In Response to The Case Against Homeschooling

Written by Scott

Topics: Uncategorized

[Note: this post has generated a lot of traffic, especially from outside the United States. I’d love to hear directly from some of you as to homeschooling in your country and the challenges you face. Please feel free to email me at scotters@gmail.com!] In particular, would love to hear from the recurring visitor from Mexico…

Jesse Scaccia at Teacher Revised wrote a mind-numbing article recently entitled The Case Against Homeschooling. Read for yourself–the link will open in a new window, thanks to the magic that is HTML.

This is my rebuttal. Well, that’s not actually true since a rebuttal requires an actual argument to respond to, and his article…well…for someone that has a degree in English and a Master’s in journalism, the article is nothing more than poorly written rubbish. At best. [Also happens to explain a lot about the current situation in which traditional news media find themselves, but that’s for another time.] Jesse seems to be nothing more than a tool.

Rather than respond to each point Jesse makes, I’m taking a slightly different approach. For those that have read my blog for a while–or worse, those that know me–that’s just how I am.

Many seem to believe that learning only takes place in the confines of a classroom. If that is the case, let us then do away with museums, art galleries, theatre, libraries, and the like, since that would mean they have no educational value. But the fact of the matter is that learning is not confined to a specific place. Learning is a lifetime process that can–and should–take place anywhere. This is the single most important concept that homeschoolers want to instill in our children.

Many seem to believe that learning can only come from highly-educated, credentialed, “qualified” people. I would submit that most of the learning in our lives comes not from school, but from life, and not by way of teachers, but from the desire to learn itself. I do believe there are many good teachers in our public schools, but like any bureaucratic entity, the school system has been overrun with those more concerned about protecting the establishment–and themselves–than with educating. If those official credentials meant as much as the NEA would have you believe, and if those degrees held as much sway in learning as Jesse contends, the public school system wouldn’t be in the state it is, now would it? In life, just as in educating, it is less important to know all the answers as it is to know how to find the answer.

Many seem to think that only through public schools can children be properly “socialized”. I could not agree more. That is, as long as by socializing one means to learn to the value of cliques, to bully or be bullied, to swear, to dress according to the latest fashion, to properly stand in line, to learn what to think rather than how to think, to learn your proper “place” in society and to only go to the bathroom when allowed, then by all means, public school has the monopoly. But the thing is…some of us don’t want to live our lives that way, and don’t want our children to have to live that way. But if by “socializing” one means to learn the value of relating to other people, regardless of age, to treat others with true respect rather than lip service, to experience life and learning in a variety of settings, and to live your life according to what you believe, then public schools have absolutely no monopoly at all. In fact, most of them would fail in that regard.

Many seem to think that the public school system has some inherent right to our children. Education is compulsory, and those in the public school system would want you to believe compulsory means mandatory attendance in public school, yet nothing could be further from the truth. Each state has rules that govern education, but homeschooling is a legal option in every state…for a reason. Philosophically, this is the main reason, personally, for homeschooling. These children of mine are mine–they are my responsibility. They do not belong to the State. They do not belong to the public school system. But then again, the public school system isn’t that big into promoting personal responsibility.

Finally, if what Jesse wrote had even a shred of truth to it, it would show in results, would it not? I would gladly pit the overall educational standing of homeschooling to that of public schools any day. Oh, wait…that’s already been done. Homeschoolers win. Often big time. If what he wrote was true, homeschooling should be a shrinking population rather than the growing one that it is. Do they still teach the concept of cause-and-effect in public schools, Jesse? Perhaps instead of assailing homeschoolers, you might want to look inward.

Thoughts?

  • Wild applause!! You said it all Scott.

  • You are both idiots. Jesse has no freaking clue at all about home schooling nor has he appeared to have done any research. It would appear that for all the degrees that he has and the copious time spent in the hallowed halls of universities he really knows very little. He also seems to be bible thumping (his item #7), but whatever.You are an idiot for linking to him and letting even more people who would not have read his crap in the first place know he even existed. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? Are you a product of the Public School System? While I agree that not all essential education is to be acquired at a "school", there is a place for group learning that serves up the basics (math, language, writing, etc.).Oh yeah, you talked about getting properly "socialized" and bullying. Well sometimes being bullied is a learning lesson you would not get from home schooling. Getting bullied at school will get you ready for life, because life is hard and you have to be prepared. I'm not advocating bullying, just saying that you get valuable experiences anywhere you go.And not everyone gets into the cliques, wears the latest fashions and learns to swear in school. Many of us were the nerds and geeks who maybe did not have the friends or the fashions, or needed to swear. I learned how to be polite, courteous, honest, respectful, etc. from my parents, grandparents, friends parents, teachers, co-workers, Boy Scouts, friends and many others. Public education and learning at home has made me, what I believe, a well rounded person. So you both have a point but are still idiots. Just my opinion, but I may be wrong.Oh yeah, I'm an idiot for even responding to this post. By the way, I'm employed with no more than a 2 year College Degree (Community College), am working as a Mechanical Coordinator for a General contractor that specializes in building hospitals in California, and pulling in six figures. Not bad, then again, I was taught in public schools.

  • I was tempted to delete your rather profound comment, Norbert, but frankly thought I'd leave it up there as a nice contrast. As an aside, your puffing up of yourself and your income does not impress me, and likely doesn't impress as many people as you think.

  • Scott, the "puffing" up was not to try and impress people. Actually I could care less what people thought about my income. However, I mentioned it to highlight that with , what I would call a simple public education, I have done fairly well in life. I have a great job (without a 4 year degree), a home (no threat of foreclosure here), a great family, and wonderful friends. All this was achieved with "schooling" from home and public education.Neither alone is best, but a good dose of each will make a person well rounded in their experiences. I have two nephews, one goes to public school and the other is taught at home. Both are well mannered, respectful and well educated. They both play musical instruments. I believe that they have huge potential in society and will be great citizens. Each bringing what they have learned to the table and using that to help themselves and others.Home education is great, and I wish that I could do it for my kids to a point. But I give them other lessons that they will never get in school. Life lessons. Experiences you can't get in a classroom. I applaud anyone who can take the time to home school their children. Its a wonderful thing, but public school is not all that bad either.Thanks for not deleting the post.

  • Norbert, I have to say the second response had a much better tone to it, and you tend to make a better point with that kind of tone rather than the previous.Your case isn't so much about schooling, but more about you as a person. A driven person, regardless of education level, can succeed. I do not doubt it is a lesson you will impart to your kiddos as well, which in and of itself, is something they would never get in public school. I applaud you for supplementing their education with those important life lessons.

  • Scott,I did not intend to have a poor showing on the first post, but hey, it happens.Thanks for the nice comments on my second post. I hope every parent can impart wisdom on their children that will make them better as individuals and as members of society. I'm sure you are doing your best for your childern as well as I am for mine.Have a good rest of the day my fine fellow.

  • I just have to add… do people honestly think that bullying, cliques, and peer pressure are exclusive to public schooling? Oh how I wish it were that easy to protect my kids from such ridiculousness. Unfortunately, it happens all the time in all sorts of situations.Anyone who thinks homeschoolers are just "schooled at home" and never let out of the house is just completely ignorant. Homeschoolers live in the "real world" much more so that schooled children.

  • Norbert, the point of responding to someone's criticism is not to decide who does or does not receive attention for their entries. It is to join the discussion.It is to let our voices be heard as others stumble across these entries, and to develop our own thoughts.Or does your comment throw you in the same category simply because you have stooped so low as to join that discussion?

  • Sorry to get sidetracked in the comments there. :)Great entry, Scott! I'm not sure how to take Jesse's entry. It came across at a poor attempt at humor from someone who thought he had a defined audience of like-minded educators.

  • Eduk8er

    If you did not care what others thought, you would keep your comments to yourself.There is so much more to public education than academics. People learn to work with others they would otherwise avoid. They learn to handle deadlines. (Has a homeschooling parent EVER failed their child for missing a deadline?) They learn to work for someone they don't like. Handle stress, get along in a society. I could go on, but I digress. BTW, you make yourself look like a total jerk when you start off your rant by insulting the author of the other article. Make your OWN point and move on, no need to sling mud.

  • Dru

    Jesse Scaccia's point #5 says it all. It is the real and only reason he needed to state. It speaks loudly to every homeschooling parent or student. I've heard it through the entire 23 years I homeschooled my children and who are all adults, flourishing in their life-long educational experiences.

  • Anonymous

    "Well sometimes being bullied is a learning lesson"Oh, Norbert.

  • Eduk8er: there is the rub. You say that "so much more to public education than academics". Yet that is exactly why the public school system is in the condition it is: educators have forgotten the MAIN reason they are there. Thanks for making that point for me.As for your other comments, I don't see any place in which I said I didn't care what others thought, so please save your rant for when it's on-topic. If, like Norbert, you'd like to clarify, by all means do. I ended up appreciating his viewpoint.

  • Wow, what a diverse set of opinions. This is great. As far as the "Well sometimes being bullied is a learning lesson…", I was not stating that it is a good thing to be bullied, however, it does show one how crappy some people can be. And possibly help you better spot those who are prone to intimidating or bullying others. I don't believe I've ever heard of a home schooled child being bullied, but I'm sure it has happened somewhere.Have I been bullied, yes. Have I bullied anyone, I don't think so. At least no one has ever accused me of being one. I believe that my experiences of being bullied in school and in the neighborhood prepared me for my stint in the Marines. It help out for sure during boot camp. I was able to brush off or ignore those who tried to push me around and it helped me temper my opinions of the Drill Instructors. I used what I learned in my early life to keep my present life from being miserable.But that is just me. Your mileage may vary.

  • Norbert,Homeschool kids can and do get bullied by both public school kids and other homeschool kids. The difference being that, usually, the parent is there to assist their child deal with it or to set in if needed for the safety of their children. In public school, there is often no reliable safety net; it is too easy for the bully to get away with it and for the bullying to elevate to the level of real harm being done, emotionally, psychologically, and physically.My own kids have been bullied. I worked with them on what to do and when it became clear that they were in real physical danger, remove them from the situation. I am also able to ensure they have very limited contact with this child and that they are adequately supervised if there is contact in the future. (I believe that the kid was capable of killing another child. Whether he intended that to happen as a result to his actions, I cannot say, but I'm not willing to sacrifice my children to find out.) Adequate supervision for this kind of situation is impossible in public school as the teachers cannot watch that closely when they have so many kids to control and so much on their plates. So, yes, homeschool children can and do get experience with bullying but they are safer because of the increased assistance and supervision that a parent can provide.

  • Anonymous

    humans are incredibly adaptable. Children who have grown up in abusive homes can go on to lead useful, normal lives such that you couldn't pick them out of a crowd. of course, of all survive so well. the point about homeschooling isn't about the quality of education. although many would argue (very effectively) that homeschooling provides an equal or better quality of education, that isn't the point.the point is that only parents are ultimately responsible for shaping the minds of their children. make no mistake, children have malleable minds. so the point of homeschooling is to protect children form the influences of teachers and peers who hold worldviews that the parents believe to be false.all generalizations are false. some children make it through public school without having their worldview assaulted. some teachers are great, some are terrible. some parents are great teachers, some are terrible teachers. i believe that the public school system has serious flaws that handcuff good teachers from doing their best work, cause administrators to concentrate on meeting pointless quotas, and force children to learn at the speed and level of their peers.but even if those flaws were fixed i still wouldn't advocate public schooling because i believe that giving government control of education is to dangerous. i encourage anyone who truly cares to look up what the socialists said about how to take over a country. what our children are taught will determine what our nation will become. consolidating this power is unwise.still, after the dust settles the point is that no on on earth has a more defensible right to control what and how children learn than the child's parents.

  • Isn't saying "all generalizations are false" a generalization, and thus false? ;-)I'm sorry…just had to. Those who know me understand.

  • Bravo.

  • Now that was disgusting, I couldn't read more than a few lines of that ignorant woman's rubbish.Kudos to you, sir for putting her in her place. It seems obvious what the degrees she earned through public education are worth.

  • What a great conversation!I can't really vouch for either systems, to be honest. I dropped out of high school after leaving home (it was a mutual decision). I couldn't work a full-time job and stay awake in class. The government wouldn't help and the nearest school to my home wouldn't accept me because my parents lived out of zone, so I was forced to commute 1.5hours and two trains to work from 4pm-1am in a restaurant down the road from my house.I tried to stay in school, but just couldn't afford it (time and energy-wise) and decided to work full-time. At 15 not too many people want to pay you all that much, and I slipped into a drug habit that all but consumed my money and drive.Fast forward 10 years and I'm still not 'educated', (though studying Uni online), still working in a low-paying job (though starting to freelance and have started a small business) and still have trouble with self-discipline.Now I don't know where I would have learned that skill, but I do know that if I had gone to a decent school, I would have had a better chance of a building a support group of friends and colleagues.What do I want for my kids? (If/when they come along)My goal is to have some kind of business where I can work flexible hours and/or at home, so I can teach my children at home. I would love nothing more than to take my kid to an informal business meeting once in a while or show them what I do at work, go to museums, record stores, libraries, universities and encourage them to follow whatever interests they develop out of those experiences.I truly wish my own parents had done the same.What are your thoughts? I'd really like to know some of your motivations and opinions.Logan

  • I like how in Jesse's article, he basically tells home schooling parents how terrible they are…and then invites them to come write for Teacher Revised! Last I heard, that was not the way to engender warm, fuzzy feelings or likely responses.Anyway! I thought I'd add my opinions, as I am the product of homeschooling. Yay me!The one argument against homeschooling that really gets me every time is the "socialization" one. After completing kindergarten through high school as a homeschooler, I went on to take some classes for fun at a local public high school. My guidance counselor was immediately impressed with how well I played with others. I was the only one, she told me one day, who was comfortable with and interacted with each social group. I knew everyone in school. Why? Because being homeschooled, I wasn't taught that you have to stay within your own social group.The thing people seem to forget about is that, expect in extreme cases, homeschooled children aren't raised in a one-room farm house in the middle of nowheresville Kansas. They live in cities and suburbs and communities. These all have this wonderful thing called (wait for it!) people! Homeschoolers go out and meet and play with and befriend these people, of all ages, and learn how to relate to all types of people. (As opposed to spending ages three to eighteen in a group of others your same age)Wow, that took up a whole lot more space than intended, but I get rather tiled up over that point. :DNow, as to public schools themselves, my honest opinion is they are crapshit. (I hope that language didn't offend anyone) Between my own experiences both attending and helping as a teacher's aid and as the aunt of 3 children who are currently in public school, I have no respect for the public school system whatsoever.As near as I can tell, they teach children how to pass standardized test, that swinging is not merely a childhood activity but a way to stay healthy (oh, and don't eat sweets at all), and that your worth is determined by whether you get to be line leader that day. They are actually forgetting more academically than they are learning, and what they are learning is socialist garbage rather than reading, writing, and arithmetic (which in grade kindergarten, first grade, and third grade should be their priorities).My very bright eight year old nephew's end-of-year (third grade) spelling list consisted of simple, one-syllable words that he would know how to spell if he simply knew any phonics rules. He struggles with simple math and would get upset with his mom for correcting his homework because "the teacher doesn't care, she never even check it".Well, I really am going to have to stop here because I had merely meant to leave a short "Way to go!" message and it's turned into more of a tirade on my part.Thanks for the good post!

  • Logan: Hopefully you check back on the comments. You have a fascinating (albeit difficult, which I can fully empathize with) story–would love to hear more.

  • The ignorance being tossed around in both articles' comments is painful to me. I'm a former school teacher (private school) who was educated in the public schools. I have no intention of homeschooling my child, but that's my choice, and I have no issues with parents who choose to homeschool. Options are a good thing.I don't even need to respond to Jesse's post. Any educated person, or any individual with an ounce of social skills, can see the pure crap in that post. It's the comments, on both sides, that get to me. "All homeschoolers are geeks." "All public schools are gang-ridden 'crapshits.'" "Public school teachers don't care about kids." "Homeschool parents aren't qualified."Can I ask which person of the 750+ total comments has researched every public school in America and interviewed every homeschooler in America? Get a grip people. Scott's comments are the most intelligent I've read so far when he says that his kids are his kids and therefore his responsibility.It doesn't matter if your child is homeschooled, private schooled, or public schooled, their education and upbringing is ultimately the parents' responsibility. Those three options (and now throw in the option of on-line public schooling) are just that…options for the parents to choose. All 4 options will succeed if the parents properly follow up and support their children, and all 4 will fail if the parent is absent and relying on the schooling to raise their child (in the case of homeschooling, that may be a parent neglecting their full responsiblity as a teacher and a social guide).Great topic, very interesting how many people are involved (thanks to Twitter for bringing me in), but the mentality of "My viewpoint is the only right viewpoint" is ridiculous.

  • Anonymous

    Scott,We all know you were one of those students helpful to "socialize" others with the bullying, name calling, etc.

  • Not so much, although it *may* have contributed to my passive-aggressive nature. But, um, yeah…thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Aww, come on Scott, you were a rotten kid. But now years later, you're a great husband and father, plus a growing entrepreneur. A product of many influences, one of which was public school. You turned out OK. The point being that public school is what it is…which is an institution. Public schools being government institutions, which means rules, rules, and more rules. And "no child left behind" really means that poor effort gets rewarded with a free pass, and as for those students that give a good effort well "no child jumps ahead" either. Some public schools are great, but also there are a great many that fail. In all of my experiences, I have come to the conclusion that may or may not be an ephiphany to most, but a school is only as good as the body of parents of the children of which it teaches. I have a college buddy that teaches high school math and is litterally forced to pass students that don't do their homework and deserve failing grades. And his observation is that in every instance the parents will heatedly defend their kid instead of encourage better performance. Scott, I have no doubt that your children would thrive in public school…but that in and of itself may be oxymoronic because the bar has been set so low in public schools. You very much have the right to choose to homeschool and as Jesse has proven, any attempt to build a case against such a deserved choice is well, moronic.

  • I'm still, here Scott. Would love to get my own blog going soon, but can't decide on the right look and feel etc.One of those lack-of-self-discipline things.' Don't know if home or public schooling was to blame for that, but the truth is, at 25 years old, I've only got myself!Anyway, one thing I really admire is a parent who takes responsibility for their child's life education, and not just the 'three R's'.

  • Ok, Anonymous…two area where you are wrong. First, up until like 10th grade, I was one of the smallest kids. Not much bullying to do. Doesn't mean I didn't try to take on the biggest kid on one of the last days of 7th or 8th grade, but that's a different story. Wasn't a rotten kid, despite background at home…I probably should have been. Secondly, my kids would not thrive–they would be stifled.What many do not know is that one of the main reasons why we began this homeschool journey is that the local school district refused to test our daughter. She would have been stuck in kindergarten or first grade (whichever it was at the time) regardless of the fact that she was already past the skills they would be teaching. Like you mentioned, no child jumps ahead. Lowest common denominator (age) wins out over ability.

  • And yes, I typed that last response quickly without proofing. No need to point out the errors.

  • Anonymous

    I had not really considered stifled when I say your children would thrive in Public School, but even so, further my point. Regardless of a child's aptitude, a child with healthy parental interest/involvement in their school, those children will thrive to the fullest that the school environment will allow. It's a relative scale of course and the shortfall of the public school system is that like you say gravitates to the lowest common denominator. I feel you on wanting your children to learn without the restrictive red tape. It is crazy how the system corrals children like cattle. You're born on this date, you get this brand. My daughter, who is already above the 95th percentile for height, and shows a remarkable aptitude missed the cutoff for kindergarten by a month, so this fall she's going to be one of the older kids in her class and likely to be the biggest kid. "Hey Gigantica, how's the weather up there?" Me. I was on the opposite end of the spectrum. Started school in one district and then moved and was the youngest in my class. I was told that I could repeat kindergarten, but who wants that? Got any thoughts on one-room k-12school houses?

  • I think regardless of which school a parent decides on, they should at least read to their kid and introduce them to a few basic maths principles like: "If you have 2 apples and give one to Johnny" etc. Then you're already giving them a little head-start.One thing my mother used to do before she changed was she used to read to me. some books were silly kid's stuff, some others were a little over my level, but had some nice pictures and we took our time, but they were still interesting, and I could follow the words on the page as she read.I heard this one was good (from another homeschooling site):http://tinyurl.com/lgom54But my mother normally read me 'Pilgrim's Progress' or something from Dr. Seuss.Did your parents read to you? What kinds of books did they read? Scott, is there another post for this discussion?Just curious…

  • Hi Anon, When I went to what they called: 'Intermediate' in New Zealand, they put us in composite classes for forms 1 and 2 together (ages 11-13 depending on when you were born).I thought it was a great idea, because I took it as a challenge being in form 1 with others who were inform 2. The after some time I noticed I was doing better than many form 2'Äs and asked to be 'put up' a grade.The school administration declined because they feared it would have a negative effect on my social skills. I was in the same class and would have the same friends!I lost a lot of interest in school after that.

  • Logan–good call. Will do a new post later today for that. And thanks for your continued input.Anon: funny you mention the k-12 one-room schoolhouses. Out near my grandparents' farm in MT (where I grew up) is such a thing. Well, was such a thing. Is now a 2-room because it grew, but still has some kids that ride horses or ATVs to school. Is doable. In many ways, it is similar to homeschool in that you can teach the same subject, but tailored to different levels, unlike "regular" school, where the lowest common denominator wins.

  • Anonymous

    I heard that the k-12 schoolhouse was doing so well that parents were going out of their way to drive their kids from town out there. You know your great grandfather donated that land.

  • I did know that…but now I wonder who Anonymous is and if it's been the same person throughout the discussion. It's Friday…I'm not supposed to be this confused.

  • Anonymous

    Logan,It's a shame what happened to you in New Zealand. The public schools here in the US are much smarter as they have figured out how not to challenge students a long time ago.See, in the US, you may have graduated…without any goals in life maybe, but hey, if you aspire for nothing, how can you ever be dissappointed?

  • Anonymous

    Scott,You're right, Anonymous may be strange, but not exactly a stranger. This is so much fun….totally makes my Friday.

  • Unfortunately there are SOOOO many people that could describe, Anon. Must I check my logs to figure out who you are? 😉

  • Very interesting discussions. Both of my kids are currently in public school and doing very well; however, I am considering homeschooling next year. I appreciate that I have that option. My main reason to homeschool is so that I will be able to regain the position of primary influence in my kid's lives. Right now they are definitely being shaped by their teachers. I do respect the teachers and appreciate their love and devotion to the children in their classes, but as my own children's mother, I want to be their main influence. I want their ideals to reflect my own.I've seen homeschooled kids turn out to be very intelligent, productive parts of their society and I've seen others not do as well. The same could be said for those schooled in public education. I'm not sure one option is better than another. It's definitely a personal decision for each family. I appreciate that the public schools were available when I needed them. -FringeGirl

  • Rich

    Anonymous says:The point is that only parents are ultimately responsible for shaping the minds of their children. make no mistake, children have malleable minds. so the point of homeschooling is to protect children form the influences of teachers and peers who hold worldviews that the parents believe to be false.+++++++Spoken like a true totalitarian despot. This is the big issue I have with homeschool parents of the control freak kind.Children have a right to information on all sides of our politics and lifestyles. They have a right to make up their own minds about issues. The point of an education is to show them how to evaluate good information from propaganda and judge for themselves which side of an issue to come down on. Just because your children are exposed to ideas you personally dislike doesn't mean they are going to agree, in the first place. And secondly your children have every right as persons to hold whatever views suit them. Do you as a parent intend to follow your children around all their lives adjusting their blinders and clamping noise canceling ear phones on their head to insure they don't see or hear anything you personally disagree with?Children deserve parents that will value their personhood and dignity and allow them to grow into self determining and autonomous adults free to live their lives they way they choose, not the way you want them to live. You do not, I repeat not, own their minds. A group of high school children in Alberta Canada revolted against a recently passed bill that gave their parents dictatorial powers over what they could learn. Here is what two of them said in reaction to a newspaper report:One U of A student wrote: "This is ridiculous. What about letting children grow up into being their own people. Down with this bill."Another said, "This is absolutely stupid. Just because you may not agree with something being taught, who are you to stop your child from forming their own opinion of it?"Remarkably, Bill 44 managed to crack the political apathy of young people that was so worrisome in the last election. Children have human rights, and one of their rights is to hold their own convictions about everything, including religion.

  • Rich…you are so wrong on so many levels that I almost have another blog post to do.You believe that children have a right to information on all sides of politics and lifestyles, regardless of the beliefs and religion of the family, and call us totalitarian? Let's analyze, shall we? If what you said was true, are you planning on going into Quaker communities, or Hutterite colonies (or any similar place) and force your beliefs onto them? I do not think you would succeed. Furthermore, if what you said was true, Judeo-Christian beliefs would also have a place in the public school setting, would they not? Instead, everything else BUT those things are "taught". If anything, your belief–and that of many in the public school arena–is what is true totalitarianism. Your comments demonstrate the major thing that is wrong with public schools: they've forgotten what their purpose is. And just a hint, it's not to indoctrinate the children in beliefs and lifestyles and politics. It is to educate them.We, as parents, are legally and morally responsible for our children. Not you. Not the schools. Some of us choose not to abandon that.

  • Anonymous

    One room school house worked for me. I went to on for 8 years. I also think your mom went to a one room school.

  • Anon: stalker. As an aside, did you mean that last part as a contrast?

  • A few things:1. The Scott I called a friend in high school never seemed the bully type.2. I spent the better part of the last 10 years as a professional Boy Scout (yes, they exist). Most people don't realize it, but Scouting is actually a great format for homeschoolers. As such I've met many homeschooling parents, and many home schooled kids. In all those years I found only one generalization possible about them. You can't generalize about them. Some homeschooled for religious reasons,some for a better education, some because they didn't trust the government (I'm in Idaho). Some for all three, some for none of the above. Some homeschooled kids were very well educated, some weren't. Some were well socialized. Some weren't.During that same time I also met lots of public school kids. I found only one generalization possible about them: you can't generalize about them either. Some public schooled kids were very well educated, some weren't. Some were well socialized. Some weren't.Home school, public or private; there are far too many variables to call one or the other better. All can be great, horrid or somewhere in-between. With every child I met through Scouting (1000's) I've found the difference to be the parents. Caring parents that take the time to teach there kids have well educated and socialized kids. Full stop. End of discussion.3. If I recall history correctly, public schools first came into being during the Scottish reformation. They were designed to fulfill a very important role in society-providing a basic level of education for all, rich or poor. They were to set, at the very least, a minimum educational standard. I think that function is every bit as important now as it was then. If you are not happy with the standard being set by your local schools you have a choice. Find an alternate education choice: private or homeschool. Or, get off your ass and get involved! Public schools are a direct reflection of what the general public allows them to be. In my area we are blessed with strong public schools. My wife and I make sure they stay that way by being involved in them. Just as good parents make a great kid, they can also make a great school.4. Great to see what you are up to now Scott. Keep up the good work in all that you do.5. I'm curious who Anonymous is, too… Wilt thou reveal thyself, ye artful dodger?

  • Anonymous has already shown his or her hand, but I can neither confirm nor deny the identity. That being said, Anonymous, is my blog so difficult to remember that you have to use a search engine? And Yahoo of all things? Oh, and Keim, not sure you'd know Anonymous, but funny thing is your #5 itself was almost a clue. That's all I can say.

  • Anonymous

    Scott,Let me just say that I did not post the last Anonymous post. Sounds like someone who knew your mother though. As for the Anon that started today's posts with the name calling…It's all in kindred spirit.

  • Rich

    Scott says he want us to analyze. Good, that is what we should do. I'll intersperse my rebuttals. Rich…you are so wrong on so many levels that I almost have another blog post to do. :: You need another post, because I don't know why you say I am wrong and certainly not on "so many levels". You believe that children have a right to information on all sides of politics and lifestyles, regardless of the beliefs and religion of the family, and call us totalitarian? :: You are totally ignoring the point of my comments. You have a right to your beliefs and under our laws you can teach them to your children. However, parental rights are not without limits. There is nothing in our culture or laws that say parents have a right to what their children can access. At some point controlling parents will completely stifle a child and the child has rights also. Free access to information is embedded in our laws and culture and woe to those who want to restrict what others can read or hear. That is totalitarian and that is the kind of thing that happens in China and the Middle east where political power is in the hands of single minded despots. The right to access information extends to minor children. What are you afraid of, that your beliefs cannot withstand competition? Let's analyze, shall we? If what you said was true, are you planning on going into Quaker communities, or Hutterite colonies (or any similar place) and force your beliefs onto them? I do not think you would succeed. Furthermore, if what you said was true, Judeo-Christian beliefs would also have a place in the public school setting, would they not? Instead, everything else BUT those things are "taught". If anything, your belief–and that of many in the public school arena–is what is true totalitarianism. :: Sorry Scott this paragraph is simply a rant. You attribute things to me that I never said and did not even imply. That is dishonest and if you want a conversation, which I think you do because you replied to me, then let us agree to treat each other honestly and fairly. Children in public schools are not prohibited from exercising their right to practice religion. They can pray, hold meetings with each other and distribute information. So they do have a place in public school settings. They must not let their religious activities interfere with others. But this would be true of a group promoting, say, a rock music group. I think what you want is your Christian religion to be taught in the public school. You would like to see prayer come back Is that correct? But what about all the other parents who are not Christian? They want their religion taught also, or maybe even exclusively. Analyze this if you will. Tell me why such a situation would not rapidly devolve down into chaos. This is why public schools must remain nuetral, or try there best to do so. Your comments demonstrate the major thing that is wrong with public schools: they've forgotten what their purpose is. And just a hint, it's not to indoctrinate the children in beliefs and lifestyles and politics. It is to educate them. :: In what way, Scott? And let us clear up some definitions. Indoctrination and education are wildly different concepts. In the first case children who are indoctrinated are not allowed to question what they are told. Pretty much sounds like what the religious advocate. In the second case children are encouraged to ask questions and challenge assumptions. We, as parents, are legally and morally responsible for our children. Not you. Not the schools. Some of us choose not to abandon that. :: Here is where you are missing an important point. When it comes to what children are to learn, there are three parties that have interests at stake: the children, the parents, and the community. It seems you want to totally exclude two of the three.Go to source>>

  • Rich, it is amusing what you are choosing to respond to. Your call for honesty and fairness seems a bit one-sided when you simply dismiss an argument as a rant. If you wish to continue to contribute to the discussion, please do so, but I must insist on more civility than this last comment showed. Let me clarify the first point: if, as you state, there is a "right" of the child to "information on all sides of our politics and lifestyles" as you stated initially, then that right must be upheld and enforced, correct? And if that is the case, the "right" must be applied to all groups–including the Quakers, Hutterites, and other groups.But, in fact, that is not a right at all. It is simply a tool by some used to drive a wedge between parents and children.You state that there are three parties involved: parents, children, and the community. I completely agree. But in the case of minor children, the interests of the community do not come before that of the children or the parents, and laws very clearly protect that–it is only when certain guidelines are met that children may be removed from their parents, etc. This clearly shows that the rights of the parents and children do in fact come before the rights of the community.The difference between educating and indoctrinating is a matter of degrees, not the vast difference you suppose. If you truly believe that public schools are focused on educating, they would be thriving, would they not? But they are not, and that is a major reason why homeschooling is on the rise.

  • Anonymous

    Keim here, but can't get it to post under my name…Scott: I think you are painting with to broad a brush when you say "If you truly believe that public schools are focused on educating, they would be thriving, would they not? But they are not, and that is a major reason why homeschooling is on the rise."Public schools are not one massive entity. They are run by the local community (with many standards imposed by the state, and even more by the fed). Quality varies from community to community, and state to state. It all depends on who is in charge at the local level, and local support of said school. The public schools in my area are certainly NOT failing. My brothers kids, in Portland, also go to schools that are definitely NOT failing. Your view might be 100% accurate from where you live. But, that doesn't mean you can cross apply to ALL schools.

  • Keim…thanks. And agreed–it is a large generality. Just as it is when folks talk about "homeschooling". But across the country, homeschooling is on the rise, and even greater among minorities. Reasons may be generalized, but the state of public schools as a whole is a major reason.And now…back to painting. 😉

  • I'd like to make a few comments to Rich. You say: "When it comes to what children are to learn, there are three parties that have interests at stake: the children, the parents, and the community." You are correct. And this is a huge reason why I choose to homeschool my children. I don't particularly care for the way "the community" is handling itself these days. And by that I mean the government and our society in general. I do not want my children indoctrinated (and, oh yes, that is precisely what is going on in public schools in such an insidious manner that many do not even realize it) and taught to worship a liberal (bordering on socialist) agenda that I do not agree with. Fortunately, the "community" does not have one single mindset (not yet, anyway) and I would like my children to understand my family's mindset, as that is my right as a parent. My children encounter tons of opposing viewpoints through the media and their social interactions, so they will surely form their own opinions as they grow and learn. Some argue that homeschoolers are "sheltered" and only learn what their parents want them to. It's my view that schooled children are sheltered (by being forced into molds, social groups, age groups and the like) and learn only what the government decides they need to know.

  • Rich

    Shannon writes:You are correct. And this is a huge reason why I choose to homeschool my children. I don't particularly care for the way "the community" is handling itself these days.++++++++++++So if you disagree with your community that is a reason to write them off? When our founders had differences they simply solved the problem by writing each other off and denying each other any voice? No democracy can be successful if people refuse to engage and the only strategy they want to employ is to succeed. Your argument is confusing me. You agree that three entities have a stake, but you turn around and deny two of them have any voice. At what age are children old enough to begin reasoning like adults, in your view. Where do you go for information on childhood development? Who in other words is the best expert in this area and why are they your choice?I am always mystified by people who attack "the government". Aren't we the people supposed to be the government? If you disagree with your local school board, why not go and have a chat with them. Have you ever done this? If you have taken the democratic steps open to you and not received a result you are satisfied with, then did you run for a seat on the school board? What democratic steps have you ever taken to change your community to your viewpoint? Have you written letters to your local media, served on any civic groups devoted to education in your community? Why do you think your only option is to sequester yourself and your children? How far do you see yourself going on this path?I will not accuse you of abusing your children in your fortified home castle, but your are advancing the goals of others who may have a questionable grasp on morality. History shows that where splinter groups sequester their children it always ends badly for the children. This is because there are no countervailing forces in such situations. For example think about the children in the YSL compound in Texas. Consider the events in Jonestown. Then there are the tragedies of Waco and Ruby Ridge. You must have heard about Maharaji Rajneesh, who sexually abused just about everyone he could lay hands on. There is a pattern here. Thanks, for considering.

  • It's laughable that you've judged me as some sort of wacko who sequesters her children. Laughable, but not surprising, since that is how most people view homeschoolers when they know nothing of homeschooling. I am involved in 3 homeschooling networks in my area that encompass more than 200 families. My kids participate in Little League, dance class, gymnastics, art class, swim class, and countless educational field trips. They get invited to birthday parties! Even by non-homeschooled kids (gasp!)! And yes, I have written to the media and my Congressman and I am an educated voter. But I don't need to defend my choices to you. All I was trying to point out is that when you say the "community" has a stake in what my children learn, I say that *I* have a larger stake. And I don't necessarily want them going along with what the sheeple deem to be in their best interest. I want them to think for themselves – a skill that is sorely lacking in young people these days. There is no "writing off" or "sequestering" being done — my children freely interact and learn from all sorts of people. But at the end of the day I know that *I* am the main influence in their lives – not the No Child Left Behind Act.

  • Great to see so many comments on this post.What was the topic again?

  • I would encourage anyone interested in this topic to watch this video. It's an interview with a former Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), U.S. Department of Education.

  • If there remain doubt that the public school system is less focused on education than indoctrination, please consider the following from Bloom's Taxonomy (a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students) adopted virtually universally throughout the US now. The purpose of education is “to change the thoughts, actions and feelings of students.” Not the traditional 3 Rs, nothing about subject matter or standards…just a blatant control of the mind. That, Rich and others so forcefully against homeschoolers, is a problem with us. Then again, that is also most likely why you seem so offended by our RIGHT to homeschool.

  • Bonnie

    I have a Facebook friend, who posted this link, along with the original anti-homeschooling "blog", and boy am I glad I read. As a former homeschooled kid, I take genuine offense to the intolerance that has been shown homeschoolers. If we were all jungle freaks, then we wouldn't go to college, have jobs, or be successful, now would we? It's good to see educated people piping up in our defense.Great post! I'm glad to see others joining in the discussion.

  • Rob

    An excellent article, and I couldn't agree more with your comments about being "socialized" in public schools. I was raised in public schools, and I remember well the "socialization" of being bullied, insulted by teachers, excluded by others because I didn't play sports or dress in the newest fashions. Those wonderful "social skills" from public education stick with me even to this day.

  • Great points… as I look to begin homeschooling my 4 year old next fall (or maybe the next, next fall, I haven't decided) I can use all the support and common sense I can get!I will be back!God bless-Amanda

  • I appreciate this article. I have been home schooling my pre-schooler and will continue. We have been getting a lot of "guf" from family and friends for not "trusting" the public school system.It is not a matter of trust… even though the local schools have been graded against other schools in our state and are seriously lacking in proper education… back to what I was saying though.Just being alive my kids are already in the world and susceptible to the foul language, drugs, violence, etc… Why would i want to send them to an environment where they will be around it more and as others before have pointed out be bullied, etc… I am all for homeschooling especially since I just say the requirements to pass kindergarten and my son could already do 7 of the 11 items before he was 4 years old. He is now 4 1/2 and ready for 1st grade by the public school program. I think not… I want my child WELL educated, not just enough to get by in life.I have allowed my two sons to progress at whatever rate that they want here in the beginning. My 4 year old asks to do school each day. He loves to write his letters, numbers, shapes, etc… he has written his name legibly for at least 5 months now. I know 6 years olds who I can barely interpret their letters.Kids want to learn, if we give them the outlet they will do it and we can still keep them safe yet adequately socialized.

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