Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Think of the Children!

I have nothing against homeschooling, per se. My mother homeschooled my sister for 2 years due to medical issues. My mother was also a fully licensed K-8 teacher (no longer working in the field), and my sister was within the K-8 range. My other sister homeschools her children because she and her husband can't afford private schools and the public schools in her neighborhood are regularly discussed in the national media as an example of everything that needs to be fixed in public education today. Other sister has a PhD in mathematics.

So, I have nothing against homeschooling. I think there are valid reasons for homeschooling, and I think properly qualified individuals can do it quite well. What I do have a problem with is the sort of homeschooling popular amongst the fundies (who homeschool purely to keep their children away from our children), and particularly popular amongst Quiverfullers.

Razing Ruth has recently put up a few posts on her experiences with homeschooling that depict, from one who experienced it, my issues with homeschooling. (If you aren't following Ruth's blog, you need to leave mine, immediately, and read hers. She is amazing.)

Still, the “formal” homeschooling was ruled by Bill Gothard’s ideas and (at
the time) new trends and trials. Because of this lack of rigor, when I left ATI
and started looking at colleges, I was overwhelmed by what I didn’t know.

. . .

When I left and decided that I wanted to continue my education, I had a
long row to hoe. I was over the age of 18, by the time I decided I wanted to
repair the damage my ATI education had caused, so I had to go through an adult
school. I had a GED, but I needed refreshers in basic high school courses. My
math skills were exceptional (all thanks to my mom!). My writing skills were
so-so. Reading comprehension was great. History and science – the counsellor
looked crestfallen as he told me the results of my evaluation. I took two years
of remedial courses*
through the adult school before I could take college
placement exams.

Two years of remedial courses to even try college placement exams. Two years. She had no idea who Martin Luther King, Jr. was. There's a federal holiday just for him, and Ruth never learned about him. Because religious homeschooling has nothing to do with schooling and everything to do with indoctrination. Who cares if you have any knowledge of math, history or science as long as you're sufficiently indoctrinated in the "right" religion?

It's appalling that in the United States, in the 21st Century, we care so much for the rights of Christians to indoctrinate their children that we grant asylum to homeschoolers from democratic nations, but we don't care at all about making sure children learn things.

*emphasis mine


  1. I have no problem with the concept of homeschooling, because I believe that it is the right of a parent to decide for themselves what is best for their children. I had ruminated on the thought of homeschooling my eventual children, because I don't think the public school system teaches enough (for instance, the ethnocentric and watered-down version of North American History 1600-1950 that I got).

    I do have a problem with the state allowing parents to homeschool in a manner that produces children that are not up to at least basic standards.

    I also have no problem with the concept of granting asylum for being denied a freedom that this country accepts as basic.

    I do have a problem with this being applied unevenly - for instance, in the four years after our invasion and occupation of Iraq, we granted less than 8,000 asylum requests for refugees, which is particularly horrific when you consider that there were over 2 million refugees, and most of the people seeking asylum were doing so because they had helped the U.S. effort and were at ridiculously high risk of being murdered along with their extended families. So, the people that actually did greet us with open arms were left to be shot in the back of the head and buried in a ditch. But let's not deny those who don't want a quality education for their kids!

  2. I think the only thing that kept me from being home schooled or put in a private Christian school as a kid was the fact my mom was a public school teacher. She finds it appalling for kids to not go to public school. When I have kids I will send them to public school but I will also try to help them learn more than just what the school teaches. I think a combination of both home and public is the best bet.


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