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Home Schools Run By Well-Meaning Amateurs (Barf alert!)
www.nea.org ^ | July 2005 | Dave Arnold

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, let’s 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 don’t 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 children’s minds, careers, and futures -- to trained professionals. That is, to those who have worked steadily at their profession for 10, 20, 30 years! Teachers!

Experienced Pros

There’s 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.

Well-Meaning Amateurs

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!

* “It’s not as difficult as it looks.”

The “it” is meant to be “teaching.” Let’s 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 can’t 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 book’s content.

Gullible Parents

Another Web site asks for donations and posts newspaper articles pertaining to problems occurring in public schools.

It’s 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 nation’s “ungodly” public schools was to remove students from them and teach them at home or at a Christian school.

I’m 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!

No Training

Don’t 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.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: barfalert; homeschool; idiot; janitor; loserauthor; nea; pspl
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To: ican'tbelieveit
I don't think you have any real evidence, you are just giving this knee jerk reaction to homeschoolers that everyone gives.

I was homeschooled for twelve years, and am entering my junior year of college next fall.

151 posted on 07/26/2005 9:04:34 PM PDT by Young Scholar
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To: Young Scholar

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.


152 posted on 07/26/2005 9:18:15 PM PDT by ican'tbelieveit
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To: Young Scholar
Thanks for posting your comments. I think it's important to listen to the people who were home-educated. Though I homeschool our children, I myself was not homeschooled, and sometimes it's good to receive advice from someone like yourself.

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.

153 posted on 07/26/2005 9:46:25 PM PDT by Tired of Taxes
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To: solitas

Good for a laugh this morning. Thanks for the ping.


154 posted on 07/27/2005 3:42:43 AM PDT by planekT (The Supreme Can of Worms.)
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To: tutstar

homeschool ping


155 posted on 07/27/2005 4:14:22 AM PDT by Nightshift (Faith is something everyone has. The question is faith in what?)
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To: ican'tbelieveit

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.


156 posted on 07/27/2005 6:10:22 AM PDT by Young Scholar
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To: Tired of Taxes
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.

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.

157 posted on 07/27/2005 6:17:21 AM PDT by Young Scholar
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To: Millicent_Hornswaggle

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.

Mike


158 posted on 07/27/2005 6:27:24 AM PDT by BCR #226
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To: agrace

Oh my!! The thread is great but this link takes the cake.


159 posted on 07/27/2005 8:15:56 AM PDT by lightingguy (Sorry, I got distracted)
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To: Millicent_Hornswaggle

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.


160 posted on 07/27/2005 10:12:39 AM PDT by StrictTime (Them goldfish jumpy.)
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To: SLB
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NEA or its affiliates.

What a bunch of maroons.

161 posted on 07/27/2005 10:20:03 AM PDT by Stonewall Jackson (Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. - John Adams)
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To: longtermmemmory
The most common name of social studies teachers is "coach"!

Excellent point!

162 posted on 07/27/2005 10:23:20 AM PDT by Yaelle
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To: nutmeg

bttt


163 posted on 07/27/2005 10:24:39 AM PDT by nutmeg ("We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." - Hillary Clinton 6/28/04)
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To: luckystarmom
Anyway, what makes me laugh is that an education degree is one of the easiest degrees in college.

At the Massachusetts college I attended the School of Education (SOE) was called "School of Easy." I had friends in the Arts & Sciences or Management schools who would take Ed courses if they needed an easy "A" to bring their GPAs up a bit.
164 posted on 07/27/2005 10:37:32 AM PDT by Antoninus (Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini, Hosanna in excelsis!)
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To: Stonewall Jackson

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)


165 posted on 07/27/2005 10:38:57 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: Millicent_Hornswaggle
Don’t most parents have a tough enough job teaching their children social, disciplinary and behavioral skills?

I would guess once the kids are out of the Public schools it gets a bit easier..

166 posted on 07/27/2005 10:43:09 AM PDT by N3WBI3 (If SCO wants to go fishing they should buy a permit and find a lake like the rest of us..)
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To: Young Scholar

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.


167 posted on 07/27/2005 11:04:48 AM PDT by ican'tbelieveit
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To: luckystarmom
However, most kids don't need special help, and I think a well-educated parent could easily teach their children.

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.

168 posted on 07/27/2005 11:06:50 AM PDT by Labyrinthos
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To: ican'tbelieveit

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)?


169 posted on 07/27/2005 11:38:43 AM PDT by Young Scholar
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To: Young Scholar

I have been homeschooling for 9 years.


170 posted on 07/27/2005 11:49:59 AM PDT by ican'tbelieveit
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To: Labyrinthos
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.

That's what community college is for!

171 posted on 07/27/2005 11:53:31 AM PDT by TomSmedley (Calvinist, optimist, home schooling dad, exuberant husband, technical writer)
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To: TomSmedley
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.

172 posted on 07/27/2005 11:59:00 AM PDT by Labyrinthos
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To: EQAndyBuzz
I have a friend who is a janitor in a Junior High School. He received his masters degree in business from Ohio State.

Sometimes the dog did eat the homework, but that's not the way to bet.

173 posted on 07/27/2005 12:24:52 PM PDT by gogeo (Often wrong but seldom in doubt.)
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To: Betteboop

Bette, can the school address that? Do they on a daily basis?


174 posted on 07/27/2005 12:26:54 PM PDT by gogeo (Often wrong but seldom in doubt.)
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To: ican'tbelieveit

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.


175 posted on 07/27/2005 12:38:01 PM PDT by gogeo (Often wrong but seldom in doubt.)
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To: gogeo

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.


176 posted on 07/27/2005 12:44:39 PM PDT by ican'tbelieveit
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To: hopperbach

And most of them are better behaved as well--no school bus jokes, bad behavior, fights, etc.


177 posted on 07/27/2005 12:44:44 PM PDT by Marysecretary (Thank you, Lord, for FOUR MORE YEARS!!!)
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To: Labyrinthos
There are lots of curriculums available online...here's just one example from one company. I sure wish I had had the internet and resources like this available to me in the 70's when I homeschooled my son!

K12 Ascend

178 posted on 07/27/2005 12:48:19 PM PDT by 2nd amendment mama ( www.2asisters.org Self defense is a basic human right!)
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To: Millicent_Hornswaggle

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.


179 posted on 07/27/2005 12:52:06 PM PDT by kittymyrib
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To: 2nd amendment mama

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?


180 posted on 07/27/2005 12:57:26 PM PDT by Labyrinthos
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To: gogeo
Thank you; I have always tried to help potential homeschoolers (after all, the better homeschoolers in general do, the better "homeschooled" looks on my resume or law school application :-) not to mention the better the country is for it).

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.

181 posted on 07/27/2005 12:58:18 PM PDT by Young Scholar
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To: Young Scholar

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.


182 posted on 07/27/2005 1:00:55 PM PDT by ican'tbelieveit
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To: ican'tbelieveit

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.


183 posted on 07/27/2005 1:33:10 PM PDT by Young Scholar
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To: Labyrinthos

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.


184 posted on 07/27/2005 1:35:23 PM PDT by 2nd amendment mama ( www.2asisters.org Self defense is a basic human right!)
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To: Labyrinthos

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.


185 posted on 07/27/2005 1:37:43 PM PDT by 2nd amendment mama ( www.2asisters.org Self defense is a basic human right!)
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To: Young Scholar

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.


186 posted on 07/27/2005 1:58:25 PM PDT by ican'tbelieveit
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To: Young Scholar

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.


187 posted on 07/27/2005 2:12:25 PM PDT by ican'tbelieveit
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To: ican'tbelieveit
How do they not interact normally with other members of society? Do I not do the same things that everyone else does, normally?

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.

188 posted on 07/27/2005 2:47:06 PM PDT by Young Scholar
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To: Young Scholar

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.


189 posted on 07/27/2005 4:02:56 PM PDT by ican'tbelieveit
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To: DoughtyOne

Hey, Dave is a custodian, not a teacher! Goodnight, whattanass! Did he graduate from teachers college? I doubt it.


190 posted on 07/27/2005 4:19:40 PM PDT by Paulus Invictus
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To: gogeo

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!!!


191 posted on 07/27/2005 5:01:57 PM PDT by Betteboop
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To: Labyrinthos

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.


192 posted on 07/27/2005 5:09:40 PM PDT by luckystarmom
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To: Labyrinthos

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.


193 posted on 07/27/2005 5:11:23 PM PDT by luckystarmom
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To: 2nd amendment mama

We are starting our third year with the K12 curriculum this fall -- love it, especially the History.


194 posted on 07/27/2005 11:13:20 PM PDT by GOPrincess
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To: Labyrinthos

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.


195 posted on 07/27/2005 11:18:02 PM PDT by GOPrincess
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To: Betteboop
All too often I see parents who have had their children for 14 years, suddenly expect us, in the course of 5 hours to not only teach their kids, but change their behaviour as well.

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?

196 posted on 07/28/2005 5:31:36 AM PDT by gogeo (Often wrong but seldom in doubt.)
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To: Millicent_Hornswaggle; newgeezer
This is downright funny. I'm glad to see them fighting back. I think a trained professional should raise kids. Parents have no business raising kids because they are not professionally trained in psychology and behaviorism or even basic hygiene. Maybe children should be born to professional breeders, raised by the government and then just assigned their lives. That'd be a brave new world wouldn't it.
197 posted on 07/28/2005 5:36:55 AM PDT by biblewonk (They are not gods which are made with hands.)
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To: GOPrincess

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.


198 posted on 07/28/2005 5:48:35 AM PDT by 2nd amendment mama ( www.2asisters.org Self defense is a basic human right!)
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To: biblewonk

Sounds like the movie Logan's Run.


199 posted on 07/28/2005 10:30:56 AM PDT by luckystarmom
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To: Millicent_Hornswaggle; TxBec; SLB; BibChr; JenB; wasp69; cantfindagoodscreenname; BallandPowder; ...

I pinged this column before, but I wanted to respond/refute a few points. I ping it again for those of you who might enjoy reading Mr. Arnold’s column broken down and demolished.

Dave Arnold wrote:

Schools With Good Teachers Are Best-Suited to Shape Young Minds

Shape young minds into…what? Sex-craving, drug-filled, peer-driven liberal diversity training mock-ups? Nine- and ten-year olds who have been given instruction about oral sex using a condom and a cucumber? Who believe that America was founded by Indian-murdering, slave-abusing, rich white Bible-thumping Europeans? Just what are we trying to shape our young children’s’ minds into?

Dave Arnold wrote:

There's nothing like having the right person with the right experience, skills and tools to accomplish a specific task.

I agree. But I believe our definitions differ. Mr. Arnold would assert that the “right people” are government-picked and government-funded teachers with lower and lower testing requirements who shape the “young skulls full of mush” with diversity training, and revisionist history. Homeschoolers believe that no one knows the child like the parent, and no one should be able to teach the child better than the parent.

Dave Arnold wrote:

Certain jobs are best left to the pros, such as, formal education.

Is this like the ancient idea that only old pros can engage in news reporting? Welcome to the new age, Mr. Arnold. We live in the age of the Drudge Report, Fox News, and the Blogosphere – the new media. We also live in an age where parents no longer have to surrender their children to the liberal-run, government-funded reeducation failures known as public schools. (If they don’t want to)

Dave Arnold wrote:

There are few homeowners who can tackle every aspect of home repair. A few of us might know carpentry, plumbing and, let’s 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 don’t own the proper tools. Heck, some people have their hands full just knowing how to drive.

Inadequate (and false) analogy. People do not know and are not intimately familiar with cars or houses in the same way they are with children, whom they birthed, nurtured and spent their lives with. They did not go through the education system with cars or houses like they did when they were younger.

Dave Arnold wrote:

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 children’s minds, careers, and futures -- to trained professionals. That is, to those who have worked steadily at their profession for 10, 20, 30 years! Teachers!

Uh-oh, folks, he’s already showing signs of coming unglued. This is much sooner than I expected.

Why would some columnists assume that all parents are gullible enough to place their children in the hands of strangers, to shape their minds, careers, futures (worldviews, opinions, etc.)?

Dave Arnold wrote:

There’s 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.

Once again, this archaic assumption that only people who have been specially tailored to educate can educate. Just like only journalists can make or break news. (Of course, Dan Rather redefined the expression “make news” but we won’t go there!) Dave Arnold wrote:

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!

* “It’s not as difficult as it looks.”

The “it” is meant to be “teaching.” Let’s face it, teaching children is difficult even for experienced professionals. Wannabes have no idea.


*Chuckles* Why is it so irritating for Mr. Arnold to discover that over one million parents have now learned that you do not have need of a Great Warden of the Halls of Knowledge to teach and train your children? What experience or credentials does Mr. Arnold hold to assert that, actually, yes it is so terribly difficult?

Mr. Arnold forgets, the people who are able to say “actually, it’s not all that hard” are often already homeschool veterans. My wonderful mother homeschooled my older brother and I through high school. He’s a college graduate with a few job offers on the table from local newspapers. I’m still in college. We both made the Dean’s List. My younger sister is in high school, and below her, there’s kindergarten, second grade, and fifth grade. She’s already proved her ability. What has Mr. Arnold proved, sitting behind a keyboard and marveling at the idiots in flyover country who dare defy government-run schools? He reminds me very much of the liberals after the election, sitting with mouths agape, swearing and demanding to know just HOW America could have reelected Bush?

Dave Arnold quotes:

“What about socialization? Forget about it!”

Boy, didn’t see that one coming! NOT! This is a totally bogus argument. While the quote itself takes it to an unusual extreme, most homeschoolers engage in social activities and field trips outside the home, perhaps more than public schoolers. The “socialization” that is referenced is another term for the constant peer congregation, where kids meet and greet with other young kids who are attending school. The problem with this is, parents have no way of finding out a lot about these friends. (Why else do “public interest” commercials target parents to visit their schools, or talk to their kids about drugs, and demand to know where their kids are at all times? Guess what, people? Homeschoolers laugh at those commercials) Therefore, it should come as no surprise when children come home with “interesting” new words they heard in school, or come to the parental “birds and the bees” discussion with prior knowledge of most if not all of the details.

And what is missed when this constant food chain of peer influence is removed? The constant lowering of one’s maturity level (or the retention of a lower standard for a longer amount of time) to impress and amuse peers.

This is anecdotal and personal, but I have to share. I work at a certain popular retail outlet doing remodeling. Most of the work is outside, and is laborious, grueling, and hot. (Really hot and humid weather to work in) Yet my mid-fifties co-worker has commented to me (a homeschool graduate who “missed out” on all that peer influence) that I am more mature than the rest of the people my age who are working. I do not say this for my own praise, but merely to argue against this argument about the distressing lack of socialization.

Dave Arnold wrote:

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.

For some strange reason, this unnamed website that Mr. Arnold found has suddenly become the all-important source and the final authority on How Homeschooling is Done. A good journalist knows better than to use one dubious source…unless, of course, the person doing research already has a motive behind his research.

I doubt that Mr. Arnold would feel differently at all, because if he expanded the diversity of his research, he would find numerous instances where children engage in competitive social activities. Oddly enough, this has become a battle of late between homeschoolers and public schools. Public schools have been denying homeschoolers the chance to take part in athletics and other programs. (USA Today ran a story on it, for example) Do your homework again, Mr. Arnold. Yours is unacceptable. Dave Arnold wrote:

Buying a history, science or math book does not mean an adult can automatically instruct others about the book’s content.

That is what teachers’ guides are for, and why teachers preview the material. Perhaps Mr. Arnold should not assume that everyone will do their preparations as shoddily as he. Dave Arnold wrote:

Another Web site asks for donations and posts newspaper articles pertaining to problems occurring in public schools. It’s 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.

Surprise! Organizations cater to the needs of homeschoolers, provide news about how beneficial it is to homeschool, and remind them of how bad it is in public schools. And they try to make a buck while they’re at it. I suppose this would be another case where Mr. Arnold would change his mind; if these organizations published magazines, paid for web space, and hired website artists for free? Now it’s getting downright anti-capitalist.

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 nation’s “ungodly” public schools was to remove students from them and teach them at home or at a Christian school. I’m 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!

The logic of this should be transparent enough that I needn’t bother. You don’t send your child or children to public school so they can win a supposed battle against government education anymore than you send five warriors into an unclaimed Baghdad to win Iraq. Your children are there to learn, not fight a battle. They are not trained for combat, and they have scant ability to stand up and fight the causes of liberal government education.

The battle is being fought on its proper front…from organizations like Home School Legal Defense Association, which is a legal organization fighting to protect the rights of homeschoolers. (If you’re not a member, but are a homeschooler, you really need to find out more about them at HSLDA.org)

Dave Arnold wrote:

Don’t most parents have a tough enough job teaching their children social, disciplinary and behavioral skills?

Yes, “most parents” have difficulties. But homeschool parents are not your average parents. They aren’t your average classic Bob and Mary Smith of 101 Maple Ave. They are tough and courageous mothers and fathers who have a deeply-rooted conviction that they not just surrender the minds of their children to unsupervised education. Sure it’s hard. Just because some website Mr. Arnold quotes (which he does not identify, leaving us wondering who and what it is, and if it’s true), saying that homeschooling is easy, and expands it into a broad assumption that all homeschoolers sail on flowery beds of ease. The charge doesn’t stick.

Mr. Arnold also ignores the evidence that supports homeschoolers routinely outperforming public school students on aptitude tests. Or that the winner of the 2005 National Geography Bee was homeschooled. Or the second-place Spelling Bee winner was homeschooled.

Shoddy homework, shallow sources and substandard writing leads me to give Mr. Arnold a failing grade on this exam. Maybe his parents should have homeschooled him.
200 posted on 07/29/2005 5:38:53 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger (Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13))
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