Would you go to a doctor who never went to medical school and was never taught by certified professionals? Would you go into a courtroom, and face the representation of a self- taught lawyer? I think the obvious answer here, is no. Well, this logic begs the question of why anyone would give the education of their children, to someone who was not trained and certified in that field?!?!
Sure, I have heard plenty of reasons for homeschooling. For example, A. Hermitt of our own Associated Content lists 5 reasons to home school African- American children; and Brenda Hoffman gives her explanation for being different and choosing home schooling as a viable option. To both of these ladies, I say, no, sorry; home schooling is not the way to go. Let me first clarify my position. I am 100%, undeniably against home schooling. However, I will not judge someone else for their choice. I will beg them to think about what they are doing and choose a different option. But, I respect an individual’s right to raise their children how they see fit.
Primarily, home schooled individuals are very sheltered in their experiences and miss opportunities to keep the open mind and tolerance that so many Americans want our citizenry to attain. According to Marzluf (2009), quantitative data on the transitioning of home schooled students into university education, suggests while home schooled students do not attempt at forcing others to convert their beliefs and ideals; they do not and will not transform to the ideals and beliefs which are contrary to their own. Thus, adults, as most college students are, are entering the world preaching about contradictory tolerance and accepting no other alternatives to their beliefs. How damaging can practices like these are to the thread of our American culture?
The very essence of our society relies upon interactions of ideals and open- minded problem solving. Home schooled students are lacking in this department as they are most susceptible to taking on the ideals of the very people who teach them. Likewise, research shows that home schooled individuals show a propensity to reject counter views. After all, and as Marzluf (2009) contends, the number one reason for choosing to home school students is the fear of children being influenced by the “wrong” kind of ideas and messages. Why then, would this “rationale” not have the opposite effect as well?
Why not use the efforts of home schooling students, and put into the educational system? The truth of the matter is that, everyone in the world is not home schooled. Thus, home schooled students will- at some point- need to interact with others from public education. Likewise, no one person can change the world. Rather, change comes as a result of cooperative action. Pulling children out of the system, in lieu of working within the system to achieve change, does little for the overall goodness of all parties involved.
To date, there is very little research on the difference- academically- of home schooled children, versus those in other education arenas. But, even if the argument that home schooled students are much smarter than other sectors of education is accepted, we still have to work together to achieve change. The change could be much more drastic and pointed, if the energy used on home schooling students, were placed in education reform, volunteerism in the public schools and working with children who are sent to school, versus educating them alone. I suppose, I do not agree with the extremes of all or nothing.
Lastly, educators are taught, trained and certified for a reason. As noted above, individuals do not trust untrained doctors, lawyers, nurses or judges; why do we think so little of education that we trust untrained teachers? Is education really that simple? I think not. If it were, we would have more qualified and certified teachers in the classroom. So then, more time should be spent on understanding why so many people have such a poor view of education. As a society, we need to understand why we feel that certified professionals do a poorer job than lay parents. There is a perception problem with this logic- or lack their of. Again, if parents can take the time to get educated on home schooling their children- which I no doubt believe happens- why can’t they education themselves on being a better parent, support system, in the classroom? Why won’t parents donate resources to schools? Why won’t parents be advocates for their children and all children? When will parents step away from the self- centered nature of “my child” and say, “our children”? This is the logic and argumentation that parents expect from educators…
Enough is enough. I will not deny that perceptions need to change, across the board. Those in favor of home schooling should adopt alternative methods that incorporate fighting for the education system versus abandoning it. Likewise, those who oppose home schooling have an obligation to seek and understand the rationale for moving toward it (Sorey & Duggan, 2008). The system is broken and in need of repair. Contrary to popular belief, all faults are not on the system. Parents share the blame.
A. Hermitt (2010). “5 reasons african americans should home school.” Associated Content.
Hoffman, Brenda (2006). “Reasons for home schooling.” Associated Content.
Marzluf, P. (2009). Writing home- schooled students into the academy. Composition Studies, 37(1), 49-66.
Sorey, K., & Duggan, M. (2008). Home schoolers entering community college: Perceptions of admissions officers. Journal of College Admissions, Summer, 22-28.