Friday, August 03, 2007

Response to a comment

We got the following comment on Bureaucracy may destroy the public school system.

Anonymous said...

Homeschooling does not allow for all students' needs. Lets get real. Only parents who can afford to stay home all day can afford to home school. Also, parents who are academically challenged cannot effectively homes school their own children.

If a parent wishes to home school they make the choice on their own. To constantly criticize public schools will not help poor performing schools. It seems as though all home school educators do is surf the web in search of public school horror stories.

If you have all day to sit at home and have your kids work on worksheets or drill and kill on the computer, take time to work with the public schools and make them better. You see public schools belong to the public and their successes or failures also belong to the public at large. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.


So, let's look at this section by section:

Homeschooling does not allow for all students' needs. Lets get real. Only parents who can afford to stay home all day can afford to home school. Also, parents who are academically challenged cannot effectively homes school their own children.


Public education does not allow for all students' needs either. I know people of very limited means who have successfully homeschooled. Research has shown that parents with only a highschool diploma can still successfully educate their children at home.

If a parent wishes to home school they make the choice on their own. To constantly criticize public schools will not help poor performing schools. It seems as though all home school educators do is surf the web in search of public school horror stories.


Pointing out weakness in public education does seem like shooting fish in a barrel. We do so with a purpose of warning parents to the danger of blindly entrusting their children to the public school system. I admit that I can get a little "snitting" sometimes.


If you have all day to sit at home and have your kids work on worksheets or drill and kill on the computer, take time to work with the public schools and make them better.


Here, and here and here are of few examples of a typical homeschool day. It looks nothing like "drill and kill."

You see public schools belong to the public and their successes or failures also belong to the public at large.


No, it doesn't. Public education “belongs” to the bureaucrats jockeying for position and the teachers’ union. Parents and the public are so far down on the list as to hardly matter.

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.


Exactly. We show parents that there is a problem and that they have options. Exploiting high functioning children and their families in the hopes of improving the public school system is statistically ineffective. And far worse, it is unethical to put one group of children in harms way in the unlikely chance of minimally improving the circumstances of another group of children.

There are some wonderful teachers who valiantly try to make a difference in the lives of their students. They endure difficult working situations and an unfair salary system that rewards poorly performing teachers the same as extraordinary teachers. We do not wish to belittle their efforts. But, please understand that for families like ours, the negatives associated with government schools specifically and institutionalized education in general outweigh the benefits of some good teachers or the occasionally great one.

Philosophically speaking, I don’t think it is possible to “save the world” through the government school system. For the parents and teachers who wish to try, we can respect their efforts as long as our children are not “drafted“ to fight their cause.

Homeschoolers have chosen to fight the battle on a different front. We make the world a better place by first raising and educating our own children. Second, we mentor and give encouragement to other families to do the same. Every family should be allowed to choose how to educate their children based on what is best for their situation, not to satisfy some else's ideology.

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

10 comments:

Jacque said...

LOVE- absolutely LOVE- this.
As tiring as this person seems to think it is to keep hearing reasons for homeschooling.... be it the public school system or not... most of us are infinitely more tired of hearing this same old "blah blah blah" about how we should pitch in to help dig the pss out of the hole they keep digging deeper.
It seems like the more money they get from taxpayers to 'fix things', the more it gets broken.
Besides, if all of the people who actually send their children to the ps would step up to the plate first, then you could pick on the homeschoolers.

We are still paying taxes for a pss that we won't use and still paying for our own curriculum, etc in addition to that. And my husband works 2 jobs to do it, too.

All I can say about this: If you have all day to sit at home and have your kids work on worksheets or drill and kill on the computer... is LOL. Come to my house. Part of our homeschooling is building horse stalls and goat pens, studying the animals (like delivering goat kids), adding on to our home, sewing, cooking... and other hands-on projects... spare time, my eye.

It also bugs me that this was stated: You see public schools belong to the public and their successes or failures also belong to the public at large. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem., when there is a whole other facet as to whether I can have my say in how the pss is run or not. PS do not belong to the public... they are just supported by the public!

This is an age-old argument made by someone who doesn't understand what homeschooling really is (nor do they really understand the pss).

Thanks, great post!
-J

Sandy said...

Thanks for your comments, Janine. I have faced similar comments from people in my church family who laud others who "sacrifice" their children in the schools as a way to evangelize. They criticize our family because our children are not part of the testing pool and would presumably bring the school's test scores up. They believe that if I would only get involved in the school system, I could help our schools improve. I know otherwise.

My children get one childhood and I get one chance to educate them to become productive citizens and leaders of the future. I cannot take a chance on schools that view them as guinea pigs for the latest educational fad. My goal is to educate them, not to produce excellent test takers. And I know full well that as a parent, I would have almost no influence whatsoever to change the methodology, the curricula, the teachers, or any of the other critical things that have gone so wrong with the schools in our area. These decisions are made by bureaurocrats far removed from our local schools. I have also watched my friends struggle as they try to work within a very inflexible system where the only thing that really matters any more are test scores.

We're all making sacrifices... we just need to be sure we're making the right ones.

Henry Cate said...

Anyone who has studied the history of education in the United States knows that for fifty years parents and others have been working to fix education. Diane Ravitch has a wonderful book just on the history of education.

There was a huge call to action in 1983 after a Federal Report, "A Nation At Risk" found huge failings in the public school system. It had this famous quote:

"If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves."

Studies have found that education has only gotten worse over the last 22 years.

Stupidity has been defined as "Doing the same thing you have been doing, but expecting different results."

It is a symptom of the decline in our public schools that so many people are ignorant of history. They claim that if we'll just get involved, everything will be rosy. This has been tried, and tried, and tried. The result has been an accelerated decline in public schools.

I would be overjoyed if our public schools got better; I don't see any way short of a major overhaul that they will improve. With our current state of politics, it isn't going to happen.

Eleanor Deakin said...

To constantly criticize public schools will not help poor performing schools.

I think criticism can help, since it can point out where schools are failing and why. There's more to a good school than raising test scores by having the "best kids" at those schools - the onces doing poorly are still doing poorly, they just aren't noticed so much, which obviously doesn't help them. Furthermore, if more people refuse to send their kids to school, that will send a clear message to the bureaucrats as well.


Even if it were true that "only parents who can afford to stay home all day can afford to home school" (well, duh, that still doesn't mean you have to be fabulously wealthy), the question is, so what? What does that have to do with anything and how is that an argument against home schooling? It seems the commenter is saying, "that's not fair!" That's not "getting real", and coupled with the statement about "academically challenged" (whatever that means) parents being unable to home school, it's a sort of snobby egalitarianism.

Oh, and newsflash, a lot of home schooling parents actually work from home, which is another way those without small fortunes manage to home school.

I think the hyperbole ("all home educators do is surf the web in search of public school horror stories"), simplistic cliché and nonsensical flow in the comment kind of speak for themselves.

Laurie Ryan said...

I just recently subscribed to this blog because I have a 3 1/2 year old boy and I am considering homeschooling.

I have been able to be a stay-at-home mom thus far, after quitting a 60K a year plus job. Our sacrifices have been great to do this.

By the time my son is ready for school, the money will be gone. I will need to earn at least a part time living to home school.

What would be really great is if this blog could provide ideas for people like me on types of home businesses that might accomplish this. I assume you advocate homeschooling, but this blog seems to be speaking to an audience that already "knows everything" and IS homeschooling.

Where do you get curricula? How do you find out if you have homeschooling in your area? What are the stories of others who are "making it" on one income?

Topics like this would be helpful.

Crimson Wife said...

What I don't understand is why homeschooling elicits such animosity that traditional private & parochial schooling does not. Private schools enroll about 10% of the total U.S. K-12 student population, compared to the ~3-5% who homeschool. Why aren't critics calling on private & parochial school parents to put their children in the public schools too? Why should middle-class folks be made to feel guilty about our decisions to homeschool but wealthy private school parents be given a pass?

The trend in public education has been for less and less control by parents, teachers, and even local administrators and more and more control by educrats in Sacramento, D.C., and even Geneva (home of the International Baccalaureate Organization). If I'm a parent concerned about education, that reality is a powerful disincentive to expending time & energy trying to improve public schools.

One easy way to involve homeschooling families in public schools would be to allow part-time enrollment and access to extracurricular activities without draconian regulation. Right now, homeschoolers are either barred completely or allowed to participate only if they agree to be subject to additional government regulation of their homeschool.

Janine Cate said...

Laurie Ryan,

>Where do you get curricula?

I suggest attending a homeschool conference. It is a great way to jump start.

>How do you find out if you have homeschooling in your area?

Google "homeschooling support groups." Get involved with a homeschool support group now. I started attending a homeschool group two years before my daughter was school age.

>What are the stories of others who are "making it" on one income?

When it comes to finances, there a many skilled homeschoolers who would be in a better place to give advice. Henry and I had always planned that I would stay home full time with out children, so homeschooling didn't change anything.

I focus on frugal living and Henry is very proactive in his career. Again, I would go to Google for more hints.

Janine Cate said...

>What I don't understand is why homeschooling elicits such animosity that traditional private & parochial schooling does not.

I think middle class parents don't feel guilty about not sending their children to a parochial or private school because of the cost. With homeschooling being within reach of middle class, it would be easy to get defensive.

Anonymous said...

Just to be picky ... many, many middle class families send their kids to private school. Private schools are not the exclusive domain of the rich. Very often, middle class private schooling parents make similar financial sacrifices that many homeschooling families make in order to give their children the education that's best for them. It's all about freedom of choice for each family.

But the commenter is correct that private schoolers do not seem to be called out as having "abandoned" public schools the way homeschoolers are.

Janine Cate said...

>Private schools are not the exclusive domain of the rich.

That's very true. For some reason middle class families are seen as noble for sacrificing to pay for private school while homeschool parents are seen as selfish. Go figure.