Occasionally, I hear about parents who homeschool their kids.
My reaction is always the same: I don’t get it. How could it possibly work to teach kids academic subjects in your home with all the distractions: pets, TV, video games, refrigerator, etc.?
I know homeschooling is no longer so novel. There’s a huge homeschooling movement that seems to be gaining adherents constantly.
Listen, my son’s education is very important to me. I’m paying an outrageous amount of tuition for private school so he doesn’t have to attend the poor public school in our neighborhood.
But do I think I could do a better job teaching him myself? Absolutely not. I wouldn’t want to anyway. And Connor wouldn’t want me to be his teacher.
Traditional School Teaches Socialization Among Other Things
To me, the main benefit of a traditional school setting is the socialization that occurs.
Kids learn to get along with other kids and adults they don’t like. They learn to sit still and pay attention. They learn to finish tasks they dislike.
Basically, kids get prepared for life in school. When they’re adults, they’re going to have mean bosses who make unreasonable demands. Yet they have to submit and be respectful – unless they want to get fired.
Where else will kids learn about the authority of others, except in school? Sure, homeschooling advocates will say kids learn authority by obeying their parents.
Really? You mean homeschooled kids never whine and try to manipulate their way out of assignments? And parents never give in? I find that hard to believe.
I think homeschooling might be appropriate through kindergarten or even first grade. But then kick the kid out of the nest. Make him or her learn to fly in a school setting.
The home should be a comfortable, safe place – a refuge from the world. The home shouldn’t be an academic training ground. For starters, how many parents are qualified to teach, say, physics or calculus? Virtually none.
Sure, parents should teach their kids about values and faith if they choose. But they can do that even if their kids attend a regular school. There’s plenty of time to supplement a traditional education at home – and that’s what should occur.
Pulling kids out of a traditional school teaches a very bad lesson, I think. It teaches them it’s OK to run from an imperfect situation – instead of finding ways to adapt and succeed.
I don’t doubt that most homeschooling parents mean well and care about the wellbeing of their children. But I still think they’re misguided. I’m stunned and appalled that lawmakers have bowed to political pressure and made it so easy for parents to homeschool their kids.
How can authorities measure the quality of a homeschool education? I think it’s impossible. Authorities have enough challenge monitoring public and private schools.
Naturally, I’ve heard of bright homeschooled kids who get scholarships to prestigious colleges. But they’re the rare exception, not the rule.
How many kids are homeschooled by parents who start out with great enthusiasm and then burn out? How many times do kids “graduate” from homeschool without knowing how to take notes, research, organize their work, and complete a difficult assignment by the due date? Not to mention learning to get along with unreasonable people.
I can’t imagine a public school setting so bad that homeschooling would be a better alternative. Can you?
Homeschooling parents have the right idea but the wrong approach. Get involved in your child’s education. Do that by supporting traditional schools and supplementing their work at home. Don’t naively think you can teach all the academic and nonacademic lessons kids learn on campus.