Isolation, Incompetence and Ignorance
It is glaringly obvious that the author of "Home is no place for school" is completely ignorant on the subject of homeschooling, not to mention our form of government. Luckily for Dennis L. Evans, the first amendment does protect his right to arrogantly flaunt his lack of understanding of both. As such it is our right, nay our duty, to exploit and expose that ignorance.
You will find many more public schooled children believe as this author does that we live in a democracy as opposed to a republic as stated in our Constitution.
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The use of the word "significant" in reference to the number of actual homeschoolers makes me a tad curious. The dictionary defines significant as "Fairly large in amount or quantity." I've considered 2-million quite a large quantity and developed a healthy respect for the "million" placeholder since 4th grade when I had attempted to count that high, only to realize just how many a million truly is.
While learning at home is as old as the Bible itself, public schools have only been in operation in this country for just over a hundred and fifty years. There has been a tremendous renewal in parent-directed education over the past 20 years; taking into consideration the fact that each state has made public school attendance compulsory - this is far more significant than the author would realize.
Many of the founders of our nation were homeschooled, as were many of the brightest minds in history. Mr. Evans would have you believe nothing good has ever come of homeschooling. Ask the parents of the children at Littleton, CO, Springfield, OR, Fayetteville, TN, Edinboro, PA, Pearl, MS and Jonesboro, AR if they're happy that their children were attending public school.
In 1850, Massachusetts became the first state in the United States to require children to attend school.
Another flawed assertion by Mr. Evans is that any glory for the success of a child should go towards the method of instruction that a person has chosen, and not to the individual that has succeeded. Are children simply numbers or are they people? Though homeschoolers would assert that their choice is the best, and not without their reasons, should the ability for the parents to make that integral choice of their child's instruction be taken away from them?
One of my favorite abstractions in Mr. Evens' article is his assertion that children must be brought up with the "socialization" applied to them through public education, while at the same time parents should not be capable of forcing their orthodoxy onto their children. Perhaps he is unaware that what he is supporting is a federal mandated orthodoxy all its own, which has children at its beck and call to "learn" from the many thousands of imposed "human-interest" courses and social issues that have nothing to do with education or children. This is nothing short of brainwashing.
Can Parents Teach?
The author attacks the notion that "anyone can teach" but this is clearly the wrong angle from which to address this issue. As any parent knows, children are veritable sponges. I would defy anyone to attempt to prevent a child from learning. It just can not be done.
Children absorb everything and anything in their environment. They are remarkably curious. A parent would have to purposely sabotage a child's education in order to prevent learning from taking place.
Prior to the days of public schooling the literacy rate in this country was 98%, a level that has yet to be attained since it's implementation.
I personally know hundreds of homeschoolers and have yet to see a single case of "educational neglect." I'm not saying it does not exist, only that instances are very rare. Those cases which have been discovered persist in every educational setting and are not exclusive to homeschoolers.
The author states, "The isolation implicit in home teaching is anathema to socialization and citizenship. It is a rejection of community and makes the home-schooler the captive of the orthodoxies of the parents."
This is the most ridiculous statement contained in his editorial.
Publicly schooled children are the most isolated and deprived of all children. They are herded like cattle from classroom to classroom, trained like dogs to respond to bells and whistles. These children never have the opportunity to drink in their surroundings at a leisurely pace or reflect on the meaning of life or their daily experiences.
Deprived of natural sunlight, compelled to spend hours completing "seat work" has left a nation of children overweight and frustrated. Our classrooms and hallways have become violent battle fields by children unable to define the rage and injustice they experience on a daily basis.
Communication requires both statement and response. Classroom taught children have conversational language deficiencies brought on by segregation. Language expression is stifled, leaving a child who has not had the opportunity to attend speech or debate classes at a significant disadvantage. The art of conversation can only become honed by substantial use, is it any wonder many children attending such institutions have limited vocabularies and express themselves poorly?
How many jobs exist where you are only required to communicate with individuals your own age?
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While many schools now require "community service" as part of their graduation requirement, homeschoolers have been looking around, rolling up their sleeves and getting to work. They play an active roll in their communities and are more aware of the needs in their immediate surroundings than their public schooled peers.
Whether it be a weekly nursing home visit, feeding the homeless or sitting in on a legislative session at the state capitol you will find homeschoolers working to make a difference.
Their efforts haven't been lost on local businesses either. Chick-fil-a announced several years ago that they were actively seeking to hire more homeschoolers due in part to their superior work ethic.
Many Colleges are pleased to offer services to home educated students citing their superior study habits, ability to remain focused and their conduct as mitigating factors to success in this educational arena.
It is impossible to fairly compare a private unencumbered education guided by loving parents to an overburdened, over regulated public school system, which refuses to hold students accountable for their own academics. There is no comparison.
Updated March 16, 2007