In Response to The Case Against Homeschooling
[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 firstname.lastname@example.org!] 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.
[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 email@example.com!] In particular, would love to hear from the recurring visitor from Mexico……