Home schooling

Waldorf Education K-12

Image by rustytanton via Flickr

This is my experience with home schooling which involved my son for one year while he was in the seventh grade. I have been reading posts by others urging home schooling for what I think are the wrong reasons. Too many are against government schools. What level of government are they talking about? School boards are part of local government and are elective. If some home school advocates are looking to produce clones of themselves, they will not succeed. Children will rebel against their parents to assert an adult’s independence. And how many home schoolers can adequately prepare their children to be citizens in a democracy?

My son attended a local public school within walking distance for grades kindergarten through second. He was a victim of bullying which we could not solve with the school’s help. For grades three through six, we enrolled him in the Waldorf School in Santa Barbara which required that we drive him to and fro. We loved the Waldorf system. The classes were small and the teacher and students stay together throughout the school career. No changing of teachers or classmates from one grade to another. That Waldorf School ended with grade six, so we faced a decision what to do for junior high, grades seven and eight.

The decision was between a public school within walking distance or home schooling. With the help of a correspondence home school located in Ojai, California, we decided to home school. I was the teacher and I loved watching my son grow in intellect day by day. I administered the lessons in the morning and we did enrichment activities in the afternoon. For sports, it was tennis in a nearby park in good weather and bowling at a local alley in bad weather. We signed him up for art classes and we continued his violin lessons with a private teacher. The Waldorf School had required that students study an instrument. The Waldorf School had also studied cooking one year and gardening/farming another. Each year they produced an original class play and took a field trip lasting a week. One year to gold rush country and another to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Back to home schooling. My wife worked as a nurse from 7am to 330pm and I worked as an aide and then an x-ray tech from 3pm to 1130pm. On days that we both worked, my son was home alone for about 1.5 hours. But we tried to stagger our schedules so that one or the other of us was usually there. About every four to six weeks, a teacher from the correspondence school would visit to check my son’s progress. My son was a self starter and did not require much supervision. As much as I enjoyed being his teacher, I don’t believe that I could have home schooled successfully without the assistance of the correspondence school.

My son missed the other children in school so much that he went to public school for grade eight. For high school, the choice was between the public high school within bicycling distance and a smaller Catholic school. I advocated the private school which offered a generous scholarship, but my son preferred the nearer high school because he already knew some of the students. After graduating from high school with a scholarship to the University of California system, my son elected to live on campus in Isla Vista, California, even though the dorm was only three miles from our home. Four years later, he graduated with honors.