Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Anti-homeschooling Views - part 2

Continuing on from Anti-homeschooling Views part 1.

My next catergory is fear. (Many of these categories overlap).

1. Fear of the unknown

Better the devil you know than the devil you don't. I personally know many parents who are dissatisfied with public education, but are terrified of the alternative. They are comfortable with their set of problems and don't want to trade them in for another set.

It is how I feel every time we change medical plans. Regardless of how good are bad the last plan worked, I hate to change. I know how to play my current system. It is daunting to learn the ins and outs of a new program.

2. Fear of failure

Many people are not "comfortable" with failure. I learned quickly as a new homeschooler to let go and move on when a new (often expensive) curriculum didn't work. Not everything we have tried while homeschooling worked well. We've had some wonderful successes, but just as many failures. I think we went through three spelling programs before we found one that worked for my kids. I don't want to even talk about Latin. I think we will give up and try Japanese this year.

Fragile egos can't handle the ups and downs of homeschooling. Public education reinforces that kind of thinking. We can't have competition, social promotion regardless of ability, can't let the bright hard working kids excel because it might make the slower kids feel bad, and grade inflation are just a few examples of this.

3. Fear of responsibility

We live in a society that wants privileges without responsibilities. Education is now a right. Children are entitled to a high school diploma even if they didn't put in the effort and can't pass a simple exit exam. Parents want the title with out the actual responsibility for their children. Homeschoolers are steping up to the challenge of actually caring for their own children. Other parents are worried that if we can do it, they might be expected to do it also.

4. Fear of work

The most common response I get when I tell someone I homeschool is, "That's great, but I could never do that." My response is, "Yes, you could. What you are really saying is that it would take more effort than you are willing to make." They usually agree.

Some of this attitude may come from a mistaken perception that homeschooling is "school at home." If I tried to recreate the typical class room schedule at home, I would give up too.

5. Fear of being "different"

Many people just don't want to stand out in a crowd. I trace some of this back to public education. The goal of school is to make all children to look, act and test the same. They are to be interchangeable widgets on an assembly line. Because children are "socialized" by other children instead of adults, the pack mentality is reinforced. Don't get me wrong. There is something to be said for being able to get along in a group setting. However, group-think is a poor way to make decisions in life.

To be continued....

My next category is Politics.


Anonymous said...

Fear definitely had me frozen on homeschooling. There is no one in my family who homeschools and although they don't tell us we're horrible people for homeschooling, they don't exactly applaud us either. This is definitely new territory for us. It's not easy to step out there and be different. I don't think I could have ever been a homeschooling parent in the 80's when it was first beginning. It was meeting homeschooled kids and witnessing the success of the prior generation that got me hooked. If it had been an untested alternative, I might have been too afraid to try it for fear the "experiment" would end badly.

Janine Cate said...

>I don't think I could have ever been a homeschooling parent in the 80's when it was first beginning.

I wonder about that myself. By the time we started homeschooling, it was getting to be more and more socially acceptable. None of our friends homeschooled, but many relatives did so that made it fairly easy.

Sarah said...

I'm not a huge fan of the Ohio Virtual Community School and ECOT, but one of the few good things I've noticed is the "gateway" effect. Parents transition from being nearly afraid of their kids ("what on earth would I do if..." and "I can't imagine spending all day, every day, with them around!") to enjoying their company. And they start to notice that their kids are happier outside of school, and that, for the most part, if they're learning anything at all it's because they're teaching themselves.

I know a few families that have graduated from the virtual public schools to actual homeschooling, and a couple of ECOT grads who plan on homeschooling their own children. It requires a change in how you see the world, I think -- even bigger than the often traumatic changes families experience when they send their children to school for the first time. At least in that case, they usually have their own memories to draw upon, and tons of social pressure ensuring they'll follow through.

What's funny is that I know now how scared my mom was of homeschooling (and she was a licensed teacher!) but I was thrilled at the idea at the time. And all of my friends (in our highly gifted track elementary school) were insanely jealous. Especially when they found out I could do any subjects we wanted and take the SAT in 7th grade (we were kids, and didn't know much -- it seemed like only high schoolers were allowed to take the SAT, to us; sadly, we were already talking about the test extensively in the 6th grade.)

Alastriona, The Cats and Dogs said...

We used Power Glide to do Japanese a few years ago and had a great time.

I think responsiblity is a BIG issue with public school parents. When we were involved in the fight against mandatory school uniforms in the public schools the #1 reason pro-uni parents sited for being for uniforms was so they wouldn't have to get up in the morning and make sure their children were dressed approbiatly

Anonymous said...

I am so afraid of failing my children,but I want so badly to homeschool them.How did you get over that fear?I have wanted to do this for the last two years,but the closer it gets to school starting I let people convince me I can't handle it.

Janine Cate said...


I tried to answer your question in this post..

Good luck.