Last Saturday I had a very important conversation with Sarah. We have decided that when we start our family, we will homeschool our children. Sarah was homeschooled and is extremely well-read and intelligent. I am a product of an excellent public school district in Texas and a son of a public school teacher in that district.
The decision was not without some compromises, and I emphasized that I want to leave the door open for any or all of our children to enter the public school system at certain points, particularly when they enter high school.
Unlike many Christian homeschooling families, we aren't choosing homeschooling for religious reasons. From my point of view, it is more about quality of education. Yes, Hurst-Euless-Bedford provides a wonderful education for free. However, we will also be providing a wonderful education. I happen to be the best math teacher I know, actually. (I'm slowly bringing Sarah around to my viewpoint that it's important for the kids to get more math than she did.) This choice will allow our children to maintain closer contact with their parents, something we both prize highly.
I'd like to solicit opinions. I hear a lot of geeks discount formal education at the college level, and I often hear them complain about the feeling that public school pressed them into a mold, stifled individuality, interfered with true learning, and many of the other arguments I've heard (numerous times now) from the various homeschooling websites. Anyone out there wish they were homeschooled? Anyone out there actually homeschooled?
Coming from a public school background, I'd like to hear if anyone has a word to say in support of school. The school system gets routinely trashed in public discourse, and I've been sick of it for years. While I'm sure there's plenty of problems, my parents raised me in an excellent district that provides a top-notch education. One of the things that has hampered our discussion on this issue has been the fact that while all the homeschoolers tend to have lots of rationale and justification out on the internet, there is no similar information available on the public school side to convince a family not to homeschool. It seems people just don't feel the need to justify a compulsory government monopoly.
Here's an article some of you might be interested in about America before and after compulsory education. Something you might not be aware of is that America had staggeringly high literacy rates before compulsory education. Yes, homeschooling appeals to my libertarian nature.
While I advocated public school for our children, I also believe homeschooling is an excellent choice (shoot, being an involved parent is the main excellent choice, no matter what kind of formal education the kids get), and I am happy with our choice. I'm looking forward to the things I believe I can teach more uniquely and personally for our children than the impersonal school system: reading, mathematics (Sarah cringes when I talk about teaching them Calculus