Saturday, November 25, 2006

That TV show on homeschooling and unschooling

Once P.T. Barnum once said "I don't care what they say about me, just make sure they spell my name right!" His point was that even bad press was good business. There is some wisdom in his observation. I don't want to encourage people to watch TV shows which unfairly attack or are dishonest in their presentation. And so for the rest of this post I'll refer to the Dr. Phil show that aired last night as that TV show.

When I first heard a popular televsion host wanted homeschoolers for his show I was excited. Homeschooling is a great influence for good. To give it national exposure would encourage more people to at least investigate homeschooling. The popularly accepted numbers are that about two percent of the children in American are homeschooled. It would be great if that grew to five or even ten percent. I do think it will happen in the next ten to twenty years. National exposure on a popular TV show would help accelerate the growth of homeschooling.

When my wife found a report on the recording of that TV show, I realized that this would not be real helpful in teaching people about the benefits of homeschooling.

I only watched a few minutes last night. I hadn't planned to watch, since I had heard from several sources that it was to be an attack on homeschooling. My wife turned on the televsion last night and in flipping around came across that TV show. We watched for a bit.

I forget the exact words, but at one point the host asks the audience how many people thought unschooling was a good idea. Several hands went up. The host said about five percent of the audience was in support of unschooling. Then he asked how many thought public school, with all its problems was a better alternative. A few more hands went up. From the perspective the camera gave it didn't seem like a whole lot of hands went up. But the host said about 90% were in support of public schooling. I had read the report about how that TV show bused in students from a public school, so I recognized that that TV show was stacking the deck in favor of the arguement the host was making. This was very dishonest.

A little later that TV show had a 26 year old woman on who complained that homeschooling had ruined her life. That she didn't have an active social life. The viewers were suppose to come to the conclusion that all homeschoolers are socially backwards retards. For my wife and I the bad socialization at public schools is one of the reasons we homeschool. The truth is as a group homeschoolers are more socially well rounded.

One of the problems with making any kind of claim that life would have been better if we had choosen another alternative is that we can never know for sure. With science we can run and rerun various experiments. But with people we can't back up life and see what would have happend if this woman had gone to public school. All we can do is to look at evidence and make our best guess. We do know that children have horrible experiences every year in public schools. Thousands to hundreds of thousands are bullied every year. Public schools waste time. Even more get a poor education.

The problem with that TV show's presentation is not that there was some child some where in the whole world who was homeschooled and regrets it, but that there was no context given. For example they didn't mention Dr. Brian Ray's study which found that 95% of the adults who were homeschooled were glad they were homeschooled, and less than 2% were upset about being homeschooled.

If people stopped and compared the few individuals who regret being homeschooled to the mlllions of people who had horrible experiences going to public school, they would realize that homeschooling is a much better choice.

At this point I went upstairs to watch other shows.

What are some good responses?

Well I plan to write a short note to that TV show and explain that they were dishonest in their presentation of homeschooling and that I don't plan to ever watch the show again. I'll also write some of the companies which advertise on that TV show and tell them why I will not be watching that TV show ever again. Someone has already posted a list of sponsors of that TV show. If anyone posts a list with addresses, please let me know.

Right now I don't plan to write any more about that TV show. I don't want to give them any press. If you are interested in what others are saying about that TV show check out:

The Homeschool Scuttle reports on the taping of the show.

The Thinking Mother shares some of her thoughts and she also has a report on the taping of the show.

The Princess Mom reports that the poll by that TV show are rounding the numbers in favor of public school. Even with this dishonesty, the results are good for homeschooling and unschooling.

At the Four Willows Christian Academy the point is made that the 26 year old woman mostly seems to be upset that she didn't get to be a cheer leader.

Valorie Delp wants to know what research claims that after eighth grade children are better socialized in public schools.

Dana is upset that that TV show is so hostile to homeschoolers.

Spunky is looking for feedback from people who watched that TV show.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wonder why they didnt interveiw...Hulk HOgan ( he homeschooled)...Will Smith (he homeschooled)...JO JO (she was homeschooled)..Tiffany EVans(she was homeschooled) Chyenne KImball (she was homeschooled)...Tim Taebo ( plays for Florida State Univ. -he was homeschooled his entire life)...How would have homeschooling looked to the masses then????????