So, here I am, sitting peacefully at my desk, listening to the thunder roll and hail tinkling at my window. I love the sounds of a spring storm, don’t you? But the weather dulls my motivation. It’s quiet time, and I’m wondering what to blog about. I have lots of ideas, but I’m bored with all of them. What to do? I’ve got blogger’s block.
Well, everybody give a great big round of applause to Sandy Laurence, who must have sensed my need. She just took every spurious objection to homeschooling she could come up with (she missed a few), wrapped it around a brick and threw it right into my computer screen. Awesome! Now I know what to blog about!
Sandy is concerned that homeschooled kids are not getting a good education. Also, they don’t get those groovy art and music classes that the public school kids do. And, wait for it…they’re not “socialized”.
OK, moms, you can stop your giggling now. It’s true! There is still at least one person who is completely unaware of both the abject failure of our nation’s education system and the viability of the educational alternative known as “homeschooling”. You can go read it for yourselves, if you don’t believe me.
No matter how many times homeschoolers refute these “concerns”, there are always going to be new people who haven’t understood what homeschooling is yet. So I’m just going to take a quick shot or two at the highlights of this very well thought out almost completely ignorant diatribe against parent-directed education. Ignorance should be enlightened, don’t you think? Consider it my good deed for the day.
Sandy opens with this volley:
If parents don’t want to send their kids to school, for whatever reason, all they have to do in Michigan is say they’re homeschooling them. Nobody checks to see if the kids are being educated at all, much less at proper grade level.
Well, I’m not in Michigan, but it sounds like a nice place to be. State laws differ, of course, but in my state the government doesn’t require anyone to check on the children, either. If they ever change the way things are done here, I’ll move somewhere else. Maybe we’ll go to Texas.
Astonishingly, most states still recognize the right of citizens to raise their own children without undue visits from government busybodies. This is called “liberty”. Perhaps Ms. Laurence has heard of it. We learn about that in homeschool.
And what is this about appropriate “grade level”? What about the child’s personal capabilities? My six-year old is reading as well as most fourth graders, but his handwriting is barely past kindergarten because his fine motor skills are not up to par. Individualized education allows me to slow down or speed up his work as necessary, without labeling the child as either gifted or disabled just because he’s not performing to the “average” child’s ability in some areas.
I’d want someone who’s passionate about teaching and who’s been educated in the best teaching techniques, so he or she could help my child develop a love of learning.
Alright. If the blogger doesn’t have that love of learning, or thinks she couldn’t figure out how to pass it along to her children, I would definitely suggest she find someone else to teach her children. She is obviously one of those people (and they do exist) who should not be home-educating her children. The difference between Ms. Laurence and me is that I am not at all concerned with her educational choices. It goes back to that liberty thing. She can do it her way, and I’ll do it mine. I think that ought to work out quite nicely–unless she’s scared of a little competition.
In addition to missing out on the best teachers, most homeschooled kids lose out when it comes to classes like music, languages and art. According to Wikipedia in “Homeschooling in the United States,” even though those classes are available to homeschooled kids, only “about one out of five homeschoolers was also enrolled in public or private school for 25 hours or less per week.”
While my kids are missing out on the best teachers the schools have, they will also be missing out on the worst ones. I might add that they’ve got some pretty great teachers of my own choosing, as well as their very dedicated mother! Did it not occur to Ms. Laurence that homeschooling parents haven’t enrolled in those classes because, um, they’re doing that stuff at home?
And finally, of course, there’s the S-word! Not meant in the harmless, “Where will your kids find friends?” way, but in the “You’re raising reclusive psycopaths!” way:
Otherwise, how do their children, especially those who take no additional classes at public or private schools, become socialized? How do they learn to distinguish between someone they can trust and someone who’s likely to betray that trust? How do they learn to get along and interact appropriately with other kids?
Does this lady think we’re locking them up in closets all day? They go to the playground, church, and youth groups. They take music lessons, go to Scouts, and participate in co-ops. They have family and friends of all ages, so they learn to interact with all kinds of people in diverse settings.
As a mom (not just homeschoolers, but any parent ought to feel this way), I am both offended and puzzled that this blogger never considered that a child’s parents might be the best people to teach him how to discern whom he can trust. In fact, I’d say trusting state-approved strangers to teach her kids might just be a sign that she didn’t learn that lesson very well herself.
The socialization question has been answered so many times, in so many ways, that I’m just going to hit up Twitter for some of my favorite answers right quick:
So don’t worry too much about us, concerned ones. We’re going to be OK. We are already, as you say, “fully qualified to teach” because we are parents who have seen a need in our children’s lives and stepped in to fill it; and we’re doing it with a motivation that comes of knowing that our children are depending on us to make the right decisions for them. I don’t need state approval (or yours) to teach my kids. I just need to care enough to make it happen.
I’ll wrap up with one of my favorite tweets of all time (Pardon the language. I don’t talk that way myself–often. I use it because it is succinct.):