Our Kids Don’t Belong in School

More and more of Boston’s smartest families are opting out of the education system to homeschool their children. Is this the new model for creating elite kids?

homeschooling in boston

Claire Dickson was homeschooled her entire life, and is entering Harvard as a freshman this fall. / Photograph by Ken Richardson

When Milva McDonald sent her oldest daughter to Newton public school kindergarten in 1990, she was disturbed by what she saw. The kids were being tracked, even at that young age. And then there were the endless hours the small children spent sitting at their desks. It felt unnatural. In the real world, you wouldn’t be stuck in a room with people all the same ages with one person directing them, she thought.

During that single year her daughter was in the school system, McDonald saw enough to convince her that she could do better on her own. That would be no small feat: Newton’s public schools have long been rated as among the best in the state. (In our Greater Boston rankings this year, they’re 10th.) But she’d always worked part time—she’s now an online editor—and she was fortunate that she could maintain a flexible schedule. So she yanked her daughter out of school, and over the next two decades homeschooled all four of her children—including her youngest, Abigail Dickson, who’s now 16.

McDonald’s first homeschool rule was to throw out the book and let her children guide their learning, at their own pace. In lieu of a curriculum or published guides, McDonald improvised, taking advantage of the homeschooling village that had sprouted up around her. One mother ran a theater group, a dad ran a math group, and McDonald oversaw a creative-writing club. Their children took supplementary classes at the Harvard Extension School and Bunker Hill Community College. “I wanted them to be in charge of their own education and decide what they were interested in, and not have someone else telling them what to do and what they were good at,” she says.

And by any measure, it’s working. McDonald’s daughter Claire—the third of her four children to be homeschooled—will enter Harvard College as a freshman this fall.

 

Back in the ’90s, McDonald was considered a homeschooling pioneer; now she’s joined by a growing movement of parents who are abstaining from traditional schooling, not on religious grounds but because of another strong belief: that they can educate their kids better than the system can. Though far from mainstream (an estimated 2.2 million students are home-educated in the U.S.), secular homeschooling is trending up. Last year, 277 children were homeschooled in Boston, more than double the total from 2004; in Cambridge the number was 46. (In surrounding towns, the numbers are growing, too: During the 2013–2014 school year, Arlington had 55; Somerville, 36; Winthrop, 5; Brookline, 11; Natick, 36; Newton, 33; and Watertown, 24.)

There’s enough momentum that major cultural institutions—from the Franklin Park Zoo and the New England Aquarium to the Museum of Fine Arts and MIT’s Edgerton Center—now regularly offer classes for homeschoolers. Tellingly, even public school systems are becoming more accommodating. In Cambridge, for example, homeschoolers have the option to attend individual classes in the district’s schools. Some take math or science classes and participate in sports—last year, one homeschooler took music and piano lessons. Carolyn Turk, deputy superintendent for teaching and learning at Cambridge Public Schools, says she’s seeing more of this “hybrid” approach than in the past. “In Cambridge we look at homeschooling as a choice,” she says. “Cambridge is a city of choice.”

homeschooling in boston

Milva McDonald sits with her two younger daughters, Claire and Abigail. / Photograph by Ken Richardson

The Boston Public Schools, meanwhile, have begun to view homeschooling as one of the many laboratories in which it can explore new teaching methods. “These people are looking to do instructive, nontraditional education. It’s all different types of people from all incomes,” says Freddie Fuentes, the executive director of educational options for Boston Public Schools. Fuentes, who personally helps parents with academic plans, finds that many homeschooling parents want “very deep, expeditionary learning” for their children. “A lot of them are looking at innovative ways of learning,” he says. “We as a school system need to think about innovation and the cutting edge.”

In other words, homeschooling is arriving here in a very Boston-like way: It’s aspirational, intellectual, entrepreneurial, and innovative. But is it right for my son?

 

Growing up in New England, going to public schools, I always felt that I could chart my own path within the traditional system. In high school, I was empowered enough to propose other courses in lieu of chemistry and electives. I designed my own college major as well—spending hours convincing administrators to approve alternatives for academic requirements.

I hoped that when my son’s time came around, he would be able to shape his education as I once did. But when he turned three, I started wondering whether such unconventionality would be frowned upon in today’s high-pressure, test-focused system. I’d heard plenty of stories of late-night tutoring sessions with third graders, and children who were physically ill from the stresses of school. Acquaintances from Wellesley to Boston told me about homework in first grade. Lots of it. Lengthy projects that consumed hours of time, often started and completed by the parents. Kids caving under pressure to perform at specific levels in certain grades.

That was certainly true for Tracy Ventola, whose three-year-old fell apart every afternoon once she got home from preschool. “She’d unravel,” Ventola, 41, tells me from her Arlington home. “Crying, hitting, yelling. It was her relief. She just had to let it out.” Ventola, who had taught private school in Rhode Island, says that she and her husband struggled to unpack the cause of her daughter’s behavior. Maybe the preschool was too focused on teaching numbers and letters? Hoping that another year and a change in models would help, they moved her to a Waldorf school, known for its imaginative, play-based approach to early education. No such luck.

As before, Ventola found herself spending hours helping her daughter decompress from her school day. “School in general wasn’t a good fit for her. Even the kinder, gentler Waldorf approach was still too much stimulation for my sensitive child,” says Ventola, who now writes the homeschooling blog offkltr.com. With about 20 other youngsters and a whole lot of social expectations and pressures, she says, “She was overloaded emotionally, socially, and spiritually…. School was running our lives.”

Discouraged by stories like this, I sought a child-led, open environment where my son could learn by doing. But when I applied through the Cambridge public school lottery to a Montessori school and came up empty, I began to think about homeschooling more seriously. I don’t have a degree in education and lack teaching experience, save for one summer spent as a tennis instructor, and a winter giving ski lessons. But I’m pretty good at math. And Massachusetts makes it relatively easy to opt out: Families submit an application and curriculum plan to their districts—most towns expect annual plans. Was it ridiculous to consider taking on the responsibility of teaching my son?

Not knowing where to turn, I decided to seek out people like me—secular, educated, urbane—who’d chosen to take their kids’ educations into their own hands. That’s how I found myself at the Cambridge Public Library on a cold, rainy day last March to learn about homeschooling from the Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts (AHEM). I entered sheepishly at first, as if I were violating some basic, strongly held American tenet. In theory, I wanted my son to be a part of the public schools. I trust in the community, the great democratic ambition to educate all of our country’s children in a supportive, and free, learning environment.

But when you enter homeschooling territory, the first thing you’ll notice is how clearly, boldly, and unabashedly parents proclaim that traditional schooling is broken. “Here it is, 2015, and we don’t have recess in a lot of public schools, and we’re keeping them in schools longer every day,” says Patrick Farenga, a homeschooling advocate and president of HoltGWS, the company founded by John Holt, the father of homeschooling. “In a time that we customize jeans, we can’t imagine doing this with education?” he continues. “We’ve decided that in third grade a child should read, but school is not based on any biological evidence for how children learn.”

Some of the system’s harshest critics are trained teachers who’d quit their academic gigs, often out of frustration, to educate their brood. Megan McGrory Massaro left a seven-year stint as a middle school English teacher in Massachusetts schools, both public and private, to stay home when her first daughter was born. “You can’t allow your child to explore their own interests in the classroom…. It’s a broken system,” says the Pembroke resident. “We’ve lost sight of the goal here. Freedom and liberty and happiness? I feel like we’re sucking that out of our children.”

  • http://borisyukphotography.com/ Anastasia Borisyuk

    Thank you to Boston Magazine for publishing this and to the parents interviewed for giving a very good idea of what homeschooling is about! I have to disagree though that “it takes a certain financial security” to homeschool, couldn’t be further from the truth for us and many other homeschooling families I know. My husband and I are both (very small) business owners and financial INSECURITY is part of our daily life, BUT our kids are happy, we are happy, we’re just jumping off the cliff and building the plane on the way down. Our entrepreneurial spirit is what drives our homeschooling, emphasizing to the kids that you don’t have to spend the rest of your life working 9-5 for a boss and be miserable (unless you want to), that there are a lot of other options when you use your creativity and it often leads to more satisfaction and happiness than a “regular” job.

    I also absolutely agree that kids who don’t set foot in school become a lot more independent and don’t need as much structure, they are not as used to constantly being told where to go and what to do. This year we are homeschooling our 4 and 7 year olds, I’m amazed at how much such young children can direct their own learning and are passionate about learning – they don’t need a teacher, they are their own teachers. I’m just there to parent, to be a friend and learn with them, to facilitate their learning and provide resources. Before you ask, no, I am NOT super patient, in fact I have very little of it, but it doesn’t get in the way of homeschooling because I’m not constantly forcing my kids to do something. Would you want someone telling you what to do all day and force you to do things you don’t want to? I don’t think kids like that either, they are people. They are perfectly capable of learning math and learning to read without it being shoved down their throat. :)

    “I wanted them to be in charge of their own education and decide what they were interested in, and not have someone else telling them what to do and what they were good at,” < this, yes, at the core of why we chose this and the kids are choosing it. I see way too many adults out of public school that have no idea what they want in life, because they've spent 12 years learning in a way that doesn't match their strengths and personal learning style (we are all different, not robots). Pushed to do a little of everything and being great at nothing. Some kids can rise above that conveyor belt and make their own success story – usually because the parents are invested in them. Other kids aren't so fortunate and get swept under the rug, working a mediocre job that never fulfills them because they never found their purpose. I see first hand how homeschooling gives kids from all different backgrounds, family incomes, and geographical areas, a way to be successful on their own terms – not what society wants us to think success is.

    PS: Next time hopefully the photographer picks a more flattering angle for photos!

  • memcdonald

    Thanks for the great article! FYI, it’s Claire Dickson, not Claire McDonald.

  • kathwoodstock

    Public school is not free. It is only free at point of use. If it were free, the teachers, the janitors, the administrators would all work for free. The books would be given to the schools for free… Now if school was truly free in the other sense of the word, parents could chose where to send their kid and their money, like very wealthy families do. If that were the case, these dramatic upswings in rates of homeschooling would not be happening. This lack of real freedom is rather un-American, if you ask me.

  • starsandspice

    An interesting article, but it really seems to make an effort to be one-sided. Apart from a disregarded comment from one schoolteacher (reallly, he “sniffed” his comment?), this article does nothing to show the other side of the story.

    One thing that’s really missing from this story is how difficult it is for homeschooling to provide appropriate amounts of social interaction. My son is three and goes to preschool, and he LOVES it – he simply loves seeing and playing with his friends every day. Even the bad experiences he’s had (one or two instances when he hit a friend or when a friend pushed him) are very much part of that learning experience. He’s learning empathy, he’s learning to deal with situations when a friend disagrees with him or takes his toy, he’s learning to make friends – one of the most important life tools and far more important than attending Harvard! I’m not saying these crucial social learning experiences can’t be had when homeschooling, but it’s easy to forget that those experiences are as important as the math or Japanese classes^H.

    • Sherri G

      “One thing that’s really missing from this story is how difficult it is for homeschooling to provide appropriate amounts of social interaction.”
      Baloney!! I’m a secular homeschool mom and my daughter gets more diverse social interactions with others because she is not limited to a group of 30 kids her own age. She volunteers in the community at a variety of sites which allows her to interact with all sorts of people. She is in two coops where she takes classes and hangs out with other high schoolers. Our field trips are not age restrictive but 0-60…..she is studying to become a Deaf Interpreter, earn an art degree, and open a therapeutic art studio.

    • Jay McFloyd

      Hello Stars and Spice. Social interaction in the home educating setting is extremely easy. In fact, there are so many co-ops, groups, events and field trip that we find ourselves having to say no to many events just to get school work done. Any investigation to the many homeschool groups on Facebook, google groups and yahoo will show you how many things are offered to the growing Homeschool community. Foreign language, weekly park days, 4H clubs, horseback riding, Coding Clubs, Lego clubs, Speech and debate just a few ways the homeschool children can socialize. Both New England Aquarium and The Museum of Fine Arts offers educational classes that provide for socialization as well. You say that “He’s learning empathy, he’s learning to deal with situations when a friend disagrees with him or takes his toy, he’s learning to make friends – one of the most important life tools and far more important than attending Harvard! Learning empathy and how to deal with unfair situations is a life skill and not necessarily one that can only be learned in the traditional class room setting.

    • http://borisyukphotography.com/ Anastasia Borisyuk

      Difficult? You do not homeschool, so I wonder how would you know? It’s just speculation. It’s difficult alright because we have one problem, TOO MUCH social interaction. Unlike public school where you are told to sit down and be quiet, sometimes not even allowed to talk at lunch, our homeschooled kids get oodles of time to actually socialize and build relationships – the awesome thing is that they get to choose their friends instead of being stuck in a classroom with peers based on geographical location and having to pick one of the cliques to “socialize” with. In fact, with complete control over our time, we have the luxury of building lasting relationships not just with kids, but entire families and communities. This is real life, and we do not live in some bubble, we are part of the real world and the kids get realistic socialization that isn’t isolated to an artificial environment such as public school. They also get plenty of learning to share, agree to disagree, or find compromises. Even on a daily basis siblings learn this all the time, my kids learn to get along instead of being separated in school all day then coming home and not wanting to be together because they grow apart when families do not spend enough time together.
      I much prefer having a circle of close friends and building lasting relationships, than having a classroom full of acquaintances. Our social life is much richer than public school would ever allow. (At least I can compare because I’ve been to public school and now am a homeschooling mom, I also talk to many parents who pulled their kids out of public school for social reasons).
      I agree, learning to make friends is more important than getting into Harvard, and it is exactly why we love homeschooling so much! :)

      • Abigail Wild Baia

        That’s funny, because I was just thinking the same thing. The amount of “socialization” my children have, as homeschoolers, is exhausting for me. Sometimes I wonder if we could use a little less “socialization”. Great reply!

        • http://borisyukphotography.com/ Anastasia Borisyuk

          Nice, I know it’s not just us! All the homeschoolers I know feel this sentiment. I’m an introvert and love my alone and quiet time, so is my younger child, but my older daughter is more of an extrovert. For her sake I try to find a balance of social activities that she craves, at the same time not too much so it doesn’t overwhelm my son (or he ends up being with me more while she gets her social fix). So far I love being able to have so many choices, this freedom is amazing. I know for sure my little one would not do well being shoved into a classroom of 25 kids for the day.

    • http://www.evelynkrieger.net/ EvelynKrieger

      Perhaps you missed (or the article did) that these kids take community college courses, attend enrichment classes, park days, homeschool co-ops, dances, church groups, clubs, YMCA, open gym, theatre productions, dance classes, volunteer work, and mentorships. Need I say more?

    • Tina Hollenbeck

      Good for your son. But institutional schooling – where kids are regularly told to “stop socializing” and are housed only with children of the same age – is not the only way (or even the best way) to raise a well-rounded individual. Do what you want for your child, but don’t criticize what you don’t know just because you are ill-informed about the diversity of “socialization” opportunities afforded to homeschoolers.

    • Abigail Wild Baia

      As a homeschooling mom, who has one in elementary, one in middle school and one in high school, we probably have too much socialization. Between co-ops, educational groups, sports, dance, and theater, I’m exhausted at the end of the day. There’s this incorrect assumption that homeschoolers are not “socialized”, they are, but finding opportunities falls on the parent’s shoulders. There are a ton of ways to get experiences, school isn’t the only way.

    • bulldogvillan

      As someone who works in the public school setting I can tell you that social interaction is discouraged for the most part, for most of the students’ school day . Actually the students are often reprimanded for interacting. What little social interaction there is, the student is limited to interacting to other students of a similar age, and it is almost always under the tertiary surveillance of school staff. Interaction with older children, younger children and adults who are not authority figures is non existent. Students do receive a lot of obedience training however. Certainly students will use tricks to escape such a dehumanizing environment, such as asking the teacher for permission to use the bathroom, faking the need to evacuate one’s bowels as a way to take a break and have some sort of privacy during the day. Of course it’s the teacher’s job to ferret out such contrivances and determine the legitimacy of such requests. Contrived is a good way of describing the situations in which social interaction takes place in school. I know this is meandering a bit, but it’s interesting that youth psychiatric emergency room visits plummet in June and August. Perhaps it has something to do with the social environment that most schools institute?

      • Nan

        Yes. This hits the nail on the head. The other day a person I know mentioned how her son got an award for being the quietest all day. I understand this on the sanity level for the teacher but have we considered what we are doing to the vast array of personalities represented when we award what feels like total self-stifling all day long for the more outgoing and expressive amongst our kids? This award might feel like winning for a quiet introvert but it might be one of like to throw out a second story window as an extroverted creative type. I grew up in both public and private schools so I remember how I longed to be outside… up a tree.

      • Whatsreal

        Are you a teacher in the public school system? If so, I eagerly await your book or blog as you could very well be the next John Taylor Gatto. :)

      • AWD_Terror

        We have a local charter school which is a Montessori. What is your opinion of the Montessori system and where does it stand in relation to the traditional public school and Homeschooling? I realize this is just the comment section, but any response would be greatly appreciated.

    • Nan

      That’s because it’s not difficult at all. Almost any homeschooling parent will tell you that it can actually be a huge challenge to not be out at any number of classes and other socially enriching opportunities every day of the week. Most of us are so busy we are grateful for one day a week of down time. Many of us call it home-based education as we find we are not at home nearly as much as the name “homeschooling” implies. Basically, the reason the “lack of socializing problem” isn’t given much air time is that it’s largely a myth (or at least ancient history harkening back to the 80’s and early 90’s when it was still a rarity, in terms of the movement) and you will find it laughed off and debunked by the vast majority of homeschoolers because they are trying to just get a little time at home with just the kids. But the truth is, there are social disparities in every environment. Schools are most certainly not exempt. Many people find the prevalent social angst of the school environment enough of a reason on its own to find and create better environments through home based learning.

      I have been homeschooling for the past 10 years. This will be the first year all of my kids are in school (private this year.) One went last year and excelled beyond eve our expectations academically (I won’t say his grades but they were pretty hard to top), socially (he’s a strong leader in class) and physically (sports every season.) In other words, his home based education well-prepared him for his school based education. And even now we have the same year by year approach to education.

      • BWmT

        Nan – Thanks for the phrase, “home-based education;” it makes more sense to me to think of school as a noun (education venue) than as a verb.

    • lmwk

      Social interaction depends on the parents. If a parent values social interaction then they will make sure their children get it. There wasn’t enough for my children when we first started homeschooling so I started my own local social group to ensure they were spending quality time with quality people.

      Many of us also have larger families. My own mother was first worried about my children’s social interactions until she realized I had enough children to have my own preschool, lol. What I am saying is there can be amazing sibling friendships/ relationships when a certain respect for others attitude is fostered and expected in the home.

      And lastly, we cannot compare the gifts one receives in school vs the gifts from home- schooling. My kids know the gifts they are missing out on from school but they also greatly appreciate the gifts they are receiving from homeschooling.

    • susan34

      I am not a big proponent of homeschooling, for various reasons. However, “lack of social interaction” is not one of those reasons. As others have already eloquently pointed out, most homeschoolers go to great lengths to have social interaction. Because their schedules are more flexible, they have many more opportunities for social interaction than students in traditional schools.

    • Brandon

      U have to get off the wagon of homeschool kids are unsocialized. If there unsocialized it’s the parents fault. Things have changed over many years. So much more for homeschool kids to do outside of the home. If anybody is unsocialized it’s the public school system haveing the kids sit in those desks for 7 hours a day not getting recess and P.E. time. That’s what unsocialized kids are the ones in public school system

    • Mandy Welch

      Could everyone please repeat after me….. “forced association is not socialization.” Sitting in a room at a desk for 7 hours a day 5 days a week, having very little time for interaction with other students is not what I call socialization. Having 15 minutes of recess is not socialization. Most public schools are cutting PE and Music classes down to 1-2 times a week in favor of more test prep, again not healthy. As a homeschool mom, I often find we are out of the house a minimum of three days a week with other homeschool families. This includes children of all age ranges, not just a few at their own age, and learning how to properly interact with adults. Trust me socialization is not an issue.

      • Kimble

        I think there’s a difference between socialization and loneliness. My homeschooled kids are “socialized” for sure–they do scouts and several homeschool-specific programs during the week. But this week, with our neighbors all back at school, they’re a bit lonely. They really miss the *impromptu* hide-and-seek games and trampoline jumps with friends.

        Socializing with other homeschoolers means schlepping over several towns, while socializing locally, without so much hassle, means waiting til their friends in the ‘hood get home from the afterschool program between 5 and 6pm. The Winthrop girl in the article seems to have the same issue we do [though my kids don’t say they want to go back to school just yet], and I appreciate that she spoke up about it!

        • sneakierbiscuit

          There’s very little scope for impromptu hide and seek games and trampolining at school. Summer vacation ends and that kind of play ends for the kids at school.

          • Kimble

            I hear you, but I still think the girl in Winthrop who’d rather be at school with her friends is entitled to her opinion.

        • behaviorismworks

          Many, many children who attend school are also deeply lonely. That’s more a function of modern life & esp car centered culture and time strapped families.

    • disqus_AzZvRekJB6

      My homeschooled teen attended a co-op at that age and all the way through middle school. She LOVED seeing her friends at co-op every week. (She was in two, so she saw friends twice a week.) In the early years, they made structures out of grapes and toothpicks, painted, sang songs. Pretty much your standard preschool stuff. In 8th grade, her co-op class choices were Japanese swords, film making, creative writing, and an entrepreneurial approach to handmade organic cosmetics and toiletries. Between field trips, meetups, skating day, park day and all of her social activities, we actually had to cut back on social things because she was starting to get serious about college and we needed to focus more on academics. She is now incredibly social, having interacted with children and adults of all ages. She lacks that typical teen “swagger.” She is not embarrassed by her family or her parents, and she isn’t shifty or uncomfortable talking to adults. She is incredibly empathetic and loves younger kids as well as older kids. (One of her first friends was a 12 year old who befriended her when she was 5 and nervous on a playground at a homeschool park day. That girl just started college and they now write regular letters to one another.)

      I’m sorry, but I believe you are simply misinformed about what options homeschoolers have. For what it’s worth, we are secular homeschoolers and all of our activities have been for secular families. We’ve only met a handful of religious homeschoolers.

      • disqus_AzZvRekJB6

        She also dealt with a homeschooled bully, cliques, hurt feelings, and helping other kids who have felt all of the above. I was always worried that she’s miss those little childhood social innoculations that help one have a healthy adult life, but I’ve found we haven’t missed much. It’s just been on a scale and a level much more manageable for her, and since I am around more frequently (and as a teen, she does not view me as the enemy) she has always shared her experiences with me, good and bad, so we can talk them over and I can help her process them. She needs me less and less now, and we do have our conflicts, and that’s as it should be. She has a very close bond with her younger siblings (I’ve been careful to not make her the de facto little mommy of the house…her education comes first, not babysitting) and she doesn’t hate them the way the public school social system seems to train kids to do. Honestly, I could not ask for a happier, nicer teen daughter. She has a positive body image, she isn’t interested in dating so much as she is pursuing a career and helping others, and she is so passionate about about everything she is learning. I don’t like to be a sanctimonious homeschooler, but I think it can be done, and done well.

    • crs

      It’s actually not that difficult for homeschoolers to get enough social interaction. All the “important” social interactions and experiences you mention can be had while homeschooling, because most homeschoolers involve their children in activities with other kids (and adults) and they have many friends with which they interact.

    • Amy Hopping

      The socialization misconception is so trite that I usually don’t bother to counter it. I homeschool in a different state but have interest in the area as a former and potentially future Boston-area resident. For my homeschooled children, socialization has never been an issue. I have access to four secular/mixed homeschool groups in my immediate area, a couple of secular co-ops, a handful of religious-based co-ops offered by local churches, and a number of homeschooling groups in other towns within the metropolitan area I now live in. This does not include the random meet-ups that occur as we visit the library, the local parks, and local stores. We had to make the hard decision to cut out many of the activities we were participating in–which equated to lots of social time–so that we could focus more on academics and their personal interests. While a still-developing homeschooling community, or one that exists within a less populated area, will likely have less to choose from, there is still plenty. I have an older child who has been in the public school system his entire academic career. His socialization opportunities have been far poorer than the opportunities presented to my homeschooled children. Socialization is far more than simply learning to run with a pack of kids of approximately the same age and try not to get eaten by the near constant bullying and pressure to conform.

      As has been stated by many, homeschooling isn’t the right path for every family. There are children who thrive and fare far better in a “traditional” school setting. But the reasons for such don’t include socialization–unless learning to be part of a clique composed of one age-group and a narrow variety of backgrounds is high on the list of social skills.

    • Chris Cassidy

      With all due respect, the socialization aspect is always brought up, yet easy to dismiss. There are tons of co-ps to supplement a home school curriculum, where the kids can interact with other kids as well as different instructors. This was mentioned in the article but not nearly fleshed out enough. It’s not a valid criticism.

    • Tanya

      It is actually easy to provide social interaction to a homeschooled child. This article named a key point in the success of homeschooling, the gift of time. After focusing on studying, the children have the time and willingness (they are not emotionally, physically, or socially exhausted) to pursue other interests like sports, hobbies, playing with friends. Plus it is so much more important to train your children how to talk to adults, how to respect you as a parent, authority, and teacher. You are their #1 authority in life and will always be an example for them and are the best teacher for them. They should be spending most of their time with you, learning from you, also because it is in your best interest and no one can love them as much as their parent. Having friends, on the other hand is not something school is for.

    • rippedchef

      I laugh out loud when I hear this “socialization” hogwash.Cussing,bullying,exposure to porn and sex,moral relativism,exposure to drugs and alcohol and “everybody gets a trophy”=socialization .Funny thing though,when my 16 yr old son looks an adult in the eye,shakes hands and uses sir and maam as part of his normal speech and can actually engage in conversation and articulate his own thoughts the word “socialization” never comes up.It’s more like “wow,his face isn’t buried in a phone” and “what a fine young man ” and “he’s not like other kids” and “gee,it’s nice to hear a kid speak and it’s not anyway linked to clash of clans or snapchat or twitter”

      • casino la fantastique

        cussing? oh my stars and garters! what’s the world come to!

        • rippedchef

          hey,if you want your 8 yr old dropping F bombs thats your business

    • http://www.wrinkledmommy.com/ Deb McCormick

      I am in my second year of homeschooling. Tomorrow we have club day with our local home school group. There are over 200 kids that will be there. The kids spend their day with other kids taking classes in theater, cooking, science, journalism, board games, legos, sculpture, art, etc. The socialization argument is outdated.

  • http://www.evelynkrieger.net/ EvelynKrieger

    Thank you for this in-depth and close-up look at the diversity of homeschooling in Boston. I’ve worked as a classroom teacher and reading specialist and have homeschooled some of my children. Every other week I get a call from a parent wanting to find out more information about homeschooling because her child is not learning or very unhappy in traditional school. If your child is happy and learning in school, count your blessings and carry on. Homeschooling is not for everyone. But for some kids it can mean the difference between surviving and thriving.

  • Tina Hollenbeck

    A lot of us homeschool for faith-based reasons AND because we know we can do better than the system; the two are not mutually exclusive, nor are those of us grounded in faith less “intellectual,” as the article implies in an ever-so-subtle way. However, many of us also know that there are many paths to a “successful” life. It’s about academics, yes (which are woefully inadequate in even the “best” government schools), but so much more in terms of facilitating the development of a holistically-healthy child. Finally, those of us who are savvy know better than to become involved with public school “outreaches” to homeschoolers; that’s a very dangerous path to take if one wants to guard the privacy of one’s children and the integrity of true homeschooling. There’s no reason to rely on anything in the system when we have the whole world at our doorsteps.

  • Tina Hollenbeck

    A lot of us homeschool for faith-based reasons AND because we know we can do better than the system; the two are not mutually exclusive, nor are those of us grounded in faith less “intellectual,” as the article implies in an ever-so-subtle way. However, many of us also know that there are many paths to a “successful” life. It’s about academics, yes (which are woefully inadequate in even the “best” government schools), but so much more in terms of facilitating the development of a holistically-healthy child. Finally, those of us who are savvy know better than to become involved with public school “outreaches” to homeschoolers; that’s a very dangerous path to take if one wants to guard the privacy of one’s children and the integrity of true homeschooling. There’s no reason to rely on anything in the system when we have the whole world at our doorsteps.

  • Tina Hollenbeck

    A lot of us homeschool for faith-based reasons AND because we know we can do better than the system; the two are not mutually exclusive, nor are those of us grounded in faith less “intellectual,” as the article implies in an ever-so-subtle way. However, many of us also know that there are many paths to a “successful” life. It’s about academics, yes (which are woefully inadequate in even the “best” government schools), but so much more in terms of facilitating the development of a holistically-healthy child. Finally, those of us who are savvy know better than to become involved with public school “outreaches” to homeschoolers; that’s a very dangerous path to take if one wants to guard the privacy of one’s children and the integrity of true homeschooling. There’s no reason to rely on anything in the system when we have the whole world at our doorsteps.

  • http://www.homeschooldad.com/ CyberScholar

    It’s nice to see Boston turning the corner because it has the least developed homeschooling community in America – as one one expect given its “wealth” of private school options and its leadership role in compulsory schooling. I still don’t think the goal of homeschooling is to get into Harvard. It’s to TRANSCEND the need to go to Harvard or any other college.

    • IslandMommy80

      YES!

    • Hugh

      Even Duke? 😉

  • Kimble

    I homeschool in another state but follow several Boston-area homeschool blogs.

    The only thing that really surprised me here are the numbers. The homeschool community there is tiny! 277 kids in all of Boston? 46 in Cambridge? If I’m reading the public/private school numbers correctly, that means that homeschooled kids comprise less than 0.5 percent of the population. I don’t doubt that the numbers have increased, but given that 3.4 percent of kids nationally are homeschooled, Boston has a way to go.

  • http://www.beholders.org/ Taty

    Since.my child was born I have dwelled with my feelings about schools. Finally, we are outed:
    http://momanddadcentral.com/our-choice-to-homeschool

  • hu_wen

    God I wish I had never been held against my will and brainwashed in the public education system. Never getting my childhood back.

  • George Popham

    Great article! So much of what you write about I am very familiar with as a former public school teacher and the founder and Executive Director of Bay State Learning Center, an Alternative Learning Environment in Dedham, MA. (www.baystatelearning.org) We have been open for over a year and have 31 student members ages 10-18.

    We offer classes in everything from geometry to classical literature to cooking, robotics, and creative writing – whatever our members are interested in. All of our classes are non-compulsory and our members pursue their interests on their own terms and at their own pace. Our staff not only teaches but we also assist our members in defining their educational goals and planning how to actually reach them.

    Our staff is largely composed of former public school teachers who became frustrated with the public school system. We find that many homeschoolers really appreciate the social environment that BSLC affords them as well as the freedom to develop their own interests and determine their own schedules.

    Homeschooling is increasingly evolving into a hybrid model and we are here to support that development as well as offering another alternative to young people who are unhappy in traditional school. Our BSLC families have been very satisfied with the results our program, and our members have rediscovered the satisfaction of genuine engagement with their interests.

    Thanks for shedding light on this growing movement to find alternative ways to engage and motivate learning that suit those not well served by traditional schools.

  • johnakeith

    I get it: You’re using “Boston” as shorthand for “Greater Boston” but since you don’t interview anyone who is actually FROM Boston it is sloppy “journalism”.

    Just in case anyone reads this article (or, column – hard to tell what it is), there are very few school-aged children being homeschooled right now. The article/column says “244”, which is supposedly a doubling since 2004 (11 years) but a drop in the bucket compared to the 57,000 students enrolled in the Boston Public School system (0.4%) and the 77,000 children between ages 5-18 within the city (0.1%).

    PS. The BPS website says just 90 students are homeschooled so this article/column has updated numbers or the author/columnist was given inaccurate information.

    • Silvia Aldredge

      The 244 number does not count children enrolled in online private schools, the numbers are MUCH higher if you count these kids.

  • Hugh

    Shanghai says you’re #1, Harvard!

    http://www.shanghairanking.com/ARWU2015.html

  • Luis Reynero

    A true home schooled person will have learned to learn.
    They will be an auto didactic. Yet not fully. It is truly a parent child learning relationship. The parent must have understanding and present a vision because there certainly are great needs. This article is a superficial hype of secularism in home schooling. There will always remain those who are faithful to the original calling God has given parents to teach our children wisdom that can never be substituted.

    • Guest

      This article came across to me the same way it did to you, praising secularism, when it is clear how it has failed generation after generation in public schools.

  • Laryssa Lynn Busby Krauss

    I would like to clarify one thing that the article mentions. It said that Nadia Sladkey received her GED at 17, then graduated from Simmons College. Homeschool grads do NOT need a GED. Many colleges & businesses wrongly assume that a parent issued diploma is not valid. It IS. If you encounter this problem with any official in a college admissions department, military recruitment center, or potential employer you should contact the Homeschool Legal Defense Association immediately! It usually only takes a call or letter from them instructing the legality of a parent issued diploma to affirm your position. A GED gives a connotation of a person who dropped out of school & didn’t finish their education. This is NOT the case with homeschoolers. They work VERY hard for their diplomas. Some public school grads can’t read or write well enough to fill out a job application. So…no…homeschool grads do NOT need a GED. This young lady may have ran across somebody in the admissions department that was misinformed their own self & gave her wrong info.

    • Nadia Sladkey

      I knew that I did not NEED a GED to apply to many colleges. However it made it a lot easier for colleges to focus on my portfolio where I illustrated my varied and unique homeschool experience. Some colleges do require a high school equivalency to matriculate, or at least they did when I was applying. So I made the decision to get my GED early based on the fact that it would give me the most options and didn’t limit my choice of schools to apply to. Here is a self help resource people can use for more specifics about homeschooling in Massachusetts: http://www.ahem.info/HighSchoolDiplomas.html

  • SudburyValleySchool

    it’s not that they don’t belong in school, it’s that they deserve a different kind of school. A school that’s based on trust, respect, freedom, and self-direction. A school like sudval.org!

    • http://BikePretty.com/ Bike Pretty

      Yes, but for the rest of us who don’t live near a Sudbury school?

  • citychick76

    It really annoys me that we as a society label “introverts” as a bad thing and associate it with antisocial. Antisocial is actually a personality disorder. People with antisocial personality disorders typically have no regard for right and wrong and often disregard the rights, wishes and feelings of others according to the MayoClinic website. Being introverted has nothing to do with being antisocial. And a person should not be ashamed or apologize for being introverted, that is just his/her personality. I think the world would be a horrible place if everyone was an extrovert, we need introverts to balance things out. Stop associating being shy and introvert with a negative trait!

    • http://BikePretty.com/ Bike Pretty

      Yes! That was such a cringe-worthy line. Introverts are born, not created by homeschooling, community schooling, etc.

  • CaralfromSoCal

    I would be surprised if there are only 277 homeschooling students in Boston. There are more than that in my much smaller city. Not all students register with public schools; far more are independent or working with private schools. Does anybody know the origin of their number? Thx…

    • Kimble

      The figures on homeschooling in MA can be found here: http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/state_report/schoolattendingchildren.aspx

      They only have the 2013-14 numbers, so for the 277 figure in Boston in 2014-15, perhaps the author spoke to someone at the DOE.

      If you look at the lower right-hand corner of that page, you can see that the statewide figure for homeschoolers in 0.67 percent. My understanding of homeschooling in MA is that you have to register with your local school district (which is why the state can provide a hard number, unlike so many other states with rules that are both looser and more varied).

      • Silvia Aldredge

        You are correct, BUT if you are enrolled in an online, accredited homeschooling program you do not have to register with the state. You are counted, for the purposes of statistics, as private school kids. This is why the #s for Boston are so low.

    • Silvia Aldredge

      In general, the data for home-schooling in most states does not count families enrolled in online private schools. These folks, and there are many thousands of them, get lumped in with other private school attendees. It skews the homeschool numbers down, possibly a politically convenient way of counting…

  • shevrae

    “How could anyone think that she or he alone has what it takes to get a child from toddler to college-ready?” Another homeschooling stereotype with very little basis in reality. Every homeschooling family I know uses various outside sources (co-op classes, on-line classes, apprenticeship programs, private tutors, etc.) to supplement their own efforts.

    • cmj

      I did it, and my daughter became the top student in her university, launched an award-winning literary journal in her sophomore year at college, published by the time she was a junior, and received dozens of top awards for her academic performance. Her professors often said she was performing at graduate level as a freshman. Homeschooling done right can generate highly motivated learners who take an active role in their own learning, are independent, mature learners, can think outside the box and are not constrained by social pressure. You may be misguided by stereotypes of homeschool families. I am a college professor and felt the traditional classroom was seriously lacking, so committed to designing and implementing a custom-designed learning program that fit my child’s needs to a ‘T’. It also gave us the freedom to let the world be her classroom…many of our “field trips’ included learning-directed trips through Europe, Asia, and South America, or simply to world class museums and other destinations nearby the Boston and surrounding area. Couldn’t be happier with the outcome: she is an amazing, happy adult professional who contributes greatly to society at large and has a well-balanced social, family, and professional life.

      • shevrae

        I was quoting the article and then replying to it – I was simply pointing out that most homeschool parents don’t do it all on their own but utilize different outside sources to give their child the best education possible. I’m also a homeschooler who is very pleased with how my children are developing not just in the area of academics, but social skills and character as well. My oldest is in Jr High, so stories of kids who went on to be successful whatever their chosen career are always enjoyed and appreciated. God bless your family!

  • WMccreery

    I am sorry to say this but home schooled kids have problems adjusting to the real world they have never had to deal with people from outside their family or a narrow group of other home schooled children, never had to deal with bullies or other difficult people. Community schooling is much better at socializing people.

    • bananasmoothie

      Do you have a source to back up this assertion other than your obviously very limited experience with homeschoolers? All the research on this subject concludes that homeschooled children have just as good or better social skills across the board than other kids. You can conclude whatever you want based on what you perceive, just as people keep insisting that vaccines cause autism. But empirical evidence disagrees. http://www.escapingexpectations.com/are-homeschooled-kids-destined-to-become-social-misfits-in-adulthood/

      • WMccreery

        That survey was done in the UK. In the US home schooling is usually the province of religious folk and racists, I realize this not the sort people in the article but these are the people I have dealt with

        • Jd1367

          So, homeschoolers obviously aren’t the open minded people that you are, right? I mean, you wouldn’t possibly paint everyone of a certain group with such a broad brush like those “religious folk and racists” would do. You really need to get out more

          • WMccreery

            I said that had been MY experience. Do you have anything to add to the discussion or are you just trolling?

          • Jd1367

            No, pointing out your small minded bigotry when it comes to homeschoolers was all I had to add to the conversation.

          • WMccreery

            As I expected, nothing

          • Jd1367

            Yeah, I don’t have all the citations like you had to back up your assertion that homeschooled kids have trouble adjusting to the real world. Just making stuff up as you go along and you call me the troll? Or is it just the racist or religious folk that have problems “socializing”? You know, those that YOU have had experience with?

          • QQ

            “I said that had been MY experience.” – Moron

            I think what he’s saying is that when he experiences parents who homeschool their children, or people who were homeschooled, he’s either intimidated by their intellect or they don’t coddle his feelings and put up with his/her plebe tier bullshit.

            So since we’ve established WM is going on our ignore list, check out the lefties freaking out over the new Law of War manual.

          • WMccreery

            Wow your sure an open minded person!! It seems that those opposed to my statements are true believers who brook no challenges to their positions!! Good bye I hope for your childrens sake I am wrong

          • QQ

            – “In the US home schooling is usually the province of religious folk and racists….”

            I’m the closed-minded one?

            – ” true believers who brook no challenges to their positions”

            You act like a stupid F***, you get treated like a stupid F****.

            So stop acting like a stupid F**** and denigrating religious people because they don’t treat your opinions with respect. Because your opinions don’t deserve respect, they deserve to be set on fire, burned to ash, forced down your throat, followed by your incineration into ash, mixed into a loaf of confessional bread consumed by a congregation, then shit into a thousand toilets.

            That’s how important your opinion is.

          • http://BikePretty.com/ Bike Pretty

            People asked you to explain yourself and cite your sources. You were unable to do anything but provide a hazy anecdote. You had an opportunity to prove your qualifications and the legitimacy of your argument. But neither held water. Challenges were definitely brooked and ultimately turned away in defeat. This is how adults debate. Now why didn’t you learn any of this in school?

        • CarolSong

          The outrageousness of your lumping religious folk, racists and homeschoolers together says more about you than anything.

        • bethimus

          Seriously… you should just stop. My three brothers and I were all homeschooled, and we haven’t had any issues adjusting. One of my brothers is a master electrician who is now designing homes. One is a salesman who works with a men’s chorus on the side. One just finished shooting his first feature length film and has a masters in art.

          I’ve worked in the food service industry, direct sales, child care, and am currently a stay at home mom who’s homeschooling four children, and fostering one (who happens to be of a different race, not that it makes any difference). I’ve had an article published in a religious publication and just published my first children’s book.

          Among my homeschooled friends, I have one who is currently serving as a nurse in Togo, West Africa. I have a friend who is a violinist who studied at a conservatory in Budapest. I have friends who have done distance learning in China, and Korea. I have homeschool friends who graduated and are now public school teachers.

          Tell me again how homeschoolers are racist, religious elitists?

        • Silvia Aldredge

          ‘religious folk and racists’ not bigots, though?

    • Rhonda

      I’m sorry but my child learns how to deal with difficult people everyday when we are out in the real world. She learns how to deal with situation when she sees me (her mother) deal with a rude person in the checkout line or with being cut off in traffic or dealing with customer service on the phone. You know, Real life, hands on, learning. My child does not need to learn to deal with bullies in school to be a well adjusted adult! In fact the opposite is true, NOT dealing with bullies and the lifetime damage they cause is what will allow my child to have the self esteem and tenacity to be a well adjusted adult! That is a stupid statement! As for better socialization I corner her in the hallway every afternoon and steal her lunch money just to make people like you happy :)

    • Guest

      “Community schooling is much better at socializing people.”

      Studies show this is a fallacy. In the US, homeschooled children are more able to be in social situations and adapt without the limiting confines of a public school room.

    • sandybeaches777

      Yes. When my seven year old leaves the park because the other seven year olds are saying (and texting) things like “my boyfriend calls me sexy and hot”, or “we wear bikinis to get the boys attention”, I feel sad for her that she hasn’t been socialized properly enough to find this appropriate and blend in vs leave. And when I overhear her school friends gossiping about the kids at school (for example so and so is the new BFF of so and so, and she’s fat, or she has ugly clothes) while her homeschool friends and her discuss why people have different skin colors, or pretend to be news reporters…..I fear she is not socialized properly and will lack the self esteem she would gain from focusing on appearances and social groupings instead.

    • Kelly

      LOL. Have you ever looked at the statistics of success? My lovely daughter carried excess hours last year, has a 3.55 GPA, works part time, has a full scholarship, and will graduate with her bachelor’s in three years before moving onto her Master’s. They spend time in a REAL world (this one) dealing with multiple age groups unlike a false world made of peers mentoring peers… It seems to work so well. (Sarcasm font.)

    • CarolSong

      Clearly based on zero experience with actual real people. Don’t even get me started on the kind socialization that schools provide. It is not a pretty picture.

      • WMccreery

        Wow are you a psychic?

    • bethimus

      Scientifically speaking, the more children who are pulled out of traditional classrooms and home educated, the more the real world is going to adjust to the norm.

      The world is filled with millions of homeschool graduates who are holding jobs and working alongside those who were traditionally educated and many of them go unnoticed because they aren’t having problems adjusting.

      Also, if homeschooling is causing kids to have difficulty adjusting to the real world, how would you explain traditionally schooled kids who have trouble adjusting to the real world?

      Here’s an interesting read: https://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp

    • td10

      I really don’t think you’re speaking from an informed perspective at all.

    • Heather Alger

      Seriously……hum! A few, no quite a lot of PS kids have the same problem right? Adjusting that is….I certainly did.

    • rippedchef

      you got it right-just use the first 3 words of your post

  • savin4morefamily

    The socialization argument is a joke. I homeschool one child and the other is in public school, and the child in PS does not get more socialization. He spends each day being told to be quiet and sit down. The only time kids can really talk to each other is at lunch or recess, but if they get too loud at lunch, then silence is enforced. If they get in trouble for talking or anything in class, they have to stand or run at recess – so no socializing. If they don’t get work done in class in the allotted time…yes, they do it at a table during recess. He is not learning to think for himself; he is learning to obey orders if he doesn’t want to see his clothespin moved down the colored stick that shows each child’s daily behavior ranking.

    • http://BikePretty.com/ Bike Pretty

      It’s like socialization is really a code word for the shared misery of those of us who went through middle school. “When I was growing up, I was picked on by other kids at school. Now you have to go through it too.”

    • Adam Caller

      Bravo!

  • MAC

    “Socialization” seems to be the #1 issue that is thrown in the face of homeschoolers and I find it quite hilarious. Makes me wonder what people think “socialization” is!

    Unless one is in a remote area or situation with no other homeschooling families, for the most part there are children of all ages. Thus, children learn to interact, appreciate, “socialize” with all ages, and get along with all ages, i.e. from infants to adults because outings and field trips usually include all members of the family. Children learn to help out with the younger ones and the younger ones learn to look up to the older ones helping them. They ALL are learning respect for others of ALL ages. They are getting their “socialization”!

  • Katharine Davis

    Socialization is very important. In the adult world my home schooled son will have to work with a large population that have a shared experience my son doesn’t have. Trivializing the importance of socialization -positive and negative – is a mistake. But if I’m going to put extra effort into raising my son, I’d rather put the effort in socializing him. He was socialized in school but he wasn’t learning. Now he is learning and I put effort into socialization. I’ve found the public school after school activities have been great for this. My son plays high school football and mingles with all kinds. Its not perfect, but significantly more favorable to me than a 6th grade boy with straight A’s who couldn’t write a proper paragraph. I keep looking for opportunities to get my son some of these shared experiences. To speak like a standard educator, my son is in an A level in honors and advanced academic classes. He tends to be a B-C student at socialization so we are always looking for ways to improve there, and if he dips below C level we divert a great deal of energy to that subject.

    • Kelly

      Beautiful response. I loved it. Our children (11 in total) have been homeschooled the past 15 years. Our daughter is on full academic scholarship to the state flagship and our second child (16) just started college this fall. Both are strong academically and yes we had to put forth an effort both academically *and* socially but we were better able to guide, impart wisdom, and teach social cues, responsibilities, and interaction.

    • bethimus

      I’m so grateful that there are enough homeschoolers now that socialization isn’t as big of an issue. I was homeschooled in the late 80’s early 90’s and there were very few opportunities. My kids are involved in co-op classes, a PE program with over 100 kids, and numerous other opportunities.

      Another thing to keep in mind: as more kids homeschool, that “shared experience” is going to morph to accommodate homeschool socialization. In 20 years, when the kids who are just starting homeschool this year are looking for jobs, there is a much greater probability that they will end up working alongside peers who were homeschooled.

    • Sean Johnston

      Socialization – at a place where everyone has to attend – is the definition of lowest common denominator. Remember going to the dmv to renew your driver’s license? Did YOU feel like socialization with the other people in line that day would have been a problem to miss out on? It’s the same way 4th grade works your birthday matched the cut off and here you all are! I spend my life trying to avoid that kind of “socialization” Lol

  • Jaybone

    If all public schools turned away from this current paradigm of creating human drones who are good “workers” and “consumers” so as to drive our broken, one-dimensional economy, then maybe some wouldn’t feel the need for secular homeschool. A return to the arts and humanities is what’s needed to ALLOW for a more dynamic, creative, and democratic citizenry. Let’s stop this fear mongering over our kids not being employable, even after a lifetime of “education”, and instead create environments of learning just for the sake of learning.

  • sanfored mcelheny

    It’s surprising to me that the responses to this article have focused on the impact of homeschooling up to,but excluding, college age. After that, there seems to be an unspoken consensus that kids are now adults and the issues surrounding conventional education no longer pertain. To be honest, I was slightly horrified that both McDonald and Boston Magazine would use the litmus test of “getting into Harvard” as the starting point for what is clearly a very loaded debate. Why has this happened? Well, I can’t help but think that the very folks so dedicated to non-hierarchical, nonjudgmental home schooling are still placing a great deal of stock in the elitism of higher education. I for one do not think that something magically happens at college age that releases us, and our children, from our politics and our approach to education. At Harvard, Claire Dickson will do very much what she would have done in high school: sit in a supposedly “unnatural” arrangement of young adults being taught by an elder. And not unlike many elite private schools, she will experience the pros and cons of being one of the “chosen few.”
    I won’t belabor the point. Suffice it to say, and I speak from direct experience with the homeschooling community, an awful lot of utopian–and beneficial– thinking seems to go out the window when kids reach college age. And I don’t believe college should be treated as such a clear demarcation between the so-called formative years during which home-schooled kids are kept at home, and the moment when they enter higher education.
    That is to say, if parents believe so strongly in home schooling, why are they so worried about getting their kids into fancy schools?

    • Katmando

      Elitism. Sad isn’t it?

    • Laura McDonald

      I haven’t really seen that stark demarcation between homeschooling and college that you are describing. My kids and many of the other homeschooling families I know use local colleges as one of many resources available to their families’ educations. My teens have all participated in college classes and activities related to their passions. When they hit 18, I expect that they will continue to pursue their interests, using college as a means to accomplish their goals if that fits into their plans.

    • carolina giannini

      I want to home-college my kids. I know they have passions and interests. I want them to explore those instead of wasting time on useless things they will forget.
      Then they need to put those passions to work. You change the world by changing yourself. That’s how you unwrap the unique gift you can give everyone else.
      Sending your kids to college is not the best idea these days, you need to analize your options and then choose the best one for you!

  • Adam Caller

    Tutors International (www.tutors-international.com) have been involved in several home schooling assignments with successful Ivy League outcomes including Harvard.

    • Katmando

      A homeless girl got a scholarship to Harvard through a good old public education.

      • Adam Caller

        Which goes to show that entrance to the best colleges is not decided on the wealth of a family, nor on their ability to provide tutoring, but on the ability of the student and the openness of the college application system to be able to recognize ability. I actually think that the US public education system is a good one.

        • Katmando

          I agree. People are too quick to point fingers for the ills of society. My kids went to great colleges in spite of being in a lower (not low) income bracket. It all depends on what goes on at home.

  • Liberty Minded

    The government method of schooling was created more than 100 years ago to suit the needs of that day. That day has passed. It is time that students and parents of today choose the schooling that best fits their needs, not the needs of the teachers and administrators unions.

    • Katmando

      I was going to agree with you till you quoted the media circus. Sheeple go after the teachers, who have little say in what they teach, and the union gave you a 40 hour work week, sick days, and got kids off the work force and into school. Go to a school before it starts and check out those parents who you want to teach their kids. Home schooling is great, but not for the masses.

      • Liberty Minded

        It was a grave mistake for the unions to have their goals made laws. Now they can offer nothing to the next generation. Home schooling was and is the education of the masses since government schools are stuck with 1-2 non teachers for every teacher.

  • Katmando

    I’m a teacher, and sent my kids to the public school. I’m not sure I would do that now (although financially I would have to). We did a lot of things to enrich what our children were doing in school though, and did a lot of exploring the US by car. Sadly, the kids who are being home schooled are the ones that could be a model to others. It’s not a good idea to push home schooling though. At this point, the parents that decide to do it on their own are very capable. As a public school teacher, at least 80% of my students would do nothing or the minimum and spend the rest of the time playing video games, Not all parents are motivated like these ones in the article. I would also opt out of the standardized tests to send a message to our government that we aren’t going to put up with days of testing anymore. If you got rid of these tests, or at least made them developmentally sound, the financial and educational components would be so much greater. That is where our tax dollars are going. I don’t even test my little ones in the classroom much anymore. They test enough!