Friday, August 31, 2007

8 Reasons Not To Homeschool

Recently, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has published a report containing concerns about homeschooling. Obviously, the rocket scientists at the NAESP have spent very little time with homeschool families. But I'll share with you their 8 Concerns, as well as my opinion on each. Grab some tea and a relaxing chair, because some of these are quite hilarious!

1.Deprive the child of important social experiences
Some of the ways Reese is deprived:
*We spend time with children of various ages multiple times each week
*He learns by example from Mom, Dad, & siblings about manners in public & stranger safety
*He participates in CoOp & gym class, which are led by other adults where he learns new ways to listen, follow directions, be part of a group, & work independent of parents
*Reese travels to other cultures to experience them first hand
instead of just studying them

2. Isolate the student from other social/ethnic groups
Some of the ways Reese is isolated:
*We participate in group activities at least 3 days a week, often more. These groups are made up of all ages & races
*We seek out cultural events in our community, such as celebrations at the Japanese Gardens or traveling to see a Mariachi band play or celebrating Chinese New Year at our local Children's Museum
*We check out various genres of music from all cultures to experience the sounds & methods of music making



3. Deny students the full range of curriculum experiences and materials
Some of the ways Reese is denied:
*Mommy excitedly pours over curriculum catalogs that come in the mail, so that I can tailor a plan to meet his needs
*If a "full range" of curriculum experiences includes testing, red pens, TAKS, & sitting in your desk all day, then yes, he misses out on that
*To make up for not having the State & District dictate what books or materials I must use, Reese gets to use what works for him

4. Provide education by non-certified and unqualified persons
My Early Childhood Education certification bought me exactly bubkus in the actual classroom. Other than the basic philosophies of education (which parents can easily read about in books, and probably absorb much more than my 19-year-old college self did), it was my experiences teaching that made me a better teacher. By spending time with Reese all day, I know more about his needs than any other qualified person. As parents,we are keenly aware of what our children need, & using a "certification" as an excuse that parents can't teach is just silly. I knew PLENTY of college colleagues that were terrible student teachers, yet they passed all the tests & earned their certification (and got teaching jobs!).

5. Create an additional burden on school administrators whose duties include the enforcement of compulsory school attendance laws
Not in Texas, thank you. We're a burden on nobody. Plus, Reese attends school 7 days a week, all year long, so we're pretty much as "compulsory" as one can get. When LIFE is your school, it's pretty hard to limit that to "school hours."

6. Not permit effective assessment of academic standards of quality
Because all homeschool parents want their children to grow up to be unsuccessful loafs, we not only don't assess progress, we don't even PERMIT assessment. Um, OK. Tell me this then...

You've heard of Achems Razor, right? All things being equal, that the simplest answer is the correct one?

Does it seem to make more sense that one teacher can effectively assess TWENTY children regularly, or that one parent can assess ONE child more effectively? Why do you think schools need tests? Because there is no possible way one person can observe and identify progress (or lack of progress) for that many children while she's also trying to maintain crowd control. We tried to use checklists in my first grade classroom...it was nearly impossible to walk around, observe the children doing their centers, record my observations, AND make sure everyone was still on task. It seems to be pretty obvious that it's much more effective to assess my son one on one.

The more I read this statement, I try to figure out what part is more insulting and untrue. Is it the "permit" part? Like homeschoolers FORBID assessment. Huh? Or is it the "effective" part. You mean homeschoolers just go willy-nilly with their assessment, but don't quite meet the mark of an effective assessment? I challenge you to put a teacher's assessment against a homeschool parent's assessment & see which one is more thorough.

Or are they just talking about taking a test? Because some homeschoolers don't take tests. But then again, neither do most business professionals, archaeologists, computer programmers, garbage men, or even teachers for that matter!

7. Violate health and safety standards
You mean because we don't do fire drills with 500 children leaving a building at one time? Or because we don't count ketchup as a vegetable serving? Or maybe it's because Reese won't learn Sex Ed in 2nd grade?

I don't even think this comment needs further attention, because it's just ludicrous!

8. Not provide accurate diagnosis and planning for meeting the needs of children of special talents, learning difficulties and other conditions
requiring atypical educational programs

Again, Achems Razor. Can a music teacher with 30 students at one time recognize a young piano prodigy, or would the parent that spends every day with that child identify that special talent? How about a learning difficulty? Would a teacher with limited one-on-one time with a student recognize a problem easier or more effectively than a parent who spends one-on-one time with a child all day long every day?

Homeschool parents are some of the most resourceful people I know. Sure, I couldn't completely diagnose a learning delay if my son had one, but I would find out who to see in order to figure it out!

And what type of education is better suited for an "atypical educational program" than homeschool? You can put emphasis on music development, or therapy, or tennis, or whatever talent & need a child possesses. Sitting in a classroom all day long with a 30 minute pull-out therapy session a few times a week is nowhere near as helpful as homeschool could be.

On a last note, I don't think that ALL schools and classrooms are bad places. I did my best as a teacher to do a good job...I was even runner-up for Teacher of the Year where I taught. But try as I might, the job I did there was no where as effective as what I'm doing at home daily with my own child.

As my husband says, nobody on Earth will have more interest in teaching & loving a child as his parents.

2 comments:

Faerie Rebecca said...

I grabbed a mojito instead of tea--I need the hard stuff when dealing with elementary school principals LOL

Oh my, this is the time of year when all of these articles come out, isn't it? Seems that the schools see a trend--more folks abandoning their brand of institutionalized education and doing it for themselves. Must be pretty threatening...

Hope you'll consider joining the Unschoolers circle at nearcircle!

A Dusty Frame said...

Great thoughts!

Thanks for sharing them
Lizzie