18 Reasons Why Doctors and Lawyers Homeschool Their Children

I’m going public today with a secret I’ve kept for a year—my husband and I are homeschooling our children.  I never dreamed we would become homeschoolers.  I wanted my kids integrated and socialized.  I wanted their eyes opened to the realities of the world.  I wanted the values we taught at home put to the test in the real world.  But necessity drove me to consider homeschooling for my 2nd and 4th graders, and so I timidly attended a home school parent meeting last spring.  Surprisingly it was full of doctors, lawyers, former public school teachers, and other professionals.  These were not the stay-at-home-moms in long skirts that I expected.   The face of homeschooling is changing.  We are not all religious extremists or farmers, and our kids are not all overachieving academic nerds without social skills.

HomeSchool

 

An estimated 2.04 million k12 children are home educated in the United States, a 75% increase since 1999.   Although currently only 4% of all K12 students nationwide are educated at home, experts are predicting an exponential boom in homeschooling in the next 5-10 years.  Most states even provide free online public schools, known as virtual schools or virtual homeschools for K12 students.  An information site called College@Home provides some useful information. 

For a year I was afraid to tell any of my work colleagues that we were homeschooling.  People would stereotype me as a right-wing kook.  My boss might assume that I couldn’t possibly be committed to an academic medical career.  I wasn’t sure I could homeschool my kids well.  I feared the whole year would be an academic failure and emotional nightmare.  I was so unsure about this homeschooling experiment that I even kept a spare school uniform in case I had to send my kids back to school at the last moment.

This week our kids are finishing their standardized curriculum and we will spend the rest of the school year doing enrichment activities.  Alas, I think we can call this success.

We’ve had our kids in both public and private schools, but homeschooling has turned out to be the best option for our family.  Here are 18 reasons why we have joined America’s fastest growing educational trend:

1)      We spend less time homeschooling each day than we used to spend driving.  With four kids in four locations last year (including a newborn at home), school drop-off and pick-up took four hours, on a good day.  We’d get home at about 4:30 and still have homework, music practice, sports, chores, dinner and bath to fit into the 4 hours before bed.  Now we spend about four hours per day homeschooling, instead of four hours in the car.

2)      We can’t afford private education.  Even on a doctor’s salary, private education has become unaffordable, especially for larger families.  Which choice would you make: save for college, save for retirement, or pay private school tuition?  Few families can afford for all three, and most can only afford one.  As educational debts loom larger for each successive generation, this financial crunch will only get worse.

3)      Our kids are excelling academically as homeschoolers.  Homeschooling allows us to enrich our children’s strengths and supplement their weaknesses. The kids’ education moves as fast or as slow as required for that particular subject area.  They are not pigeon-holed and tracked as gifted, average, or special needs.

4)      Homeschooling is not hard, and it’s fun!  We bought a “box curriculum” from a major homeschool vendor, and all the books and the day-by-day curriculum checklist came in the mail.  We have a lot of fun supplementing material through YouTube and online educational sites like Dreambox, Khan Academy, and others.  Our kids do about half of their math online.

5)      Use whatever public school services you like.  Need speech therapy, the gifted program, or remedial academics?  Homeschooled kids are still eligible for all these services.  Some homeschoolers come into public school daily for “specials” like art, music, PE, or the school play.  Your kids can even join high school sports teams once they are old enough.  Our kids are still in sports and scouts sponsored by their old schools.

6)      I like parenting more, by far.  As a mom of school-aged kids, I felt like my role as parent had been diminished to mini-van driver, schedule-keeper, cook and disciplinarian.  And there was no mercy from the schools– six minutes late for pickup and they’d be calling my husband at work, unpaid 5 cent library fine and they’d withhold my child’s report card.  Every day I’d unpack a pile of crinkled notice papers from three backpacks and hope that I didn’t miss the next permission slip.  I was not born, raised and educated to spend my days like this.  Now, I love being a mom.

7)      Our family spends our best hours of each day together.  We were giving away our kids during their best hours, when they were rested and happy, and getting them back when they were tired, grumpy and hungry.  I dreaded each evening, when the fighting and screaming never seemed to end, and my job was to push them through homework, extracurriculars, and music practice.  Now, our kids have happy time together each day.  At recess time, the kids are actually excited about playing with each other!

8)      We yell at our kids less.  Homeschooling forces us as parents to maintain a loving authority in the household.  We stopped spanking our kids.  You can’t get your kids to write essays or complete a large set of math problems if you don’t have their respect and obedience.  Spanking and corporal punishment establish fear, not effective, loving obedience.

9)      Our kids have time for creative play and unique interests.  Once my kids entered school, they seemed to stop making up their own creative play together.  They didn’t have time for creative play during their busy evenings.  Now they build forts and crazy contraptions, play dance parties, and pursue their own unique interests.  My eight-year-old has taken up computer programming and taught himself how to play the organ.  My six-year-old is learning to cook.

10)   We are able to work on the kids’ behavior and work ethic throughout the day.  My son’s poor work effort at school was nearly impossible to address.  The teachers didn’t have time to make my son repeat work they felt was average quality.  We wouldn’t see the work until days after it was completed.  Finally, we’ve been able to push him to his full potential.

11)   Get rid of bad habits, fast.  Dirty clothes dropped on the floor?  They used to stay there all day.  Now there is no recess until they are cleaned up.  I never really had the time to implement most behavioral techniques when my kids were in school.  I knew what I needed to do to get my kindergartner to dress herself, but it was easier to dress her myself then deal with the school complaining that she was improperly dressed or late.  Now, if she takes too long to get dressed, she misses out on free play time.

12)   Be the master of your own schedule.  Homeschooling provides a great deal of family flexibility, which is a tremendous asset for our busy family. For example, we save a lot of money on plane tickets because we have the flexibility to fly almost any day of the week.  Zoos, children’s museums, libraries, parks, etc., are far less busy on weekdays as they are on weekends.  Scheduling anything is eons easier—doctor’s appointments, piano lessons, vacations, etc.

13)   Younger children learn from older siblings.  For larger families like ours, even toddlers are learning during school time. Our four year old sits at the same table during school time as our six and eight year old.  He wants to do his worksheet, too.  Some of that math and phonics work rubs off on him, and he’s learning how to read.  When chore time comes, he asks, “What are my chores?”  And our one-year-old recently tried to clean a toilet.

14)   Save money.  Committing to homeschooling requires at least one parent at home for most of each day.  Although you may lose an income with this commitment, you save (a lot) of money since younger children don’t need daycare and older children don’t need private school.  We also save a lot of money on gas now that we drive less.  Many homeschooling parents still work part-time.  We pull off homeschooling because I work nights and my husband works part-time from home as an independent IT developer.  I know many families homeschooling on family incomes of 40-60K.

Homeschoolers save tax payers money, too.  According to The National Home Education Research Institute, homeschoolers saved the taxpayers $16 billion in 2006.

15)   Teach your kids practical life skills.  Homeschooled kids learn parenting skills, cooking, budgeting, home maintenance, and time management every day.  Time management skills are learned out of necessity.  Our kids have to keep their own schedules and budget their own time.  If they waste time, they have less time for play and their own special interests.  We use old smart phones with alarms to help teach time management.  Our kids help with younger siblings while under our direct supervision.  What better way is there to learn parenting?  I learned to write a fake grocery budget once as a home economics exercise.  My kids write real grocery budgets and help me shop.

16)   Better socialization, less unhealthy peer pressure and bullying.  Our kids no longer beg for video games we don’t want them to have or clothes we don’t like, or junky snacks they saw at school.  One of our children struggled socially in school, and his schoolmates were ruthlessly mean.  Despite a school anti-bullying policy and our best efforts to work with the teacher, nothing changed.  Last year he played alone on the playground everyday.  Now he’s organizing playground games at our homeschool co-op, and he’s smiling again.  No one has ever said an unkind word to him at our co-op, because every child is there with his or her own parent.  Our kids have plenty of time with friends, but without  the unhealthy peer pressure and bullying.

Research continues to show that homeschooled kids do well socially.  Our kids have no shortage of time with friends—each week they attend homeschool co-op, scouts, sports, dance, choir, piano, religious education and have plenty of time to play with neighborhood friends.  Add in the birthday parties and homeschool field trips, and we find ourselves having to decline activities so that we can get our homeschooling done!

17)   Sleep! A research study by National Jewish Health released in March, 2013 showed that homeschooled students get more sleep than their peers who attend school.  The result may be that homeschooled kids are better prepared to learn.  Parents get more sleep, too!  Now we don’t have to get up early to meet a bus schedule, prepare sack lunches, etc.  Our mornings are great times together to snuggle with our children and talk about our plans for the day.  No more “Hurry up and get your shoes on or you’ll be late for school!”

18)   Teach kids your own values.  According to the national center for education statistics, 36% of homeschooling families were primarily motivated by a desire to provide religious or moral instruction.  Our family is not part of this 36%– we never objected to any values taught in either our public or private schools.  Nevertheless, we’ve really enjoyed building our own traditions and living out our family values in a way that wasn’t possible before homeschooling.  For example we make Halloween a little holiday without too much decadence, but we spend an entire week celebrating Easter.  When our kids were in school, the Halloween parties went on for 2 weeks and they had a Halloween vacation from school.  In contrast, they didn’t get any time off for Easter, and there were no Easter celebrations or even decorations at school.

Homeschooling isn’t right for every family or every child.  I can’t even predict what the future holds for our family—will we continue homeschooling through high school?  I don’t know.  But for now, we’ve found a way for our family to be very happy growing and learning together.

Update 27-March-13

Thank you to the more than 200,000 of you that have taken the time to read my thoughts on homeschooling.

Many people have asked me how we do it, how my husband and I both hold down jobs and homeschool our kids at the same time.

Every homeschooling family has their own unique time management plan to balance employment, schooling, household needs, and rest time.  For our family, this has been a work in progress over several years.

Four years ago, after I had my third child, I started working all night shifts as a hospital-based pediatrician.   This schedule allowed me to be home with my babies and available for school pick-up for my older children.  When we were expecting our fourth child, my husband resigned his full-time job a large company in St. Louis so that he could start his own business as an independent IT developer, and so that he could be more committed to our family life.  Once we had the flexibility of my husband’s self-employment, homeschooling became a real option for our family.

We complete our core homeschool curriculum on Monday, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  On Wednesdays our kids attend a home-school co-op, and on Fridays we take field trips, do special activities, and complete any catch-up work.

I sleep (with earplugs!) the mornings after my overnight shifts.  My husband does the homeschooling on the mornings when I am sleeping.  On the mornings when I am awake, I do the teaching.  My husband and I split the teaching about 50/50.  We try to make sure that at any given time one parent is employed and one is teaching/parenting/running the home.  The baby usually takes a nap in the afternoon while my older kids do independent reading and online math, and so we can usually fit in 1-2 hours of personal time or work then.  Any employment work or housework that is left we do after the kids go to bed.

Now that we homeschool, everything has become a team effort in our house.  Both my husband and I teach, do housework, and make money.  Everyone does chores.  Walking in each other’s shoes each day has made us more compassionate towards each other.  We are less likely to criticize each other when things don’t go right, and we’ve learned to be better communicators.  This is, perhaps, my favorite part of homeschooling, that our family is happier together.

Addendum, May 6

Everyone asks me how I am raising 4 (soon to be 5) homeschooled children while working full time. I could never do it without my husband Greg and his willingness to make many unconventional life choices, including quitting his well-paid job at a major St. Louis company so that he could be more committed to our family.  He’s not alone—according to 2010 census data, 17% of preschool-aged children have dad as their primary caretaker while mom is at work. Here my husband Greg Berchelmann shares his perspective. 

 

An Expanding Family

My wife and I knew we wanted a fourth child, but it seemed logistically impossible.  We knew we couldn’t be the parents we wanted to be and still maintain both of our full-time jobs.  Something had to change.

At the time, Kathleen was working twelve hour night shifts as a hospital-based pediatrician and I was working a standard work day during the week as a software engineer. Most mornings were “hi and bye,” and we both had substantial duties around the house apart from our work obligations.  We were over-worked, over-tired, and constantly dropping our children off at various child care facilities.  We were not present and available to our children the way we wanted to be.  We really wanted to have another child and we were prepared to make some potentially big changes in support of our desire.

Who Is Going to Quit Their Job?

We are logical in our decision-making, and we listed out the pros and cons of each option. Who was making more money? She was. Who was more invested in their career? She was. Who could still make money from home? I could. The questions went on, but just like the electoral college map during the election, so too our answers were pointing to me as the “elected” stay-at-home parent. How would I begin to accept such a nomination, and would this be good for me, for my marriage, and for our family?

Many Questions to Wrestle With

Though it was easy to determine who should stay home, at least from a pros-and-cons perspective, it was very difficult for me to fully grasp how to handle such a change in mission. How would I maintain a “provider and protector” self-image if I wasn’t providing in the traditional sense? Would this change cause a “power struggle” in our marriage? As a Mr. Mom, how would I be perceived by my friends and family? Would I be viewed as less of a man, one who was not able to fulfill his natural/traditional duties to spouse and family? Would I be thought of as a failure in terms of career? I probably felt at the time that only men who lose their jobs or who otherwise have no career path are forced to stay at home. No self-respecting man would actually choose to stay at home, right?

Differences Between Men and Women

I’m convinced that the solutions to the above dilemmas come from re-examining the foundational nature of men and women, that is to say gender roles. The answers I came up with were built upon the roles my wife and I established over the course of our almost 13 year marriage. Also, as a disclaimer, I should say that I have not read any books, research papers, or other publications on relationships, gender roles, marital counseling, etc. My understanding of things is based on what I know of myself, of my wife, and of the relationships I’ve seen modeled by our parents and grandparents. I guess you’d call that the school of life.

Being a Dad, Yet Still a Man

As a married man and father, I have a deep desire to take care of my wife and kids. I get great satisfaction from this. And for me, taking care of my family means working hard (providing), keeping them safe (protecting), ensuring their success even, at times, at my personal expense (self-sacrifice), and leading us towards better places (leadership). So to be a stay-at-home dad and also be happy and fulfilled, I felt I needed to maintain ways to provide, protect, sacrifice, and lead.

Providing After Quitting My Job

Being a software engineer made it possible to continue my career from home. I traded my desk job for the dual job at home of parent and software developer. Although I spend most of my time parenting and maintaining our household, the time I spend in the evening working for my clients allows me to keep my technical skills current and earn money for our family.  So maybe I don’t earn nearly as much as I did before, but I feel satisfied knowing “I work from home” and my wife feels better having the supplemental income and knowing I could easily re-enter the traditional workforce if I had to.

I often wondered why it matters so much to me that I earn money for our family. Is it because I want the freedom to spend “my money”?  Or maybe it is because I need to have a job to save face when talking with (especially male) friends? Perhaps having employment would prevent me from having to take ownership of the unmanly “homemaker” role?

The truth is that having a wage keeps me from feeling idle (as if raising a bunch of kids is some kind of idle, non-productive, non-important job). My computer works gives me something to think about while I change diapers or fix lunches. I can sketch out technical solutions in my head while I drive the dreaded mini-van. Without clients keeping me accountable, I might be tempted to begin filling that idle time with less productive or even damaging activities and concerns. Mental and physical sloth could quickly sneak up on me.

So the saving grace for me in my new role as stay-at-home dad was the ability to work as an independent software consultant from home. I don’t use it as an excuse for having a messy house, nor as a reason why the laundry isn’t done. But the little paid work I am able to do keeps me out of trouble and fulfills my need to contribute to our family budget, to keep my skills fresh, and to save face when asked the “what do you do?” question.

A Mini-Van Sacrifice

I hate mini-vans yet I drive one. I stay up late and I get up early. I clean up water, juice, milk, food, spit, vomit, poop, blood, and urine. I change diapers, cook meals, do dishes, cut the grass, fix cars, vacuum the house, pay bills, and home school our kids.

All parents sacrifice themselves for their kids. It is what good parents do. As a stay-at-home dad I have found no end of opportunity to take that humility-pill. At times it isn’t fun, but I take a lot of pride in what my wife and I do for our kids.

Leadership, Decision Making, and Power Struggles

I think men subconsciously fear becoming a stay-at-home dad because they fear they will also lose the power to lead their families. If you aren’t the bread winner then how can you make a “final decision” about this issue or that?

Of course this line of reasoning is flawed, and it is the problem women have been facing for eons. In marriage, making money does not grant one an authoritative power over the other. Spouses are supposed to be one, right? My wife trusts me in decision making because she values my reasoning and intuition, and she knows which decisions she needs me to make. Accordingly, I value her reasoning and intuition, and I know which decisions I need her to make. We are equals, but different.

So I don’t think becoming a stay-at-home dad affected our power balances, decision making processes, leadership roles, or any of these other areas of relationships that get people all bent out of shape. If having your husband home with the kids causes a major change in the way you relate to each other, then perhaps there are other issues going on that have nothing to do with who is home with the kids and who is working to make the money.

Final Advice for Men and the Wives Who Support Them

Before you quit your job and become a stay-at-home dad, I thought I’d include some advice for you and your wife to think about. This is mostly common sense, but I wanted to at least highlight a few explicit examples:

1)      Make specific arrangements to keep your professional skills active, preferably in way that generates income. If you are a teacher, find a way to teach one night a week or during the weekend. If you are a construction worker, pursue a side-job business where you have small jobs that can be done over the weekend or during the day while the kids are in a parent’s day out program. If you are computer guy like me, get online and find little contracting jobs to maintain your skills and bill rate. For me, and I suspect for many men, having a job and generating money plays a big role in a man’s self-image and his relationship to other men in his life. Don’t underestimate this!

2)      Don’t attempt to be a stay-at-home dad if you don’t have anything planned outside of the normal household/parenting duties to keep idle time to a minimum. Idle time, they say, is a dangerous thing. Specifically, consider if while at home you might: a) be tempted to drink alcohol on a regular basis; b) be tempted to “let yourself go” from a physical standpoint (e.g., over-eating, not shaving, not showering, etc.), or from a mental standpoint (e.g., apathy, sloth, etc.); c) get addicted to pornography or other marriage-undermining activities;

3)      You might want to think twice about staying home if you don’t know how to cook, change diapers, operate a vacuum, or drive a mini-van. The glories of homemaking can be the bane of your existence if you aren’t willing to accept these kinds of tasks as part of your new job. There is no shame, just get it done!

4)      Maintain your “band of brothers” as you transition from work life to home life. With your wife’s support, make sure you maintain your relationships with other men. You won’t get invited to that weekend campout or evening sporting event if you effectively fall off the planet after leaving the workforce. Use your new found life-flexibility to call your friends when they are commuting to work, of text them during the lunch hour just to check in.

5)      And finally, wives, be ready to support your husband. Your attitude and support are key to making this work. Don’t upset the balance of power because of your newfound role as sole provider (men should do the same, of course, when the roles are reversed). Instead, give your husband good things to be prideful of in his new role as stay-at-home dad: a) tell him how his efforts at home are the rock you stand on; b) keep yourself put together and looking nice so he can see (men are visual) the awesomeness (you) he is sacrificing for; c) let your children be the glue that binds your love and dedication to each other. This is why he is staying at home, right?

Being at home with my kids has given me a tremendous opportunity to teach and form them in ways that would be impossible if I had stayed in the workforce. I hope these thoughts are helpful to parents who are thinking about non-traditional family arrangements like mine. I can tell you that things can be really good, and I believe kids greatly need fathers today. I have no regrets at all and I wouldn’t want things any other way.

 

Kathleen Berchelmann, M.D. About Kathleen Berchelmann, M.D.

Kathleen M. Berchelmann, M.D., is a pediatrician at St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, director of the St. Louis Children's Hospital Social Media Team, and co-founder of the ChildrensMD hospital physician blog. Her work has been featured in print and online publications including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Chicago Tribune, and TIME magazine. She is a frequent contributor to Fox2 News STL Moms. Kathleen and her husband are raising five children.

Follow Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann on Facebook: ChildrensMomDocs Twitter: @MomDocKathleen and connect with her on .

Comments

  1. I love this list! Just a note – #5 is not possible in all states. In Kansas it is up to the individual school district whether they will offer services to homeschoolers because as a homeschool family you register as a nonaccredited private school. However, there are many community programs and homeschool groups that can help meet those extras also.

  2. Terrific article, and well done on homeschooling! It is, for all the reasons you mentioned and more, easily the best and sanest decision a family can make regarding their children’s education today.

  3. Susan Scott says:

    As someone with 15 years of homeschooling experience I found your article a bit condescending. It’s as if now that white collar professionals have put their stamp of approval on homeschooling, it is somehow a more legitimate educational option then back when it was the purview of “extremists and farmers.” The reason the face of homeschooling is changing is because of all those so-called extremists faced persecution, jail, and battles with social service departments to stand up for the right to homeschool that you now enjoy. Homeschool is growing today because of the hard work and dedication of the movements pioneers. Denigrate them as “farmers” if you will, but those farmers knew all along what the more educated elitists are only just figuring out – public schools are no place for children.

  4. Congratulations on your decision to homeschool and to announce it publicly!

    My kids have been homeschooled for 11 years. We found all of the benefits you mention above, plus we’ve saved loads of money over the years on clothing. They don’t dress for their peers in a classroom; we’re just much more relaxed than that.

    My daughter was accepted by several colleges and is heading off to university in the fall. Exciting times, and it’s been an amazing journey!

  5. I have to agree with Susan; this article is somewhat condescending of all the homeschool pioneers who fought tough battles for the rights we now enjoy. I am so thankful for those “extremists and farmers” who paved the way! That said, these are all excellent points, and I am very happy that homeschooling is the growing trend. Our family has found it to be the very best way to raise our family from every angle; educational, spiritual, social, and economic!

  6. Congratulations on homeschooling and having such a successful year! I have homeschooled my kids for the last seven years and can’t imagine them ever going back to school.
    I did want to say that #5 on your list will completely depend on the state you are in. In Texas, we can access some special education services (not all) and nothing else. On the flip side, the state requires no accountability on our part (no mandatory attendance, standardized tests or submitting curriculum or anything else).

  7. Lisa Marshall says:

    I am glad you found the option of homeschooling, but after educating three sons who all succeeded in college, I take offense to the tone used to describe stay at home moms and non-professional career oriented home educators. There simply is no need for the term “right wing kooks” to be used in a pro-homeschooling article. Freedom of education should be available to all, regardless of political ideals, and this article serves only to perpetuate unfair stereotypes.

  8. As a mother of two little ones who’d like to homeschool, this is SUCH an affirming article. Thank you so much for laying out why it’s working for your family. Keep on being an inspiration to the rest of us!

  9. This is a great list of reasons to homeschool although #5 isn’t true in all states. However the tone of the article needs a lot of work. Those religious nuts you so condescendingly describe paved the way for the freedom you now enjoy as a homeschooler.

  10. Good for you! I’ve been home educating for 13+ years. I retired from the business world to have my children and raise them with my lawyer husband, Pete. I have 4 (3 of them I had after turning 40 !) I never dreamed I would home school but it works. It REALLY works. My first student graduated from 12 years of home education and he’s a freshman at University of Pennsylvania. My high school junior daughter is an Ivy hopeful. They are all normal, well-adjusted kids. Most importantly, they know HOW TO THINK. I am 100% certain they all would have turned out very differently if they attended the local state conditioning centers. So, I applaud your effort. It is scary to step out on this limb but you will never regret it. You are rescuing your kids from mediocrity.

  11. Welcome to the homeschooling community. My six children have never been to school, not even preschool. We love it and can’t imagine life any other way. I will add to your comments that I think the number of homeschooled children is underestimated. Many states, like mine, do not require any sort of reporting to the state. I do not report to anyone and never have. So they don’t have any record of my 5 school aged children. This freedom is wonderful but it also means that your #5 is not true here. I don’t know a single homeschooler who has been able to access special ed services beyond the Kindergarten year without enrolling. Also, no participation in the school’s activities. One may luck out once in a while but team competitive interscholastic athletics are not possible. Luckily there are many sports that can be pursued at a high level without high school. My last comment is to allow yourself to relax even more. Enjoy the freedom homeschooling affords, not just on your time, but in your mind and heart.

  12. Congratulations on finding the best fit for your family! We have been homeschoolers for 7 years and my only regret is that my older children were sent to public school, because homeschooling wasn’t widely accepted at that time. Have a great homeschool adventure!

  13. Very well written article. I am not a homeschooling mom, but may be, some day. I did not feel there was a condescending tone at all. Kuddos to making me consider homeschooling as an option.

  14. Susan Scott, you are very correct!
    And I am very thankful to the many “pioneers” of homeschooling as well!

  15. Great list. Need to mention that not all homeschoolers have public services available to them. Laws vary state by state and sometimes county by county.

  16. I have to agree that this article felt a little condescending. As a homechooling mom of 2 boys, I’m so grateful for all the hard work of those “less-educated” individuals who came before me to make it a possibility for our family. I’m also grateful that those with a voice, such as the MD writing this article, are using it to stand up for what is a wonderful educational choice. So overall, thanks for writing it.

    I hold a Masters degree, and choose to stay home with our kids, providing them with the best education and family dynamic I possibly can. My husband works shift-work, and if our kids went to school (whether public or private) there might be weeks at a time when he wouldn’t see them at all. That’s just not OK with us.

    In addition, both of our sons take violin lessons from one of the best instructors in this part of the country (East Coast). We drive four hours round trip and devote an entire day to their music education because they both have musical talent, and we believe this investment will affect so many other areas of their lives positively. How could we do that if they were in a traditional school setting? The options for enriching the life of a child are endless with homeschooling.

    It’s challenging. Some days, the big, yellow school bus looks pretty enticing as it goes by our house, but most days…even the hardest of days…I’m so grateful to be sloshing out life together with the people I love most.

    Many people have accused me of wasting all of my education on our children. How very sad that they would look at investing in the future of our country and world as a waste of education.

  17. Only mom teachers? Where are the fathers?

  18. Loved your list!

    I was super pleased to read #8. I am constantly told by people that they could never get their child do to all that work. It makes me sad cause I think that if they can’t get their kid to do math when they are six, then they are gonna have major problems when that kid is 16.

    Homeschooling really brings obedience to the forefront. And I think that is a good thing!

  19. Great article! And I completely agree. My background is engineering and I’ve been homeschooling my only son since the beginning. It used to be hard to motivate him, but about 2 years ago he figured out what his primary interests are and he got very serious about academics. He is now learning biology and chemistry, as well as Latin, all online using websites and programs he discovered on his own. He assigns himself school work and won’t do anything “fun” until his school work is completed to his satisfaction. I am amazed to say the least. He is highly motivated and loving all the things he is learning. He gets to spend time with friends with our local homeschool co-op class days and our weekly park days. We also do field trips and other adventures. He has befriended some guys in their 20′s at the gym who have taken him under their wing to show him all about weight lifting and physical fitness. One of them stopped me the other day to say how amazingly smart he is and how they talk about it among themselves often. This guy has 2 kids in public school and he can really see the difference. Homeschooling was a great choice for my child. It is a huge commitment of time, energy, and sometimes money – depending on the curriculum or the adventure we decide to take as a learning experience. We lived on a yacht in the South Pacific for 6 weeks awhile ago – something that would not have been possible if he were in public school It can be a bit tricky juggling school and work since I’m a single parent, but it is well worth it.

  20. Awesome article. I don’t have kids yet but I’ve really thought about homeschooling my future children for a lot of these reasons. I feel like in my own public education schooling there were things I didn’t learn that I should of and vice versa. I also struggled making friends/socially just like your son and sometimes wonder if homeschooling co-ops would have been better for me.

  21. A great article, thank you so much for sharing your personal experience! I’ll be sharing this on my Facebook fan page tomorrow :) We’re just starting out homeschooling and it is encouraging how much this movement of family freedom has grown in recent years!

  22. Thank you for this article. I do not (yet) homeschool my children who are currently 3 and 7 years old. I am a virtual school teacher. All of my students are “homeschooled”, but my own children go to daycare and private school. As I watch my students learn and grow, and as I work hand in hand with their parents, I cannot help but want the same for my children. Your article makes me feel as if I can do this even though I have a full time job. And it also makes me feel confirmed as a teacher of “homeschoolers”. I love that I no longer have only students. I have families now! I have the students, their parents, siblings, and sometimes grandparents or other friends or family members helping with education. “It takes a village to raise a child!” Your article makes me feel like I can muster up the guts and confidence to bring my own children to the village of homeschooling.

  23. I’m sure I would be labeled as an extremist by many, but I do not find this article to be condescending in the least bit. I was concerned, too, about the labeling and stigmas that came with homeschooling and I don’t think the author was looking to offend anyone. I applaud her ability to relate and speak to mainstream, perhaps upper class, society. She is a voice for her peers. The homeschooling movement belongs to anyone who desires to fight for a childhood free from the many pressures and time constraints an average school day brings.

  24. Totally agree with Susan. I appreciate the stay at home moms in long skirts, for fighting the battles so that I can homeschool in peace. I’m not a doctor nor a lawyer, just a homeschooling mom that figured these things out many years ago. And I’m sure the early homeschoolers had as many social skills as they do today. They were just misunderstood by the rest of the world.

  25. Nehemiah E. Spencer, MD says:

    Thank you for an excellent article. The value of homeschooling is perhaps most appreciated by one who has personally benefited from homeschooling, as I was.

    I hope this article gets read by many many who are skeptical of homeschooling and may be clinging to the stereotypes that mask the actual benefits of this alternative method of education.

    Homeschooling was the best thing that happened to me in my childhood.

  26. Karie Swennes says:

    I couldn’t really get into this article, especially after I read what I thought was disdain for “religious extremists”, “farmers”, and “stay at home moms in long skirts”. I would like to know what, in her opinion, would label someone as a religious extremist? Is it someone who has Bible lessons with their children? Because that describes us. She seems to have a bit of an uppity attitude towards farmers as well. I would think that someone with the title of M.D. behind her name would have the intelligence and tact not to talk down to the very people who grow a lot of her food. Stay at home moms, whether they wear long skirts or not, are just as capable of homeschooling as the author of this article. I found this article to be condescending towards stay at home moms, people of Christian faith, and farmers. I am so thankful for the folks that homeschooled back in the days when there was very little curriculum, or support. These families were truly on their own. We have it so easy compared to them. Thank God for them paving the way for us.

  27. Great list! Great write up! Thanks for sharing.

  28. Yes, I have to agree with Susan and Tanya. A bit condescending, but “farmers and extremists” were the prejudices sold to us upwardly mobile, college bound. I can’t change the way I felt before I realized homeschooling was what my family needed. I am, however, very grateful to read the past stories of those who braved the idiocy of the state and homeschooled as a natural parental right. I love those testimonials as well as this one. We have “homeschooled” our children since they were born and have no plans to public or private school them.
    Oh, and number 16 on your list…the winner :)
    Thanks again for this article. The link came from FB.

  29. I am neither a religious extremist nor a farmer. I am, however, the parent of two teenagers who have never sat in a classroom in their lives. So I will add my voice to those who have already said that your post is condescending to all of the homeschooling families who have gone before you.

    I’ll also add arrogant to that list, since a very good portion of your “reasons” only benefit *you* and not your children. Oh, so you don’t spend so much time in the car, you can’t afford private school, and OH MY STARS AND GARTERS you’ve stopped HITTING your children because it doesn’t appear to work when you’re trying to “teach” them something.

    I’ll also add hypocritical to that list, because the amount of it in your list is mind-boggling. A perfect example – #9 vs #11? Really?? I am all for not leaving the house looking like the People of Walmart, really I am. But if you’re HOMEschooling, my guess is that part of that is at HOME – and given how thrilled you are with your lack of spending all that time in the car then I highly suggest you start taking better notes on your kids, because you apparently have the only homeschooling kids in the USA who can only learn things in street clothes.

    Did you deschool after pulling your kids out? Did you give both them and you time to break away from what society has indoctrinated into us as the “only way people learn”? I am guessing you did not, because the things on your list point to giant holes in what really can be an amazing experience. I suggest looking up John Taylor Gatto, John Holt, and Grace Llewellyn, setting aside what you think homeschooling should be, and discovering what it really IS.

    Namaste.

  30. Danielle says:

    Enjoyed article….But curious as to where schools have Halloween parties for two weeks? As a Public school teacher for many years, I have never heard of such a thing. And these days there are no celebrations except twice a year for one hour at the end of the day. That’s the same in my district and the district my kids go to school in. :) .

  31. Amy Manix says:

    Well said Susan Scott!!! You took the words right out of my mouth! With that said, this “stay at home mom in a long skirt” can see no other alternative to homeschooling in this day and age. Children face the same problems in “private” schools as they do in the public school system…my sister’s daughters would tell you that first hand. My child is thriving and happy with homeschooling, what more could a parent ask for?

  32. Just because some doctors and lawyers choose homeschooling does not make it the best choice. Doctors and lawyers know nothing about teaching. They do not have degrees in education. I’m not saying homeschooling kids is a bad decision but i am certainly not saying it is a good one.
    Furthermore, I do have to question many statements made in this article. Doctors and lawyers cannot afford private school? I used to teach at a private school and one family had 5 kids at the school. I also question the quality and relevance of a box curriculum. I also have to point out that there is always the potential of parental egos involved here as well. Finally, I know for a fact that if graduates from private schools sometimes have issues with getting into college then certainly home-schooled children face that same potential fate. Doctors and lawyers can buy their kids admittance into college, you say? Apparently not if they cannot even afford private school. it isn’t so cut and dried regardless of the slant here.

  33. I didn’t find this article condescending. Thought it was great. To the person who asked about home schooling dads…they’re out there! My brother’s wife was home schooling their children and then she passed away suddenly. Because of the great success his children were having being home schooled and because he and his wife were committed to it, he continued to home school their four children by changing his schedule to working nights. His oldest is graduating from college in the spring (with honors!) and has already been hired to teach at a prestigious charter school. His second oldest will be graduating from college as a nurse in two years. So, yes, Dads do home school, and they do it quite well, sometimes in the most difficult of circumstances.

  34. Brianna T says:

    While this does make a good point for homeschooling, I still feel I should leave the choice to my children as to whether they want to be home-schooled or not. Children make life long friends in school, but it’s a little harder when you don’t spend every day with them and share the same hardships public school children go through. I also find that we are just throwing the six years of college teachers go through to get their degree out the window. Teachers had to go through many classes (and debt) to be able to teach children in a correct way. Sure there are good teachers and bad teachers and good schools and bad school, but you shouldn’t make the only choices for a good education being either home school or private school. There are many ways to become involved with your child’s education rather than just keeping them home. But like I said, I believe it should be up to the child. Believe it or not children can usually see both sides of a situation and be able to judge which is better for them. Unless you give them the choice for candy and ice cream for dinner. I mean who can pass that up?

  35. I thought I would like this article, and for most of it I do, except for when Kathleen described the following: “We are not all religious extremists or farmers, and our kids are not all overachieving academic nerds without social skills.” The part I have a problem with is that you basically describe a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, when you say “not all overachieving academic nerds without social skills”. Any parent of an Asperger’s child would have recognised your statement in that is implies this is a description of most Aspies today. Most are high fuctioning, high achieving “nerds” and most do not have the “social skills” as you put it. Is there a problem in that some parents do homeschool their “nerds” or is it that you have found your group not to have any of these “nerds” as you so like to call those children. I am glad you are homeschooling your children, because if you were a part of the normal schooling system you might just come across some of those “nerds” you talk about, as they do not have the social skills that your children might, and it takes a lot of guts to put a child with Aspergers into the mainstream schooling….they get teased, and it is not a place I like keeping my son, but it has to be so he does get integration with other children his age, so he can learn those “social skills” that some are lacking like him. You may not have realised you made that statement without thinking that some person like me would say more than …wow this is great etc. or that you thought a mother of a child who is picked on daily because he is a “nerd without social skills” would say how they felt because of your statement. Your children my be brighter than mine, as with your group as well…but one day you just might have a child who is a “nerd without social skills” come along to your group, and if that happens, I would hope that you would not treat him or her as a “nerd”.

  36. Deborist "Zen"jamin says:

    See “Please Stay At Home Mom” on Facebook. You will never regret being with your children. Ever.

  37. I hear you on the keeping the school uniform in case you have to send them back. I’m approaching my 3rd year of homeschooling and only (finally) tossed THE UNIFORM beginning of this year! Can’t believe how little faith I had in us.

  38. ~bella g. says:

    Why would homeschooling need to be kept ‘secret’ for a year? Was it a shameful thing to be associated with? Why be so concerned with what others might think when you are talking about your children’s future?We’ve been homeschooling for 8 years and have never felt the need to kept it a secret. By the way, point #5 does not apply to all homeschoolers as state laws differ greatly. And I agree with Susan S., I also found this piece a bit condescending. So sad it took homeschooling for you to stop spanking your kids. Or are you saying that all public school children are spanked?

  39. I’m 29, and was homeschooled right through K-12 by a professional Mom with no academic credentials. In fact, I was closer to unschooled than homeschooled at times – we had curriculum, but were at times not attached to a formal institution. As such, I have no high school diploma. I do have, however, 2 different college diplomas and an undergraduate degree, completed with a 3.8GPA. I’m starting my Master’s degree in September, finances permitting. I am working full-time in a career path that I love, and have never felt held back by my lack of high school credentialing.

    I wanted to say thank you for this article – it’s exciting to see things finally changing for those who opt to educate this way. It’s not for everyone, but it can work very well for some.

  40. Hi there

    That was by far a totally realistic, awesome, well written 18 Great Reasons to Home School.

    I am writing a book and have a Facebook blog page titled
    “GREAT REASONS TO HOME SCHOOL”

    I have gathered other wonderful reasons from parents that have also discovered the joy homeschooling brings.

    I was wondering if I could include your article above? You would well and truly be adding such inspiration and encouragement to others wishing to embark on the homeschooling journey but many are not yet convinced they could manage it.
    I would love to hear from you.
    I’m so happy you’ve had a great experience with homeschooling.
    We have been homeschooling for 6 years now and I’ve never looked back once.
    Take care
    Kym
    x

  41. Thank you for the article, there are a lot of good points. I also want to thank all of the pioneer homeschooling moms and dads that laid the foundation for today’s homeschoolers. I was a single parent for 9 years and one of my sons has struggled with school anxiety for years. It wasn’t until my mom retired that we could use homeschooling as an option for him. I could not afford to take off- I was their sole provider. My mother saw oyr helplessness and helped me homeschool him when she tetired. It is terrible to have to send your unhappy son to public school and spend your day at work knowing he is miserable. He has grown a lot since then and may enter public school for 9th grade next year due to wanting more of a schedule during the day that he is not getting now. He feels like he wants to go back to public school now so we are considering it. God bless all of the children educated by public, private, or homeschooling!!!

  42. Brandon Morris says:

    I am a homeschool dad…doesn’t seem to me many of us around. Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW there are, they are making a living, spending time with their kids, etc. I am involved in my 15 y/o daughter’s education – this is our first full-year in homeschool and we LOVE it! Our twin 2 y/o daughters will be homeschooled as well.

    I did NOT find this post condescending….I am educated, college level without holding a degree, I’m also a business owner…the fact is that homeschooling is GREAT like the article said and it doesn’t matter where you go, what you do, if you’re looking for offense, you can probably find it. Chew on what you like, spit out the rest…thanks for the article!

  43. Absolutely perfect! From this homeschooling (former lawyer) mom, you have my gratitude for writing this so beautifully and for using this platform to share your experience. Well done!

  44. Thank you for writing a beautifully articulate and salient article! I have home schooled my three for the past 18 years and have one graduating this May with her BSN and another graduating from a ministry school. My baby is a freshman and attends a local tutorial but still loves being a home most of the week. We would not have the family that we do if not for home schooling.

  45. SC mommy says:

    Wow! Great article. As someone who is considering homecoming, I find this encouraging. I did NOT find out condescending. I found it refreshing that an educated professional is homeschooling. To be honest, that doesn’t seem like the norm.
    Actually, I don’t understand the buzz from homebuilders who want no accountability to the state in testing. We’d never tolerate schools who said THEY don’t want to be held accountable our don’t want anyone to know their test scores. If you’re doing a legitimate job of teaching, why not prove it? Show that homeschool kids can perform just as well. If it’s just too keep your kid “off the grid” somehow… well that sounds paranoid and extremist. Can anyone explain?
    Great to hear your voice in this though. loved the article.

  46. nicole schumaker says:

    i didnt think the article was condescending at all. there are certain stigmas attached to home schooling that still exist. And i believe that by admitting that she believed a few of them and that she was unsure makes it all the more real. Being honest about your fears and concerns and even (OH NO!) social stigmas makes you a better person. Most of us have believed something at some point that latter turned out to not be true. Instead of bashing this woman why not praise her for being open and honest and welcome her to the homeschool crew instead of insisting that she is just another one of ‘those people’ who looks down on it. Isn’t that doing the same thing?

  47. I agree with Dee. I seriously doubt any offense was intended. I personally thank you for forwarding the homeschool movement. The reality is that a lot of people still look at homeschoolers as right wing/extremist/kooks/unsocialized. I think this article is meant to help those people see its not always true. And if we can just lay down our “right” to be offended at every little thing, our society would be greatly helped.

  48. I’ve been homeschooling for 20 years, and I have to agree that the early part of the article was disappointing. It seems to show prejudice and narrow-mindedness about homeschoolers on the author’s part. I think this probably reflects the beliefs of many people — and maybe homeschoolers deserve it a little bit, if we’re honest. But it certainly is time to be done with that stereotype.

    It’s an excellent list, however. I would add better nutrition for my children at home as another reason to homeschool.

  49. Welcome to the big, bad, radical, “but-what-about-socialization?” world of homeschooling. And thanks to the ignorance of the general public, whether you like it or not, you are now an extremist (although not a farmer). Great points, loved the article.

  50. I literally had my state step in and not just threaten me, but they railroaded on trumped up truancy charges for which I hold documented evidence proving it to be false. i am also the only person the state has ever taken a child away for such a reason and was only allowed a two hour visitation once per week. This is ALL documented. I have filed a release of information act with the court twice and been ignored. I have filed a complaint with the State and though the answered nothing was followed through and my calls go unanswered. I will now be filing with Homeland Security and hope to secure an attorney though I myself am disabled. I have documented every call and made a CD of every record and send them to several locations for safe keeping. All this because I mentioned Home School. I was also not given a fair hearing and things snowballed from there. Those that have had to fight for the right to educate and the freedom to be parents deserve to be heard and deserve for someone to stand by their side. If we don’t fight for our liberties and freedoms who will? We need to protect or today’s for or children of tomorrow.

  51. Pamela Price @RedWhitewndGrew says:

    Having spent the last year collecting stories from over 100 parents for a book due out this summer on working homeschool parents and launched a companion blog (HowtoWorkandHomeschool.com), I am delighted to see this article and the discussion that it generates. And, yes, I think the face of homeschooling is changing, moving at last beyond a narrow stereotype to one in which all homeschool parents (both faith based and secular) are understood for their essential entrepreneurial impulses to redefine how families work/learn/live/play in fresh ways. In so doing, they are paving the way for even more people to make the same choices. Cheers to the homeschool entrepreneurs!

  52. Thank you for this wonderful article. I am torn at this point. You have given me food for thought. I have a 7th, 4th & 2nd-3rd grader (takes classes in both grades). The sleep, tardy-less and flexible schedule seems intriguing.

  53. I am a lawyer and my husband is a Ph.D. teaching at a local university. We’ve been homeschooling our two kids for the past 8 years and wouldn’t change a thing. Great article!

  54. Thank you so much for writing this!! I was homeschooled all the way through from Kindergarten to 12th grade. When my parents first decided to homeschool us (there were 5 kids in our family) it was just starting to become popular, and where we lived there were only a couple families deciding to homeschool. My parents almost got sued because us kids weren’t “in school.” I am so glad that they stuck with it, I feel I have become the person I am today because of their determination to be in charge of my education.
    All of my siblings have attended college; my younger sister just passed her RN boards, my older sister is finishing up her schooling to become a teacher, my older brother went for IT and is now working for a large company, my younger brother is a photographer, and I will graduate with an Associates in Midwifery in August.
    And socially, I feel that we have always been able to interact with people of all ages and walks of life because we were exposed to such a variety of people, as apposed to primarily people our own age.
    So, thank you for writing this and thank you to my parents for sticking with it, even when it was tough! :)

  55. My wife was homeschooled, which is why we absolutely, positively, will not do it.

    While homeschool communities may be more diverse than they were in the past, they are still pretty insular. They are still largely white, middle class, and religious. The advantage of school is that children do interact with people of different backgrounds. Her idea of what is and is not “normal” was considerably skewed by the experience. She did very well academically, but struggled socially after high school.

    They also get taught by people with different backgrounds. My wife knows a lot about what interested her parents and knows little about that which did not. She missed out on opportunities because they were simply never presented to her.

    Also, as Brianna mentioned, teachers know a LOT more about child development and education than do many parents. It is a bit hard for many parents to accept that others know more about their children than they do, but this has been completely true for us. We would be lost trying to figure out how to best educate our children.

    As for discipline, the more time our children stay at home, the more we end up yelling at them.

  56. Great article! We’ve known since our now four-year-old daughter was a baby that we would homeschool, and as a non-Christian family, we’ve has quite an interesting time finding out just how many religious extremists homeschool, and how hard it can be to find dogma-free curricula. It’s always refreshing to meet and read of homeschoolers who aren’t fundamentalist kooks. Hopefully the tables are turning, and us normal folks will have more of a voice in the homeschooling community.

  57. Well written article. For those who are slamming Dr. Berchelmann’s article for reasons you feel are condescending, you need to go back and read in the context of what she wrote. Her perceptions of homeschooling families were driven by society where she is. There is a perception out there that matches her description of what a homeschooling family looks like but it varies by region. (I know, I’ve lived all over the US.)

    President (then candidate) Obama was talking about rural America and how they have felt left behind with the economy. He said all the promises of recovery for their particular small town have fallen flat so “they cling to guns or religion”. Was he saying that all rural America clings to gun and religion? No.

    Her goal was to point out the misconceptions of who home schools and why. She made that point well. Those who have gotten their panties in a wad seem to be looking for a fight instead of embracing someone new to the cause.

    If you look at history, people would have had a very negative perception of Australia. It started as a penal colony for Britain. Were they sent the worst offenders – half a world away. If all you had ever heard was “Australia is a penal colony” would you ever go? No. If you decided to go anyway, I don’t think that is what you would find. That was her point – all the info she had ever been given was what she listed. What she found was totally different and that wiped away all her preconceived notions.

    For those who felt she was being condescending, maybe a little socialization is in order. That would help you understand how to pull information out of the whole context vs what you want to hear/read. Don’t bash the person pointing out the misconception – bash those who create and perpetuate it. She clearly is the former – not the later.

    Context: my wife is an MD and I am the socially awkward computer guy. We would love to homeschool but haven’t been able to have kids yet. We wouldn’t be able to afford private school (like the author) for even one child right now. I know many families who have homeschooled their kids with fantastic results and maybe one day we’ll get that chance too.

  58. Well written article. For those who are slamming Dr. Berchelmann’s article for reasons you feel are condescending, you need to go back and read in the context of what she wrote. Her perceptions of homeschooling families were driven by society where she is. There is a perception out there that matches her description of what a homeschooling family looks like but it varies by region. (I know, I’ve lived all over the US.)

    President (then candidate) Obama was talking about rural America and how they have felt left behind with the economy. He said all the promises of recovery for their particular small town have fallen flat so “they cling to guns or religion”. Was he saying that all rural America clings to gun and religion? No.

    Her goal was to point out the misconceptions of who home schools and why. She made that point well. Those who have gotten their panties in a wad seem to be looking for a fight instead of embracing someone new to the cause.

    If you look at history, people would have had a very negative perception of Australia. It started as a penal colony for Britain. Were they sent the worst offenders – half a world away. If all you had ever heard was “Australia is a penal colony” would you ever go? No. If you decided to go anyway, I don’t think that is what you would find. That was her point – all the info she had ever been given was what she listed. What she found was totally different and that wiped away all her preconceived notions.

    For those who felt she was being condescending, maybe a little socialization is in order. That would help you understand how to pull information out of the whole context vs what you want to hear/read. Don’t bash the person pointing out the misconception – bash those who create and perpetuate it. She clearly is the former – not the later.

  59. Maggie Pulley says:

    I know all about homeschooling as I am a teacher for a virtual academy. Please explain how you homeschool four kids and work as a pediatrician. I can’t see how there are enough hours in the day.

  60. We are just getting started with our homeschooling, and I am seeing a lot of the same changes you did. As a veterinarian I never dreamed about staying home to homeschool, but the benefits are to outstanding not too!

  61. This is a great article. Thank you for sharing it. I would like to say, for those who are thinking about it, that in Ohio it is up to individual districts whether they offer services or allow children to participate in extracurricular activities. Our district does not offer speech therapy and we ended up paying big bucks for two of our children to have that. Our district also requires that students are also enrolled for at least a half day in order to play on sports teams.

  62. Overall, a great article. I laughed when I read your comment, “Homeschooling is changing.” Perhaps it’s just your attitude/perception that’s changed? We homeschooled our three kids (all now in their twenties, college-educated, and successfully launched), are professionals, and ran into plenty of other homeschooling families just like us. I don’t for a minute believe that all early homeschoolers were farmers or extremists!! Lovely article all the same – thank you!

  63. Happy homeschool momof2 says:

    Dear Kathleen

    This is the first column of yours that I have read. I cannot believe how condescending it was towards homeschoolers. I have homeschooled my two children for ten years. I have never worn a long denim skirt nor my hair in a ponytail or a bun. I dress very up to date. My children are very socially integrated and have participated in many activities. Instead of being thankful that homeschooling is legal in this country thanks to homeschoolers for fighting for that right approximately 30 years ago. You made us all sound like stupid country bumpkins. Yes, I am socially and fiscally conservative, but that doesn’t make me stupid or you smarter than me. Have you even studied the history of homeschooling? If you have the time, read the books by John Taylor Gatto. Learn a little history of us and then maybe you will appreciate rather than make fun of your predecessors in homeschooling.

  64. While I found many good points in this article, some of it was offensive. I am one of those stay at home Momas that wears the long skirt. We are the pioneers that stood up for our religious freedoms that made it possible for you to pull your kids out for whatever reason that you as a parent felt important. I choose to dress this way to promote modesty instead of the slutty behavior of our society. I also agree with one of the other comments that most of your list is about how home schooling helps you. Home schooling is a wonderful choice that I personally believe every mother should make, if they truly love their children and want what is best for them. The changes that have taken place in the home school movement is why we have had to limit the activities that our children now participate in. The home school groups are becoming as worldly and sin filled as the public school. So we paved the way for you to be able to home school and you can be glad that you don’t have to be like the long skirt wearing farmer’s wives. However, we aren’t exactly thrilled with what some of you new home schoolers are bringing to the table either.

  65. Great article. I have 5 kids. Now the oldest is in college and holding down 2 jobs, the second works full-time at her first job ever. Was promoted and given a raise within her first 4 months there. She does her school work before and after work and on weekends. The next two are in high school aged and then a 4th grander. We did 7 years in public school and i decided to get off that graeless, fast-moving train and let our family breathe. That was 6 years ago. All are thriving, we get lots of rest, snuggle time in the mornings. I got rid of the calendar on the wall and I only allow them one extra curricular activity at a time and that must be a low-key one. We don’t home-school though, we unschool. The best part of home education is liberty to be and do and raise your kids the way you feel is best. If you’re on Facebook, one of my favorite posts to readies Libertarian Homeschoolers. I highly recommend it.

  66. Kara Murrah says:

    Hello! I love your article and I have committed to start homeschooling my children starting in the 2013-2014 school year. The problem is, I don’t know how to transition from public to home school. Like, how do I choose a home school program? Where do I look for one? How is testing done? Is there any way you could give me some guidance?

    Thank you.

  67. This article reads more like reasons to homeschool overall, instead of why exactly doctors and/or lawyers do it. It is well-written but the “filter” I was expecting to read based on the headline is only covered in the introduction.

  68. Athalion says:

    Anyone who thinks this article is condescending obviously failed to read it. What the author said was that she was surprised that the stereotype “homeschooler” turned out to be untrue. What I find really amusing are the people who post a comment saying that this article is arrogant, condescending and hypocritical especially since they basically say that the author’s way of homeschooling is the “wrong” way. You sound just like the anti-homeschoolers, saying that your way to educate is the only correct way. Why don’t you take your own advice and learn what homeschooling is really about-providing the best education possible for your OWN children.

  69. I wih Texas could say the same for #5. For the record, only 27 states in the US allow homeschooled students to participate in UIL activities. You are lucky in this one.

  70. Thank you for this article. I do feel the need to clarify, however, one of your points. Number 5 depends on what state you live in, and even sometimes the district. Any of your readers who are considering homeschooling should research their particular state’s homeschool laws. HSLDA.org is a good place to start.

  71. The reason I believe that homeschooling has given people a bad taste is the bad teaching/socializing by a small amount of the parents. If the parents are conscious of the work that they have to put into there children then the children will go up well socialized and educated. Parents have to know how crucial it is that their children interact with people of all ages and backgrounds. Through my childhood I met many home-schooled children and some yes I could tell before even talking to them that they were home-schooled. Many on the other hand I could not. They were confident and as level headed as any person I have ever met.
    I grew up in the public system and found that there were many holes in my education. I now find that I have to teach myself about the history of my country, basic life skills such budgeting, and many other things. There were many times that I did not understand something but my teacher did not have the time to explain it to me individually. Also I found that teachers rarely took the time to understand my and my fellow students individual ways of learning.
    I believe that James is wrong in that teachers understand your children better than you do. Perhaps they understand children in general better than parents because they have been educated in it but parents have been with their children since birth. They know their individual child and how they learn. Most parents begin teaching numbers and the alphabet before school even starts. They know if their child is a visual, auditory,or kinetic learner.
    There are large flaws in the public education system. Some children flourish in this atmosphere but many become overwhelmed. They do not fit the mold made by the system and then feel that they are failing when really the system is failing them.
    In the end parents have to ask themselves if they truly can take on this enormous task. There can be no: maybe we will do it next week. It has to be now before the child grows up without the proper skills to live with.

  72. The reason I believe that homeschooling has given people a bad taste is the bad teaching/socializing by a small amount of the parents. If the parents are conscious of the work that they have to put into there children then the children will go up well socialized and educated. Parents have to know how crucial it is that their children interact with people of all ages and backgrounds. Through my childhood I met many home-schooled children and some yes I could tell before even talking to them that they were home-schooled. Many on the other hand I could not. They were confident and as level headed as any person I have ever met.
    I grew up in the public system and found that there were many holes in my education. I now find that I have to teach myself about the history of my country, basic life skills such budgeting, and many other things. There were many times that I did not understand something but my teacher did not have the time to explain it to me individually. Also I found that teachers rarely took the time to understand my and my fellow students individual ways of learning.
    I believe that James is wrong in that teachers understand your children better than you do. Perhaps they understand children in general better than parents because they have been educated in it but parents have been with their children since birth. They know their individual child and how they learn. Most parents begin teaching numbers and the alphabet before school even starts. They know if their child is a visual, auditory,or kinetic learner.
    There are large flaws in the public education system. Some children flourish in this atmosphere but many become overwhelmed. They do not fit the mold made by the system and then feel that they are failing when really the system is failing them.
    In the end parents have to ask themselves if they truly can take on this enormous task. There can be no: maybe we will do it next week. It has to be now before the child grows up without the proper skills to live with.

  73. sick of part time doctors says:

    Does this person actually work? It’s not possible to work as a doctor full time and be a homeschooling mom to 4. Does stay at home dad do the homeschooling? If this mom is just another part time doctor, I could care less what she says. She should resign from being a doctor and allow someone else into the profession. It makes me ill to see how many potential doctors didn’t get into medical school because of the quotas when they would have been much more into their jobs than this woman is. The shortage of doctors in the US is staggaring.

  74. Happy homeschool momof2 and others who are surprisingly defensive and dare I say, angry?

    Can I ask something? Just because somebody mentions that there is a perception of SOME folks in homeschooling as religious extremists or those who only wear long skirts, does that mean that ALL people are being painted that way? No.

    It would be a good idea if you all would read an article like this, step back from your keyboard, and think about this for a few moments while doing something else, and then come back and answer.

    Then you won’t need to argue points that aren’t being made in the article. I just want to point that out. We all need to listen more before we flame back unnecessarily.

    I couldn’t help but appreciate the gracious tone of someone who admitted to not being one of 36% yet didn’t demean it at all. Very refreshing.

  75. I liked the reasons mentioned in the article. It’s great to understand that homeschooling can be beneficial to both the parents and the children. I raised 7 children, and they were all homeschooled part of their growing up, one all the way through Highschool. I have 4 college graduates, two currently attending university , and the youngest attending a public Highschool, with plans to attend college when she graduates. We tried to consider the personality, and needs of each child each year as well as my own capabilities, to determine who would go to school, and who would stay home. Letting the children be part of the decision worked well for us because they were more motivated to work whether they were at home or not. They knew they had another option, and never felt trapped. We also tried to pick a curriculum that worked well or them, and we had a lot of fun with hands on learning. My children are all unique, kind, and hardworking people, with strong moral values. Hurray for great home educators, and great school teachers. I’m grateful for both options.

  76. What’s hilarious is it has been all of us ” religious extremists, right winged kooks” that have made homeschooling even possible for all the “liberal professional women.” We learned from the bible that parenting our children (including their education) was our job …glad your enjoying what the bible tells us will be our reward. There are many other wonderful lessons to be learned in the bible, I sincerely hope others will figure that out before their children are grown.

  77. #5- That’s only true for certain areas. I hate it when people say this in an article meant to be read by everyone. Some public schools allow this, but the vast majority do not!

  78. Thanks for taking the time to point out the great privileges of homeschooling. However, I would like to point out that the face of homeschooling has not changed. Rather, it is one’s preconceived notions being dismissed once they embark on sharing the same journey with homeschoolers.

    I can understand why some homeschoolers are feeling a little agitated at the remarks, but I think it is important to point out that even though the main perception of homeschooling is inaccurate, there are many, many people who hold that view point, and a post like this only helps the image of homeschooling. The people who are offended by it (homeschoolers), already know that the notion is not accurate, so we don’t need people to prove it to us, but it is for the others out there who don’t already understand this.

    So, thank you for being honest and letting the non-homeschool world know the truth. Homeschooling is a valid form of education with bonuses that any other form of education can not offer.

  79. I have a couple of observations:
    1) Where are the homeschooling Dads?
    2) I am not sure where parental levels of education play into your role as an educator. There are frequent references to “I’m a lawyer, or I’m not a lawyer” and I don’t get the need for that.
    3) As a non-homeschooler (yet) I completely understand the authors use of terms to describe the perception of the outside world re: homeschoolers. They are often seen as extremist, right-wing, religious, etc. Don’t act surprised when people use these terms.

    There are clearly some raw nerves when people discuss homeschooling. As a future “guerilla educator” I am excited to join the ranks of those who truly put their childrens education first. Even in the “California Distinguished School” where my sons go daily, they are more focused on administration than education. Time to move on.

  80. Be sure to let us know how your home-schooling works out when your children have completed their education.

  81. Bethanne says:

    “I wanted my kids integrated” (into what?) “and socialized.” (by whom?) I have been there…what made me think that my child can become socialized if it is being done by his peers? Being around mixed age groups and becoming aware of their expectations and needs is authentic socialization. My kids wanted to homeschool. Somehow they knew they didn’t want any part of the social scene of their peers. Their whole worlds expanded when they stayed home! Imagine!! But they read what interested them which amounted to over 100 books each year. When one son went back for 10th grade, he was only “required” to read 3!!! He was light years ahead of them.
    Thank God for their insight! (parentheses are mine.)

  82. “I wanted my kids integrated” (into what?) “and socialized.” (by whom?) I have been there…what made me think that my child can become socialized if it is being done by his peers? Being around mixed age groups and becoming aware of their expectations and needs is authentic socialization. My kids wanted to homeschool. Somehow they knew they didn’t want any part of the social scene of their peers. Their whole worlds expanded when they stayed home! Imagine!! But they read what interested them which amounted to over 100 books each year. When one son went back for 10th grade, he was only “required” to read 3!!! He was light years ahead of them.
    Thank God for their insight! (Above parentheses are mine.)

  83. “We are not all religious extremists or farmers, and our kids are not all overachieving academic nerds without social skills.”

    Congratulations! You have seen past this stereotype.

    I was homeschooled “Class of 1990″ and part of the recent homeschooling movement since 1985. I have had to deal with people calling me “socially retarded” when I am just fine. And for additional proof (for some) I am a degreed college graduate (BA ’94).

    We homeschool our 5 children. After one aunt-in-law came for a visit and chatted with our children for over an hour or so, she proceeded to grill me about socializing my children. She failed to notice they just successfully socialized with her for the afternoon.

    My parents started homeschooling when it was still in the courts in Texas to define homeschooling. You had to have solid conviction to make the decision to homeschool back then.

    I enjoyed reading your reasons. I wish you blessings on your family.

  84. Great post! Homeschooling is an adventure for sure! I just wanted to comment about number 5; sadly that is not available in all locations but it should be. You are lucky to live somewhere that you can have that access.

  85. Toby,

    I assure you, ” as one with my “panties in a wad,” I am socialized and intelligent enough to understand the context of her article. I realize this piece is supposed to be in support of homeschooling, but the tone is certainly judgmental. I cannot see how this idea: “The face of homeschooling is changing. We are not all religious extremists or farmers, and our kids are not all overachieving academic nerds without social skills.” is an effort to dispel the misconceptions concerning home schooling. Seems to me that she is arguing that not ALL home schoolers are extremists, farmers or nerds. If the purpose is to make the point that many professionals choose home education, that assertion does not require name calling and other derogatory references to families whose religious affiliation and geography differ. I also am college educated, but cannot equate that in anyway making me a better representative of the home schooling movement. My homeschooling circle includes doctors and lawyers, stay-at-home moms, single parents, unschoolers, conservatives and liberals. I admire them all. If everyone is doing what they consider the best for their kids, why stereotype anyone? If negative stereotypes exist where you live, change attitudes by affirming people not distancing yourself and pidgeonholing entire groups of people.

  86. Wow. Let me remind you that the “religious extremists”, “farmers”, and “stay-at-home moms in skirts” paved the way for you. You are quite rude and condescending. Try a little humbleness.

  87. Thank you for this article. Great read! My son is only 11 months, but I have been weighing the pros/cons of homeschooling him. The points you made are great, and I can even think of a few more.

  88. James,
    You are making a lot of assumptions about homeschoolers, instead of making assumptions about your wife’s parents. It sounds like they defined her narrow view of the world.
    My kids homeschool, it was their choice, not mine. But it has been wonderful for them. We live in a predominantly white, protestant suburban town, but homeschooling takes us all ovet the state. they have the opportunity to make friends with kids from all walks of life. My daughter has friends who raise their own chickens for 4-H and friends who live in the city and can get anywhere on the subway by themselves. She has Asian friends, black friends latino friends, jewish friends, gay friends, lesbian friends, and plenty of kids who fit morethan one category.
    As a high schooler, she takes classes at a major university now and blends in fine with her “real college” classmates. No one would know she was a “homeschooler” unless they ask.
    Please stop blaming an educational method for your in-laws short-comings, and understand that homeschooling, like anything else, is what you make of it.

  89. Abby Scott says:

    Great article! I was homeschooled and am homeschooling my kids, anyone who see this article as “offensive” let me just say. Its your own choice to get offended. Buck up! This article was well written and I agree for the most part. :)

  90. I am homeschooling single parent who also holds a professional career. I am fortunate that my career allows flexibility and autonomy so I am able to balance both. Homeschooling my son is the best choice that I have made with regard to his education. If you want proof, check out my ten year old’s blog. He is articulate, thoughtful, bright, and persistent. His blog has an international following in all countries except China.

    http://viyanpoonamallee.com/

  91. Abby Scott says:

    Great article! I was homeschooled and am homeschooling my kids, anyone who see this article as “offensive” let me just say. Its your own choice to get offended. Buck up! She obviously stating what her previous opinion was of “homeschoolers” how they look how they dress ect. Which anyone knows that IS what the worlds first thought is when they hear the term “homeschooler” her opinion changed and she is telling her reasons for loving homeschooling. Everyone will have a few different reasons/ beliefs for homeschooling. This article was well written and I agree for the most part. :)

  92. Lucas Stephens says:

    Homeschooling may not be right for every child, but most children/families would benefit. Great article!

  93. I agree with everything; however, saying “Your kids can even join high school sports teams once they are old enough” is not true everywhere. Where I live (California), the law here states my child must be educated in the public school in order to participate in high school sports. Their reason is that they require a particular GPA to play sports and they do not recognize a homeschool parent’s grade; it must come from the public school itself.

  94. JED TOCCI says:

    ONE OF THE BEST ARTICLES I’VE READ ON THE MATTER

  95. This is a great article! As a Physician Assistant working part-time and a husband who is a medical doctor working full-time, the title of course intrigued me! I by no means found this condescending. I for a fact know homeschooling is not the stereotype it once was and so many I know are moving toward homeschooling for a lot of these reasons. I find the public school system very disappointing and it is in a sense failing our children. I prefer to take my children’s education into my own hands to ensure they get individualized instruction and can move at the pace they need. My kids do not at all lack social interaction – we have more time to pursue other enriching activities to broaden their experiences. I also have the freedom to teach them values public schools do not even allow teachers to teach any longer.

  96. Great stuff here…and exactly all the reasons we started homeschooling our children last year. Not many believe that I spend less time doing school than we actually spent in the car during our private school year, but it’s true. Homeschooling is less stressful for us all around.

    Certainly not all homeschoolers in the early years were extremist or social misfits, but it is hard for me to shake that early impression of homeschooling as well.

    The face of homeschooling is changing…when I mention to anyone that we homeschool, I’ve never failed to receive anything short of glowing admiration.

    Now if that’s not a turn around, I don’t know what is.

    Thanks for a great article!

  97. Cris Fontana says:

    Oh , My ! That’s my dream …. Yeah , I’m a mom of 3 boys and a MD , and that previous insanity is my today life …. I’d love to “only” homeschool ,or better homeschool without the regular school ! I live in Rio de Janeiro , Brazil , and homeschooling is forbidden here . The regular school is of horrible non teaching (see PISA) place , even the private ones . And extremely bad at “ethics” and behavior , bullying is something on daily basis .So, to heal and fix that , I do homeschool instead of the regular school ,after school , when children are exactly that way , back home tired , bored and hungry .Not only teach and give our values to them , but before that , undo the bad teachings and bad values given at school . That’s a lot of hard work . And what’s worse , very well paid schools (about more than $15.000 , 00 dollars per year per children paid to school !) . To my child be in a class with other 20 children instructed by a teacher far less prepared than me . ( teachers here in Brazil are poorly prepared ,usually the worst students and backgrounds ) … This is nuts ! By the way don’t move “forwards” , we’re already there , and far beyond ! And it’s NO good . Beware . Save America and your children .

  98. cosmicmom says:

    What a wonderful article! I decided to unschool my child when he hit 7th grade 18 years ago and I felt so alone. I was doing it for many reasons, none of them related to religion and values. I’m pleased that many others are now joining the movement, developing their own support systems with like-minded parents and families. My son had no trouble getting into college and now uses his immense creativity that would have been stifled in public school (a huge reason I unschooled) in two businesses – a yoga studio and building high quality worm bins for sustainable living as well as spear-heading community gardens where he lives.

  99. excellent article but my question is how? i am also a physician. do you work part time? how practically do you home school 4 hours a day and maintain clinic hours? my student loan burden doesn’t allow me to work less than 4 full days a week. i have a first grader who is special needs and a 7 month old infant who stays with a close family friend. i suppose another factor for us is that we are in the top public school system in our state so that is why my son attends public school – private school is not even an option financially. i am curious to know how you balance your career with homeschooling. thanks for sharing your article!

  100. Elizabeth says:

    I’m glad you have been able to see last the stereotypes…especially the socialization one. I’m a HSer with 2 children. We love all of our time together and they are thriving both in education and socially. I have a 4 year college degree and I am a busy WAHM as well as homeschooling. I work from home in the evenings after my children are in bed and on some weekends. It is so worth it. I am a woman of faith and teach my children the same faith. I am so very thankful for the pioneers of the HSing movement who worked so hard so that I could have the freedom to HS for whatever reason I choose. My husband works full time as a lawyer but participates in the evenings in a variety of ways.

    To the woman who is asking about how to start…google “Homeschool Conventions” to find one you can attend. This is very helpful if you don’t have other contacts. Also, search on Facebook & google for homeschooling groups or co-ops in your area…HSing moms are super helpful and always willing to answer questions. Best of blessings to you!

  101. Thank you for sharing and giving me the confidence to embark on homeschooling!!

  102. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We will be joining the home school crowd next year. I would have never considered it a few years ago but, recently many of the same reasons you gave is why we are going to give it a try. I appreciate you sharing some of the same apprehensions I have currently and given me courage that I can do it! I don’t need to be afraid of failing my children and in fact they will probably learn and retain more. Thanks again for writing this article!

  103. Nicolas Saliveros says:

    Dr Berchelmann THANK you for this article! I am a father of 4 and grandfather of 10. Over the last 2 years I have been having discussions with my daughter about the pros and cons of home-schooling. You see she home-schools 2 of her 4 girls. the other 2 are 3 and 1. Any and all questions I had about home schooling you answered in your article. Now I know that my daughter is raising her family in a healthy and happy environment, safe and with the social values that she and her husband have.

  104. I was homeschooled until my senior year of high school and then attended a small private school to play basketball. Not to brag by ang means, but I was well above the curve when entering college. Being homeschooled teaches a goal-directed, self-driven way of studying that is priceless when you are out of your parents’ house and no one is telling you to do your homework before you can watch TV. My parents didn’t possess any special skills that qualified them as teachers. They just had the guts to try it and the patience to stick with it. I’m in medical school now and have a son of my own. Although the final decision about his education hasn’t been made yet (he’s 2) my wife and I are more concerned that we will be doing him a disservice if we DON’T homeschool him.

  105. Fred Cooper says:

    Kathleen: We are lifelong homeschoolers who started in the mid-80′s. We homeschooled our own kids and now look forward to working with our grandchildren. I think it was the best and most concise article I’ve ever read explaining the reasons for homeschooling.

    I would add one point. You mentioned you were okay with the values your kids were taught in schools. I would agree that schools do try their best to teach values like honesty, integrity, hard work, kindness and self-discipline. Everyone wants their kids to possess these qualities!

    However, the one area that should be of concern is the worldview that is taught by schools. There are really two basic worldviews–theistic and non-theistic. Public schools can teach only the non-theistic worldview. (I’m not talking here about specific religions). If you espouse a particular religion, you would eventually find it frustrating to try and superimpose your religious teachings (usually theistic) upon a non-theistic worldview.

  106. This article caught my eye as I am an attorney who was also a homeschooling parent for a decade. My oldest is now a physics and applied math double major at Notre Dame, my middle daughter will be starting in the BFA (visual arts) program at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor this fall, and my youngest is finishing high school on a partial merit scholarship at a selective east coast boarding school. So, yes, homeschooling children can move on to great futures!
    As the moderator of a homeschooling yahoo!group called ckhomeschoolers, I will be posting a link to your article, as I think it’s a great one for my members to hand to skeptical relatives.
    Thanks for writing it!

  107. Mahogany Murphy says:

    I appreciate your article but disagree with your comment about spanking. Parents have the opportunity to discipline their kids based on each ones unique design. Yes there are many ways to teach a child to do what is right, but to say spanking is wrong rubs me the wrong way. If a young child with a strong temperament runs into the street after you have told him/her not to, reasoning will not work in that moment. They may need a firm swat on the behind to get the point across. I have watched this culture lean away from some things that are beneficial and more towards the psychological approach to parenting. As a result many children are disrespectful to their parents and others.
    If you choose to take that route I respect your choice. Spanking should not be used all the time(only when a young child is being rebellious), but it is an option and should not be demonized.

  108. This is a nice article you’ve written. Perhaps home school moms are smart in-spite of the face that some prefer to wear skirts; imagine that! So glad you’ve caught on to something may of us have been practicing for over a dozen years; be thankful for the trailblazers in this field who have labored for freedom in this area.

  109. Trying to teach my 10-year-old grandson differential and integral calculus with words like:

    “Look, you might not know how to find the area under this crazy curve, but you know how to find the area of a rectangle, right? Well just draw a tall, skinny rectangle right there, with the bottom on the x-axis and the top touching the curve. Then go over a little and draw another long, skinny rectangle. And another and another. Now, the area under the curve is almost equal to the area of all these tall, skinny rectangles. And the thinner they are, the closer the approximation will be. Now what happens if you could have an infinite number of infinitely thin rectangles? Yes, the answer would be exactly right. Remember what I said yesterday about limits? Well this is an application. The limit of the sum of the areas as the width of the rectangles goes to zero is the INTEGRAL of the function from the starting point to the ending point on the x axis.”

    The guy soaks it right up.

    I’m trying to teach my older grandson, age 12, how to implement the finding of roots of transcendental functions by using Newton’s or Danby’s method. I also invented a combination bisection and reverse-interpolation method for finding roots that I named for our cat, Father Wiggly. It’s slower than Newton’s method, and much slower than Danby’s, but the advantage is that it never skitters, as those other methods can do if one of your approximations lands too close to the zero of the first derivative.

    Both boys can program their Casio fx-9860g calculators. I’ve promised them rewards when they can show me a program that starts with the six Keplerian elements of an elliptical orbit and a calendar date, and figure out what the geocentric right ascension and declination will be for the object which is in that orbit. The last I looked, they were puzzling over celestial mechanics treatises by Victor Szebehely and A.D. Dubyago. Heh. Dubyago skips steps. I wish them luck.

    I can only contemplate with horror the idea that my grandsons might be in a public school somewhere being stuck in a classroom where the teacher is trying to get misbehaving retards to memorize the multiplication tables. No Child Left Behind really means that no child can get ahead.

  110. Mark Arnold says:

    Dr Berchelmann,

    Thanks for your thoughts. You and I would not see eye to eye on a number of issues — oh wait — that, in part, is the point!

    As a homeschooling parent I appreciate that there were different issues that motivated you and I. In fact I think that the variety of motivating factors and interests add depth to what homeschooling is.

  111. Excellent article. Every point is dead on. Thank you!!!!

  112. Svanhild Hansen says:

    Thank you for sharing. I am a doctor too and I miss my kids… I just want to ask how you plan your days, more specifically. How do you combine homeschooling with working at a hospital?

  113. Great list! We have been homeschooling for 7 years and love it!

  114. What a thought-provoking article! However, I very much got the sense that you believe traditional public/private schools are terrible places where no learning occurs. I agree, there are ineffective teachers and schools out there. But there are really really excellent ones as well. While most folks who homeschool have the child’s best interests in mind, I have worked in several school districts where parents take their children out of traditional school to homeschool them, simply because they are unhappy with the school for some minor reason. Then, since they took their child out of school with no plan as to how to homeschool, their children stay home and have no educational experience….until the parent is tired of their child only playing video games and re-enrolls them at the local public school, who now has to educate a student who hasn’t read a book for 3 months.

    While I very much enjoyed reading this article, I am disappointed to see public/private schools portrayed as a whole as places where no learning occurs and unreasonable demands are made. I truly believe there are effective, quality public/private schools available, and quality educators as well. I felt like the article made it seem like you are doing your child a huge disservice if you do not homeschool them.

  115. hi, I am also home schooling my son. could you please post other websites that you have found useful?

  116. Public Schooled says:

    James, I was scarred for life by being IN school. And who is to say your wife’s social struggles are a result of homeschooling? Mine are a result of being bullied mercilessly while the schools did nothing bu stand by and watch. I don’t trust anyone, and I mostly avoid people. That happens after years upon years of systematic abuse at the hands of your peers. My friends tend to be younger or much, much older. I can’t relate or deal with people my own age. I hate them all. I immediately am reminded of those who tortured me to the point I wanted to end my life. The socialization argument is invalid.

  117. Thanks for this great article! I’ve considered (and am still considering) homeschooling for a lot of the reasons you posted. One thing I’m curious about… do you find that you as a parent get enough time for yourself? That’s one thing I do enjoy when my little one is in preschool and older one is in school…the time to be responsible for just me. So I’m curious how homeschooling parents ensure that their own need for quiet, alone time is met. Thanks!

  118. And number #19 on the list…
    Teach children to refrain from ad hominem, to respect those who have gone b/f even when we do not agree w/ their reasons, and to be graciously tolerant of all.

    If home schooling can serve to do that, there will be Victory.

  119. The statement that homeschool students are still eligible for public school services is not correct. It all depends on where you live. With budget cuts and a general dislike of homeschooling among public school systems, you cannot assume that your homeschool child, even your homeschooled special needs child will get any services at all. Some districts strong-arm parents and require that your child is enrolled in their schools to get any services. If you an exceptionally good negotiator and know the IDEA and IEP process thoroughly, you might be able to get services for your special needs child and still keep them at home (in the least restrictive environment), but in many areas around the country, that is a still a very long shot.

  120. I understand the point you’re making that the complexion of homeschooling is changing, but I find it offensive that you separate the professionals, doctors and lawyers from the stay-at-home long-skirted moms and the religious extremists who are the parents of academic nerds. Public schools are saturated with this weak mentality of sorting people into categories, ignoring the fact that people are more complex than that. In your quest to assure the public that you are not guilty of such atrocities by homeschooling, you reveal your ignorance. So in your vast experience, no self-respecting doctor or attorney would ever dare quit their profession to be a stay at home mom? No “hippy” could ever be a professional, and only doctors and attorneys are religiously balanced? Teaching your children not to pigeonhole human beings should be Reason #19 to leave the public school system.

  121. Well said! I am in the same boat that you are and couldn’t agree with you more. Homeschooling is amazing!

  122. It’s the “religious extremists” who figured out first that our school’s are a joke. Not a great way to intro this story. I stopped reading after I had to see that.

  123. Hmmm I do have one thing to say I liked your article and yes it seem kinda condescending but one thing I was not happy with is the not spanking your children.. did I understand correctly that you make your children do school for punishment ok at 2nd and 4th grade not so great for teens and high-schoolers you will make them hate school with a passion because you used it for punishment…. If I read wrong ok but if not spank your kids you want them to know spankings are bad and reserved for when they do bad… But making them do school is gonna turn your happy homeschooling into unhappy 16 year olds promising themselves never to teach their kids at home..

  124. Thanks for writing this. I loved how you said, “better socialization.” Finally, someone gets it! On the other hand, it made me really sad when you said “right-wing kook”. Why is right-wing bad? This hurts. Does that make me a kook? I don’t think so. I hope if anything, your article shows others that many of the stereotypes we feed off of are just plain ignorant.

  125. Wow. I get paid to write so I have been avoiding “freebies” but I am NOT interested in hearing about homeschooling and bullying, OK? What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Saying the socialization argument is invalid because you couldn’t learn to fight back and/or adapt is not unlike to arguing about natural selection and survival of the fittest. By the way, those of you who blindly support home-schooling might wish to check your spelling and grammar before posting. (I learned to do that without being home-schooled.) Seriously, don’t forget this post is mainly read by folks who already think home-schooling is the best thing since sliced bread! Don’t forget it is an opinion piece and not a news article either.

  126. teachermom says:

    Congratulations! Good luck with “home job hunting” in the future. Reality will hit when your kids have to toddle off to college and assimilate into campus life. Good luck with your experiment….too bad you can’t rinse out the petri dishes and repeat on this one.

  127. I concur with most of the reasons you mentioned. We have been homeschooling for seven years, and it’s turning out well for our family, but I’d also have to concur with Linda’s apt comments. I was uneasy with your remarks expressing contempt for the homeschooling moms who are not from a socioeconomic sphere similar to yours. If it were not for those faithful, brave women “in the long skirts” who defied both the law and critics in the 70′s, most of us would not be enjoying the freedoms we homeschoolers enjoy today. We have it easy by comparison. I personally hope your article reaches many who are pondering homeschooling — and that you will have opportunities to meet many wonderful families who will challenge your preconceived notions about them: parents who love their children more than they value others’ opinions about their parenting and are willing to stake their professional (and “unprofessional”) lives on it. Thank you for an otherwise encouraging and well written article.

  128. I enjoyed your article. I am a homeschool veteran of 20+ years. We utilized the public school many times as well as needed. Homeschooling has changed very much over the years! This last year I put child numbers 5 and 6 in school full time so I could finish up college myself; what a disaster for number 6, a mildly special needs child. (A long story!). BUT a disaster that had taught us very much about ourselves and our family and why we homeschooled in the first place. I didn’t find your article condescending, it was humorous and veteran homeschoolers laugh at ourselves. There are some weird homeschoolers, but their are some weird public schoolers as well. When articles are written the personality of the writer doesn’t always shine through…nor always the personality of the reader. Homeschooling is a great option, but it is not for all. We need to work really hard in our society to make sure that the choices we make for our family are for our family, they may not work for others. It has been a fun road for our family; we have learned much, we have laughed much, we have argued some, and we have grown. My adult homeschooled kids are 2 teachers, 1 doctor, and 1 computer geek. My kiddos still at home are reaching for the stars~

  129. Thanks for sharing your story. I’m a new homeschooling mom of a preschooler, and this post was very encouraging! I actually pulled my son out of preschool because I felt led to homeschool, and it has been so much smoother! I doubted my abilities as well, hearing your story of how you did this year really makes me feel confident that I too can do this! :)

  130. Great post! I agree. My kids have never been to school (grades 10 & 7).

    Not all states allow #5.

    The face of homeschooling hanged in the 1990s, nit just last year – or maybe it was never what people thought. My homeschool mom -parent oeers are all professionals as are their husbands.

    Oh and add Wall Street workers too. That’d be us, and some others we know are finance and stock market people.

  131. Carolyn Myers says:

    Love your article. I couln’t agree more. I wish I had homeschooled my sons. I wish my son would homeschool his children.

  132. The article was fine. However it highlighted the fact that once again the “best” education is increasingly only available to the wealthy. In my community it is absolutely a matter of status if a family is ssuccessful enough to homeschool. The doctors and lawyers’ wives who can afford to home school definatly lord the fact over the rest of us.

  133. Will

    If you actually read the original article with care and an open mind, you would have seen that her comments are about her family’s choice and why it works for them. There is sufficient evidence to prove the effectiveness of homeschooling for educational outcomes let alone its impact on strengthening family relationships. Individualized education, check! Student centered, check! Value based, check! Flexible curriculum, check! Favorable teacher to student ratio, check! For most recent research on the effectiveness of homeschooling as an educational choice, please check the following link from Vanderbilt University.

    http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2012/11/homeschooling/

    By the way, did you know that Charles Darwin was an atrocious speller? I am sure there are many schooled bad spellers as home-schooled ones. That is a very irrelevant and churlish attack!

  134. I read the blog. I have an open mind. I am directing the majority of my comments to all the people who assume this blog is a factual article. I do not need anyone to assume I know nothing about education and/or home-schooling.
    Having been involved in studies I know more about them then you apparently think. You can post the link if you want but then you should post links to research about such research as well.
    No, people who come online and make comments should use spell-check and check their grammar. I cannot address your comment regarding bad spellers as I have not done any research. It is not irrelevant. If you wish to be taken seriously then you should at least do your best to make sure your comments are free of multiple errors. (I actually had one error in a previous post but apparently no one noticed.) You are welcome to express your opinions but I was not attacking anyone. I was simply pointing out a fact. (Please note the lack of anything resembling a personal attack in this response.)

  135. Teachermom, Colleges and universities are appreciative of the home school community joining them; in fact, they are not only appreciative, some are outright courting them to get the cream of the crop.

    Then again, there is always online college courses for those of us who are interested in this for the long haul and committed to a top notch education through college and beyond.

  136. Will dear I hate to say this but spelling and grammar are not what all life is about… I know some of the greatest people with spelling issues… Anyway I am not totally for homeschooling and yes I do plan to send my children to public but if you are not even gonna take the time to read it please leave your comments to yourself. You’re just trying to fight and as for the last comment you made I found that very attacking, especially to someone who has trouble spellin oh I mean spelling forgive me….

  137. I never said spelling and grammar are what life is all about in my post. What I said was if you are going to post a comment and want to be taken seriously or even just be understood it would help if you use spell-check and grammar-check.
    I never said I failed to read anything. I read everything. I am not trying to fight. I simply made an observation. The software into which one must type their comments even has a built-in program. It is not difficult to notice the underlined errors.
    I was attacking no one. I was simply making an observation. At worst, one might consider it constructive criticism. of course, the way we are all so overly-PC today maybe that is no longer acceptable.

  138. Okay, Will, you are so irritating that I find I must mention this: If you are pompous enough to say “one must” do something, then you really need to be consistent and follow it up with the possessive pronoun “one’s” rather than “their”. Just a hint. Maybe your grammar checker missed it.

    I get paid to write, too. And I homeschooled all four of my kids. And they can all spell.

    By the way, you missed an initial capital at the beginning of your final sentence.

  139. Damon B. says:

    This is one of the most well written articles I’ve read about benefits of homeschooling — I still disagree with a few of them, but many of the points are very solid. I think we still get a little fuzzy when it comes to ‘better’ socialization — would you say Jesus would’ve had better socialization if he didn’t hang out with sinners and Samaritans? The example smart, family oriented children can provide to others is to me real, and important. And the alternative teaching methods taught in homeschool while often effective, are not shared with a large number of people — the whole country is in need of positive education reform, not just a few people that figure it out and keep it at home :) But, again, good arguments, and obviously very great what you are doing for your kids. They know they are loved, and obviously they are being taught well.

  140. Ann, start at http://hslda.org. There you can connect with local homeschoolers, plus make certain that you’re complying with your state’s laws.

    Teachermom, many colleges are targeting recruiting efforts to homeschoolers. They understand that these young adults know how to think rather than what to think, that they have learned topics to mastery instead of passing at 61%, and that they will be valuable members of a college’s community rather than partying away their parents’ money.

    We follow delight-directed learning for our children’s high school years, and three of four of them are on the Dean’s Lists. Your fears are unfounded.

    Kathleen, schooling through the government school system is not homeschooling, even if it’s done at home. It’s “public school at home” and there is a big difference, legally and otherwise.

  141. seems kind of sugar coated. homeschooling not hard, eh?

  142. For those of you that are considering homeschooling and looking for a good program, here is the one we use and highly recommend: http://www.classicalconversations.com. We found Classical Conversations after trying several different methods (our own custom curriculum, commercial curriculum, etc) and it has worked out great for us!

    It is a great program for first timers because you meet one day a week with the other homeschoolers in your area and you are shown how to teach the core principles for that week. Our children are 5, 6, and 11 and they all study the same core principles, but at age appropriate levels (this makes teaching different age levels much easier). The core knowledge, critical thinking and speaking skills they are learning include much of what I didn’t get until I got to college (and I’m even learning a bunch that I didn’t learn in my entire educational career). They are going to make some amazing adults!

  143. How wonderful that you found something that works well for your family. Many women choose to leave their careers and stay at home fulltime for the some of the same reasons you have outlined.

    As a public high school teacher, however, I am compelled to warn you about an issue I see year after year. Many parents intend to homeschool their children until high school. At that time they place their children into a system that is completely foreign to them. A time when students who have been in school have a difficult time transitioning to high school.

    I can state with no hesitation that all but one of my formerly homeschooled students had a very difficult time entering public school in high school. Most of them failed my class, even after getting straight A’s year after year while at home. (Which begs the question – do homeschooled children ever get less than an A in a subject?).

    It may be that the truly gifted homeschooled children stick with homeschooling and go on to become masters in their fields. It may be that my students’ parents quit homeschooling because they realized they did not have the skills required to teach their children properly. Their children may have had special needs. Regardless of the reason, with ONE exception out of fifty students or so, the homeschoolers that came to my classroom were significantly behind their peers. However, none of their parents were aware. They all believed that the A’s from their online classes meant their children were proficient.

    So my advice to you and any that may be reading: if you are considering placing your child into public school, do so in 8th grade instead of 9th. Let them learn how to be a public school student when the stakes aren’t so high. Also, be realistic about what your child is learning. If he/she can blow through an entire curriculum in two months, at three hours per day, chances are most of it isn’t going to stick.

  144. Kathryn,
    I debated intentionally inserting errors to see if anyone would notice. I am glad someone noticed! See how it influences what people think of your opinion? It even caused you to attack me personally and miss my valid point entirely.
    (Yes I spotted your one error as well but I assume it was intentional so I am not going to bite as I am not here to fight.)
    Again, unlike some people, I was not attacking anyone personally I was simply making a valid point regarding communicating and being taken seriously. Thank you for helping to illustrate my point.

  145. Thank you for writing this!

  146. Overall I think this article shares some insightful decisions in the home-schooling choice.

    I am a public school educator – and VERY proud of the work I do for my students and their families. I also know some wonderful families who do a fabulous job home-schooling their children!

    I don’t wear long skirts, but you can call me a religious fanatic :) I’d be okay with that! Here is my 1 reason I do not home school.

    * As a Christian parent I choose not to home school because I believe we are called to be salt and light. If all Christian families pull their children out of schools our other children in our communities do not have that salt and light they desperately need examples of. (BEFORE they get to college :) I want to help and equip my children at home to go be wonderful salt and light at school. I teach part time. I can’t share the gospel at my school, but my little girl who attends there sure likes to! As Christian parents I would like to see us pushing into public schools more, serving more there, supporting more there – not pulling out.

    That’s my two-cents.

    I wish your family the best in your endeavor and am glad to hear it is benefiting you as a family unit.

  147. What a thoughtful article! I used to think homeschooling was for separatists and weirdos, but after teaching in private middle school, public college, and then homeschool co-op high school, I can absolutely see the virtues. It’s something I plan on doing with my 2 year old now, too.

  148. Teachermom, many colleges actually recruit homeschoolers. We taught our sons at home from kindergarten through high school during the late ’80 and ’90s. They both received scholarships at a prestigious college and did extremely well both socially and academically. Upon graduation they had their choice of jobs and continue to advance in their chosen careers (with no college loans to pay off). I too had doubts in the beginning but homeschooling turned out to be a wonderful experience for the whole family.

  149. Yes! A Thousand Times Yes! I homeschooled my 3 kids 4+ years while babysitting a lot of other little kids and took in a Teen Mom and helped her w/her GED and learning to parent. All this was years ago when it was still an “underground” thing, but I found your 18 reasons to be the SAME back then. Good On Ya!

  150. This is a wonderful, informed list. My only question with homeschooling is what happens when your child apples for college? Are homeschoolers less likely to be accepted vs a public or private school educated applicant?

  151. I am a retired public high school teacher, responsible for as many as 135 students each semester of my teaching career. I was lucky enough to teach at an award- winning school where we prided ourselves on working hard to meet the needs of all of our students. And yet, if I had been responsible for 2-6 kids each day, what an experience I could have given them! In addition to the parent/child connection home school families have, don’t forget the teacher-student ratio allows for immediate feedback and much more efficient use of everyone’s time. Kudos to all of you who take on the challenge of teaching your own children. And kudos to all of us who take on the challenge of teaching the masses.

  152. I homeschoolde for 12 years, we did it for many of the same reasons and more. We started in 1987 and it was a time when everyone thought we were nuts and going to ruin our Childrens life. We also have 4 children and in 4 and a half years, no twins. I thought the best option for kids was get them in preschool as soon as you could. I came across a book called School Can Wait and it started my research into homeschooling. It did not take long for me to see this is the way we needed to go. I was a stay at home mom, when we got married and started a family we knew one of us would stay home to give our kids the best shot for a well balanced life. Our children were able to do and expirence so much more than their friends who were not homeschooled. Our children were very social. We sent them to school when they were in High School, their first year they were board, our oldest came home from school after a week and said “I am so glad you did not make me go through 9 years of this, they waste so much time here!” His football coach called me after a week of practice and said he has never had a freshman look him in the eyes with such confidence. Our kids did not miss anything by doing school at home and they gained so much more. We did not have a behavior issue with our children for the most part. We did not have a problem with spanking when needed, and I will say if was rearly needed. Most of our family and others thought we were nuts, but we now have grandchildren and our adult children are good well adjusted adults.

  153. Hi Kathleen, did you start homeschooling with a “box” curriculum called Sonlight? This is the one my family used. :) Blessings
    ~N

  154. littleredwhyvette says:

    Thanks for the interesting article! I don’t have kids but I still think it was informative. I have one question though – by calling someone a “right wing kook,” aren’t you perpetuating the same type of stereotyping that you are trying to avoid for yourself. You don’t want people to assume that you are weird because you are a homeschooler, why would you perpetuate the idea that all people who have right wing beliefs are kooks? My personal beliefs are moderate, but I thought I’d point out the irony for the sake of a more balanced view.

  155. Very well written, and well supported. Thank you for putting into succinct words the answers that I need to give to those skeptics that I still encounter, even though I have a degree in Education, five years of classroom teaching experience, and have been homeschooling for nearly 20 years.

    The one point I take issue with is #5 – this is not true in all states, and/or school districts. It is on a district by district basis in our state, and our district has opted to not offer special services to students who are not enrolled full time (I have no idea if this applies to High-school sports or not). I think it is WRONG, and I think they should be required to provide services, particularly if I’m BRINGING the children to them, to take part in a GROUP therapy (speech) session that will take place whether my child takes part or not. But the fact is, that the federal law does not require it, and the states get to choose. Our state has chosen to leave that decision up to the individual districts. And our district is VERY anti-homeschoolers. So we are out of luck. Even though the children we are asking for services for are former foster children whom we have adopted!!!! Crazy.

  156. Well, I am not new to homeschooling, I have been homeschooling for nigh onto 20 years now. The one thing I have learned about one’s education is that education is not just about academics. It’s about having the heart, and willingness and interest, to learn all of what comes across your path. Everything and anything is a lesson in one’s education. Most parents are teachers from the moment of their child’s conception and don’t even realize it. We talk to our baby while they are in the womb and as the grow until they come into the world. Then from that moment on we are teaching our baby how to smile and how to make sounds and how to hold on to things and then how to learn mamma and dadda and how to crawl and how to scootch and how to walk and how to brush their teeth and how to have manners and so on and so forth. We parents have been teaching our kids and have not even been recognized for it. If we can teach something as important as manners and how to talk and walk, we can teach math and English and science and history and so on and so forth. One of the best reasons to homeschool is the fact that you get to learn WITH your child. Which in and of itself is an excitement that lends itself to the children becoming even more excited to learn and soak up more and as much as they could ever hope to soak up. We can never get these days back. So why in the world do we send our children away, to some stranger, to spend that quality time with? Don’t we want our children to learn as much as they can and become the very best of who we/they are, as they grow into the adults they are supposed to be? How can someone else’s values and ideas be better than ours for our children to learn from? How can sending our children to a room with 30 other children that are made to sit and only speak unless given permission to speak and get up only when given permission to get up be what the majority of people say is …socialization? Do you work in a place where 75% or more of the work place you work in is the same exact age you are? Then why do we say that is the epitome of what the “real” world is like in a classroom where only 1 person is in charge? The “real” world is nothing like that. The “real” world has many age groups in one work place where some older people are under a younger employee and sometimes it is the opposite. How does a classroom full of the exact same aged children reflect that? It doesn’t. Do you want your child learning language such as screw you or bite me or what some sexual words are and mean? For THAT is what children learn from other children. Children also learn from other children how to bully and demean and become disrespectful of their elders. NONE of that is prevalent in a home school setting. At least not to the extent that it is in a public school setting. AND we parents can control the majority of it as well where in a public school we parents have absolutely NO control whatsoever.
    All of the things that I have spoken about here, are from my personal experiences through the years.
    Listen people, education isn’t just about facts and spelling. Its about learning and becoming the best of who we are to become, as we grow up into adulthood and live our lives.

  157. Tammie Mathias says:

    Thank you for this coming from a “professional” experience!! I couldn’t have said it better myself!!

  158. Really liked your article. We homeeducated our son starting in the 8th grade and he is now a Sophomore in college with an “A” average. He had a wonderful social life in homeschool groups and took many field trips that explanded his concepts of the world.
    My husband and I are new authors of a book: FACES OF TRUTH, A COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHIES. Our website is:
    http://www.facesoftruth.com where one can go inside the book. It is very inspirational and used widely in homeschool families. Try it!!

  159. We homeschooled and loved it. Check out our new book at: http://www.facesoftruth.com FACES OF TRUTH, A COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHIES is an inspirational book about the people who founded America and features men and women in all walks of life. It is used by many homeschool families.

  160. I think kids need an outlet away from their parents, which they get at school. This mom stopped spanking her kids? Bad idea.

  161. The schools where I lived didn’t recognize dyslexia, so I felt that my daughter would learn more and I wouldn’t have to put up with her crying every night if I taught her at home. Boy am I ever glad that I did! I taught school at home for three years and when we moved to a new area I gave her the choice of going back to public schools and she said that she would give public schools another chance. Now she is a straight A student and the teachers have told her that they don’t know what they can teach her. The trick for teaching at home is to stay focused and set up a schedule. Kids will be kids and they will get lazy and not want to do the work, my daughter did. When she did, I realized that I needed to step it up so we started taking field trips. Sometimes it was just walks in the woods to find moss, or to the park, museums, the senior center, and libraries.
    I think one of the most important things that I did-was that I absolutely dislike (and I am trying to be nice) the cartoons that they have on tv, so only learning shows are allowed. I know that this has helped, because I know that I am not that good a teacher.

  162. Number 5 is very misleading. Homeschoolers are only able to use a very limited number of public school services in most states. Sports and extracurricular activities are usually not available at all and special needs services may only be available if there’s an existing IEP and even then it varies from state to state. To imply homeschoolers can use public school services like a buffet is just incorrect for nearly everyone.

  163. Jennifer says:

    It sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job of exposing your homeschooled children to social situations and that’s great. However the religious right wing kooks (that you accurately describe IMO) don’t necessarily do the same. And as someone who sees their children as an extracurricular (music) teacher, I can see how these children are completely unsocialized, unaware of the real world, and unprepared to deal with life out from under their parents’ rule. I wish more home-schooling families were more like you and less like the kooks.

  164. I was homeschooled from 4th grade through high school and wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything. However, a red flag went off for me as I was reading the article. As the second of eight children, I was given too much responsibility in helping care for the younger children. “Our kids help with younger siblings while under our direct supervision. What better way is there to learn parenting?” Definitely, it is good for children to learn how to interact and care for younger children, but please be sure the child never feels responsible for caring for the younger children, more responsible than she should at a young age.

  165. #5 is completely false – where I live, if you decide to homeschool, you are on your own. The public school system will have nothing to do with you. I don’t know where you live, but that is definitely not the norm. People have been fighting for the Tim Tebow law in Alabama so that homeschoolers can have access to team sports, and we can’t even get that. Forget about any special services; although, many of the homeschoolers I’ve met have pulled their kids out of public school specifically because of special needs made their kids a target for abuse at public school (both from the students and the teachers). They don’t even help the kids that are enrolled – they just make things worse.

  166. In answer to the query about whether home schoolers will have a problem getting into college: We have four children and have home schooled each of them for different lengths of time ranging from two years to nine years. We have found that their emotional health and school preparedness is in direct inverse proportion to the amount of time that they spent in traditional school. The oldest is in law school; the second is a junior in a well-known top-tier conservatory; the third child, who finished high school in two years and then spent two more years in traditional college (four-year university, NOT community college) on a full music scholarhip, has just been accepted to the same conservatory her older brother attends; and the youngest, who is fourteen and has home schooled all his life has just been accepted to a very selective New England prep school after blowing his SSATs out of the water and submitting as his writing sample a book that he published at age twelve.

    Our friends are a mix of home school and traditional school families. Generally speaking, the home school families are happier and the children are experiencing greater success when they return to school. At least two of them have been awarded full four-year merit scholarships to university; some are in accelerated or honors programs and all are well-rounded and well-traveled.

    I do have to say that one thing we learn in home school is how to accept and tolerate everyone. We would not call anyone either a right-wing kook or a screaming liberal, and we would never hurt someone’s feelings by making fun of their spelling or grammar (unless they did it first, and then only in fun). We all have our weaknesses and we all have our strengths and it is much nicer to look past what someone said and understand what they meant to say without commenting on it.

  167. Sharon,
    I also believe that all homeschoolers should be allowed to use public sports and other public services because we pay taxes every year for them. If they are not going to allow us to use them, then I say we get our tax money back at the end of the year for ‘homeschooling’ instead of ‘public schooling’.

  168. Joyce Barner Allen, RN,BSN says:

    This brought back great memories – We are graduated home-school parenst – we home-schooled our son and daughter from K-4 thru highschool. I worked the night-shift as an RN night supervisor and a pediatric unit shift coordinator. My husband was a busy insurance supervisior and started a missionary -support business that our children were actively involved. Our daughter is now employed fulltime in the ministry . My son and daughter-in-law ( a masters -prepared special ed teacher) are home-schooling now. I did find a few traditional home-school parents who looked a little askance at my comittment to keep my professional life as well as home school. But I always had the support of my husband to
    do both.
    Must have done something right!
    To all you parents with degrees and skills you think you cancnot give up – it will all be there later. More careers are allowing home
    based activity or alternative hours. And it is really a kick to teach your child to read, finally find an algebra program even you can understand, or disect a fetal pig!

  169. Good article. I am a homeschool mom of 4, one of whom will graduate this year, the others are in grades 9, 8, and 5. She has been homeschooled from day 1. I guess we would be considered the “right wing kooks”, since our decision was made based on what type of education that we wanted our children to receive. As Christian parents, we felt it was our responsibility to train and educate our children, and not turn them over to someone else for that. That being said, I have to say that I disagree with #8 completely. We do spank our kids, but they don’t obey us out of fear. Spanking done in a proper manner, in love and not anger, builds discipline, by bringing a realization that there are consequences for wrong doing. If they fear anything, it’s the spanking, not the parent who does it and then hugs and prays with them. By now, we rarely have to spank any more, because obedience and respect for authority was instilled in them from a young age. While we haven’t been involved in a co-op of homeschoolers, we have traveled extensively in the ministry, met 100′s of different families and friends, and are now on the mission field in Honduras. My children have had a world class education, are bilingual and in the process of learning a third language. and they have experienced several cultures outside of the United States, something which will forever change their lives. Over and over, in places we have been, people have commented on how well-adjusted, outgoing, well-behaved and respectful to adults and others that our children are. All that being said, I’m glad that homeschooling is working well for your family.

  170. Not all children can attend sports and other extracurricular activities in public schools. That is determined by each state. The state where I live gladly takes my tax money to go toward the schools, but will not allow my children to attend them in ANY capacity. I’m not extremely heartbroken over this.

    This is an interesting article. I know homeschool parents who are professionals, but I don’t believe that quality necessarily equals success in every case. The main factors are an open and willing heart and a mind ready to learn. I’m speaking of the parents, not the children. I did not earn a single degree, but I have a yearning for knowledge. I’ve taught myself grammar and how to write. I’m attempting to gain the skills in Math that were neglected in public school.

    I do understand that this article is geared toward people who have these degrees though, and I do find it interesting that more and more are choosing homeschool as the right way to teach their children. I’m glad you’ve found joy in this endeavor. We definitely have. It’s a joy to share so much beautiful quality time with your children.

  171. Lelia Oster says:

    I disagree with one comment: We were not religious extremists or farmers….. Now what does either of these have to do with homeschooling? Was it just these 2 groups who did homeschooling with long skirts on? I think not. It was just like today where parents wanted a better education for their children than is provided in either private or public school. It had nothing at all to do with the aforementioned 2 groups.

  172. Will LOL you make a valid point on the pc programs but sadly most people use their smart phones and yes it has spelling but not grammar… Well at least mine doesn’t I’m not blessed with an iPhone LOL…. I judged to harshly maybe… :-)

  173. Well, Abbie, I was just making an observation. If what you say is true then they should wait until they get home and go on their computers, I guess (LOL).

  174. I would expand on # 16) Better socialization, less unhealthy peer pressure and bullying. I wouldn’t say homeschooled kids are bereft of having to deal with bullies or those who would hurt feeling. We have had issues with children being unkind to each other (girls mainly) in our homeschool group; however, because the parents were near by, we were able to handle the situation, rather than have it escalate. We were able to explain to the kids that while you do not need to like everyone you encounter, you must treat them with respect. I’m not saying we’re helicopter parents, but we are close enough to deal with issues that arise, which is a far cry from my days at recess when there were 2 teachers for 60 or so kids running a muck.

    As for the homeschooling isn’t hard – I’d have to say that for the most part that may be true, but there are definitely hurdles that must be overcome and it does no favors to those who may be considering homeschooling or be new at it to offer this advice. There are difficulties that arise, as I’m sure you’ve experienced.

    Also, the “curriculum in a box” products that you mentioned are not cheap themselves, and I know many families who would never be able to afford them. Many people begin with those (if they are able) only to discover that one child is an auditory learner, while the other is a visual learner and the product you purchased speaks to the logical learner, so no one has made much headway and all are frustrated.

    With that said, we do love homeschooling and love the fact that it is growing, as it is opening doors and we take full advantage of all that is available.

  175. Charity Wickliffe says:

    I was home-schooled and you just spelled out all the things I loved about it. I’m glad to hear that you enjoy it from a parent’s perspective! Now that my husband and I are thinking about starting a family, home-schooling has been in the back of my mind. We live in a city with great schools, but the idea of home-schooling still intrigues me because I had such a great experience with it. Thanks for this piece!

  176. I could have written this article! Okay, I am not a doctor, but I am a highly qualified teacher, and I speak a couple of languages well, and am highly skilled in my own area. I find my style fits the kids. They love the lessons and they are driven to learn instead of driven to school!

    We too have more learning taking place in less hours. The children have a wider social circle and do more activities – because we can fit them in. Most people in our homeschool group hold degrees, speak several languages, have been highly skilled in an area and all expect very high standards. Not unachievable – just high. The same standards that we had to uphold when we grew up, which seem a long way from those of today. Congrats on a good article.

  177. Howdy ya’ll,

    Well, there’s probably a LOT to say about this article. I guess I’ll start by saying that I’ve been homeschooled since the very beginning and am finishing up my sophomore year of highschool in a few months (For my fellow homeschoolers out there who might not be on the boat (I wasn’t for a while, but eventually I figured it out (after several google searches)) sophomore year of highschool is the 10th grade.) haha. Anywho, I’ve been homeschooled for the last 10 years and wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve obviously had a lot more sleep than my public schooled friends, or at least I would if I only did school and nothing else. Speaking of other things, right now I am a Cadet Captain in Civil Air Patrol, which is sort of similar to JROTC on the cadet side, but has nothing to do with school and we get to do a lot cooler things. I’m also the cadet commander there and am responsible for about 50 other youth, making sure they have a good program both at the weekly meeting and at other events we do. I also do a lot of interaction with the adult members because of my position. This is all something I never would have been able to do if I wasn’t homeschooled.
    I’m a volunteer at my local fire department and am currently taking my EMT class and will be finishing that up in late May to early June. I’ve been on at least a few house fires and EMS calls and have done some amazing things. Once I’m done with EMT class I can administer medications and take part in patient care. At 16 years old! I can’t even make my own decisions about what care I receive if I ever need an ambulance and I can make them for total strangers! This is something I would have never had a chance to do if it wasn’t for a homeschool co-op I went too where they had the fire dept. come in.
    I’ve also learned several other life skills. On top of being homeschooled and being the oldest still at home most of the time my mom also has shoulder problems and can’t do much of the housework. I can easily cook a dinner, clean a kitchen, and then make everything look super fancy for dinner. I can work on cars, house work isn’t that much of a deal. Today I had to drive my mom to a doctors appointment during the school day. Couldn’t have done that if I was public schooled.
    Being homeschooled I’ve had chances to do some amazing things and I still do pretty well in school and even though I don’t have that much for test in school I still am a great test taker. I’ve taken dozens in Civil Air Patrol and only failed one because I was rushed to do it to soon. Then I’ve been doing really well in EMT class, scores in the upper 90s are pretty normal. Oh, I also do really well in school! Haha, I learn a lot and my schedule is flexible enough that I can wake up a little later than most and still get done before 3pm.
    And to make it all even better I have friends!!! It’s truly amazing, I know other people and get to hang out with them every now and then and have some form of social skills, believe it or not.
    Having been homeschooled for the past 10 years I give my approval of homeschooling and think it’s a great thing, not for everyone, but for a lot of people it’s wonderful.

  178. Just FYI, on # 5, this varies by state. I work in special education, and have in 3 states. Only 1 of 3 states gave any services to homeschoolers, then it was only speech and the student would come to the school for speech. The other two states did not have to provide special Education Services of any kind if families chose to homeschool. It is considered refusal of services. If this is a need, families should find out the way their state works.

  179. Wow. The comments and labels here make me feel like I’m back in elementary school. If you’re not like the majority of us “normal” people, then you are a kook. If you believe certain things to be true about this world that we don’t, then you’re an extremist. If you dress different than us, we’re going to point that out to you.

    Na na na boo boo…

  180. Wow. The comments and labels here make me feel like I’m back in elementary school. If you’re not like the majority of us “normal” people, then you are a kook. If you believe certain things to be true about this world that we don’t, then you’re an extremist. If you dress different than us, we’re going to point that out to you. And if that leaves you feeling bad…Na na na boo boo…

  181. My parents took the time to homeschool me and my two older siblings all 12 grades. It was the best thing they could have ever done for us! Homeschooling has a nice layed-back feel to it. Yes, we had schedules to abide by, but there was a love of learning that was conveyed to us by our parents that most children today don’t get. Kids look up to their parents, and when they see (even as young children) that mom and dad are sacrificing their time for them day after day, it really drives home the importance of an education. Some of my favorite recesses as a kid was when I would go play in the backyard with my brother and we would find a really cool bug, or mushroom, ect and we would haul out the encyclopedia to research what species they were! haha, I think we learned more through extra-curricular activities that we did on our own (because at the time we didn’t realize we were doing school stuff. It was part of play) than we could have ever learned in a classroom. I love all the reasons you have listed for homeschooling! I may copy them and save them for later use. :) Keep up the good work!!!

  182. Will's Nemesis says:

    I am a teacher and educational researcher at a large university. I have six children in the public school system. I found this article informative and fun. The author’s personal experiences speak volumes because of her accomplishments and career path. We can all only hope to achieve such accomplishments and still be able to offer our children the very best. Will, you need to leave the conversation. Your ignorance and arrogance only invalidate your opinions. Dr. Berchelmann seems to have found what works best for her family. We should celebrate this family’s success, and learn from their example. To do otherwise speaks volumes about self-depreciating individuals and their motives.

    Best wishes to all.

  183. This is an excellent article; thank you so much for sharing! I was homeschooled k-12 and graduated summa cum laude in the top 3% of my class of nearly 20,000 students at Liberty University. My sister and I both were awarded full rides to Mars Hill College, where she graduated magna cum laude. We spent our childhood traveling all over the state with my dad as a benefit of his job and had so many special opportunities due to the nature of our education types. My mom was high school educated but did an amazing job educating us and providing us with every opportunity she could.

    I was curious about your statement about how homeschoolers can take advantage of public school activities such as sports. I don’t know what state you live in, but in NC we were never allowed to participate, and my mom tried! Would you mind explaining how that works and how to find out what is available for homeschooled kids in the public system? We pay for it, but they don’t seem to make it easy to benefit from it.

  184. midwestgranny says:

    While I’m pleased that you have enjoyed homeschooling and all the benefits that go along with it, you make it sound as though homeschooling is only legitimized now that doctors, lawyers and other “professionals” are doing it. Maybe those stay-at-home long-skirt sporting moms, farmers and right wing extremists are not so dumb after all. There’s more than one way to get an education. Some of us have common sense over college.

  185. Cynthia M. says:

    Nice reflection on your homeschool experience. I Homeschooled my son until graduation. He now has a Master’s degree, married and about to have his first child… also for the record, gainfully employed in his field of choice. I felt homeschooling was a gift. I also did not expect to homeschool and was shocked at tall the resources available when I went to my first convention.

    My only direct comment on what you wrote, is about participating in public school activities. While I know of areas where students participate in drama and sports, that was not true where I lived. Depends on state laws and local school district.

  186. I am 1 of 8 children and was homeschooled my entire life. I now have a BA, MBA, and am working on trying to get into medical school. We have a daughter almost 2 now and my wife is an MD.

    I see positive and negatives with homeschooling. I was a difficult child and was very unmotivated academically growing up. As as result I only did the bare minimum the state required to graduate. Also in undergrad I had the same approach, not thinking I would go any higher.

    As a result I had very weak math and science skills. I think had I been in a school setting I might have been pushed harder because of the requirements of the school plus I’m very competitive and perhaps seeing other students do well would have motivated me.

    The plus to homeschooling was being able to develop lasting friendships with my siblings as well as start my own business in high school, and work summer jobs. I also was taught good character by my parents.

    As a 31 year old now trying to pursue something very difficult academically I’m having to take steps back to move forward. So that is one piece of advice I’d give to any parent. If you are going to do home schooling or public school please push your child to go as far as they can while they are young. You never know what the future holds and you want them to have as many doors open as possible.

  187. Numbers 6 & 7 made me tear up–Please have this published as an infographic poster, or give me permission to have it printed. So many parents of students I privately tutor say, “I wish I could homeschool.”

  188. Stay at home mom, kook , skirt wearin, right wing extremist, extraordinaire! ! says:

    Dr. Rude and totally offensive!

  189. I don’t need to leave the conversation. I had already left until you drew me back in with your personal attack. I attacked no one personally. I certainly did not name names either.
    I am neither ignorant nor am I arrogant. The fact that you have to attack me personally when I simply made a few valid points says more about you than it does about me.
    I called no one ignorant or arrogant or anything else. I also did not try to pressure anyone into not making further posts. Luckily, I learned to deal with name-calling and peer pressure.
    I still say that if people are going to post their opinions they should use spell-check and grammar-check. I still say that you generally won’t find anyone here posting that home-schooling didn’t work for them. This is obviously a pro-homeschooling site. Teachers are educated in how to teach, doctors are taught how to heal the sick and lawyers are taught to deal with the law. How is any of this ignorant or arrogant?
    Feel free to buy me a drink because I grow weary of writing here without getting compensated in some way.

  190. Thank you so much for this!!! We have just committed to homeschooling!! Our girls are 4 and almost 3 and are so excited about it! My husband and I are both working full time – but we are committed to make it work! I have a good support system but also am so nervous. I’ve had a lot of people thinking we’re crazy but this post is exactly our heart!!! Thank you!!!

  191. What an impressive experience Kathleen.

    I am a working mother of three children aged 9,6 and 5, from Karachi, Pakistan. The social issues with all three of my children has often stimulated me to re-think school-based education. However,what worries me is the fact that our schedule doesn’t seem to facilitate a fitting study schedule. Next week, we are moving to an international placement in the Middle East, where the American International curriculum will be followed. Since I have to train my children for the intake of the proceeding year, I need to home-school them for atleast 3 months. How do working parents manage this if they are keen on homescooling and yet their career obligations are obstacles in their way? I would be grateful if I get to read some useful experiences in this regard.

  192. Lennart Forsberg says:

    Interesting article! Homeschooling is almost unheard of here in Sweden and in most of Europe, I think. Always thought provoking to look at something from a different perspective. Also interesting to have positive arguments from somebody else than the right wing “government is out to get us” or religious nuts that don’t want their children to meet reality.
    However, I was astonished when first in the article and then in the comments saw spanking being mentioned as something totally natural,something you do to discipline your child. Awful! What’s wrong with you people? When abusing a child by hitting it you don’t only show yourself weak, you teach the child that violence is a accepted way of resuming conflicts. And this is coming from well educated people that otherwise seem to be thinking, rational individuals. Scary…

  193. Some random name says:

    It seems that the common thread here is that you people are having FAR too many children. Seriously, people, WTF? 2 kids, max. This planet is getting overpopulated fast enough as it is. If you want more than 2, then adopt. Period. I’m not sure if you all realize the extent to which the rest of society looks down on you women who can’t keep your legs shut (and the men who get between them). Be responsible and use some birth control! It’s really pathetic that you talk about how expensive it is, when you were were the one so irresponsible to have too many kids in the first place.

  194. Your article refreshed my spirit this morning. I was a homeschooling mom for 11 years. Our children enrolled in the local and wonderful public school when my condition became too severe for me to teach them any longer. After 26 years of suffering, I was finally diagnosed with obstructive hydrocephalus. Although I fought this condition, I was still able to teach my children at home. When they entered the public school in grades 4, 8, and 10, my children’s education level surpassed those of their peers. Of course their levels were higher, since they had individual time with the teacher every day, as well as individualized lesson plans. In 2006, my doctor found the obstruction in my brain, and I had surgery to correct the problem. In 2007, I went back to college, received a bachelor’s degree and three teaching licenses. I am now a middle school math teacher, and I would not trade any of my experiences for any other life. Teaching my children was one of the best decisions my husband and I had ever made. I feel that my children have received the best of everything they could have acquired, and they are better and caring adults because of the lessons they learned in every learning environment.

  195. Marilyn Reed says:

    I agree with everything the doctor wrote…and to think all those things are actually true for us num-nut, right-wing, religious fanatics, too!
    Welcome to the best thing I ever did for my kids next to introduce them to the Lord and breastfeed them.

  196. Kathy Norton says:

    Well, thank God you’re a doctor and not some stay-at-home mom! Whew! For a minute there I was afraid you were one of those” I think I can educate my children better than someone who went to college to earn a teaching degree “types! Don’t you hate stereotypes! I mean, I wouldn’t want you to be lumped in with “those” women! You know, the ones who knew before their children were born that they would be the one to educate them….from birth. Glad you are so much smarter than they are! … make better decisions….wait….it took you years to figure out that home schooling was a good idea….oh well…at least you are not a stay-at-home-mom!
    Sincerely,
    You guessed it,
    One of “those”
    Kathy Norton

  197. I would like to express my opinions on this piece. Having home educated five children–one that the government school system would have been labeled exceptional on the high end of the spectrum and another that would have been labeled exceptional on the low end of the spectrum, with the other three being somewhere in the middle, I’ve run the gamut of teaching just within my own family. First, I’d like to say that I find offensive her stated assumption that most homeschoolers are right-wing kooks or religious fanatics. I am neither, but I began homeschooling back in 1984 when not many folks were doing so. Secondly, spanking or not spanking is not a homeschooling issue, and her listing it as a reason to home-school screams to me that she had a very short fuse before homeschooling. With all the stress of daily life she detailed, she must have been lashing out at her children in anger and not in loving discipline. Thirdly, she openly shows her ignorance by lumping all homeschoolers together–women in long dresses and unsocialized, nerdy children. These are negative stigma I battled for years, and they are unfair and hurtful but really just show ignorance. Even so, it would have been nice if she had offered an apology for her criticisms and misconceptions. Lastly, not all states allow home-educated children to participate in public school activities or sports. This is a valid article with good points, most of which can be read in any home-education advocacy materials, but if I had written it 25 years ago and pitched it to any magazine other than a pro-homeschooling one, I would have been told “thanks, but no thanks”. In my opinion, valid home-educating families have been misunderstood since the “un-schooling movement” of the seventies. It’s great that this basal type of education is gaining mainstream momentum, but one MD finally educating herself about the benefits of homeschooling doesn’t change the fact that thousands of us have known these things for a quarter of a century and were unfairly criticized, made fun of, and called names for doing so. Every new homeschooling family owes the veteran homschoolers a debt of gratitude for forging the trail for those to follow, like this woman and thousands of others like her. You’re all very welcome.

  198. Thank you for writing this. We are considering Home schooling next year for a lot of the same reasons you mentioned. I noticed there are some links, but I’d love for people to share great curriculums and other helpful articles.

  199. Great article! I have been considering the option of home schooling in the back of my mind for some time. My oldest daughter is currently enrolled in a magnet school that is truly exceptional for a public school.

    However, the magnet program only lasts through the 8th grade. A lot of the reasons you gave connected with me. I can’t say that I’m going to make the switch, but you have inspired me to get more involved with the decision process.

    Thank you,
    -Jeremy

  200. is it necessary to imply that only NOW are homeschooling parents “not all religious extremists or farmers” and only NOW are homeschooled kids “not all overachieving academic nerds without social skills”? you’re not negating the stereotype; you’re just excusing yourself (and the other cool people who started homeschooling *just lately*) from it. uncool.

  201. Excellent essay. We homeschool for many of the same reasons. The dynamics of homeschooling really are changing.

  202. I found your prejudices and tired stereotypes of people different than you tiring (right-wing kook, long dresses, etc) but I’m glad you are having a good experience homeschooling.

  203. I am the 36%. I’m a Jesus Freak, right-wing “kook” in a long skirt homeschooler of 4 with one on the way, and I approve this message. (smile) Thanks for taking the time to write this post, and lending credibility by way of the letters behind your name to some of the nay sayers others who just can’t comprehend why anyone would want to homeschool.

  204. Karen Mitchell says:

    What a great article! Thank you for summing up why homeschooling is so great! We’ve been homeschooling since the beginning (I have 3 kids; 8,6, &3) and I have never regretted it. My first child is brilliant but so painfully shy that she struggled performing for even her father and I. Under the patient and loving guidance of her mother she has already gotten over most of her shyness and now even plays the piano in church! I love being able to work with my children’s strengths and weaknesses, making sure they get an education best suited to making them thrive. Great article! A caution though, you were a little mean with your description of homeschoolers in the beginning. I know you were being honest about your perception but a little disclaimer after would have nice!

  205. This is a really great article. You actually voiced (beautifully I might add) so many of my own feelings towards homeschooling and why we started. I’ve now been homeschooling for 7 years and yes I have on in highschool. I wouldn’t change a thing!

  206. Great article!

  207. Ali Gambardella says:

    I love this! I have felt this way about home schooling for a very long time as I watched friends of mine raise 2 wonderful children who have become very successful, wonderful adults. I also love that it’s not for religious reasons as we/they are non-religious.

    Ms Ali G.

  208. Another reason to take pride in being a MOM!!
    Not being ashamed of saying I am a homeschooling Mom
    Thank you for this article!!

  209. Wish homeschooling was allowed in my country :(

  210. I’m very happy that you have discovered homeschooling and its benefits (you’re going to have a more tight-knit family as years go by) . My number one favorite result from our years of homeschooling our children has to be their close relationships with each other. I kept the TV off for the most part and they created their own entertainment and their relationships stem from those times.

    On the other hand, I find it sad that after ALL OF THESE YEARS of homeschooling in this country prejudices still exist. I found your comments about your prior thoughts on homeschoolers rude and quite silly. I started homeschooling for the first time over 20 years ago and have zero in common with those stereotypes.

  211. My two home schoolers made it through high school with only one year of elementary church school. The first one is now a nurse; the second one is a physician. Home schooling makes for great character building, good personal relations with friends, family, and society, and prevents those nasty teen rebellion years. I recommend it all the way to college. The more emotionally mature a person is by the time he gets peer pressure, the better able to succeed through that maize with his values still intact.

  212. JulieBaby says:

    I am a retired homeschool mom (1990-2010) and all my kids are grown. I am a Jesus freak with a pierced nose and I wear jeans. Homebirthed, homeschooled, make my own laundry soap, can hundreds of jars of food over the harvest season, all that fun stuff. It is very exciting to see so many younger moms embracing the lifestyle we have enjoyed for decades. You are giving your children an irreplacable gift by making them and their education, formal and otherwise, a high priority. What a wise choice you and your husband have made! I can tell you from my own experience and from my heart that you will look back on these days with gratitude. You are making the most of their one and only childhood, and you will all be blessed because of it. (Now, please go easy on us right wing kooks and religious extremists, because we and our older sisters fought the battle that gave you the freedom to homschool your children legally and without fear. You’re welcome. :)

  213. Richard D Davis says:

    I do believe whole heartedly in Home Schooling.How will Obama’s threat and preparations to be able to shut down the ‘internet’ affect Home Schooling. He does not like Homeschooling as it interfers with his core propoganda for the next generation.

  214. Carolann says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this article and was so pleased to read all of your wonderful results of homeschooling; what a fantastic affirmation of this great choice (which both my sons and daughter-in-laws have made…to home-school our grandchildren). I was, however, strongly offended by the term ‘right wing kook’. I don’t get it. Why must intelligent, kind, thoughtful, compassionate conservatives be thrown into the pot and demonized as ‘kooks’? It just quite frankly isn’t so. The longtime liberal rule over our public schools and mainstream media has produced a simple-minded and sometimes even dangerous society that endangers ALL of our children, and one from which they need to be protected. And…lots of Americans who vote conservatively…wear very stylish SHORT skirts. : ) To condense conservatives down to crazies who have no style, or far worse, who are ‘kooks’ (which people read between the lines as ‘dangerous’) is just plain wrong. Still…a truthful article on the reasons why so MANY highly educated, thoughtful, successful, articulate, well-traveled… even ‘right wing’… people home-school now… is quite welcome. Perhaps over time you’ll learn that most ‘right-wingers’ simply want the very best for the children they love, just as you do.

  215. Hey, just throwing this out there for those who think spanking kids is a bad idea *cough* Lennart *cough* I’m gonna tell you from personal experience that I was spanked as a child when I messed up. Hard. Funny enough I’ve never resorted to violence to solve any of my problems. Ever. Have never gotten into a fight or hit anyone (unless they really needed it, haha). It taught me there were consequences to my actions and those consequences would come and bite me in the butt (No pun intended). Spanking is not a bad thing at all when you balance it right, which my father did. We got spanked when we really messed up, but I never felt like I was abused or not loved, and it was not the only way we were punished. I have no idea what ya’ll are complaining about. Grow a pair and get over yourselves.

  216. Timothy Baldridge says:

    I’m a product of homeschooling, 28 now and never spent a single day in public/private school. Your comments here echo why I plan on homeschooling my kids.

    I’m glad to hear your 8 year old is learning to program. Encourage these sorts of things. I started programming at about 10 years old, and never stopped. Now, 18 years later I’m employed full time (as a software engineer) and still draw on things I learned in my early teens. Those are experiences that will stick with kids for the rest of their lives.

  217. If one would look into the history of our country, one would find that the homeschooling movement began hundreds do years ago. This is not a new idea. Many people have taught their children at home out of necessity. We, in the USA, have a choice now to teach our children at home. We have the freedom to choose this method for educating our children.

  218. I understand there are schools out there that aren’t the best. I have been fortunate enough to have a good school for my kids. I also went there. It is a small country school. I have never agreed with homeschooling. Most of the time the people I know that have done it have used it as “play time”. Field trips every other day. Others that I know use it as “free help”. The kids can clean the house up while I take a nap and we will call it school. I’m sure there are some good homeschools out there but I really have seen any. I know people that are secretaries and factories works who can afford to send their kids to private schools. My husband and I teach them the values we want them to learn. We are with them all evening have dinner together at the table with them every night. Yes the best time we spend together is playing games and things after dinner, but they need to learn that it isn’t all play at our house. They have chores that they do. I think most of it is excuses to tell people to make themselves feel better about it. I send my kids to school so I can have some downtime from them so I am better with them when they are home. That doesn’t make me a bad person because in the summer I have with 4 kids 8 and under 24 hours a day 7 days a week and love it. I send them to school to learn how to be away from mom all day. I have so many reasons I could put for that, but in the end they all sound like excuses. I know people aren’t going to like this comment, but we all have our own opinions and this is just mine.

  219. I could relate with SO much of what was written in this article, even the hinted at “fear” of people knowing that you’re homeschooling. I’m a mother of four, an attorney, married to a physician, and we’ve been homeschooling for the past 5 years. We have our ups and downs, but definitely feel like what we’re doing is best for OUR family.

    I still do suffer from that “fear” of telling colleagues that I’m a homeschooler, chiefly because I tire of the “why did you get a law degree just to stay at home?” and “are you trying to isolate your children from the world?” questions.

    Like you, we are a religious family (in our case Muslim), but our decision to homeschool had almost nothing to do with religion, but rather our belief that knowing our children’s strengths and weaknesses made us the best candidates for educating them.

    Bravo to you for sharing your story, and thank you for focusing a spotlight on a growing segment of the homeschooling population!

  220. Ralph Reagan says:

    LOL when we started homeschooling I told my wife “Why, we aren’t burned out hippies” which were the only folks I had ever seen home school! :)

  221. Despite your obvious disdain for someone like myself, a conservative Christian, your article contained a great deal of good information. It’s very eye opening to see what life is like when you take responsibility for your own children instead of leaving their care to others, isn’t it? It’s life-changing and freeing. Unlike you – I greatly disagree with quite a bit of what is taught in public schools and ingrained into children’s minds. I don’t believe in mass education. I think it fails as a whole. Children require individual attention to thrive and are best kept away from their peers unsupervised. We also enjoy all the blessings you mentioned in your article and you made excellent points. Thank you for sharing!

  222. A lot of people homeschool and make under 40k. We make under 30k and have no trouble teaching our 2 boys.

  223. Timbo – what you describe is the seen, but ignores the unseen, namely, what you could have been had you not been spanked.

    The evidence is in and it shows that spanking is detrimental to children. End of story. Just because one person turned out fine doesn’t mean that person couldn’t have turned out better, and it doesn’t mean spanking isn’t injurious.

  224. Tragedy beckons us all says:

    Glad you and your kids are enjoying your home school success. So very very tired of the outdated bigotry out there … “right wing kook,” un-”integrated and socialized” children, etc. etc. … fear of telling co-workers, as though it’s any of their business, forsooth … when will so-called educated people bring themselves up to date? Where did you get these prejudices in the first place? I suppose you would classify me as a “right wing kook,” but I haven’t worn a long skirt since my aunt died, and that was midnight blue velvet for the funeral. I bought it at Von Maur, so I guess that makes me a right-wing kook with decent fashion sense. I enjoyed our years of home schooling, but we didn’t do it for religious reasons … it was because the academically-focused religious private school couldn’t/wouldn’t keep up with our gifted children. My math genius joyfully did 3 years of curriculum in our first year of home school, and 2 years of curriculum per school year after that. However, when medical tragedy struck our family, we couldn’t manage it and sent our kids to public school. Home school is a wonderful thing and I’m glad we did it … hope you come to understand how very unjust you were toward the “right-wing” skirt-wearers among us. And just because I don’t wear skirts doesn’t mean I’m not a “right-wing kook,” and that you aren’t unjust toward me, as well. And while I’m on this roll, what about all the left-wing home schoolers whom you tarred with that same brush … ok, how about just stopping with the bigotry altogether?

  225. “Great article!” from another right-wing religious homeschooling nut! :o )
    [Note: We also found that spanking done in the proper manner (without anger) is effective and useful for discipline, but if you spank in anger, without discussion and love as a result, it is better left behind.]

  226. Clarification: SOME states allow homeschoolers to receive therapy and extracurriculars through the school system, not all states, mine included. I am sending my special needs child to public school largely because she would not get the therapy she needs if I homeschooled, because we cannot afford to pay for it out of pocket.

  227. What a negative comment: The face of homeschooling is changing. We are not all religious extremists or farmers, and our kids are not all overachieving academic nerds without social skills.

    Where would you get your food to feed your home schooled children if not for farmers!! Why imply that farmers are extremists? I hope you are not passing on your negative feelings toward certain groups of people to your children!!

  228. I thought this article was helpful in understanding why parents choose to homeschool their children. This has been an issue I have never really understood. I have a masters degree in education, 15 years of teaching experiences, and a lot of professional development in best teaching practices. I take pride in my career and work very hard. To be honest, it has always frustrated me when parents suggest they will homeschool their children, assuming they can do a better job with no training. So, I’m trying to learn more about it. The 18 reas0ns listed make sense, but I’m still left with a few questions. At my elementary school, students learn a foreign language, practice harmonies in music and perform plays in drama. They read together, discuss books, solve problems, and learn from the many perspectives and experiences of their classmates. In our high school, students simultaneously take advanced placement courses in physics, calculus, and world languages. How is this done at home with 1 student? I ask simply to learn more about how homeschooling works.

  229. An absolutely great article! Thanks for sharing and welcome to the world of homeschooling. So many times my wife and I have gotten frustrated over how things are going or not going in certain areas. It seems we forget the frustrations that were all too prevalent before homeschooling as well. Thanks for the reminders.

  230. I enjoyed your article. As a pediatrician, I see many kids who are homeschooled by parents and grandparents. Your article is entirely positive, but not entirely useful. Would you care to share any drawbacks to homeschooling that you have encountered? I can imagine that not every aspect of homeschooling is to you or your children’s direct benefit. Also, please cite the literature on the socialization of homeschooled children. I’m not so skeptical, but it does seem appropriate for a physician to share her knowledge.

  231. I also found your prejudices and tired stereotypes of people different than you tiring (right-wing kook, long dresses, etc)… and I, too, am glad you are having a good experience homeschooling. We’ve been homeschooling for over 8 years now, and we did do it because of the biased influence present in our school system.

    I think your article would reach even more (in a positive way) if you could avoid labeling.

  232. Don Huish says:

    Thank you for sharing. This was very insightful. Its a tough decision today, having kids in school or homeschooling them. I agree it doesn’t work for everyone, but what a great opportunity and blessing it is to be able to have all the tools to teach your children from home. Again, thank you for sharing!

  233. Susan… First I want to say thank you for saying that I am sending my kids to school for those very reasons but secondly I want to say I was homeschooled and when done properly It’s a great investment in your kids.. I too have seen my share of lazy parents doing it for those reasons but coming from a mother who did it awesome there are a lot more I should say then bad who do it and it do right!! Might want to look up homeschool groups in your area and see how they do it not to show you that you need to homeschool but to show you that there is people out there with right mindset doing awesome with their kids at home :-)

  234. Kristi… I know that’s what i wanted to say… I don’t homeschool but i was like wow you know some people don’t even make 25 a year 40 to 60 is like a millionaire to me LOL :-)

  235. Do you have any comment after meeting lawyers at the homeschool parent meeting? I’m just curious as to how they both work as lawyers (which both my husband and I do) and homeschool their children. How do they make the time? I guess I would assume that one parent works part time or stays home with the child in order to facilitate this.

  236. Colleen awesome comment about spanking!!! Anger has no place in correction or discipline… Awesome!

  237. chrystie quick cook says:

    i just wanted to know if you homeschool will your child get a diploma just like kids in public school ?

  238. This article brings out a lot of hidden truths I notice the past 10 years I’ve seen at college level and from other parents. I can say after being a full time engineer and teaching college, if the public schools use my kids to collect federal money and leave their bored minds getting into trouble because they finish their work faster then all the other kids I will home school. As some have said above it’s not for everybody if you are not good at keeping schedules with out someone pestering you or your children’s learning styles are so vastly different, it might not be for you and your family. If it’s not cut out for you though don’t make cheap jabs at those that can do it.

  239. Some random name… I know for a fact no one else chose to reply to your comment, waist of breath, but I’m going to because you made me mad…. I only have 2 children and plan on keeping it that way but you are nasty person who apparently did not deserve the breath you were given heaven knows as over populated as we are you did not need to be born… People with 4,5,6,9 or 10 kids are bless parents indeed and might I add are probably blessing world with great teachers, doctors, farmers, and first responders! So next time you wish to down grade that why don’t you take your own advise they make pills for that…

  240. I love this article. We use a virtual public school and we have for 3 years. We chose a virtual school for many of the same reasons you talked about here. I was really glad to see you mention virtual schools in your article.

  241. Great article! I’m an architect, and I homeschool my four kids age 6-15. I don’t work much, so we live on well under $40,000 for a family of six; our kids are learning to be independent thinkers instead of just regurgitating facts, and get to do various church/ athletic/ club activities. They are learning about life cycles so we planted a garden, and now they’re thrilled to eat broccoli because THEY grew it. They don’t even want fast food anymore because it upsets their stomachs. Science centers and museums and bakeries and vet clinics and tv stations are our classrooms, any city park is for recess, and nap time can be any time it’s needed. Homeless people aren’t scary because we can go anytime to serve lunch; the elderly in nursing homes aren’t dismissed because we can go anytime to visit, and my 8-year old who wants to crochet can get help, & the 15 year old who is fascinated by WWII can ask questions, & the 6 year old who just loves to smile and talk all the time has an adoring audience.

    I am so glad I was called to homeschool, because I probably wouldn’t have done it on my own. It has been such a wonderful blessing! (Now off to do our Holy Week celebrating, then EVERYONE is doing laundry!)

  242. The article does a pretty good job of listing the benefits of home schooling. However, a few of the “benefits” could lead to difficulty for your children later in life.

    The point about no peer pressure or bullying is a good example. As adults, your children will not always have you with them to deal with social situations. And more importantly, the people they interact with will not have their parents looking over their shoulders. People aren’t always on their best behavior in the real world. Your children will have no experience dealing with less than ideal social situations. It could be very anxiety-inducing for them when they finally do.

    Also, you keep harping on the fact that you don’t have to worry about being on time. As adults, your children will need to be on time for appointments, job interviews and work. They may find the working world challenging when they can’t keep jobs due to chronic tardiness. They may also have difficulty keeping friends who find them flaky.

  243. Ahhh, typo. How ironic. Apologies!

    *easy

  244. Ricky Criddler says:

    90% of this article is how homeschooling your children benefits you. I don’t care what you say, your kids are missing out on life.

  245. That’s a refreshing look at homeschooling. But is it possible there’s nothing wrong with intelligent, modestly-clothed homeschoolers who follow The Lord? Did they make home education popular? Just saying, I wish society didn’t bash serious Christians. After all we aren’t allowed to disrespect other religions, are we? Political correctness, and all that?

  246. You can thank a lot of “right-wing” kooks in long skirts 30 some years ago who helped make it legal to home educate in all 50 states. Nobody was doing it in the mid-80′s and it wasn’t even legal until the home education pioneers risked arrest and forced the issue in legislatures. Thanks to the hard work of many Christian home-educators with the belief that parents should be able to educate their kids as they saw fit, it’s legal for all now. Great article. I wholeheartedly agree with it.

  247. Interesting and thought-provoking post. Thank you for sharing your personal and relatable experiences with homeschooling. Wish you continued success with your children’s education. :) – J.C.

  248. SR, I sincerely appreciate your willingness to learn about why people homeschool.

    At my elementary school, students learn a foreign language, practice harmonies in music and perform plays in drama.

    I know scores of homeschooled families, and most of them study foreign languages, learn a musical instrument, and there are two separate drama groups in our local homeschool group. I highly recommend doing a google search of your city + “homeschool group.” You’ll see that there are a variety of classes and activities the kids can choose from.

    They read together, discuss books, solve problems, and learn from the many perspectives and experiences of their classmates.

    Homeschool kids do exactly this. And I have seen as much (if not more) cultural and racial integration on the individual level in homeschooling than I did while attending school or teaching special ed.

    In our high school, students simultaneously take advanced placement courses in physics, calculus, and world languages. How is this done at home with 1 student?

    That’s just it. These things are very rarely done with one student at home. There are so many classes available to homeschoolers, who gather at homes and libraries and science museums to learn together. The fact is that kids who are homeschooled do just as well in adulthood as kids who went to public school.

    It’s a good thing to have choices when you’re making one of the most important and personal decisions you can as a parent (and student). Most homeschooling parents I know are more than willing to let their kids to public school if that’s what they choose, and many have.

    I think the expansion of education choices for parents and students is a strictly positive thing for public schools and the communities they serve.

  249. Mom in a Long Skirt says:

    There is nothing wrong with long skirts.
    There is nothing wrong with farming.
    There is nothing wrong with religion, extreme or not.
    There is nothing wrong with academic achievement.
    Nerds rule.
    And if what I see coming out of the public school is considered “social skills,” then there is nothing wrong with having no social skills.

    Welcome to the club, but don’t be a hater.

  250. I’m a little baffled by so many comments about the intro to this article listing out the stereotypes many ascribe to homeschoolers. Clearly, the writer isn’t a farmer, religious extremist, or any other stereotype. That was exactly her point. Her pre-conceived expectation was to see more long skirts people at the meeting (maybe the only homeschoolers she saw growing up were Mennonite or something), and was glad to see that the meeting was full of people of all walks of life, all professions, all political leanings, and even all fashion styles.

    She didn’t say anything negative about farmers who homeschool, just acknowledged that “homeschooling is for farm kids so they can help on the farm” is ONE stereotype in the public consciousness, just like how some people think we’re ‘religious nuts’ (as in the kind that are fine with bombing abortion clinics), or doomsday preppers, or anti-government, or super-moms, or raising geniuses, or don’t socialize our kids, or over-socialize our kids, etc. Some homeschool for those reasons – but her point was that those are some of the stereotypes out there.

    We’re normal. We’re farmers and architects and housekeepers and doctors and military colonels; we’re faithful Christians and Jews and Muslims… and atheists; our kids are average and gifted and delayed and genius; the kids are shy and exuberant and wiggly and calm. We’re neo-hippies and nerds and artists and musicians and goofballs and serious and overprotective and laissez-faire. We defy stereotypes… most of the time.

    But the stereotypes are there. And we are judged by those who don’t understand what we’re doing. When someone like this writer is nervous about saying, “Hey, I’m going to homeschool my kids,” it’s because she knows that many of the hearers will automatically be confused/ judgmental, trying to fit her into whatever stereotype they believe. Telling people I homeschool always gets a reaction, and usually that reaction is VERY positive or VERY negative, because people have preconceived notions of what that must mean.

    This article did a fantastic job of dispelling those stereotypes and breaking down what is really is to homeschool.

  251. Does your curriculum include tolerance training? (Except for those kooky, right-wing, scum-of-the-earth types. They’re supposed to tolerate you; certainly not the other way around.)

  252. Good article!
    But concerning item 5 …not in Alabama! Homeschoolers are NOT allowed to access services in the public school system here. My daughter has a documented disability but cannot receive speech/language therapy unless I am willing to enrolled her full time. I went all the way to the top state offices to verify that this was the case. Unbelievable, but true!

  253. Well, you’ll be happy to know that in my 16 years of teaching my kids at home, and even after graduating one who is now very successful in the “real world”, I’ve never worn a long denim skirt and my kids have never been nerds.

    I’m glad you redeemed yourself by seeing the light AND seeing just how ignorant all of the “myths” of homeschooling you quoted were and still are.

    Let me add that the “real world” is not being locked in a building for 8 hours, Honey. The kids who are at home, live in the real world while their poor little peers are getting in trouble for SOCIALIZING and are on lock down due to the latest bomb threat or worse.

    The homeschoolers are the ones who can socialize with everyone, of all ages, and don’t count on peers to give them their self-worth.

    I could go on and on, but I would say that educating your kids at home has given you the education that you needed, because somewhere in med school, they forgot to teach you what stereotyping was and how ignorant it makes you sound.

  254. I am not sure why people are so defensive about the long skirt/ right wing comments. It is a stereotype, and it has been true in the past. As a homeschool mom and homeschooled child, I always joke about needing a jumper and white tennies to really fit in. I’ve been to the homeschool convention in my state and yes! There are all of the above… I am assuming that if you wear long skirts you mean to be, so don’t get offended because someone mentions it! The types of homeschoolers vary, there are Muslims and Mennonites, to skinny jeans and nose rings. Let’s not be so sensitive ladies…

  255. Adele Weeks says:

    For an educated person you certainly have absorbed some stereotypes and made some prejudicial statements about people who hold religious convictions. How do you define “kook?” Is it just someone who doesn’t think like you do? Are all people who have genuine religious convictions “kooks?” Do you even know any religious people? How many homeschooling families are “extremists?” What makes one an extremist? Orthodox Jewish women wear long skirts and devout Muslims cover their bodies. Do you classify them as “extremists?” Do you eat food? Who do you think grows it? Are farmers somehow sub-human that you would single them out for ridicule?

  256. To SR: as a multi lingual homeschooler I want to answer your foreign language question. As homeschoolers we have the freedom to tutor our kids with native speakers, sometimes with other students, sometimes alone. There is also the possibility of extended culture and language trips overseas because we are not confined to a school schedule. In a public or private school you get whoever the school hires, who may… or may not be competent or fluent in pronunciation, intonation and conversation in the language they are teaching. As a homeschooler I can find the very best and am not limited in my choices. For the kids who desire music and drama there are usually co-ops and such, should the child express interest. For those who are church people, children’s choirs are often available.
    I do think that your perspective is very interesting… You ask… How I could think of myself as more qualified that you? I don’t have a masters degree in education, but I know my kids and my passion to see them thrive and learn will be more than yours could ever be for them because you are not the parent. I will use the resources that are provided and they will thrive, and if they don’t, I will change something around. Who better to be sensitive to the kids learning and educational needs than the ones that know them best? From my perspective, it isn’t really your job, even though you are highly trained, it’s mine.

  257. Great article, this will help my wife and I make a descision whether to home school or not. We have seen horrible things in public schools over the years, like Coulumbine, and even here in Canada we have had our share of those sorts of unimaginable horrors. I was bullied very badly in school, and from my experiences i would not wish it on my worst enemy! Having read this article and some of the unkind comments, I can now see how home schooling would be extremely benifical to a child who is learning. 1.) they will not be judged, 2.) they will recieve far more attention and patience that they will not recieve in the public school system, 3.) NO BULLIES!, 4.) they will be every bit as employable as a person comming out of the public system.
    What is there in home schooling to be afraid of? Nothing from what i can see, again wonderful article, Thank-you!

  258. Although I see your point, I think calling people “right winged kooks” is really not very nice. So who cares if they are right winged or kooks? They homeschool and it works for them. Your point #18 is one they follow, so does that make them less of a person because they don’t agree with what you think? People sure like to preach tolerance until it comes to those crazy conservative Christians.

  259. Let me preface this by saying I was, like many of the other posters above, put off (insulted) by the “right-wing kook” crack. Aside from that and a few other stereotypical low blows, this was a fantastic article. We’re an MD family as well, spending too much to send our kids to private elementary school. My husband and I have discussed the homeschool option, and I would consider showing your article to him since you have outlined the positives and benefits so well. You make a really good argument for homeschooling.

    (Unfortunately, I’ll probably have to edit out all your anti-right rhetoric, because I know my husband will get way too irritated by it to take your overall message to heart. Believe it or not, there ARE conservative physicians out there–REALLY! I know because I married one!)

  260. Lovely article!! Our children especially enjoy the extra time to pursue interests. (Our local Wind Cave National Park offers a fantastic hands-on science program that they love, for one thing.) Thank you for speaking up for homeschooling! :)

  261. I’m glad the author is enjoying homeschooling, but I am appalled at the stereotypes this supposedly well educated professional possessed: “Surprisingly it was full of doctors, lawyers, former public school teachers, and other professionals. These were not the stay-at-home-moms in long skirts that I expected. The face of homeschooling is changing. We are not all religious extremists or farmers, and our kids are not all overachieving academic nerds without social skills.” You are at least 20 years out of touch! Good Lord. I’ve been homeschooling for 13 years and it wasn’t like you describe even when I started.

    Also, #5 “Use Whatever Public School Services You Like” isn’t true in every state. In my own state of NC, we can’t play sports, use labs, or access special needs classes. We can’t use any services at public schools, in fact. Every state is different, so each family needs to assess the laws governing their state.

  262. The services available to homeschoolers from their school districts varies by state. In our state we can do extra curriculars like orchestra or sports or dual enroll for some classes. If your child needs speech or occupational therapy or remedial reading… you need to do it on your own.

  263. Michelle says:

    This would have been a lot more credible without the grammatical and spelling errors. You’re a teacher??

  264. Elinor Dashwood says:

    You’re homeschooling? That’s great! So far we’ve had a summa cum laude in Classics and a Phi Beta Kappa from among our once-homeschooled children. Here’s a tip, however: if by “religious extremists” you mean people who actually think that the religion they practice is right and true, THEN SAY SO. Extremist is a meaningless term of abuse. Now that you’re a homeschooler it behooves you to take more thought rather than less for the meaning and implications of the words you use. Good luck with homeschooling!

  265. I enjoyed some of your comments about homeschooling while I was offended at others. I am a “long, skirt-wearing” mother of 3 who has homeschooled for 15 years. I did start homeschooling for religious reasons, which is what you and everyone else assumes of me because of the nature of my clothing, but because I wanted my child to have to best experience possible. I do not go without taking baths, looking unkempt, and such. I think that is a disgrace. And just because someone wears long skirts AND homeschools does not make them a religious fanatic. We don’t say….you MUST homeschool or you are cast out! Sheesh…as a doctor I’d think you would be more aware of different beliefs and not assume these types of things. I hope your homeschooling continues to be enjoyable. I’ve enjoyed it so much….except for when I’m hit unfairly with junk like this. It’s one thing to have to fight the scorn of people in the community who think you’re a weirdo for homeschooling in the first place, but then to be typed because of your clothing just increases the frustration. People want to talk about discrimination!! I promise you…walk through a crowded mall with a long dress on and long hair and watch as people literally stop, point and stare. I can walk beside a person with a purple Mohawk and more metal in their face than you’d think was humanly possible and I still get more looks than he does. We are very well dressed and groomed. I’m a stickler for that. Maybe that’s what amazes people. That you can wear a skirt and still look good! lol Oh well….just wanted to say…please don’t slam something you don’t understand and stereotype…not a very good homeschool example with that!

  266. Excellent article with excellent reason, many of we have thought of as we consider home schooling our kids next year. However, my 3 kids will be going into 3rd, 6th & 8th grade. Is is too late to start? I know a lot of families who start out home schooling and then send their kids to public or private school starting in middle school or high school. I cannot think of anyone I know personally who has had their kids in public school and then starting home schooling this late in the game, so to speak. I’m excited and scared at the possibility.

  267. Great article! I don’t have kids of my own yet, but my siblings and I were home schooled and this totally lines up with my experience.

    I think the bit about socialization is especially important. People think home schooling makes kids socially awkward, but I saw the opposite. My friends who were ostracized in public school became social butterflies when their parent’s started home schooling them. People didn’t *believe* them when they said they were shy or used to have trouble making friends.

    I’m an introvert, but I had a huge social life in high school, which was probably better because of home school. I could recharge at home and be ready for fun with my friends later, instead of being drained from being at school all day.

  268. chrystie quick cook that is an interesting question and it all depends on your curriculum and the state you live in… Of course you can print off diploma and sign it and say your child has graduated, but here is what has happened in my life as an example… In my state it required to have all of the schooling documented and end of year testing shown. With that the state will given your child permission to have a graduated status. But in the government all job except military except the homeschool sign and dated diploma… Military is completely different, my brother tried to get in and they put him at a ged had not finished school placement then of course he was labeled and so on.. another friend of mine had to fight the military not excepting her sons diploma and then after getting in and exceeding all his expectations was offered a job working for the president to which was turned down because of his homeschooled status…. That is why I chose not to teach my child at home… My mother worked hard and she did it all correctly but it was not enough for the government… Now as to your state that is something you must look into on your own some are lenient others are very strict… But one should always follow them because it will affect a child’s future

  269. Ooooppppssss….just realized that I left out ” did NOT start homeschooling”….just wanted to correct that typo! :)

  270. I am so glad you live someplace where there is good support. When I was growing up we lived in an area with no homeschoolers. The nearest group was 45 minutes away and it fell apart at one point too. I was ostracized in scouts, and at church by my peers, and they were supported by their parents. My parents were also looked down on. Missouri where we now live is much better than anywhere else I’ve lived. Parts of Missouri have above 50% homeschooling rates at elementary school levels.

  271. Right wing kook? Religious extremists? Farmers? Long skirt wearing moms? You had great points but did you have to be insulting in the process? Just made me cringe a little when I read that line. Minus that and it was a great article!

  272. I thought the author addressed the issue of socialization very well. Homeschooling provides the best I socialization advantages for that is best learned in a safe family and protected environment during the young years of life before emotional maturity is reached. Some of best defenses against bullying is learning from the example of parents who face tough issues at times and share their experiences with their children. Strength to associate in life is best learned by confidence in oneself, and not from bad experiences before a child is emotionally mature enough to process those feelings.

  273. Also…to the one asking about a diploma. I homeschooled my children from Pre-K through highschool graduation. I did a program in high school that was designed for adults who had never graduated and wanted to get their diploma. It was through an accredited school and their diplomas were accepted by the colleges they attended.

  274. Thanks for this article, a great summary to share with our non homeschooling friends and family. I have been homeschooling my 11 y/o daughter from her beginning schooling years, while working part time, and it has been a wonderful adventure.
    I’m not sure I would say it was easy. I go deep and wide to find resources since we have chosen not to use a boxed curriculum, but we also work more at home with fewer field trips because of my daughter’s interest level as well as the time commitment for the athletic activities she pursues. I think the unique aspect of homeschooling that I actually love is the discovery of materials that I hope will open my daughter’s awareness to the amazing and complicated modern world we live in. So I would add that homeschooling has the flexibility to be what the parent and child put into it.
    I would also add that we have met a diverse group of homeschoolers from secular to religious backgrounds and we are happy to feel welcomed to share our common ground of quality education for our children and family based socialization and values. In a sense homeschoolers are not mainstream and that’s okay with us. Our left wing, libertarian views might seem kooky to some, so we are mindful not to judge others for their views and to stand together when we can.
    Thanks again for a nice post. And best wishes on your homeschool journey.
    Bea

  275. To those who are offended by references to “right-wing kook,” she is describing the stereo-type, which exists. And it’s important to remember that there are, indeed, “right-wing kooks” who homeschool, just as there are “left-wing kooks” who study theater (stereo-types exist for a reason).

    She was simply describing how she thought she’d be considered by people who are ignorant about homeschooling. And most people who are ignorant about homeschooling think it’s dominated by “right-wing kooks.”

    In my experience of homeschooling I have met some wonderful kooks on the right and the left. Sweet, kind, thoughtful people, who subscribe to certain philosophies that are “kooky.” I suspect many of my thoughts are considered “kooky” by some of my dearest friends. And that’s fine. It doesn’t diminish our respect for each other.

    Finally, “tolerance” doesn’t mean “not criticized.” It means it is tolerated. We all tolerate differences of opinion while criticizing those opinions. Only when someone is arguing that an opinion or an activity should be made illegal is there “intolerance.”

  276. Great post! Thanks, and continued good fortune!

    To all those offended respondents, the author’s use of stereotype is patently iconoclastic and *not* supportive of those stereotypes.

    To all the ‘kooks’ and ‘religious extremists,’ think for a moment how you would regard me if I professed a sincere belief that unicorns created the world…. Right. Now, consider that, as an atheist, out of all the thousands of deities humanity has dreamed up, I believe in *only one* god less than you do.

    I do sincerely understand how it is not only possible, but easily possible, to get caught up in a socially created web of coherently interdependent beliefs. However, it is a sad state of affairs for an individual, family, or society to place more value on maintaining the internal consistency of a belief system than the value placed on reality. That behavior, my fellow humans, is the essence of kooky.

  277. It’s a good thing the kooks and extremists fought hard for the freedom to home school so that Johnny-come-latelies have that option when necessity forces them to consider overcoming their prejudices. I’d say they deserve more thanks than the way you were so eager to distance yourself from them, lest you be judged by your professional peers. I believe you meant for the tone of your introduction to be tongue-in-cheek, but your disdain comes through as a pretty strong insult. An apology would be a great way to embrace the home-schooling community regardless of one’s beliefs on the proper length of one’s skirt.
    While doctors and lawyers and similar professionals may be well-informed, we sometimes lack wisdom or humanity in the application or conveyance of that knowledge. Home schooling should help, because it educates not only the child, but also the parents.

  278. Jen, it is not too late to start!! There are many, many resources out there for homeschooling–”placement” tests, curricula, discussion boards, support groups, etc.!

  279. I also wanted to address Jen, above: I WANT my kids to go to school for the primary years, and if we decide to homeschool, I would start when my kids hit the mid-to-upper elementary grades. Just figure out what’s best for your family, and go for it!

  280. Louise DiGennaro says:

    Ah, but you are teaching your children values that they may not get in ‘school’. You value family ties, enuf sleep, kindness, not bullying, a good work ethic, creativity, and learning to take responsibility for your own time and belongings. You value academic excellence, being part of your community, a peaceful lifestyle, healthy food and wholesome thought. You value your children. And you demonstrate that value in a beautiful way.

  281. Thanks so much for this! We began homeschooling in December of ’12 after feeling unhappy with our experience at our local Seattle public school, and then unimpressed with a few months at private school. We simply love homeschooling, and have been delighted with how much smoother daily life goes. Our sleep is easier, our schedule is easier, and everyone is so much happier on a general basis. And the kids (and adults!) is still learning and growing and socializing and doing great!

  282. Creighton says:

    Great article, but it’s apparent that you are still stuck with an image of homeschoolers that has never been statisticly correct. Parents who homeschool *primarily* for religious reasons have always been a small minority. My wife & I have been homeschooling for 7 years, and we have never even *met* a family that fits the “stay at home moms in long skirts” sterotype. As for my wife, even “homeschooling” is a misnomer, as they don’t stay put! They are always off to a co-op class, dance class, acting class, choir meeting, swimming class, group tour/field trip, etc.

  283. Jen, it’s not too late to start homeschooling your kids! My kids are in 6th and 9th grades and this is our first school year homeschooling. I hope that we can continue it until they graduate.

  284. Chill out, people. She was addressing the stereotype, not subscribing to it.

  285. Dr. Kathy says:

    I am another MD turned home-educator and I agree with most of what she said, with the exception of #8. My daughter was home educated through 8th grade. At that point we opted for private Catholic school, feeling that the positives out weighed the negatives. She has had a wonderful 3.5 years in high school, playing on sports teams, participating in ASB and was even nominated for home-coming queen! She has loved high school but is occasionally frustrated by the inefficiencies inherent in all large school situations and fondly remembers when her time was her own and she could leisurely read a book or decide on her own science project. Due to the years we spent together, we have a wonderful relationship and so #8 never comes into play- I never have to yell at her! I have a son who attended private school all the way throughand he is graduating from college next month – different paths for different kids -

  286. Great article and I couldn’t agree with you more. I am the wife of a dentist and we have chosen to homeschool our three young boys. They are not socially unaware. We are involved with homeschool PE at our local YMCA 2 times a week and people may even be shocked that most of these families are normal people just trying to educate their children. It is fun and very rewarding. I never thought I could teach my kids how to read and now they love it! They embrace differences in everyone and thing that it is cool to love school.
    I love hearing the positives of homeschooling and thank you for writing this article!

  287. My wife and I are public school teachers; she 4th and 5th grade, and I 10th. Your article make some important points (aside from right-wing kook stereotype), but I will present a counterargument to them that I believe levels or even balances the public school experience with homeschooling.
    Parents cannot achieve the social experiences that children and teens need. They will have an office bully someday, they will miss irreplaceable friendships and experiences, and they will have less experience overcoming resistance and difficulties. Those are parts of development that are necessary for most successful adults.
    You, as a teacher of your children, are limited in your knowledge of core subjects, even an M.D. The most valuable elements in my classroom are when we extend, we go beyond the basic knowledge and enrich it. The public school teacher is an experienced specialist who knows what students need and how to diagnose strengths and weaknesses skilfully. To compare, it’s like the parent at home with a sick kid to a M.D…. adequate much of the time but limited. For example, my students would know that parts of a persuasive essay (as above) include a thesis statement, counterargument, expand on it and finish with a convincing clincher.
    The kids will miss some things academically. In my opinion, the public school experience is better rounded socially and academically.

  288. I believe that her mention of long skirt wearing, religious homeschoolers is important because that IS the stereotype. Just like she found it untrue, so should others who read her article. There isn’t anything wrong with being that segment of the homeschooling population, but it is the perception of a great majority of people and is untrue. I often get asked about religion and whether I am trying to keep my children from being around others by homeschooling. That is the automatic assumption. It has come up so often that I now make it a point to state that I home school for academic reasons not religious and that I am not anti-public school and certainly not anti-teacher. Of course perception is changing. Not that the fundamentalists or skirt wearing is being pushed out, but there are more options for not only high standards for all, but secular too.

  289. I am from South Africa. I started homeschooling my children when they were Gr5 and Gr7. Now in our 4th year, we have no regrets. We are fortunate that our kids can take part in government school activities, and my son still plays rugby for a local school. Good luck to all of you who are starting to (or have just started) homeschooling- it may be a hard, frustrating thing to do at times, but it is definitely the most rewarding job I have ever done :)

  290. Last time I checked, lawyers and doctors are not educators.

  291. My former housemate, an M.D. student in Texas, forwarded me your article and suggested that I reach out to you. I am the CEO of a company called Homeschool Spanish Academy, and I thought your points were well written and quite persuasive. As a respected member of both the homeschooling and medical communities, I would like to offer you a free 7 week program to try us out and see what you think. We are an online Spanish school where all of our students study 1-on-1 with live native-Spanish speaking instructors. What’s most interesting about us however, is that all of our instructors are giving classes from Antigua, Guatemala. We have classes for ages as young as 5 years old up to adults. By no means am I trying to advertise on your blog. I am simply reaching out to someone I respect and wish to meet. Thank you for your kind consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon!
    Regards,
    Ron

  292. Oh my goodness, people! Please reread the first few paragraphs and understand that she initially uses past tense verbs, meaning that those WERE her fears, concerns, and stereotypes before she delved into the world of homeschooling. It is frustrating that negative stereotypes exist, but, well, they do exist. She is listing them, not stating that she believes them, and her purpose is to dispel, not perpetuate, these unfair stereotypes. She is reaching out to an audience perhaps somewhat interested in but skeptical about homeschooling (hence Googling “Reasons to Homeschool Your Child”). Her purpose is to educate this curious audience about the great benefits of homeschooling (and point out that her preconceptions were inaccurate). Helping to spread the word to a more mainstream, growing audience is a GOOD thing in order to gain not only acceptance but also support.

  293. I would like to point out that #5 may not apply to all homeschoolers. I was homeschooled in Ohio, and my friends and I were not allowed to join high school sports. But quite a few co-op groups had their own sports teams, and some of my friends played on travel or private leagues.

    Other than this, I loved this article and agreed with all the other points. By high school, I was allowed to choose my school, and I stuck with homeschooling because I enjoyed it.

  294. I’m a long-skirt-wearing, religious, LEFT-wing-activist kook who homeschools! Hows that for overcoming stereotypes? lol

  295. gabschool says:

    I would add a

    19) The NUTRITION FACT: you control what your child gets in his plate (no cantine food). Your child can also learn by cooking with you, maybe even grow food in a garden…

    20) Flexible Places to learn: Outdoor learning such as in Forests or Parks. Excursions to places like Museums etc.

    21) Overall Health, environmental friendly ( CHOICE): your child is not exposed to dangerous chemicals in cleaning products, you can choose the furniture and learning material, excessive wireless connections, fumes, bad air in overcrowded classes

    22) GET RID OF UNIforms and put your child in confortable clothes, less mobbing and booling, No “beauty or brand competition” between students

  296. Jennifer says:

    I really liked many aspects of this article. My husband and I have been homeschooling our two girls (ages 11 and 13) for 5 years now. It has truly been a blessing for our family! My husband is an ER Physician and I received by Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. I felt I was qualified to teach them, even though I did not have a degree in Education. The first thing I had to overcome were the ignorant comments people would make. One time we decided to go to lunch at a nearby deli. While walking towards the door, I saw 3 men (dressed in suits) sitting outside eating their lunch. One of them said to the other, “are those homeschoolers?” He replied back, “no, those are unschoolers.” I was so mad. Don’t kids at school get a lunch break? Comments like that can really put a damper on things, but if you know you are doing a good job, and that the results are reflected in your children, you shouldn’t be very bothered by those kinds of comments. Our two girls are very happy, very socialized, have good manners, and do well every year on their standardized testing. We attend Classical Conversations once a week, they both take piano (and played several duets for church), and they also attend gymnastics class once a week. Our extended family has been very supportive and encouraging!

  297. CJ Hamilton says:

    I think many of you are missing the fact that she used the phrase ‘right wing kooks’ *BECAUSE* it is a stereotype. *Because* that is many people’s perception of homeschoolers. She was afraid people would label her with that *incorrect* stereostype. Many people do assume that anyone homeschooling is some sort of religious/political/anti-something, and when you tell people you homeschool that is often tthe *first* thing they ask- “Are you some sort of religious nut?”(usually followed by “But, but, what about socialization??”) Then you have to spend a whole lot of time explaining how the stereotype is wrong, and that is an exhausting process.

  298. This is the BEST list of reasons I’ve ever seen to homeschool. I’m not home schooling now, but with 4 kids I may someday. It’s a good reminder for me to on how I want to make sure to use summers as a time to “work” on some of the things you listed above. Thank you.

  299. April Mendenhall says:

    I have been a homeschooling mom for 8 years now and about half of the things you have stated in this article is either completely false or complete false advertising for the homeschooling community. We too have done both private and public schools and there are both positive and negatives of those as well. However, we are all convicted and challenged in different areas of our lives and we need to be smart and cautious about what we state as fact from opinion. Not everyone should be homeschooling their children, which you did state. However, making statments that homeschooled children are better off acedemically is NOT true. I know of several families whose children are so far behind because of being homeschooled and not being held accountable. Homeschooling is NOT an easy job either. Unless of course you have a cleaning lady and laundry aide and chef. The other idea that you yell less, that is not a fact. That perhaps is your ecperience, but not everyones. As for children being able to participate in the local school districts activities is yet another false statement. It depends on your state and school district. I seriously woukd challenge you to double check what fact vs opinion is next time you want to post something like this. These false advertising articles are the very reason mothers and fathers get frustrated and discouraged with homeschooling. The feelings of inadequesy creep in, all due yo someones opinion rather than fact.

  300. Kudos to you for choosing to homeschool! It takes a lot of courage and bravery to step out of the expected norm and go against the grain.

    I’ve been homeschooling my two daughters from birth and I too don’t plan on using any other form of education (despite the temptation to do so on a daily basis). I went to pubic school my whole life and so did my husband so I too believed the stereotypes of homeschoolers before I had children. So if you took offense at this article try to remember that different people have different backgrounds and to a person on the “outside” we do look like “extremists and farmers” LOL. SO PLEASE RELAX. This doctor is on our side and she’s helping her colleagues to understand that those stereotypes are not true. You should be praising her instead of berating her. And this list were reasons SHE chose to homeschool. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list that is true of ALL home schoolers. So agree with the ones you agree with, and disagree with the ones you disagree with and in the meantime be CIVIL with your comments. Thanks!

  301. Thank you for sharing! I’m going to homeschool next year and have a situation similar to yours. I relate too all that you said and look forward to more quality family time!

  302. Why use the graphic where the teacher and parent are fighting?

  303. Jennifer Smith says:

    What a great article! All were very good reasons to homeschool, and you’ve helped push me an inch or two closer toward making the decision to homeschool myself some day. Thank you!

  304. To answer some of the questions I see here: Re languages; All of our children learned basic Hebrew reading for prayer at our synagogue after school program ( reinforced at home) , our oldest studied Conversational Hebrew at a local college then privately with the teacher, second daughter took Latin with a local teacher who offers several levels of Latin for home schoolers, when she entered 4 year university she placed into Latin 201. She also took three semesters of Conversational Hebrew at the community college under their dual enrollment option. She may transfer those credits towards a certificate in Jewish studies. Younger child will take language at the community college when she is ready.

    Many people have started homeschooling with children older than 5 or 6, it works, just start teaching at the student’s level and give them time to rediscover the joy of learning.

    Skirts- some of us find them more comfortable, some of us are short and never bother to hem anything, sometimes it is hard to tell the aging hippies from the religious conservatives, sometimes they agree on issues.

  305. I loved the article, and I am a home-schooling mom of 5. Both of my oldest have chosen to go back to public school though for one reason only… they wanted the experience of the high-school team sports and marching band. Unfortunately there is no way around marching band, but as far as high school team sports goes most states do not allow home school students to participate in team sports if they require travel outside of their district which is pretty much every sport =( I certainly wish it was otherwise. Love the article! I can’t wait to see the BOOM!

  306. Wonderfully put… Great points. Thanks for sharing.

  307. RealHousewife says:

    I too was thrown by the *kook and *long denim skirt remarks but I wasn’t offended. I did really like the article aside of that…live and learn right:)

  308. Number 5 is not true…..it depends on the school district you live in.

  309. Dr. Berchelmann,

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on homeschooling. My parents home schooled me all the way through high school. I loved it and agree with everything you have to say here about the benefits. As far as homeschooling in high school, do not be afraid to consider it. I graduated college with honors and am now pursuing my MA. Homeschooling prepared me to be a self directed student; which is required for academic success in college. Also, there are a lot of programs out there now for homes schoolers to earn dual credit for high school and college. Liberty University offers one called the Edge Program.
    I hope to homeschool my own children one day, and your article is a big encouragement to keep that as my goal!

  310. Sara Ryan says:

    I really love many of the points made in this article. I, too, am a homeschooling mother, and enjoy many of these same benefits for my family. I have to say, though, that I felt very judged when comments like “stay at home moms with long skirts” and “right wing kook” or “religious extremists” were made in reference to most homeschooling families. I understand that you are playing off of common stereotypes, but do we really need to foster those? I am a stay at home mom, and I also wear long skirts, but I suspect that had I met you at your first homeschool meeting, we would have gotten along great! Let’s concentrate on the amazing positives that come along with this very family-friendly decision, and try to overcome the stereotypes, rather than perpetuate them. I am very happy for your family, and heartily agree that you have made a wonderful choice for your children!

    Many continued blessings to you and your family!

  311. Empty nest mom says:

    We home educated our 3 children. Although they tested well, we always wondered if we were giving them what they needed academically. One graduated with honors from college and is headed to Africa for a third time as a missionary. Another is a college junior with a 4.0. The last one is headed to West Point in July after a year at a military institute. Academically they seem to have gotten what they needed. We are amazed at how the culture has no tolerance for a student’s uniqueness. Young people are pressed into a cultural mold that does not prepare them well to be capable and responsible adults. What we would not trade for the world is the relationship we share with each one and that they enjoy among themselves. We had time to love, enjoy and know one another well. Priceless!

  312. Stop freaking out about the “kooks” comment. It’s a stereotype that some people subscribe to, and she didn’t want to take the chance on her boss being one of those people.

  313. Thank you sooooooo much for writing and sharing this article regardiing 18 Reasons why some are choosing to hom educate. My husband and I have been praying about this very decision….for many of the reasons you listed. But we’ve not been on “the same page” for years. He now is strongly considering the move to home educate. Your article has not only been a helpful resource and tool but also an encouragment to a somewhate “fearful” mom who “now” has a husband “onbard” ! He is going to read this article as soon as I finish typing. Thanks again, TinaMarie Glover

  314. i think homeschooling is just blah. i want my kids to get out of the house. i dont want to have to constantly be around them all the time. i want to work & make my own money. not just extra cash. but real money. i want my children to be taught how to be intelligent & go to a great college & do something amazing with their lives besides the boring life stuff. its the parents job to teach their children to do what is right in the first place. most parents dont understand calculus, physics, proper grammer (dont judge me because im not. i dont have to. this aint formal). hell, alot of people these days dont even know basic math. let the teachers who get paid to do it teach them. besides, homeschooling takes children from the school which causes a decrease in teachers & people losing their jobs. way to go people.

  315. Scott McDaniel says:

    I must say that as a father who actively engages in the homeschooling of two boys, I agree with you on so many levels.

    As for those taking offense to the “stereotype” comments, it would do better to grow thicker skin. “Politicizing the personal” is nothing new to the crowd that makes those insults and generally has more access to popular media. They’ve been doing this for years, and they’re usually successful. No insult was intended by the author. She’s simply stating her thoughts as they went through her mind at the time. Nothing “bad” about that, especially when taken in context that the author _SUPPORTS AND ENGAGES_ in homeschooling.

  316. @JEN I have done about everything with my children. My first went through 6th grade and then I pulled him until HS. (He was valedictorian) My 2nd went through 4th, I hated the math curriculum so pulled her until HS. My 3rd I pulled in 2nd grade because they could not teach him to read, put him back in at 9th grade. He now has a 4.0 and will graduate a year early. My 4th I pulled during 3rd and 4th. She is a leader so I put her back in and she excels in the system. My 5th went for Kindergarten and back out for 2nd and 3rd. She is in for 4th but will probably come home for 5th as her social skills are actually regressing. My “baby” is ready to start Kindergarten but I think I’ll keep her home. She knows how to read, write and do basic math. She has a soft personality that I do not want harmed in any way. I have always done what is best for each individual child and it has blessed my children beyond measure!

  317. Jennifer says:

    Lots of good points about homeschooling… the article was a bit comical in places that I think weren’t meant to be…. I think it is just some things that showed that this was the first year…. and after having homeschooled for 13yrs. and having all kinds of things happen during that time with interruptions and all kind of life challenges, I had to chuckle a little over the enthusiasm. I don’t wear long skirts, and never have. I think it was ok to mention the stereotype, however, it would’ve been good to acknowledge that the face of homeschooling hadn’t actually changed, so much as you finally saw it for what it truly was…. you were looking through a lens that was very narrow and there many misconceptions. Homeschooling didn’t change….. you did…..

  318. Young Mommy of Three says:

    I really enjoyed reading this list. So far I have one kindergardneter. I don’t like everything his Public School does. I’ve thought about homeschooling a lot. My biggest worries have been socialization and whether or not I have what it takes. I found your article inspiring. It really painted a lovely picture of what home-schooling can be like.

    I also want to say, that I am conservative and religious, and DID NOT take any offense to your “stereotyping”. I read it with humor and thought it was funny. I was surprised by some of the charged responses to that part.

  319. Whew – I’m so glad homeschooling is cool now that the “face of homeschooling is changing,” and it’s being done by professionals rather than just those religious extremists and farmers with nerdy, unsocialized kids.

    I can start feeling good about myself and how trendy I am.

    Being patronized annoys me.

  320. Amanda Hatcher says:

    This was an excellent article with some very good points. Unfortunately it seems that some readers have been offended by the author’s honesty. As a parent who educates her children at home, I must admit that I initially shared many of the author’s concerns regarding the stigmas surrounding homeschooling. Also similar to the author’s experience, I have found the former anxieties to be unwarranted. Homeschooling has been an enormous boon for our family and I am excited to read about other families, in any walk of life, who successfully educate children in the home. Surely the healthy growth and development of a child’s mind is something we can all celebrate. Recognizing our different backgrounds while acknowledging the enormous universal benefits of homeschooling should be empowering!

  321. Trisha Brown says:

    To those who are defending the author’s stereotypes… I must ask you this; if it is okay to stereotype a home school mom as being a right-wing kook and long-skirt wearer, does that mean you think it is okay to stereotype a black teenage boy as being gangster hoodlums (because statistically many of them are), or an Asian person as being a poor driver (check insurance company statistics – it is often true), or a Mexican as being an illegal alien (because we know there are a bunch of them)? It is easy to tell the rest of us to calm down when the stereotype does not apply to you… but I bet there are a bunch of black, Asian, and Mexican people out there who were just offended by me lumping them in with others.

  322. “These were not the stay-at-home-moms in long skirts that I expected. The face of homeschooling is changing. We are not all religious extremists or farmers, and our kids are not all overachieving academic nerds without social skills.”
    Kathleen Berchelmann, M.D

    The author of the op/ed had a very bigoted attitude toward homeschooling and homeschoolers as evidenced by her words above. Her bigoted opinion was probably formed from watching and believing everything she saw and heard bigoted talking heads say on major TV networks about homeschooling, but it seems she has had her eyes opened. That’s a good thing. I hope she can teach her children to be less bigoted than she initially was and to research truth for themselves.

  323. I agree, homeschooling is a great way to control your schedule and make life more manageable. Thanks for a great article – it’s clear your experience with homeschooling has been very positive!

  324. It was a very good list, but like a lot of the commenters I was very offended by her view of homeschooling to begin with. And to make it worse, she decided that homeschooling was “changing” not that she had a wrong view. NOW educated people are homeschooling (like her!) not just the religious kooks and farmers! Having been part of the homeschool community for almost 30 years, I can say that as a whole we’ve never been what she thinks we were. We’ve been homeschooling all along because we knew the things on her list to be true, not for other, kooky reasons.

    I disagree with the people who say that the author was just “mentioning a stereotype”. No, she said that homeschooling was changing and no longer like that, when the truth is, it never really was. And even for the people that homeschool for religious reasons, that is usually just ONE of the many, many reasons they homeschool. They homeschool because they recognize all the truths in her list.

  325. To all the parents going crazy because Kathleen happened to mention some homeschooling stereotypes – calm down! I was homeschooled from K-12th, and it was always apparent to me that there was a wide variety of people who homeschooled, from the denim skirts and long hair to tattoos and turquoise hair. I have never looked down on any of my friends because of the way they dressed or acted, but there have been many occasions when meeting kids who were not homeschooled where I had to explain yet again that not all homeschooled kids are afraid to cut their hair or wear pants. There are stereotypes in every walk of life, and this just happens to be one of them. Many people assume that homeschoolers are über conservative, Christian kids that don’t actually do much school and spend most of their time in their home with pajamas on. I cannot tell you how many times I heard the phrase, “But you’re so normal!” after telling someone I was homeschooled my whole life. So even after homeschooling for so long, I completely understand where Kathleen was coming from. People just don’t know what they don’t know until one day they do.

  326. Would be a lot more convincing/credible without all the spelling and grammatical errors.

  327. THANK YOU for taking the time to write this article and for sharing it. I didn’t perceive you as being condescending toward the homeschooling community or those who paved the way for homeschoolers. What I saw was a person stating many of the common, yet inaccurate, stereotypes that many have about homeschoolers and then taking the opportunity to clarify why those stereotypes are not correct. If people are honest, they will agree that those outside of homeschooling do have some inaccurate perceptions of the homeschooling community–these may be for various reasons, some may be valid and others not. But seriously, people, this was a great article for those who are considering homeschooling but have yet to fully buy into it. I don’t think anyone should be throwing stones at Dr. Berchelmann for her comments. She used this forum to portray homeschooling in a POSITIVE light. Allow it to be that.

  328. I totally agree, Gigi!

  329. We homeschooled all five of our children in one form or another first off for the first reason you mentioned. The driving back and forth to school was crazy and I had a newborn who screamed all the way up and all the back and all the way up and all the way back. In the time I spent every day driving I could get homeschool done (1 1/2 hours) so I thought I would give it a try. All of our children are either college grads or attending college now.
    I too was turned off by your stereo types. Who CARES what people think? I’m personally sick of the name calling. But your other points were rock solid. Home education has been not just an educational choice but a way of life for us. And we have been able to use public education options in our state (in California we did not have that option) and it has been wonderful. Our youngest daughter now has a full ride to college because she was able to pursue her musical and theater talents to the fullest, not just as an elective class.
    Home education has been wonderful for us.

  330. As a public school teacher I am so proud of my school and what the teachers there do for the kids (we are 75% poverty). So often when I hear about homeschooling it is explained from the stand point of the public schools being evil or awful. I appreciate so much that this author focused solely on the positives of homeschooling. I believe each family should be able to make their own choice, but don’t feel we need to out down the others in the process. Thank you for an insightful article based primarily on facts vs. negativity. I wish more people would frame their thinking this w at.

  331. As a leader in my homeschool community, I object to your characterization of home schoolers as nerdy religious fanatics deficient in social skills. Home school families are as diverse as families who choose institutional schooling. Your comments sounded a bit snobby.

    If our local public school had allowed my daughter, an Olympic Development level athlete, to participate in sports, they likely would have had a state championship team. Her position was their only deficit. The athletic director wouldn’t even talk to home school families. We were also told that if we opted out of school, we were opting out of OT and Speech Therapy for another child.

  332. SR: Thoughtful questions and I appreciate your invitation to understand more from the Homeschooling parent perspective. First…I would say that your teaching & school sounds lovely, but I doubt it is the norm in schools across America (certainly not in my southern town). Just as schools & teachers differ, so do home school experiences. In terms of exposure/teaching of foreign languages, music and participating in plays, I banded together with a small group of other homeschooling families and hired a language teacher (our elementary school children studied both latin and spanish) and an art teacher. We met weekly for these activities. Our home school group provided two forums annually for both learning and experiential activities including performing Shakespeare plays, oral arguments/debate, musical performance (provided teaching with a local symphony member in various instruments) and an art show. As my children approached high school, we investigated and selected several different opportunities for challenging subjects and learning opportunities. Many home school families engage in “dual enrollment” which is attending classes at the local community college or university while still in high school. We found some excellent resources through local college professors offering small classes (5-10 students) in a variety of subjects, including physics and chemistry, geometry, and advanced placement classes like AP Lit, AP Lang, APUSH. For a couple courses, we engaged in distance learning and were amazed at the interaction/involvement of both the students and the teachers. (We searched for a program that held online “class” with all students attending together, and requiring both sound and a microphone as they were expected to engage just like in a local classroom) Our kids participated in the latin forum in our county, a debate group that afforded them opportunities up to the national level and a local theater group which performs plays several times a year. One of our children is a talented athlete and home schooling offers him the flexibility to train during the day which has helped him excel, and as a junior in high school, get a great deal of attention from college coaches.
    Any home school family today has a vast array of resources available, is encouraged to understand the learning style of each of their children and to explore various curriculum. One of the beautiful things about this choice is the great gift of TIME…since the majority of the day is shared time with students, parents & their groups, discussion of everything (including the books we are reading) happens regularly and includes the perspective of a variety of ages. Through the years, we have been to numerous curriculum fairs and wish we could do MORE!
    I so applaud the beautiful way in which you seem to be approaching the teaching that you provide and know children are blossoming under your care. Most home school parents, trained with a masters in education or just loving their children beyond measure are providing something extraordinary, also…hopefully you can begin to embrace their choice and even offer support as they travel the journey they think best for their children and their family.

  333. You had me until #16. It seems as though this is contrary to your desire to homeschool in order to prepare your kids for real-world experiences. While I am 100% AGAINST bullying and would never stand for it if it happened to my children, the real world consists of mean people, unfortunately. If your children are never spoken to meanly by other children (besides siblings) I wonder how their coping and defense skills would develop.

  334. Good article. I did cringe a little over the “long skirt and farmers” comment. We home schooled all 3 of our kids, K-12. We also farm full time. Ironically, we have been a source for many home school families . We routinely host home school groups to the farm for field trips and play dates. We always have lots of animals (pigs, sheep, turkeys, chickens, cows). Most families marvel at what a great environment the farm is for teaching children.

  335. For those of you complaining about the stereotypes. She stated that that she was surprised that that wasn’t the norm. Her expectations were apparently based on views commonly expressed by those not familiar with homeschooling. I did not see anything to support that she still holds this view.
    Also, as to the non-spanking. Although we did not rule it out as a punishment, the fact that daily reinforcement (by example) of expected behavior, essentially eliminated the need to apply it.

  336. I was homeschooled. I was homeschooled so that I would grow up exteremely religious… just like the majority of homeschooled kids I knew where the women in the family wore the long denim skirts, couldn’t cut their hair, and were subjected to stereotypical gender roles. She said it because it is true- It isn’t fair to raise kids to be brainwashed into a religion and many of the homeschoolers I knew would have seen Mrs. Duggar as a hero. Props to the families that homeschool right but, unfortunately, a good portion of homeschoolers do fall into this category.

  337. veteran homeschool mom says:

    spot on. These were my thoughts when I first started homeschooling a 7th grader 11 yrs ago. I had a box of stuff that helped me believe I would not mess up my dd. Now 4 kids later, I see that the box of stuff was mostly a waste of my money.

    My only gripe with the article is that now homeschooling is considered acceptable because acceptable people have given it the OK? Where are the thanks for the kooks who pioneered this movement?

    35 yrs ago, the pioneers knew and acted upon the truth that being in school is not normal or natural. Just because today’s kids can do their boxed standardized curriculum in less time, or online PS at home doesn’t prove that homeschooling is OK.

    But SERIOUSLY I really wish the pioneers had come up with a better word than homeschooling. We don’t school at home. We learn everywhere…one daughter even learns music in the school building.

    Oh, yeah, another comment. Before you bring or keep your kids home from school, make sure you know the law. State homeschool compliance laws vary drastically.

  338. My favorite thing about home schooling my boys is all of the time I will have spent with them by the time they graduate. Great article…

  339. Steve Cleare says:

    This is valuable information for couples interested in homeschooling a growing trend in response to rising educational cost and social ills of government controlled systems and indoctrination in the public systems, love this growing idea!

  340. I love this article! But we aren’t allowed to play sports in our district here. So we created our own leagues!

  341. As a homeschool grad, I have to say I loved your article. Homeschooling gave me a strong academic foundation and a work ethic. I spent my entire senior year taking dual-enrollment credits at the local community college. I came off with a 4.0 that year, and the next year too. This academic year, I transferred to Liberty University where I’m an aviation major with a minor in Spanish, taking classes in the Honors Program, and just got inducted into the Tau Sigma National Honors Society. But before anyone asks if I have no life, I’ll just put it out there that I’m well known among my friends for organizing surprise bday parties, going to hockey games, and ice skating at every opportunity. I also am joining the Army National Guard.

    But the best part of being homeschooled is that I have a good relationship with my family. Yes, I went through that time around 17 years old where I just wanted out of the house. Now that I’m gone, I realize that my parents always have, and always will, be there for me, and out of my 7 siblings, I’m really close to 3 of them. I know that any time I’m upset, I can call my 15 year old sister and complain to her.

    And to those that say that homeschooling isn’t practical because most parents don’t know how to teach a lot of subjects…I’ll just say that my dear mom is not the greatest at math. But if I had a problem that I couldn’t understand, by golly, she would sit down and learn the lesson with me until we *both* got it. She’s doing the same with my brother now, and relearning Algebra 2 yet again, and he just passed his College Algebra CLEP exam. I even help teach the family in a way, because when I come home on break, we’re sure to have discussions around the breakfast or dinner table on philosophy, government, and flying. Even the 8 year-old will give his opinion, however flawed it might be, as to what the factors were that contributed to such-and-such a plane crash and what the pilot should have done differently!

    When I’m a mother myself, I’m homeschooling my children. No questions asked. And I’ll also be one of those professionals who choose to do so, a professional pilot in my case.

  342. i home schooled my 3 children because i took a close look at the books that were being used and didnt like the subtle messages that pervaded them ~ my son is an MD (anesthesiology) , one daughter has a BS in communications and the other BA in theater and they all still practice their faith

  343. To all the people that are defending the inflammatory language in the article: We all understand that she had the incorrect perception that ALL homeschoolers were skirt wearing religious extremists or farmers and ALL homeschooled children were nerds with no social skills. We all understand that she realized at her first home school meeting that this was not true of ALL homeschoolers. We all understand that those stereotypes really do exist.

    The problem is that there are real people with real feelings behind those stereotypes and that there is nothing wrong with those people. The problem is that she used inflammatory, degrading language such as ‘extremist’, ‘kook’, and ‘nerd’ to describe a segment of people that actually do exist in the homeschooling community and she used the language in a way that makes it clear that she thinks less of those people. She is glad to see that people in her station of life (doctors, lawyers) are also homeschooling and she is happy that homeschooling is now mainstream so she won’t be labeled an extremist.

    Also please realize that there are lots of people in this country that have labeled Christian homeschoolers as abusers that are brainwashing their children while affirming people that homeschool for educational purposes. So please excuse us if we ‘get our panties in a wad’ with articles like this.

    All of you that are new to the homeschooling movement, should be grateful to the ‘extremists’ that came before you. If it weren’t for them blazing the trail, there would be no mainstream homeschooling movement because it would still be illegal. Only someone passionate about their beliefs (‘extremists’) about home education would risk persecution and arrest to do what they believe is right for their children. Most of the people homeschooling today would not being doing it, if they had to face those conditions. The courageous pioneers that came before you fought a hard uphill battle to secure your rights to homeschool. I would be proud to be ‘stereotyped’ as one of them. I also pray that when the persecution of homeschoolers begins that I will be as brave in the face of adversity as they were. I have a feeling that if persecution comes, the homeschooling movement will return to being extremist because the mainstream fair-weather friends of homeschooling won’t have the conviction it takes to see it through. I hope I am not a fair-weather friend.

    I am glad that homeschooling is mainstream now but there is no reason to denigrate a segment of our population because they aren’t mainstream. Enjoy your mainstream homeschooling movement and don’t forget to thank an older long skirt wearing religious kook for the freedom you enjoy.

  344. Hey – I’m a homeschooling mom who is actually wearing a long denim skirt right now, and I wasn’t offended at all. Great article!!

  345. Shanna Koyle says:

    I loved your article and I admire your decision to home school your children. My husband and I have spent the last 22 years homeschooling our 11 children. We have 3 years yet to go. I tell my children that there is no teacher anywhere that loves them as much as I do. One result of this decision for us is that our children are very close and deeply care about each other. It has been very fulfilling to watch them excel in their careers as well as parents to our beautiful grandchildren. The blessings keep coming. You will never regret your decision.

  346. If you were using spanking to establish discipline through fear, you were doing it wrong.

  347. As I read people’s comments as their release their agression about the “homeschool stereotypes” all I can do is giggle. Why the frustration? I am a homeschooling mom and I am well aware of the “stereotypes.” You know the greatest part, I don’t care! I will care for my children and family the way my husband and I feel fit. We feel homeschooling is great for our family and if my kids turn into complete nerds well than great because they will be whomever they want to be. This was a mom speaking out about her experiences. You do not walk in her shoes. I give every homeschooling family a huge pat on their back and commend them for the time and energy they are putting into their family.

    Good Luck to all of you out there on this journey becuase it may not be easy but it is sooooooooo rewarding!

  348. Please do not homeschool your children, it will hurt them. I survived homeschool, but the lack if a better education is felt every day.

  349. I completely agree with everything. The only thing I would respectfully argue is that in this day in age public school helps us learn skills to deal with the mass of people out there today. Especially with all that is going on now we need to help each other and be the sources of light that lets everyone become aware.

  350. Very interesting and thought-provoking. Presumes that paying for private school is common, and therefore that more money will be saved by homeschooling, and the Easter vs. Halloween certainly seems to indicate a preference for religious teaching, but otherwise I must admit that as a lawyer who contemplates having children (and how to best educate them) I found this a very refreshing piece on the issue.

  351. MG, we are frustrated by her inflammatory language to describe actual people that do exist and have very real feelings. Would you allow your child to call someone a nerd, extremist, or kook? I wouldn’t.
    The language she chose makes it appear that she thinks less of those people that actually are very religious, very conservative, introverted or different from her.
    She was even fearful to tell her co-workers of her decision because she didn’t want to be labeled among “those people”.
    It is one thing for her to realize that her initial beliefs about homeschoolers were incorrect but she didn’t even do that. She believes her perception WAS accurate but that homeschooling has now changed and she is glad to be a part of it BECAUSE it has changed. Homeschooling has always been very diverse (except maybe when it was still illegal).
    This could have been a very good article if she had said something like “I wrongly assumed that only very religious, very conservative stay at home moms homeschooled their children. I was glad to find out that the homeschooling community is so diverse and open to anyone.” Instead the tone of the article comes across affirming homeschooling because now doctors and lawyers do it and it denigrates everyone that fits the stereotypes she.

    Can you see the difference in the use of ‘right wing kook’ and ‘very conservative’? The difference is that one is an inflammatory insult and the other is a description of someone’s political beliefs.
    Can you see the difference in the use of ‘religious extremist’ and ‘very religious’? One is an inflammatory insult and the other is a description of someone’s religious beliefs.

  352. log.not.speck says:

    Our family homeschools (4 of ‘em), and I appreciated the humor and “stereotypes.” Truth be told, my wife and I make the same observations — we’re part of a fairly large network and we see a broad range of families. Shoot, we probably fit some of the of the stereotypes fairly well. Life’s way too short to get annoyed at an observation or hyperbole. Didn’t find anything offensive, and appreciated the piece very much. Thank you!

  353. In item #5 you listed using the gifted program as a public school resource to be used; the LACK of one is actually one of the big reasons why I’m going to homeschool my 3rd child, even though my two older children have had a relatively good experience in their public school lives. My older children have had to deal with dwindling resources for the GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) Program for years in addition to the other worries of overcrowding and shortened school years. I fear for what public school will be like when my 3rd child enters kindergarten.

  354. Patrick,
    I understand what you are saying on how you read the article. I did not take any of the language offensively at all, but I can see how you may have. I still deal with some of the stereotypes with family members and it never bothers me. I have brought my boys to functions and when the subject of what elementary school do your kids attend comes up, and I say I homeschool people constantly say “but your kids act so normal.” I just giggle and walk away.
    I think Kathleen has dealt with a lot of obstacles with choosing to homeschool. Some may have been her own beliefs and assumptions prior to being around homeschooling families. I had similar experiences. My husband even commented that if our kids start getting weird they are immediately going to school. He no longer feels that way, after almost 3 years now of homeschooling.
    We all choose words and at times those words may be interpreted to upset others. I don’t believe this was Kathleens message. If you read her words she is only trying to relay her message of how homeschooling has positively affected her life and family.

    Thank you

  355. I have been thinking more about homeschooling. Is there anyone that has an only child that homeschools. My child is very gregarious and though we do a lot with church and extracirriculars I fear that she would not be as happy.

  356. My husband has been working out of state for almost 2 years now, because thats where the work is.If I homeschool we will be able to travel with him and the girls 6 and 9 will see their daddy more than a skype every day. I’m scared because I don’t know if I’m qualified but I can’t hurt them more than the bullying at school.

  357. Robbin Whachell says:

    What an excellent article. I home schooled my 4 children for four years, and I know it helped created the open minded, and decisive, well-rounded, considerate and loving children I have today! Your article topped all my reasons with many overlapping. THANK you for sharing with the world the simple but so important reasons to educate (show by love) our children :)

  358. Thank you so much for the article. We homeschooled our children from day 1. My children were able to see the world at a slower pace and it was better for them. My seventh child required all my time because of his learning disabilities. I put my children in public school and they did well. Mostly A’s. My younger children begged to be homeschooled because of negative social pressure and foul language. I am now a grandmother and have promoted and encouraged my children to homeschool their children. They are just more well rounded citizens with the ability to think outside the mainstream.

  359. Thank goodness these doctors and lawyers can validate homeschooling for us stupid stay-at-home moms. I don’t know what I would have done without their secret support.

  360. I completely agree with this! We were concerned of the curriculum and having mutli kids at different ages. During my research I found homeschool, with an accredited private school! Our kids still socialize and truly enjoy the experience.

  361. Someone may have mentioned this already, but I didn’t have time to read all the comments (because I’m in the middle of our home school day with four kids, ages 5-14!) Different states, and sometimes districts within those states, have different policies on homeschoolers participating in on-site classes. For instance, here in Pennsylvania, all homeschooled students can participate in extra-curricular activities (by state law). However, we are not guaranteed all special education services. And each district decides whether they will allow students to come in part-time for classes. There’s a wide range of cooperation just in my immediate area.
    This post is a great explanation of the broad reasons people decide to homeschool. While our religious beliefs played a role in our decision, my public school teaching career of 17 years was a much bigger consideration. I didn’t agree with the focus on standardized testing year in and year out, sometimes multiple times each year. The “socialization” students were subjected to was often undesireable. The list could go on. And private school was very expensive. Some friends and I even opened our own small Christian school for a few years, but it was like having two full time jobs and so hard to operate on tuition alone.
    We don’t look like the Cleavers. We still have battles of personality and will. In fact, I’m working through one with the 5yo at this moment! We don’t have “fun” constantly. But I have so much time with them, to help them correct their weaknesses (and mine), and we have a ton of flexibility!
    It was a hard decision to walk away from a secure full time teaching job five years ago, cutting our income in half. But I’d do it again. In a heartbeat.

  362. Definitely, food for thought. After reading this suddenly, I feel more in control of what life experiences my child can have growing up.

  363. “No one has ever said an unkind word to him at our co-op, because every child is there with his or her own parent.”

    I have nothing against homeschooling, but this is the exact reason that I want my children in public (or private) school. I WANT them to have the opportunity to learn to interact with their peers WITHOUT parents there to monitor and intervene. Granted, I also don’t want my children subjected to bullying, but I think it has been important for their self-esteem that they have learned to navigate social situations and playground conflicts on their own. As an example, my first grade son “came to the rescue” of a classmate of his who was being teased by a group of students. He proudly told me about it when he came home from school and felt so good about taking care of his friend. On the flip-side he was also made fun of for going to a school dress-up day dressed as his favorite book character, Harry Potter. He was called a nerd a few times by some older students and told me about it after school. He had obviously given it quite a lot of thought on the bus ride home and had concluded that the older students probably just felt bad about the fact that they hadn’t had any costumes at all and decided that was why they lashed out at him.

    While it’s difficult as a parent to hear about these kinds of interactions, watching the way each tiny run-in has built my son up and grown his confidence has been very rewarding. And, if I ever felt there was an issue he wasn’t able to handle, or something going on that put him at risk in some way – I feel confident that I could take my concerns to his school and be heard.

  364. I was homeschooled by a super religious mom in order to protect me from the general culture. And, I had an amazing experience. I had a great time learning and I had plenty of time to catch up on pop culture in college. I may have had to teach myself a few subjects, but I’m now a public school math teacher and I don’t think the classroom experience my students get is nearly as rich as the one I had.

  365. I am guessing from many of the previous comments that some of you have never ever held a stereotype to be true and then discovered the truth. Let’s love without judging and focus on the message instead of criticizing.

  366. Wow! I love that you are bringing the benefits to a whole new set of readers! I hate there there are still stigmas about homeschooling, and every bit of positive exposure we homeschoolers can get is wonderful! I have to admit that sometimes I wish that I was that long denim skirt wearing farmer, but that is not the case with most of us, and I am just tickled pink to have homeschooling becoming so mainstream! :)
    My Latest post

  367. Just a couple of quick comments:

    There seems to be an assumption in this article that if a child was not home schooled, she’d be in an expensive private school. It is only on this assumption that points 2 and 14 make sense. But it’s not an assumption that applies to most people.

    Second, some of the benefits listed in the article only apply to large families. To have have four children, each at a different school, with different activities, sounds like parenting nightmare, so it’s clear why home schooling would be an attractive alternative. But most families are smaller than this, and some have kids attending the same school, so the attractiveness of home schooling is commensurately diminished.

    I find point 8 a bit disturbing (“We yell at our kids less”). If you yell at, and spank, your kids, it’s not because they are attending school during the day, it’s because you’re not employing good parenting practices. Homeschooling may solve this problem in some cases, but it’s likely to have a deeper cause than the time the child spends away from home.

    All of this said, I think homeschooling is a great idea provided you can afford (financially and emotionally) to give up your career. Even at the high school level, home schooling is now possible thanks to online resources that shift the burden of expertise away from the parent.

    The point of this comment, then, is to emphasize that homeschooling only works under quite specific circumstances. It’s not for everyone.

    All the best.

  368. Linda Gaiser says:

    Actually, I think this “doctor” is dumb and a product of public education group think. She, a tad late, has come to realize the benefits that home educators have been pointing out all along, but acts as though she is above these pioneering homeschoolers and discovered these things all by her lonesome. Her fear to tell her peers about this awesome life decision reveals just how deep her need to conform runs (although she never manages to recognize it herself). Her comment, “I timidly attended a home school parent meeting last spring. Surprisingly it was full of doctors, lawyers, former public school teachers, and other professionals.” Surprisingly?! How bigoted and judgmental can you get? “Wow,” she thinks, “not only dunderheads homeschool.” How about some gratitude, humility and regret for woefully misjudging those who paved the home education path for you and your precious children.

  369. love this article. it shows people that you shouldn’t judge on the 1% of homeschoolers that are out there. most of the people i knew who homeschooled, before we started it were all teachers or retired teachers, doctors, lawyers and other things like that. they are then ones that encouraged me and help me.

  370. People getting offended at the stereotypes are missing the point. She mentions the stereotypes to say that they’re NOT true. That she believed the stereotype, and found out she was wrong. That she was afraid of being viewed as the stereotype, but she overcame that fear. By saying the face of homeschooling is changing, doesn’t necessarily mean that she believes that now that she’s doing it, it’s cool. It can also simply mean that the *perception* of homeschooling, the “face” of what other people see, is changing.

    Some people just thrive on being offended and indignant. This is a great article. Why not just enjoy the fact that public perception of homeschooling is changing?

  371. George,
    You are missing the point. There is the stereotype because there ARE homeschoolers that wear long skirts, have religious convictions, are politically conservative. She denigrates those people as below her by calling them extremists and kooks. And she was glad to find out that there are ‘normal’ people in homeschooling. It was condescending to people that do fit the stereotype. That is the point.

  372. Well written article. We homeschooled and now are kids are in college and they are thriving. No regrets here.
    Jana

  373. Elizabeth Sterner says:

    As a home school graduate, I have the opposite perspective. While I agree with everything you listed, I think you missed a few key points. One of the things I most enjoyed about homeschooling was the relationship I developed with my siblings. Homeschooling definitely improves your relationship with your parents, no doubt, but how many public school kids get to spend time with their siblings on a regular basis? Or do school work with their siblings? My brothers and I were great friends by the time we graduated high school. We still talk to each other on a daily basis by text message. I credit homeschooling for that.

    The other thing I loved was flexibility with the curriculum. I hated history in middle school and I just wasn’t learning anything. Mom got a series of fun books based in historical time periods for me to read, and I learned so much from those books! I never would’ve remembered when the Boston tea party was if I hadn’t been engrossed in the plot of a book I was enjoying.

    The one comment I have is that not all school districts allow home school students to participate in their sports activities. It depends on where you are.

    I loved being home schooled and I will definitely be homeschooling my kids!

  374. Jessica Crawford says:

    As someone who recently graduated from homeschool! Let me tell you people are always shocked when I say I was homeschooled! I don’t look or act any different from anyone else I go to college with or even work with!

    As far as socializing goes! I have more friends then most public or private schoolers I know!

  375. I was homeschooled, and I can tell you that I never had any problem standing up for what I knew was right. I have never understood the argument that kids need to learn social skills from other kids. We don’t have them learn math from other kids. I learned my social skills from my parents, and that helped prepare me for life in the real world.

  376. Thank you for writing a great article.
    Also I saw a few comments about states not working with speech therapy and such. I found out back in college dealing with my own “disability”, (really it’s just annoying, but if you have one you know what I’m saying in terms of the attitude you have to take towards it to survive) that the states like Alabama fund it directly if you go to certain places like UAB or the bell center. Local schools give the same thing but it’s true that you have to go full time to that school to receive it there. For homeschoolers you can opt to go to certain state center like once a week if you meet certain criteria, but you local schools often won’t tell you that because they either don’t know or they want the extra funding that comes with your child in their school with whatever it is that classifies as a disability. Hope this helps for those that are trying to home school but needing the therapy for your kids.

  377. This is in response to: “I have been thinking more about homeschooling. Is there anyone that has an only child that homeschools. My child is very gregarious and though we do a lot with church and extracirriculars I fear that she would not be as happy”
    I will attempt to make this response short.

    When I began homeschooling my oldest boy he never questioned why he didn’t go to school. He loves being homeschooled.

    Now my middle son needed a little convincing. He is extremely outgoing. Loves being around other kids, loves sports, etc. if you ask him now he says he loves homeschooling. Homeschooling has taught him self discipline, how to have fun while learning, and he is closer to his older brother. I have him actively involved in homeschool PE at our local YMCA and swim team. He loves every minute.

    You are the one in control. I do many more hands on activities to facilitate my “active” boys. Science experiments, math games and more are used for curriculum. We have fun and are growing and learning together everyday.

    I am just a regular mom that decided to put my children’s education in my own hands. I hope this helped.

  378. Another comment that some might consider OT: In a church I used to be part of where many women wore long denim skirts at least part of the time, one reason we did is because a denim skirt is thick enough to be worn without a slip under it, so it was cooler in the summer. There’s no right-wing, conservative reason for a skirt to be denim–it was just practical that way.

    If denim skirts and jumpers have become practically a uniform for some homeschooling moms, I don’t suppose it is any worse a trend than some of the other weird things people wear “just because everyone else in my circle is doing it.”

  379. I taught for several years before becoming an educational consultant. As an educator I know I shouldn’t say this and if my clients saw this I might be in big trouble but the more I am apart of the educational world, the more I am leaning towards home schooling my own children. I was hired years ago to home school two families’ children (before I had my own) and the amount of learning, hands-on, real life connections we were able to experience was extremely eye opening.I was able to teach to their levels and their enthusiasm and love of knowledge sky rocketed. I have dedicated my life (for right now) to helping teachers teach better and understand the importance of differentiated instruction in the classroom. But when you have 30 plus kids in your class, teacher pay and development money being cut, bullying/gun violence on the rise, strict standards/regulations about what and how to teach, being forced to teach for the “test” and the cutting of extra curricular activities left and right, then you have more behavioral issues, students needs are not being met and everyone is just going through the “one size fits all” model of schooling and it just doesn’t work for everybody. Parents need to decide what is right and best for their families.

  380. jeff smith says:

    Thanks for sharing! I was homeschooled from 3rd-9th grade. Back then there were not as many homeschoolers and the social aspect was difficult to manage. When I went back to public school and later college the main thing I found difficult was finding “normal”. How I processed information was not the same as my classmates. One of the most observable was differences was the high value placed on fitting in. As a homeschooler If I did not have a good sense of looking normal then the lack of any peer pressure to do otherwise only magnified the issue. But not caring about fitting in means peer pressure has little to no impact in good ways too. I think many people cannot differentiate between good peer pleasure and pandering. I do not think it is healthy for any person to be consumed with making sure every group of people likes them. If you are at a ballgame do you care if a member of the opposing team feels like you “fit in” with them? Are you concerned at all of the peer pressure exerted from inmates at your local jail? As an adult do you worry if your children’s classmates will “like” you? I don’t think you are concerned with “fitting in” with them because they are not your peers. Yet a homeschooler is both directly and indirectly shamed for not “valuing” the opinion of someone they do not consider their peer. Having very few peers allows a child to better grasp and choose who they want their peers to be. As a parent I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to help my child develop into a mature successful adult.

    The other day I had a conversation at Rotary with a retired school teacher who was bashing homeschoolers and their parents. I did not tell her I was homeschooled and asked her opinion on several very successful businessmen in our community. I then revealed that we were all homeschooled. I asked if she remembered the really nerdy socially awkward kids in public school, and she said yes. I shared with her that those children would be nerdy and socially awkward in public, private or home school settings. It wasn’t homeschooling that made them socially awkward, it just never presented them with pressure to socially “reform” and even with the social pressure there is still no guarantee it would end well.

    So for any parent who is considering homeschooling, the successful businessmen I mentioned earlier have taken the creativity and tenacity that homeschooling nurtures and used this skill set to build very successful companies and careers. How many really successful people are average? After all, isn’t peer pressure about being average?

    I don’t believe the only mark of success in life is monetary, but It is hard to argue homeschooling is unsuccessful when it has produced multimillionaire entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, engineers, bankers and doctors.

  381. Thank you for sharing this. I am a stay at home mom and we want to homeschool but I have been overwhelmed at how and what it will look like. Your description of how you handle it has given me a lot more confidence and I am greatly encouraged!

  382. secretfornow says:

    I teach Christian school, yet we homeschool our kids. So does our headmaster! Helicopter parenting is so bad that it’s driving me out of the “business”. Homeschoolers were streaks ahead of the others, according to an American pastor in Mexico who knows homeschools (or knows homeschoolers) and runs a clinic for drugs and alcohol. Homeschoolers don’t know failure, according to a “boss” for whom I worked at a Christian school. EVEN CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS SEEM TO “KNOW” THAT HOMESCHOOLING BEATS THEIR OWN SYSTEM! And I agree. Sorry I can’t use my name, but there’s a strong loyalty issue when you work for somebody else.

  383. Excuse me the face of homeschooling hasnt changed that much. We never were a bunch of longskirted religious fanatics and always have been an intelligent educated group….sheesh.
    Laura

  384. Julie, I think that is fantastic you are considering homeschooling!!! IMHO you would never regret giving them more time with their daddy. Also IMHO, there are three major things that help achieve successful homeschooling: love, hard work, and organization. However, if you are not organized by nature, you can still do it!! There are resources out there to help with organization, as well as curricula, figuring out children’s learning styles, etc. I have learned a lot while teaching my children. :) Also, we have home schooled while traveling; we used open-topped boxes of books with the spines upright, and it worked well! :)

  385. I’d love to know what kind of curriculum we use! We homeschool and always love learning about new curriculum! :)

  386. I’m new mom. My boy is just two months old. I don’t know very well the language (English) so I’m not sure if I can do this because I want to my boy learn speak English way better than me. But I will consider this though when in the future, maybe I get better for then. I will really like to do this!!!

  387. I love all of these points and it makes me want to homeschool our children when they become school aged (now age 3 and age 1) But my problem is that my husband was home schooled his entire life, (minus a 2-3 years of elementary public schooling) and he HATED IT! He feels like his parents robbed him of his childhood and that he missed out on a lot of opportunities that public school kids get such as the special events you mentioned and all the extra-circular activities and sports. back then I’m not sure if the home schoolers were allowed to go to the public school for such events or if his mom just didn’t know about it. and although he mother was an Elementary school teacher, he feels like he didn’t hardly learn much of anything in his high school years because at that point it was beyond the education and training of his mother. His mother couldn’t help him with Algebra, Calculus, Economics and so forth. So they sent him to a college for a couple duel credit it class, which i’m not sure helped a ton. My husband is the kind of person that would have done well with some peer competition or a sport that required him to make good grades to motivate him. I’m torn cause i see the benefits of homeschooling but my husband lived through it and refuses to homeschool our children. do you have any advice for me here? and do all schools allow homeschooled children to be invovled in their activities?

  388. I am a pediatric ophthalmologist and have been homeschooling my young children for the past 2 years. It has been such a rewarding adventure! Your reasons for homeschooling are so similar to ours. I love your article!

  389. I am a public school teacher but I could not agree more with what you have said. Homeschooling done right is a much better option than public school today. That being said, it MUST be done with diligence and consideration. I have seen both sides of the coin and if you cannot dedicate the time and effort to do it correctly then don’t do it at all.

  390. @ Jen. We also began homeschooling our children when some of them were older. Our oldest was a sophmore in high school; our second son an eighth grader; our daughter a sixth grader and our youngest son in second grade. The one who worked the hardest was ME!! Every Sunday evening I would take a couple hours to organize the next week’s curriculem, grade papers, plan extra curricular events and work on a weekly menu. Another homeschooling mom assured me that one had to approach homeschooling as a JOB. It takes work, organization, planning, and patience! Our family pulled together and we all became better friends with much more understanding towards one another and towards others. Now all my children are responsible adults, working in different fields; construction, professor, personal trainer and nutritionist, and shift manager of a restaurant. I’m very proud of each of them and proud that I was able to accomplish a difficult, but challenging job.

  391. What I thought was a reason NOT to homeschool was reason #16 and her justification that “No one has ever said an unkind word to him at our co-op, because every child is there with his or her own parent.” Having your mom or dad always with you to prevent someone from being unkind to you is not going to help a child become resilient or independent. I judge my own children’s behaviour by how they behave when I’m not around. It would be nice to be able to bail them out every time another kid is being mean or cruel to them (and we have had our fair share of being the victim of a bully) but it’s not going to help a child learn how to deal with people if I’m always there watching for them (or other children) to step out of line. I can understand when people decide to homeschool their children if there has been extensive bullying (and not just spending recesses alone as a primary student- that to me says that the author’s child may have his own troubles relating to people) but you shouldn’t be choosing to homeschool your child to protect them from every mean word that children may say.

  392. This is my first year to homeschool my son who is in Kindergarten. He has done great and agree the extra sleep is nicer, less peer pressure, get to help him excel in areas he is good at and work harder on areas that he struggles with. Never knew that he LOVES science until now and is a natural at piano. He previously went to a private school that we loved but couldn’t afford this year. We have loved homeschooling this year, even though it was not met with excitement from all friends/family. We know it was the right decision for our family for now and hope to continue to homeschool him next year.

  393. My son and daughter-in-law home-schooled my 2 grandaughters for @8 years. This is the first year they are in public school. The oldest one started high school as a freshman, and the younger one started middle school as a 7th grader. You can tell the difference in home educated children and public school children by a mile. Our girls are more courteous and they have a desire to learn whereas kids at public school are already burned out. Also, they didn’t have years of peer pressure. They are secure in who they are and are enjoying school. The one in high school is playing soccer on the varsity team and is a starter. He academics are also impressive as she has made the Honor Roll taking advanced classes for 3 semesters. It was hard on their family financially, but they feel it was worth it and so do I. They are both school teachers, my son teaching middle school and his wife is an elementary school teacher but, she stayed home while she home-schooled. Now they are both working and the girls are excelling at school.

  394. I also homeschool or unschool in fact. Thank you for this post. Wishing you so much joy and success in this wonderful journey!

  395. I can sympathize with those who found what are being called in the comments the stereotyping statements to be troubling. I think all of us who find great benefit in homeschooling owe a debt to the pioneers who did have to brave difficulties in making homeschooling work primarily for religious reasons.

    At the same time, my wife and I are grateful for this article. While we are homeschooling our youngest in part because of our religious beliefs, for us it is mostly about freedom, and doing what is best for a little guy who is at once brilliant and unique and just not really good at what a public kindergarten requires of him (first and foremost refraining from being himself).

    I’m grateful for this article because any of us who find ourselves out in the world during school hours on a weekday with a school-age child will inevitably run across people asking why our child is not in school (my usual response is to simply say he is homeschooled, and that he’s doing great, and that even at this moment I’m teaching him). It’s helpful, I think, to have a growing community of people who, for various reasons, are willing to be “out” about homeschooling, and if that growing community includes people who have what society generally recognizes as academic and professional achievements, all the better. That doesn’t put down those who don’t have the degrees; it just makes us as a community stronger.

    My wife recently had an odd and interesting conversation at a Chuck-E-Cheese birthday party with a public school teacher who was a year out of college. Let’s just say the teacher disapproved of homeschooling. My wife took the conversation as an almost whimsical chance to see the hive mind at work and didn’t engage in engagement. When she told me about it I wished that she’d told the young teacher that our homeschooled child has a father who is a West Point graduate, who also happens to be an attorney, and a mother with a masters in social work who has done some truly amazing things in her career, and who also has a child currently in law school, and, you know, we’re sort of doing o.k. with the whole education thing.

    I told you that little story because while my wife, wisely, didn’t tell the teacher those things, but this article just did transmit an important idea in a different way. That idea is that most parents who homeschool are SMART and have a vision that many cannot see, regardless of academic and professional pedigree. That many who have such pedigrees are on board with us is simply validation for what many have known for a long time. It is a good thing and not a bad thing.

    To add to an already lengthy comment, let me add my number 19: when my oldest was in public elementary school, one day his school was in lockdown because of reports of a bad guy doing bad things threatening the school. When his mother drove up to drop our child off, a school employee first snatched our child up and hustled him into the school, and then instructed his mother to drive away quickly. What? In what universe is not better to tell the mother to take the child AWAY from the threat? In what universe does a school think they “own” a child to the exclusion of a mother’s right and impulse to protect her own? We as homeschoolers don’t have to deal with that madness.

    My number 20: Once upon a time I wanted to take the same child mentioned in number 19 on a trip to colonial Williamsburg, to the Yorktown battlefield, to Mount Vernon, to the Smithsonians, a guided tour of the Capitol and more in D.C. I made each of these stops very educational, as I love this stuff and have a love of and good knowledge of American and military history, and I scheduled it for a time when the child, then in public school, would not actually be doing any academic work at all during Thanksgiving week.

    The government allowed me to do this, but was very clear that these few days were all unexcused absences even though no instruction was planned at the school for those days. Now I don’t have to ask permission to do many, many things that educate my child in ways that public schools just can’t do.

    So thank you doctor, for your article. I’m glad you’re with us. My professional accomplishments help to quiet a lot of what would otherwise be suspicious questions, and yours will as well.

    Just don’t forget to thank the denim-clad farmers who paved the way for us.

  396. Kelsey Yates says:

    I thought it was an excellent article. Thank you.

  397. You are spot on! Our homeschooled kids are now ages 26, 28 & 30. 2 have earned a Bachelors Degree & 1 graduated Bible College. All are outstanding in their communities & churches today.

  398. Thank you for this wonderful article. My husband and I have been playing around with homeschooling, and to ease into the transition we are going to be starting Connections Academy in the fall. Like you, I was hesitant to tell anyone and some people think we are nuts. If it goes well (which like you were I am petrified) then maybe we can jump into completely homeschooling w/o the use of a virtual public school. I am just glad to know that someone else had the exact same fears as I do and it turned out great!

  399. Jerri Ann Manley says:

    I have worked in Christian education for almost 25 years and I say “bravo” to your homeschooling plan.

    I tell parents that in my opinion homeschooling is first choice and Christian education is second, because I believe that training our children at home was the original plan of God.

    My only question is….what is wrong with long skirts….they are very comfortable. :)

  400. Hi I homeschool and we enjoy it. I have christian views and love the Lord with all my heart.
    I love this article and I know it will upset some people with some of the content. I do wear a long skirt from time to time but I don’t get looks. We don’t live in the U.S either.
    We also have a great support system with homeschooling over here.
    I do agree with one comment that they didn’t have other homeschoolers at their church and found it a bit hard. I had the same experience and basically felt that a particular private school was forced down my throat when I told them that I was homeschooling. I stuck to what I had implemented that I would not put my daughter back into school now that I had taken her out. Also this school has had bullying something of which I abhore, as I have been a victim of it myself.
    I do sometimes struggle with getting enough socialization as she is an only child, but she is still happy and has lovely friends with the circles that we are in.

  401. These were the same arguments/obsticles I faced 20 years ago. One of my most rewarding moments was when my father in law admitted he was wrong about homeschooling. I completely sympathised, because I faced those same prejudices when I began. Odd that after two decades the image hasn’t changed. We were never long-skirts, social conservative fanatics, etc. Our daughter seemed more sensitive than other kids her age, but also brighter, so we gave it a go. It completely turned me around! With support, this will be a descision you’ll always be glad/ proud of. I wish more people could be convinced this isn’t just for religious fanatics, which is, I fear, how it’s seen. My daughter was sought out by Johns Hopkins, you will not be hurting their future!

  402. I enjoyed this article except for the jarring I felt with each instance of name calling. Others who have pioneered in homeschooling are referred to as “kooks”, “nerds” and “religious extremists”. It’s sad when bullies have to put down others in attempts to separate, and elevate themselves.

  403. As far as the suitability of homeschooling for different students goes, I don’t think ‘home education’ is appropriate for everyone – but personally, I can’t imagine how inferior a conventional experience would’ve been for me.

    Looking back, things like working ahead or just having the choice of /when/ to work really spurred me to achieve and set goals. Because I had the option to do two lessons of my higher-level maths each day, I ended up with enough time to pursue calculus 1 and three other college courses as an upper classman (without having to sink all my resources into AP curriculum). My whole undergraduate experience has been advanced simply because my time wasn’t monopolized by the red-tape.

    But if the ones ahead of the curve succeed, there can be some issues if there isn’t a personal drive; removing the governor let me fly,but pulling out the stops can make it easy to slip behind. Like in the case of my sister and one of my friends, they both had some issues their Sophomore year and had to do Fall work in the Spring and Spring work in the Summer :/. But then again, they controlled their own education, and I can attest that they weren’t really investing enough into their work that year*.

    Now what I’ve said surely doesn’t account for everything, and I’m probably biased, but I think if there’s some safe way to expose your child to homeschooling freedom – don’t hesitate! It may be the very thing that inspires them for the rest of their life.

    *(They’re both great students – scored 26 or above on the ACT)

  404. My mom home schooled me & my sisters, and then put me in private school for 6th-8th and public for 9th-12th. I was definitely the ‘awkward home school kid’ but fortunately outgrew that in the 7th grade and made tons of friends in public high school.

    The most important thing I learned was to not be defined by other people and to value myself as I was- this was especially helpful in middle/high school. I was never bothered by bullying and never struggled with many of the things that plague young girls like eating disorders, self image & boy problems. I attribute this to the value my parents placed on me and knowing there was more to life than what I was learning/experiencing in middle/public school.

    It was also tons of fun getting to go on vacations (not as many once I went to school), reading lots of books, and spending my days outside. Like anything homeschooling has its drawbacks, mom wasn’t a great science teacher (but I ended up majoring in biology in college), I was sheltered, and went through the awkward stage, but I would gladly do it again for the other benefits! I made it through the downsides pretty well. If circumstances allow I would love to home school my kids when I have them but I’m not there yet :)

  405. Wow, I am hoping my doctor doesn’t view me in the way you view some homeschooling families. I guess it takes guts to be a “right wing kook” with children that are intellectual and actually call themselves “geeks” and not feel ashamed. Get your geek on, watch some Dr. Who…really, you’ll love it!

  406. THANK YOU! Thank you for taking the time to share. For keeping your secret no more. :)

    The face of homeschooling is beautiful and varied.

    I have friends that don’t hear me because I *am* one of those long skirt wearing stay at home moms. :) They’ll listen to you.

  407. It’s so great to read about the effects of homeschooling. And how great that you are allowed to homeschool your children.
    I wish it were possible in Holland where we live with our two sons. I would be a homeschool mom immediately.

  408. Hi,
    I am a general doctor and have started homeschooling.
    I think it is great for my child.
    I pulled her out of the most expensive school and spend the money traveling and learning with her.

  409. I want to home school more than ever now! What a great post! What worries me is if I am actually smart enough to teach them these things. How do you overcome that?

  410. I think this is an intelligent and well-written article, except for the assumption that all homeschoolers in long skirts with strong religious reasons for educating their children at home are kooks. Those very kooks (including yours truly) are the ones who fought battles with state governments and continue to, in order to pave the way for others to have the legal right to homeschool. It’s easy today because of the those kooks who went through years and years of court battles and legal issues and eating beans and rice to afford it. The author ought to amend her article to show those pioneers (and all the diverse homeschoolers out there) respect. I am a homeschooling mom of 6. My kids are all wonderfully accomplished, with my oldest in grad school, the next two of them successful entrepreneurs, and three still at home. My husband and I are both well-educated, but we are also conservative in a religious and political way. I feel personally a bit offended by the tone of this article towards us “right-wing kooks”, even though at the same time I of course agree about the obvious advantages of homeschooling.

  411. Thank you

  412. She brought up some good benefits to home schooling. We are considering doing it for our two kids. We aren’t doctors or lawyers. We sold our business and one of us works. We are just regular people. The lady might consider us right wing extremist. But even though I might consider her a brain washed leftist socialist Nazi , I wouldn’t put it on a bumper sticker(ha ha). I also agree with her reasoning.

    God bless.

  413. donna colin says:

    What a condescending snob! I assume you are a stay at home parent if you homeschool. Unless you are hiring someone to do it for you. I used to manage a multi million dollar ad firm and quit to stay home and I homeschool. So I guess I am the stay at home mom you look down your nose at. Oh I also garden and yes I am not afraid to say I believe in God too. So I guess we can never socialize. My loss. Sorry I didn’t finish your article but since I have studied and homeschooled well over a decade I think I will be okay.

  414. Does the author realize that she is standing on the shoulders of homeschooling giants? Homeschooling pioneers who have worked hard to pave the way for her to be able to homeschool her children? Does she realize that those giants were, in fact, probably the “extreme” group that she so clearly distances herself from?
    It’s sad that history tends to forget just HOW we get to where we are today.
    This article was an interesting read, but not many homeschooling families need her “accolades” to tell them what they already know…that homeschooling works. Her credentials don’t mean any more than a mother’s deep intuition on what is best for her family.
    Still, I appreciate her time in writing the article to share her thoughts. It has been eye-opening to know what some people in “her group” think about many of the other homeschoolers.

  415. Clearly there is still some view held that the only correct way to educate a child is to send them to public school. Through the families I have met and with my own research, homeschooling can be a great way to give your children a very rewarding and academically challenging education. I am not going to send my child to public school if I feel it isn’t the best way to teach him just to lessen the risk of a teacher losing his/her job. My priority is to my child and I know the best way to teach him not a teacher. Teachers work hard and I feel for the stresses they are put under with the school districts. They are forced to teach specific curriculums in a certain way that isn’t always in the best interest of the children. Besides seeing as how most classrooms around my area seem to have at least 20 kids or more, I highly doubt that having not enough children to teach will be a problem for the schools. I can respect someone elses decision to educate their child by sending them off to school but please do not belittle my belief that keeping my son at home is doing him damage.

  416. Clearly there is still some view held that the only correct way to educate a child is to send them to public school. Through the families I have met and with my own research, homeschooling can be a great way to give your children a very rewarding and academically challenging education. I am not going to send my child to public school if I feel it isn’t the best way to teach him just to lessen the risk of a teacher losing his/her job. My priority is to my child and I know the best way to teach him not a teacher. Teachers work hard and I feel for the stresses they are put under with the school districts. They are forced to teach specific curriculums in a certain way that isn’t always in the best interest of the children. Besides seeing as how most classrooms around my area seem to have at least 20 kids or more, I highly doubt that having not enough children to teach will be a problem for the schools.

  417. To Allison
    I can completely relate to your hesitation to homeschool. I have a very energetic 4 year old who is very social. He is happiest when he is around others and has playmates. Right now we do school at home but as he gets older I can tell that if we continue with homeschooling we will need to make sure he stays involved in other activities outside the home. Some school districts do allow children to participate in their sport program (not all though) and even if your school district doesn’t you can find other ways to get your kids involved. There are always rec teams, homeschool groups to join, they can take dance, gymnastics, join a music or art program and the list goes on.

  418. So I’ve been following all the debates about whether or not this article is insulting to those of us who ARE that stereo-type group of farming, religious, kooks who also home school. Firstly I have to say, my heart sank a little to hear the way she worded her views on our fringe culture. But that’s alright, I’m used to it by now, growing up home schooled taught me to not let other’s opinions affect the choices I make for my life. I believe in standing tall and being the real me, no apologies. If someone else thinks less of my lifestyle, that doesn’t make it so. I learned this in science classes, look for the objective truths, what points can be proved?
    Then I reread the article, I also learned that as a home schooled kid. To truly understand, stop, think, look again. What I saw is someone who has been raised in a certain culture that has conditioned her to see the world from a specific point of view. She, being a brave person who cared about her kids, stepped outside of her comfort zone and found a whole new way of life, a whole new perspective. Just because she hasn’t stepped this far out of her zone to see what rich culture all us ‘kooks’ have doesn’t mean she can’t. It’s a process. I say three cheers to her for the steps she has taken. I also think not everyone needs to live out here on the fringe with us, then we wouldn’t be fringe and I kind of like it that way! ;) When we homeschoolers need a Dr. or a lawyer or whatever it’s nice to know you’re out there. It’s nice to know we can find support from people who share a common passion, the best we can give our kids. I will be the first to say in every religious or fringe group you will find outrageous fanatics. I’m sure you also have a similar version of that in your offices and mainstream careers. People are like that. Not all people are that way, we’re all different. Stop, talk to people (even the ones with long denim skirts, dirty farm boots, socially awkward nerds, and uptight lawyers) form an intelligent opinion based on real facts about the individual. I’ve learned all kinds of things from the most unexpected people.
    Also I want to say, as a kid who was home schooled and now a parent who is homeschooling in the same general area, the face of homeschooling HAS changed. Honestly I’ve never once had some one say something derogatory to me or my kids about being home schooled, quite the opposite actually. As a kid a faced a lot of this. Not my children. On the other hand, I find homeschooling groups have lost that special sense of camaraderie we had back when not so many were doing it. There’s a lot more criticism, ‘clicky’ behavior, and less support from one mom to the other. I see this as just a normal part of social evolution, some things are better some things are harder. That’s life. All in all I think we should all remember that homeschooling should be about the wonder and joy of the journey we are each taking with our family, and the fact that we can do it our own way. She is doing it her way, not mine, and I’m happy for her, and salute her doing what she feels is best for her family.
    P.S. Yes I grew up in a strongly religious family, we even lived in a commune for a while. I’m trying to think… I don’t think I ever wore a denim skirt… maybe I did once…? Now I’m pretty much agnostic, but I’m still fringe, I DO farm. Let me tell you, finding other homeschooling, SECULAR, farming families is tough. I think I’m done with my rambling now, LOL, :) Cheers all!

  419. Justin Swenson says:

    God bless you guys. You have organized the ocean of thoughts in my head down on paper. As this method of rearing isn’t popular with the “grandparents” it helps us with a platform to stand firmly on when choosing how to raise OUR kids.
    Thank you.

  420. Mallory dlR says:

    Awesome! This is a WONDERFUL article! You are doing such a great thing for your kids and they will grow to appreciate it as adults. I am the product of homeschooling and I absolutely thank my parents all the time for the decision they made to educated me at home. It was the best gift they could have given me! You are living the dream. I don’t have any children yet, but I would be satisfied if I get even half of the results in homeschooling my future children!

    One thing to add to the list: homeschooling in a dual-culture home means we get time to share our traditions. My husband is from the Philippines. I hope by homeschooling my children someday, we’re able to spend extended time in the both Philippines and the USA learning about the two cultures that make up our household. My babies will speak Tagalog and be proud Filipinos just like I hope they are proud Americans!

  421. Thanks so much for this article! Sometimes I wonder if my wife and I are doing the right thing by homeschooling and just knowing that there are so many others out there doing it and having such success doing it is a tremendous confidence boost!

  422. Did you forget to mention the kids actually learn to read? And do math! The school system is corrupt so that people will not get smart enough not to let democrats and republicans rob them all day. Homeschooling is the way to go until the government gets out of the schools.

  423. All her reasons for homeschooling are right on, however her snobish attitude toward the homeschool community is upsetting. The only way she will be successful homeschooling her childern will be on the backs of the “nerdy, right wing kooks. She should be thanking those who pioneered this movement.

  424. Dan Thoms says:

    My mother was among the first homeschoolers in the nation. She started educating me at home in 1987. Public opinion of homeschoolers has greatly improved since then. There are also a lot more options such as homeschool groups and online programs. Compared to when I started, homeschooling is now a piece of cake.

  425. I have two questions that were not answered in this article, related to your first two points: 1) Do they not have school bus services where you live? If bussing is available, and you are sick of driving, why not use the bus?
    2) Are the public schools terrible where you live? You didn’t talk about why you preferred a private education over a public one, so I’m just wondering if you felt like you had no choice but to send your kids to private school.

    These are not judgements; just curiousity. I had thought about homeschooling my own children eventually when we lived in NYC but we moved to an rural area that has excellent public schools, so I feel they will be well-served.

  426. Stempel Schneider says:

    Uhm.. When do you and your husband ever get the chance to have sex? Or have time for yourself that doesn’t involve working, parenting or education?

  427. I think all of you who are taking offense at the authors mention of “typical homeschoolers” are being ridiculous. As an accomplished adult who was homeschooled through high school graduation I can say that what she refers to as typical home schooler are what the majority of American’s think ALL homeschoolers are. Even now when people find out I was homeschooled that ask “Did you have friends? Were your parents part of Westboro Baptist church?!”
    I do not think the author is trying to bash “typical” homeschoolers. She is pointing out for all those who reject homeschooling because of the stereotype that the stereotype is no longer valid! You can be from any background or religion and give your child an excellent home schooled education! This article is actually very, very good and I was happy to see that homeschooling is moving out of the realm of just “typical” homeschooling families and is beginning to be viewed as a very viable option for ALL American families.

  428. I do not feel the author (as accused in a number of the comments) really believes that all home-schoolers are SAHMs, wearing long skirts, right-wing kooks etc. I think she was working on the assumption that most people stereo-type homeschoolers a certain way. And I think she’s right. Also, nothing against those who wear long-denim skirts, since I know you to be real people with certain standards and ideas that I respect, when you wear something that is startlingly outside of cultural norms, people are going to assume you are a certain way. Just the way almost all of us make some judgement about people depending on their clothes and how they present themselves.

    As a product of SAHM, long-skirt wearing, religiously conservative, pioneering homeschool family, I can say 2 things:
    1) I did not find any of the authors comments about people like me, or like my family was, to be hurtful or judgemental.
    2) When I was outside the ‘zone’ of people exactly like me (which was a really small bubble back then) I definitely felt like a religious, right-wing kook. Not everything about homeschooling has to stay the same, and I think some progress has been made in the areas of socialization and integration. But that isn’t a homeschooler problem – I think its more of a conservative Christian problem. But, that’s a topic for book, or at least a blog series somewhere…. It isn’t what this article is about at all.

  429. Nice. I think it’s sad, though, that the brave parents who forged the way for the rest of us to homeschool are seen as “stay-at-home moms in long skirts,” “religious extremists,” and “right-wing kooks.” Did you know that many of these people paid a great price to secure the right to homeschool? Some even went to prison! One doesn’t have to agree with their philosophies to show gratitude and respect for their courage.

  430. H. Wilson says:

    I have finished with educating my son – as a single parent I scrimped and saved and sent him to a Christian school because that is where I felt he would be best educated. If I could have stayed home and home schooled him I would have – but again – as a single parent I needed to work full time. As a Christian, I do take offence on behalf of many Christian friends who home school their children – they are not religious extremists – simply Christian parents who wish to homeschool their children. She does make many good points though!

  431. Thank you for this article. My sister and I were both homeschooled for 3 years because our “Christian” school’s methodologies were geared toward manipulation, bullying, and blatant favortism. Because of homeschooling, I learned to like reading (which is something I hated until 5th grade) because I was encouraged to read things I actually enjoyed in addition to the standard curriculum. My mother never discouraged me from taking 10 minutes to read a short chapter in a book when I needed a break from math, one of the tougher subjects for me. Learning to love reading forever changed my life! I also had more time to practice the piano, something at which I excelled. Because of my love for reading and serious study of piano, I ended up double majoring in music and history in college, and I pursued a Master’s degree immediately following. I’d say I’m a well-adjusted individual, frankly.

    This type of message is exactly what I tried to convey to outsiders, but it’s much more thorough and well thought-out than what I could have expressed as a teen or even as a college student.

    In short, thanks for being an advocate for girls like me, who were bullied in school by teachers, and then dealt (somewhat unsuccessfully) with trying to justify my parents’ decision to homeschool. I applaud and appreciate your efforts.

  432. I liked the article. Reflects what homeschooling looks like around me too. I have to take exception with #5.

    5) Use whatever public school services you like.

    That might be the case in your state but I can’t imagine that every state has the same policy. I know in most provinces in Canada where I live if you choose to homeschool you don’t have access to any of the public school services unless the principal of the school makes an exception for your kid. I know special ed. services are not available for most homeschooling students. Schools don’t receive funding for homeschooled kids so there is no access to services.

  433. “These were not the stay-at-home-moms in long skirts that I expected. The face of homeschooling is changing. We are not all religious extremists or farmers, and our kids are not all overachieving academic nerds without social skills”. You seem to be implying that after the more conservative, modestly dressed, boldly religious, agriculturally-minded, and academically enthusiastic, yet societally marginalized, individuals suffered and sacrificed to pave the way for homeschooling as it is today, that credentialed individuals and their families give it more validity. Rather than standing in solidarity with those who practice their right to educate their own children, you have distanced yourself from them by setting up a class system that (at least in your mind) upholds the worthiness of the practice based on the reasons, qualifications, careers, etc. of those similar to you but would otherwise be of less significance and/or legitimacy were it only for the “right-wing kooks, and their families. As a facebook friend said, “I find this sort of self-oblivious bigotry appalling”. I certainly hope you will be teaching your children contrary to this ignorant mindset.

  434. read the whole article, felt that anecdotes are presented as truth, every one is different.

    essence is given in the last sentence of point no. 13: my one year old tried to clean toilet!!!

  435. As a pediatrician myself, who started working nights and weekends to accommodate homeschooling, I applaud you. I fell into it because of the pathos I saw in my patients. They were tired, cranky and trying to fit into the box that modern schooling forces you. Kids were doing poorly because they were overscheduled, tired, and worried about the minutiae of their day rather than learning. I realized that I didn’t want that for my family. Best decision I ever made. 15 years later, my oldest is a junior in college with a 4.0 GPA and pursuing a BS in molecular biology. I have never regretted a moment and now advocate homeschooling as a viable educational alternative.

  436. Thank you for your honest opinion on this subject. I appreciate it, and I enjoyed the article. One day perhaps I will be able to home school my children… just have to have them first. :)

  437. BIG difference between homeschooling and public schooling at home.

  438. Homeschool Mom in AZ says:

    Wow.

    It’s remarkable to me that someone trained in a profession requiring the use of the Scientific Method and reasoning skills would begin her homeschooling investigations with such preconceived and stereo-typical notions about homeschoolers. At least she admits it, but I wonder if she’s reflective about it and what it reveals about her, how she got there, and how she can work to avoid such awful attitudes in herself and people like her in the future.

    Many homeschoolers are hassled by their pediatricians when the doctor learns the children are homeschooled. Many go so far as to give unsolicited advice to parents on this subject they usually know very little about. I wonder if she has been this type of pediatrician in the past. If she has, is she sorry about it? How does she address this issue with colleagues who do?

    The title implies homeschooling parents who are professionals are motivated by something different that homeschooling parents who are not professionals. These reasons are commonly given by homeschoolers of all types, even by the types of homeschoolers who aren’t professionals and those she calls religious kooks. Does she think that being a professional gives more weight to her pro-homeschooling position? Why? She’s simply coming to conclusions that have looooooooong been recognized and accepted by millions for decades now whether they’re professionals or not.

    Is the author aware that depending on the state she lives in online public school is not legally recognized as homeschooling and requires the child to be registered as a public school student? Is she aware than depending on the group, many homeschoolers don’t recognize online public school students as homeschoolers? In an article about homeschooling directed at people who don’t, this is an important topic.

  439. We are just starting on the homeschooling journey and have so many recommendations for curriculums. For my first year or two I decided to go for one that is all encompassing until I feel more comfortable. Was curious what your using and your opinion on it and any other readers thoughts. Have a list of some but trying to determine what one would be the best fit for our family.

  440. Dear Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann, I sent your excellent article around with the introduction note reproduced below which I think you should know about. And I think you are doing a great job. The one caveat that I am sure you are already mindful of, and must surely be striving on compensating for, is that the ability to function in the real world for home schooled children is a significant concern. Many end up socially awkward, and unable to negotiate through power-relations in social intercourse even in college, a skill which naturally comes by growing up, and in children play, in school settings. If you remain aware of these social pitfalls however, these can be mitigated by home schooled kids participating in theatre for instance, or other team activity where each individual counts for their social presence and contribution. I have found that participating in theatre, from K through 12, can often mitigate many of these concerns, creating socially well-balanced young adults able to hold their own in college and workplace. Regards, Zahir Ebrahim, California.

    [ Hi - Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann in her great article reproduced below missed the most important reason for home schooling in the West today, and that reason would apply to both public and private schools in the United States, the UK, and at least France (and perhaps in the rest of the EU as well). That is the United Nations Agenda 21. So few people have actually bothered to read the official UN documents on this topic, never mind those coming out of CFR and other policy prescribing foundations, that if they knew what the school system will be feeding into the young minds of their progeny in the West, these 18 reasons would pale in comparison. Among others, your daughter in the future will be silently able to get an abortion on school premise by the onsite nurse in the onsite medical clinic without parents even knowing about it - as sexuality is increasingly separated from reproduction function and the latter is managed on the population management axis while sex is freely permitted. A Bertrand Russell dream coming true. This ain't the fiction of A Brave New World noted in Aldous Huxley's famous fable from 1931, where the zipper "up down, up down" is forcibly taught in first grade, but you can see its seeds being planted in the early sexualizing of children in American and Western public schools already. The state brain-washing the children to separate them from their family nucleus, from religion, and towards secular humanism, is the core agenda among the many agendas buried in UN's Agenda 21 documents; preparing the children for the brave new world of one world government. Now had this good Doctor stated that as the 19th reason to home school, this medicine woman would surely have suffered her worst fears from her colleagues: "People would stereotype me as a right-wing kook." Today's kooks are either tomorrows would be residents in St. Elizabeth (the mental hospital in DC which housed Ezra Pound if i recall correctly), or tomorrows prophets ex post facto. Where you gonna go -- they kill you on the ground in Pakistan for your religion, and when you immigrate elsewhere running from the terrorist, you run straight into the open jaws of the emperor planning to do in your progeny by completely separating them from your religion, eventually! If one were to examine this as a choice, staying put and fighting for posterity wherever you are, is a better bet, because, what does not kill you, will only make you stronger. And if you are in the West, you should at least be aware of what the agenda behind public education really is -- and today that is way beyond the dumbing down of Western people. It is to own our children by owning their thoughts. It is rather pathetic that the immigrants from Pakistan to the West have no clues to these matters. The 'American dream' is all they care about. And when I endeavor to inform them of the looming nightmares -- I get what the good doctor only fears in her article! So, those in Pakistan who are choosing this route of Home schooling for whatever personal reasons, there is much to be said in favor of it for reasons which transcend personal reasons. The privatization of Pakistani schools between the Turk schools, the Aga Khan schools, the Beacon schools, etc., on the one hand, and the third-rate public schools which Imran Khan wants to make into the former types by spending 2.5 trillion rupees over 5 years, I call them Imran Khan schools, are ultimately designed to administer the same mind-fck to the kids and to their parents - brain washed likkha-parrha jahils organized in some sort of scientific caste system to perform their assigned tasks - stuff one used to read about in Huxley's fables. Be forewarned. Study some on your own -- start by reading up on Agenda 21. Google its documents, and learn how to parse them. You will not find a section there plainly called "How to fck kids and their parent". You have to study the system to understand that that's what it will end up doing as the new global state will regulate your carbon credit, by home, and you already have smart meters installed all over Pakistan. I have said too many things with too many steps missing to make sense to most, so just think of it as the grand 'conspiracy theory' and do your own research to prove to yourself that it isn't. Start on my website with UN Agenda 21 documents that I have cached: Agenda 21 For Dummies. Zahir Ebrahim, Project Humanbeingsfirst.org. ]

  441. Great article! I was homeschooled from second grade through high school graduation. First, my parents pulled me due to health reasons, and then I asked to keep homeschooling so I could have a career as a professional ballet dancer which was made possible by the flexible hours of homeschooling. My brother wasn’t as big a success, and I would encourage you to look how each of your kids are faring year to year. Now a parent to a two year old boy, my mission is to convince my husband to let me homeschool our son at least for a while. I am showing him this!

  442. I love this:

    Check out these quotes form the first paragraph:

    “Surprisingly it was full of doctors, lawyers, former public school teachers, and other professionals. “

    Translation: Oh no… there were actually normal people there like myself. No riff raff mechanics or plumbers in this group, no siree. Oooooh… gag me with a spoon.

    ” These were not the stay-at-home-moms in long skirts that I expected. “

    Translation: My judgmentalism of those stupid women who give up careers to, ooohhhh gag, stay at home with their children all day, and like, change diapers, why there were none of those icky people there either.

    ” The face of homeschooling is changing. We are not all religious extremists or farmers, and our kids are not all overachieving academic nerds without social skills.”

    The water is safe to go in now. All those loony and crazy religious zealots, you know, like the ones we see on television, well it’s not like that anymore. Now normal people, you know? like myself, well we’re going to start homeschooling too, though we are a little nervous that others are going to look at us, you know, like we’ve been looking at homeschoolers and all. But we’re not going to be like those weirdo religious types. We’re going to be normal and teach our children normal values… like ours. You know, like the value of being like everyone else who goes to the normal schools so people don’t judge you.
    Seriously however:

    I do wish them luck. I think they have made a wonderful choice, a choice they will never regret, and even if they have no basis for their values beyond their own opinions, I’m sure those are better than the serfdom values that the NEA had planned for their children. I mean after all… she is a doctor. How could she go wrong? Right?

  443. j murphy says:

    I enjoyed your article, but can you elaborate on why your school-aged children were not in the same school, as well as what was wrong with your public schools that you chose private instead?

    I am curious because I have a special needs son who I sometimes wonder if I should home school.

  444. Great article. A friend posted the link on FaceBook and I’m going to send it to our daughter who is considering home schooling.

  445. Lynn Miller says:

    Just wanted to add a comment. After two days of filling in for my daughter-in-law homeschooling 6 of our grandchildren, I have a greater respect for her and her adherence to education at home for her kids. For the most part the children are well adjusted and doing well in this homeschool. Their mom has a definite plan in place and each child has a print-out for the week. They know what is expected of them and are progressing. On the other hand, my daughter is homeschooling 2 of her children with not so great results. She seems to be going at it by the seat of her pants. I have never seen a schedule and often drop in and find the kids playing very late in the morning with no mom in sight. I worry these children are not learning in the right sequence. A grandson is in each of these families about the same age and the one, who is actually younger in the family of 6 children, is way ahead of the little boy in the home with 2. I realize as a grandparent there is nothing I can do, but I am very concerned.

  446. Well done! :)
    I truly appreciate this word coming from someone to whom more people would listen!
    Home’s Cool! :)

  447. I’m not at the point yet of having to make the homeschool vs. public vs. private decision with my chidren, so I find this all incredibly interesting, and some of the comments a bit hilarious.

    While I understand why some people dislike the language used to describe what this doctor originally thought of the homeschooling population, I do not think she should have used different language. She was expressing her thoughts and initial hesitations, and if that was her original view, she SHOULD have expressed them in an accurate way.

    While this may anger people more, there are many people that still think home schooling is a bit odd or on the fringe. The fact that Dr. Berchelmann is willing to admit up front that she had unfounded fears and views, which are in fact similar to a ton of other people, and to then follow-up and explain why her original views were wrong, should be commended. This single blog post has probably done as much to advance home schooling as anyone in the past several years. She has just reached several hundred thousand people who normally would have scoffed at homeschooling (apparently this blog post has been read 250k times already).

    So for those that are offended by her post, I think you need to get past the internal angst you carry over being a persecuted homeschooling parent (which I think is the real issue — parents that feel their decision to homeschool has been ridiculed for a long time), and thank Dr. Berchelmann for bringing this into the national spotlight in what is actually a positive way. Only good is going to come from this for parents that already do or wish to start homeschooling.

  448. Katie D. says:

    I think some people missed the point. Homeschool folks, let’s face facts. We all know some FRIGHTENING people who are beyond steryotype and are Weird people that homeschool their kids. Even if we don’t know them well/personally, we know Of them. The point of this article is that this woman had always thought of ALL homeschoolers as those with which the majority of homeschool families avoid to come into contact. She learned that there is a big, bright world of home education out there that is occupied by what could be called normal.
    This article is great! It really makes homeschooling out to be a much less scary endeavor than many perceive it to be.

    Unfortunately, I can personally attest to the part addressing the availability of sports and other public school activies being untrue. There are some areas, states, etc. that completely ignore the rule that home-educated children have just as much right to participate as those publically educated. With diligent work, there are tremendous people out there working to correct that, however. Aside from that unfortunate miscommunication, I say thank you and God bless for posting this!

  449. Wow, those reasons all sound remarkably similar to the lifestyles we religious extremists and right wing kooks homeschool for! ;-)

  450. Thanks for the ”insights.” My 13-year-old daughter could have written the same article about the obvious benefits a month after our family started homeschooling – and without insulting hosts of other people. Glad Doctor Berchelmann has caught on to something homeschooling families have known for decades and now feels confident enough after a year of secret homeschooling to ”come out of the closet.” She adds nothing fresh to the substantive reasons that homeschooling advocates have long known. Her main point seems to be that it is socially acceptable because a lot of lawyers, doctors and other professionals are doing it and not (only) a lot of ”women in long skirts” and ”religious extremists.” Her own prejudices are probably what kept her on the low down for a year. If you are considering homeschooling, please don’t think that most or even many homeschooling parents are as narrow-minded, self-important and dismissive of the backgrounds, beliefs or professions of others as the author of the article is – far from it. Those kinds of attitudes are at the root of the bullying, cliques and pressures to conform socially that were part of the motivation for many of us to go into homeschooling. Glad this person is not part of our coop.

  451. I didn’t take offense at the author’s comments – “These were not the stay-at-home-moms in long skirts that I expected. The face of homeschooling is changing. We are not all religious extremists or farmers, and our kids are not all overachieving academic nerds without social skills.”

    I think this article reflects how deeply we are affected by the ‘socialization’ WE received in high school- defining people by stereotype, listening to and internalizing unfounded gossip, and fear of being seen as ‘uncool’. Thank goodness that those first brave parents stepped out in spite of the name-calling and bullying they received for daring to be ‘different’. The face of homeschooling really hasn’t changed- the stereotypes were just as bogus then as they are now, but isn’t it sad that society often resorts to pathetic insults in order to manipulate and dominate others? A false history has been written about home education based on media caricatures. It’s time we as a society stopped buying into it. High school is so over!

    I’m glad the author didn’t let any of that stop her from doing what was right for her kids and family. There are still parents out there who would love to homeschool, but don’t want to be thought of as ‘weird’. How sad.

    I was also glad to read how someone decided not to let life and situationasl obstacles deter them from homeschooling. It may require some drastic life changes in order to be able to homeschool, but it’s time parents buckle up and do whatever it takes to meet the needs of their children, if those needs are not being served by the school or district they are in.

  452. Lara York says:

    This was a very good article with much well thought out and explained information. I was shocked to see so many offended comments, including the one DC wrote. I assume these folks live in a bubble and don’t realize that there are stereotypes in our society for homeschooling. I don’t think the writer said she agreed with them but did not want them to hinder her life. She merely expressed her uncertainty and was obviously leaving herself vulnerable to do so. I was never homeschooled but I did know those who were and it did seem that if parents were not in tune with keeping there children in tune with their social surrounding that they did develop as timid or akward. They were kind, intelligent but you felt for them because they seemed to lack the ‘gumption’ needed to face and enjoy life. Whether that is completely so or not, I don’t know. I support homeschooling completely. I think there are some folks here who were offended before they read the article and look for opportunities to vent. Thank you for the great information. By the way, if people were not willing to continue to homeschool their children, all that the predecessors fought for would be useless. Folks should be happy they did their part and now it evolves for more of society.

  453. Thank you for writing this! I am a family physician and my husband and I homeschool my 14 year old half-brother and our own young children are just cuing up to start.

    I don’t think people should fault the author for accurately describing the flat image homeschooling has unfortunately developed over the years. Many people assume that because we are enthusiastic homeschoolers, we are also socially conservative, religiously dogmatic, and have no friends. I’m not saying any of those three things go together, but I am saying that the homeschool community is as diverse and well-rounded as any other community. As the mama of a homeschooling family, I appreciate that the author was open about these misconceptions and refuted them.

  454. Good article except for #5. Not all homeschoolers are eligible to use the services of public school systems. My school district does not provide special education services to homeschool or private school students thus I have had to pay for learning disabilities tutoring out of my own pocket.

  455. Thank you Doc for your insightful 18 reasons. You are giving needed encouragement to many. I had to smile at your reluctance to admit you were homeschooling! The very idea that an M.D. would feel intimidated is amazing, but I’ve met several others over the years. We’ve come a long way since our family started homeschooling in 1982, but the old stereotypes are still out there – amazing! To those of your readers who are offended I would like to say, “Lighten up! If you want the new homeschoolers to understand your/our sacrifices, do something to educate them and help them. We pioneers are the only ones who can and will do this. The mainstream media will always mock and disparage us.” My one hope for you Dr. B, is that you discover how to dump the boxed curriculum and give your children a real education. Look into it; it isn’t hard and the rewards are amazing. My prayers go with your family.

  456. I don’t think she wrote this to inform other homeschoolers, and remain glad to read whatever positive press there is on homeschooling. It may help others who are drawn to the idea to take the first step. First step is always to look up ideas (lots on the Internet) and contact other homeschoolers or a homeschooling group. This research and personal outreach will answer any questions you might have. Homeschooling is a juggling act for anyone doing it — I have known people who quit their jobs, retained their jobs, cut their working hours, shared homeschooling with partners, single parents who were able to work from their homes while homeschooling, etc. No matter how one homeschools, it is a labor of love with lots of rewards. I also think her initial uninformed view has always been and will always be present, because people do not understand until they understand. Thirty years ago was exactly the same perception, but reality was different. Every few years, another article comes out that says that homeschooling has changed, but all reasons and ways to homeschool have always been present; it is the people who started to look closer at it that changed their views.

  457. “…stay-at-home-moms in long skirts that I expected. The face of homeschooling is changing. We are not all religious extremists or farmers”. Homeschoolers never were “all” of those ( insulting?) demographics. I’d no idea farmers were inferior in judgement of what was best for their children to ‘doctors, lawyers, teachers and other professionals’. I won’t touch the other stated groups as they scream your perspective quite well. As with many who reverse their stance on a practice only because they’ve changed their own desires, your residual prejudice and use of terms derogatory towards those unlike you while you do the same thing is interesting. Thankfully, for most, ‘live and learn’ never ends.

  458. What a wonderful compilation of great reasons to homeschool. This has been our first year of officially doing this. My daughter has never really attended public school but I am wondering if she might possibly be feeling like she is missing the experience. I imagine we will start giving her a choice on whether or not she wants to continue homeschooling every year.

  459. I can’t figure out why people have been so offended by your former stereotyping of homeschoolers! We’ve found these stereotypical thoughts in almost everyone we know! When we started homeschooling (our children have never gone to school anywhere even though I was a public school teacher), we had the same stereotypical thoughts as well. Among the women who homeschooled in our area, many of them wore denim skirts and denim jumpers, made their own bread and didn’t eat processed foods, were uber-conservative, and were very vocal about all of those things. In my area, it wasn’t just a stereotype; I saw this all the time. :) It was the “norm” for homeschoolers in my area.

    And yet, these were lovely women who were deeply dedicated to their children’s educations. Some of them were very suspicious of newbies like me and my friends who were pants-wearing, uncovered-head women. We shared many religious convictions with them, just viewed clothing and head coverings differently.

    When we started homeschooling in 2002 in the Pacific NW, we began attending our state’s annual Christian homeschooling conference. There were a ton of women wearing denim dresses and skirts! I thought it was definitely a personal preference for them, but there was no way I was going to dress like that, and I’m no fashionista! :) (This has changed over the years. Now, women who dress that way are in the minority. It’s actually unusual to see that going on at the Christian homeschool conference anymore. But it used to be very different!

    This author, in her article above, was expressing her former stereotypes about homeschooling, before she jumped in and started teaching her own children at home. Obviously, she doesn’t have the same views anymore.

    In my area, the local view on homeschooling (by those who don’t homeschool) is still pretty stereotypical, although I think most people by now realize that not everyone who homeschools wears denim skirts/dresses and doesn’t socialize with anyone outside of their own very small circle.

    But that attitude where we live has taken a long time to change, mainly because there were so many homeschooling mamas in our area who DID fit the stereotype. Some moms were college educated; some were not. A few didn’t graduate from high school. But they all have done an amazing job with their children at home. I’m so proud of them!

    Where some of these comments may come from people who don’t live in areas where homeschooling was very stereotypical, in my area, it was. It was kind of an odd group of women who weren’t very accepting of “outsiders” even if we had the same passions to teach our children at home, even if we were Christians and were fairly conservative.

    It’s even taken years for people in our church to accept what my family does with homeschooling our children. Out of 500 people in our conservative church, our family is the only one who homeschools. There’s another mom who teaches her three at home plus an additional 10 students in a small private school on her property, but I’m just saying that around here in our state, homeschooling still is known to be a bit kooky. Slowly, very slowly, that is changing.

  460. Heather C says:

    Great article! This is our first year homeschooling, and we LOVE it! Thanks! Heather

  461. I am considering homeschooling as I am not liking what I’m witnessing and reading about the schools in California. I’ve been fortunate that some of the indoctrination hasn’t taken place at the local elementary school, but I’m seeing signs. I have concerns as I haven’t found a co-op in the area and cannot afford all the field trips and equipment–such as microscopes–on my own and would like to share the cost with other families as well as find a social outlet for my children. There are concerns about working around our somewhat inflexible work schedules and the personality of one particular child who would be less likely to put forth effort without peer pressure or an outside authority figure.
    I had nieces who were homeschooled (in another state). As they grew older, they went to private/public schools part-time and were home schooled part-time. One wanted to try out for the school play, but because she wasn’t passing in five subjects (she wasn’t TAKING five subjects) at the school, she was prohibited. The schools are all about the money, and if your child isn’t bringing in the money full-time, then the schools will punish you. I don’t know of any schools that allow homeschoolers to participate in sports or other extra-curricular activities.
    Add to this the fact that higher math eludes me, it gives me pause to think of taking on the task myself. Now if my husband were on board and would help, we might have a fighting chance. Meanwhile, I’m reading what I can and considering options. If the time comes when I am dead set against what the schools are teaching or feel my children are no longer safe at school (which I’m starting to feel now), I want to be ready with a viable alternative.
    I’d be on board with a co-op and shared teaching/shared time and wish I could find such an arrangement. That might be a way to ease me out of the government schools in a way we could afford.

  462. Great article. We don’t home school, but I have the utmost respect for those that do.

    I am concerned about some home schoolers. The decided lack of reading comprehension that is shown throughout the comments section of this post is disturbing. Those taking offense at some of the opening comments are either so defensive about their schooling choices they can’t see straight or are not very bright.

  463. My wife homeschooled our son an daughter it was not always easy but we are glad we did it. Now our son is thinking about homeschooling his son.

  464. Rachel Ward says:

    Geez, were you the class bully or what? No apology to those who have pioneered homeschooling for your bias and namecalling? Have you not found a common thread that unites all homeschoolers yet? Those stereotypes may make for some funny lines, but it’s pretty rude, imo.

  465. Dear Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann and husband, hi, I just wanted to let you know that inspired by your candid article, I have written of my experience of raising my children and my observations pertinent to your article in a missive, which albeit I have not decided whether I wish to publish or not, I would like to share with you if you agree to keep it private. Let me know by sending me email at zahir@alum.mit.edu (or the project humanbeingsfirst@gmail.com address). No need to publish this comment as I don’t wish to entertain requests for my missive at this time from the general public. I think it takes a great deal of courage to talk about personal matters as you have done. But I think your article is of benefit to the general public despite the odd critics. There are a few things however that you might like to become aware of, besides the agenda 21 already mentioned previously, and directly pertinent to homeschooling, the real caveats which you have merely glossed over because you may not be aware of their significance, and I speak to those in my article. Good luck with this wonderful endeavor. Best wishes, Zahir Ebrahim, California.

  466. I learned a lot about the advantages of home schooling. Several of my misconceptions were laid to rest. I still fear the lack of socialization that may come with home schooling and some families do not take advantage of the public school activities. I still believe that my children are receiving a good education and the social setting that is necessary to be a well rounded individual. I definitely could not be a home school educator because honestly, I need time away from my kids :) I do not think this is a bad thing.

    One criticism though, why is the title “Why doctors and lawyers…” ? That makes it sound so condescending and elitist.

  467. Hello,

    Interesting article. I just would like to know how can a working mom accomodate with homeschooling. what do children do when they mum is working.
    I just started homeschooling (I am not in the US) but I am not working now. I am planning to work and don t know how to do ?

  468. This…exactly.

    Jay March 28, 2013 at 9:03 pm
    I enjoyed this article except for the jarring I felt with each instance of name calling. Others who have pioneered in homeschooling are referred to as “kooks”, “nerds” and “religious extremists”. It’s sad when bullies have to put down others in attempts to separate, and elevate themselves.

  469. While I see many advantages to homeschooling children, agree that it has its advantages, and would consider it for my children, I have to clear any untruths about public school since I taught in public school for many years. By law in the state of Texas, schools are only allowed to have 3 class parties a year. Most states have this same regulation. I have taught in three different districts and I have never heard of a school district that chose to have a class party for any holiday but Christmas “Winter Party”, Valentine’s, and an end of the year party. All school districts choose the holiday or special day and allow 1 hour for the party. If there are any schools that do not abide by this, they are breaking the state law and could receive a heavy fine for non compliance. Actually, what I see as the problem with holidays is the opposite. Almost nothing is done and it is as though the school system feels that inorder for learning to occur the fun must be taken out. I think that an advantage of homeschool is that a parent can instill old fashion art and creative skills by incorporating holidays and therefore can make learning fun again.
    As far as bullying or kids saying rude things, kids are human beings and humans are not perfect. Regardless of how a child is schooled, children will say and do rude things. Adults are no different. The only difference in behavior in a homeschool situation vs. a public or private school situation is the adult to child ratio. If there are less children, the adult probably hears or catches on to the rudeness or problem quicker and should be able to address the situation quicker and without all of the red tape. Unfortunately, last year during a field trip with my 20 students and the other 80 plus 1st graders from my school, I was disappointed to see how poorly behaved a group of homeschooled children were behaving at a children’s theatre. The only audience was our over 100 low income students from a rough area of town and the 10 plus homeschooled children and their mothers. These students were so loud that our students began to stare at them and ask questions. The mothers were almost as loud as their children and they all acted as though they were the only ones in the room. I would hope that this is one homeschool co-op that is giving homeschooled children a bad rap and that most co-op groups are not like this. I have many friend that will be homeschooling and I hope that there situation is far better than this.

  470. Thank you for the encouraging article! My mom homeschooled us 10 kids, I was 2nd oldest and I loooooooved it! I now have 5 kids of my own that my husband and I plan to homeschool, our oldest is 5! We both work from home doing a business together that alows us to work part-time hours with a full time pay. It is a gift and we feel blessed to have that opportunity! I look forward to making learning fun for our family. Thank you again for sharing!

  471. I never thought “We are not all religious extremists or farmers, and our kids are not all overachieving academic nerds without social skills”. I always assumed such parents were aware and horrified of what/how government schools were polluting young minds and made the decision to fight for their children by taking charge.

  472. Caroline Klassen says:

    Thank you for perfectly articulating the reasons to choose home schooling. We started to home school our son & daughter in 1985 when they were in second & fifth grade. While in the throes of rearing my children I was not looking forward 20 years and imagining them as adults. Let me tell you…the very best part of home schooling, or good parenting, is when your children become adults. My kids know we were committed to their education, that life is about learning all day every day, and that we made some sacrifices to give them a healthy childhood. My goal was to produce competent adults by the time they were 18 but because of the rapport we developed as a necessity of respecting personality and learning styles throughout their youth, we all agree that we are each others best friends. So, for these reasons and more…my kids are grateful we home schooled them and (nearly 30 years later) I am indescribably pleased with my close, warm and loving family.

  473. i really like this article…too bad the goodness of it is lost on political and religous feelings getting hurt….That aint the point of her article folks (i only speak my mind to friends cause they don’t pout right? or hate me for it ….

    Besides you Must realize Where she is in HER Journey…. it says she just finished her FIRST YR.

    Homeschooling mom I am for 10 years
    and working mom too.

  474. Although your foray into home education has been a great experience for both your children and you, your bigotry is disturbing and, your bigotry provides evidence FOR the “long skirts” & “kooks” viewpoint. We have home educated our kids since 1993 (when out daughter was born) with a very brief stint of pre-k in the public school. We along with thousands of others did all the hard work, fought the states, spent hours and hours in public forums and withstood the bigotry against us (and that you perpetuate) in order to secure the recognition that you, as your child’s parent, are responsible for your kid’s education and well-being. You should open your eyes, wipe away the bigoted presuppositions you have and get to know those, “kooks” so you can show your appreciation for their hard work, dedication and perseverance so that you can home educate your children. Show some appreciation, open-mindedness and be humble lady.

  475. No one but actual teachers are actually teachers. That’s the bottom line no matter how many people continue to post their opinions on this editorial/opinion pice/blog.

  476. For those of you who keep insisting that the author is perpetuating bigotry, I hope you have someone else teaching your children reading comprehension and concepts like context. You’re apparently lacking in those areas. The author was saying that the stereotypes are NOT true. Climb down off that high-horse and cut her some slack.

  477. The remarks of Will and George exemplify that elitist attitude that is readily apparent in the author’s gushing over the fact that the parent meeting was filled with professionals. My comment is that finally these people are recognizing what is important in life and it is not a piece of paper pointing to their academic achievements but it is the hearts and minds of the children that they have brought into the world and in so many cases have farmed out the raising of to others who are merely other paid professionals. I hope more and more of you professionals will give your children the love and care and all of those 18 items which you think you were the first to discover. You might have made a better impression on your audience if you had shown even a note of gratefulness to those who cut the way.

  478. After getting a bunch of learning disabilities along with monthly clusters of epileptic seizures after an MMRshot at age 4 1/2, after over 2 years of bad report cards, my mom took me home, and then my three brothers the following years. Funny how my parents have always been professional teachers of Spanish and English by their combined 3 masters’ degrees, and yet I excelled in everything but languages. They constantly played and re-played songs in Spanish, English, and Italian (my dad’s parents were both Italians). What that taught me was how to memorize every single melody or syllable in any song or TVshow. When Dad resolved to teach me piano, at age 4 1/2, he’d play the song for me, and then I would try it. He thought he was teaching me to read the sheet music; turned out he was training my ear. My oldest brother, age 3 at the time, on my first lesson immediately insisted that he be taught alongside me, as well. Well. In watching me play songs correctly with “the paper with the weird lines and dots” in front of me (I’d just keep guessing notes until my dad stopped yelling “wrong”), my brother picked up on the actual topic Dad had originally been trying to teach me and he excelled. It wasn’t until several years later when Dad started paying for lessons for me that I learned to sight-read. Unknowingly, in my “teaching” of my brother, taking it as younger him learning the song before older me, Mom saw her first glimpse of a possible learning disability. Fast-forward two decades and my oldest brother and I are now music majors, who can type really fast, like our Italian grandma, the one who taught Dad piano and typing.

    According to the main article, it seems as though the author has a perfect balance. Me with my learning disability, until I did an all-natural liver-cleanse twenty-plus years later, I always wanted somebody to be angry with me; and I got my wishes: by age five I was always getting my daily dose of getting Mom and/or Dad riled-up at me.
    esma: All you have to do is Google words like “homeschooling material grade 9″ or “homeschool math kindergarten” or “art activities grade 3″, etc… You can even call your local public school to borrow textbooks from them on an annual basis; although, better to simply call your local school for instructions on how to sign-up your computer and/or iPad for free online public school / virtual school. Then, when the parent sits down at the computer and the child(ren) come over on their own, 90% of the parent’s work is done for them. Now they just need to start their child off by saying out loud and pointing to whatever is happening on-screen during the actual lessons. (If you mention to your children asking them if they want to come over and watch the installation process, if he/she/they already becomes interested, you can sit back, relax, and almost never even have to mention when they have to do their schoolwork!) You can purchase or create colorful posters of anything you want your kids to learn. You tape them to the bedroom walls. Each day they are finished learning all or part of the lesson, you sign their name(s) if too high to reach, or tell them to checkmark each different completed lesson printed on them to make easy learning. You can tape graphing-paper to a closet door with horizontal goals to the left of a big square and vertical steps written above the big square. Then you show them how to check goals off. Tell them “you learned how to add today! Look! Mommy is giving you a mark/check/point on your chart! Good job!” (if they are small children, keep chart out of their reach.) If they point at it and ask you what it is, you say it is all they have to learn to get their Christmas/Hanukkah/Birthday present(s). Whenever they have trouble answering a history/math question, just give them clues. If you give many clues, and they still don’t understand, they want to learn the subject passively; you then should give them repeated examples of how to do it – take different books out of the library, show them how to look up on the index, and write the answer. Later on you can warn older kids that every so often you WON’T be able to tell them and give them hints; that on a particular lesson of a subject you choose or they choose, THEY will have to look up different sources THEMSELVES. Even later on, after they show you they easily know how to research, you can refuse to help them. To keep things positive, write down your plans in a book for them to see and you say “don’t worry about that hard part.” Then when they get old enough for it, they say “hey, there’s that hard part Mom & Dad were talking about. I’m gonna try it! Hey Dad! Mom!”

  479. I do not know your entire financial situation but I do know that just because you are homeschooling does not mean you have to spend a ton of money. Education.com lets you print so many worksheets for free and if you just begin by googling homeschooling for the exact age/grade you are interested in you will find many moms that felt just like you. They have created lesson plans, printables, and even have suggested readings of books you can pick up at the library. You can also find great prices on amazon.com and ebay. Good luck.

  480. Justin Mills says:

    I’m a pediatrician and I work full time. I don’t know any other doctor that home school’s their children or for that matter has the time to home school their children. Also, the author makes it seem like private school or home schools are the only options. What about public schools? If its good enough to utilize services like PE, sports, special education, art, music, and remedial education (which is a nice safety net for homeschool teachers), then why isn’t it good enough to send your kid their full time?

  481. Who got their feelings hurt? Truly religious folk, if they have been religious for very long, should be use to being judged. Other than the first paragraph, which betrays the author’s latent judgmentalism, it’s a great article. Her 18 points are spot on I think, and worth reading and taking to heart.

  482. Your comment is so close minded and ignorant. Wow!!! Many of my friends are teachers and they have never made negative comments like you just made.

  483. Brenda Messaros says:

    Very interesting article. As a mom who has home schooled my daughter from Kindergarten thru 9th grade (and will be continuing thru graduation) I am SO glad we made this decision. My daughter has excelled with her education and has carried a 4.0 average during her 1st year of high school. She hasn’t missed out at all on social activities as she is part of a huge youth group in our church and keeps me busy running her around with all of her social calendar. I wouldn’t trade these years we’ve had together for anything. I think the thing to keep in mind is that every child is different and as parents we have to decide what is best for our kids. Some do better being in school, some do better being taught at home. But BOTH choices should be respected and not put down just because someone is doing things differently than we are. I respect my friends who have their kids in private schools and public schools just the same as those who are home schooling their kids because I know they’re doing what they feel is best for their kids. Whichever choice we make for our kids, the ultimate goal is to make sure that they receive the best education they can get and that they grow up to be caring, responsible adults who learn to respect each other and to treat people who they want to be treated. I have already seen these traits in my daughter and I know that home schooling her was the right choice for our family and I very glad that I made this choice.

  484. artemis6

    0
    artemis6

    #1 most people live close to their kids school . , so NO driving … #2 Public school . #3 Get involved with their school and they will excel .#4 get involved with their school and you will have fun , PTA has movies , carnivals concerts robots #5 It is all public school services and you can suggest new ones if you wish . #6 If you do not like parenting you are doing it wrong or need more support . #7 I should hope so ! #8 You need parenting classes such as love and logic – no yelling . Effective communication can be learned . #9 YOU teach them HOW to be creative … not the school . #10 Behavior and work ethic need to be taught to all children , not just yours . The kids in you hood and public school need it too . #11 You do not need to home school to work on bad habits . Parenting classes . #12 You can indeed travel if you home school . That is a main benefit . #13 Younger children always learn from older siblings , perhaps you mean they tutor they for you ? . #14 You really wanted to stay home with your kids and that is a good reason , however you did not need home school as an excuse . Since you LOST your income , in does NOT save money . No points for that . What it DOES do , is put you kids OVER cash . which is good . You still did NOT need to home school for that . You are using it as an excuse . #15 Life skills , should be taught by a parent . Home school , not needed , what IS needed is TIME with your kids . Since you stopped working , you have that . #16 Involved parents have virtually stopped bullying at my kids school . This also taught kids how to create a healthy community . How will you kids learn that ? #17 More Sleep ? Excuses ! #18 Personal values also include community . What about serving their fellow man , making a difference to others ? Is that NOT important to you ? You got yours . Too bad for every one else ? I think doctors and Lawyers are snobs . They are not smarter that us , they are ( with some exceptions ) more selfish .

  485. Loved the article!!! I do have to agree however that those bashing you for being a bigot need to go back and re-read your article. There was no bashing at all, just your take on Homeschooling. I have seen both sides of it, the Ultra Christian to the Ultra Unschooling. If someone got their feelings hurt, sorry folks, it is an article from her view point, we may not share it, but to call it bigotry is non sense. One point to Jim, you blast her for being a bigot, which if you re-read she is not, then you ask her to be humble after bashing her about “you” having spent all those hours so that she has the option to homeschool. Take some of your own advice sir, be humble, or risk showing your hubris.

  486. Lynette,
    I have no elitist attitude. The point is not whether or not parents care about their kids’ “hearts and minds”. The point is those who are NOT teachers are NOT teachers.

  487. While I’m sure the author is well-intentioned, I am disconcerted by any list of homeschooling attributes that does not include a simple disclaimer that the reality of homeschooling is not always rosy.

    There are good days and bad days. There are easy times and struggling times. There are easy-to-teach kids and others who struggle to learn. There are curricula that work with some kids but not others.

    Maybe I missed it, but I fear that a list that does not include even one sentence about said realities, of which I would suspect the author has experienced at least some, does a disservice to those who may be looking at homeschooling and not realize the reality or to those who are already homeschooling but struggling.

    My other contention would be the title and premise of the article. Again, maybe I missed it, but the author’s only claim about “doctors and lawyers homeschooling” is that she witnessed some of them in a homeschool meeting. And as to why “they” are homeschooling, she only lists her own anecdotes as a doctor.

    Of course people respect the time that doctors and lawyers have invested in education, but that does not make doctors and lawyers the smartest people in the room, so the premise is pretentious, but only because it’s anecdotal.

    It would be one thing if the author focused on a study of doctors and lawyers and why they are actually choosing homeschooling as a demographic (which is actually what I thought I would read), but instead the article is a list of reasons to homeschool and the person making the list happened to be a doctor. There is a difference.

  488. Shannon Ramiro says:

    I began homeschooling my 8 year old son this past October and I can relate to many of the experiences and benefits shared in this article. What makes school teachers different from parents is an education in how to teach the subjects and meet the national and state standards. In the case of a virtual academy, which is what we and the author states she chose, the curriculum has already been designed to meet the standards and the parent (also deemed “Learning Coach” in many instances) is given instructions for every lesson and also communicates on a regular basis with a teacher.

    In response to the person who commented that the only teachers are “teachers”, as long as you know where to find your state’s and national standards I believe anyone would be able to find or create appropriate materials to teach to the standards. I happen to be working towards getting a teaching credential so I understand how to do this and more about teaching in ways appropriate for different learning styles but even these skills can be learned somewhat from reading books and using observational skills to determine what works best with your child(ren). The world needs all kinds of people to serve the world in all kinds of different capacities but are schools in many cases do not do a good job (in my opinion) of teaching everyone so kudos to the parents who choose to, and can, homeschool their children in an effort to give them the best future and stengthen their family bond along the way.

  489. Jennifer says:

    To those who say that that nobody should be offended because the author has realized that those “stereotypes” are inaccurate: I believe some of us were offended because we do fit the stereotype (and many of us are also former professionals), and fail to see why that should be looked down upon. To those who say that people who are not “teachers” cannot be “teachers”: parents have been their children’s first teachers since the beginning of time, and their only teachers through most of time. Today, parents remain the most qualified to teach their children, as they always have been and always will be. You saying differently doesn’t prove it to be so, let alone make it to be so. It is simply your misinformed opinion. I hope one day you get the pleasure of teaching your children and seeing them learn and blossom under your tutelage, so that you may see for yourself.

  490. I truly enjoyed this article. I have been homeschooling my daughter for the past 6 years, she will be going into 8th grade this fall, I plan on homeschooling her through high school, in fact I look forward to it. Having the support of your spouse makes such a difference, mine is supportive but because of his work he dont have much time to get involved but he is this coming fall. There is so many rewards in homeschooling, and believe me I have had my days of pulling my hair out lol but all in all I wouldnt trade what I am doing with her, and what a blessing it is to our family as a whole. Thanks again for the great article, it was a good shot in the arm.. Be Blest… always… a fellow comrade in the ranks of homeschooling… Gloria and Ashley :o ) and Tom too !

  491. margo ostrovski says:

    So people who homeschool their children are “right wing kooks”? I’d argue that many people who send their kids to public school are left wing kooks! Most homeschool families ARE conservative, fiscally responsible, religious, emphasizes thrift, family, and individual responsibility, and believe in the founding principles of this country. Looks like the left wing kook who wrote this article is becoming a conservative! All homeschoolers I know are well-behaved, productive members of society, unlike the fodder of left-wing indoctrination centers we call public schools.

  492. Sorry,Jennifer. Trust me, when I say that only teachers are teachers I am qualified to say so. I am not saying children cannot LEARN anything from their parents. I am simply saying that only professional teachers are professional teachers.
    I’m sorry if you misunderstood. As parents we might teach our children a few things, put band-aids on “boo-boos” and tell them the rules of our households but that does not automatically make ALL parents teachers, doctors or lawyers. I am simply trying to keep the facts straight.

  493. Fun article! Glad you have joined the club. I’ve been a homeschooler for 7 years. I can’t imagine ever having my children involved in the ‘ball and chain’ called public school. We too use a college-prep curriculum and are flourishing. We do spend about 4 hours at ‘school’ and the rest of our time is spent with our interests and talents. We are Christians, I guess we fit that stereotype, but I’ve never donned a long, denim, skirt – so there is that. The comment above from Justin is so off base by the way. Seriously, if you want to learn how to interact with people in the world, then you get out there, with your parents, when you have that safety net, and you learn how to interact with persons of all ages, ethnicities, etc. and you do life with them. You don’t do it inside 4 walls, sheltered from the world. That is where you learn how to obey and fall in line, military style – or prison style. Just saying. Happy homeschooling and thanks for the article!

  494. I home-school my children because of us living in a variety of states. While I do not feel education in a formal sense for teens is such a good thing; I find that being able to allow them to pick and choose when and what they want to learn is beneficial. We go to museums, zoos, amusement parks and other places where they can learn independently from a book. I am not interested in how well they do, but, that they actually try. I am sure that they will go to college and graduate when they are ready to do so. It is about being a kid and the happiness that comes along with it. It isn’t about seeing how much you can cram into a brain each year and test only on what you want them to know.

  495. Unless you have felt called to homeschool, or have homeschooled , one cannot claim to get the idea, nor do they understand the realities of the actual experience. Parents know their children better than anyone else. If actual teachers are the only good teachers, then why are our childen excelling far beyond public and many private school students , based on yearly national test scores?
    I think it is the choice of each parent to choose what is best for their own children. I homeschool yes…but I shouldn’t expect others to do the same just because I do…nor should anyone feel pushed in any other direction.
    The author merely wanted to share the positive experience that she has had homeschooling. For each family, the choice is different. That’s the way is should be.

  496. Unless you have felt called to homeschool, or have homeschooled , one cannot claim to get the idea, nor do they understand the realities of the actual experience. Parents know their children better than anyone else. If actual teachers are the only good teachers, then why are our childen excelling far beyond public and many private school students , based on yearly national test scores?
    I think it is the choice of each parent to choose what is best for their own children. I homeschool yes…but I shouldn’t expect others to do the same just because I do…nor should anyone feel pushed in any other direction.
    The author merely wanted to share the positive experience that she has had homeschooling. For each family, the choice is different. That’s the way it should be.

  497. If you’re relatively educated and live in the South, New Jersey or in a major urban city, you should probably homeschool your kids.

  498. I have no doubt that parents have the ability to teach their children. But to claim that parents are “the most qualified” to teach their children is ridiculous. If a parent is truly “the most qualified,” then that person has an amazing future beyond the homeschooling years. If you are “the most qualified” to teach at the highest levels of all subject matter, you clearly will succeed in any capacity in any field. That’s truly astonishing.

  499. j murphy says:

    This is an interesting conversation and I can see both Will and Jennifer’s side. And at the same time, Will, I can say here in NY they are spending inordinate amounts of time “teaching” the standardized tests which cuts into regular teaching time. For example, at a school meeting today, I was shown how my son has been pulled from class and given a practice standardized test in both reading and math every month – not going over math, which he needs help with, just testing him on it. Does this make sense to anyone? I’ve had 2 boys more than a decade apart and the differences are staggering. To save money, districts are hiring more and more 20 somethings fresh out of college.

    I do not think everyone is right for homeschooling, but given the state of our public schools in NY, I admire those willing to go that route. I would think it would allow for the creativity in lesson planning and flexibility in how subjects are addressed that you can barely find in the elementary classroom anymore.

    I don’t homeschool, but I have thought about it, and I may not be a professional teacher, but several of the 20 somethings we have dealt with have been so in title only.

    Everyone commenting also needs to recognize that not everyone in life has to hike the same trail. Different methods for different children should be applauded for recognizing the individuality of us all.

  500. I cannot address your specific example “J”. It would involve more free writing than I care to do. (I have a second job as a writer.) I prefer to stick to facts and avoid arguing opinions with people who may or may not be qualified to make judgments regarding teaching, curriculum and levels of experience. I stand by my previous statement regarding the facts. This is America and anyone can say anything they want but we cannot change the facts.

  501. Jennifer says:

    Will, will you please point out the “facts” that you have presented thus far? I guess I got so stuck on your opinion that only teachers are qualified to teach that I missed the facts…

  502. Jennifer says:

    Parents are the most qualified because what makes one a good teacher is not what one knows but how one passes information along. Just as school teachers don’t come out of school with all knowledge, parents don’t have all knowledge. We do, however, have just as much access to the information we need to teach as school teachers do. We hold the advantage, however, in knowing our child better than anyone, understanding the child’s learning style better than anyone, having the time and vested interest to be able to teach to that style, and to be able to customize our curriculum and curriculum level to fit the child’s needs and interests in each subject. This is not box store education, aimed at programming a group of students to move from one standardized test to the next. This is customized education with an end goal of producing capable, successful and educated adults with mad critical thinking skills, taught by the people who care more about the success of the child than anyone in the world, the parents.

  503. I’m relatively new to homeschooling (pulled my kids out in December of this school year–1st and 3rd grade). I actually WAS a 2nd/3rd grade teacher, certified in TX, IN, and PA for Elementary Ed, and my husband taught High School Math for a few years when he first finished college.
    I saw myself in much of what the author mentioned in this article. But one of the things I was also able to say to teacher friends about what I love in this experience, is that homeschooling, by virtue of the autonomy and the class size, enables me to finally be the kind of teacher I wanted to be when I used to teach public school. I have the freedom to manage and constantly re-adjust our schedule based on how my kids are reacting to a particular lesson. When I taught 2nd grade in public school, for example, I could sometimes look into a child’s eyes, and know he was overwhelmed/overtired/listless, and likely wouldn’t learn anything knew without a little exercise, but was beholden to a formal school-wide schedule that put recess (if we had it at all that day) perhaps hours away. With my own daughters, I can send them outside to play for 10 minutes and call them back in to try again when they are refreshed. And yes…there is less fighting and crying, even if only as a percentage of the time spent together.
    I have much love and respect for those with the bravery and fortitude to dedicate themselves to teaching other people’s children. I’m also grateful for the option of homeschooling, which for our family, has been a net gain in almost every way so far.

  504. Sorry, Jennifer. You came in a bit late. I stand by what I said. Sorry you missed it. Facts are facts. Opinions are opinions. While everyone can teach their children something not everyone is a qualified teacher.

  505. well said jennifer!
    our child was wasting away in 7th grade
    he had staight A’s
    and said he spent much of class time waiting as the teacher dealt with behavior issues with other students -

    and my kid is not some super-genius nerd
    he simply was raised without television or sugar
    the result: what a well-behaved, focused child you have!
    so there’s our secret: turn off commercial programming, eat an organic sugar-free diet, and watch your child read,read, read!
    he begs us to take him to the library…

    i say: if it feels right for you, HOMESCHOOL!
    and don’t ever look back – there is so much support out there -
    but we all must follow our own path
    if public school is your thing, then rock on!
    it clearly has merit in certain respects
    we did public school for 2nd, 3rd, the end of 5th, 6th, and the beginning of 7th grades and it was very helpful for socialization, instilling a work ethic and pushing beyond his comfort zones -
    but now we’re free forever!!! YAY!!!

    personally, i love being a home school family
    i went through public schooling for 17 years
    and there is so much out there i was never taught through the U. S. curriculum ….but now we have the chance to learn whatever we want – exploring this vast universe together…ON OUR OWN NATURAL TIMING RHYTHM!!! that’s right, the clock is no longer in charge…

  506. I am glad you have 18 reasons listed but my guess is #18 is the only one that really counts. You write well so I will assume you have the knowledge to teach your children whether or not you have the skill. I hope – sincerely – that you do a good job because the homeschooled students I get are usually woefully lacking in academic skills and completely lacking in social skills. You will use public funds such as gym, online programs, weekly meetings, books, all the while trashing a public system that works better than most in the world. Do what’s best for you and your children but don’t make it some sort of moral high ground.

  507. I doubt this is worth the trouble I am taking to respond to Will but can we all agree that we have had numerous teachers who were not teachers? I have even worked with some who had the papers but did not have what it takes to be a teacher. They were only interested for the most part in drawing a paycheck. There is a special spark that one needs to be an effective teacher but it does not necessarily come with the acquisition of a degree. This is a complex subject, but do not discount the abilities of a loving parent who sacrifices to educate their child at home.

  508. Lynetter,
    I stand by what I said. I stand by the facts. I cannot speak to your qualifications –or those of anyone else–to judge teachers. ALL my teachers were teachers. Did some reach me more than others? Maybe but they were ALL teachers and not adults who decided to try to home-school their kids. It’s truly not a complex subject if one sticks to the facts. You could make the “paycheck” argument apply to ANY profession and that would just lead into additional debates. I never said kids can’t learn ANYthing from parents.

  509. Lynette,
    Sorry. There was some dirt on my screen and it looked like your name was LynetteR. No disrespect intended. I just need to clean my screen.

  510. Will’s perspective fits nicely into the secular thinking that by having a diploma with a teaching degree, you’re automatically elevated to a bonafide Teacher role, academically speaking, of course. It’s very black and white to him. I encountered more and more teachers with this condescending and authoritative nature. Sadly, I had to share that I had a ME degree in order for some to take my concerns over their curriculum and teaching styles seriously.

    Frankly, why should I expect anything less when college students are groomed for 4 years in this type of thinking Let’s face it, most come from the ranks of public education where 30 some kids sat in a classroom, where they were told what to think, not how to think. So understandably, Will firmly believes Teaching Diploma = Teacher. Other degrees = no teacher, from the academic sense, of course.

    Will’s thinking is why we have dissent today and why homeschoolers have a legal team making sure that our fundamental right is not taken from us. http://www.hslda.org As homeschooling continues grow exponentially, our gov’t will try to clamp down on these communities as they are critical-thinkers, highly intelligent, who understand freedom, rooted in knowledge. The attack on schooling in the home is an agenda that begins in the college of education. It’s not a coincidence. And, it’s not a coincidence that homeschooled kids are among the highest ranking in academic achievements. Wouldn’t you think Gov’t would like these communities for this reason alone? HHHmmm?

  511. You have no idea what this article meant to me, as my husband and I consider homeschool. You have articulated everything that has been in my mind and heart over the past few weeks. Just in case you are wondering, hubby is an attorney and I was an educator… While I am not working right now, we have a new one on the way in July, my teaching schedule used to be afternoons and evenings. My hubby has been pondering potential lost income if I go from a few years off until the kids are in school to homeschooling– you reminded me that we have a multitude of choices, especially as the kids age and mature. Thank you.

  512. For those who think that parents are not “qualified” to teach their kids, then how do you explain the performance to homeschooled children in standardized national tests, as compared to those who went to traditional schools? And the population of kids who were able to get into college after homeschooling (into very good schools at that)? I’m sure there are always exemptions to the rule but it just isn’t right to say that adults deciding to take responsibility of their children’s education is a mere folly. These parents just want the best for their kids, and if they think they can’t take on the responsibility then will not, but for those who think that their kids have better chances in their own hands, it just isn’t right to judge them that they’re no good teachers for their own kids. If one actually weighs the pros and cons of homeschooling, the benefits far more outweigh the risks.

  513. Mozilla11 says:

    Great article! I felt like she was quoting me on our decisions and experience with homeschooling. I have homeschooled 1 through graduation, and have 5 to go. We’ve done public, back to homeschool, back to public, and are now resolved to graduate all at home. I am not criticizing public teachers at all. They have a tremendous burden, and are rarely free to teach. We have 3 grown children who are public school teachers, and I don’t envy any of their jobs. As in any occupation, there “are” some bad examples; but most are dedicated to the purpose. The same is true with homeschoolers, there are also those who bring embarassment to the profession. And, yes, I consider homeschooling a profession … without the paycheck or union breaks.

  514. Christi says:

    Love this article! As a (non denim skirt wearing) homeschooling mother of 2 boys, I agree with everything you said! I see there are almost 500 comments so I’m sure someone has already mentioned this, but – your children are not automatically eligible for extra-curricular activities (sports, band, drama etc.). This is different from state to state and even individual districts within states.

  515. Janice Carter says:

    Kathleen, I like wearing long skirts, and didn’t know it was offensive. It just goes to show that we shouldn’t make surface judgements. We also want our children free of that. Thanks. God Bless!

  516. I believe the word you were looking for was “exceptions” not “exemptions”. I am sure natural IQ plays a part in test results too regardless of where a student was educated. Also, l would say if you are going to refer to studies it might help if you include links rather than just make statements. As for college, it isn’t all about test scores anymore. It’s about a lot of things that have nothing to do with the quality of education a child receives. (Just an FYI since you asked.)

  517. CJ I merely stated facts. I didn’t attack anyone personally as you did. It might help if you provide links to back up your claims though so those not in favor of home-schooling would take your opinion more seriously.
    Do you have the same attitude toward doctors and other professions as well? I am curious now. Is your doctor someone who simply calls himself a doctor or does he have degrees?

  518. Oh, Will. thank you for proving my point again, and again on how black and white some people see things. You’re comparing apples to oranges in the diploma arena, my dear friend.

    I truly appreciate the time you are taking to ward off any positive viewpoints of homeschooling. Readers can clearly see why some folks may never want to comprehend why and how education is being pulled from academic elitists (and there are plenty of them out there!) with degrees behind their names. It’s pride, isn’t it?

    Lastly, I’m so thrilled you asked about supporting facts. This is my area of expertise. Here is a link I hope you find helpful, but please know you can access other data right under your nose, right in your backyard. Standardize Testing results from your own school district. There is much more out there as well but I thought this research firm (nheri.org) did a good job compiling a variety of research, nationwide, and with data integrity. The first link provides an overview of many factors that you have mentioned in your previous posts.

    Enjoy the read.

    Academic Leadership Journal – Vol. 8 Issue 1, 2010
    http://contentcat.fhsu.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15732coll4/id/456

    National Home Educational Research Institutue
    http://www.nheri.org

  519. Although I suspect the “Will” is simply a troll looking for some action, I will post the following for the benefits of others who may wonder about the academic effectiveness of homeschooling.

    A relatively large study was done of 20,000 home schooled students by Dr. L. Rudner (professor at U. of Maryland). In the study, the standardized test scores of home schooled students were compared with those of public school students. The home schooled students scored an average of 30 percentile points HIGHER than their public school peers. Home schooled girls scored in the 87 percentile, while home schooled boys scored in the 87 percentile. The average public school percentile was 50th percentile. Interestingly, the educational level of the parent did not affect the home schooled student’s score in any meaningful way. The study found that even home schooled students whose parent had only a high school degree still out scored public school students by about 30 percentile points. This study is readily available online for further investigation.

    I dare say that those home school parents whose kiddos outscored the public school kiddos did more than tend to kids’ “boo-boos” as Will puts it. Sounds like those homeschooling parents actually *taught* their kids the core subjects, and did it well, regardless of what label ( official “teacher” or not) society wants to stamp onto the home schooling parent.

    I have just finished my 14th year of home schooling. Let me tell you a little about my experience.

    My oldest is now attending college. He attends college on a FULL academic scholarship due to his outstanding SAT scores. He was offered a FULL ride to 2 universities. He was offered scholarships from 8 (EIGHT) other universities. He is in the Honors College of the university that he attends and holds a 4.0 GPA. He is a President’s list scholar at his school as well. During his time as a home schooled student my son consistently scored in the 97 percentile for the Stanford achievement tests.

    My second son has developed his own app for the Android phone that was ranked at #45 in the world last year for utility apps. He has 2 compute games currently in development, one of which is soon to be launched. He is a champion robotics team captain, recently setting a record for most points scored in a single competition match. He is proficient in 5 (FIVE) computer programming languages, and has received awards for engineering designs. My second son also consistently scores in the 95 percentile for the Stanford tests.

    My next 2 children are still elementary age, but they are currently reading well above their grade level and their math is advanced as well.

    So, how did this happen? Do I have an engineering degree? No. Math degree? No. Teaching degree? No. I have a BA in English/political science.

    It is really very simple. I taught them what I knew that I could. For subjects that I felt were not my strength I LOOKED FOR AND OBTAINED OUTSIDE HELP. We do, after all, live in a internet world and help is as close as the click of the computer mouse. It really is that easy.

    A good book to read is “Outliers”. It explains how important the gift of time/exploration is to the development of exceptional thinkers. I highly recommend the book to any parent.

    In the end, it is not the label (“teacher”) that matters, but rather the results (educated children).

  520. Kristina says:

    The article is mislabelled. It should read: “18 reasons why SOME AMERICANS WHICH INCLUDE doctors and lawyers homeschool their children”. (CAPS for emphasis on added words).

    And it might just be the most self-centred article I’ve read on the issue to date. I am an education professional, and though I deal with adult education mostly, I had my share of K-12 education related course during my Masters.

    FWIW, I’m not 100% against homeschooling (though I’ve heard very few good arguments *for* it), but this article is just pathetic.

    Here are my responses to the 18 reasons:

    1) We spend less time homeschooling each day than we used to spend driving.
    – why not teach the kids to take the bus? Did you know that requirement for entry into Czech primary school at age 6 is “purchase something in a shop, take a message, and get home on a tram.”? (http://www.expats.cz/prague/article/czech-education/czech-public-schools/)
    Kids need to learn how to be more and more autonomous. Our world has never been safer for kids and yet parents (esp. in US and some parts of Canada) have never been more paranoid. Thanks media!

    2) We can’t afford private education.
    – why not go to public schools? Is the education that bad? Why not then get involved in the reform? Public schools are just fine here in Canada and most of my “yuppie” friends opted to send their kids to public and not private schools because the find the private ones tend to teach the wrong (snooty) values.

    3) Our kids are excelling academically as homeschoolers.
    – Of course they are, because there is nothing like a parent who isn’t specialized in child education to make a proper assessment of their kids’ work!

    4) Homeschooling is not hard, and it’s fun!
    – Public school could be fun too. Imagine if each family that could afford it donated an educational toy or resource to a school what a learning experience that would be?

    5) Use whatever public school services you like.
    – and of course, they would be eligible for this in their own public schools.

    6) I like parenting more, by far.
    – well I’m glad she’s making it about her! Interestingly enough, my parents always took the time to help us with homework, even though they had big careers. Oh and we cycled to our soccer practices and took the city bus to our downhill ski lessons, or carpooled with other kids.

    7) Our family spends our best hours of each day together.
    – “we were getting them back when they were tired, grumpy and hungry.” Did you not pack a proper lunch for them? Are they not getting enough physical activity at the school? It is not normal for kids to feel this way after a day of school. Why isn’t this problem being addressed?

    8) We yell at our kids less.
    – I don’t see the correlation, but again, I’m glad they are making it about them.

    9) Our kids have time for creative play and unique interests.
    – They could do all this in a good public school where parents are involved.

    10) We are able to work on the kids’ behaviour and work ethic throughout the day. — They could do all this in a good public school where parents are involved.

    11) Get rid of bad habits, fast.
    – Ah yes, let’s deprive our kids of a social environment like school in order for it to be more convenient for us… again!

    12) Be the master of your own schedule.
    – Same answer as point 11

    13) Younger children learn from older siblings.
    – This can happen both at home as well as in public schools.

    14) Save money.
    – Money, money, money… this a common theme!

    15) Teach your kids practical life skills.
    – This can happen both at home as well as in public schools.

    16) Better socialization, less unhealthy peer pressure and bullying.
    – This is the one I call total BULLSHIT on. By not exposing your kids to variety and difference early on, you are depriving them of building strategies for dealing and coping. But go ahead and play ostrich and raise your kids in a sanitized anti-social bunker. Let’s see how well adapted they will become.

    17) Sleep!
    – Give your child an appropriate bedtime. Problem solved.

    18) Teach kids your own values.
    – You can still teach your kids your own values and send them to public school. They will also learn other values and you can discuss them as a family. See point 16. Again, heaping load of BULLSHIT.

  521. mamakate says:

    The above comment is actually from “Mama Kate”. I am sorry that I failed to notice that the name “Kate” was already in use here.

  522. Will, there have been numerous studies done demonstrating the success of homeschooling from grade school through college. (Yes. College.) Perhaps you would care to do the research yourself? For someone who keeps stating he deals in facts, you are curiously uniformed about the matter. It’s not like these studies are hard to find. Heck, even Huffington Post quoted one not that long ago.

    You have managed to demonstrate the #1 reason I homeschooled my own children. I didn’t want them to grow up engaging in any sort of academic laziness, such as thinking they could spout opinions about things (and insist those opinions were facts) without having thoroughly researched the topic from as many sides as possible.

    Like it or not, Will, a bunch of unlicensed moms with little more than high speed internet access and a public library card are outperforming your vaunted teachers. Our children are outscoring their public-schooled peers on the very tests the public schools insist measure student achievement and success. Oh, and on the ACT, too. One study shows they are also obtaining higher GPAs in college and have a higher college graduation rate, as well.

    I don’t need to provide links for you for that information above. I shouldn’t have to. Long before you ever opened your mouth (or, hit the keyboard in this case) YOU should have done the research yourself. You should already know all this – know where the studies can be read, who conducted them, when they were done, what conclusions were drawn, and what follow-up studies were conducted *because you should have already read them.* It is simply intellectual dishonesty to claim you deal in facts and then turn around and confess you don’t even have all of them. Here’s something you apparently never learned during your own academic career: Don’t wade into a debate unless you are actually fully prepared. It only makes you look foolish. If you aren’t willing to do the work involved to be completely informed on the topic *before* stating your piece – stay out of the discussion or at least have the honesty to admit you are only offering opinions and nothing more.

  523. mamakate says:

    Well, my comment disappeared. Maybe I will repost later.

  524. A very interesting column. My main reason for being extremely pro-public schools is that I think a well-educated citizenry is vital to a democracy. I do understand that in many districts, the students are not being educated well. And I do understand that parents do not want to gamble a child’s one start in life on a broken system. So I struggle to know what the answer is or, I should say, what the answers are. Would some kind of hybrid work, a combo of homeschooling and public schooling? With the wealth of online resources (I am not saying they are the equal of a good teacher, far from it, but I AM saying that they are the equal of some of the teachers I had), can we enable smaller, more nimble and flexible education options for everyone? Our community school evening science club was taught by a nonteacher, nonparent scientist, but I learned a TON in those sesssions. Let’s open ourselves to all kinds of options rather than automatically dismissing ones just because they’re untried. Let’s look and see what makes homeschooling work, and talk about how those factors might be extended to homes whose parents are not able to teach. I believe strongly in the need to do our best to educate everyone. That’s what I worry about losing as concerned parents turn to homeschooling. I “get it.” I understand why so many do it. I am just looking for ways to recreate the system for all, I guess. As with all discussions about these issues that affect us all, it would be nice if we could lose namecalling and demonizing. Let’s assume we’re all trying to come up with what will best serve children (which will serve our own sef-interests by the way, and that’s not a bad thing).

  525. Thanks for the great article. Well stated. Unfortunately we are not in a position to pull this off (yet) but it sure makes the goal seem more reachable and worthwhile. Kudos

  526. mamakate says:

    Ok. Here goes again.

    There was a comprehensive study done by Dr. L. Rudner of U. of Maryland which compared the standardized test scores of home schooled students with those of their public school peers. The study revealed that homeschooled students out scored public school students by an average of 30 percentile points. The average of home schooled girls was 88th percentile, while the average of home schooled boys was 87th percentile. The average of public school students scores was 50th percentile. Interestingly, the educational level of the home school (teaching) parent did not affect the scores of their home schooled student according to the study. This study is readily available online.

    My guess is that the parents of the students in the study did more than tend to “boo-boo’s” (as Will puts it). It would seem that although they were missing the all important label of “teacher”, they actually managed to teach their kids academic subjects, and teach them well.

    I have just finished my 14th year of home schooling my kids.

    My oldest son is attending college on a FULL tuition scholarship due to his outstanding SAT scores. He was offered full scholarships to 2 universities as well as substantial scholarships from 8 other universities. Substantial as in at least 85% of tuition. He is a member of the Honors college at his university and is also a member of the President’s list. He has a 4.0 GPA. During his home school tenure, he consistently scored in the 97th percentile for the Stanford test.

    My second son (high school) is proficient in 4 computer programming languages. Last year he developed an app for Android that was ranked as 45th in the world for utility apps. He has 2 computer games in development, one of which is soon to be released. He is captain of a championship robotics team that recently broke a record for number of points scored in a single competition match. He has won engineering design awards as well. He also consistently scores in the 95% for the Standford achievement tests.

    My younger 2 children are still in elementary, but they currently read well about their grade level, and are advanced in math.

    So, how did all of this happen? Do I have a computer programming degree? No. Engineering degree? No. Math degree? No.

    I have a BA in English.

    It is really very simple. Those subjects that I felt able to teach…I taught. For the other subjects, I LOOKED FOR AND OBTAINED HELP. In the age of the internet, help is available with the click of a computer mouse
    . The opportunities in today’s homeschooling are truly boundless. Want a Ph.D from Oxford to teach your kid upper level English? Done! Want an engineer to teach your kid physics? Done! All with the help of the wonderful tool known as…the internet. And done for a fraction of the cost of private schooling.

    I understand why some professional educators feel threatened. The professional lock they previously held on education has…evaporated.

    The 18th century loom makers guild felt the same way about the industrial revolution…threatened.

    But progress will continue with or without “correct” labels.

    In the end, it is not the label (“teacher”) that actually matters, but rather the results (educated children).

  527. Jennifer says:

    Since homeschoolers are all tax payers, and part of the public, we all have as much right to public education funds as the families who send their children to public schools. We choose to use the portion of the public education funds that provide experiences for our children that are better taken in groups, such as sports, drama, choir, etc., or special education services. However to ensure that our children receive the best academics possible, we choose to take care of that portion of their education at home, at our own, private expense. That is our right as parents and taxpayers. The experience you claim to have with homeschooled children without explaining in what capacity does not hold up to statistics. Statistically speaking, homeschooled children are better educated, better socialized and better adjusted that public schooled children.

  528. One of those "Long skirts" ;) says:

    Read it and read some of the comments from others who’ve read it. People are so weird. I thought it was an excellent article. My kids are too young for school right now, but I have plans to send my oldest to a private preschool next year, then after that, I will most likely homeschool him. I had been back and forth and my sister (a teacher) recommended I send him for at least a year to a “real school”, so that’s the plan.

  529. Christa says:

    Thank you so much for this article! We have an almost 2 year old and have been thinking about her education. I didn’t want to send her to public school and private school is so expensive. Everyone I talked with about homeschooling had negative things to say about it, but I like all the positives you pointed out. Definitely leaning this way, thank you also for posting any additional resources!!

  530. mamakate says:

    In reality, “Will” and his ilk are nothing more than modern day
    Luddites.

    Luddites were a group of textile workers in the 1800′s who violently opposed the progress of the industrial revolution by breaking into and burning factories.

    Luddites feared progress, feared losing the political power held by their textile guilds, and feared losing their jobs.

    All of which happened by the way. The progress continued, the Industrial Revolution rolled on ahead, the textile guilds lost their political power (and money), and those unwilling to change with the times lost their jobs.

    Will, welcome to the Educational Revolution.

    Perhaps you should study the failed Luddite movement to see what NOT to do when change comes to your profession, as well as what TO do.

    The explosion of online learning + homeschooling is already opening up new, exciting, lucrative positions to creative, unprejudiced teachers willing to learn to teach homeschool students in new ways.

    Teacher created, online schools/platforms are proliferating daily.

    Many teachers, freed from the hand of the NEA, are actually enjoying teaching students who want to learn, in forums that the teachers themselves have created and are benefitting from financially.

    Imagine that! Freedom, creativity, love of learning.

    Definitely something to fear.

    As the old saying goes, “You can’t stop progress.”

  531. Kristina,

    With all due respect, your “knee-jerk reaction” and overly critical tone is so very stereotypical of “education professionals” who simply do not understand the principles and concepts behind homeschool. I understand. If public education is your livelihood, then I understand why you would grasp at straws to be defensive of this failing system.

    On strictly an academic basis, your defense is weak. Paint it however you like…the truth is, public school is little more than a factory. Herds of kids shuffle in and shuffle out, and so very little attention is given to their unique academic needs. It’s impossible for 1 person to *successfully* educate a room of 30 kids, 6 times per day (in an average 6-period highschool day). Far more emphasis and money is placed on the extra-curricular activities, than on education itself. Kids are slipping through the cracks at an astonishing rate. The fact that a high school diploma only requires an 8th grade reading ability is pathetic and utterly sad. The system is a FAILED one, and the general dumbing-down of our entire society/culture is proof.

    But then there is the socialization “myth.” Socialization is the herding of many children into a classroom with others of similar age and immaturity for 7+ hours a day, and hoping that they will emerge more mature. What actually takes place is peer-dependency. They learn from each other (in a general sense) that being less intelligent, less attractive, less athletic, etc., makes one less of a person. They learn to bully or be bullied. They learn name-calling. They learn to exclude or be excluded.

    Peer-dependency pressures children to make decisions based on popular opinions, rather than on right or wrong. It pressures them to fit in with everyone else, be one of the crowd, instead of being the individual they were created to be. This peer-dependency stifles independent and creative thinking.

    Growing up as a homeschooled child myself, socialization was a non-issue for me. In fact, I didn’t ever think about it. For me, and many other homeschoolers, school was about academics….not about friendships and having a social life. That’s not to say I had no friendships or social life. I had plenty of opportunities for socialization through friendships in my neighborhood, church, and my homeschool group, and various extra-curricular activities. The difference was that school was separate area of my life where the distractions of peer socialization/dependency were filtered out, resulting in a more concentrated focus on academics.

    So again…with all due respect (besides your choice to be vulgar in all caps to make a point), the socialization argument is weak.

  532. Lynette says:

    Show us Your links first and we’ll show you ours.

  533. Kristina,

    “3) Our kids are excelling academically as homeschoolers.
    – Of course they are, because there is nothing like a parent who isn’t specialized in child education to make a proper assessment of their kids’ work!”

    LOL! Yep. There really is nothing like a parent who knows her child far better than any school teacher ever will to assess how well that child is truly doing. My daughter only attended a school for one year. That was kindergarten. Her teacher – you know, the only one Will thinks is qualified to teach and you believe has some kind of super specialized training in child education that can only be obtained in college and can’t be learned anywhere else? My daughter fooled that woman for *four months* into thinking she could read, simply by listening to the other children read out loud around her and then repeating what they said. Her totally “untrained” father and I were the ones who figured it out. Her teacher had her in the “accelerated readers” group and she couldn’t read at all.

    When I say my children are excelling academically, it’s because they are. I’d have been completely embarrassed if I’d needed some sort of “specialized child education” courses first just to be able to determine something that is so simple to assess! Both my kids took and easily passed high school exit exams at 13 (yeah – even the one who couldn’t read until she was almost 9), bypassed high school altogether, and went straight on to college. Is that a good enough measurement for you, or would you like a more detailed report of their accomplishments?

  534. Katie D says:

    Kristina,
    1. The purpose of this article purpose is to share THIS FAMILY’S journey into homeschooling and to share THEIR viewpoint. Every time you comment about any category being made “all about” them, you’re just restating the intention of this article. It was written to share their story and possibly inspire hope in those considering homeschooling as an option.
    2. As a former homeschooler (and future Homeschool mom), I can attest to the fact that homeschoolers are NOT denied socialization. I am very well-socialized, and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise. I actually have more “worldly” experience than some of my friends who attended public schools K-12. But perhaps that is just a Canadian thing, with which I would have no experience.
    3. Cursing is NEVER necessary. This is not the proper setting for using trash words. The fact that you are willing to repeat a limited series of phrases, coupled with your use of trashy language, is discouraging to me. I have a hard time respecting anything you have to say if your comments are not going to be respectful.
    In the future, if you see an article on subject with which you do not agree, please consider simply not reading it.

  535. Mamakate,
    You know nothing about me. Again, I find it interesting when people feel the need to attack me personally. I stand by the facts. I standby what I said. Let me know when someone who CALLS himself a surgeon operates on your children and then perhaps we can chat again.

  536. Shannon,
    So by your way of thinking then a pre-med student can operate on your children when they need surgery too; is that correct? I congratulate you on working towards a credential though, at any rate.

  537. Kate/Mama Kate,
    I’m a troll? Yeah, name-calling is always the way to win over your audience. Well, then again, I have been trying to point out the difference between professionals and those who are unprofessional, so to speak.

  538. CJ,
    Facts are facts. I am glad I could assist you in making your opinion at least seem a bit more relevant. Mind you, I also must tell you that I personally believe that the addage “people don’t lie, statistics do” is often true but at least now with my help you can be taken a bit more seriously then many of the other people commenting here. Again, I never said kids could not learn anything from their parents I am simply trying to cut all the nonsense short by stating a fact or two. If people would proofread and find something to support their arguments before posting we would all have to sort through a lot less nonsense here.

  539. By the way, did anyone who was home-schooled notice the error in the above post?

  540. J,
    A doctor is a doctor, a lawyer is a lawyer and a teacher is a teacher. I don’t have to do any homework for that one. It is not my job to prove that a person who is not officially a teacher IS a teacher. Again, you don’t see me attacking anyone personally.
    Talk to me when someone who calls himself a doctor is operating on your children. You can find articles online about “healers” too but that does not make them real doctors, right?

  541. Thanks MamaKate,
    Thanks for acknowledging your personal limitations. Mind you, you have a college degree and even you needed help from professionals. I never said parents were not capable of teaching their kids anything. I simply want people to acknowledge the facts. Calling yourself a doctor, or lawyer or teacher does not make you one.

  542. mamakate says:

    Will –
    I stand by my facts as well – published studies freely available on the internet. I also stand by the success of my own homeschooled children.

    I do not just “call” myself a teacher. I am one. I am a teacher because I have successfully transmitted knowledge and skill to other humans. I have the results
    to prove it- educated children who are excelling in college and in the real world.

    I’ll bet my 16 year old son makes more in a year on his Android app than you do working at whatever it is you do.

    I’d call that educational success in anyone’s book – the ability to use knowledge to gain income.

    As far as your illogical comparison of education to surgery goes,
    why the need to switch topics? We are talking about education, not surgery. You are employing a logical fallacy in your argument. Surgery is not education and education is not surgery. Just as apples are not bananas and bananas are not apples. One thing is not the other. The logical fallacy you are using is called “false comparison”. I’m not impressed with logical fallacies. Maybe your professional “teacher” failed to teach you about logical fallacies. My kids know about them since they take a logic class in our home school.

    You also know next to nothing about me or my homeschooled children or apparently any homeschooled children or you would not make the ridiculous comment that parents can only tend “boo-boo’s” and teach “house rules”.

    Facts are pesky things. The fact is that all kinds of people who do not bear the official title of “teacher” TEACH all kinds of things everyday.

    Business managers teach skills to employees. Farmers teach agricultural techniques to those who work for them. Fast food managers TEACH employees to use equipment etc.

    My own granny TAUGHT me to sew even though she did not have a badge on that said, “certified sewing instructor”.

    Home schooling mommies TEACH their kids to read. The proof that this has occurred is that (eureka!) the kid knows how to read.

    Teaching someone a skill or endowing them with knowledge has no magical link to the word, “teacher”. None.

    Your argument hinges on that one word, a mere label, and is thus illogical and fallacious.

    And for your information, many people who are *not* physicians practice medicine in other countries.

    A sibling of mine went to Med school in another country. His FIRST day of Med school he was assigned to deliver a baby (alone!) with a textbook as his only guide. True story. He delivered the baby just fine. As more nurse practitioners,midwives, and PA’s are given more responsibility in this country, the norm will become that there are others besides doctors who will provide medical care- same as in England, Canada, and most other countries around the world. We want to emulate their systems, I am told.

    Your position is indefensible from any angle.

    The label “teacher” does not magically confer ability nor does the lack of that label indicate that no teaching can occur.

    Again, welcome to the Educational Revolution.

    Progress is a beautiful thing to everyone except a Luddite.

  543. mamakate says:

    Linguistics 101:

    A person who farms is …a farmer.

    A person who drives is …a driver.

    A person who reads is …a reader.

    A person who thinks is …a thinker.

    A person who TEACHES is …A TEACHER.

    That’s the way English works.

  544. I am stunned at the intensity of opinion against homeschooling. One would think that these parents are taking their children out to howl at the moon. Those of you who are against homeschooling, seem to ignore not only the anecdotal evidence presented by many families, but the studies done by several organizations. I did not homeschool my children. I sent them to public school and they did just fine. However, I have known well over 100 families who did choose to home-school their children and while some struggled in adulthood, most turned out to be fine, upstanding members of society. I do not know the reason for the intensity of animosity towards homeschoolers, but I have seen it directed towards many of my friends and I find it demeaning and offensive. Most of the time, it has been from people in public school education who, in my humble opinion, feel threatened because something outside of their control is working quite well.

  545. HEL-LO ANGRY Kristina!!!

    I always wonder why angry people like Kristina bother to respond to these articles. It must be a form of therapy. What on earth happened to you in your childhood, Kristina, that spurs such anger? You offer no stats, but opinion, embedded in outrage. Kristina, if you read my previous post, as well as other postings, you’ll find the research you claim doesn’t exist. Now, of course, we are citing research in the USA, but human behavior is pretty much the same throughout the world, it’s not rocket science. Canada is no different from the U.S. I’m sure you’ll find ample info. on the homeschoolers ranking higher, statistically, than public school kids. I’m not willing to do it for you.

    Well, let’s not go down the road of education in Oh, Canada! I know families that are leaving this “hate-crime’ centered school education system where kids are groomed as sheep in the social arena. Oh Canada, where parents can’t pull their children from forced social teachings. The school should stick to academics, not instilling relativism into fresh minds. That’s a parent’s job.

    Private schools are also under fire and are forced to teach certain non-academic, social teachings that have no benefit to a student’s academic success. Study after study shows that values taught at home, by parents, are far more effective and have greater impact on a child’s academic progress. A school teaching relativism, is only about mind control.

    For these reasons, and the assault from academic elitists, like Kristina, has caused a surge of families taking education into their own hands; especially, in Oh, Canada.

  546. Nancye b. Flasch says:

    Kathleen, I think you are a very smart articulate woman. I too looked in to home schooling in the early 90s for my only child a daughter. Unfortunately I decided against it. If given the chance again, I would opt for home schooling. You are much wiser than I and I think you made a marvelous decision!!!. Keep up the good work.

  547. Hi Will,

    I’m actually beginning to like you. Humor is important. Yes, I did notice your error-I’m glad you called yourself out on it and called in the experts to find it :)

    I have to sign off here. I usually don’t bother with such squabbling back and forth but I felt compelled to cite a few studies for some folks that don’t fully buy into homeschooling.

    Oh, and, Will, I don’t see many facts that you have shared other than semantics. But, than again (or is that “then”?), you seem to enjoy the contention of semantics.

    Thanks for sharing your article, Kathleen, and your journey to your new vocation as a home-educator.

  548. Gail…”My main reason for being extremely pro-public schools is that I think a well-educated citizenry is vital to a democracy.”

    This would apply if public school still taught and celebrated basic American civics/history and ‘western civilization,’ as we used to, which is what Jefferson and the founders had in mind. But there’s lots less of that and more ‘soft’ courses being taught. Not to mention that math requirements seem to be ‘dumbed down’ (according to one frustrated high-school math teacher in my family). I’m giving my boys lots more of this stuff at home because what I’m seeing in the textbooks and assignments they’re bringing home from public school just doesn’t cut it.

  549. Will…”Calling yourself a doctor, or lawyer or teacher does not make you one.”

    I come from a family of teachers who, based on observation of their peers, would add that having a teaching certificate doesn’t make one a teacher either. One went so far to say that the courses required to gain the certificate were a waste of time (and this from a major university).

    Interestingly, I married into a family of doctors. To conflate the requirements of the teaching profession to the medical profession an exercise in misunderstanding of the two spheres.

  550. I decided to homeschool my 2 younger boys of 5 after a big move. They were having a hard time adjusting as tweens and middle schoolers. It was the best move we ever made. Their confidence in themselves grew, I was able to spend quality time with them and socially they came out of their shells. In addition, they felt that they were more challenged because they could go at their own pace rather that wait for the rest of the class to catch up. They were always bored in the classroom. They had more time to do the things they enjoyed and challenge themselves.
    Because of sports and me not being sure I could handle to riggers of high school academics, they both re-entered public school their freshman year. Both of them have above a 4.0 taking all Honors classes. I wouldn’t change a thing, except that I wish I would have considered home schooling all 5 when they started Grade School.

  551. Thanks for the correction Will. Parents are not perfect people, but they’re not stupid either to not tell if the school system is failing them already. We’re willing to continually learn and grow.
    We have been to the other side, and before our decision to go into homeschooling we took a good look into the pros and cons of it as well. We wouldn’t have made the sacrifices we have to make if it wasn’t worth it.
    Have you been, and truly explored & investigated our side? I doubt. You judge something without really knowing the facts only because you decide that you are against it. For someone who demands about facts, you seemed pretty biased about the way you gather your facts. Shall I entrust my kids to a so-called teacher like you? It’s not that I don’t think highly of teachers, it’s as noble as my profession, but parents as teachers are not any less (which you’re what you’ve been driving at). I feel sorry for your fixed mindset. You should try reading “Mindset” by Carol Dweck, because you’re actually right when you said that success is more than the academics (and a fixed mindset is not it). Life is more than the academics! You’ll find out that families decide to homeschool for reasons that are more than the academics.
    Anyways. Thank you for your inputs, it only strengthened my convictions about homeschooling, how it’s more beneficial than harmful to our kids.
    Kuddos to all the parents who’s only intention is to give the very best to their kids!

  552. mamakate,

    Indeed, a person with a degree in Education is a teacher… is a teacher, but that’s not everything about it. So will you say that a doctor is not a teacher because she is not a “teacher”?
    We can look at it the other way around: None of my teachers in Med school had an Education degree because they are doctors! I’d be very scared if I finished med school because I was taught by a “teacher”, and not a doctor! Oh and since I had doctors for teachers, did that turn me into a patient, and not a student? Wow, this is all very confusing!!! (Got the point?)

  553. I do not hold a college degree, nor am I a parent. I do not have “legitimate” sources for my opinions on the topic, but rather personal experience. I went to several public and private schools until high school, at which point my parents decided to give homeschooling a try. For me, in my own life, it worked quite well. I struggled in “normal” school because of a rather fun combination of being ahead of most of the other students in standard classrooms, and ADD, which made it difficult to focus and stay on task in the “gifted” classes. Add to that the social anxiety that began cropping up in junior high, and making it through a day at school became nearly impossible for me. Homeschooling gave me the opportunity to get my classes done at my own pace (often faster than I would have in public school) and at the same time, I had the one-on-one attention of my mother, who knew me well enough to know when my mind would wander and how to bring it back.

    I have the utmost respect for educators in K12 schools, but what my needs required was outside of their abilities within the confines of their job. It was not their job to hold my hand through my education, not to the extent that I required at the time. Even if they had wanted to, it wasn’t possible because of the other 31 students in their charge. I needed a more individualized education, and homeschooling provided just that.

    My mother was already somewhat a “stay at home mom”, though she worked 60 hours a week in our family’s day care, so she was already in place to give me the kind of attention I needed. My program was done through a local Baptist school, where I was more than welcome to participate in events and sports as I saw fit. With the anxiety, I didn’t do much, and as a homeschooler, it wasn’t *required* of me to participate, but it was nice to know it was there.

    I took standardized tests just like I would have in a public school, and consistently scored higher than my former fellow students. I assume that a similar across-the-board testing system is what the author here is talking about when she says that their children are excelling academically.

    It’s true, homeschool isn’t for everyone. Neither is public school, private school, religious school, or boarding school. It all depends on your child and their needs. But if you have an intelligent child who is still consistently receiving low marks in school like I was, perhaps it’s not a bad alternative.

  554. I am very glad you have decided to homeschool and you like it! I feel insulted, however, at the way you have categorized us all, even though the rest of us were doing it years before you decided it was a good idea! I’ve been homeschooling for many, many years and have had a lot of success. Lots of tough times too. “I’m new to homeschooling” articles would be so much better if the author didn’t feel the need to cut down the millions of people who, over the years, made it possible for you to make the same decision.

  555. K Josephs says:

    I was homeschooled before I went to college. I obtained a civil engineering degree and worked in the field for two years before deciding it wasn’t for me. Went back to school and got certified as a science teacher and have been working in the public school system for seven years. I homeschool my daughters. Everything Katrina said is wrong, especially about socialization. Socialization between public school students is mostly crap and unhealthy.

  556. K Josephs says:

    How ironic that Katrina exhibits poor social skills when arguing!

  557. Hi there to every one, the contents existing at this web page are genuinely amazing for people knowledge, well, keep
    up the good work fellows.

  558. Loved reading your 18 Reasons. Takes me back to 1992 when I started to home school. Hard to believe both sons are already in their 20s! Those precious times of sharing life together have transformed to more mature discussions but definitely still sharing life together! If I could do it over would I do it again? In a heartbeat. The socialization people speak about in schools may be of some benefit, but it’s not particularly healthy and it’s often downright painful. Hands-on parenting, including home education, provides a lifetime of rewards. Go for it!

  559. I will be homeschooling my son when his time comes. He will be three in two weeks, and is already able to count well into the 20′s, read and write small words, and draw/recognize 8 shapes. He knows all of his colors (we practice those daily, its an activity he loves) and he could count all items all day. I also worried about socialization, but needn’t have. I have a great number of friends who homeschool their kids. Their children have weekly field trips, homeschool co-ops, take extracurricular classes, go to the local gyms for swim classes, sports, and activities. My son is only 2, yet already he is immersed in socialization. Story time two days a week, park outings at least once a week, any age appropriate gatherings and activities that the 4 “local” libraries offer, many activities that our 3 “local” museums offer, ect. I attended public school, and did well in elementary school. Then middle school began, and it was a social jungle. There were cliques out the kazoo, either you were in a top one or you were no one. I was lucky to already have the social skills to fit into a few, but didn’t actually “like” anyone in them. I excelled academically, but the honors and AP classes were not a challenge. the “teachers” would give outlines, go over notes, we would read the chapters independently as homework, take a test, and that was “teaching”. It was a ridiculous amount of repetition, hand holding and supposedly “gifted” students goofing off and barely skimming by. I made 97′s and 99′s on nearly everything, and didn’t have to try at anything. I would read the textbook the first week of school then be done with real “work” for the year, knowing the answers would be handed to us, and that the tests wouldn’t be challenging, but word for word verbatim from the text book. No creativity, no looking outside the box, no outside sources, no discussion. I was bored out of my mind. I spend 90% of my time in the classroom reading library books (which is not encouraged during class. You are to sit quietly, ask few questions, if any, look to the front and pretend to pay attention as the teacher goes over what we JUST READ word for word for the second or third time that week) I would get “caught” reading Shakespeare in English, and the teacher would say “that is not what we are going over, so it does not pertain to this class. Put it away or go to the office”. Shakespeare, not pertaining to English class in 9th grade. I felt stifled. Growth was not encouraged.. you followed the class at a certain pace and you DID NOT read ahead. I was a junior marshal and graduated with honors with a 4.675 (this was after I slept through the one semester I tolerated senior year). I LOVED to learn, and devour books still. Yet I chose to graduate early because the AP classes were a joke, I wasn’t learning anything, yet I was top of my class. Public school strangled me, and tore from me my desire to learn and research and discover. This was the case with quite a few of the people I graduated with. I will not put my son in that place. He is ALREADY ahead, and the local public school DO NOT allow kids eager to learn to take charge of their hunger for knowledge. They expect them to “fit in” and go as slowly as the children who couldn’t care less about school, or the future. Homeschooling is not for everyone. But it IS working. The public school system is failing students, the facts and the evidence are right in front of us. Teachers pushing kids along just so they will graduate (kids in BELOW standard classes, barely passing, and graduating without being able to string words together into a coherent sentence). THIS IS NOT EDUCATION. The dumbing down of this country is NOT going to stop unless parents take charge. My parents were active in my schooling, and that of my brothers. I graduated bored out of my mind, burnt out, and deflated. My brother graduated by the skin of his teeth, and only because the teachers didn’t want to see him back again. The public school system may have pushed us forward into the world, but it was STILL a failure

  560. We also homeschool our three Children for education, not religious reasons. My Son starts University this fall, full time, has a 32/36 ACT score and will have done two university courses as a dual enrolled HS Senior by the end of this term. 4.0 performance. One of his Sisters will complete HS education at home and the other will likely try a local Senior High School. All kids have different needs and ideas. I would like to note that in our experience in this part of Michigan, the access to lots of other regular school events and activities does not occur or comes with requirements to take some classes at those brick schools. So how you get to homeschool is extremely different from state to state in the USA. The most important thing Families need to consider is the approach to high school. The Rochester MI public school system will not give your kid a diploma unless they start from grade 9. So if your child is a grade 11 student and wants to try HS out, they cannot start at grade 11, even if they have CAT scores that rate them College level in performance. If your Kid came from another country, they would test them to grade level and let them start where they perform. So our school system here is designed , maybe unintentionally, to be unfair to homeschoolers re-entering a brick school. We still pay taxed though. Good luck everyone. Don’t count on having any support from your local public school system. For those who want to be just secular home schoolers, you will also find that there are virtually no non-religious home school organizations. If you have one locally, you are lucky. While being Christian raised ourselves, we do not like using the Bible as a science book. Also, I am a Biomedical Scientist and University Professor. Be prepared as well, when one child has difficulty with reading, and another with math, and you will have to sometime use different curriculum to help each of your Kids get over those humps. Other than that, nice article. Many of us homeschool because of bad experiences we had in our public school system first with our older Children. Of course, the effort is mostly my Wife’s, and it is stressful at times. But, so far, it is working. Very proud of my Son and Daughters as they progress.

  561. Robyn Miller says:

    Wow!! This exchange is really amazing. The original article by Kathleen is well written and straight from the heart. As a former government school teacher who removed her children from the government school monopoly almost 20 years ago, I can confirm everything Kathleen wrote.
    I am wondering about Kristina, however. Such vitrolic language about freedom confirms what seven generations (since 1850′s) of the government school monopoly has wrought.

  562. Hi, I love your article!! What curriculum are you using, if you don’t mind me asking?

  563. shadowspring says:

    I home schooled all the way through high school and am very happy with my children’s education. OTOH, more time with the diaspora of teens that one finds in public school would have been a good thing. It’s good for teenagers to be introduced to a wide spectrum of humanity, and no matter how inclusive your home school support group (and most are the opposite, in practice if not in open agenda, though many are openly exclusive) teens need more. Sure it may make parenting easier if your kids don’t question your decisions or fight you on fashion, but you are doing yourselves a disservice ( maybe you should change your mind, or maybe when you share the reasons behind your opinion your teen will be persuaded your judgement is best) when you eliminate the challenge of being around other people.

    Home schooling can be done well, but it takes a person willing to buck the home school lobby agenda to get it done.

  564. What an odd expression coming from a doctor: “overachieving academic nerds without social skills”. To get into a good med school or law school in the U.S., you have to be an academic overachiever. I’m assuming the author knows and has lived this reality.

  565. 100% agree with Kristina.

  566. mamakate says:

    Jade -

    I’m not sure I understand your post directed at me. I am a homeschooling mom and have been for 14 years now. My point to “Will” was that a person does not need an official label to be a teacher. Anyone who teaches is by definition a teacher. I think you must have misunderstood my point. “Will” kept insisting that parents cannot be teachers unless they hold teacher certification. I disagree with “Will”. I think the results (educated children) are more important than the label “teacher”. That was the point of my post.

  567. mamakate says:

    Jade -

    I would agree that the doctors who teach in medical school are fully capable of teaching. Same for lawyers who teach in law school etc.
    I am really puzzled by your post to me. Did you mean to address someone else? If you go back and read all my posts, I think it will be clear that I believe anyone who successfully transmits knowledge or skill to another human can rightfully bear the name “teacher” whether their diploma is stamped “teacher” or not.

  568. I really appreciated your sharing all of this. As a homeschool graduate with two small children, I fully intend to homeschool them when the time comes. However, I don’t know anyone locally who is currently homeschooling, and that can be unsettling at times. It sounds like you and your husband are doing a wonderful job!

  569. At HomeschoolFacts.com, we strive to inform and encourage families seeking to homeschool as well as veteran homeschool families. We recently came across your article entitled “18 Reasons Why Doctors and Lawyers Homeschool Their Children” and would like permission to post it on our blog. We would recognize your authorship and acknowledge the original source. Thank you for considering our request!

  570. http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GetAlongHome/~3/6V7o8gJCo6g/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email

    I found an article in response to your post. I thought you might like to read it. It is a thought provoking article about homeschoolers and stereotypes.

  571. I have been homeschooling for the past two years. This year got hectic and overwhelming because I have four kids now. They are of ages 8,7,3,1. I am curious to know which homeschooling program/curriculum you used. Before I would try to make my own, but now I think I need the help and some structure. I’d like to get your suggestion. Thanks!

  572. Amy Zepp says:

    Sounds like this has worked great for your family. We have a different story. I’m an MSW married to an MD down in lower Missouri. We homeschool, or I should say, I homeschool: My husband works most of the time. Thanks to the outrageous cost of medical school (joined National Health Services Corps), we live in a rural underserved area. The poor rural public school is run by an authoritarian with a personality disorder, and the parents are too cowed by her to complain. I’ve learned that rural poor parents are too afraid to say much about what a school does wrong because they fear retribution on their child. So the schools don’t improve. But also, in fairness to those parents, I have seen situations where the parents’ fears were realized after they did complain.

    Our kids each have 6 lessons week, but lessons aren’t much help for socializing; they’re stuck working on the sport/music lesson for that hour and then it’s over, home again. Even with playdates that I exhaustingly arrange on weekends with their few remaining friends from public school (always at our house, of course, lest other parents do some work), it’s not enough. Our kids are lonely and isolated, and increasingly, we’re depressed. The kids and I are together all the time, and that’s not good for us. They scream at each other so much that our dogs want to go outside. The other homeschoolers are religious conservatives, but we are not, and whereas I *can* get through a playdate without talking politics or religion, they cannot. I also decided I didn’t want to keep hearing about what objects and methods they use to spank their kids (switches, belts, pvc pipes … other families have their own special ways of motivating their homeschoolers!).

    My point for anyone considering homeschooling is that homeschool is only as healthy as the fit you have in the community and the resources in that community. I’m a member of some online groups, and I see other homeschool parents who’ve tried to make a bad place for their family better by dropping out of the public school system. I’m not saying anyone should stay in the system, only that one needs to think about moving if the entire community is not one where there’s much homeschooling resources. For example, your public school allows a lot more participation than ours did for homeschooler. And, if you have animal control in a community, you don’t have to bring your kids to pick up stray dogs when the weather warms up for dog dumping and puppy dumping season. This place is like 75 years ago in terms of how they treat animals.

    Another point is that most anyone can do it all in the younger grades pretty easily and in just a couple of hours a day, if even that much time for formal learning. Probably more than three-quarters of public school until 4th grade is babysitting. But wait until you’re relearning simplifying square roots and doing complex math word problems with an older child — and trying to get all the paid work and housework done too. You may wish you had a teacher to outsource that to, but then, your area will have tutors available.

    Just thought I’d throw out my own miserable experiences. I’ve really given this rural area we live in a chance, but as I told my husband, there’s a reason they have to pay people like us to come here. Be grateful for the homeschool groups and resources you have up there!

  573. I can’t tell you how encouraging this post is. My wife and I have decided to homeschool but being on the cusp of starting, some questions have come to the surface… Many of which you brought up in this article. Now that your secret is out, I’m sure it will be a tremendous help for others who are “in the closet” about homeschooling. Thank you!

  574. Keisha,
    Phone your state homeschool association for a referral in your area. Put your state and homeschool in a search engine. You can also go to http://www.hslda.org and search by state and county. You may also be able to find a group at http://www.homeschoolfacts.com. You probably have another homeschool family right in your neighborhood. Another hint: go to your local library or park in the middle of the day and see who is there with older kids. Often the librarian will introduce you to other homeschoolers. Good luck. You need good associatons. Find out if there is a homeschool conference in your area this summer. Don’t be put off if it is a different religious bent. Believe it or not, athiests go to Christian conventions and Christians go to secular conventions. It’s a chance to meet others, maybe even in your area.

  575. I am a homeschooling mom of three and think you put together a good list of reasons to homeschool. I could have done without your need to categorize (and put down) other homeschoolers in the beginning of your article. In my opinion the number one qualification a homeschooling parent requires is a strong desire to learn (coupled with *humility*). I too have advanced degrees and it hasn’t occurred to me to set myself apart from any other homeschoolers because of this. We are a diverse community; sometimes it just isn’t possible to put people in neat little boxes. I just hope that in your journey you have come to realize this.

  576. L Girton says:

    It’s a shame that you label so many veteran homeschooling parents as “right wing kooks” but the fact is that we “right wing kooks” (who do NOT always wear long dresses and never have, by the way) figured out that the Biblical mandate to teach our children directly is the BEST way to teach our children. You were just slow at catching on.

  577. Children learn more effectively from highly educated loving parents than underpaid institutional drones. Mind blowing!

  578. Thank you for this article!
    However, I felt sad when I read many of the comments. Many of the views have wishful or skewed opinions about what is actually occurring in the school system. My speciality is in mental health. I don’t believe our school systems consider the mental health of children and teenagers enough. Perhaps there are anti-bullying programs and presentations but that has nothing to do with developing good mental health. Mental health is something that will extend into the individuals life and will dictate how much they can ever achieve in life beyond academically. Therefore, to say that all (and I emphasize now that children come in all personalities and sensitivities) children must go through the system of public or private school is to ignore the debilitating effects of mental illness.

  579. This is wonderful! I shared it with several people. Thank you so much!

  580. I’m so glad someone posted this article on Facebook. I’m not a parent and likely a few years away from it and I’m in my mid 30′s. And it’s probably because of my age that I’ve had time to seriously consider how I would like us to raise and educate our children (should we have them). I don’t agree with much of how children are raised in this country, and not to pigeon-hole there being “one way”, but I find myself aghast at how so many people I know have become slaves to their children’s upbringing and leave themselves with nothing. This article not only points out the benefits of a richer educational experience for the kids, but the added bonus of parents still feeling like individuals with desires and dreams. Also, that the family gets to do stuff together, not just live in the same house and eat dinner together. I will seriously consider this as my kids educational future and keep your article saved for future reference. Thank you!

  581. Hey, Great article. Such a funny topic, because yes, I am a doctor, and my husband a lawyer and we homeschool. I agree wholeheartedly on all your points. We also never thought this is what we would be doing, but it just makes so much more sense, I love being a GP, but I love being a mother even better. And I hate how my time with them (when they were at school) was monopolised by homework (when they had already spent 6 hrs in school, chauffering and getting them to do all the jobs they didn’t get time to do when they dashed off to school.

  582. At 62, I am retiring from homeschooling my sons. It was the most fabulous career and now my youngest is going off to college this September. All of my sons were National Merit Finalists and received full ride scholarships. Most importantly, we had fun and they turned out to be wonderful young men!

  583. Carolyn, thank you for the tips! I remember that my parents were members of the hslda when I was growing up, but hadn’t thought to check their site.

    My oldest child is turning 4 this September. She is extremely intelligent and advanced for her age, and I’m already getting pressure to put her into pre-k. We are doing preschool at home now, but that is pretty unstructured and she enjoys it so much that it’s more like play than school to her. :) Since my children are so young, I doubt the homeschool groups would really want me to try to join in quite yet, but I want to get involved in one as soon as she is old enough. I’d rather be prepared ahead of time that to be scrambling desperately after I’m already started up alone and over my head.

    For anyone looking into homeschooling, please do not isolate your children from society. Keep them involved in something and socialize them well. Most homechoolers do a wonderful job, each in their own unique ways, but some go to such extremes that their children are either unable to function socially or are not competitive academically.

    As I said previously, I’m a homeschool graduate. I loved being homeschooled. My brother and I both graduated at age 15, scoring in the top 1% of all graduating seniors on the SATs. The most well-rounded homeschooling experiences involve a network of other homeschoolers, either formal or informal.

  584. Amy Zepp, having lived in Missouri as a homeschooler for several years, I have a good idea of the types of homeschoolers (and others) you’ve probably interacted with. I’m a Christian, but some of them can be very judgemental and have difficulty relating to anyone with a different world view. I hope things get easier for you. Maybe you should do something off-beat, like go on facebook looking for other ladies in your area with similar interests to your own. Homeschooling or not, friendships help. :)

  585. I was an accountant by education and practice but always knew that I would be a stay home mom. I guess you are just realizing what many of us religious kooks already knew about the benefits of homeschooling. Too bad your credibility only stems from your status. You would benefit the homeschooling community by not being derogatory to those who choose to dress modestly and those who have strong religious beliefs. After all, you yourself used a link from a Jewish study. Watch out, you may be labelled kooky.

  586. I have been homeschooling our (now 6) children for 10 years. My husband is a physician and I have to say that most of the things you pointed out are so true. This year we started sending the oldest 3 to Catholic school, where they are doing well, I’m teaching the little boys 1st and 3rd grade, and the 4 year old sits back and watches. As a prior military family who has moved an awful lot over the past 15 years, many states do not allow homeschoolers to participate in any school activities, so if you live in one of those more fair states then good for you, but know that this isn’t usually an option.

    Teaching isn’t rocket science and most professionals are more than qualified to teach their own children. Even complex mathematics can be learned along with the child or a tutor can be hired. If the kid is that smart they can take community college class for credit!

    Finding other homeschoolers is sometimes a matter of chance, they aren’t exactly waving signs on the side of the road, I have discovered 3 homeschooling families in the past few weeks in our tiny town of 3,000, I thought we were completely alone. The librarian is a good resource, the staff at the doctor’s office might steer you toward another family, the internet is helpful to find and befriend like minded homeschoolers if all local options are exhausted.

    Also, some of us fit into more than one of your “boxes,” for example, we are both well educated, but we also live on a farm, are religious, and don’t have TV. Homeschoolers tend to be a little more well rounded (rather than saying we are odd) than the average suburban public schooling family. That isn’t a bad thing, most accomplished people are not easily pigeonholed.

  587. Beasho Free says:

    Why didn’t anyone state: “Home schooling is a better education than either public or private!”

    If this is true it needs to be aired. The amount of resources (e.g. time and money) wasted on administration, building maintenance, pensions, politics . . . means that the teachers better be 10X better than a parent at teaching, aka comparative advantage.

    Otherwise Khan Academy has brought the QUALITY of on-line education to MUCH better than average and the COST to ZERO.

    This is called a tipping point and is the pin about to burst the bubble of education costs that have risen at 8% For Ever. This is what has led to $250K college expenses, basketball coaches making $1M (after getting fired), working for gym managers (athletics directors) making more.

  588. Phil Colquitt says:

    Good article about homeschooling…but it’s sad that you are afraid of people labeling you a “right winged kook”! Right wingers would not label you as such, the only people who would are extreme left wingers. Why have you (and so many others in this country) become so afraid of what left wingers think and label people as? There was a time that most in this country stood up for what “they” believed in, and didn’t care what others “labeled” them as. Thankfully, the State and community I live in are still filled with those people. We believe in our “right wing” beliefs, ie. gun carrying, God fearing, hard working, traditional family value following, etc. and really don’t give a darn about what other “wako” left wingers think about that, nor whether or not our beliefs are “politically correct”! I’m sorry that such a seemingly educated woman as you are worried about this! Stand up for “your” beliefs Doctor, and quit worrying about what others think! And I hope you are teaching your home schooled children the same!

  589. David Braun says:

    She’s a bit paranoid, repeatedly expressing her fear that she would be lumped together with those *other* people who homeschool. She doesn’t want her colleagues to apply to her the negative and false stereotype she herself applied to homeschoolers before *she* became one. She writes: “The face of homeschooling is changing. We are not all religious extremists….” Of course, it *must* have changed, since *she* is now a homeschooler. It couldn’t be that her prior belief was false.

    The whole article is her strained attempt to prove she’s not one of *those* people. She goes to great pains to give 18 reasons for home schooling that wouldn’t get her labeled a “religious nut” like those who suffered slings and arrows to clear the path for her. The fact is, all of the reasons she gives were reasons families had for homeshooling long before she ever became a part of the scene and “changed” everything, as she deludes herself to believe, and urges her associates to believe.

    The news she should know is that for at least the last decade (before any “change” she could be referring to), colleges have been compelled by results to actively seek out home schoolers, who, as a group, are better prepared and better “socialized” than their non-homeschool peers.

    It’s fine she homeschools, but she should realize she hasn’t made homeschool a good thing. It’s was a good thing already.