I can't abide homeschool bashing by people who don't know what homeschooling is really about. I found such a thread on the new government site called "MySchool". I had to reply. (Here's the link.)
I'll put my words here though, in case they go missing...
This seems to be a bit of an anti-homeschooling and a school bashing thread.
Firstly, I homeschool my 5 children. I could never imagine sending them to school. Why? Because school has never and doesn't seem to have the ability to address the needs of all students. People forget that homeschooling existed BEFORE school was institutionalised, and it is very natural and a reasonable choice for a parent to make. Yes, orginally I had my daughter and son in school but I regret it. They picked up bad habits, and my daughter was bullied, 6 years on still not fully recovered. But I digress...
Natural learning/unschooling is the term you are looking for Alana. This is a valid path, but one of many paths a parent who homeschols can make. There is also school at home, Charlotte Mason, Steiner, Ready to go Curriculum, Internet based, religious based and eclectic are all choices one can make.
Obviously, you are all uninformed and making assumptions about something you really know nothing about. Alana, two homeschooled children do not represent the homeschooling community as a whole. Marion, sadly you have a picture of homeschooling that is lacking. Yes, the education system is failing, it is doomed to fail as is, or make children into mindless workers who don't think outside the box.
Don't take my word for it read celebrated ex-teacher from New York John Gatto Taylor's criticism of modern schools
Marion I'd also like to ask why you didn't tap into the huge homeschool communty of Qld? I've lived there and I know there are many homeschool activities and communities of varying styles all around, easy to google, find on Yahoo groups. Sure its lonely if you don't socialise, but the people are there if you want to meet them. When I was up there were two informal play groups meeting in North Brisbane, one of which met in various parks weekly and had a lending library and are so willing to help newcomers, very lovely community. Of course other groups run excersions and science classes and all kinds of interesting activities. Theres a Sunshine group, a christian group, Briby Island group that all meet and support one another, and that's just off the top of my head.
Of homeschooling children I know they are beautiful and individual people, they aren't socially backward, some like to be introvert but that's natural in any setting, school or no. Homeschoolers tend to be more able to associate without barriers of sex and age, they are tolerant. School settings are the ones which I have found to be the unnatural setting, putting children same age together they tend to have some rather nasty interactions (rarely this happens with home educated children). Teenagers don't have the same peer pressure to conform or consume or go through fads.
And Glenn, I'm not bashing the people involved in schooling, its just the system, the teachers themselves have been 'set up' to perform their roles and have been educated to think in one way. Teachers do seem to be critical of homeschooling (it is their means of income). I know a principal very well and he is open minded enough to 'wait and see' how my children turn out.
I think the government/education system could do better by opening their minds. I rather like the model (I can't take credit, but I can't recall it's name) where its an open education system, where the teacher has a more facilitator role, its age open I believe, ie adults and children can learn in the same class. It onus is on the self, you go research and work on individual or group projects and learn what you need as you complete it, the teacher is a sounding board and various discussions are the means of communicating ideas. There is a communal learning space that is rather like a library with computers and there are spaces set aside for various activites cooking, science, technical learning like sewing/metal work/wood work etc. No one is forced to learn anything but encouraged to discover, naturally learn and to interact with others as they learn. I believe some split off and learn a trade (which they presumably have experience with already) at age 12, where they take an apprentiship.) Not unlike how it used to be in the past. The theory is one can base their natural predispositions into become really really good at one thing, something they can have real pleasure in and not worry too much about a shallow attempt to learn everything and come away not really being great at anything.