Coincidence

Upon logging in to wordpress I noticed the “Hawt Post” – it was about alternative education!

The Case Against Homeschooling

By JESSE SCACCIA

Homeschooling: great for self-aggrandizing, society-phobic mother…… but not quite so good for the kid.

Here are my top ten reasons why homeschooling parents are doing the wrong thing:

10. “You were totally home schooled” is an insult college kids use when mocking the geeky kid in the dorm (whether or not the offender was home schooled or not). And… say what you will… but it doesn’t feel nice to be considered an outsider, a natural outcropping of being homeschooled.

-Other people’s opinions should not matter if being RESERVED and INTELLECTUAL is the true core of one’s personality. Using that as a reason to put down homeschooling is immature. Such taunting goes on in larger numbers INSIDE of school institutions underneath higher education, and as more of today’s “education” focuses on standards and memorization, rather than personal drive and interest – students’ attitudes toward one another become harsh and cruel.

9. Call me old-fashioned, but a students’ classroom shouldn’t also be where they eat Fruit Loops and meat loaf (not at the same time I hope). It also shouldn’t be where the family gathers to watch American Idol or to play Wii. Students–from little ones to teens–deserve a learning-focused place to study. In modern society, we call them schools.

-Yet another stereotype. Homeschool curriculum varies from household to household. There are also tools online and in books that parents, or whoever else is schooling the child/children, can use. These websites and literatures include tips, lessons plans, and the like. Many homeschooling children can use their local libraries and online distance education. At the high school age, homeschool students can take community college courses to boost qualification for university acceptance. Parents can take them to museums, lectures, seminars, and participate with their child in experiences other activities to submerse them into the world at large. Being homeschooled offers more flexibility for things such as volunteer work and extracurricular activities. They aren’t just at home all day.

8. Homeschooling is selfish. According to this article in USA Today, students who get homeschooled are increasingly from wealthy and well-educated families. To take these (I’m assuming) high achieving students out of our schools is a disservice to our less fortunate public school kids. Poorer students with less literate parents are more reliant on peer support and motivation, and they greatly benefit from the focus and commitment of their richer and higher achieving classmates.

-Homeschooling is NOT “selfish”, it’s just not ADVOCATED. Wealthy families tend to have more access to information in regards to alternative education because they typically, but not always, have more time in their schedule to read into or hear about such things. Parents of poorer families are often but not always, too consumed with working and getting money to keep their homes, food, and clothing for their families. Poorer people are not as informed on many things because, like I stated, they are so caught up in trying to get by. So they put their kids in the “best” conventional school available and hope for the best.
Also, conventional schooling has vastly grown to be about self achievement, and to a larger extent self indulgence, when it comes to things such as ranking and competition. Today’s schools are less and less about community, and more about what the individual child can do to get the upper hand on students and stand out long enough to get into college. These “poorer students” are thus left behind thanks to the implementation of programs such as AP, IB, and college prep courses, and lack of information. The high achieving classmates carry on in isolated groups. And excuse me, but are you assuming that just because someone is economically less fortunate that they are mentally incompetent?

7. God hates homeschooling. The study, done by the National Center for Education Statistics, notes that the most common reason parents gave as the most important was a desire to provide religious or moral instruction. To the homeschooling Believers out there, didn’t God say “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”? Didn’t he command, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me”? From my side, to take your faithful children out of schools is to miss an opportunity to spread the grace, power and beauty of the Lord to the common people. (Personally I’m agnostic, but I’m just saying…)

-For one thing, not all homeschoolers are christians, or people who practice religion. Any god who would make human emotions such as “hate” get the best of he/she, is no god at all. Besides, if the school is public, then those students can’t “spread the grace” because such actions are not allowed due to the first amendment and separation of church and state institutions. (Personally, I’m an atheist, but I’m just saying…)

6. Homeschooling parent/teachers are arrogant to the point of lunacy. For real! My qualifications to teach English include a double major in English and education, two master’s degrees (education and journalism), a student teaching semester and multiple internship terms, real world experience as a writer, and years in the classroom dealing with different learning styles. So, first of all, homeschooling parent, you think you can teach English as well as me? Well, maybe you can. I’ll give you that. But there’s no way that you can teach English as well as me, and biology as well as a trained professional, and history… and Spanish… and art… and counsel for college as well as a school’s guidance counselor… and… and…

-My retort to #9 explains the resources available to these types of students. I’d like to proceed to point out that in order to become an accomplished teacher; you must first be a determined learner. Learning is a lifelong phenomenon, so you can never be perfect in your craft. Due to the rush and competition and aimless drive to get into higher education, any and everybody can earn those pieces of paper if they stay in long enough and get through their coursework. And wait a minute, you just said “homeschool TEACHER”! A teacher is a teacher. Furthermore, with homeschooling, especially of the “child directed” variety, adults, older children, and other mentors are GUIDES down the path of the child’s learning, because children are natural born learners and will seek out whatever tools they need to learn. Unless this spirit has been sucked out of them by the rigidity of traditional schools.
And I say that it’s a good thing that their guides aren’t all arrogant, “I have more than you do,” types of people. That way, they can all take joy in learning together – increasing bonds and understandings of social relationships.

5. As a teacher, homeschooling kind of pisses me off. (That’s good enough for #5.)

-Then you are a narrow minded teacher. Have mercy on any of your students who seek out-of-school help from a tutor, mentor, or their PARENT when that kid is at home.

4. Homeschooling could breed intolerance, and maybe even racism. Unless the student is being homeschooled at the MTV Real World house, there’s probably only one race/sexuality/background in the room. How can a young person learn to appreciate other cultures if he or she doesn’t live among them?

-Do you think that traditional schools are any better? There exist private schools; close-minded institutions founded upon grouping students up into one religion, or one philosophy. And let’s not forget that demographics by city can create the same types of cultural barriers, if not worse than what could occur under your reasoning.

3. And don’t give me this “they still participate in activities with public school kids” garbage. Socialization in our grand multi-cultural experiment we call America is a process that takes more than an hour a day, a few times a week. Homeschooling, undoubtedly, leaves the child unprepared socially.

-And so does traditional school! These kids in regular school are grouped with kids the same age, and going back to demographics, the same types of ethnicity and economical groupings. They have specific times to socialize, rather than letting it happen freely as it does most often in the world at large. Talking during class, even about the subject, is penalized. And due to being used to the social groupings set up for them, students break off into segregated unions based on race, class, and more factors whenever free socializing is permitted. With homeschool, the child learns to bond better with family members, and if done more progressively they, more so than their conventional counterparts, have more chances to go out into their communities and understand social processes. If we go back to my retort in #9, the homeschool student of high school age can take college classes (i.e. Sociology) that can integrate them with different groups of people and give them understanding of social things.

2. Homeschooling parents are arrogant, Part 2. According to Henry Cate, who runs the Why Homeschool blog, many highly educated, high-income parents are “probably people who are a little bit more comfortable in taking risks” in choosing a college or line of work. “The attributes that facilitate that might also facilitate them being more comfortable with home-schooling.”

More comfortable taking risks with their child’s education? Gamble on, I don’t know, the Superbowl, not your child’s future.

-It’s less of a risk and more of a radical attempt to dodge the numerous failings of today’s conventional education system. And as mentioned before, as unfortunate as it may be, higher income families have better access to such information. I do not agree with Cate’s statement by the way, and let’s understand that he isn’t the poster-child for homeschooling anyway.

1.  And finally… have you met someone homeschooled? Not to hate, but they do tend to be pretty geeky***.

*** Please see the comments for thoughts on the word ‘geeky.’ But, in general, to be geeky connotes a certain inability to integrate and communicate in diverse social situations. Which, I would argue, is a likely result of being educated in an environment without peers. It’s hard to get by in such a diverse world as ours! And the more people you can hang out with the more likely you are to succeed, both in work life and real life.

I do know someone who is now being homeschooled. In my regular high school, this boy was stressed. He felt pressure from others about himself and who he really was. In an attempt to hide his true nature he assimilated into petty cliques. He too became petty, and narcissistic. Once he left the school to be homeschooled, he became a different person. He accepts himself. He has time on his hands and uses it to socialize and volunteer for community events; he took college classes and met more mature people. I must add that this kid has ALWAYS been an extrovert, and the life of the party. Since homeschooling, he has not become geeky, but rather, more mature in his outlook on life.
I on the other hand – despite begging my parents (and we are in the lower middle class) to understand what homeschooling and alternative education was all about – still remained in the conventional system. They aren’t at fault, because like I said, parents of lower classes either aren’t able to look into those things, or such parents are too used to the conventional system, seeing how “thanks to that” they were able to make it somehow. For nearly 13 years I have been suffering in this oppressive system. I receive HIGH grades, so don’t think my problem is that I can’t keep up – in fact I’m bored sick. In this junior I have even TRIED to put in as little effort as possible to see if my grades would drop. I still have straight A’s, but all in vain. Most schools like my own are so wrapped up in standards that the classroom is just a detention center, where we skate by doing NOTHING, ESPECIALLY in urban communities, until it is time to take those tests.
And about this geek thing. I’m sorry, but that’s just ignorant. It’s ignorant of recent studies and observations in personality and psychology that shows that “geeks” are really just either introverted, gifted, or both. The minds of the gifted tend to accelerate, so whether they are in regular school or not, they (and I can personally testify) tend to gravitate to older people, or they decide to hang out with younger people for different perspectives. The intensity of their emotions can cause them to close off due to being easily wounded. More info here.
Introverts are naturally reserved anyhow, and this may come off as being socially awkward to their extroverted counterparts. Info.
“Hanging out with more people” doesn’t guarantee success. Rather it’s the innovation and work you put into your dreams that counts. Teamwork is vital to large scale endeavors, or even just planning a weekend at the beach. Still, people must understand that being social alone (which I believe was one of the main arguments you held) isn’t the main component to a successful life.

***This post was a great pick-me-up. It took me an hour+ to think about it and finalize my opinions. I was in a really crappy mood  for most of today until I was greeted by this intellectual stimulation!***

A good read for later: Kids Are Natural Learners

MY DREAM, MY DREAM! MY PASSION! IS IT REAL? IS IT TRUE? I WISH NEVER TO LOSE SIGHT OF THIS LIFE’S PURPOSE! NEVER TO LOSE INTEREST IN THIS INNER PUSH TOWARD CHANGE!

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Posted on May 31, 2009, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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