The "usual" criticism of homeschooling stacks up like this:

* Socialization
* Curriculum
* Multiculturalism
* lack of testing
* homeschoolers have fewer resources
* poor quality of teacher
* homeschoolers are ideologically-driven
* homeschooled children are ill-equipped to function in society
* and keeping funding from the public schools.

I am delighted to take each of these issues separately. I have researched
and read thousands of pages of materials AS WELL AS being a parent who
homeschools. Additionally, as my disposal, a huge group of families with
whom I am familiar that homeschool. Each child in the world is unique.
Homeschool, public school, private school, other learning arrangement,
no learning arrangement. Each child reacts to events in their own unique
way. I mention this because, while writing this piece to "defend" or
support homeschool as a choice, I feel compelled to say that there is no
single perfect choice for bringing up one's children. Each choice, as
is normal in life, requires making decisions in which one gains things
and one loses things. So, I feel it is necessary to point out that any
point I make either "for" or "against" homeschooling can also be made
for public or other educational school or learning system. There is not a
school in the world that does not have as a part of it's system the
poorly-socialized, learning-disabled, or generally "outside-of-the-box"
students. Some learning environments, however, make these students feel
comfortable, confident, and successful, however, while others make these
students feel ostracized, hopeless, and left out.

I also feel no need to "defend" homeschooling. It needs no defense! My
sincere effort is to be honest and supportive of families who seek to
educate their children. I'm sure my enthusiastic tendencies supporting
homeschooling will be obvious. I think that is goes without saying, too,
that an issue of this kind can only be brushed with broad generalities
by people who have not homeschooled.


I have always wondered about the agenda of those folks who get online or go public
with these negative and blasting messages of anti-homeschool. Why are
they so vociferously negative about a lifestyle that is unfamiliar to
them? How can these folks judge an entire lifestyle choice through one
or two struggling families or children? Homeschoolers are typically in
the minority and there are, often, few statistics on homeschoolers as a
population. Honestly, for every negative story about homeschooling you
can point at for me I can point out one hundred negative stories about
the public schooling system, or any other educational system available
to the public. Also, for each negative story of homeschooling you can
point out, I can point to a hundred quietly successful homeschool
families who are raising remarkable, caring, productive, and thinking
children.

Let's start, ta dah!, with Socialization and socializing opportunities. Nearly every single
article or argument of this sort begins with "socialization" or
socializing opportunities. Those on the "con" to homeschooling side say
the homeschoolers have few opportunities to hang out with other kids,
peers, and people in general. They say the students benefit from the
amount of peer interaction available at most schooling options that meet
in a building together. I would say that there is quantity and there is
quality.

I don't deny that my children don't see and interact with other children their own age each day. No. They interact with
people of all ages each day. They are actually in the real world! In
fact, many homeschooling parents report that "socialization" is the
PERFECT reason to homeschool.

As for curriculum, there are so many different lines of curriculum for homeschoolers out there that I
can see no criticism on this point. I am in the unique position to have
seen MANY fantastic sets of materials. I carry some; some, I do not
carry at this point. (Usually for financial reasons and not because of
the merit of materials!)

Suggesting that homeschool children are not living their lives in a multicultural environment is, again, the
claim of a person who does not homeschool. Without pointing out the
homogeneous nature of most school districts, it nearly goes without
saying that the world contains all ethnic groups...and that is the
school that homeschoolers attend. The school of the world.

In fact, it is on this point that I can promise, a homeschooler has
wonderful and enriching opportunities to learn more about various
cultures and lifestyles. Even without including families associated with
homeschool groups, the world in which we life is vastly diverse and
colorful. If you do not currently have people of other races and creeds
as a part of your "friend list", please work harder!

Homeschool styles vary from family to family. I wouldn't even try to assure a
reader that all homeschoolers are tested regularly. In fact, many
homeschoolers are pleased to report that passing a test is the least
reason for learning. As my young son of nine years said to me just the
other day, "Learning is it's own reward".

Also, many institutions and groups offer a variety of testing opportunities. If a family is
interested in having their children's levels tested, those options are
available to them with very little research or cost. In our home,
achievement test results are not the main goal why we homeschool. It is
simply one of the many tools we use to guide us in educating our
children. Some states require testing for their homeschooling families
and some do not. If a family seeks to test their children, public and
private resources abound.

For the critic who suggests that homeschoolers have fewer resources available to them, I, again, would
insist that we have more! Homeschoolers are not limited by the number of
books in the school library, we have the huge city library system as
our resource! Homeschoolers are not limited by the faculty on staff at
the local school. Every adult and child we come in contact with is a
potential instructor. Homeschoolers are not limited by the school's lab,
sports, theater, extra curricular opportunities available through a
school. All of these options in our community-at-large are available to
us!

Further, these community and other resources are not available to our children for fifty minute blocks, for as long as the
lab is open! The resources available to any individual homeschool family
is limited only by their ingenuity and resourcefulness. Resources
aren't doled out to children in lines waiting to use them and they
aren't available only for the duration of a "unit". Children who
homeschool have the wonderful opportunity to stay with learning units
until they are ready to move on!

Through our local homeschool group, our family has had at our disposal university lab facilities,
university library and theater facilities, community theater and sports,
ranches, gardens, telescopes, ponds, small businesses, quarries, cave
systems, airports and other public transportation... The list is
endless. In the end, our children are given one-on-one learning
opportunities as well as individualized strategies. I fear the children
in the school system are truly suffering from fewer resources than
homeschooled children.

The claim that our children have a poor quality of teacher is rude as well as inaccurate. It may be true, I
couldn't say, but it's hard to prove one way or the other. There is no
need to point out that every school on the planet has wonderful,
innovative teachers as well as teachers that are ineffective or
unmotivated. So, without putting our various school systems on trial, it
is not going too far to say that the vast majority of homeschooling
parents that I have ever met are highly-educated, strongly-motivated,
and generally effective. I have read that homeschooling parents trend to
be higher socioeconomic families, though I have known incredible
homeschooling parents who operate on a shoestring. It is just not
possible to suggest that the quality of the parents teaching and the
children teaching themselves is "poor" in any way as a general rule.

In every group that has ever existed, there have always been the slackers
and the poorly-motivated. I'm certain that this exists within the ranks
of homeschooling parents as well. But for the most part, the parents
that I have known have taken the time to teach themselves the psychology
of learning, learning styles, schools of learning, special needs
education, and other issues related to being effective teachers for
their children. We, as parents, are always learning and improving our
approaches. Why would anyone assume that parents don't research and
learn as much as possible about what works when teaching children?
Aren't these the children that mean the most to us?

It is true that many homeschoolers are ideologically driven. I, personally, am
driven by the ideology that emphasizes the belief that human beings are
fundamentally good and that they try their best at any given moment.
Even the critics.

It is also true that some families have chosen to homeschool for ideological reasons. And why not? Don't most schools
operate under certain ideologies as well? Human beings all operate with
their own sets of ideological frameworks. The wonderful bonus of
homeschooling is that it allows us to operate under ideologies that our
children seek for themselves as well. Add to this, the ideology of being
"outside of the box" as most homeschoolers are, is not well-supported
in the school systems. Come to think of it, the schooling systems in the
world are far too ideologically-driven for my comfort.

Homeschool and public or private school systems have extremists as part of the
population. ALL populations have these subgroups! There is no way to single out any group as being more
troubled by these radical ideologies.

Lastly, is it true that homeschool families are keeping funding from the public schools? Well, I
am certainly paying my taxes! And how absurd to suggest that my child
is a mere means to an end for the school system! I do pay my taxes AND
we don't use the resources that they purchase. If the schools are
struggling with resources, it isn't because I haven't done my civic
duty.

Our country celebrates it's liberty and choice. I celebrate liberty too whenever we homeschool. Besides, I dislike putting the
public and private schools on the defensive. Not everyone can or should
homeschool!

Views: 84

Tags: defending, homeschool, parenting, socialization

Comment

You need to be a member of Atheist Nexus to add comments!

Join Atheist Nexus

Support Atheist Nexus

Donate Today

Donate

 

Help Nexus When You Buy From Amazon

Amazon

 

© 2014   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service