Monday, February 8, 2010
HOME SCHOOLING: Multi-faceted Issue
People throughout the centuries have fought very hard to make sure that their children would receive the best education possible. For many years, girls weren't even allowed to attend school past the first few years. Even in this year, there are countries that don't value schooling outside of the home. This brings me to the mine field, otherwise known as Home Schooling.
My views are based on personal experiences, which aren't everyone's? My step-dad had to drop out of school at a very young age so that he could work. He barely could read and it was a family secret for years; which I didn't even know until I was older. Shamed that he didn't have formal education followed him throughout his life. Even without a formal education, he could read blueprints, build anything, weld in any environment, establish a successful business and be the best grandfather anyone could ever imagine. No, he wasn't home schooled and I know that home schooled children are academically superior to many other kids. My point for this aspect is that he didn't just miss out on reading skills, he was behind in social skills. Yeah, I know good home school "teachers" make sure that the kids are involved socially. Those experiences aren't the same as dealing with bell schedules, waiting your turn, paying attention in a diverse environment and many other school-specific activities.
It is ironic, being raised by an semi-illiterate parental unit, that I would go on and finish graduate school with my Master's in Education. Throughout my school years, the lessons I learned weren't restricted to the curriculum set before me. There were many nuances that I had to decipher and acquiring that skill prepared me for the "real world" outside of my educational settings.
Challenges in life have not blocked me, because of the training I learned in the classroom. Working in a group in the classroom and being stuck with the kid who didn't want to work on the assignment was a lesson onto itself. Sitting next to someone who was smarter and knew how to decipher the math on the board, taught me how to ask for help from a peer (no, not cheating, just "explain it to me in different terms.")
As a teacher I had many different types of learners in my class. When I would have a former home schooler arrive in my class, there were very obvious gaps in the learning of the child. Favorite subjects were over learned, while the less-liked subjects were sorely lacking. Parents who had home schooled had the best of intentions and multiple resources at their disposal. However, parents are meant to be parents and tutors after the school day, not the main teacher.
Parents love their children more than any teacher can ever, in spite of claims from teachers that they love their students. No one can love a child as much as a caring, nurturing parent. Since parents trust doctors, dentists, dance instructors with the care of their child, why would they think that they could provide a better education than a certified teacher? To me that is just ludicrous.
Parents, be involved with your children's education at their school. Volunteer. Read stories to the kids in the classroom. Become a teacher's aide. Whatever you have time and talent enough to do. Just leave your child in school and let them learn all that they can.
In all things, be willing to listen to people around you. None of us is really smart enough to go it alone.
~ John Clendenin