Monday, May 17, 2010

Putting it all out there. MY blog, MY kid, MY opinion

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Thank you everyone for their comments! I didn't mean to spark a controversy; I was just stating what I know in my heart to be true for our family. I agree Klancy, I think that Homeschooling is the right choice for some people, in specific cases. For example, our babysitter (who keeps Rory 4 days a week) and her brother are homeschooled mainly because of medical issues for both of them (Insulin dependant Diabetic for her, Mild CP for him-he had a stroke at birth) and they do really well! Their parents have taken a very active role in their education though. They get extra tutoring and truly approach homeschooling as school. They have assignments, they take tests, and they have a set schedule..really, just like school, but at home, it actually functions more like a college class. You do the lesson; get an assignment - it is up to you to complete it on time, within the deadline and complete the appropriate test.

It has just become easy to hide under the “Homeschool” label since as long as you are a member of a ‘cover’ school (and they don’t have to meet regulations); there really isn’t any accountability and therefore, much of the time, the education is really subpar. I just wonder what it says to kids when the only people that they are around are people who think just like they do. How many places in life are you always around people who think 100% like you do? Never. That is what I am referring to when I say that often times these kids have trouble functioning in society. Clearly, I am aware that this is not the case with all homeschoolers, and I have never said that it is the case with all, however, it is the case with a great many of them.

On the flip side, it is a fallacy to imply that homeschoolers learn everywhere and regular schoolers learn only in school. Just because a kid goes to a regular school doesn’t mean that he/she doesn’t have the opportunities to learn outside of school that homeschoolers do. I was in the public school, and yet I was still exposed to other “educational” places as well. For example, I spent the last 2 weeks of my 4th grade year in a car with my Grandparents driving to, then exploring Boston and then driving back. I went to Bellemeade (Andrew Jackson’s home), did the Freedom Trail in Boston, went to Mystic Aquarium, went to the USS Constitution and learned so much I filled up a spiral notebook that I was using as my journal. Clearly, I wasn’t in school and wasn’t being Homeschooled, so does that mean that I wasn’t learning? Nope…not at all. Then does it mean that I didn’t learn anything in school about those things? Nope…not at all. My point is, learning is an active process, regardless of the location. The statement that as a Homeschooler “the world is our classroom” is not specific, isn’t the world everyone’s classroom? There is no On-Off switch for learning, homeschooled or not.

I guess what I am saying is that homeschooling, in certain circumstances, done correctly can be very successful. But I don’t think that it is a one-size-fits all solution as it is being used. Also, I think that homeschooling should be regulated and more closely watched. There are a lot of kids out there who are underserved as far as their homeschool education goes. I would venture to say that there are probably many more out there who are not doing it well than who are. The whole premise of “I leave it up to my kids to decide what to learn” is a tad self serving, in my opinion. If children could 100% self regulate, why would they need parents? That doesn’t make much sense now does it? When I think back and ask myself what I would have deemed “necessary” I can assure you that my list of necessities at 10 was different than my list at 15, and vastly different at 18 when I went to college. I would have gone to college with 0 chemistry, math sufficient to do basic addition and subtraction and use a calculator, basic thesis formulation skill, little to no experience with any conflict, and very poor test taking skills. My ACT test scores for admittance to college would have been laughable.

As I alluded to before, this is my blog, my family, my child, my choice. I will spend the rest of my days defending what I have stated. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. As I stated previously, I find it very hypocritical that homeschoolers can post on their blogs about the joys of homeschooling, and how superior it is to traditional schooling yet, when I post to defend my opinion, I get jumped on. I dare even one of them to show me an example of when I have made a derogatory comment on their blog. There isn’t one. I tire quickly of the insinuation that they are far more intellectual and a much better parent than I am because they love their child enough to homeschool.

God gave me this child to nuture, grow and prepare for life. A life that is not always fair in a society of people who will not always agree with her. I feel by never exposing her to people with differing opinions and world views, I am not doing her any favors. Don’t get me wrong, my Mommy-heart wants to hold her close and never let her experience any pain, disappointment or hurt. My Mommy-heart doesn’t ever want her to be upset or experience loss. My Mommy-heart wants to shield her from anything and everything that makes her feel sad or causes her pain, but I know that in the long run, I am crippling her. As much as I would love to keep her all to myself, I have to teach her to be self reliant and independent and prepare her to be an well rounded individual. I have to let her experience the world and learn how to cope in the face of hardship, disappointment and pain. I think about if my parents had sheltered me and never let me test out my wings (and I know that a part of them wanted to), who knows what would have happened to me when my Dad died. If I had been sheltered and prevented from ever experiencing difficulties and completely reliant upon my parents and their interpretation of what I should and shouldn’t do, I would be in a world of hurt. Instead, they let me stumble, they let me make mistakes, they let me see the not always pretty side of things, all because they wanted me to be prepared for whatever I was faced with. They wanted me to be able to defend myself, my views and opinions and not crumble under adversity.

I will gladly discuss my views and opinions with most anyone, I welcome differing opinions on my blog and in my life. I think that it is silly to discard a friend simply based on a difference in opinion, especially without ever attempting a reasonable discussion on the matter. What is it they say “Actions speak louder than words”? What would I be teaching Rory through example if I simply avoided situations and discussions that make me uncomfortable or that I don’t agree with? If everyone had the same opinions, it would be a very boring world! Be forewarned, I won’t shy away from the debate, if you want to speak respectfully and intelligently about homeschooling (or any other issues) I will gladly oblige and in the end we might just agree to disagree, however, don’t expect me to cower to your opinion or run off with your tail between your legs when I stand my ground! If you want to discuss, be prepared to do just that…discuss. In the end, regarding the content of my blog: MY blog, MY kid, MY opinion.

Ok, this is all that I am going to say on subject.


Anonymous said...

it is nice to see someone standing up to the attacks that were launched on you. the people who attacked you certainly aren't practicing what they preach: "be your own person, think your own thoughts" i guess it is ok (in their book) as long as you are thinking the same thoughts as then. sillyness.

Mandy said...

Since in the recent years homeschooling has become more widespread, I'll be interested to see how these children fair in college. Or, will they go to college? An honest question, because I don't know how homeschoolers feel about college.
Also, I can see where people think with bullying and school violence that it is safer for children to be taught at home. However, when we walk out our door aren't we all subject to these things?
I'm just saying for me personally, I am not qualified to teach my children the things they need to know to be successful in life. I'm not ashamed to admit that.
For instance, would I go out and teach them how to repair my car if something was wrong with it? Absolutely not. I'm no mechanic, and I'm certainly no certified teacher.
The majority of the people who will comment on this subject (anywhere, not just on your blog) attended public school themselves. Are they saying that they didn't receive the education that they needed? And if that is the case, then they probably don't have the education needed to teach their children everything they need to know. I'm not pointing fingers. I went to public school, and my 9 year old daughter is playing "physics" games on the computer. There is NO WAY I'm going to even attempt to tackle that.
I'm just saying this: In order to be a pilot, you go to school for that and get certified. The same goes for firemen, doctors, lawyers, artists, actors etc. I think if you want to be a teacher, you should be certified to be a teacher, and to be held accountable for the education of children. My opinion. My views. This is why they make chocolate and vanilla ice cream. One flavor doesn't satisfy everyone. Just one more perk of living in America where we CAN have our own opinions.

MyBellsPalsyBaby said...

Honey, all I can say is that you are way out of touch, with both reality and the homeschool movement. Yes, there are many people who take their children out of school because of the bad influences that are there. Their are many who have health problems and homeschool their children for those reasons. I choose to homeschool my children because there were things I know I missed in school that I wanted to be sure that mine children didn't.
Homeschoolers are being sought after by colleges. Honestly I feel as though you are the one living in a bubble. My kids socialize on a regular basis with public school kids, whether in sports, church or in public places. They don't have any trouble interacting, they don't have any trouble learning, taking tests etc... I really feel like you think we keep our kids cooped up in a box and never let them out. REALLY!?? They are not pets they are people.
As far as the higher level maths and sciences go there are tons of curricula out there that you can use that makes it easy and even an idiot could teach it.
My daughter just this year got straight A's in an Honor's Biology course, and not that she couldn't have done this at home on her own but we decided to do a co-op. A friend of ours wanted to teach the class. She is a medical dr. and adores biology and she taught the whole class. So there are many advantages when you know the right people as well.
I do think that that homeschooling promotes freethinkers. And quite honestly when you say you aren't qualified to teach your own kids how then are you qualified to be a parent? Think about that for a moment. Because before modern education existed in this country we were still on of the most highly educated societies in the world. Sure there are a lot of occupations that do require rigorous schooling going to college etc.. I hope that all my children go to college one day. But if one of my daughters tell me that they want to stay home and be a wife and mother, I would be just as satisfied with that as her becoming an astro physicist or a brain surgeon.

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