Saturday, September 02, 2006

Rod Dreher on Homeschooling

Rod Dreher, author of the popular book Crunchy Cons, wrote a post on getting started in homeschooling. He no longer homeschools his oldest son and offered this advice to parents considering homeschooling,

For reasons not worth going into here, homeschooling didn't work for him. He's in a classical Christian school this year, and he's really thriving on the discipline in the classroom -- we'd had so much trouble getting him to focus on his work at home. It was disappointing to us to have to give up on homeschooling with Matthew, but Julie and I have always tried to keep squarely in front of us that we must do what's best for our individual children, and not impose our own ideological convictions about education on them. With luck, Lucas, our No. 2 son, will thrive in homeschooling. But if not, we'll deal with that when the time comes. The point I want to make about this is that not all kids are cut out for homeschooling, so you should prepare yourself for that possibility.
I'm glad the Drehers found a school that works for their son and I'm not critical of the decision. That's their choice and not what I wish to focus on here. It's his last point that I'm curious about. His wife in the same post added,
I think it's important to wait and see what kind of kid you have. I would have saved all of us a lot of frustration if I'd done that instead of deciding the way things were going to be when Matthew was really little.
I never prepared myself for the possibility that homeschooling wouldn't work out for any of my children nor is it advice that I've ever given anyone else. We made the decision to homeschool long before we even had children.We didn't view homeschooling as a method to be tried out on different children based on their temperment, but a decision based on why we educate our children. For the same reason that I wouldn't choose different churches for my children, I wouldn't choose a different educational venue for my children. I may adopt various approaches to teaching each of my children, but the idea that we would give up homeschooling for one but not all never entered my mind. But maybe that's just "black and white" Spunky.

So I'm curious what others think about Mr. Dreher's advice. Should we be thinking about the possibility that not all children in the same family are cut out for homeschooling right from the start? Is this something you prepared yourself for? If so, how do you prepare for it without it affecting some or all of the children? Is this advice you would give to parents starting their homeschool journey? I've noticed that families that put one child in school, but leave the rest home eventually put all their children in school.

Thoughts?

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