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!