Monday, April 7, 2008

Homeschooling from a dad’s perspective…or pass the paddle the Principal is home from work.

Should we homeshool or not? We get that question from time to time. While I can’t make that decision for you, here are a few thoughts from one dad’s point of view.

Homeschooling is a lot cheaper than Catholic schools but more than public schools. Catholic schools are around 5k for k-8th and 10k+ for 9th-12th grades in our area (your results may vary). So 13 years of schooling X 11 kids X $5,000-$10,000 = Are you out of your freaking mind? So Catholic schools aren’t even an option for our family. Homeschooling costs as little as few hundred dollars a year. Especially if you build up a nice family library.

I’m not that impressed with the Catholic schools anyways. Maybe the education is better than at public schools (I hope so for the $$$ they charge) but the behavior of the kids doesn’t seem much better than of the public school kids. Not that homeshool kids are all little angels either. Sometimes I can't tell any difference behavior wise. It basically comes down to the parents.
Plus a lot of the Catholic schools around here are Catholic in name only. Friends of ours are constantly complaining about them and taking their kids out and either homeschooling them or sending them to the public schools. And if they aren’t complaining about the costs or lack of true Catholic teaching, then they are complaining about the 2-3 hours of homework in the evenings. Heck you can be finished homeschooling in 3 hours a day. Plus you get the added bonus of no PTA meetings or teacher/parent conferences.

As parents we are the ‘primary educators’ (in quotes cause I hate that term) of our kids. In other words we are responsible for them. Not the government or some paid professional (although there are lots of great teachers out there). But even if we choose to send our kids to school we are still ultimately the ones who have to answer for how they turn out. And I’m not just talking about how smart they are, what college they get accepted to or how much their future jobs pay. We are talking about what kind of people they become and the future of their souls. It’s a huge responsibility. One best not pondered too much if you want to sleep at night.

For Sam and me the decision was easy and it was made even before we were married. And it has to be a mutual decision; it’s not going to work if both aren’t in agreement, its way too demanding for that. But so far it has turned out great for us. The 2 oldest have each graduated HS 2 years early. The first is finishing up her second year at the local community college and will be transferring to a four year college in the fall. The second is at a pre-seminary and will be attending a regular seminary in the fall. Each has done very well on their SAT’s and in their college course work. The other kids are all on track to finish 1 or 2 years early. And all do well on the standardized testing for what it’s worth. So your kids aren’t going to turn out stupid cause of homeschooling, they may for other reasons :).

Don’t get me wrong it’s not a piece of cake. As husbands we must support our wives. I’m assuming that the wives are the main ones doing the teaching. If you as a couple decide this is the way to go then you have to support your wife as best you can.

No coming home from work and complaining that the house is messy and dinner isn’t ready – guilty of that myself. You have to be willing to put up with a little more mess around the house, a little less fancy cooking, more housework for yourself and helping out with the schooling when needed. And yes that can be annoying at times, tough, deal with it.

There may be days when your wives will question the decision – they may question it every hour of the day and curse your name for agreeing to it. But they probably do that for other well deserved reasons already so what’s one more? Just be there for them and be supportive. Sometimes they just need to vent a little bit about why little Johnny at age 8 still can’t read, eats paste and boogers and exposes himself in public. While the neighbors 8 year-old at the swanky private school is fluent in French and can solve quadratic equations. Don’t worry I’m sure your son will be able to whip theirs in sports at least.

My kids seem to enjoy it for the most part. They complain on occasion but they complain about everything on occasion. The industrious ones are working on their school right after breakfast and are done before noon. They then have lots of play/free time, after chores are done of course. The lazier ones might still be doing school work when I get home from work (you know who you are). But none of them hate it. At least I think they don’t hate…I’m afraid to ask.

What about HS you ask? What about it? Lots of parents school the kids through the 8th grade and then put their kids in a high school. Others school them all the through high school. We happen to use tutors. Our HS age kids go to tutors 1 or 2 days a week. You are an adult, you will figure out what’s best.

So whether you are doing it for spiritual, social or educational reasons; or all 3 like we are, I don’t think you will regret trying it out. It’s pretty darn cool when you little one sits down to read you a book and it’s your lovely bride has taught them how to read. Anyway the schools will always take the little darling back…I think.

Honey, I don’t say it enough. I love you and appreciate all you do. Especially schooling the little balls of sunshine.


Cecilia 'Sam' said...

Once again, you make me laugh!!! Thank you for the love and support...I hope our children find such a great soul mate as you!!! +JMJ+

Tina said...

Why exactly do you assume that their souls will rot if your children attend public (or even Catholic) schools? Is it not possible that they can still grow up with faith and morals despite being educated in public schools? I for one was public-schooled through college and somehow managed to keep my faith intact, even strengthen it.
I'm playing devil's advocate here, really. We (more me) very much support and have considered home schooling. Our oldest is only 3 so we still have time. I'm just curious to hear perspectives of those who homeschool. Thanks for sharing your post.

Rob said...

I don’t assume that. I tried to point out that public school, Catholic school, Homeshool…it doesn’t matter which…it’s our job as parents to help our children get to heaven. Each couple needs to figure out the best way for that happen. Looking back I should have made that clearer. Thanks for pointing it out.
Just as kids can have problems and lose their faith being homeschooled, so can public schooled kids keep their faith and remain Catholic. We have a broad range of friends, not just homeschooling families. I know great kids that go to Catholic or Public schools and I know kids who are homeschooled who I wouldn’t want around my kids.
Sam and I just feel that our home is a better environment for growing their faith than either public or Catholic schools.
I too went to public schools. I did leave the church for awhile. From around 10th grade until I was 22. Do I blame my public schooling for that? No. it probably would have happened no matter where I was schooled. Most of the kids that went to private or Catholic schools that I knew growing up were just as big a mess as me.
Hope that made sense. Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. It’s a huge decision

momto5minnies said...

I have a mix ... 2 are schooled and 2 are homeschooled. I didn't start out choosing homeschooling. To be honest, I don't think I would have ever considered it or thought I could do it if I didn't make a move to the state we live in. I have been honored to know some wonderful homeschoolers and their parents. Our babysitter is one of them. Although not a Catholic, she is an outstanding Christian and I am simply amazed by her. I know that a lot of that has to do with the quality parenting she received. The education part may have been good, it may have been so, so, or it may have been great; hoewever, I think I understand that some parents just want to raise awesome people. That can happen in a school environment and it can happen in a homeschool environment.

momto5minnies said...

I just want to add that I really like reading your blog. Sounds like you have a wonderful group of children and a saint of a wife!

Teacher Mama Tina said...

I LOVE YOUR POST! :-) Hope you don't mind, am reposting it here:

By the way, why did you stop blogging? :-) Hope to hear from you through your posts again! Godbless!

(Teacher Mama Tina of