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Homeschooling seems to be extremely popular nowadays. Working in a library, I see the direct evidence on a daily basis because homeschooling parents rely heavily on library books to support and augment their curricula. It doesn't seem so long ago that the perception of home-schooled children was one of oddness. The parents were perceived as somewhat eccentric and the children socially isolated. The trend seems to have now increased in popularity to involve families of all kinds.

It seems to me that there are two primary motives for homeschooling -- either to provide a better education than the parent thinks the child would receive in school, or to prevent the child from receiving information that normally would be included in a public school education. As a parent concerned about the quality of the public education system in this country, I can now understand the tug of the former. What is scary, however, is the seemingly astronomical increase in the number of parents who are now home schooling for religious reasons. They do not wish their children to be exposed to facts and concepts that directly conflict with their religious beliefs, and as a result these children are going to grow up lacking any kind of critical thinking skills. As a mother who hopes to fill my daughter's head with as much and varied information as possible, all I can think of is what a very unfortunate disservice these parents are doing to their children and their children's futures in the 21st century.

The homeschooling phenomenon also causes me to wonder what kind of standards are in place to ensure that parents are actually quality teachers themselves? Is it ethical for a parent who did not do well in school herself to decide to homeschool her kids, knowing that the knowledge and understanding she would be able to impart will be subpar? I honestly don't think I am cut out to be a teacher, so I think it's best to leave that to someone for whom it is a true calling. There will always be a small number of people in society who are simply meant to be educators -- they have the gift. I doubt that the current enormous number of home schooling parents all happen to be in that select group.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 25th, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC)
Once, long ago, I worked for a local university in their network/pc dept. We had to set up some pcs and a little ad-hoc network for a homeschooler's conference. And we're talking a somewhat major conference that probably covered most of the east coast.
I was seriously disturbed by the groups that were wondering around campus. Everyone was uniformly dressed, even the parents. There seemed to be no uniqueness at all, very 'Stepford Wives', only more like stepford families. Or maybe invasion of the pod people?
Anyway, this happened after working on another campus with someone who had been homeschooled. He was very intelligent but his social skills were woefully behind and his tolerance of things the rest of us saw as being everyday was very low. I'm not sure that was a good trade off.
And seeing all those kids at that conference makes me wonder how many of those will end up being like him. I admit some shuddering at the thought.
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