Saturday, April 19, 2008

Wish List Item #11

11. Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

It amazes me how irritated some people get when they learn that you homeschool. I actually had someone tell me that requiring homeschool parents to have a teaching degree would be a comfort to her. Are you kidding me? How are my educational choices of any consequence to a total stranger? Of course I asked her! She said she didn't want her life being governed by a "bunch of people who never went to school and only had their moms to teach them." Really? Are you freaking kidding me? Newsflash folks, your life already is governed by a whole slew of "those people".
That little thing called the US Constitution? Thank some homeschoolers. Do you enjoy electricity? The telephone? Flying? Do you enjoy having a female doctor? Thank some homeschoolers.

I do not believe that public education is a horrific torture chamber to be avoided at all cost. I do think it is a flawed system that does not allow children to grow at their own pace and I think kids are pushed into certain concepts too early. For example, boys do not gain the fine motor skills necessary to read and write comfortably until they are closer to 7 than 5. I do not believe that every child who is not reading and writing in Kindergarten is in need of special services. That same kids may not learn to read until 8, and can still go on to be a voracious, well read student. I also don't believe in requiring children to produce something every time they learn something. At young ages it is enough for them to learn, and perhaps do a narrative. Projects and book reports create frustration. If a kid can't read without having to produce something, they won't read! Honestly, how much of your kids' projects are completed by your kids? And how much say do the kids get in their projects? Do these projects enhance the lessons they learned in their reading? Will they remember the book or the aggravation of the project?

The higher grades offer more diversity, the kids have a wider vocabulary to express their needs and wants and the teachers are more apt to consider their opinion. Of course I am assuming the teachers are caring, the kids are motivated and the parents are involved. With those three factors a kids can get a wonderful education nearly anywhere! If there are not religious constraints there are lots of wonderful private schools, and scholarships are available. But here in our area, the cost of private school rivals college tuition! And even with a scholarship for tuition there are all those added costs like uniforms and materials. And I don't really want my child spending hours a day commuting to school.

Homeschooling is not for everyone, nor do I think every child who is not homeschooled is receiving a sub-par education. I do not question your educational choices for your children, I certainly do not appreciate strangers questioning mine.


j-m said...

Having been similarly accosted many times myself ("It's 11:30 a.m...why isn't your child in school?") I can appreciate your frustration. Of course, my having, or not having, appropriate certification is another can of worms...private schools don't have to have it, and many NYC schools' faculties are not fully-certified either, as there is a teacher shortage there. Even if I am what area? Is it appropriate to all subject matter? and on and on...

Remember the 1-room schoolhouse of long ago. Those teachers had little more than their high school diplomas. And the nation turned out ok, educationally speaking

Nan Patience said...

Little bit of hostility among different people, I think. One day, we should all gather in the playground and have an all-out rumble. Wouldn't that be fun?

MamaCole said...

I've been tempted by the concept of homeschooling myself. So I have no criticism at all.

Maybe when people challenge you with all this stuff, it is because they are feeling defensive, and maybe doubtful, of the choice they have made. ie public school.

I also think it takes a certain kind of personality, not degree, to manage homeschooling. I actually have the degree. Not the personality, though.

btw, Thrice, I'm confused. You often refer to work - how do you homeschool and go out to work every day? That sounds tricky!