Home school can be good with parents who are educated enough to do it, and if the kids actually did it. Most of the JW kids I knew took the school out of Home School, which just let them with Home.
Home schooled witness kids
We successfully home schooled both of our children while I was a JW. My husband is a raised-in JW who faded over 30 years ago. Our daughter is now 32 years old, and our son is 28 years old. Our daughter received her teaching certification in the United States and has been teaching in Central America for five years in a private grade school and loves it. She is bi-lingual, as she began studying Spanish at community college as a homeschooled teen. We had numerous exchange students from various cultures live with us through the years, and our daughter traveled to Spain as an exchange student in 11 th grade. She attended her senior year of schooling at a magnet school called High School in the Community. She earned a 75% scholarship to a local private college and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English Literature, minoring in Dramatic Studies and Creative Writing. She was awarded for being their first student to write, produce, direct and act in her own play. She still visits with her favorite professor whenever she comes back to the States.
Our son has no interest in college and is a highly-skilled sailboat rigger. He is also ABYC certified in marine electrical work. He is the rigging shop manager of a satellite shop for his company on the Chesapeake Bay, US. What a gorgeous place to work! He has always made more money than our daughter, gets tremendous perks and has no college debt. He is also profoundly dyslexic and would qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act should he choose to go to college. He attended four years at a marine studies high school. He is an avid sailor which he learned as an apprentice at a sailing school during his homeschooling years. He was the Sailing Team captain at his high school. He loves his chosen profession. When he got his first rigging job, he said, “Mom, I got my dream job!” His dad taught him carpentry, cabinet making and boatbuilding. I taught him the computer skills he now uses to manage a rigging shop.
Both of our children are happy, well adjusted, fully self-supporting and active members of their respective communities. That’s what we wanted for our children. And they are no longer JWs!
My husband had a fun answer to the most common question we would get when someone found out we were home schooling. The question was, "Aren't you worried about socialization?" His answer was: "Yes it is a big problem. I worry about it all the time. They spend so much time with other kids and their parents-- what with their museum trips and classes, trips to zoos, aquariums, farms, etc., it never ends. Excess socialization is something I'm concerned about." He would get a stunned look and a mumble. He wasn't really kidding either.
I think one place where homeschooling parents get into trouble is when they try to replicate the classroom learning experience at home. I have seen some homeschooling parents gather up textbooks from their public school and hand them to their children to basically teach themselves. That never works. That is the type of homeschooling that I saw almost every JW try and fail. Choosing to homeschool primarily to isolate your child and protect them from “the wicked world” is controlling and abusive in my book.
We were part of an inclusive, secular homeschooling support group. Many parent members were from the public school setting, former teachers and school administrators. They served as valuable resources for the group. I made sure we covered the content of a standard curriculum in case either of our children wanted to go to public school, which eventually happened in both cases. It was their choice.
If you let go of the public school calendar and homeschool year round, it only really takes on average a couple of hours a day, more or less on any given day. Most of the day in schools, if you remember, is taken up moving between classrooms, discipline and just plain waiting. If a student gets sick, a homebound tutor can keep up with a public school curriculum in an hour or so a day. Teaching to the test can be eliminated in homeschooling. We kept portfolios for both of our children. That served them well upon entrance into public schooling and would have earned them a valid High School diploma if they had continued with homeschooling.
We had some friends that were pretty extreme. They believed in un-schooling. They made it their business to not teach their kids anything. They had lots of materials around and would suggest what to do during the day, but there were no educational goals at all. If the kids asked a question, a parent would answer it or suggest how to research the topic once the children were older. These children still excelled and went on to college, careers or to become successful entrepreneurs!
Most of our friends have children that attended public school. In the end I was amazed at how little early educational choices mattered. Whether unschooled, public schooled or community-based homeschooled like we did, the students that wanted to go to college went to college and did well. The others learned skills and found jobs or started their own businesses and did well.
Today’s culture tells us that children need to be taught by a professional teacher, but ultimately our children’s education is the responsibility of the parent(s). The biggest advantage I see for homeschooling is the opportunity for the parent to tailor the curriculum to the student. The child learns to love to learn. Learning becomes a life skill. If the child is advanced in some skills such as reading, writing, math, welding, machine repair or carpentry, keep encouraging more exploration in other areas and be sure to look for mentors for them. If the student struggles in some areas, traditional school can be very difficult emotionally. It will be necessary to find community-based support for them as well.
The fact of the matter is that some children thrive in public school, some in private school and others in homeschool. Based on my experience, while I understand it takes a professional teacher to teach a class of 20 or more students at once in a school setting and a professor in a college setting, I'm pretty sure any literate parent can handle K-12 for their own kids, providing they do the job of creating an environment conducive to learning, are willing to look for resources in the community and are willing to get support in subject areas that are more advanced (Our daughter spent a semester in high school in an internship with a neurologist studying epileptic brain cells at Yale University.)
We found homeschooling was not cheap, not easy and took a lot of time to co-ordinate and implement. It was exceedingly rewarding life choice for our family, but homeschooling is definitely not for everyone.
When the shooting happened last December at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, we heard that four local JW families decided to pull their children from public school.
All these kids (9 total) haven't reached their teens. A couple of the older ones were baptized this past summer. One of the mothers, whom I've known since childhood, dropped out of high school in her sophomore year (she somehow became pregnant). She now pioneers. Her Ministerial Servant husband works for a small company owned by two JW elders. Four of the twelve children now being home schooled are theirs.
Now there's a disaster waiting to happen.
Putting the kingdom first while praying for the end of time.
I was home schooled in Grades 10,11,12. It took me about 20 hours of work to finish all 3 of those grades. It was a complete joke. My parents and grandparents wanted me to do that so I could pioneer. I would never to that to my kids.
Hi Gingerbread - Ambient abuse. No doubt.
I am sorry. I assumed that "intellectual incest" without the disclaimer that it was not directed at everyone, was a blanket statement.
Stillin and Tech 49:
I totally agree with you: homeschooling mostly produces poorly educated, grossly ignorant children who will have a problem functioning in the world.
The Witnesses thought they were doing their children a favor by not sending their children to schools and thinking they were "protecting" them from "bad" influences. Well....they mostly ended up with a bad result.
Although homeschooling can succeed (if the parents are college educated and dedicated), it usually ends up as a dismal failure with the child paying the price with functional literacy and basic ignorance about things the average person should know.
If there is serious social breakdown where the schools are too dangerous to attend (a reality in some areas), or if somebody is geographically isolated, homeschooling (to a certain age) might work.
Be careful though. In too many instances the child is cheated out of their education and everybody only ends up fooling themselves.
I went to public school, but there was a small 'witness' school in my town where a lot of kids from my cong went. I would say pretty much all the kids who attended were the ones with the worst behavior in the cong, I think the parents thoughts it would be such a great spiritual replacement for their own parenting.
In this area, home schooled children were regularly dropped at field service meetings as the parents went off. Other people were expected to go door to door with them, feed them, and take them home. If parents don't have the time or make the time to teach their children and have the education themselves, they will end up barely employed living at home.
But then some of the products of current public schools are not something to brag about.