All Children Home School: A True Story

English: Don't waste your time and do your hom...

Don’t waste your time and do your homework!

Once, a dear friend was explaining to me how the State school experience was better, and how her children were receiving the best education available.

Have you ever noticed how State institution school parents think they must educate us to this “fact” and we must bear it patiently, but the reverse seldom holds?

She was striving to explain her children’s bright future and perhaps she could not hear herself speaking. As I listened and tried to grasp what she was saying, I was astonished at the obvious conclusion.

Maybe it would be instructive to share it all with you.

Granted, her children were in the best State schools available in our small city. They were a wealthy family and had moved into a wealthy neighborhood for the expressed purpose of better State schooling.

That this fact was possible should be enough, alone, to terminate State education.

She wanted her children to be lawyers and she wanted them in the best colleges in the nation. I will also grant that she was a very dedicated mom, committed to performing whatever activity (except home schooling) necessary to raising up successful children.

She was misinformed, though, and not thinking about the entire scope of the picture.

To prove to me her commitment, she began itemizing the duties she undertook for her children’s education. This was a typical day:

  1. She drove her children to school, herself, to prevent teen driving troubles in their lives. They did not enjoy being the only ones arriving with Mom, but she was dedicated enough to insist.
  2. She was careful to deposit them at the school early, to give them free time to form friendships of their own choosing, so they would not be relying on whomever might sit nearby in class. This also allowed time for composing themselves before facing the day.
  3. She signed them up for sports, although they were not athletic, to help them overcome the sitting they must do daily, and to improve their chances for scholarships.
  4. After school, they had sport obligations, of course. She went to every practice and every game, with a video camera. She recorded every pertinent happening at these gatherings.
  5. During the day, she edited these videos, juxtaposing the skills of opponents and her child and his teammates, to show where more effort would benefit.
  6. After school, her children had oceans of homework. She was strict about it, allowing no play until all work was done. Since supper was prepared in advance, she helped with their homework, explaining things they could not get the teachers to answer adequately. She was their cheerleader, greeting them with encouraging one-liners, such as, “You can do it; one more hour ought to get it!”
  7. She showed them the sports videos, explaining her thinking in detail, so they could discuss how more effort would cause more success. Again, she cheered them on. (I do not know where their coach was.)
  8. Since homework reigned supreme in their home, except for a break for supper, the children labored until midnight or beyond, at which point Mom simply conked out. (She did ask me if I thought she was wrong to require them to continue until two a.m. or later, when she, herself, was unable to do so.)
  9. The next day they began again.

It was true that her children were doing well in school. They did not have as many friends as they might have liked, but they were receiving high grades in difficult subjects, and they were often on the first sports teams.

They were tired . . .

More tomorrow.

______________________

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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7 thoughts on “All Children Home School: A True Story

  1. Ruth Bailey says:

    As a former homeschooler, I find this post raises these concerns:
    – These children may be getting a good education, but are they are losing their childhood?
    – If the mother is doing all these things for her children, when are they going to learn to do things for themselves?
    – Character is more important than academics. Facts can be learned later, but character is hard to change.
    – Is this mother aware of what she is really teaching her children?

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Quite astute! Thanks for this extremely relevant comment, Ruth!
      These questions are exactly the ones I will be addressing in the near future. 🙂
      And, no, of course this mom had no idea. She firmly believed the “best” would be the best. It was a money thing for her, and a sort of inherited fear of not measuring up to society and so, being ostracized and forced out of a wealthy future. But it was a firm belief: She hardly slept during the school year, keeping up with the children’s needs as she — sometimes accurately — perceived them.

  2. Victoria T. says:

    I’m interested to read more tomorrow. I have a feeling where you are taking this, and I have a feeling I will completely agree with you! I remember those hours upon hours of homework. It was worse when my stepsister when through elementary–3 hours to complete second grade homework! That’s not including the time she spent being schooled at the daycare called “elementary school.” She was miserable every evening, and so was her mother, as they struggled through work with sub-par instructions, a mother guessing at what the teacher intended, and a child ready to run around and play after having done this same thing all day long.

    I’m definitely ready to read more!

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Whew! You made me tired just READING that, and I remember the same in my own life, especially my parents’ frustrations at not being able to figure out how to help with 3rd grade work! (They knew the answers, but not the new methods . . . )
      Yes. More tomorrow. 🙂

  3. Heidi says:

    Oh, my. Reminds me of an acquaintance who never asks her children to clear the table because they have “so much homework” and “work so hard at school”. She’s always shocked when my children stick around to help after a meal. A small thing, maybe, but I think it’s a symptom of a much deeper problem.

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Thanks so much for this comment, Heidi, and Welcome to Home’s Cool!
      I grew up never clearing the table. But it was because my mom grew up the same way. She was the youngest of six and they always shoo’ed her out of the kitchen, first, then did the dishes. No one ever taught her the gentler arts and she had no idea 1.) that they needed to be done, 2.) how to teach this to her own.
      I could tell some real horror stories about dirty dish piles, but won’t.
      Anyway, I never did learn, because as soon as they were old enough, I made my kids figure it out for themselves! 😆
      And yes, the problem runs deep — very deep — to the core of our culture, I’m afraid.

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