Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Check out this article!

I don't usually like to provide links to the NEA website on my blog, but in order to share an article called "Home Schools Run By Well-Meaning Amateurs" by Dave Arnold, I am forced to. The article focuses on homeschool teachers and the "fact" that they are not qualified to educate their own kids and why that job is best left to the "professionals". Read this:

"The number of parents who could easily send their children to public school but opt for home-schooling instead is on the increase. Several organizations have popped up on the Web to serve these wannabe teachers. These organizations are even running ads on prime time television. After viewing one advertisement, I searched a home school Web site. This site contains some statements that REALLY irritate me!
  • “It's not as difficult as it looks.

The "“it" is meant to be teaching.” Let’'s face it, teaching children is difficult even for experienced professionals. Wannabes have no idea."

I am not even going to address the issue of "wannabe teachers" due to the fact that I find it incredibly offensive, so I will move on to homeschooling not being as difficult as it looks. Well, it's not! I have 5 students that I am intimately acquainted with, their strengths, weaknesses and interests. Because, as their parents, my husband and I have taught them to listen and learn, our school experience isn't reduced to crowd-control, like much of what goes on in a public school setting. In large part, because of what I have heard from actual public-school teachers, the classroom setting can be very challenging due to the number of children, their poor behavior and lack of parental cooperation. This is not an acceptable situation for my kids.

Mr. Arnold found a quote on a homeschool website and responds to it this way:

  • What about socialization? Forget about it!

"Forget about interacting with others? Are they nuts? Socialization is an important component of getting along in life. You cannot teach it. Children should have the opportunity to interact with others their own age. Without allowing their children to mingle, trade ideas and thoughts with others, these parents are creating social misfits."

The quote says, forget about socialization, not forget about interacting. Interacting with people is an important part of life, although, in my opinion, expecting kids to learn to do this effectively in large groups of their peers is not the best way. As a homeschool parent, I provide my children with consistent opportunities "to mingle, trade ideas and thoughts with others" in an environment that is safe and worthwhile and one that usually includes supervision. They know how to interact with people of all ages, thus preparing them for the real world. Here is another nugget of Mr. Arnold's wisdom:

"Don'’t most parents have a tough enough job teaching their children social, disciplinary and behavioral skills? They would be wise to help their children and themselves by leaving the responsibility of teaching math, science, art, writing, history, geography and other subjects to those who are knowledgeable, trained and motivated to do the best job possible."

It is a well-known fact that our nation's public schools are in a crisis situation. A large percentage of kids are not learning the basics and are not prepared for life when they graduate. To say that the professionals within this failing system can do a better job than I can is ridiculous. Studies show that homeschooling is indeed a success in all areas, regardless of the parent/teachers financial situation, race or educational background.

The person most knowledgeable, trained and motivated to educate my kids is me. Obviously, my hubby qualifies as well! I think that public school advocates should focus on cleaning up their own house before turning their critical eye towards mine!

-Thanks to Today's Lesson's for directing me to this article!