Pattie Robins, a mother of five children, who decided to homeschool her daughter Hannah when she found out Hannah was failing her classes:
Using a local charter school for curriculum, Robins homeschooled her daughter for a year and a half, during which time Hannah flew through course work. “She didn't have to wait for the class to be disciplined,” Robins says. “She could breeze through what was easy for her, and we could take time on subjects that were harder for her to understand.” After a year of homeschooling, Hannah was much further ahead than her classmates. But, her “sense of isolation” from her friends outweighed the positive aspects of homeschool, and she returned to public school.
Heather Baker, a secondary education English and history instructor:
Baker admits that the moral issues plaguing most schools are a “legitimate concern,” but parents should combat the problems with communication and involvement, not by taking kids out of school. Talking about sex, drugs, political opinions, and other issues in the home will have a greater effect on kids than “their high school history teacher who only has them for an hour a day,” Baker says. “I don’t think you can shelter your kids from [societal problems]. Doing so makes them … unable to cope with it.”
Sarah Jensen, a mother of seven who has educated all her children through homeschool:
“I have never used the public school system,” Jensen says. “The public school system, as a mega institution, … [is] equipped to provide a good education for a limited number of students. Today's teachers are required to provide an immense set of expectations for a diverse group of children in a setting that is nowhere near ideal. . . . I have many different types of learners, and I have the luxury of tailoring their schooling experience to enable them as an individual to excel. . . . My children are more confident in themselves [and] comfortable with who they are.”
Kaye Nelson, a mother who has educated all her children through public school:
“[My husband and I] were both educated in public schools and we both had good experiences there,” Nelson says. “We knew the value of public schools on different levels—for knowledge, for social interaction, for leadership experiences and learning to deal with other adults.” Nelson thinks the impact of parents is crucial in any form of education: “I also think any parent who puts their kids in public schools should still supplement their kids' learning with field trips, discussions, and learning opportunities. Kids have so much potential; I think it's sad when it is wasted or untapped, for whatever reason.”
Barney Madsen, a father of four who has used multiple forms of education (private, public, homeschooling, tutoring, etc.) for his children:
“It’s not that we’re just really committed to homeschooling or something else, we’re committed to our children’s education,” Barney says. “Whether it’s homeschool [or] private school; whether it’s public school or tutors. . . . Whether you help [your kids] with their homework and that’s your homeschooling, or you do full-on homeschooling, . . . there’s a whole smorgasbord of things that parents can do with their children,” Barney says. “I would love for parents—even if they don’t go all in to homeschooling—to help their kids with their homework, or go to a museum or go to a concert with their family and have culturally enriching experiences.”
Cindy Madsen, wife of Barney, on why she encouraged her three younger children to return to traditional schooling for high school:
“I felt that it was important . . . for them to have the high school social experience. To be honest, I wasn’t sending them to high school for an academic experience. I could give them that, but there were [social] things they could learn [in high school] that I felt I couldn’t teach them.”
Jed Madsen, a son of Barney, who homeschooled through his senior year and is a PhD candidate, speaking on concern about homeschooling’s social limitations:
“You can gain social maturity in many ways, and there are a lot of people who come out of high school without a lot of savoir faire,” Jed says. “The kinds of interactions that kids have in high school are only tenuously related to the kinds of interactions that successful adults have. A high school age student concerned about long-term success would probably do better to mix with adults and pick up social cues from them.”
Ultimately LDS Living concluded that the decision is an individual one, a decision dependent on each child. But we’ve been curious to see where our readers stand on the issue. What do you think?