Monday, July 11, 2005

Another Anti-Homeschooling Fisking

As per the usual with such fiskings, the original article will be in italics.

Homeschools Run by Well-Meaning Amateurs

Don't you mean, parents?

Schools With Good Teachers Are Best-Suited to Shape Young Minds

By Dave Arnold

Dave is a head custodian, an important part of making a school run, but hardly an expert on education.
There's nothing like having the right person with the right experience, skills and tools to accomplish a specific task. Certain jobs are best left to the pros, such as, formal education.

I think it's best to judge the job done by the outcome. Read this study on homeschooled children who are now adults. If I could rewire my home and have it turn out just as good, if not better, than a professional rewiring, then yes, I'd do it myself and I wouldn't think it was a job best left to professionals.
There are few homeowners who can tackle every aspect of home repair. A few of us might know carpentry, plumbing and, let’s say, cementing. Others may know about electrical work, tiling and roofing. But hardly anyone can do it all.

Neither can most teachers, since what he's talking about here is really education, which bears little resemblance to home repair no matter how much people like to compare them. Some are gifted for teaching, but few for teaching every subject. Elementary school teachers teach the basics in all the subjects, but much of their training is related to classroom management. And since I don't have to learn how to teach 30 children, just my own who's personal learning style I'm well acquainted with, I don't see the problem.
Same goes for cars. Not many people have the skills and knowledge to perform all repairs on the family car. Even if they do, they probably don’t own the proper tools. Heck, some people have their hands full just knowing how to drive.

Again, such a poor analogy, I hardly know where to begin.
So, why would some parents assume they know enough about every academic subject to home-school their children? You would think that they might leave this -- the shaping of their children’s minds, careers, and futures -- to trained professionals. That is, to those who have worked steadily at their profession for 10, 20, 30 years! Teachers!

He can guarantee me that my child will be taught by a trained professional with 10+ years experience? And even if they have been teaching that long, does he know if they're burned out? Will they understand my child in particular, or just teaching in general? Do they have as vested an interest in my child's educational progress as I do? I don't doubt the dedication and capability of teachers. I just hate when public schools are touted as the only way to teach kids when it's so clearly been proven otherwise.
Experienced Pros

There’s nothing like having the right person with the right experience, skills and tools to accomplish a specific task. Whether it is window-washing, bricklaying or designing a space station. Certain jobs are best left to the pros. Formal education is one of those jobs.

This is a huge blanket statement. The opinion is based on, what? The outcomes for homeschooled children vs. public schooled children? I don't think so. All the research points to excellent outcomes for home educated students.
Of course there are circumstances that might make it necessary for parents to teach their children at home. For example, if the child is severely handicapped and cannot be transported safely to a school, or is bedridden with a serious disease, or lives in such a remote area that attending a public school is near impossible.

Wait, he thinks I can magically be able to teach if I live far away from a school? Or maybe he just thinks it would be better than nothing.
Well-Meaning Amateurs

Being the internet savvy homeschooling parent that I am, I thought it would be interesting to include the etymology of the word amateur:

Etymology: Amateur \Am`a*teur"\, noun. [French expression, from the Latin expression amator lover, from amare to love.].

He's right, I'm a well-meaning lover of education and my children. If being untrained makes you incapable of performing a task, perhaps now would be a good time to turn my children over to the state to raise. Simply and utterly ridiculous!

The number of parents who could easily send their children to public school but opt for home-schooling instead is on the increase. Several organizations have popped up on the Web to serve these wannabe teachers.

Sorry, I'm not a wannabe anything, I'm am my child's teacher.

These organizations are even running ads on prime time television. After viewing one advertisement, I searched aWeb site. This site contains some statements that REALLY irritate me!

Much like this article irritates me.
home school
“It’s not as difficult as it looks.”

The “it” is meant to be “teaching.” Let’s face it, teaching children is difficult even for experienced professionals. Wannabes have no idea.

Again, an uneducated opinion. Teaching one's own children isn't as difficult as it looks. Because we know our children. We know their styles, their interests, their limits, etc. It is easier because we've been doing it since they were born. If I can teach my child his letters, why can't I teach him how to put them together into words? If I can teach that, why not reading? If I can teach reading, why not more advanced literature?

“What about socialization? Forget about it!”

Forget about interacting with others? Are they nuts? Socialization is an important component of getting along in life. You cannot teach it. Children should have the opportunity to interact with others their own age. Without allowing their children to mingle, trade ideas and thoughts with others, these parents are creating social misfits.

Okay, once again the socialization issue comes up. If this gentleman had spent 5 minutes learning about all the socialization that homeschooled kids get, he wouldn't have bothered including it. But that would be too easy. Better to just assume we're all backwoods weirdos isolating our kids from the world. And it's abundantly clear when one goes to the website mentioned, it's not saying to not worry about socialization, but that it's not really a big concern for homeschooled kids.

My kids are out in the world. They play with other kids, not just the one's their own age. My kids talk to grown ups, little kids, the elderly. They ask questions and take advantage of opportunities to meet new people. My kids don't think it's "gross" to play with their siblings, and will make new friends every time we go to the park.

Homeschooled children are out interacting all the time. The difference is not that our children aren't being socialized, or are "social misfits" but that more of their socialization experiences are positive. Even when there is conflict, there is more direct adult involvement to help them develop better resolution techniques than can be offered in the public school setting no matter how involved the teachers, simply because of adult to child ratios.
If this Web site encouraged home-schooled children to join after-school clubs at the local school, or participate in sports or other community activities, then I might feel different. Maine state laws, for example, require local school districts to allow home-schooled students to participate in their athletic programs. For this Web site to declare, “forget about it,” is bad advice.

I find this statement particularly ironic considering it's on an NEA website. Because of their hard work, many schools don't allow homeschooled children to be involved in their after-school programs. In fact, it's the NEA stance that homeschooled children should not be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities in public schools, and yet this opinion piece then berates parents for not doing so.

Still, it doesn't have to be offered through the school to be good. I know this would probably come as a shock to Mr. Arnold, but there are Homeschooled sports leagues, choirs, orchestras, bands, drama clubs, debate teams, etc. etc. I know that's surprising from us "social misfits" but what can I say?
When I worked for Wal-Mart more than 20 years ago, Sam Walton once told me: “I can teach Wal-Mart associates how to use a computer, calculator, and how to operate like retailers. But I can’t teach them how to be a teammate when they have never been part of any team.”

Well, I think my last comment pretty much showed how completely wrong Mr. Arnold was in his reasoning about homeschooled children and teams. In addition, my children are learning how to be a part of a team. Their family. Yes, the family is a team, working together to our mutual benefit. It's a novel concept for some of America, but it's true.

“Visit our online bookstore.”

Buying a history, science or math book does not mean an adult can automatically instruct others about the book’s content.

I've said this in other posts, but it bears repeating: If I learned this in your schools, then I should be able to teach it to my children. If the public schools didn't teach me well enough that I can then pass it on, why would I want to subject my children to the same education?
Gullible Parents

You know, while not all of us are, many homeschooled parents are college educated with degrees in everything from communication to education. And I'm resentful that we, who work so hard to be informed and educated about the choices we have made regarding our children's education, can be so easily dismissed as gullible. It's insulting.
Another Web site asks for donations and posts newspaper articles pertaining to problems occurring in public schools.

It’s obvious to me that these organizations are in it for the money. They are involved in the education of children mostly in the hope of profiting at the hands of well-meaning but gullible parents.

Certainly a whole industry has sprung up around homeschooling. This is a Capitalist society, and where there are people to buy there are bound to be suppliers. But, do you honestly think there's no financial benefit to the public school system by having my child in the classroom? The school gets paid for each child who attends their institution.

If you think that money is being spent wisely then perhaps you should look here. The Superintendent in Victorville California will be making $250,000 a year for managing 11,000 students. His salary will now be comparable to the superintendents in LA and NY who manage 750,000 to 1 million students. Money well spent? Hardly. Victorville is also cutting Summer programs because of budget restraints.

Most homeshooling families teach their children at a loss. We pay out our hard earned money for curricula, equipment, field trips, etc. If Mr. Arnold wants to get into a financial debate regarding public vs. home schooling, I guarantee you, the homeschooling side will win.
This includes parents who home-school their children for reasons that may be linked to religious convictions. One Web site that I visited stated that the best way to combat our nation’s “ungodly” public schools was to remove students from them and teach them at home or at a Christian school.

Well, it's certainly easier than trying to undo all the things they learn from their playmates at school. Public schools may be without religion, but they do teach morality and values. Simply without the network of the family's faith, regardless of what that is. The family is then expected to try to weave those teachings in with their faith, a sometimes maddeningly difficult task. So, I'm all for people cutting out that kind of stress.
I’m certainly not opposed to religious schools, or to anyone standing up for what they believe in. I admire anyone who has the strength to stand up against the majority. But in this case, pulling children out of a school is not the best way to fight the laws that govern our education system. No battle has ever been won by retreating!

We haven't retreated. We're simply coming at it from a different angle.
No Training

I think no training makes it easier. Much less we have to un-learn. I've actually heard from a former public school teacher who now homeschools, and she thought her training was a major hindrance in the beginning.
Don’t most parents have a tough enough job teaching their children social, disciplinary and behavioral skills? They would be wise to help their children and themselves by leaving the responsibility of teaching math, science, art, writing, history, geography and other subjects to those who are knowledgeable, trained and motivated to do the best job possible.

Again no one can you assure me that my child's teachers will all be those things in a public school. I know a number of people teaching in public schools with nothing more than an emergency credential. And no one can guarantee me that not only will their teachers be fully qualified in all of those subjects, but will be gifted for teaching as well. They most certainly will not know my child as well as I do, or be able to tailor the curriculum to meet his specific needs.

I'm tempted to tell Mr. Arnold at this point to please keep his opinions to himself in the future, especially when they're so obviously lacking in any formal research or knowledge of the subject. But, somehow I doubt it would do any good.
(Dave Arnold, a member of the Illinois Education Association, is head custodian at Brownstown Elementary School in Southern Illinois.)

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NEA or its affiliates.

Though we all know what the NEA thinks of homeschooling.

Comments from my old blog where this was originally posted:
1 'Ellen' posted on the Sat 29 Sep 2007, 10:15 pm
I'd love to see *any* of "Charles'" assertions backed up by hard research - if their relevance can be shown to an argument against homeschooling at all.

* your children will grow up, and eventually have to interact with those educated in both public and private schools. your children will also interact with a variety of unsavory characters in both urban and rural settings. experience is the best teacher when it comes to dealing with a variety of personalities.

OK, so I guess going to a public school in an urban area prepares you so well for interacting with a private-schooled person from the suburbs (or a rural homeschooler, because that's one of our dear custodian's "acceptable" situations, is it now?), or vice versa.

* homeschooling does not grant most children the range necessary to develop social agility.

Actually, I'd say the ones in formal school will be more likely to be socially impaired than an *appropriately* (insert usual caveats here) homeschooled student. When I started working in the "real world," I did not spend the majority of my time surrounded by people within one year of my age. Rather, the person closest to me in age was seven years my senior, and many of my colleagues were old enough to be my parent, if not my grandparent! Fortunately, I was able to interact appropriately with everyone (I've always had a knack for that ) - and that was not anything that my six years of Catholic school, seven years of public school, or five years of private college taught me. Rather, interactions with my family and environments such as Church and multi-age groups gave me the experience and "range" necessary - opportunities that would not have been lacking if I'd been homeschooled. In fact, it has always been my firm belief that I'd have been better off if I were homeschooled.

* home schooled children in higher education excel when they replicate the self-directed learning environments to which they are accustomed.

The fallacy here is that self-directed learning does not equal learning alone. Self-directed learners will excel in any environment precisely because they can *learn*, as opposed to needing information to be spoonfed to them so that they can regurgitate it on a test, call it knowledge transfer, and perhaps remember some small portion of it out in the "real world."

* this critical and creative group process is where I've seen other home schooled kids fail miserably. unfortunately, the seminar environment also most closely resembles the process that takes place in the work place.

Everybody has different styles - I've seen far too many non-homeschooled kids fail miserably in this type of environment. As for workplace, well, those vary vastly even within an industry, let alone among different industries. I wonder what kind of seminar environment you have fo janitorial work? >:-p

*neurologically we begin to wire ourselves around the prevailing social structure at a very early age. in an environment that emphasizes both academic and social development, a child can gain and lose social status regularly. with each cycle a lesson is learned - and with some insight and perspective - a kid will progress normally through all of youth's social trials.

And this blathering of the obvious shows a need for public or private school... how? This is called life. It happens, unless a child is completely isolated from other humans on a desert island. Contrary to popular belief, that is not what happens when a child is homeschooled.

* a child graduating from a public or private school will have interacted with thousands of people by the time they enter a four year institution.

So will a homeschooled child... and they won't have been raised by those thousands of people, they'll have been raised by their parents, whose job it actually is.

* the variety produces a socially agile person, who understands and relates to a broader array of personality types, lifestyles and backgrounds. It is not fair to throw your child at 16 or 18 out into the world, expecting their intellect alone will help them "catch up."

I think I sufficiently negated this comment above.

* I was home schooled, and it took me quite some time to catch up.

Ah, now we get to the heart of the matter. I'm sorry that everybody doesn't possess the same gifts, and perhaps not all deficiencies are (or can be) sufficiently compensated. I was not homeschooled, but I would have done quite well in that environment - probably better than in any of the schools I went to. Not to say that I didn't do well in school - I just played the hand I was dealt the best I could, using my innate gifts and working hard to compensate where I didn't have them.

Although my oldest is only a pre-schooler, I am already a homeschooling mom. I feel very blessed that I will be able to do this, as I used to work full-time outside the home (in a pretty high-powered career), but we have made lifestyle changes to meet our family's needs. My husband and I are intellectually gifted and quite well-educated, and the education of our two children who already show signs of being gifted (plus any more who come along) has kept me up at night since before they were conceived. If any of them ever want to try school out, feel they might enjoy and do well in that environment, I'm happy to let them. It would be interesting to see what they say, with a factual basis for comparison.

2 'A visitor' posted on the Tue 18 Sep 2007, 7:08 am
I prepared a lengthy response discussing the neuropsychology involved in developing "healthy" social skills, but I've cut it down to a few key points. * your children will grow up, and eventually have to interact with those educated in both public and private schools. your children will also interact with a variety of unsavory characters in both urban and rural settings. experience is the best teacher when it comes to dealing with a variety of personalities. home schooling does not grant most children the range necessary to develop social agility. * home schooled children in higher education excel when they replicate the self-directed learning environments to which they are accustomed. however, more and more universities and colleges are emphasizing collaborative models and seminars where students discuss their insights and present new questions. this critical and creative group process is where I've seen other home schooled kids fail miserably. unfortunately, the seminar environment also most closely resembles the process that takes place in the work place. *neurologically we begin to wire ourselves around the prevailing social structure at a very early age. in an environment that emphasizes both academic and social development, a child can gain and lose social status regularly. with each cycle a lesson is learned - and with some insight and perspective - a kid will progress normally through all of youth's social trials. a child graduating from a public or private school will have interacted with thousands of people by the time they enter a four year institution. the variety produces a socially agile person, who understands and relates to a broader array of personality types, lifestyles and backgrounds. It is not fair to throw your child at 16 or 18 out into the world, expecting their intellect alone will help them "catch up."

I was home schooled, and it took me quite some time to catch up. I see other home schooled kids on campus all the time. I can spot them from a mile away. It makes me sad. Some of us have done really well, either because of determination, personality or how we were raised. Maybe a combination of all those things and more. Find ways to get your kid out there. In the real world they'll be exposed to plenty of unsavory characters, or ideas that they feel conflicted about. Make sure they have flexible minds, are open to change, know how to have fun, and can play with a decent group of kids on a playgroup.

3 'AnneBasso' posted on the Wed 22 Aug 2007, 5:17 pm
Part of being a good homeschooling parent is knowing how to take advantage of available resources. When my son was having trouble with some basic Math concepts, I got him software that allowed him to experience them in a different way (through visual, auditory, and tactile stimulation). I still have the software, and it might come in handy, but now I have another resource. My sister, who has been teaching Elementary school for some years now, moved into a Math specialty and is now helping a company develop new Math curricula for public schools. She's a wealth of information, tricks, and tips.

My resources aren't everyone's, but homeschoolers have a broad network. I might not be good at Math, but know someone from a playgroup or co-op who is and is willing to share time with my child. My oldest child was doing basic algebra in the fourth grade, something I didn't get to until Jr. High. So, thus far I think we're doing well.

4 'A visitor' posted on the Wed 22 Aug 2007, 4:35 pm
I am a former college math teacher. In my experience working with homeschooled students I found that many were very good math students. However, I had a number who were very poor math students but very good in other subjects. It seemed that those who had at least one parent who good at math were also adequately prepared for college level mathematics. However, some were not so fortunate. Their parents did not have a good math background and couldn't provide the help that was needed. I realize this is not the case in every such situation.
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5 'A visitor' posted on the Tue 6 Feb 2007, 12:33 pm
My neice has been accepted at Franciscan, she was homeschooled until her freshman year, when she started attending The Lyceum, a very small classical Liberal-arts Catholic high school on the east side of Cleveland.

*They practically recruited her when they saw her test scores were off the charts! Yeah, those homeschoolers are just antisocial nerds with no practical knowledge and nothing to offer society.

6 'A visitor' posted on the Mon 5 Feb 2007, 7:28 pm
Kinda funny...This gentleman works in a school district that is about an hour from my hometown. We pass it while drivin our short bus each time we go back to my home area...

I think next time we are in the area, I may give him a call and see if he would like to mett some 'non professional' teachers with six social misfits...Maybe after he meets them, he'll realize the social misfit is looking at him in the mirror.
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7 'A visitor' posted on the Mon 15 Jan 2007, 10:52 pm
Wow! I had missed this until tonight (we've been getting back into the groove after Christmas break.) I shared the NEA page with hubby, then yours.

One thing a lot of people forget is that "traditional" public schooling is a relatively new concept in the history of the world, even in this country.

School originated in the home. It still does, if you consider that we teach our children from the moment they are born. We teach them right from wrong, we teach them love and we teach them basics. We even help them learn to do things for themselves, to learn educational matters and so much more.

As far as socialization goes, I will admit to getting my feathers in a ruffle over this one. I now see how well "socialized" my children are. Think we meet more people and see more "educational" things now than ever.

I applaud teachers everywhere. I know several public school teachers, some private school teachers and now, a lot of homeschool teachers. It's not an easy job no matter where you teach. I don't think any of us deserve to be belittled or mistreated because of our choice. This man needs to thank a teacher somewhere that he learned to read and write, instead of slamming parents who made the choice they believed best for their children.

8 'A visitor' posted on the Tue 28 Nov 2006, 9:15 pm

I agree with all your comments as you disect this silly little NEA hissy-fit. Just found your blog and really like it---I feel like I'm looking in a mirror. Anyway, I'm the oldest person I know of (39years) who was homeschooled from 2nd grade to junior college, so I have a varied experience. It's difficult to say this without sounding either patronizing or arrogant, but frankly, I was academically and socially far ahead of most of my university-mates (and some professors)!

Since things have only gotten worse in the system over the years, my husband and I are confident in our choice to "unschool" our four children, especially considering their very different personalities and learning styles. I would also like to mention that for myself and others who may feel unqualified in a particular subject, it's the simplest thing in the world to arrange lessons once a week or so---music, art, ballet, or foreign language.

9 'Tracey' posted on the Fri 3 Nov 2006, 4:28 pm
I find it incredible that they tout the abilities of professionals so much! Really?? Professional teachers in our school district so badly want to be the children's friends that they go out back and smoke with the kids on a "no smoking" campus. Go figure.

10 'A visitor' posted on the Fri 3 Nov 2006, 4:27 pm
I find it incredible that they tout the abilities of professionals so much! Really?? Professional teachers in our school district so badly want to be the children's friends that they go out back and smoke with the kids on a "no smoking" campus. Go figure.

11 'A visitor' posted on the Sun 20 Aug 2006, 7:12 pm
Anne, your comments on the NEA article ABSOLUTELY ROCK AND I'D HUG YOUR NECK RIGHT NOW IF YOU WERE HERE. I found this article on NEA's website by accident while researching homeschooling issues -- have a friend who's thinking about trying it and I'm trying to give her all sides of the story, i.e. how pig-headed the NEA is about us "amateurs" -- and when I found your 'blog with your comments I couldn't stop high-fiving the air. Thanks for brightening my day!

12 'A visitor' posted on the Wed 12 Jul 2006, 10:10 am
Read this article and tell me: are THESE professionals??? I don't know everything about everything to teach my daughters, but homeschooling means keeping them safe from the school "professionals" aka drug pushers in the school systems. ~Dawn *************

The Patriot Ledger Sunday, July 09, 2006

School worker pressured parent, allowed ADHD evaluation of student without parental consent
By JACK ENCARNACAO The Patriot Ledger

WEYMOUTH - A state department of education investigation concluded that a veteran adjustment counselor at the Thomas Hamilton Primary School violated federal law when she allowed a special education evaluation of a student without parental consent.

The mother pulled her children out of the school over the incident, said Andre Afonso, deputy director of the Massachusetts Citizens Commission on Human Rights, where the mother initially brought her complaints.

The commission on Human Rights was established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology to investigate psychiatric violations of human rights.

‘‘This is a big issue right now with us,’’ Afonoso said. ‘‘Bypassing the written consent law ... it can lead to (unnecessary) drugging in the schools.’’

Under a law enacted in 1998 called the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, a student can not be required to submit to an evaluation of mental or psychological problems without prior written consent of a parent.

The state board of education also has a similar regulation about parental consent.

The state’s investigation followed complaints from the student’s mother that for three years the adjustment counselor pressured her to medicate her daughter for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The student’s mother, who was not named in documents about the case and did not respond to a call for comment, did not give verbal or written permission for a mental evaluation, only for an academic evaluation.

‘‘The district acknowledged parental consent was not obtained for the administration of this test,’’ reads a letter from the department of education to the Weymouth school district.

In an affidavit filed with the commission, the mother said the counselor, Cora Hall, acted ‘‘outside of the scope of her job description and her unrelenting harassment over these past three years (have been) outside the legal barrier.’’

The mother was studying to become a nurse, and sensed something was wrong with the way her daughter was evaluated.

‘‘She knew her rights,’’ Afonso said of the mother.

The state investigation concluded that Hall, a 30-year veteran of school counseling, administered a test called the Connors’ Teacher Rating Scale in April 2005 to detect signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the student, a first grader who was enrolled in a special education class due to a speech delay.

‘‘I do think I rushed,’’ Hall said. ‘‘I regret that because we don’t want to alienate parents, we don't want to upset anybody.’’

Hall said a teacher, not her, conducted the evaluation with her direction.

The state concluded that no punishment is necessary. But officials did require the school district to hold review and training sessions on the issue, which were held in March.

‘‘The penalty is more corrective action to address whatever violations were in place,’’ said Nate Mackinnon, a spokesman for the state Department of Education. ‘‘If a district were to decide not to comply (with corrective action), then we'd take additional steps. But typically with situations like this, the law tends to be rather complex, and it’s more about ensuring that it doesn't happen in the future.’’

13 'A visitor' posted on the Tue 23 May 2006, 1:12 am
I found your blog/post from said article. I just posted about it, in case you are interested.

14 'A visitor' posted on the Tue 7 Mar 2006, 8:45 pm
I am in the United Kingdom.

I took my son out of school at age 11 (4 months into his first year at senior school).

His infant and junior schooling (age 5 to 11) were a complete disaster.

The OFSTED (government inspection) report stated that the SAT results (not to be confused with the American SATs) were appalling and were likely to have been far worse were it not for the considerable amount of home tutoring many of the children had been given.

A new head teacher improved the situation but too late for my son and many of the other children.

I thank God that we have a choice and that I made that choice albeit rather late in the day.

15 'A visitor' posted on the Tue 17 Jan 2006, 9:59 am
I pulled my daughter out of first grade in public school to homeschool. Since then, I feel like my life is finally enjoyable. I have a reason to live actually. Homeschooling is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done in my life. My daughter is happy again, like she used to be, eager to read and learn, and we as a family are finally living peacefully. My K-12 years were the worst years of my life. I have spent the last 13 years of my life in prayer, and reflection working hard to chip away at all of the "crap" I had internalized growing up. Not all schools are bad, but at least where we live, I know that teachers are not paid nearly enough (my husband is a teacher). They at least in this district leave alot of the teaching to substitutes, and many teachers do not stay longer than 5 years. I started to see issues with my daughter in school, and I simply wasn't willing to put her through the hell I went through. What amazes me with people like the custodian who wrote that article, is that they assume a piece of paper, such as a degree automatically certifies a person to be more qualified than a parent. Information is available to EVERYONE, and money and time spent on living up to someone else's standards doesn't make a perfect stranger more qualified than the child's God-given teacher. I was in college for three years and dropped out due to lack of money. However, I know how to read, and speak. I know my child better than anyone else. Change makes people uncomfortable. Your response to the article made me very happy, and I shall print it out...... thank you.

16 'A visitor' posted on the Sat 17 Dec 2005, 4:13 pm
Well, yeppy... guess. There is nothing wrong then. :) Merry Chirstmas Anne!

17 'AnneBasso' posted on the Thu 15 Dec 2005, 8:10 pm
Cherry, I've made it quite clear both here and in other posts on home and public schooling, that I'm the daughter of two public school teachers and the sister of another. I don't have an issue with public schools, nor have I ever stated so. My problem is with those who would infringe upon my right as a parent to educate my children in the way I believe is best for them.

18. 'A visitor' posted on the Thu 15 Dec 2005, 6:55 pm
Oh also... Happy Holidays everyone! :)

19 'A visitor' posted on the Thu 15 Dec 2005, 6:04 pm
Wat I think about Homeschooling vs. public education is... they are all equal. I am not religions because everything have their right and wrongs. What I believe is everything is balanced out. That brings me to the topic on Ann and Dave's articles I read. I do agree Dave went too far on the anti-homeschooling point of view. I am in High School and I am doing an essay on the topic homeschooling vs. public education based on the United States constitution... on the freedom of the press, speech, and religion. The informations I got for my essay are pretty good. I came across my third article today about how should the public and the homeschooling be working together and I found it very interesting. Quote: 'Homeschoolers and the public school system can comfortably and successfully co-exist' ( And I believe it's true, if it's done right without ppl fighting over each other *coughs* hmm hmm. Then a little while later I came across my Article 5 which it had the possitives and the negatives listed of homeschooling and public education that made me more convinced to believe my point of view that both are equal... the article I found:( I believe in homeschooling and public education because I had homeschool and public eaducation all before. I accept the facts of both(the goods and the bads). If this can't help you guys come out of your dark mist. Well maybe it's time to grab another topic to argue on... abortion? Women's right? In conclusion of my point of view... no one is EVER right! Wat would be better it is... that we could accept each other's point of view and respect each others different thought. Why because we are all created differently... it's not wat makes us different it's learning, to be willing to accept each other. ~chirp .

20 'A visitor' posted on the Tue 15 Nov 2005, 9:35 pm
My goodness! I cannot believe that NEA would even publish Mr. Arnold's article. It is absolute rubbish.Does he have children of his own? Has he taught? Tutored? Has he really listened to the conversations of the kids in public schools, noticed their lack of respect for and lack of interest in just about everything of value, noticed that these kids are just screaming for some care and direction and not getting it?

I plan to homeschool our three kids - the oldest is in kindergarten at our church, with ten students in his class and two teachers. They are such wonderful teachers - patient and caring. If the church continued schooling past kindergarten, our children would go there. However, they don't want to deal with following state (etc) rules about curriculum, schedules (just stay on schedule and never mind the kids who just aren't "getting it"), timing and how many days and hours per year school must be in session.

My husband and I have had our own business for about 15 years. He works from the office and runs the operation, I consult from home by phone and email. My husband is also a certified Nurseryman (has nothing to do with our company), so our son, and his 3 yr old brother and sister, know the names of all of the birds who visit our bird feeder, - even recognizing the male and female - and we carefully watch the bird houses so we don't miss the fledgling flights of the babies. Our kids know the names of various trees and bushes, they know the difference between a carpenter bee and a honey bee - and which bees they can safely hold in their hands in order to hear them buzz. They know several different herbs that I grow and what foods I use them in. They've all helped with the planning, planting and harvesting of our gardens, and enjoy eating fruits and vegetables that most kids won't touch. They know their alphabet, the oldest can count to 100 by ones, and tens and ALMOST has by fives down, they know the days of the week, months of the year, shapes, directionals - and all because I used my friend's used preschool curriculum and taught my kids in a non-pressured way. It was fun, and they could dance and sing while learning! We decided to put our oldest in kindergarten, because we fell for the "socialization" issue, and thought he needed it.

During our first Parent/Teacher conference yesterday, we had confirmed for us what we had known for a long time: that our 5 yr old is very energetic, always wants to be first (to the point of doing sloppy work just to get it done), cannot sit still for any length of time and has a difficult time focusing unless constantly reminded. With all that, he is extremely bright and retains a lot of information if it's presented in such a way that appeals to him. Fortunately, the teachers at the church have the time and constitution to provide that. I know that in a public school, we would not be that fortunate. I mentioned to his teacher that I was aware of everything she mentioned, and that I planned on homeschooling him from 1st grade. She was very supportive and agreed with me that, even though our son is smart, because of the way he learns (always in motion) he would most likely be in a lot of trouble in a traditional school setting. I have tried teaching him by making him sit still (don't tap the pencil, quit whistling, stop wiggling your legs, keep your eyes on your paper, sit up straight) and it just doesn't work. He expends so much energy holding himself back that he cannot listen to what I'm saying. So, then, I took him outside, placed objects around the yard (a truck, a ball, a frisbee) and told him he could run as fast as he could from one to the other (I placed them FAR apart) as long as he gave me the right answers to the math questions I shouted out to him. This was not in anything I had ever read - I was simply at my wits' end and decided to give in. He grinned, and answered everything correctly, had a great time running around and asked to do it again the next day. That night, he said "thanks for letting me do math baseball, Mom" (he named it, I didn't) "and thanks for letting me run around. I don't like sitting at the table too much, Mom,it makes me feel like I'm going to pop!"

Now - what school, public or private, is going to cater to needs like that? To discover how kids learn and teach them what they need to know, just in a different way - a way that they respond to? There is so much information available to those who want to school their own children, or for those who want to school themselves. And who better to continue to teach the children we've already taught to walk, talk, hold a spoon, say the alphabet, the days of the week, their phone # and address, their full name, how to put a puzzle together, how to dress themselves, which is their left and right foot, than the parents? I fully support those parents who have no choice but to put their kids in public or private schools, and can only hope that they are totally involved in their kids' educations. I know some who are, and it is quite a sacrifice of time and energy that they have little of at the end of a work day. And I know some stay-at-home moms who still put their kids in public schools simply so they (the moms) can continue their tennis lessons, getting their nails done, shopping, etc. I really don't understand why they had kids at all, and feel rather sorry for their kids - to whom they are, in essence, saying "well, I'm not doing anything of importance during the day, but I'm not the least bit interested in spending it teaching YOU, so.... here's your lunch money, don't miss the bus".

And, as for socialization... well, I don't want my kids learning anything from their peers. Kids are pretty foolish beings, and the Bible does have something to say about fools keeping company. No good comes from it.My kids spend most of their time with my husband and I, their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and a spattering of cousins and well-chosen playmates - some older, some younger. My intention is that our kids learn to behave properly no matter who they are around. That they are able to have a conversation with anyone, look them in the eye, shake hands properly, show respect, have a good sense of humor and love to learn. The movement is so large and strong, that there is no way a homeschooled child won't have sports, music, art, theatre, public service or any other experience they might like to have in their lives. There's just too much out there, if you just take the time to look.

Now - keep in mind that I said was going to start homeschooling from 1st grade. I've been researching it ever since our first child was born (5 yrs ago) and I finally understand that I CAN do this. Will it be hard? Yes. Will I get frustrated? You bet. Will I have good days and bad days? Absolutely. But, I have all that, anyway, in just being a Mom. And, I have a lot of support in my circle of friends who have homeschooled for anywhere from 5 to 15 years. I love being the one to see the lightbulb go off when my kids understand something, so looking forward to being with them as we learn new things, so looking forward to learning right along with them the things that I missed in my own schooling (history, for example, in my school experience, was taught in such a scattered way that I came away not really knowing what came first and why. I only had to memorize facts long enough to pass the tests. The curriculum I've looked at - mostly from a Christian perspective, which is the way I'm going - takes history from the beginning, so you can fit it all together, like a puzzle. It's fascinating - and I think my kids will think so, too!). I do not think that I had a terrible public or private school experience. I just don't think it was very effective or challenging or interesting. As a parent, of course I want more for our kids. I think that's what homeschooling is all about: having the option of offering our children more than just what other people think should be offered and in a way that works for our individual families.

So - I'll get off my soapbox now.

21 'A visitor' posted on the Wed 2 Nov 2005, 5:35 pm
I just finished reading the article by Mr. Head Custodian... He is DEFINITELY NOT dealing with the public school issues I am dealing with. My now 6th grade, 11 yo daughter is being 'threatened' with expulsion from public school. She is a behavioral problem at school. There are TWO seriously school related reasons for this, first off, the teachers are not equipped to deal with the kids as 'individuals' and secondly, she's gotten too MUCH knowledge and experience in some areas (college level reading ability and comprehension) and not enough in other areas (doesn't know how to tell time on a nondigital clock, can't do simple math in her head, doesn't know the concept of calculating change from a dollar bill) She is now at a point in her educational experience where her lack of the basics in some areas is hindering her ability to move forward in those subjects that will require the basics later on and not being challenged enough and growing bored with being held back in the areas in which she excels. Now, Mr. Head Custodian, I have a GOOD one for you: I was just told by a highly educated with masters degree in child psychology 'counselor' that "Public schools are little more than educational factories that require ALL CHILDREN, regardless of age, to conform to assembly line means of education" In other words (he's not well informed, so he may not get this without explanation), each grade has set 'requirements' for what needs to be taught each year to a specific state guideline in a specific manner that is identical to every single other classroom within each state.

I just came from a meeting with 'administrators' from my daughters school who inform me that I am wrong to consider homeschooling and should therefore place my child into a private school so she recieves PROPER education. Where do they get off telling a single mother who recieves ZERO child support and must raise her kids on a SINGLE income that she should place her child into an expensive (minimum $4000 in my area) private school when its just not economically possible? I can pay $100 for a Sonlight Curriculum teachers guide and go to the public library for the 'texts' that are required for their curriculum with little to no outlay of cash.

UGH!!! Just irritates me that people lump together generalizations that just don't fit all situations. Just my two cents!

22 'A visitor' posted on the Mon 17 Oct 2005, 6:24 pm
Mr. Arnold is obviously a product of the public education system and he is a custodian--a janitor. Right, now, if the public education he got is so much better than the homeschooling option, why does he sweep floors and take out trash for a living-not that there's anything wrong with that but it hardly gives him ground to bash homeschooling. I really want more than that for my kids.

23 'A visitor' posted on the Mon 26 Sep 2005, 2:42 pm
I am a former home schooler (K-12!) and am now a college sophomore, pursueing an education degree. I have friends, I am well-adjusted, and I am currently carrying a 4.0. Mr. Arnold's article made me so mad. He does not know what he's talking about.

24 'A visitor' posted on the Tue 13 Sep 2005, 6:49 pm
Arnold should go read The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher by John Taylor Gatto,New York State Teacher of the Year, 1991 He might change his tune,or he might stay a sheep,as he was taught in school, also I work as a custodian for the state, and it only requires an 8th grade education. Most of us have much higher education they that however.

25 'A visitor' posted on the Mon 12 Sep 2005, 10:08 pm
P.S. The space after "il" in the link above needs to be removed.

26 'A visitor' posted on the Mon 12 Sep 2005, 10:00 pm
Here is a rather interesting link showing the results of children being educated by "those who have worked steadily at their profession for 10, 20, 30 years! Teachers!" at the wonderful public school where Mr. Arnold works.

The writing scores are 22 percentage points below the state average for the 3rd grade and 31 percentage points below for 5th grade.

If that wasn't depressing enough, scroll down to the bottom of the link. Only 20% of the 3rd grade males are meeting or exceeding the state standard. I guess they haven't implemented "No child left behind" for the remaining 80% of the boys. Also, the girls fall from 57% meeting or exceeding the standard in the 3rd grade to 50% in the 5th grade.

I think Brownstown Elementary should hire some "well-meaning amateurs" as consultants as quickly as possible.

27 'AnneBasso' posted on the Sun 14 Aug 2005, 10:58 am
A. I see your point. But I feel that it's very important that homeschooling families be both visible and vocal. First, because it will help the public to see that we are normal, healthy families with good children. Secondly, because the people who read our blogs, and meet us on the street, as well as our friends and neighbors may be asked to vote on topics relevant to us as homeschoolers. I don't see it as insecurity, but a necessity.

I do, however, agree that we should be pooling our resources and talents and encouraging one another. I think our blogs, support groups, and other organizations are accomplishing that task well. I'm certainly grateful that I'm homeschooling now, and not 20 years ago when it was all much more difficult.

28 'A visitor' posted on the Sat 13 Aug 2005, 9:41 pm

I'll try this again!

Are we homeschoolers truly so insecure that we would allow ourselves even to be diverted a moment from our task of raising and educating our children? Having read the Arnold article and various blog rebuttals here and elsewhere, I am inclined to say that we as homeschooling families travel down a slippery slope when we respond. (In doing so, aren't we, in effect, giving them power over us?) There will always be detracters. Let our attitude be, "That is their opinion. My focus is my children; I will not be side-tracked."

Wouldn't our time be better spent encouraging each other and sharing our considerable collective expertise with one another? No amount of finger-pointing...from either side...will bring about meaningful dicussion. Let's do the work set before us with a good will and let the results speak for themselves.

29 'A visitor' posted on the Fri 12 Aug 2005, 9:42 pm
{Comment Deleted}

Please use either a valid e-mail address or URL when responding to blog posts.

30 'A visitor' posted on the Tue 9 Aug 2005, 10:56 pm
J. makes a fabulous point. Parents know their children best (at least, attentive parents do) and it made me feel better after reading such drivel from that custodian. My son was diagnosed with mild-to-moderate ADHD (that's how the specialist put it) in first grade. He's now going into fourth and I have been "fighting an uphill battle" during the last three school years. All of his teachers have been very good and I respect all of them, but, unfortunately, they are not prepared to deal with a child who needs just a little attention to keep him on task. When I chose not to medicate my son and chose behavioral modification instead, I was subtly stone-walled. I felt like they were telling me that their way is the only way. The school would not evaluate him using the guidelines that the specialist recommended. I would provide lists for him to use during the day to help him remember things - the teachers didn't use them. I asked for weekly assignments ahead of time, so I could teach him the responsibility of preparation and got nowhere with that idea. All in all, I tried so many things only to find no cooperation on the other end. It always came down to pressure, again, very subtly, to medicate. My son hates school and says that it's boring - at least that's what he's told me all Summer. We're going to see how this year goes, but I'm researching now to help decide if homeschooling might be an option for us the following year (I'm a single, working Mom so we're talking about some major life changes). I know my son best, and I don't think that most of the teachers' complaints were unusual for a bright, active, and bored child.

31 'A visitor' posted on the Tue 2 Aug 2005, 3:12 pm
I’m certainly not opposed to religious schools, or to anyone standing up for what they believe in. I admire anyone who has the strength to stand up against the majority. But in this case, pulling children out of a school is not the best way to fight the laws that govern our education system. No battle has ever been won by retreating!

If Mr. Arnold had been homeschooled, he might have learned that the Russians defeated Hitler's forces by doing just that -- retreating. As they drew back time and time again, Hitler's forces pursued them. Hitler's men were not prepared for the real enemy -- winter in the USSR. They were soon defeated -- or rather frozen. Even so, I think this was a poor analogy as we are not retreating. We are choosing what is best for our children. I never pulled any of my 6 children out of school. They were never part of the system in the first place. I think it is interesting that the NEA would post this letter written by a custodian. Why didn't they choose a "professional teacher?"

32 'AnneBasso' posted on the Fri 29 Jul 2005, 8:07 am
My parents were public school teachers, and my sister is. I have watched them spend their own money to decorate their classrooms and even buy necessary supplies. I've seen them take papers to jury duty, and work during vacation. I believe most teachers to be dedicated professionals. And I believe that public school is the right choice for some families, just as private school is for others and homeschooling is for ours.

I think our defensiveness is from ridiculous attacks, an intrusive government, and the idea that we're pedophiles or child abusers whose children are falling through the cracks.

Plenty of abused children walk around in public school every day, and no one notices. It is not simply the job of teachers to discover abuse. It is our job to be observant as members of the community. Neighbors can report suspected abuse, as can extended family, church workers, friends, or healthcare professionals. Abused children are everywhere, and I don't think are any more likely with homeschooling vs. public schooling.

Your feelings regarding a homeschooler you know is at best anecdotal, and truly no reflection on the average homeschooler. I have to agree with the previous commenters, I think the research is pretty conclusive that overall, homeschooled children do beautifully.

But if you want the other side of homeschooling, here it is: It's hard. Everyone isn't always on board. Kids don't always feel like learning. It's much more work to plan lessons yourself. And sometimes, it's frustrating watching your child struggle with an idea.

For me, being able to watch when that idea is finally grasped, is worth that extra work. And I wouldn't give up the chance to see that for anything.

I think parenting is generally like that. Well, anything truly special and rewarding in fact, is probably going to be more work.

33 'A visitor' posted on the Thu 28 Jul 2005, 10:58 pm
Carole said "Teachers do not teach for the pay or the vacation (which there isn't much of). They do it because they love what they are trained to do."

Oh Carole please tell me you are not that naive. Don't you know anyone IRL that works for little pay and little benefits just because they have to? Even if they hate their job they still go everyday right? Perhaps our own Mr. Arnold could fill you in on that? I'm sure that as head custodian he finds absolute joy in overseeing all the toilet scrubbers and floor moppers but what about his subordinates? Do you think all the people that answer to Mr. Arnold are jumping out of bed with a smile on their face every morning to go work a stinky job for even stinkier money?

Well, at least custodians deal with chemicals that keep them in a semi-state of bliss. I think the NEA has outlawed it's members using white out for fear the teachers might find solace in the little black and white bottle when the 30 or so twelve year olds he/she is teaching form a coup and try to oust him/her.

34 'Jennifer' posted on the Thu 28 Jul 2005, 10:21 pm
Perhaps homeschoolers are on the defensive because they are constantly being attacked for doing what they believe is best for their children... and being attacked with pretty unsophisticated arguments at that (like socialization, religious intolerance on the part of the parents, hyper-controlling lifestyles, parents not qualified to teach their own children etc.) Fortunately, we live in America where we are free to do what is in our children's best interest. Homeschooling is not, I repeat, NOT for everyone. Only those who are 150% committed to homeschooling should even consider it.

And believe me, PLENTY of abused children fall through the cracks in public and private schools.

Taking an extra 30 units of "education" classes doesn't do nearly as good a job in preparing teachers as actuall field experience. Those classes teach theory at best. I don't know one teacher (and I know many) who would suggest that what they learned in the classroom was more valuable than actually getting out there and teaching! We are grown ups after all... most of us learn by doing.

35 'A visitor' posted on the Thu 28 Jul 2005, 8:43 pm


first off each and every thing you have said about the dark side of homeschooling is true. Sadly, many homeschool parents do get defensive when you ask them questions. It comes from sometimes years of having others second guess what is right for your children. Do I wish I had been given the option to homeschool when I was growing up? Hell yes, instead I got a mother who was not even interested in helping me pick My courses in high school. I took the path of Homeschooling Mom with a twist. My State did something a little different. It's called virtual online academy. they provide the ciriculim, books, computer, printer, supplies as well as a full time teacher I can reach with any questions about lessons I have. But I still have the final say in what is taught to My children. There was a lesson in history this past year about the civil war or the war between the states. One line troubled Me. It states that the only reason for the civil war was slavery. Had My daughter been taught that in traditional school I would have had to undermine her teacher by explaining that there were in fact other things that added to the outbreak of the civil war as well as having to add several other valuable points in other lessons(namly the contributions of many black inventors and the fact that the first black pilot who was a woman was killed about 50 miles from our house).

Now all that being said. You can look at the spelling and geography bees....math and science fairs and see that consistantly home schoolers are walking away with the top honors. I mean look at the admissions numbers to some of the best colleges and you will homeschooled children being sought out left and right. This is not just something homeschool parents do...this is who We are. I can only speak for myself but seeing My 7 year old read a book to her little sister brings back that bliss I had looking down at her in the hospital right after she was born. Homeschooling is like all the rest of parenting, you have your bad days and your good days. In the end it's just our hope that We raise well adjusted polite children with a passion for learning

as for your earlier comment about science not being taught. Personally My daughter has been to the museum of natural history 3 times last year and the Museum of Science and history once. She had her trip to NASA cancelled at the last minute because of weather. She also ownes her own telescope and microscope. Can tell you all the stages of a butterfly from Larva to butterfly. As things go I will keep doing what I am doing. I rather like knowing all her questions will be answered. I mean if I don't know I have no trouble finding the answer somewhere. Isn't the internet great!

36 'A visitor' posted on the Thu 28 Jul 2005, 6:21 pm
Why then do teachers have a degree in Education? Why do they have to continually take classes to renew their certification? Teachers do not teach for the pay or the vacation (which there isn't much of). They do it because they love what they are trained to do. We may not agree with every teacher's philosophy, (more hands-on, more worksheets etc.) and that is where I think most of the teacher bashing comes into play.

I think the statistics on homeschooling are inconclusive. Not all homeschool parents test their kids. Not all report the scores. How can we really know the statitistics if we don't have all the data?

I personally know homeschool parents (from church) that have kids that need speech, don't teach science because they aren't comfortable, and don't do the social things because they don't like hs groups. One has a son in 2nd grade that still can't write a sentence (I'm not an expert but I think he should be able to do that by now) and isn't concerned about it. What about the kids that are abused because parents say they are homeschooling and keep them inside where nobody can see? (I'm not saying all homeschoolers do these things, in fact it is probably a VERY small percentage), but these things are not ever reported and that is scary.

I've been researching hs vs. ps to decide where to place my children and one thing really sticks out to me... HS parents are VERY defensive about what they do. I have a hard time finding information from the other perspective.

I think it is our job as parents to make our own decisions about educating our children. I don't personally have anything against either side. I just find it irritating that it has to be such a one-sided debate

37 'Jennifer' posted on the Thu 28 Jul 2005, 9:43 am
BTW- do you know how many PhD's I've seen misspell the most basic words? Its ridiculous and embarrassing for them.

And I never meant to suggest that Anne is a bad speller. I meant to say something more like the following:

I love how people think that making a few spelling errors in a blog post somehow disqualifies you from teaching your own children how to spell. Quick, spell antidisestablishmentarianism real fast without looking it up! BTW- I didn't... look it up that is.

38 'Jennifer' posted on the Thu 28 Jul 2005, 9:35 am
I love how people think that being a bad speller means you're somehow unqualified to teach your own children how to spell. Is anyone out there naive enough to believe that elemetary school teachers make it up as they go along? Its called a curriculum book. Its practically got the whole day scripted.

39 'AnneBasso' posted on the Wed 27 Jul 2005, 9:23 pm
Well, Curious, I make absolutely no appology for my misspellings. I often write in a hurry, and while managing lessons, nursing a toddler and managing other household tasks. I think the fact that this blog is legible at all is a small miracle.

40 'A visitor' posted on the Wed 27 Jul 2005, 9:15 pm there a reason you misspelled "amateurs" in the title of this article?

Was the original title of the article on the NEA site misspelled at one time? If so, it has since been corrected.

41 'A visitor' posted on the Mon 25 Jul 2005, 3:38 pm
Do you know what I find most amusing? That a head custodian (wouldn't that be a "janitor") does not see the irony in telling parents that because they are not trained to teach, they shouldn't be teachers.

Wouldn't the *ahem* question be: "Why is a janitor criticizing parents for teaching their children?"

42 'A visitor' posted on the Mon 25 Jul 2005, 2:45 pm
I too was lucky enough to see the link off of Neal's news to this piece of &*(&T&^%. I happen to live in Florida in a rual community( yes virgina We do have "country") My Mother in law pushed for "socialization" so I caved with my oldest daughter and amended my plans to home school her by sending her to Pre-K4 at a Private religious school. Soon came the notes from the teacher talking about My daughter who had never been away from me spitting on other children, lieing, and refuseing to join blending letters or read a number chart from left to right. Big suprise she was showing signs of Dyslexia. I fought with the school board in My county to get her tested. Even haveing the head of the special Ed school ask Me if I could read when I asked to make sure that all My request forms were filled out properly. My district is very very bad about not setting apointments if a period is missing. at the end of the testing, of which She was the first to take, I was told My daughter was showing all the markings but was scoring too highly in all other areas to warrent them helping her.

Moral of the story. Good bye private school and public school. After two years of home schooling I have a 7 year old who has learned to cope with dyslexia, loves to read, will be in the second grade come the fall but will be takeing 3rd grade math. Why you might ask? Because I quit My job, stayed home and taught My daughter what she needed to know to make it work for her. I helped My little girl earn the greatest gift a parent could, a love of reading. Now as far as being qualified. My Husband was an AP and Honor's student as well as going to school for Nuclear engineering. I on the other hand was in the giftd program while in public school. I think between the two of us We might be able to give Our girls a well rounded education.

Yes, at times it would be easier for Me to send them to public school. Would they be doing as well. I highly doubt it. My landlady is a teacher. She supports My hard work and even homeschools her teenage daughter(who is currently takeing her 4th semester of college courses at the local Jr. College.

After reading this blog and having time to cool down I can only feel pity for the NEA and Mr. Arnold. Parents are slowly wakeing up and seeing what has been done to the public school system and they are not happy at all. All I can say is keep up the good fight Ya'll. We can win one Bright well adjusted child at a time

*what does a public school educated adultcall a homeschooled Adult?


43 'A visitor' posted on the Mon 25 Jul 2005, 11:12 am
Here's my take on it..... This guy works with teachers all the time and he wrote that silly piece as a way to kiss their -- oops, I meant pat their backs. The fact is that some public school teachers are threatened by homeschooling and they take a "How dare they!" attitude. If it's true that most any parent can successfully educate their own child, then they face the fact that they have a job not because of years of training and finely-honed skills.... but just because most parents have other things to do. In other words, they face the reality that teaching is just part of child-raising, and they are glorified baby sitters.

So the defense against such an ugly reality, is to claim that the average parent is NOT capable of educating their own children. "Well-Meaning Amateurs?" How patronizing.

His analogy is horrifically flawed:

1. He compares teaching to car repair, which assumes that all students are broken and in need of fixing. This is, in fact, not the case. Most students are born with the ability to learn. When a student is "broken", even "the professionals" get help outside the teaching profession.

2. He compares the parent with the user (driver) of the car. He forgets that the parent is the MAKER of the car. Parents not only provide the physical stuff children are made of, but also create the early environment that makes children what they are. Parents are a child's earliest teachers. A child who appears on the schools steps ready for kindergarten has already been taught, formed, and guided by 5 solid years of continual teaching by those people he calls "wannabes." Saying that parents have no business "repairing" their own children is like saying that Ford has no business repairing Mustangs. Leave it to the professionals at Maxi Muffler, Ford, cause you're only going to screw it up!

In fact, the whole "wannabe" slam backfires. Being a parent is natural, and teaching your own offspring is so basic that even the animals do it. It is professional teachers who are in some sense, wannabes. They have created an institution based on artificial relationships, and then they want to act as if those relationships are necessary to normal human development.

Oh and I like how he says socialization can't be taught. Obviously he doesn't know what socialization is. Socialization is, by its very nature, always taught. But hey, if it can't be taught, why is he so worried about having the teachers teach it? Somethings out of whack here. Methinks our friend has been sniffing too many cleaning agents.

44 'A visitor' posted on the Mon 25 Jul 2005, 9:17 am
The article on the NEA website really made me hot. I got the link from the Neal Boortz website.

I homeschool 2 of my children because our prestigious school district couldn't. One of my sons has autism. He was bullied daily by other children in his "special ed" classes. He had things thrown at him, he was hit, kicked, had his glasses broken, etc., but the teachers never saw any of it. Funny, other people did and these kids doing it weren't really hiding it.

They had my son in special ed classes with kids that were there for behavioral issues or kids that were slow learners. My son has a near genius IQ. They had him in a reading class for kids reading at a 4th grade level in 6th grade. My son reads at an out of college level. The excuse was that that was the class where they had the largest student to teacher ratio and that they would just give him work to do on his own. How is it better for him to be sitting in a class where a teacher is teaching children something below his level while he is trying to concentrate and read a book they gave him to read to pass the time better than me teaching him at home work that is on his level? And yes, I know that is a run-on sentence!

The final straw was when a school resource officer (a sheriff deputy) took him away in handcuffs for stimming. She took him to a mental institution to be committed under our state's "Baker Act" for people who are in danger of harming themselves. She was told that there was no problem by a principal and a behavioral specialist that worked with my son at school but she refused to listen. She actually told the principal that if she didn't step out of the way, she'd arrest her too! We had to rush over to the mental institution and save our son from being committed on a 72 hour hold. I must say though that the staff there knew what a farce it was. They shared with me that it wasn't the first time they'd had this sort of thing happen though. We took our son home and vowed to never again allow the school district to get their hands on him.

My son loves being homeschooled. He gets to learn things that are on his level, he isn't being bullied and he isn't being treated poorly by school employees. Yet he still cried that he couldn't go to school anymore. He liked the people that were nice to him and gave him a chance. He's safe at home with me now and learning well.

45 'A visitor' posted on the Fri 22 Jul 2005, 6:36 pm

It would be nice to be viewed as taking an equal option to public school.

I have many friends who are public school teachers. I've learned a lot about what they think, and they have learned that homeschooling isn't as weird as it seems. My youngest son's cub scout den has 2 teachers, 1 head athletic trainer, and 2 aides for the local school district. None of them want the homeschooling mom to give up her position as den leader! I love being the leader for their kids and they don't think less of me because I choose to teach my kids at home. We've even shared ideas.

The one thing that stuck in my mind was that he commented

>>Don’t most parents have a tough enough job teaching their children social, disciplinary and behavioral skills? <<

I had to laugh at that when I thought about my oldest being pulled out of public school at age 16 (my other boys have pretty much always been homeschooled with limited public school, or foreign school). The boy was a miserable person to be around when he was attending public school, but after about a year and a half, he was a decent person who could think on his own. He could pick clothes that were comfortable and not totally out there. He could write a well thought out argument and mastered basic math; neither of which he was able to learn in public school for some reason.

>>Let’s face it, teaching children is difficult even for experienced professionals. Wannabes have no idea. <<

I've never had any trouble teaching my kids. I've learned a few things that were omitted from my public school education while teaching them from textbooks I bought to teach my children, but I'm sharp enough to learn and pass the info on. If I am just a wannabe teacher who isn't capable of teaching my kids, should I tell them they aren't allow to read because they weren't taught by a properly trained teacher? Maybe I should ask one of my teacher friends to make sure my kids can read. ((reading to me isn't likely enough proof for this custodian turned published author))

Maybe I should drop Italian and Latin from our curriculum since it isn't offered in our public school. Oh, and art, too. That's gone now also. Wow, I'll have to really cut back to meet the local standards for education.

I finished reading his article wondering, "Who is gullible?"

46 'A visitor' posted on the Fri 22 Jul 2005, 2:43 pm
Good points you got here!

I've blogged about this article as: Arrogance of Public School I also went with (almost) point by point rebuttal...

47 'AnneBasso' posted on the Fri 22 Jul 2005, 8:53 am
Well, Ms. Williams, first of all this is on my blog, not sent to the NEA. I'd be surprised if Mr. Arnold has read it.

Second of all, I'm sick to death of being attacked for what is a decision I made in the best interests of my children. And I will respond to that as I see fit. There is a time to be gentle and kind, and a time to word one's opinion more strongly.

I haven't bashed public schools, or even Mr. Arnold. Though I think I had a pretty good whack at his opinion.

Oh, and I don't have pity on any children who are in public schools if that's what's best for their families. I think most teachers are dedicated professionals, and should recieve medals for working so hard for A) so little money and B) so little respect.

I simply want the choice to homeschool to be looked upon as just as valid as public schooling. And maybe the knowledge that I, a homeschooling mother, can actually put two thoughts together, will help others to lighten up.

48 'A visitor' posted on the Fri 22 Jul 2005, 5:56 am
The article on the NEA site has so many wrong assumptions. It is obvious he isn't enlightened. He has been duped, fooled, and brain washed. I do hope that we can have more grace than he did though. Our responses should be gentle and kind and full of grace. We all were once in the dark on this issue till, by the grace of God, we were enlightened. I pray for this man and for all public schools. Think of the innocnet children. The consequences of his kind of thinking are so devastating it breaks my heart. I do not need to "bash" others in order to know that my choice is correct. Quiet, loving, truthful words of wisdom are far more helpful than following suit with scathing comments. May God have mercy on us all! It is through Him we move and think and have our being!

49 'A visitor' posted on the Tue 12 Jul 2005, 8:57 am
grr...that article makes me hot, and I'm not a homeschooler!

"Well, it's certainly easier than trying to undo all the things they learn from their playmates at school. Public schools may be without religion, but they do teach morality and values. Simply without the network of the family's faith, regardless of what that is. The family is then expected to try to weave those teachings in with their faith, a sometimes maddeningly difficult task. So, I'm all for people cutting out that kind of stress."

I agree. On both sides, actually. Both as a former Catholic and as a current pagan! *shakes head* Weaving in family morals and beliefs is difficult. The kids hear so much on the playground, and the sad fact is that much of it is wrong. (You should *hear* some of the Bible stories my kids come home with from friends on the playground!) But kids are resistant to unlearning things they learned outside the home, so trying to explain that no, that Bible story was incorrect, and Christianity/Catholicism/etc does *not* work that way has been frustrating. I've tried to give them what I learned growing up in the Catholic Church, and also what I've learned in my years as a pagan. It's working, but it's much harder to do with outside influences. Once upon a time I had this grand idea of having my kids sit down with various religious leaders or teachers to learn about the religions out there. Time constraints make that an interesting but impractical concept at this point in the game. But a part of me still wants to send them to CCD. I still want to arrange time with a rabbi. I want to find time with another Priestess, etc... that part didn't get me hot under the collar. *chuckle*

But this did:
"Don’t most parents have a tough enough job teaching their children social, disciplinary and behavioral skills? They would be wise to help their children and themselves by leaving the responsibility of teaching math, science, art, writing, history, geography and other subjects to those who are knowledgeable, trained and motivated to do the best job possible."

Most parents *wouldn't* have as tough a time teaching discipline, social, and behavioral skills if they'd actually give the time to care about such things. It seems that most parents don't care enough to discipline their children even in public. They're too afraid as being seen as untrendy or something.

'Sea was out swimming with the girls last night. They did something wrong, the lifeguard called them on it, and then 'Sea told them *in front of the lifeguard* that under no circumstance swimming a right. It is a priviledge, and misbehaving and disobeying rules means that swimming will not happen. Period. The YMCA may have rules, but the family has rules as well. Family rules stand in public places.

The lifeguard thanked her, and commented on how he sees too many people just not care if their child is misbehaving at a public pool, and leave that responsibility solely up to the lifeguards, which is a dangerous idea, IMO. Lifeguards are there to help in times of emergency. Not to police children who should already know better. Who should already know better because their parents should have been doing their jobs as teachers!
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50 'A visitor' posted on the Tue 12 Jul 2005, 7:17 am
"Without allowing their children to mingle, trade ideas and thoughts with others, these parents are creating social misfits."

Makes me wonder, what is the ratio of public school educated students to homeschooled educated students in the federal prison system?

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