Thoughts on Homeschooling from a Former Public School Teacher

There has been a recent trend, especially for those on the spectrum, to consider homeschooling and online schooling as an alternative to public school.  For the very reason that teachers make mistakes and don’t leave their personal lives at home is why real-live teachers will never and should never be replaced by online classes.  One of the lasting lessons that teaching for almost 20 years taught me was that relationships were everything.  If the teacher and student can build a relationship, the chances for successful learning (by both parties) grows exponentially.  And this is especially true in the case of students with special needs.

However, homeschooling is a different story.

I was against homeschooling for most of my career.  I saw the effects of inconsistent homeschooling on a daily basis.  Mom would get upset at the school for something, pull her kid out, “homeschool” for awhile until she got tired of it, and return him back to public school, months behind, and a behavior problem to boot because he’d been away from rules and routine for so long.  My ex-sister-in-law was a classic example of a mother who “homeschooled” – Her 12 kids “taught” each other with the end result being two boys nearing the age of 20, starting to work as carpenters with their father, and neither of whom knew the correct answer to 8×7…

But…

English: .. Dansk: Naturhistorisk Privatunderv...

I have changed my tune pretty quickly.  Over the past few years, I have encountered people who have the intelligence and organization to handle it, as well as compelling reasons to homeschool.  I was still stuck on the “socialization” issue – how would kids who homeschooled have any social skills if they only interacted with their siblings and parents all day long?  But, I have found that Necessity really is the Mother of Invention, and due to the very real needs of kids with autism and other disorders that aren’t being met by the public schools, some very sophisticated networks exist in our region for those who homeschool.  Co-ops have been formed so that homeschooled kids can get that socialization, participate in field trips, and even have co-curricular activities like band.

And when public schools are increasingly heading toward a business mentality, and one-size-fits-all curriculum, I think this trend will only increase.  I never would have even considered it for my own son, but I look at my skills, and what passes for education here, and let’s just say I am keeping my options open.

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