King Aardvark said...
Off topic, but Zeno has a post about homeschooling right now. It's not really about homeschooling in general and is really attacking a right-wing nut who wants to do away with the public school system, but it was kind of interesting. Just thought you should give it a look.
King Aardvark- I'm not entirely sure that Sousa is hoping to do away with public school.
That being said, I think that public school is seriously flawed and needs radical improvement. No Child Left Behind has crippled educators and made it impossible for them to effectively teach anything but to the lowest-common-denominator and towards those damn yearly tests.
As for Zeno's post he quotes Sousa, then responds, so I've inserted a few of my own comments.
Sousa: Homeschooling may not be for everyone, but there are certainly indicators that it works well for most and extremely well for some.
Zeno: After the peroration, would it surprise you to learn that the rest of Sousa's opinion piece is devoted to explaining how unusual and extraordinary homeschooling students and families are? He must have a very curious notion of “works well for most.”
Me: Sousa wasn't saying that homeschooling works for most of America, it works for most homeschooling families. If it didn't work, they'd stop doing it. I would love to see information from homeschooled students themselves to see if they are happy with the experience, to see if they felt adequately prepared for adulthood.
Sousa: The families of homeschooled children are clearly different from those of traditional schoolchildren. Some 97 percent of homeschooled children live in married couple households; the comparable number for public school students is 72 percent. Nearly 88 percent of homeschooled parents continued their own education beyond high school; less than 50 percent of the general population has attended college.
Zeno: Okay, homeschooling families are something less than typical. Sousa, however, is keen to promote the practice.
Me: Homeschooling usually involves dropping down to single-income status. That's not easy for most people to do and thus tends to determine who is capable of even affording to homeschool. That being said, I belong to several yahoo groups with single moms making a go of homeschooling some with homebased businesses. As for level of education, I would say that most people with just a high school education don't feel like they know enough to teach their children at home. At least that is what I have heard from some of them. Of course Sousa is promoting homeschooling, he sees good results from it.
I don't know King A. I'm not really sure what Zeno's problem with Sousa is. Zeno is a math teacher at the junior college level. Yet he doesn't mention if he has ever had homeschooled kids in his class, if he felt that any or none were ever adequately prepared.
Homeschooling is very individualistic. Everyone does it for slightly different reasons and there is certainly no universal results achieved, methods used, or reasons for homeschooling.
Yes, there are a lot of fundamentalists out there in the homeschooling world. Yet there is a growing number of christian secular homeschoolers. Wrap your mind around that dicotomy! They seperate their christianity from the classroom and even teach evolution.
On the other hand, not all do. My mate works with a guy who was homeschooled and his Mama taught him that dinosaurs were a trick perpetrated by scientists to disprove god. Or some such twaddle like that. Unforunately for her, he was a dinosaur buff and didn't buy into her religious fantasy.
The statistics game is a tricky thing, it doesn't really accomplish much at the end of the day. I would rather see testimonials reported and personal experiences shared than numbers quoted in or out of context.
As for winning the spelling and geography bees of course homeschoolers will brag. How do public schools fare on a world wide level in math, science etc...? It is embarassing when you see how far down on the list the United States always ends up. There is something wrong with public schools. Sending your child there is a crap-shoot at what they will be exposed to and whether or not they will learn anything at all. Homeschooling is an option. Some public school teachers are very VERY threatened by this.
I went back for my 5 class reunion several years ago and talked with one guy had become a highschool science teacher. He was horrified that I was homeschooling and said he absolutely disagreed with my decision to do so. I gently told him we'd have go agree to disagree on that particular subject.