I base much of my parenting on instinct and what just "feels right". For me it really feels wrong to drop off one of my children with strangers. Yes, I know that everyone starts off being a stranger until you get to know them, but it's not just the teacher that is a stranger. It's the class full of children that are strangers as well. As a parent, why should I want my child to hang out with a group of children their same age for 7-8 hours a day, 180 days out of the year? Is it not better to allow shorter periods of socialization with a widely diverse group of people? I think so and research proves it is so.
The paragraphs below are from "Homeschooling Step-By-Step" by Lauramaery Gold & Joan M. Zielinski. In this part they are discussing the transitions involved when children start off in public school and then are home schooled.
"First, you and your children have become strangers while they were in public school. They were gone all day and were under the extended control of homework-assigning teachers all night. If your children were in school for a prolonged time, you may not even like one another all that much. Don't worry. This will pass. As you and your children learn again what it means to be a family unit--a group of people who actually live and eat and play and work and learn together --you'll soon find yourself enjoying their company, discovering their personalities, and learning to like them all over again.
Second, your children may not trust or like you. They've been 'sent away' to strangers where they were taught habits and beliefs and mannerisms that just don't sit well with mom and dad. It takes time and trust for them to unlearn bad habits, to learn to interact with adults and to appreciate your commitment to teaching them. Give it a chance. Those strong ties that existed when they were young are still there, and they'll spring back into place given sufficient love and nurturing."
Reading these paragraphs really breaks my heart. I do not want my children to become "strangers". I also cannot imagine missing out on so much, like watching their faces light up when they figure something out. As for homework, school teachers already have the children for 7 hours each day, why should they have to be burdened with even more school work at home? (I'll answer my own question here.) Because the students CAN'T learn everything in school. There are too many distractions and interruptions, not to mention an often overwhelming feeling of boredom or failure.
We all know there are good teachers and not so good teachers, but the truly GREAT teachers have a way of taking a child's least favorite subject and making it FUN! Yes, it is truly possible! I really wish more teachers would be enthusiastic about what they are teaching. Enthusiasm is catching and almost any subject can be turned into fun and interactive games with some effort. Re-arrange the desks into a circle or a few small squares. Instead of teaching AT children, ENGAGE them in the discussion and INVOLVE them in the educational process. Get out of the chairs and stand in small groups around the room to answer questions. The different ways to make a class more fun are boundless. It just takes enthusiasm and effort.
This pretty much sums up my thoughts on how the school system is not for us and why I've chosen the path I'm on. There is no way that a child can learn better in an environment surrounded by their peers than they can when surrounded in a loving, home environment. Numerous studies (do an online search to find them) have shown that home schooled children not only learn MORE, but they tend to have a love of learning that continues into adulthood. Plus it cannot be denied that the teacher- student ratio of 1:2 is better than any public school in the nation. :o)