 65 of them were pro-homeschooling. I have to think that the author is at this moment rethinking her views. Her points were so weak anyway...How will homeschoolers know how to act in the community? {they are in the community all day long} and How can parents think they are qualified to teach their children? {no one has as much invested in childern as their parents do and one-on-one or one-on-three or one-on-six is drastically different from a classroom setting}. Well obviously I'm preaching to the choir here, but I needed to get my thoughts out somewhere and felt that our yahoo group did not need another email of this variety.

The other hot topic is the umbrella school dilema. An umbrella school is a non-traditional private school that homeschoolers can join for a fee and in exchange the school will keep their records etc. I have never chosen this option and I have no plans to in the future. We register as homeschoolers through the county and once a year we send in the paperwork from our evaluation with a certified teacher, this works well for us. Among my friends, we are basically split close to 50-50 between county and umbrella. Everyone has different reasons to do what they do. Just like there are tons of reasons to homeschool and tons of ways to homeschool, who to register with is just a matter of personal preference. One reason to use an umbrella that has come up a few times in the yahoo group cracks me up and I just wanted to take this time on my own personal blog to comment on it. This reason is because "my child will graduate with a high school diploma instead of a GED". I think the first time I heard this I might've been taken aback as well. A GED does have a little bit of a negative conotation associated with it (no offense). However, it is the high school transcript that really matters (and I'm starting now to try to figure out how to create this). I truly have never researched this GED issue anyway, but even if it is true this is not the GED of the 1970s high school dropouts. Furthermore, registering with the county gives our kids the option to take some classes at the local public high school (and I'm thinking we will make use of this option). Likewise the kids will be able to dual-enroll at the community college and may very well have their associate's degree (for free) by the time they are 18 years old. A piece of paper called a "high school diploma" doesn't mean that much to me. I'm not sure where mine is or if I even still have it. Baby bottles and cribs are items associated with raising children and for the most part I raised my three without the use of these items...why would a piece of paper be all that important to us?

7 comments:

Randi Sue said...

Good points!

Melissa said...

Loved this! You're on a roll! Keep it up!

StephieK said...

I cracked up laughing at the GED comment too. What is ridiculous is that you are not issued anything when you are finished homeschooling, you're not handed a GED?! I don't understand why they think that piece of paper is so important either. I am enrolled through an umbrella for accountability purposes only. It helps me and I still get the same perks as a county homeschooler such as dual enrollment, virtual school, etc. I was really irritated today with the one issue today. Could you tell? I ended emailing her personally because the back and forth does not need to go on the list. I mean how many times can one ask a question. :o)

MelissaB said...

I just went through starting a transcript for my oldest. I blogged about it here: http://homeschoolinginlakeland.blogspot.com/ I thought it was going to be really difficult, but it really wasn't at all. We've used FLVS for a lot of classes, that helped to make it easier. But for those classes that were truly homeschool, it was pretty simple there as well. I have her transcript up with her identifying info removed, it is in the Jan 25 post. I've changed it a little since then, and can share that as well if you'd like. Just email me homeschoolinginlakeland at gmail dot com She will be graduating from our CC with her AA degree most likely before she would have finished high school, so she won't really need a high school diploma either. Even though we are with an umbrella, ours is a freebie-hands off school, so we do the transcript and diploma ourselves. I believe most colleges want to see test scores and and a broad picture rather than a diploma anyway. Good luck!

DebiH. said...

Not having a child even in middle school yet, I have to admit that I have never even thought about the GED/diploma question! I'm with Julie...don't even know where mine is!
We registered with an umbrella school when we started homeschooling because the 2 homeschool families we knew well at the time (with older kids) did that and I didn't know any different :) It have been happy with it. It is just a personal preference..like curriculum and methods of schooling.
I'm glad to know that you were also shocked by the article! I agree! I have never heard any of that personally from anyone! We are even in public schools a lot and I have always gotten positive attitudes and words even from teachers and principals.

StephieK said...

You all are really blessed that you have never had any negative comments regarding homeschooling. When I first started homeschooling Mike wasn't even on board, but we didn't have any other options at the time. He gave me a year trial period. Of course, that was 14 years ago. Family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers would make comments all of the time. Over the years though I don't get them as much, only family members are the ones who make comments. :o)

Julie said...

I have had people I don't even know make negative comments about homeschooling. The most memorable was from someone who came to service our water system. He was very vocal about his feelings about homeschooling and told me that he speaks this way to all of his customers who homeschool and when he goes back to their homes - TA DA! - the kids are in public school. He even told me that homeschooled kids are only as smart as their mother!! Can you believe that!! Lucky for Sam, he'll be a genius - LOL!! Needless to say, this person is off my list for servicing the water system.