My Dear Readers,
I am riled up, but before I explain the cause of my agitation…
Let me give you a quick backstory. I am an educator by trade, licensed by the state, and ready to engage in the rigorous, differentiated, scaffolded learning processes. I have worked at a small religious school as well as a public corporation. However, my education journey started well before I became a teacher. I was homeschooled through eighth grade, in a time where homeschooling was very rare. All my tests and papers were sent to a teacher in Baltimore who evaluated if I was on grade level and gave my parents suggestions. Then I attended a small country high school, followed by a private university where I graduated Summa Cum Laude. I feel like this has given me special insight into various formats of education. I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.
That all said, I look back in awe at what my parents did- giving me a proper and well-versed education complete with field trips and clubs. Even though I am participating in public education, I dream of homeschooling my future family. That’s why I was horrified at the Harvard magazine article. It claims according to Elizabeth Bartholet that there are risks to home education and “recommends a presumptive ban on the practice. ” I need to stop here. Her claim is that there is not enough legislature in place to govern how parents educate and thus we COULD have moms and dads who don’t know how to read educating their kids. Consider this, what parent in their right mind would attempt this?Parents want what is best for their kids and know when they cannot offer that. She brings no facts for this point, just empty speculation of “what if.” Her other arguments include children being isolated and abused. Most homeschoolers are actually socialized more outside their peer group. For proof of this, I would recommend Rachel Gathercole’s book titled The Well-adjusted child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling. Not a reader, here’s a quick overview from responsiblehomeschooling.org. Prefer personal experience, here’s one mom’s opinion.
The most disturbing part of the whole Harvard piece is not that they call for extreme measures or their lack of evidence. I am most broken by the fact that it’s a veiled attack on Christianity. The article nonchalantly states,
“But surveys of homeschoolers show that a majority of such families (by some estimates, up to 90 percent) are driven by conservative Christian beliefs, and seek to remove their children from mainstream culture.”
Okay, so? Our public schools in the name of separation of church and state indoctrinate their view as the one and only. I am not surprised Christians turn to homeschooling, in fact, I applaud them for it. We are scripturally commanded to train up our children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6).
The main point of the article is shown by these words,
“But requiring children to attend schools outside the home for six or seven hours a day, she argues, does not unduly limit parents’ influence on a child’s views and ideas. “The issue is, do we think that parents should have 24/7, essentially authoritarian control over their children from ages zero to 18? I think that’s dangerous,” Bartholet says. “I think it’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority.”’
I agree that it is dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless, that is exactly why I worry about outside forces exerting control over home education.
For more resources check out:
- Facts & Percentages https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/
- Indiana Homeschooling https://hslda.org/content/hs101/IN.aspx
- Covid’s Impact and the Difference of Homeschooling https://www.forbes.com/sites/kerrymcdonald/2020/03/11/the-worlds-homeschooling-moment/#1510750e550c
- Resources & Not Taking Homeschooling Lightly https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/03/27/lessons-from-a-homeschooling-researcher-what-you.html
- Constitutional Rights https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/jle49&div=4&id=&page=
- Homeschooling Research Outside the US https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00131911.2020.1728232
- Collaboration Between Preservice Teachers & Homeschool Association https://innovations.theaste.org/providing-clinical-experience-for-preservice-chemistry-teachers-through-a-homeschool-association-collaboration/
- Home Education as a Solution https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09518398.2020.1720852
- Home School Social Groups https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15582159.2019.1616992
- Classical Homeschooling https://www.classicalconversations.com/
Homeschool Moms to follow