Friday, July 07, 2006

Homeschooling: Not A Good Idea?

It's articles like this that make parents sound defensive when discussing why they choose to homeschool. The article will be in italics.

The article can be found here without commentary.
Home Schooling; Not A Good Idea

By Robert Paul Reyes
Nov. 23, 2004

The popularity of home schooling has soared in recent years. According to USA Today, some 2 million children are being home schooled and the number of kids being home schooled is rising about 10% a year.

I had no idea it was that popular. But I'm not surprised. The fact is, it's working well for many students.
The proponents of home schooling say it gives parents control of their children's curriculum and protects them from the violence, sex, drugs and other social ills that beset the public school system.

Which it does. But also has the added benefits of bringing a family closer together, allowing them more time together, as well as many other social and academic advantages.
I'm not jumping on the home schooling bandwagon; I don't think it's a wise or viable option for most households.

There are many sound reasons why home teaching is a bad idea both for the sake of the innocents involved and for society at large.

I sincerely doubt that. But, Mr. Reyes has made a huge generalization, and I think he owes it to his audience to present a strong case for his opinion. Sadly, he does not.
News flash: Not everyone is qualified to be a teacher. A lot of parents can't balance a checkbook or find Iraq on a map -- let alone teach their young-uns Algebra & Geography.

First of all, there is a difference between teaching a classroom full of students and teaching your own. It's a whole different set of skills. My father, the teacher, the man with the Masters Degree taught me that. And I wonder how Mr. Reyes knows a lot of parents can't balance a checkbook, or find Iraq on a map (two things I'm completely capable of doing, I can assure you), or how he knows that those parents are the ones who are homeschooling? The simple fact is, he doesn't. He offers no facts or statistics to back up his opinion because they don't exist.
Just because you love little Johnny does not qualify you to be his teacher.

No, loving a child doesn't mean that you can teach them, just as writing your opinion down doesn't make it fact.
It takes a good education as well as a love for children to be a competent teacher.

I have an education. I received it in the public school system. As I've said before, if it was good enough, then I should be able to pass that same knowledge on to my children. If it wasn't, then I shouldn't subject them to the same kind of education.
The education and intellectual well- being of our progeny are too important to be left to rank amateurs. My mom and dad loved me but it was a 6th grade teacher that instilled in me a love of reading and writing.

I wonder if it ever occurred to Mr. Reyes that the same thing could have been accomplished at home from good homeschooling parents. Just because it didn't for him doesn't make it something that isn't possible for other students. Both forms of education are valid choices. Because Mr. Reyes values his public education doesn't mean that homeschooling is an invalid option.
Most parents home school their children because they are dissatisfied with public schools.

I disagree. The reasons why parents homeschool are varied, and you will get a different answer depending on which parent you ask, and on which day. I like to say there were a hundred reasons I chose to homeschool, and every day I find another.
I wonder if these same parents home treat their kids when they are severely ill, instead of taking them to a hospital, because they are dissatisfied with the health care system?

I'm well aware that I am not capable of performing surgery or diagnosing many illnesses in my children. I can, however, read, write, solve Math problems, and much more. I feel competent to teach my child what I already know. The two are a terrible comparison.
Home schooling a small child stunts his emotional and psychological growth. It's at school that a child learns how to communicate with his peers, respect those different from himself and to work as a team to accomplish goals. No, matter how loving and nurturing a home, it can't replace a school as a crucible for social development.

This argument, tired though it is, always makes me wonder how people ever developed socially before public schooling? Public schooling is still relatively new, historically speaking. How did the kids on the Western frontier learn to socialize?

The fact is that homeschooling does not stunt a child's emotional and psychological growth, which Mr. Reyes might know if he'd done even a small amount of research before writing this piece. My children interact with peers in all kinds of social situations which occur outside of school walls. In most of those situations there is a great deal of adult involvement, meaning that the socialization process is an overall a very positive one because we are there to guide and encourage healthy interpersonal skills. We parents are available to help our children navigate new social situations, and learn how to behave and interact appropriately in a number of different settings.

I guarantee that if Mr. Reyes spent five minutes with my children he would know that his huge over generalization is totally false.
A dog that's been confined to a kennel for years will not make a good pet and a child who's been confined to his home during his formative years will find it extremely difficult to adjust to the real world. We don't need any more Jerry Dalhmers and Paul Hills let loose on our society.

How completely insulting. First of all, my children are not dogs. Second of all, my children are not confined to their home. We are out in the community every day. Meaning that my children understand how the real world works. And it seems to me that Jeffry (not Jerry) Dahmer and other serial killers have been products of the public school system. I should add that I don't blame the public school system for serial killers. It's as ridiculous as insinuating that homeschooling will create them.
Most parents who home school their offspring are religious zealots. These impressionable youngsters who are captive to the rigid dogma of their parents are robbed of the wonderful diversity of ideas and cultures that thrive in our public schools. If the number of kids being home schooled continues to grow our democracy will soon resemble the theocracies of Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

That parents who homeschool are religious zealots is a stereotype, and nothing more. There are all kinds of people who homeschool. Some who are religious, some who are not. Some who are conservative, some who are very liberal. The one thing we have in common is a deep sense of responsibility for our children.

The Founding Fathers believed that true democracy required an educated populace, not a public schooled one. None of the Founding Fathers went to public schools, and they all understood democracy.
I know that public schools are vexed with many serious problems, but they are still indispensable to the intellectual, emotional and psychological growth of our dear little ones. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. Instead of complaining about the dismal state of your public school; why not join the PTA, help raise funds or become a teacher's assistant?

Again, dissatisfaction with public schools is not the only reason for homeschooling. But if a parent believes their child is not doing well in public schools, there is no reason that their child should stagnate in them while the schools figure out their issues. Homeschooling is not "throwing the baby out with the bath water" but choosing an valid alternative form of education. For many of it's it's the right decision for our kids and our families.
Home schooling poses a serious threat to our educational system. Laws should be passed making it illegal for parents without a teaching credential to home school their children.

Mr. Reyes hasn't presented one shred of evidence beyond his opinion that homeschooling is truly bad for children or society as a whole.
A parent without a teaching credential who home schools his child is as irresponsible as a parent who lets a physician without a license operate on his child.

Again, I don't know how to perform surgery, but I do know the things I'm teaching my child. And I most certainly know my child better than any teacher, no matter how good they are.
Parents who home teach their kids in blatant disregard of the law should be prosecuted. Eventually we will all pay the price for their stubbornness and rebellion.

I'm certainly grateful that Mr. Reyes doesn't make the law. What he fails to realize is that what he's talking about is removing the right of the parents to raise their children as they see fit. It's an infringement upon parental rights. Freedom being a big part of that whole democracy thing that we can't possibly understand as homeschoolers.
With the wide range of public, parochial and private schools there is no reason why any parent should choose to home school his kids. We have the best public school system in the world and parents should take full advantage of it.

My public school wasn't teaching my child to read. And I can't afford private school. Since I began homeschooling my child has advanced quickly in all of his subjects and is bright, happy, and well adjusted. Ultimately homeschooling works for our family, and many others. I wonder if Mr. Reyes wouldn't be terribly surprised to meet some real homeschooled children and see for himself that homeschooled kids are doing just fine and that there are so many reasons we choose to do it. Just because it's not right for his family doesn't mean it's not right for mine.
About the author Robert Paul Reyes: I am a columnist for the Lynchburg Ledger.

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