Thursday, January 26, 2006

homeschool facts and one person's opinion

FACTS ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING


  • There are between 1.5-2.0 million home-schooled students
  • Home education comprises roughly 3-4% of all school-aged children
  • Home-schooling continues to grow approximately 10% per year
  • Approximately 80% of parents are home-schooling with only a high school education
  • Home-schoolers are more rural than average
  • Approximately 90% of home-schoolers are non-minorities
  • Approximately three-fourths of home-schoolers would identify themselves as Christians
  • People home school because it minimizes negative socialization
  • People home school because of their desire to transmit a particular set of values to their children
Another fact to note is that socialization for home school kids is primarily with other home school kids. If the majority of home school kids are educated by parents with a high school diploma, how is that better then a public or private school education? Of equal concern is the fear that values differ from those taught at home. So what. Why the lack of trust that what you teach your children outside of school wouldn’t be respected? More importantly, why is questioning that such a bad thing? Isn’t one of the most fundamental aspects of education, diversity of thought and opinion?

If parents are educating their children, the lines are blurred between being a parent and a teacher. What about testing? A parent is going to give their child an F?


Going to school outside of the home is a place where we discover so much about ourselves creatively, intellectually and socially. Our parents aren’t around, so we’re free to cultivate ourselves. Our teachers don’t know us outside of the classroom. They see our strengths and weaknesses objectively. I will never forget certain teachers and the impact they had, and continue to have on my life.

I have spoken with teachers and asked them about home school kids entering the public and private school sectors. From what I've learned home schooling is dangerous and breeds sheltered minds who lack key social skills.

Sooo...

11 comments:

Jason said...

You should take a minute and speak with teachers about what really goes on in public schools. The harsh reality is that public schools are fast becoming one of the most dangerous places for young children to be, especially where I live (Washington, D.C.). It's not much better where I grew up, either (Chicago). You are entitled to your opinion, but I think that time and experience may change that opinion eventually. For the sake of any children you may have (or already have), I certainly hope that that's the case. - Jason

Tad Wimmer said...

Your post oversimplifies and blurs many key and important ideas about homeschooling, and overlooks many important facts about the public school system that "education professionals" would rather you not know about. I could make a very convincing case that the public school system is "dangerous," and it would certainly not be difficult to show that it provides at best a mediocre education.

If what you want for your kids is to create factory workers or Walmart associates, then by all means use the public school system. If you want them to get a real education, you will need to find a different vehicle.

Grafted Branch said...

I went to public school when kids were just mean -- before guns, before crack, before offensive social agendas were the new hip thing. I was an honor roll student, involved in high school government, blah blah blah. I learned nothing worth knowing (sex, drugs & rock n roll) and found the whole conformist social structure very detrimental for years into adulthood. Now I home-educate my 3 children and am thrilled to see each of them free of the bondage that is "the latest fad," or "people will laugh at me." Each of my children is bright and capable, enjoys learning and retains well the information they have pursued. They own it. But the very best thing that my children are gaining from their time at home with parents and sibblings: good character. Not simply good manners or kindness when convenient, but sincere and righteous good character.

Education loses its very purpose when good test scores is the aim. My children pursue knowledge because it is useful and will enable them to be productive in society. We don't test -- we learn and we use.

As to socialization, my children, in the shelter of the homeschooling community are better prepared for life in the real world. Mine don't spend 12 years primarily relating to people their very same age -- they talk, cooperate and play with people older and younger than themselves all the time -- as is required in the real world. They learn to give of themselves for the greater good of the family or the team -- as is required in the real world.

Perhaps my favorite skill to watch homeschooling children develop is the finesse necessary to question or appeal to authority while leaving the due respect and dignity in tact. That's a mighty powerful tool -- in the real world.

Grafted Branch said...

By the way, as I re-read your post I notice that you say:

People home school because of their desire to transmit a particular set of values to their children

That's so true! But it is also true of every educational institution, system, curriculum or instructor. At the core, there is a values agenda--one might even call it a religion, not sacred but a veneration of an idea nonetheless. Because of my values agenda, my children have no more place in institutional education than do yours in my homeschool. See, your post has a values agenda when you state:

More importantly, why is questioning that such a bad thing? Isn’t one of the most fundamental aspects of education, diversity of thought and opinion?

I do wish "free thinkers" like yourself had the objectivity to examine how bound your thinking really is. (Being left doesn't make you right.) You think your way is best, I know that my way is best, but only one of us is truly ready to allow the other to pursue their happiness and liberty as is foundational to our rights as Americans. Surprise! This country was not founded on national patriotism, pride or productivity. The founding fathers did not set out to build a superpower. In the beginning it was all about the freedoms of the individual.

Katie said...

grafted branch, I hear you. I am a free thinker and a die-hard supporter of the constitution. You have the right to raise your children and educate them how you see fit. I'm not trying to dispute that. I just don't agree with it and that's ok.

But I appreciate all that you said, and that everyone else said. You're all very passionate about homeschooling. I'm not trying to take that away from you and I hear you.

Thanks for writing,
Katie

Brian Sasaman said...

Hooray for Katie. All we want is freedom!

Heidi said...

I agree, we should all have a choice about education. I can also understand that parents want their children to learn particular values. If parents that home school are as bad as you all seem to think the general public are, this could be a bad thing. I have friends who were home-schooled for a number of years and they are great people. However they now attend a steiner school and are just as great, still individuals but perhaps more accepting of other's ideas.
ps. I love my public school!

David Zitzkat said...

Reading some of this makes me wonder how the human race ever got by before we had public schools. In fact, public schools are relatively recent on the scene, and we did just fine without them for thousands of years. Now they are nothing more than propoganda vehicles for dumbed-down liberal philosophy and liberalism in general. Nobody in their right mind should ever want the government telling them what to think.

Naturally, you come out with the S-word, socialization,

Our cohort of home schoolers consists of about eight homeschoolers ages 12 to 14 who are going to Community College. We do study groups together, have a home schooling swing dance every two weeks with other home schoolers, do homeschool skiing every Friday during the winter, and do other activities. Socialization is not an issue for us or any other homeschooler that I am aware of.

One of the staff at our community college is actually a Ph.D. student in education at another school, and she is doing her dissertation on our group. She has already said that she is going to turn that into a book once she gets her Ph.D.. My son and daughter may also write a book on this experience from their prospective.

Beyond anecdotal information, however, there are studies, that show, in general that the homeschooling model is superior to most others, and most assuredly to government schools. In general, homeschoolers do better academically than those who go to government schools, and if you can believe the reports from colleges and universities that accept homeschoolers, not only are homeschoolers superior academically, but they are just as socially adept as any other group, perhaps more so, since at least one report states that binge drinking is less of a problem among this group than among others.

I read your claims above that:

Approximately 80% of parents are home-schooling with only a high school education

Home-schoolers are more rural than average

Approximately 90% of home-schoolers are non-minorities

Approximately three-fourths of home-schoolers would identify themselves as Christians

People home school because it minimizes negative socialization

People home school because of their desire to transmit a particular set of values to their children

Where did you get these "facts." How do you know this? I find this remarkable, since homeschoolers are not an easy population to keep track of.

We homeschool in Connecticut. I can make the following generalizations about our homeschooling population:

Almost all homeschooled kids have college graduates for parents.

Almost all homeschooled kids are upper-middle class suburban.

People homeschool for a variety of reasons. These include the feeling that public schools are dumbed down and a waste of time, that public schools are centers of pop culture, sex and drug abuse, that public schools promote values that are antethetical to most values shared by that population that cares about education and whether or not their children succeed.

Yes, most are Christian, most are non-minority, and most are more intelligent than average. So what is wrong with that?

David Zitzkat said...

Reading some of this makes me wonder how the human race ever got by before we had public schools. In fact, public schools are relatively recent on the scene, and we did just fine without them for thousands of years. Now they are nothing more than propoganda vehicles for dumbed-down liberal philosophy and liberalism in general. Nobody in their right mind should ever want the government telling them what to think.

Naturally, you come out with the S-word, socialization,

Our cohort of home schoolers consists of about eight homeschoolers ages 12 to 14 who are going to Community College. We do study groups together, have a home schooling swing dance every two weeks with other home schoolers, do homeschool skiing every Friday during the winter, and do other activities. Socialization is not an issue for us or any other homeschooler that I am aware of.

One of the staff at our community college is actually a Ph.D. student in education at another school, and she is doing her dissertation on our group. She has already said that she is going to turn that into a book once she gets her Ph.D.. My son and daughter may also write a book on this experience from their prospective.

Beyond anecdotal information, however, there are studies, that show, in general that the homeschooling model is superior to most others, and most assuredly to government schools. In general, homeschoolers do better academically than those who go to government schools, and if you can believe the reports from colleges and universities that accept homeschoolers, not only are homeschoolers superior academically, but they are just as socially adept as any other group, perhaps more so, since at least one report states that binge drinking is less of a problem among this group than among others.

I read your claims above that:

Approximately 80% of parents are home-schooling with only a high school education

Home-schoolers are more rural than average

Approximately 90% of home-schoolers are non-minorities

Approximately three-fourths of home-schoolers would identify themselves as Christians

People home school because it minimizes negative socialization

People home school because of their desire to transmit a particular set of values to their children

Where did you get these "facts." How do you know this? I find this remarkable, since homeschoolers are not an easy population to keep track of.

We homeschool in Connecticut. I can make the following generalizations about our homeschooling population:

Almost all homeschooled kids have college graduates for parents.

Almost all homeschooled kids are upper-middle class suburban.

People homeschool for a variety of reasons. These include the feeling that public schools are dumbed down and a waste of time, that public schools are centers of pop culture, sex and drug abuse, that public schools promote values that are antethetical to most values shared by that population that cares about education and whether or not their children succeed.

Yes, most are Christian, most are non-minority, and most are more intelligent than average. So what is wrong with that?

Anonymous said...

>Another fact to note is that socialization for home school kids is primarily with other home school kids.

And...? With homeschooled groups, there is a great deal more variety than in your typical suburban-slice-of-the-American-Dream.


>If the majority of home school kids are educated by parents with a high school diploma, how is that better then a public or private school education?

Good question. Because it IS better. Every test has shown that hs-ers are above average, and the LESS educated the parent, the GREATER the benefit. Scary, huh?

> Isn’t one of the most fundamental aspects of education, diversity of thought and opinion?

Now, this is FUNNY.

> What about testing? A parent is going to give their child an F?

Yes, if the parent loves the child. I am much harsher than my child's school ever was. There, he could get away with murder just because he's cute. I don't care how cute he is.

> Going to school outside of the home is a place where we discover so much about ourselves creatively, intellectually and socially. Our parents aren’t around, so we’re free to cultivate ourselves.

Riiiight. And an average middle school classroom is just the place to be "cultivated," right?

> They see our strengths and weaknesses objectively.

*snort*

> I will never forget certain teachers and the impact they had, and continue to have on my life.

Nor will I. The wounds have healed--if it had happened today, I would have had ten years of psychological counseling--but the scars are still there.

> I have spoken with teachers and asked them about home school kids entering the public and private school sectors.

Oh, GREAT source--the competition who only see the failures. Funny, but the failures from the public school system look a whole lot worse.

BTW, my four-year-old is two years ahead academically and easily mingles with older children and adults socially. He is neither sheltered nor stupid and is anything but shy.

Renee said...

You wrote that homeschooled kids primarily socialize with other homeschooled kids. This is different, or somehow more dangerous, than publicly schooled kids mainly socializing with other publicly schooled kids how?

Changes in society will never occur if people are afraid and unwilling to go against the grain and actually be and do something different.

Some people say homeschooling is better. There are many aspects of homeschooling that I find to be far superior. But for the most part, it is a viable alternative to the norm. It has advantages and disadvantages, just as do public and private educational choices.

As far as grades and tests are concerned, each family is different. I do not test nor do I grade because I believe that pride and motivation must come from within. I also believe that we left public school for good reasons (poor teachers, grown lazy with tenure; lack of willingness to work with me to see to the specific educational needs of my child; the failure of the school staff to correct problem behavior; the failure of the staff to encourage creativity and individualism). Granted, I realize that teachers are not babysitters, nor can they easily tailor a classroom to suit all children (although Montessori schools suggests it's not impossible). But then, that is where I see the failings of the pubkic school system. Rather than blame them, I chose to take charge. I have no desire to recreate the public school experience in my home. We do not school; we live and learn and grow and achieve. There is no test that can accurately measure the above, nor is there any need to do so.

Take a walk through a crowded store. Take a drive on the highway. Watch an hour of news. Read a message board. Those rude people you will encounter were probably in groomed in public school. Can homeschoolers do a better job of raising responsible, compassionate people? I'm willing to give it a try!

My kids (15 and 8) are very well adapted socially. They have both homeschooled and publicly schooled friends, whom they see every day. I am not afraid of them learning about other people, ideas, etc., as long as at the end of the day they stand up for who they are. I am quite proud of the way they are turning out.

Whether you like it or not, homeschooling is here to stay. And yes, it is growing. The question that begs to be asked, and answered, for the sake of those not willing to homeschool or those who cannot afford private education, is "Why is homeschooling growing?"

 

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