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Parent Says Some Things Can't Be Taught at Home

(By Julie Zhu)
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dear Extra Credit:

I don't have anything against home schooling -- for other people -- but I could not see myself doing it for my three children. I am quite capable of coordinating and conducting lessons, but I cannot see how I could keep their interest day in and day out in lessons, as well as keeping them busy with extracurricular activities and doing normal household chores and activities.

I can see benefits in concentrated learning time. Since my kindergartner has started public school, however, I no longer feel guilty about my inability to keep the children home. (My older boys are in college and high school.) My youngest is extremely bright, and I have tried to foster and encourage learning whenever I could. He can count to 1,000 in English, count to 40 in French, add numbers using several digits by carrying, multiply simple numbers, knows all the planets, knows all the letters, sounds, and can read simple books.

Many people told me that he would be bored in kindergarten. He isn't! Besides getting constant reinforcement in the basics, which he knows, and refinements such as how to draw a proper lower-case E, he is learning to be part of group, raise his hand to be heard, say the Pledge of Allegiance, wait quietly during a moment of silence and so much more. He sees the "bigger kids" and says he wants to go to first grade someday. He loves all the activity.

I used to think that all those activities during the school day outside actual academic lessons were "fillers," although a necessary evil. No more! My son is becoming a part of the school community and is understanding that he not the center of the universe (anymore). Plus, he gets to do all the academic and fun stuff that we did at home (blocks, math, computer time). He comes home tired but excited about his full day. I like that.

Daneen Smedile

Purcellville

I am waiting for more letters from home-schoolers, but I am sure they won't mind hearing from a satisfied public school parent. And those teachers in Purcellville will be happy to see they are appreciated.


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