A Home school Dad's Perspective

  1. #1

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    A Home school Dad's Perspective

    I wasn't going to comment, but a lot of posters seem to be missing the point. First, a little background on our family. We have seven children; four adopted from overseas with various physical and mental disabilities. For one year we placed all seven in the public school (kindergartner thru senior). In the past we have home schooled as many as four at a time; currently we have two at home, three in the local public school, and two in college.

    Society has decided that education is important; so much so that all are required to pay taxes to ensure that every child is afforded the opportunity to an education. Whether it is public, private, or home school, what we as a society want is a well-rounded, educated individual. Part of that education includes extracurricular activities. If we didn't think extracurricular activities were good for the kids we wouldn't have them. The value of these activities is the same to all who participate - whether public or home schooled. I would argue that by denying home-schooled kids access to these activities we are cheating them and society of all that they can be.

    Do we not all gain by all students being afforded the opportunity to be more "rounded" by participating in these activities? Let me use my second son as an example. He was in the public school from kindergarten thru 6th grade. He struggled with reading and writing. The school’s answer was that he wasn't trying hard enough; he didn't pay attention; he was disorganized. We chose to pull him out and home school him for the 7th grade. After working with him one-on-one it was apparent that something wasn't right. He did very well that year at home, but now it’s time for 8th grade and we have a dilemma. We really wanted to let him play football, but as a home schooler he was not allowed. We could put him back in the school, but they are still insisting that he has no problems – he just needs to work harder and apply himself. Finally, we opted to put him back in the public school and then spent 3 to 4 hours many nights reading his work to him. (instead of books on tape he got parents on tape! ) We did this because we thought football was good for him. It gave him an arena in which to excel – an area to counterbalance the struggles he had academically. The next year we had him tested at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and found out that he had Dyslexia along with Tourette's Syndrome and other issues we knew he had. He continued to struggle with school, but football turned out to be a great area in which he could shine. He was also a tremendous asset to the team. He ended up being the MVP of the state championship game his senior year and made many valuable contributions to the team during the year. Think of what his participation meant to his team, the school and the community, not to mention what it meant to him.

    What do we gain by keeping these kids out of the system? Nothing, and I say we stand to lose a lot. Some would say ‘yes’, but that is a choice you are making. This is not always the case. We have another child who is also dyslexic and has other learning disabilities. She can never go back to the public school because the school cannot/will not educate her. Our only other choice is a school like Springer, which we cannot afford. The default choice then becomes to educate her ourselves or let her languish in the public school falling further and further behind.

    We seem to have this idea that if a kid does not show up at 7:50 am to listen to school announcements, eat in the school cafeteria , go to six different classrooms a day and have his/her own locker then they haven’t earned the right to participate in extracurricular activities. Some say that it is not “fair” that a home schooled kid gets the benefits of these activities without “earning” them. I say these kids work just as hard, if not harder than their public school peers, because they can’t get lost in the crowd. They have “earned” it. It strikes me as elitist that we say these activities are beneficial to our kids, but we only allow this benefit if you do it our way by attending the public school.

    Some have said that allowing the home-schooled kids to participate doesn’t feel right, feels dirty or just is not fair. I would argue that it is none of those things. Perhaps we just don’t like change. At one point it didn’t seem right that a woman should vote or a black man should be President of the United States - but it is. These kids work just as hard as their peers, they live in the district, and their parents are paying for services that they are not using (as well as paying to educate their children at home out of their own pocket).

    What has made our country great is the opportunity we afford every person to be all that they can be. The purpose of the public school is to provide opportunity - not deny it.
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  2. #2

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    Great post.

    This shows why home schooling is not just an abitrary 'choice', but a real need in some situations due to limitations of structured schooling.

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    Great post.

    Well written and informative..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkey View Post
    I wasn't going to comment, but a lot of posters seem to be missing the point. First, a little background on our family. We have seven children; four adopted from overseas with various physical and mental disabilities. .
    God bless you!

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    Excellent post! And it's exactly my point, and my experience with the parents I know that have chosen to homeschool their children.

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    cch5432's Avatar
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    Best post I've ever read on this website. Thank you, Sparkey. And like Clyde said, God Bless You.

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    This was a great post!

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    Great post, but what stands out to me here is the pathetic school system you were in. As a husband of a longtime guidance counselor and former special ed teacher, I know the system is required to diagnose and address the needs of students who do need help. My wife has taught in five different systems in KY in various parts of the state and I think all of them would have been able to serve your kids well in the classroom and then the athletic part would have taken care of itself. It's unfortunate that you have had to live in an area with an unserving public school system.

  9. #9

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    Great post

    Great Post. I have coached several kids in youth football who were home-schooled. They were all excellent kids. One decided to join the school system because of football and is doing very well. After this subject came up again this past fall I talked with several home school parents about helping the cause of allowing their kids to play public school sports. The told me the reason they were not allowed and would never be allowed is because Ky's home-school rules are pretty much left up to the parents, to allow them to participate in the public school sports would open them up to state oversight of their schooling and that it wasn't worth it. That was the price of their educational freedom. Just what they told me. Great post though.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkey View Post
    I wasn't going to comment, but a lot of posters seem to be missing the point...........
    Sparkey, what were some the options that you thought you had when considering homeschooling and athletics? Did you have multiple public and private schools in your area? Did you have other schools to choose from, other then the one that was not meeting your needs? Were there any other forms of athletics available to you, such as YMCA leagues, AAU sports, or other clubs?

    If you did have other schools available would you have tried one of them first, or was homeschooling the first alternative?

    Just some questions that I was wondering.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondog View Post
    Great post, but what stands out to me here is the pathetic school system you were in. As a husband of a longtime guidance counselor and former special ed teacher, I know the system is required to diagnose and address the needs of students who do need help. My wife has taught in five different systems in KY in various parts of the state and I think all of them would have been able to serve your kids well in the classroom and then the athletic part would have taken care of itself. It's unfortunate that you have had to live in an area with an unserving public school system.
    Diamondog....if you only knew...I don't think you would call the school pathetic. The school involved here is far from pathetic. As you re-read the post, please note it was obvious to the parents themselves there were learning issues yet it still took them several years before they finally figured out the exact medical issues. Medicine is not an exact science. We all want to think there is an easy answer to the troubles we face in life and point the finger of blame when something unfortunate happens. But there are often no easy answers and no one to blame. I believe people have their hearts in the right place and want the best for others.

    Great post Sparkey and thank you for sharing this.

  12. #12

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    Great post and a big thank you for sharing your thoughts/feelings with us.

    Later.

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    Excellent Post....the big reasons that Sparkey put his children in home school is the big reasons I may put my children in the same place. I know how schools are ran and know how teachers teach....unfortunately there are very few great schools and few great teachers...and more over very limited one on one time with the students.....specially those who don't excel as fast as some and may not struggle as others in the classroom. Personally I hope it happens that students that are home schooled can participate in public school activities. But as we all know when something is put in place for good there will be those who misuse it.

  14. #14

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    I don't know why everyone wants to jump and blame the schools first. It has to always start at home first. Teachers can only do so much when you have 20 - 25 kids in a room that they are tryng to teach. The state is all ready cutting back 4% for next year. I do think that if a child is home schooled that they should be allowed to play in sports just like any other kid does. I would love for any body to try and teach 25 kids a day and all day at that. Try it for one day. I bet ya all couldn't handle the stress.

  15. #15

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    Sparky,
    Great post and I appreciate you sharing your son's experience. After his medical issues were diagnosed did he attend high school, and if so, how did he do academically?

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