"The ultimate in school accountability"

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TulipGirl tweeted a link to an anti-homeschooling blog rant by a teacher named Jesse Scaccia. He begins, "Homeschooling: great for self-aggrandizing, society-phobic mother...... but not quite so good for the kid," and he goes on to list his "top ten reasons why homeschooling parents are doing the wrong thing." His "reasons" include: homeschooled students are "geeky," homeschooling is selfish (because your child won't be in public school to help teach his peers), it's arrogant for a homeschool parent to think she can teach as well as Jesse Scaccia with his many academic degrees, and, most significantly, "As a teacher, homeschooling kind of pisses me off."

In the blog post's comments, a diverse assortment of homeschooling parents take Mr. Scaccia to task for his ignorance and prejudice. Of the many solid responses, this one by The Princess Mom, who blogs at Growing Up Gifted, was my favorite:

Homeschooling is the ultimate in school accountability. I can't pass the buck to next year's teacher-I *am* next year's teacher. I can't blame the parent's poor attitude-I *am* the parent. I can't justify poor test scores by comparing to the whole neighborhood, or blaming the diverse student population or being an urban district. (I've heard all these excuses from teachers and administrators across the country.) I'm accountable to someone even more important than the district or the state department of ed. I'm accountable to my kids. If I don't prepare them for college and life in the world, that's my fault. And if that didn't matter to me, I wouldn't be homeschooling in the first place.

MORE from homeschooling parents:

Dana at Principled Discovery does an interesting thought-experiment with a paragraph from Scaccia's follow-up ("Homeschoolers: Do They Care Too Much?").

Tammy Takahashi liked what she saw in homeschooling families and wanted it for her own:

Here's what I noticed:

1) The teens and the parents liked each other.
2) The teens all had a pretty clear idea of what they wanted to do with their lives, and most of them were already doing them.
3) The parents and kids were all relaxed, happy, well-spoken. (Even when we disagreed a LOT.)
4) The kids were incredibly interested in life. They were enthusiastic about what they were doing in their lives and in planning for their future. (BTW, so were the parents, about their own lives, not just the kids'.)
5) The teens were not judgmental of each other, were not afraid or wary of adults, and treated the little ones well....

They had this way about them that I had never seen before - the geeks, jocks, musicians, brainiacs... they were all cool with each other. There are no gangs, or "us against them" mentality (granted, I chose to only attend inclusive conferences and park days). When someone acted like a jerk, they dealt with it, then moved on and forgave. They liked themselves and each other. Some were gawky and some were attractive, some were buff, others were lanky, yet, they were all cool with each other. There is a ton of social pressure in homeschool groups, and that's to be cool to one another....

The truth is this: kids and families who go through public school (and even private schools to a certain degree) have to struggle and fight to stay in a good place, and to maintain involved in the world around them. Kids and families who homeschool are naturally in a place to have these things, without fighting. Why choose to fight if we don't have to? If see two lines at a grocery store, one long and one short, which one would you choose? If you get a job offer and one has a comfortable working environment, and the other requires longer hours and lots of work at home, for the same pay, which would you choose?

We knew we wanted a liberal, open-minded, accepting, and involved life for our kids. In the world around us, not just in school. And we just couldn't see how we'd have enough time to have all these things without killing ourselves, if they went to public school.

An MIT admissions officer offers advice to homeschooled applicants.

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7 Comments

Yogi Author Profile Page said:

I don't entirely understand why so many people homeschool their kids but I defend their right to do it.

I have made acquaintance with several homeschooled children they all seem to be very well adjusted and several have gone on to college and have done very well.

LaRueLaDue said:

People homeschool their children because they don't feel that the public schools: 1) don't a good job of teaching; 2) don't do a good job of protecting their children; and 3) they cannot afford a good private school.

We homeschooled my daughter from 2nd grade to 6th grade) and paid for private schooling in the other years, simply because we saw what happened to other children in the local public schools (specifically Tulsa Public Schools). We are now send her to Sands Springs for the last 2 years of high school, because: 1) she was ready to go to public schools; 2) Sand Springs schools have improved significantly, especially in comparison to Tulsa P.S.; 3) we now feel prepared to supplement and correct what is taught in the public schools, and my daughter is now educated enough to know when she is being fed incorrect information, and to challenge or ignore what is being pushed.

The public schools are an absolute failure. You need to take responsibility for your child's education, and supplement and correct what is being taught in public schools; or pull them out and send them to a good private school; or homeschool.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to home school, and don't need an education degree. There are many good home school curriculums available, and any one with a high school education can follow them and effectively use them.

Don't be intimidated!

Roy said:

You ponder the wrong puzzle, Yogi. Ask instead for reasons why one would *not* choose to homeschool. By this rephrasing of the question I do not mean good and sufficient answers don't exist. But the rephrasing provides a (at minimum balancing) refocus.

Putting the issue still another way: attempt coming up with reasons to not homeschool that do not hinge on present consumption orientation rather than future investment orientation. Again, not suggesting good and sufficient answers don't exist. But the exercise of answering this refocus also provides both balance and clarification of what's actually at stake.

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

I send my child to public school.

I "home school" him too. I find that most of what he is learning is fine, just not enough. These little people are learning sponges.

Just last week, in a geography talk, we discussed the myth that Christians in the middle ages thought the world was flat, and that Christoper Columbus and Magellan proved them wrong. It's a myth, as in not true. The fact is one or two people thought the world was flat, but no one ever embraced it. They don't teach that kind of honest history in public schools.

My son can determine meanings of complicated words because I've been teaching him (in-depth) latin and greek prefixes, roots and suffixes.
They just skim the surface in public schools, and they don't do it early enough, if you ask me.

One good thing about homeschooling is that one's life and family become saturated in learning. Its a way of life. If the homeschooling family is focused on education, and not ideology, the family improves in ways that are not measurable.

It's just not mainstream.

David V Author Profile Page said:

Education is an Industry. It is a "commodity" that is bought and sold.
Every teacher has a personal career interest in promoting his industry and further propping up his security.
We must be aware of this motivation and be balanced in our personal and family decisions regarding educational philosophies.
I taught at a christian school in Minnesota in the early eighties. Back then the teachers unions were trying to shut down the growing segment of christian schools that were cutting into the govt. school's dominance. The real reason I faced political pressure from the union is because about 4% of the teachers were laid off in Minnesota over the 2 years I was teaching there. The union faced shrinking membership and budget cuts because of this.
Follow the money and you'll find strong motivators for human behavior.
College is also an option that is necessary for many professions, but not all.
Rush Limbaugh was once asked by a caller; " What college should I apply to, to become a talk show broadcaster?"
"Go to work!" Rush stressed. "Get a job in the broadcasting industry. This isn't taught in textbooks!"
I'm not an automatic pusher of college for everyone, either.

Dana said:

Great find there buried in all the comments! I had a hard time taking it seriously. Surely an English teacher wouldn't accept that as a stellar model of persuasive writing?

Too many parents take no responsibility for their child's education. Homeschooling promotes accountability.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 31, 2009 11:53 PM.

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