Home-schooled people: Did you feel safer, or like you missed out on something?

I'm a high school teacher, and I see home schooled kids come in to take part-time classes. They always seem like such wholesome kids. But, the part-time aspect later on in their education makes them feel like they aren't missing out on so much.
My 9yo daughter does feel like she's safer at home than if she were to go to school: she witnessed the effects of bullying on her cousin who we saw once or twice a week for a couple of months. Each time we saw him, he had a new bruise or scratch or something on him. She had also been in preschool a bit and had been bullied there, with the teacher not only really doing nothing about it other than telling the boy "we don't do that" (even after he'd punched my daughter in the stomach); she didn't even bring up the problem with me and kept telling me everything was fine. (This had nothing to do with our decision to homeschool because we had already decided to homeschool at that point. It was just a chance for her to do something 3 times a week with a friend.) We know another homeschooled boy who had been public schooled and had been bullied there. She's very aware of what can happen.

She also knows about perverts who have managed to sneak into elementary schools and hide out in bathrooms and she heard about the bomb threats and the actual bombs found in schools this year, plus there was an incident at my teachers school with a kid who came in with a knife to attack one of the students. So, yes, she does feel safer.

A question came up recently about missing out on stuff and I asked her. She looked at me strangely--what is she missing out on? She actually said, "Bullying?" lol. She's got friends from all around the city, participates in lessons and homeschooling activities, gets to spend lots of time following her own interests, is able to go her own pace (she actually cites being able to put something frustrating aside for a while as one thing she really likes about homeschooling)... What is there for her to miss out on?
i was nvr home schooled so i gues ill nva noe baby
I agree - my son, also 9, feels safer. He actually feels like his ps friends are the ones missing out! And considering how many of them have asked their parents if they can homeschool after finding out what he does, so do they :-)

He likes homeschooling for several reasons, some of which include:
1) He can study things at his own pace - he goes through a year-long math curriculum every 3-4 months, so he can move ahead after he proves mastery. However, language arts prove to be more of a weakness for him, so he can move through that at a slower pace, to make sure that it all makes sense before he moves ahead.

2) He can choose his own studies, once his core work is done. He decided he wants to learn koine Greek, so we found a curriculum on his level and he's working through it. He's finding that it's very similar in structure to the Latin he spent the last two years studying...not really something he'd be able to do in a public school. He also takes Spanish.

3) He can learn and be taught in ways that make sense to him. He's got an auditory form of dyslexia, in which he sees the letters and can read just fine, but his brain doesn't "hear" phonetic blends (his hearing is fine, his brain doesn't process the info correctly), so spelling and writing are really a chore for him. He's able to do his spelling with an online program that shows him the word, says it clearly several times, has him move around letters to form the phonemes, and provides the teaching in several different forms to give him review and repetition without boredom. His spelling skills went up a full grade level in four months...whereas the workbooks do absolutely nothing for him.

4) He gets one-on-one, individualized instruction on a daily basis. He can spend as much time in history and science as he wants - generally an hour or two a day each - and research to his heart's delight. He really enjoys the mental process of writing (and is darn good at it), but his dyslexia still makes it really difficult for him to get his thoughts down on paper. He can read from his sources, write down his outline, and then dictate his writing project for me to type. Once it's typed and on the screen for him to see, he can use the word processing program to proof and edit his work. If a lot of changes are needed, I can assist him with that; if only small changes are needed, he can type them out himself. Even the most dedicated classroom teacher would not have time in the day to help him with that, and he would be a lot less likely to develop good written communication skills.

5) Because he co ops with other homeschool kids his age, he does get a classroom environment once a week, but with kids that easily accept each other's differences. Nobody makes fun of him because he writes slower than they do or needs an adult to help him write down large amounts of information, and the kids are able to easily learn from another's strengths while working on their own weaknesses. Isn't that what is supposed to happen in a classroom?

6) Because his schedule is more open, he's able to take part in a variety of volunteer opportunities. He can help out at the library, learning classification and organization skills as well as respect for books and reference material. He also gets the opportunity to read to younger kids while their parents are looking for books. He is in a very involved Scout pack, and has the chance to do community volunteer projects that bring him in contact with homeless shelters, food pantries, elderly people, and others.

7) He has health issues from a bout with SARS 5 years ago, and has to have a pretty specific sleep pattern and diet in order to stay healthy. Because he doesn't have to be up by 6:30 and on the road by 7:15 to get to school on time, he can get the sleep he needs; because he's more in charge of his diet, he can make sure that he eats what he needs to. He's also had the chance to do a fairly large amount of research on nutrition, exercise, and sleep needs, and now knows more than many adults. His pediatrician says that homeschooling is probably a large factor in why he's been so healthy the past three years.

8) Because he has more of a say in his studies, he gets the chance to research things from several different viewpoints. In science, he insists on studying concepts from both a creation and an evolutionary viewpoint. He knows which stance he takes and why, but he wants to know what others think and why. When studying world geography, he is able to study all of the aspects of the culture and religion of the people there. Historical record of beliefs and current religious beliefs have a huge impact on the culture, traditions, behavior, politics, and manners in a region, but most schools either don't teach it at all or only give a cursory overview. He wants - and I want him - to understand why people in different regions live and think the way they do.

9) He is able to integrate his studies, which is something that is usually very difficult to do after 4th or 5th grade in schools since the kids start moving to separate classes and teachers each hour. When he studies a region or continent in geography, he can also study the history, ecology, biomes, animal and plant life, cultural and religious beliefs, and political atmosphere of that country - which covers about 3-5 different classes. Because he can study them together, he can apply his knowledge right away. All of his writing assignments are in some way related to what he is already studying, so his writing is meaningful to him rather than just some assignment that he "has to do".

10) Since we work together each year to plan his curriculum, both he and I know that each year's work will flow pretty much seamlessly into the next. And because he doesn't have a new set of teachers each year - some good and some not so good - he knows what to expect and knows that concepts will be explained in the way that he best understands. With his health needs, dyslexia, and the fact that he's highly gifted (3-5 years above grade level in concept comprehension and many subjects), there's no way I could expect that in our local school.

The only thing he feels like he misses out on is the bullying, being forced to follow a class-wide lesson plan, having very little say in his studies or schedule, and the hospital visits that would come with not being able to control his diet and sleep. He does work with other teachers at co op, so he understands how to work to others' expectations and function in a classroom. Because it's only one day a week, he has better control over his health and knows how to plan out his time to get his projects done for the following week.

I (and he) definitely think that what he gains far outweighs what he's "missing out" on!
I'm a senior in highschool, and I've been homeschooled since I was in 10th grade. I don't feel safer exactly, but I went to a pretty safe public school. Yes, there were drugs, and I was constantly getting pressured to try something or other, but usually I didn't feel afraid when going to school. I believe that the benefits of the quality of the homeschooling far outweigh those of safety. But like I said, I went to a relatively safe school, so the difference between public school and homeschooling was strictly educational. I never really experienced the fear of going to a really large school with lots of gangs, guns, and drugs, but I'd imagine that, in an environment like that, the homeschooler would be safer at home. No, I don't feel like I missed out on anything. I've seen the difference between public highschool, and homeschool, and I don't miss the interaction between my fellow students and I. I'm now hanging out with kids that I actually want to hang out with, not just who-ever is around to hang out with. All of my sisters (I have 3 of them) were homeschooled, and they all say the same thing as me: we didn't miss out on anything. And we're stronger people for having been homeschooled.
My kids homeschool. Safer in terms of what? My oldest was being bullied, but the others weren't. They didn't particularly feel unsafe...and don't feel 'safer' now. They live life and deal with real people all the time.they don't feel like they are missing out on anything, they feel sorry for people who are stuck in school all day without a choice.

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