Some notes on homeschooling
Last Friday a dear friend commented on Facebook about the current bill being proposed in Florida which would require teachers to grade parents on student’s report cards. Several people weighed in on the conversation, and I thought I’d copy and paste some of my responses here. I think we need to have ready answers to people who question homeschooling . . . there are many of them out there!
I think most parents and teachers have the interests of kids at heart. That being said, this is a crazy bill. It was amusing to me to see someone else here say that state education is “socialist,” as it certainly is–that’s not something you see admitted every day! I think we do get in a fair amount of trouble because we all tend to follow the status quo and send our kids on to the system because that’s what everyone else does–never asking God what *He* really wants for them or pausing to consider whether it could/should be different from the way the rest of the culture is going. With respect to all who have commented here, may I just posit that since the vast majority of us were educated by that public system, that if we’re not able to teach our children, then perhaps we ought to take a LONG look at why on earth we’re sending them to the same system that failed us? As a parent of eight, having homeschooled for the past fourteen years, I can tell you the truth: *any parent who loves their child is capable of homeschooling.* And the older they get, the easier it *should* become, if we’ve done it right from the beginning–many of our countries greatest leaders, writers and artists were taught at their mother’s knee or self-taught, being unable to afford or withstand public education. This list includes John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Louisa May Alcott, Wilson Bentley, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, James Madison, Margaret Mead, John Rutledge, George Washington, Andrew Wyeth . . . extensive lists exist online, so I needn’t go on here! A parent who is truly unable to teach their child to read and gather information for themselves is truly to be pitied. Of course, there are extremely rare occasions when a parent’s mental instabilities, deficiencies or perhaps addictions would cause another option to be necessary.
Here’s some information on the effect of parent’s holding college degrees on the standardized test scores of homeschooled students, from The Washington Times … ” home-school students of parents without college degrees scored, on average, …at the 83rd percentile for the core subjects. When one parent had a college degree, those students scored at the 86th percentile, and when both parents had a college degree, those students scored at the 90th percentile. There was virtually no difference, however, between the scores of students whose parents were certified teachers and those who were not.” And as for spending more money on education being a help …”The highest spending state, Vermont, is rated 30th in SAT scores nationwide. The lowest spending state, Utah, gets higher SAT scores from their students and is ranked 20th above Vermont. Far less money, higher score. The Best State (highest) SAT score comes from Iowa yet their spending of $9,977 per student is right in the middle at 25th and right at the national average of spending. The Worst State Sat score comes from Maine yet it spends the 5th most money in the nation.” Interesting stuff, especially considering I’m spending about $3500 a year total for my *five* currently school-aged students.
I wasn’t trying to give the entire “true financial impact” of homeschooling, just comparing my spending per student with the government’s. But since you went there (haha!) honestly, I think we all fool ourselves a bit with the whole “we can’t afford for the other parent not to work.” I just have too much experience with couponing, digging in the couch for change for McDonald’s, driving one car, and renting apartments rather than owning houses to believe that one totally. I know most people truly believe they can’t make it on one income, I just don’t think it’s entirely TRUE. And that’s part of the reason I wouldn’t ever recommend newly married couples to get into the habit of having the wife work. Oh boy, there’s a whole ‘nother can of worms! My “not working” was a cost of having children, not of homeschooling, as it came way before the day we started in on phonics.
I disagree, too, with your statement, “Public schooling is a good idea,” for many reasons, the main one being that one of the most fundamental tenets is that God can be left out of the equation of education. There’s not an organization anywhere that truly has *no* god, and in the public school system that “god” has become humanism, or self. To teach children that they can sortof leave God at the door as they come into school every morning, because He has nothing to do with math or history or science or English, is a dangerous concept that has had far- reaching effects in our society–one evidenced by our appalling rates of teen suicide, drug use, and rampant immorality. Education must revolve around God; if we’re not teaching our children that everything exists because of and for Him, we’re not truly educating.
I don’t have the answer to your question about what happens to kids whose parents don’t care, but my wager would be that the answer *should* lie with the church, where all charitable actions should be based, and not a governmental overreach which by definition should be “neutral” and yet cannot truly be so. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be abandoned (though I know that’s a way-out-there idea, and would take much more planning than we can get into here!) because it is flawed at its root.
And for more on your comment earlier about parents with kids in the public schools already taking part in a socialist system, I found this quote …”In America, Communist Party USA Founder William Z. Foster, wrote in 1932: ‘Among the elementary measures the American Soviet government will adopt to further the cultural revolution are the following; The schools, colleges and universities will be coordinated and grouped under the National Department of Education’ (which did not exist at that time) ‘and its state and local branches. The studies will be revolutionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic and other features of the bourgeois ideology.'” Scary stuff.