Friday, April 18, 2008

oh. my.

Well, there certainly are a lot more people around here lately. Thanks to Shaun and Jove and Casey, this blog has seen an increase in visitors every day this week, and thanks to Sitemeter, I can watch it happen. I'm gratified, but a little nervous. On the one hand, more visitors means more comments, and the commenting has been superb. If you're visiting for the first time, please visit the comments. There are some really interesting and thoughtful people who are engaging with the issues I'm raising, and raising new ones. You are all giving me a lot to think about. On the other hand, I can't imagine what ya'll are going to do when you find out that I mostly blog about knitting and keeping house.

Here's a question for all those who homeschool: Is it possible for you to imagine a school to which you would send your kids? I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and I'm cooking up a post about my vision for a school that would tempt me away from homeschooling.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I noticed the "keeping house" category is pretty high over there. I just don't have time to look at them all right now!

You mean, you don't sit around all day thinking up deep thoughts for your blog?

Casey said...

Is it possible for you to imagine a school to which you would send your

After a friend of mine got seriously ill and had to send her kids to school I did give it some thought.

The Sudbury model sounds interesting to me, but I've only read about it and I'd have to see it firsthand for a while before making a decision. I don't think there are any Sudbury-type schools in my area.

I trained as a Montessori birth-6 teacher and like the method but I don't like the rigid way I sometimes saw it implemented. So much depends on the culture of the individual school. The right Montessori school could work, though I don't like the notion of draining the kids' college funds for primary school.

Does cloning yourself, your daily life, all your kids' homeschooling friends and their regular schedule count as school?

Ipo said...

a resource community essentially - a safe nurturing place that families are welcome and see what organically grows from that.

i'm excited to see what others say...

Anonymous said...

The question makes no sense to me. I only started homeschooling when school wasn't working. So I would only send her to school if homeschooling wasn't working or wasn't likely to work. And when I say "school wasn't working", I don't mean that it wasn't giving her the best possible education, but rather that it was making her very unhappy.

So my bar is not "what model gives the best possible education for my child" but of the options available, what is going to be the best for her. I can't really make decisions based on working out the ideal and then looking at all the available options to see whether they match it. Too frustrating.

Also, I think part of the problem was the specific teacher, who wasn't creative and interested in teaching the actual kids in front of her. She was too into the curriculum. Any school can be good with a good teacher. And a good school can be awful if your kid's teacher just doesn't work for her.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I don't mind the blogging about knitting. I started out as a knitblogger (as my blog title probably indicated to you). I worry the same thing about the knitters who visit (or used to visit) my blog.

Housekeeping is not my thing (I've noticed the kitchen floor is sticky but I might not do anything about it, for example) but if that's what you want to blog about, it's fine with me :-)

elsie deluxe said...

Jove, I think it is the very fact that the question doesn't make sense to you that is fascinating to me. I'm encountering lots of people in real life for whom the question also does not make sense.

More to come, for sure.

Sandy said...

I love this question, it makes us think about our own specific children AND education as something a society does, but I think the question is hard for some homeschoolers, who have been pushed into a defensive position by the overwhelming negativity of their school experience. Seeing one's child suffering, one looks for an alternative, and in defending that alternative from the many attacks and questions, there is no room to see the other side in any positive way.
I like ipo's answer, it suggests rethinking "school" rather than fighting school v homeschool.
I know nothing about Sudbury and have to go look it up now.
My ideal school? The Susquehanna School with me as director.

Theresa said...

Doesn't make sense to me, either, but for sort of opposite reasons as Jove. My son was actually doing well in school when I pulled him out, so homeschooling for me isn't about what's wrong with schools (although, there certainly is stuff wrong).

I am homeschooling because I love it. All of it. I love being with my kids, I love learning with them side by side, the freedom of it, the joy and energy, the smiles on my kids faces.The whole lifestyle is something that just feels good and right.
Why would I want to give that up? Even sending my kids to the very best of schools would still mean ending a way of life we love.
The only way I could imagine it is if something tragic happened and I could no longer keep my kids home. Like, if I were dead. But then I guess it would be my dh's decision what kind of school they went to, right?LOL! And he might very well school them himself.

shaun said...

I've really spent some time thinking about this question and I can't imagine an answer either! Which is not to say I think all schools are awful, just that for now I prefer homeschooling.

The things that have seemed tempting to me from other schools: radical ability grouping (that is, not just within one grade level), schools with an attached wilderness or working farm that is part of the regular life of the school, performing arts or writing oriented schools, schools that offer a wide variety of foreign languages and allow the study of more than one at once. And if I'm being honest -- schools that would watch my kids for free so I don't have to pay a sitter!

There is an international school here with connections to schools overseas -- including China -- that I am keeping in mind for high school, if V. keeps her high interest in Asian languages and languages in general. The school is on the campus of a college, so qualified students have access to a few college courses. It's private, so $$$, but I will consider it anyway.

Anonymous said...

REading Theresa's response clarifies something for me. I think part of the problem is that, like your post on teaching and homeschooling, school and homeschool are not the same thing. So the longer I homeschool the more I really enjoy the lifestyle. And the fact that I am self-employed helps. And the other changes we are making in our family at the same time. School just makes less and less sense.

So unless that stops being enjoyable (and for one of my friends it is starting to, she's very sad) or something drastic happens, I can't see school. And if something drastic happens, well, that is where my first reply comes in, I think.