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resources for homeschoolers

Original post made by amom, Downtown North, on Nov 19, 2008

I have recently started homeschooling my kids and I was wondering if any veteran homeschoolers ever use tutors. I suspect one of my boys needs a specialized reading tutor and would love advice on how to find one.

Comments (17)

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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 19, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Ummm, any reason you're not using the public schools? You're in a good school district and the district does have reading specialists and the like. You might want to see if one of the district reading specialists will do some tutoring. But this is the sort of stuff that a well-trained teacher can catch and assess.

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Posted by Lost for Words
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2008 at 5:30 am

I always thought people moved to Palo Alto for the schools!!!! Addison is one of the best Elementary Schools on the whole peninsula. Your kids will miss the social interaction with other kids.

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Posted by Parent without handles
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2008 at 9:12 am

I do tend to agree with the top two posters.

But I do know that there are many homeschoolers in Palo Alto for whatever reasons. Generally they are affiliated with some private school programs or similar. These homeschoolers are grafted together for interaction and socialization between parents and kids and do field trips together, etc. Try and get hooked up with one of these groups and then you will be able to compare resources with the other families.

Good luck, but the District has many failed homeschoolers (I mean that in the nicest way) and are able to help when families feel that the homeschooling is just a lot more difficult than they anticipated.

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Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 21, 2008 at 10:58 am

Hey judgemental Palo Altans! Mind your own business. If the woman wants to home school, then that's her business. Worry about your own lives.

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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 21, 2008 at 12:50 pm


The poster asked for comments. I mean, that is the point of a town forum, no? To get feedback.

In this case, where the parent's trying to assess whether his or her child needs professional help, well, the question of why homeschooling is a natural. Teachers are trained to teach reading, most homeschooling parents are not. In most cases, this may not matter. In this case, it might.

Look, I'm an excellent reader. I even have some experience tutoring and teaching some odd subjects. Do I know even 10 percent of what my child's K/1 teacher did about *teaching* reading and assessing appropriate development? No.

Some kids pick up reading very easily--and the lack of specific expertise on the parent's part is a non-issue (or maybe the parent has that expertise.) But that's not the case here.

By the time you're wondering if you should pay for a tutor, I think asking why a parent doesn't want to take advantage of high-quality free public schools with reading specialists on staff is a valid one.

I'm not saying there aren't good reasons to homeschool--there may well be. (Or to go private) I was asking simply because this does sound like an issue where the schools may be better equipped to help with the problem than the parent.

Basically, the kid probably needs a pro. for this particular issue for whatever reasons. It's just a question of what kind of pro to get and how.

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Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Nov 21, 2008 at 1:10 pm

OP, the quality of schools in Palo Alto is very site- and teacher-specific.

Lost for Words, for all we know this person's kid got overflowed and is not at Addison.

Unfortunately, the poor parent got a lot of questions but t really an specific information answering the question.

amom, some parents do use tutors. Some teach on their own. Others group kids together for some or all classes. The best way to find out if your child needs special reading resources is to have him/her tested. Then you can take that knowledge and figure out the next step.

Here's a link to homeschooling support groups:

Web Link

If your child is having trouble with reaing/phonics and you are really committed to homeschooling, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Carden curriculum. You can get trained and certified in homeschooling and then you can order their workbooks, teachers manuals, etc. This is a fabulous system and one that I tutor my own (non homeschooled) kids with when it looks like they are not getting coherent spelling and grammar education from time to time. It is like early LindaMood Bell training. Not super creative but totally effective. Look up Mae Carden and you can get information. Also, you can probably get a LindaMood Bell or other specialized reading tutor if you google reading specialists in the area.

Here is a link to a PA Online article on homeschooling here that has other helpful links.

Web Link

I also noticed that the Palo Alto Enjoy catalog has some classes especially for homschooled kids (art etc.).

Good luck!

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Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 21, 2008 at 3:11 pm


Read the question!
"I was wondering if any veteran homeschoolers ever use tutors. I suspect one of my boys needs a specialized reading tutor and would love advice on how to find one."

Can you read? She didn't ask for comments on her desire to home school her kids.

You judgemental people KILL me. It's really so interesting. Hey, maybe they want kids that can challenge the thinking that's taught at a one-size fits all socialistic form of education?

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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 21, 2008 at 5:08 pm


Again, it's an open forum. I gave you my reasons for asking the question.

As for who's being "judgemental"--look at yourself. I asked an honest question. You, on the other hand, have come in to condemn the responses that do not meet with your approval.

Are you answering the question of the original poster? (I gave a suggestion--contact some of the district's reading specialists for tutoring. Of course, if the original poster homeschools because s/he hates the district, this is not a useful suggestion. If there are reasons, however, it might be a good way to get help.)

If you're not answering the question, why do you consider your post helpful to the original poster? Because you feel that this thread would be better off as a homeschooling debate? Because that's where you're taking it.

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Posted by home schooling is great
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 21, 2008 at 6:47 pm

Home schooled children naturally have parents who are more involved in their education. It's nice to feel that parents take an active role in ensuring their kids grow up in a nurturing environment.

Public schools can sometimes be like day-care. Middle school kids get exposed to drugs (and yes, there are a lot of rich Palo Alto kids who do drugs!)

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Posted by homeschooling is great
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 21, 2008 at 6:51 pm

Here's a great web site: Web Link

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Posted by Parent without handles
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2008 at 6:58 pm

Homeschooling is most definitely not for everyone.

I prefer to have my kids go to school. I know that the dynamics of having my kids at home for the major part of the day and trying to get them to do some homework or tidy their rooms is enough to pull my hair out from the roots. It would not be a good choice from my point of view or theirs.

But, to say that I am not involved in their education is not on. And although there are drugs around, I see fit to use this as a learning situation on teaching them life lessons, rather than keeping them closeted and protected. Too many times well sheltered kids rebel when they eventually get freedom - I know this from experience having been to a single sex private boarding school where the outside world barely existed in our experiences.

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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 21, 2008 at 7:52 pm

homeschooling is great,

So, I guess we are gonna go there, eh?

I'm sure some homeschooling parents I've great, but I've seen some godawful examples of "homeschooling". In one case, it was an abusive situation where the girl was "homeschooling" herself while she took care of everyone in her family. She was barely literate when she ran off and got married (escaped) at 18.

I knew of one mother who was in therapy for depression and was generally overwhelmed by the demands of parenting who homeschooled because it was supposed to be the thing to do. She was exhausted and the kids were out of control. It was painful to witness.

(One of George's links brought back a painful memory of hearing a homeschool chorus--I just thought it was a bad chorus, it's interesting that the choral director of that one homeschool chorus thought it had to do with some aspects of homeschooling--that you don't have to learn to "sing" with others.)

Brendenn Bremmer is probably the most tragic example of some of the issues with homeschooling--a child prodigy, he was homeschooled by his parents, neither of whom were qualified to teach and didn't know how to guide him. He was isolated by other kids--depressed and killed himself.

So, I don't buy that homeschooling parents are "more involved" in their children's education or that it's intrinsically "great" that they are. There are lots of reasons why people homeschool and a lot of them have nothing to do with education--if anything, it can be a form of anti-education--not wanting one's children exposed to ideas and values you don't hold.

I think it's important for kids to meet and learn to deal with kids who come from different backgrounds and to learn to develop their own peer groups. I know, too, that I am not the best teacher for all subjects.

I'm not always going to be there. One of the things I can do while I am is teach my child to make good judgments about people and choices. If I thought I was in a terrible district and my child was unsafe at school, I'd homeschool or go private (if possible)--but I think a good school is the wiser choice with our family.

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Posted by Sam
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2010 at 7:23 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by letitbe
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 31, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Well, it is clear that homeschooling is a topic that really incites some people. We recently moved to Palo Alto (to the Duveneck neighborhood) and guess what? I am planning to home school. Please don't judge, I am not doing it because I think public schools fail children. I'm doing it because I believe I can do better for MY children. Emphasis on "my" children because I am very familiar with how they learn, and it just doesn't fit in to the way a public school teaches, even the best public schools. I am grateful for our wonderful public schools and I do not judge anybody for sending their children to them...maybe we should all just try to "live and let live" and not feel so threatened by people who are doing things differently? Just a thought.

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Posted by Kristin France
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm

LEarningWisely offers testing and tutoring services and serves many homeschoolers. Website:

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Posted by mom of 3 boys
a resident of Midtown
on May 7, 2012 at 10:00 am

we spent a huge amount of money to buy a house in this neighborhood, but mostly for the schools to send our very bright/loveable children to. My 8yo comes home crying from rude/hurtful comments from others in his class. having to sit still in a hot classroom for 6hours, barely able to stay awake. the list goes on. I've just become a huge supporter of homeschooling/unschooling with almost 3yrs of public schooling experiences.
The Parents Place might have some resources for tutors.

George, you are a funny guy! Well said. ;)

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Posted by I'm a bhomeschooler and I LOVE it!
a resident of Mayfield
on May 13, 2015 at 7:25 am

If you are thinking about homeschooling, watch "Class Dismissed: A Film About Learning Outside of the Classroom". It is great, and helps show the reasons for homeschooling. In fact, the family it follows is from El Segundo, another city with expensive homes because of "good" (this is in quotes on purpose) schools.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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