At one point in my career, I wanted to homeschool our kiddos. Our young son looked skeptical and asked, “What could you teach me?” He already knew that his third grade math skills exceeded mine. Our teenage daughter, now deceased, looked alarmed and squealed, “What about my friends?” Never had to guess about her priorities. That ended my feeble attempt to walk down a homeschooling path.
As a special educator, I’ve seen many parents make the decision to homeschool when they are dissatisfied with the service provided to their kids. In fact, that concern was the impetus for the growth of some charter schools in this area. Not all those school survived. It’s quite a task to get a school off the ground.
Other parents have fled the school system in the face of increasing pressure to label their child with a disability. Most often, the school was pursuing Other Health Impaired (for kids who appeared to have significant attention issues) or the A word (Autism Spectrum Disorders). Parental concerns about racial profiling were usually a factor. The black community has reason to be wary of over-identifying black boys, in particular. In my opinion, not all of the school efforts to label kids were off the mark. Some of those kids needed specialized instruction.
I have worried at times about the quality of homeschooling, just as much as I have been worried about the quality of a public school education. The teacher makes or breaks a class. The majority of homeschooled kids I’ve seen do very well, often merging into the school system in later grades. I do know a few homeschooled kids with attention problems who would probably end up dinged and dented in a large group setting. And a few homeschooled kids were dinged and dented at home.
Could I have really homeschooled our kids? I don’t think so. I am used to having a certain emotional distance which protects me from button-pushing on either side. I worked with our son for weeks on shoe-tying, to no avail. I paid my niece $5 to teach him and it was accomplished in one session. Well worth the money. As for our daughter, just getting her to do homework was too much for me. After all, she had better things to do with her time!