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Wednesday, August 24

Education - Home Schools Run By Well-Meaning Amateurs

There are so many issues within this article that I'll have to break my critique into separate posts to keep them short enough for those of short attention span (like myself).

The very first thing I'd like to point out is within the title. The author meant that "schools" are being run by amateurs. These schools just happen to be in people's homes, as if that weren't entirely relevant.

I would suggest that it is homes that are being run and they happen to include some "school" or "education". I think this may be at the very heart of the disagreement between homeschoolers and anti-homeschoolers. Homeschoolers are talking about whether they can run their own homes which happens to include educating their children. Other people are talking about whether "amateurs" can "school" their children.

Of course, they can and do run their "schools at home" quite well. Lots of amateurs teach what looks like "school" every day - right down to the desk, chalkboard, and bells to signal the ends and beginnings of classes. They do it individually within families and they get together in communities and form co-operative schools. Their kids often do quite well academically and socially.

What's more interesting to me, though, is that often, the kids of home-educators who don't do "school" also do well.

That's because school isn't the same as educating.

1 comment:

MC said...

From your comments, it appears the article might have a certain "spin" to it. I haven't the time to read the article now, but I was more interested in commenting on your response anyway.

Home schooling is an alternative to those who have lost faith in the public education system. The reasons are varied; though the root is essentially the same. Parents want the best for their children, and parents want their children to grow up in a safe environment.

That being said, not all parents will make good teachers. I will also say in the same breath that not all teachers make good teachers. I get the feeling that the author argues that a homeschooling parent is not as good a teacher as one who has completed post-secondary studies in education and childhood development.

All things being equal, the authors' argument can be twisted to say that every parent is not qualified to be a parent unless they get a diploma in parenting. Though it would be a good idea in a socialist/communist way, it is simply not possible.

What is important for home-schoolers is to realize the importance of structure in the classroom environment. A parent who home-schools their children must adhere to a curriculum, must hold lectures, discussion periods, labs, and tutorials. The child (pupil) should be expected to complete a certain amount of their workload on their own (i.e. homework) without the aid of the parent/instructor.

Your last comment re: school is not the same as educating is true. What a parent has to consider is what it is, exactly, that a public school can provide that a home-school environment cannot. This also goes beyond the classroom.

Most parents choose to remove their children from public school because the risks outweigh the benefits. Sure, there are drugs and gangs in high schools -- there have been for generations. Guns have been prevalent in inner-city schools for 20+ years. Bullies, harrassment, and abuse from both teachers and pupils have always been a part of the public school system. It's a flaw with the system; to eradicate the problems with public schools would require a complete restructure of the education ideology from the ground up.

I don't know of any politician, any senator, any activist who has the gall to insitgate such a revolution.

Enough. I'm way off track.