Skip to comments.Home Schools Run By Well-Meaning Amateurs (Barf alert!)
Posted on 07/25/2005 7:26:05 PM PDT by Millicent_Hornswaggle
Schools With Good Teachers Are Best-Suited to Shape Young Minds By Dave Arnold
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.
There are few homeowners who can tackle every aspect of home repair. A few of us might know carpentry, plumbing and, lets say, cementing. Others may know about electrical work, tiling and roofing. But hardly anyone can do it all.
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 dont own the proper tools. Heck, some people have their hands full just knowing how to drive.
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 childrens minds, careers, and futures -- to trained professionals. That is, to those who have worked steadily at their profession for 10, 20, 30 years! Teachers!
Theres 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.
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.
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. These organizations are even running ads on prime time television. After viewing one advertisement, I searched a home school Web site. This site contains some statements that REALLY irritate me!
* Its not as difficult as it looks.
The it is meant to be teaching. Lets face it, teaching children is difficult even for experienced professionals. Wannabes have no idea.
* 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.
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.
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 cant teach them how to be a teammate when they have never been part of any team.
* Visit our online bookstore.
Buying a history, science or math book does not mean an adult can automatically instruct others about the books content.
Another Web site asks for donations and posts newspaper articles pertaining to problems occurring in public schools.
Its 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.
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 nations ungodly public schools was to remove students from them and teach them at home or at a Christian school.
Im 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!
Dont 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.
(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.
I was homeschooled for twelve years, and am entering my junior year of college next fall.
Again, you don't have specific situations where you can point to and show that homeschoolers were lacking in any skills that they need to be a member of society. Even you, after having been homeschooled, are doing well enough. Yet, you still come back and say it is a weakness.
I think your comments are helpful. But I wanted to remark on this one:
the thing I regret most from my homeschooling experience is that I never had the opporunity to play a sport seriously.
Our kids are still young, but they have always played in little league sports, and I know many other homeschoolers who also put their children into little league.
But, in our experience, coaches do not teach "teamwork" like we expected, and most don't even teach how to play the sport. Things get competitive by age 6 or 7, and kids with natural ability or those whose parents can afford sports camps excel, while the others are pushed aside at a very early age. There are plenty of politics at play in little league, and even some public-school parents I know won't put their children into sports for that reason.
If anything, I think we put our kids into a bad situation by putting them into sports. It could be just our league - not very good role models there. Now I just want our children to be with other homeschoolers.
Anyway, so that's what you missed by not playing sports.
Good for a laugh this morning. Thanks for the ping.
I never said it's an unavoidable weakness; in fact, there are many things homeschoolers can do to prevent it from being a problem. But I have seen enough homeschoolers with issues, and former homeschoolers in college who clearly did have significant problems adjusting (and I can't say I way totally immune, myself), that I know it is something anyone who homeschools should be careful about. Further, I have seen many homeschoolers who adjusted to college life very well (often better than many non-homeschoolers); the fact that homeschoolers tend to spend far more time with their families no doubt helps them adjust to living with a roommate. All I'm saying is that there are benefits and dangers to homeschooling, and it would be best if parents were aware of these dangers because they are usually preventable.
It is for the reasons you describe that my parents chose not to put me into little league. I did learn to play tennis pretty well (mostly playing with my brother, who didn't play on any teams either), and in my case I was referring particularly to was the fact that I never got the chance to play this in high school. There are usually a few sporting options available to homeschoolers, but as you describe, sometimes these are sub-optimal.
Just because someone is a professional, doesn't make them good at their job. I'll teach my children without the liberal bent, without the revisionist BS for history, and without the left wing lunatic indoctrination... I may not be a professional, but I know I'll do a better job than any public school could.
As a side note... if being a professional means contributing to the delinquency of a minor by introducing them to gay and lesbian practices, then we need to eliminate the contact these "professionals" have with our children.
Oh my!! The thread is great but this link takes the cake.
My son's first (and LAST) year of public school was his 3rd grade year. We had just moved to an area that had EXCELLENT PUBLIC SCHOOLS! so we figured we would save the private school tuition that we had been paying until that point.
His teacher was 21 years old, fresh out of her sorority, and was atrocious. She had an exasperated attitude from the beginning, like she was TOO GOOD to be a teacher. Eye-rolling and heavy sighs and sarcasm. And this was with parents present. I can only imagine how professionally she acted when alone with the kids.
So this NEA website can spout all the nonsense they wish about "professional educators". I have now taken over my boys' education and couldn't be happier about it.
What a bunch of maroons.
There is an easy way to test this, we need some FR members who are also NEA members to write in SUPPORT of homeschooling.
If they refuse to publish then the selective publication exposes all for the world to see. (and will probably get the article printed elsewhere with more exposure because of the nea censorship)
I would guess once the kids are out of the Public schools it gets a bit easier..
You haven't given one specific example that can be attributed to being a homeschooling problem. Everyone, no matter what background they have, come across situations that they are not prepared for.
You are probably right as to reading, writing, English, geography, social studies, and foreign languages, but do you really think that most parents are able to teach math and the hard sciences beyond the most basic level? I'm not talking about simple algebra, geometry, and earth science, but rather, linear algebra, calculus I and II, advanced statistics, chemistry, and physics, at the 11th and 12th grade level. Even if a parent knows the course material backwards and forwards, they may not be able to teach it, and even if they are good teachers, they may not have sufficient knowledge of the subject matter.
It's always impossible to prove causation, so I don't know if I have anything that will meet a standard you accept. but first, what is your experience with homeschooling and homeschoolers? How long have you been homeschooling (or been homeschooled)?
I have been homeschooling for 9 years.
That's what community college is for!
Not where I live. Standard college prep courses in the public school systems include chem in 10th grade, physics in 11th grade, calculus I in 11th grade, and calculus II and or advanced statistics in 12th grade.
Sometimes the dog did eat the homework, but that's not the way to bet.
Bette, can the school address that? Do they on a daily basis?
If you read, I believe you'll find he was home schooled.
If I consider the tone and quality of his analysis and presentation, them I have to say you don't compare very well.
He continues to say that homeschoolers could have inherent weaknesses in regards to adapting to the world outside of the homeschool, and I have asked for a specific instance. He has not provided one.
I am showing that it is easy to say that homeschoolers are accused of not having the necessary skills, but when it comes down to proving it; no one has proof.
And most of them are better behaved as well--no school bus jokes, bad behavior, fights, etc.
Personally, I'd rather have "amateurs" teaching than the women teachers who have sex with boys or the child molesters that somehow manage to get hired until they are caught. Safety is an important consideration in deciding where children should spend seven hours of 180 days each year.
Here's my question: Calculus A & B, for example, is pretty complicated stuff and a lot of very smart parents aren't math oriented. How do they teach a subject that they haven't mastered themselves?
Like everything else, homeschooling has its advantages and disadvantages, and it's certainly easier for homeschoolers to avoid the pitfalls if they know what they are. All things considered, though, I certainly consider homeschooling to be one of the best options available.
YS, you are still being a knee jerk reacter. WHAT PITFALLS???? Name one beside a generic socialization. If you really want to help me the homeschooler, do it. Don't just sit there and say there might be problems.
I'm not being a knee-jerk reactor to anything--everything I have said on this thread comes from my personal experience with homeschooling and what I've seen in other homeschoolers (including good friends of mine). I gave some specific suggestions in post #112, but I suggest generally that homeschoolers avoid the tendency toward isolationism that often accompanies a desire to avoid the ills of the public school system. Further, the more homeschoolers interact normally with other members of the public, the sooner common negative stereotypes of homeschoolers will disappear.
Many of the companies provide cd's with the material on them or homeschoolers network to find competent people to teach certain subjects. Also, many community colleges allow homeschoolers to take these courses from them - some even for free.
Forgot to add...since these resources weren't available to me when I was homeschooling, I hired a tutor for those areas where I felt uncomfortable teaching.
How do they not interact normally with other members of society? Do I not do the same things that everyone else does, normally? Give me some examples. Be specific.
And, I believe that public schoolers have the tendency to view the only acceptable behavior in people is how they perceive it. Maybe the onus should be put on public schoolers to learn more about different aspects of society, instead of their limited view of the world due to the bubble they live in.
I have no idea if you do anything I have mentioned here; I'm talking only about what I have seen. If you want a specific example, I know a family that has long dissociated itself with anything "public school-related" Somehow, nearly all sports fit into this category, as well as normal standards of dress (and I'm not talking about a simple rejection of immodest clothes--one can do this and still dress very well). They (particularly the kids) tend to be very proud of this, and intentionally distance themselves from many harmless things that are normal parts of life for most Americans. As a result, the kids (in their mid to late teens now) are almost totally unable to carry on small talk, a skill that is important in many careers in business, politics, and other fields (and, hence, the real world).
The problem I have described here is not a direct result of homeschooling, but it is more likely to happen in a relatively isolated environment. Further, many in the homeschooling community, at least when I was growing up, actually encouraged it. There is no reason homeschooling needs to be like this.
I only describe this because you insisted on a specific example; I don't like to say negative things about fellow homeschoolers.
But, what you are describing as harmless is your point of view. It may be that they view it as harmful. I do not drink; I do not allow alcohol in my home. Yet, drinking and having alcohol in your home are considered mainstream. I consider this harmful to our life.
I do not hold conversations with my coworkers about alcohol, or their drinking adventures. This has not hampered my business career or conversations with these people in the slightest.
And, in all honesty, if people in this country choose to live strict lives; more power to them. The Amish in this country survive on that basis, as do many other religiously strict communities.
Just because you find things necessary in your life does not mean they are necessary to my life, my job function, or anything else. And, part of parenting is being able to instill your values and beliefs into your children. If this means you teach your children that secular behavior is dangerous, that is your right. If the children then choose to immerse themselves in secular culture, they will learn new skills in regards to that.
Hey, Dave is a custodian, not a teacher! Goodnight, whattanass! Did he graduate from teachers college? I doubt it.
Bette, can the school address that? Do they on a daily basis?
I don't know what you are referring to but every day we face problems of kids out of control!!!
Well, calculus and statistics are college level courses that many people going into college don't need.
If a high school aged kid really wanted to take calculus or statistics, they could take it at a local junior college.
I would imagine they could do the same with chemistry and physics.
I know I could teach all of those courses except physics, and my husband could teach physics.
Many high schools don't even teach calculus. That is usually only taught in the city high schools.
Why would a person who is going to major in English or history in college need to take calculus?
Most business majors take a watered down calculus.
Only someone majoring in engineering, math, or the sciences needs to take calculus.
We are starting our third year with the K12 curriculum this fall -- love it, especially the History.
Our curriculum has an online component which included demonstrations for my son's pre-algebra. I'm aware of other curricula which include interacting with a teacher online in real time. In our local area there are also homeschool groups which pay a nominal fee to be tutored as a group by a college student, etc. As the homeschooling communities (and technology) continue to grow, I'm sure we'll see more options develop in future for the more advanced courses.
I've seen kids from homes where their parents (or more often parent) don't know what their kids are doing and don't care---as long as we don't upset their lives.
Do the schools have a program for dealing with that, besides warehousing the student?
I'm just amazed by the resources available today. In the 70's we had to make do with old textbooks. I wish I had grandchildren that I could homeschool today - it would be so much fun and a whole lot easier.
Sounds like the movie Logan's Run.