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.
My homeschooled children interact continually with a variety of people, homeschooled and not. Today, for instance, they spent the afternoon playing with a family who are not homeschoolers. Tonight they're playing out front with a neighbor boy. Last week they spent a park day with a group of homeschoolers. Next week they'll be at soccer camp.
I'm kind of baffled why homeschoolers wouldn't pick up on the manners and customs that are necessary to get by in society, unless they're completely cloistered...what kinds of things are you referring to? Thanks.
That's exactly what I was suggesting. There are really two crowds of homeschoolers: those who try to isolate themselves and pretty much only associate with other home schoolers, and those who are normal members of society who happen to home school and their kids good values, and whose kids interact with other kids in normal ways. The problems I have seen are almost exclusively limited to the former category (and I have known and seen both groups). Additionally, my parents were among the first to start homeschooling (beginning in the 1980s), and the movement was far from established--today's home schoolers may be somewhat different.
Certainly, home schoolers are able to develop just about as well (and often better) socially as anyone else. I am just speaking from my personal experience and observation, and I have seen many who do not, due to what I feel are common mistakes. In several of my posts (particularly #112) I describe how to avoid a few of these potential problems.
I absolutely agree with you!
We had this question clarified for us years ago: Are you raising children or adults??? You teach an adult how to learn. You teach a child facts.
The perspective is all the difference in the world. It is also the difference between most public schools and most home schools. We focus on teaching our children how to read and write and then focus on teaching them how to self-study. Not only does it take the pressure off the teacher, it also better reflects how you learn as an adult (beginning with college). No one in my place of employment teaches me my job - that is part of my responsibility.
Another nail in the coffin...
Where are the statistics in this article that shows kids that are home schooled run circles around kids who attend public schools. How can you write an article about homeschooling and completly ignore these numbers? He doesn't even mention them.
Liberals ignore all facts- will do anything and say anything that promotes their sick agenda. What a loser this guy is. Was this published? A 3rd grader could have have written a more convincing column.
What in the world do you expect from the Communist Teachers Union?
"Additionally, my parents were among the first to start homeschooling (beginning in the 1980s), and the movement was far from established--today's home schoolers may be somewhat different."
That may well be. It's becoming such a commonly accepted thing to do -- our Girl Scout leader started homeschooling the year after we did...our plumber homeschools...when we took a zoo field trip recently, the zoo director spoke to our group and told us he homeschools.
As the number of homeschoolers has grown, so have the resources and opportunities available, social and otherwise. For instance, I believe you mentioned athletics above -- I know of someone locally who teaches P.E. classes for homeschoolers, a different geographic area each day of the week. And of course there's always AYSO and Little League, which my children have participated in for many years.
The janitor has spoken. The discussion is over.
I don't think you have any real evidence, you are just giving this knee jerk reaction to homeschoolers that everyone gives. What about the socialization, they won't be able to survive in "real" society. It is about time that the definition of "real" society was changed, and I think that homeschoolers are on the path to doing that.
And talk about not fitting in. My SIL's sister's husband is from the big city of Chicago; public school educated and all. He visited them for Thanksgiving one year and as soon as the meal was over, he suggested that they all go to the bar. He had no clue that there were families that actually wanted to stay home together, enjoy each other's company. But he was socialized.
That's great, Dave. I couldn't agree with you more. Now stop teaching our children about sex and promiscuity. Stop brainwashing them to believe in your leftist propaganda before teaching them how to reason. Stop teaching them only one point of view. Stop trying to teach them the warped religion of secular humanism. Stop trying to shape our children into your own image. These are the rights and the responsibilities of parents, not you.
A piece of paper which indicates people like Dave meet all the requirements to get a job in a classroom doesn't automatically make him a "pro" anything. Some teachers I have known in the past have displayed an incredible lack of common sense as well as demonstrated little knowledge about anything in particular.
Parents who are determined to give their children the tools to do well for themselves are as capable as anyone who ever passed the National Teacher's Exam.
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.