Give Me a Break!!

I’ve been desribed as a defender of homeschooling.  The description makes me proud.  I love defending what I believe in.

But, you may have noticed that my posts haven’t been particularly defensive of late.  Until this. This woman just REALLY got me mad.

When I stumbled on “Why I Would Never Homeschool My Children”, I read it knowing from the title that I would probably get mad.  I never expected to be this mad!!  After reading her out-of-touch diatribe against homeschooling, I couldn’t help myself.  I started typing a response.  She’ll probably never read it, but it felt good just writing it!

So go take a look at this woman’s ridiculous arguments, then come back and tell me what YOU think!

Here’s what I would say to her if I had the opportunity:

Your arguments, largely based on your personal opinion, simply do not hold water.

I’ve homeschooled for 17 years. I am also a teacher. But what qualifies me to teach my children is not that I am a teacher, but that I am a mom. Trust me, having been both a public school teacher AND a homeschooler, I know this to be true. No matter how good the training and the education of the teacher, no one knows your children better than you do. In order to effectively teach every student in her classroom, a teacher must be able to discern the personality, learning style, family dynamics, emotional needs, psychiatric diagnoses and quirks of every single child in her classroom. In one year’s time, that is simply not possible. For this reason, children—many children—slip through the academic cracks in school classrooms every year. It simply cannot be avoided in a classroom where one teacher is responsible for the academic welfare of 20-30 children—many of whom have varying degrees of special needs.

As a teacher, I know that the bulk of a teacher’s day is spent managing the classroom, not teaching children. Educators estimate that during the average 7 hour schoolday, less than 2 hours are spent in actually teaching/learning activities. Again…been there, done that.

Now…on to the ever popular socialization question! The truth is, the social environment that exists in the average classroom, and that you speak so highly of, is not a healthy one. The social environment present in the school environment places value on the popular, the strong, and the likeable. MANY children who do not fit that bill become, at best, invisible to their peers. At worst, these children become victims of the cruelty of their peers. I do not deny that socialization is an important part of childhood. But just like I wouldn’t entrust a child who is just learning to ride a bike with the task of teaching my child to ride a bike, I also won’t entrust the task of socializing my child to a classroom full of children who are equally uncivilized unsocialized. Can you say, “Blind leading the blind?” On this I could say MUCH more…but for the sake of time, I’ll move on.

Another reason you would never homeschool your children is that you think that homeschoolers live in boxes where diversity does not exist. First of all, the truth is MANY children in this country are educated in schools where there is very little diversity–culturally, economically, or otherwise. In fact, in terms of age, the school classroom is about the least diverse environment you will ever find. Would you call spending all day, every day in the company of children one’s own age an experience in diversity? Where in life will that ever happen again? I would contend that the average homeschooler experiences at least as much diversity as the average publicly schooled child—and in many cases—more. It is not uncommon to hear of homeschool families engaging in cross-cultural missions trips, working in community soup kitchens, volunteering in nursing homes, etc. Most homeschool parents regularly seek out experiences that will prepare their children for life in our world.

You based most of your arguments on your own personal opinions and on a few observations that you have made of homeschoolers that you know (or at least have seen). But for every homeschooled child you observed practicing bad behavior, I will show you at least one publicly educated child practicing the exact same behavior. Are there biased, bigoted homeschool families?  Yes.  Are there biased, bigoted public school families? Again, yes. If you aren’t going to blame a public school child’s behavior on their public school experience, then please don’t blame a homeschooled child’s behavior on the homeschool experience.

And give me a break with the “I have seen a home schooled child get, shall we say in a snit, at an athletic event when they were not allowed to be first up to bat.” Do you actually expect your readers to believe that you have witnessed that behavior only in homeschooled children? And this one “At home, that child was first up for everything and had no concept that there were other children at that game who deserved equal consideration.” You’ve got to be kidding me! Most homeschool families have multiple children. How can any one of those children be first up for everything? They live with other children every day who deserve, and demand, equal consideration. And homeschool moms certainly don’t have the time, or energy, to make any one of her children feel like the center of her universe 24/7!

So before waxing eloquent about why you wouldn’t homeschool, I would suggest that you do a bit more research and a lot more observation.

Sweeping generalizations just don’t cut it in this argument!


18 responses

  1. Great response! =D

    And I'm always amused when people think you have to do public school to acclimate to the "real world". After I graduated, I never had a job interview where they were only hiring 18, or 25, or 40 year old's. Public school was the only place I was ever grouped by age… NEVER in "real life". =P

  2. I can't bear to read the article, I just can't. I can imagine what it says because I have heard it all while sitting in the teachers lounge after foolishly bringing up the fact that my mil pulled my brother in law out of a very bad situation in school to homeschool him for a year. Ick. And I agree with you whole heartedly.

  3. Ugh, some people who have no clue what they are talking about should learn to be quiet and still. They might actually get a lcue that way.

  4. Oh I love it when you say so well what I would like to say!

    Someday I want to have the gall to say to a public school mom – "and you public school your kids? oh, ah… and how are they doing with that? don't you worry about their socialization? I could just never send my child there…." of course said with the right amount of concern and slightly furrowed brow.

  5. The title got to me and so did the article. I really hate the "real world" argument. I would day HSers live in the REAL WORLD with all types of people of all ages and backgrounds. Where would you meet a family of a different race or income level?? What type of question is that? Um…we see and interact with all people in LIFE not just in "school"
    I agree she is basing her argument off of a few observations and her opinion….like all those moms I hear say they could never HS because they need a break from their children

  6. This lady's article is so rediculous! I work with a guy who actually chose the town/school district he moved to based on the fact that the local paper continually covered the high school athletes.

    Funny, that is the thing that irritates my dh most about our town! Who are the spoiled, pampered, coddled kids?

  7. You did a great job responding to her!! I have had my kids in p.s and now h'school, and we are all loving it so much!! And my kids are much better off!! I agree with the comment that said she needs a clue!

  8. RYC: They are staggering. When I saw the figures next to the Iraq conflict I was shocked, but when I saw it next to the total casualties I was going to be sick…

    As you said, abortion is a large part of America. What has happened to you?! (America that is).

    I'll have to read that article that you linked to. Thanks.



  9. I find it interesting how people are so passionate about both sides of the story. I've been a teacher for 21 years and have seen a lot of kids who really, really need to be in school. The parental support for homeschooling just isn't there.

    On the other hand, I've see other kids who do so much better in a homeschooling environment. Those are the kids who have dedicated, supportive parents.

    If people have only seen the former group, their fears are very well grounded. some parents just won't homeschool – they'll let their children sit around and do nothing all day – and that's not good for the kids either.

    We are now taking our two boys out of school to homeschool them for the next three years or so while we ride our bikes from Alaska to Argentina. ( There is no question that my children will learn more from their journey than they ever would in a classroom.

    I wish all "homeschooled" kids had wonderful, supportive parents like all those here!

  10. I have home schooled for 8 years now and am still amazed at peoples reaction. How this woman can believe we are all doing so badly by our children, annoys me!!!! We are a secular family and my daughter went back to school at high school level and my son will probably also. But at least I gave them the thinking out side of the box skills that you need in this life. As for socialization, OUR house is the house to be at, we have all the cool computer and fun electronic stuff to play with.

  11. I'm new to blogging and could not find your email address. I'd rather this comment be private. But hopefully you can delete this if you like. Anyway, before posting an article on AC, I thought I'd see what has been written. I read the original piece and was led here. Your reaction to the lady's post was more surprising than her post. I didn't understand why you, being a christian, took it personal or why it made you angry. Don't you agree that judging and/or condemning someone with a different opinion, validates her statement regarding bigotry. After a cooling off period, don't you think you could have responded to her, on her level, that seeds of thought and consideration to home school may have been planted? True–She may not be open minded enough. I just don't see how it was beneficial or fruitful to her or any other readers that may be thinking of home schooling. I have seen people with children who have no business raising them whatsoever–no parenting skills and should not be allowed to be around children. So I could find points to agree with her. Her main lack of understanding was about socialization. We cannot help or serve others that we disagree with if we do not have compassion. Please don't feel condemned or judged by me in any way. I'm sure I'm alot older than you and way too many times I didn't utilize a cooling off period before I responded either, so I guess I seen some of my younger self in your post and that was my motive in writing you. Although I do agree with you totally.
    You have a beautiful family. I pray God's best for you and yours and
    Abundant Blessings,

  12. Rereading Becky’s article on AC, I have to agree with her reasons why she would never homeschool her children. Her reasons for not homeschooling her own children are valid. They should be respected. If Becky does not believe that homeschooling is in the best interests of her children because of her lack of qualifications, so be it. Give Becky credit where credit is due, she leaves open a broad range of possible reasons why a parent can homeschool a child, such as:

    1. you have been trained as a teacher and want to homeschool your child
    2. you are intelligent and educated and feel you can do a better job than a school

    Reason #2 opens the door for almost anyone to homeschool their children.

    I agree with Becky that there are homeschoolers who probably should not be teaching their own children, but I would never argue that their right to home educate their children should be taken away. There are bad drivers who get a driver’s license, but we never argue that the right to drive a car should be taken away from all citizens. I think that if Becky thought about that rationally, she’d agree. A bad driver can actually kill someone. An un-socialized home schooled child is just another brilliant introvert programming for Microsoft. A poorly educated homeschooled child is just another citizen on equal footing with the average public school graduate. Becky does not sound like a person who would abolish homeschooling.

    Becky makes a mistake in assuming that all homeschooled children spend all of their time in activities with other children in their same socio-economic level. Cheap homeschoolers, like my wife and me, send our son to an inexpensive but effective karate class taught in a local public park building with many children of many different races, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. When our son did have a conflict with a young man of a different race and socioeconomic level, the conflict surrounded behavior in class. Race and economics never entered the equation. My son is blessedly ignorant of the racial divide in this country. He just wanted the young man with whom he was supposed to spar to actually spar with him and stop screwing around when sensei’s back was turned. This is, I believe, one of the goals of socialization that Becky is concerned about: problem solving. A problem with a man of a different race and economic level was solved without fighting. I’ve drifted into an anecdotal example to illustrate my point. It should be noted that we are not the exception to the rule. It is ignorant to believe that most homeschoolers are not exposed to situations like the one I have described. It is equally as ignorant to believe that situations like the one I described can only happen at a public school. This probably happens far more than Becky suspects.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Would love to hear your thoughts!

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