Jan. 31, 2010– Sorry, readers. As you can see from the comment below, the author of “The Case Against Homeschooling,” Jesse Sciacca, suddenly got pissy eight months after I wrote this post, and has accused me of copyright infringement because I quoted each point of his post before the corresponding point of my rebuttal. I know it makes it a royal pain, but you’ll have to keep switching back and forth between his original post, in another window or tab, and my rebuttal.
I can’t help it, I have to post a rebuttal to this post or it will eat away at me. Here goes:
Wait, I should base my choice of education for my children upon whether a-hole frat boys will tease my kids? Damn, I knew I was going about this all wrong. From now on I need to enforce academic mediocrity and a penchant for baseball caps. Not to mention starting weekly beer-pong lessons.
Um, why? I really don’t understand why learning has to happen in isolation, separated by time and/or space from other activities. My kids learn at the dinner table, on the couch, on the floor, on the bus, in the playground, in shops…. should I go on? As long as they are learning, why does it matter where or when?
Well, yeah, I guess I’m selfish. I want the best for my kids. Guilty as charged. I do care about other children, and the rest of the world, and I hope to instill the values of compassion and service to others in my children. But I will not sacrifice their needs for the rest of the world.
By the way, my husband and I are well-educated (and proud of it), but wealthy? I wish.
I don’t even know how to respond to this, except to point out that only 36% of the families in that study cited religion as the most important reason they homeschooled. So 64% of homeschoolers are motivated most strongly by reasons other than religion. I’m one of them.
Proper grammar might be a good thing to use when claiming superior English skills. Anyway… if you’d done some research, you’d know that homeschoolers generally outperform public schoolers on standardized test scores, college acceptance rates, and college graduation rates. So yes, I do think that I can provide a better education through homeschooling than my children would receive at a pubic school.
I think you have a misperception that homeschooling consists of me, and only me, standing in front of a blackboard and lecturing my kids as they sit around the dining table. That’s not what homeschooling is. I don’t think there’s a single homeschooling family in which the children were taught all subjects, at all levels, by their parents. I’m certainly not planning on teaching my kids high school chemistry, for instance. Perhaps we’ll hire a tutor, perhaps they’ll take classes at the local community college, perhaps we’ll join a co-op and they’ll take a class with other homeschooled teens… in any case, we’ll handle it, just as countless other homeschooling parents handle subjects outside their areas of competence.
5. As a human being, hating on others that make choices that are different from yours kind of pisses me off. I also can’t help but wonder why you’re so threatened by these different choices. To quote Deborah Markus of Secular Homeschooling Magazine, “We didn’t go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.”
Homeschooling “could” breed intolerance, so we shouldn’t do it? Way to use logic there, buddy. Are you assuming that all homeschoolers are white, straight, and of the same ethnicity? Maybe you should worry about your own intolerance. Homeschoolers come in all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, family structures, and religions. Are you really insinuating that the only place my kids would encounter cultures other than their own is in public school? That’s pretty disturbing and, dare I say it, seems to be based on some unconscious racial assumptions on your own part.
My children are themselves biracial. We are friends with people of various races, ethnicities, religions, backgrounds, income levels, and sexual orientations. Not to mention ages. My children don’t spend six hours a day in a room with 20-30 kids their own age and one adult. They have friends older and younger than themselves.
Socialization is a process that takes more than spending six hours a day with 20-30 people one’s own age (and usually of similar income level), being told not to talk to one another. Homeschoolers are out in the real world, not a classroom. They interact with children and adults of all ages, both in organized activities such as scouts, dance class, sports, etc., and in casual settings such as going to the playground or playing with neighborhood kids. Not to mention organized homeschooling groups and activities. To read your post, one might think you’re under the impression that we spend all day, every day, secluded at home!
You obviously misread that. He didn’t say that homeschooling parents take risks with their children’s educations. He hypothesized that the same attributes that make them risk-takers in other areas might make them more comfortable with homeschooling. It’s a huge leap from that statement to characterize homeschooling as “gambling.” As far as Cate’s hypothesis, I can understand that line of reasoning. Homeschooling is uncommon, outside of the mainstream. If you’re going to homeschool, you have to be comfortable with doing what’s best for your own family and not caring what everyone else does and what the mainstream says you should do. Homeschoolers generally put a lot of thought into their decision. In fact, I’d argue that homeschoolers, on average, put more thought into their children’s educations than public school parents. Not that there aren’t many very committed, involved parents in the public schools. But most public school parents don’t choose public school out of a wide range of options. Public school is the default, and they go along with it unless there is a striking reason not to do so. Homeschoolers, on the other hand, reject the default and make an active choice to homeschool. Then we go on to make choices about curricula, educational philosophy, and homeschooling style. Believe me, homeschoolers spend a lot of time thinking, researching, debating, talking, praying, trying, revising, and tweaking to give our children the best possible education. Doesn’t sound much like gambling to me!
Ok, are we back to the tired socialization argument again? That’s what you mean by “geeky”? If so, go re-read my answers to #3 and #4. But if you’re talking about the common definition of “geeky,” meaning that homeschoolers are a little weird, a little different from the mainstream, a little nerdy, not up on all the latest trends… I’d have to say, so what? I have known plenty of geeky kids in public schools… in fact, I was one. It took years for me to be happy with myself. Maybe if I were homeschooled, I’d have had more self-confidence in my teens and not worried about being “cool” so much. Who knows? Yes, there are a lot of geeky homeschooled kids. But it’s sort of a chicken-and-egg question: maybe they would have been geeky anyway, but they don’t spend so much time worrying about it and pretending to be something they’re not, because they are free from the cliques of public school. Anyway, is being a geek so bad? Most former geeks I know have turned out to be very interesting, cool people as adults. Not to mention that many of them are making great money as computer programmers.