Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Homeschooling - Is It A Practice Accessible To Everyone?



Just yesterday, my article on homeschool co-ops was published in the Federalist (Homeschoolers Invent The Most Daring Ways To Educate Kids).  I hope you'll read it if for no other reason than to check out my interview with Mrs. Sam Sorbo - wife of Kevin Sorbo (God's Not Dead) - and read her explain why homeschooling is the right choice for their family of five.


The article generated a very LARGE number of comments, most of which were supportive of homeschooling, yet one commenter simply could not possibly accept homeschooling as an overall viable alternative to public education and remarked continually to that effect.
I finally felt the need to jump in and thought it might be helpful to copy and paste one of his comments and my response here.  I hope you will read it in full and think critically on the words and I hope you will endeavor to take a look at schooling your own children at home - if you haven't already!
Wolf Tracker in reply to Jenni White
Jenni- you and your friends are shilling for home schooling and spreading a completely unrealistic picture that does not include all the cons of homeschooling and reasons to not homeschool. That is very disingenuous and will lead to many people jumping in and then failing as most parent's do not have the education and mastery of subjects and skill necessary to teach their own kids.
They also are not likely to have the income you and your friends do that can afford to stay at home to educate their kids. I made it clear in my post that home schooling can be successful for well educated parents and those with the income and time needed for that huge commitment but you are promoting this as if it is the best option for all people and that is not realistic or mature and as a former teacher you should know better.

Consider adding in the facts of how much homeschooling costs and what education parents should have and what skills it takes to be a good home school teacher and maybe your article would be credible.

Jenni White in reply to Wolf Tracker

Wolf Tracker, I want to take the time to address your points because I believe them to be in some measure valid.

I am not spreading an unrealistic picture of homeschooling - obviously it's realistic as I referred to specific examples and individuals in my piece. Of course there are pitfalls and frustrations with homeschooling - not in the least limited to the time it takes to find curricula or a program that mutually benefits parent and child and one that is affordable on the family budget. Sometimes just being with children 24/7 can be taxing to the mind and energy level! Some programs don't work and you have to back up and try something new - that is frustrating. Sometimes kids struggle and you have to struggle right along with them - that is emotionally taxing. Homeschooling is a way of life and a commitment much like marriage however, and when you begin, you don't begin lightly or with the idea you'll quit as soon as it becomes in the least bit difficult.

To balance out those frustrations, however, I will say that during the years my children were in public school, they experienced bullying, math anxiety, test anxiety, indoctrination (I had to explain more than once why America was NOT 'bad' and why Global Warming was a THEORY and not a FACT) and I myself was bullied by one of their teachers for daring to try and make her aware of the bullying going on under her nose in her own classroom. I'd say those are pretty significant "CONS" of public school - wouldn't you? My children are certainly not exposed to ANY of that in their home school.
Your comments indicate a mindset which believes all the planets must be in alignment and the horn shined on the unicorn before a mission is possible because its end result must be perfection. 
Fie on that! Ridiculous! Anyone can do anything they choose to do barring physical or mental incapacity - but the keyword here is 'choose'. 

I just read a story recently about a group of single black mothers who decided their children were not being properly educated in public school. They CHOSE to group together in a round robin so that the mothers would each take turns tutoring all the children on her day off from work (also see Christian Science Monitor, August 19, 2016 - "Homeschooling and Co-Op Teaching Grow among African Americans", see also "African American Homeschool Parents' Motivations for Homeschooling and Their Black Children's Academic Achievement").

I can't imagine that to be an easy task for those women, but they CHOSE to do what they felt they must for the welfare of their children. The bottom line is this: homeschooling is doable on any income if the family/parent/guardian/etc. decides it a necessity and commits to the project.

As for your assertion that only successful, well educated parents are able to properly educate their own children, you are VASTLY undereducated concerning the homeschooling helps available today. There are frequently entire convention centers across this country FILLED to the brim with homeschooling programming options and tools. Again, if a family CHOOSES to take on the task of schooling their children at home, there is a veritable WEALTH of curricula and materials available to provide any level of education to any child DESPITE the education level of the parent.

If affordability is an option, many, many public libraries provide homeschool curricula and materials and vendors such as Half-Priced Books offer used books at - well - half price, with the bonus that you can sell them back when you've moved on!

In addition, Dr. Brian Ray of National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) has shown that "whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is NOT related to academic achievement" and in fact, other studies have shown that PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT is the largest factor in the success of homeschool students.

In closing, I'm not a FORMER teacher. I am currently a teacher to my own three children, the only tutor of a neighbor's child and a tutor for the Chemistry and Pre-Algebra courses at our co-op. Just FYI, my father is a professor of Journalism at OU, my mother a retired public school English teacher of 32 years (with 2 Masters) and my grandfather was a law professor, so I do know a bit about teaching and I STILL believe schooling one's own children at home to be the best possible way for them to obtain an education.

I now feel I have CREDIBLY addressed your concerns and comments. I hope you have a blessed day!