Wednesday, February 18, 2009

You Don't Have to be a Rocket Scientist to Homeschool (Really!)

Don't y'all just love it when someone who has no clue about what homeschooling is really like tries to convince an individual considering it that he/she absolutely, positively, should never in a million years do it?

Yeah, me too! (insert eye-rolling smiley here)

This particular ignorant comment comes courtesy of the reader feedback to an article in yesterday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution entitled "Is Home School a Good Option for Middle School?" The author is unhappy with the lack of academic challenge for his oldest daughter and his family's budget precludes private school tuition. He is also attracted to the flexibility and individualization homeschooling offers. All of these are good reasons to homeschool, and there are many more additional ones.

Commenter "motherjanegoose" then spouts forth her ignorant tirade against homeschooling (her words are in italic, with my responses in bold):

"I am thoroughly opposed to home schooling with the exception of a few circumstances.

WHY? One reason is because of the enormity of the task and the fact that I have met several folks who have tried it and then decided it was way too hard.

I know several people who dropped out of college because it was too hard for them, but I did not let that deter me from enrolling. And guess what? I ended up graduating with a very respectable GPA.

Is this why we require formal education to teach?

No, that has to do with the political influence teachers' unions have had. Private schools typically don't require teaching credentials, and their students on average outperform those in government-run schools.

DUH…I train teachers all over the country.

You know that old cliche about those who teach the teachers...

I am considered an expert in early literacy. I do not know enough about science, math, social studies and foreign languages to begin.

Any subject a home educator feels unable to competently teach can be easily outsourced. There are co-ops, tutors, online classes, community college classes, museum workshops, and so much more out there these days.

This is kind of like: I can cook…I should open a restaurant. I will order a kit to show me how and then VOILA I am on my way.

Bad analogy. Teaching in a homeschool is more like being a personal chef than running a restaurant.

COULD it happen…YES but the chances are slim. I love to work with wood, I will build my own house…get me the kit and I am on my way!

Ever hear of Habitat for Humanity? Those houses are mostly built by amateurs. Also, there are log cabin kits one can purchase.

You are practicing on your child

It's called "parenting". Even those who have worked as childcare professionals find it's completely different raising one's own children.

who needs social skills and to understand how to mesh into a routine that perhaps is not his/her favorite ( at school and with teachers who may not be on his/her top ten list) BUT THAT IS LIFE.

Homeschoolers are not hermits. They learn socialization through their interactions with others, out in the real world (unlike the highly artificial world of the classroom).

I have heard ( from teachers) that the transition back to the classroom is hard....

Did it ever occur to her that unsuccessful homeschoolers are overrepresented in the population of those returning to a traditional school? Those for whom homeschooling is working well are significantly less likely to make the switch,

Next, she discusses the two "acceptable" situations to homeschool. #1 is if the family can afford to jet all around the world. #2 is if a boy is going to have a homosexual male teacher (I'm not making this up!)

If you live in any metro area, me thinks that you could find a suitable school for your child.

Really? I spent quite a bit of time looking for one for my oldest when she was going to be entering kindergarten and could not find a single one that met our needs. The one we liked best costs a whopping $24k per child per year, way out of our budget.

By the time you spend 40 hours per week preparing and teaching, anyone could work a job and pay the tuition of most schools."

And just how much would I need to earn to have $72k left per year after factoring in taxes and the costs associated with me going back to work (second car, professional wardrobe, etc.)? More than I'm likely to get in this economy, that's for sure!

Not to mention that homeschooling is so much more time efficient that I don't spend anywhere near 40 hours per week on it.

I hope the author of the AJC article doesn't get scared off by ignorant nay-sayers like "motherjanegoose" and actually gets to know some real homeschooling families. Homeschooling may well be the perfect solution to his dilemma over his daughter's education :-)

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