19 May, 2006

Homeschooling

CLC (I can never get all the "eee"s...) and SistaSmiff are weighing in on the homeschool debate. I was going to comment on their blogs, but then I couldn't make up my mind which one of them was going to be saddled with my longasciidness.

Me having an opinion on homeschooling is like me having an opinion on urinals. I get the general concept, am not clear on the actual execution and doubt I'll ever need to worry about either.

I was private schooled most of the time, but chose to go to public school for two years. It all worked out in the end. I can read, write, add sums, do basic algebra, have passing knowledge of Avogadro's Number. (Am I the only one who craves guacamole when discussing Avogadro's Number? Yes? Well, okay.) My mom was my teacher for many subjects in high school so in a strange way I was homeschooled with 25 other kids. So I guess I'm in line with CeeeElCeee's "takes all kinds" philosophy.

In all honesty, though, while CeeeELCeee has experience with tutoring the overachieving daughter of seemingly well-to-do parents in between her stabs at Olympic gold I must say my personal experience with homeschoolers has not always been stellar. They are:

Overprotective: Kids will get hurt. They will fall off swings and scrape their knees. Pulling them out of public school at age 6 because of this is not healthy for their mental and emotional well-being. Kids will also learn there is no Santa Claus. They may drink Kool-Aid, hear misinformation about sex and have their feelings hurt. It's called life, and it's generally better for them to grow the callouses now than to be isolated and unprepared for adulthood.

Undereducated: Look. I know that you are really smart. You are a cardiac care nurse or have a Masters in Renaissance Literature. But face it. As much as you know about what you know there is a whole world about which you are ignorant. That's why schools have specialised subjects with varied teachers. My algebra teacher in high school couldn't have taught me much about the Electoral College, and certainly had no clue about Spanish. No matter how smart you are, you'll never be as widely informed on your own as a staff of 15 in the local school.

All that being said, I have four women in my family who have taught for many years. They're full of tales about wasted time and money in public school. Between that and Law & Order: SVU I can see why parents would rather not go through that whole thing.

Are kids really having sex in the libraries and bathrooms of schools across the nation? Really? Gives a whole new meaning to "Spirit Week" I guess.

7 Comments:

At 8:18 AM, May 19, 2006, Blogger Cheryl said...

In the school, where I used to work, we once caught 2 11 yr. olds having sex in the locker room!! Scary!!

 
At 11:29 AM, May 19, 2006, Blogger ceeelcee said...

I readily admit that I had an exceptional student who had good instructors. I think that standards and curriculum for home schooling should be very stringent, but I don't have any answer to haow that would be administered or paid for.

I beleive the same thing about traditional schools. I'll always remember my Algebra teacher at the all-boys prep school I ran way from. His opening comments to the class were, "Boys, I'm not a math teacher. I'm a football coach. But hell, it's just algebra. We'll get through it!"

We had study hall every Friday while he went over plays on the chalkboard with the football players in the class. We did win the Clinic Bowl that year, though...

 
At 8:16 PM, May 19, 2006, Blogger SistaSmiff said...

In 7th grade at what was then Northside Jr. High (now Brentwood Middle School, maybe?) in Science class...Bill Rucker's class to be exact...this cheerleader got SOO mad at Mr. Rucker because he passed this kid from the Children's Home, whose name was James, and he did not pass the cheerleader. The cheerleader (her name was Gretchen. That's what she gets for being a cheerleader...me using her name) was pitching a hissy fit and she said "How come you won't pass me? You passed James!" to which Mr. Rucker replied, "Well, James is my friend."

Dear Mr. Rucker has done gone to that great Science class in the Sky, and maybe him passing James (and Sista Smiff too, even though she didn't earn it) wasn't ethically right and it certainly did nothing to help my school career, but, it kept me from having to repeat 7th grade.

 
At 8:17 PM, May 19, 2006, Blogger SistaSmiff said...

Ok, i just read what I wrote and I realize that that was really not good of him to do that.

 
At 11:27 AM, May 21, 2006, Blogger Kathy T. said...

This is waaaay off the subject, but I wanted to say what a pleasure it was to meet you this weekend! Your eggs were yummy, and the company was even better!

 
At 4:11 PM, May 21, 2006, Anonymous Sis said...

Well, you just knew I had to comment on this one! I believe that parents have the right to homeschool their children for whatever reasons they deem necessary. However, there are many things that they will be missing. They are too many to list here. Even at the Kindergarten level, I work very hard to offer a myriad of opportunities to my students that they just cannot get at home. I am continually fighting the notion that Kindergarten is just cut and paste or babysitting, and not really that important. Considering the fact that all of my students are reading (though some at a very beginning level), I think Kindergarten is the foundation for all future education. Parents who truly do their jobs as parents have enough to do with parenting. Only in certain situations should parents attempt to provide education in the home. Unless homeschooling is absolutely necessary, help your child receive his or her education from the professionals who have dedicated their lives to education. Volunteer your time. Be in the classroom to see what your child is doing and to offer your help to overworked teachers. That way you can make sure your child is in good hands without attempting to take the burden of his or her education entirely on your shoulders.

 
At 1:58 PM, June 23, 2006, Blogger Mommy2Lots said...

I am a homeschooling mom and just had to comment on this. I also run a blog, but a homeschooling one. It's called The Homeschooling Mommy and it's on e-blogger if you feel like looking at it.
Anyway, where do people get the notion that just because you choose to homeschool your kids that you are rebelling against society? That is not at all the case in my home. We chose to homeschool because the traditional schools simply did not meet our needs. My children are way ahead and even when put in so-called gifted programs, they were still ahead and, simply put, bored out of their minds.
Homeschooling at our house does not involve the children sitting at a desk or table all day. They are provided with more opportunities to interact with the real world because we incorporate it into our lessons. There is more opportunity to learn on field trips because we can spend as much time as is needed on each display or exhibit, since we have no time limit restrictions (like public schools have) for each section of the museum or zoo or whatever the case may be. The kids always get every question answered because there is not as many people to answer questions for. Every child can speak his/her mind every day in every subject.
We can do more hands-on activities in each subject because there are no time limits or budget restrictions or prior approvals to go through.
Contrary to popular belief, home-schooled kids are not at all kept inside all day, and instead of being discouraged from talking to each other, they are encouraged to interact. At traditional schools, it is frowned upon for children to talk during lessons, but we encourage it because it provides with different points of view of different problem solving methods and when other kids speak, it makes them want to voice their opinions, encouraging new ways of thinking. It also teaches them how to discuss different points of view and solve problems without arguments and provides good listening skills.
When children are encouraged to be out in the worl interacting daily, it provides a solid foundation for the life skills they will need as an adult. If they are sitting in a classroom for the most of the day, where can they get this life experience. They need more than interaction with other kids. They need to be able to interact with everyone. And as for homeschooled kids not being around other children, that is false as well. My children have many friends they play with, take field trips with, study with, and they also see other kids their ages and other ages in alot of the places we go. They are encouraged to interact.
As for the variety in studies, we learn from textbooks, the internet, encyclopedias, hands-on resources, and (surprise), I get advice from other teachers, talk with teachers who are a phone call away in any situation, should I need them, and I have shown my lesson plans to many teachers who are teaching public school and they were amazed at the accuracy and thoroughness of plans that I have drawn up on my own, without help. Just like in traditional schools, some teachers are good at teaching and some are not.
You cannot place everyone into one category.
Incidentally, I am not against public schooling. I am for whatever works for each individual child and family.
Some children will grow better in publi school and some will thrive in homeschool. The only way to know for sure is through paying attention to each child and his or needs and deciding which type of schooling fits that childs needs.

 

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