by Amy Tjaden
Homeschool.com News Editor
I try to keep the focus of my articles on positive, uplifting news. I can be very passionate about homeschooling and that passion can sometimes manifest itself in a rather negative voice when confronted by the negativity, or naivety of others.
Today I read a woman’s opinion of homeschooling and it prompted me to respond. So, rather than an article about graduation, or art exhibits, I will respond to the points of Amy Platon’s article, which you can read here. I promise to try to keep negativity and sarcasm out of my voice.
Platon says she is worried about the bigger picture, but is she even seeing the bigger picture? Her first point is that homeschooling is not fair to her child because he would have to put up with his mom all day. If that is the dynamic of their relationship then maybe she is doing the best thing. Most families who homeschool enjoy being together and just because your children are homeschooled, does not mean you’re in the same room, engaged in the same project. Most homeschoolers are not even at home. They are out engaging in fun activities with other homeschoolers. Yes, they actually are a part of their community Ms. Platon.
Her second point is that she isn’t qualified. This view always gets me. Humans are natural learners. We do not need a “qualified professional” to teach us how to learn. When your infant son was learning to crawl, walk, hold a spoon, toilet train did you call in a professional? I went to college for a teaching degree and I can tell you that it makes me no more qualified than any other parent to guide my child’s education; and that is all they need, a guide. It doesn’t take a professional to help a child find and explore the topics about which they are passionate. Platon says she feels more effective as a support for her son. If only she would realize that is all he needs.
She states that she believes many parents homeschool out of fear. After giving this point some thought I found that I agree with her. She is right. I homeschool out of fear. Fear that my children are growing up too fast and I don’t want to miss this precious time with them. Fear that sending them into the school will dumb them down or make them lose their passion for learning. Fear that they’ll be labeled and put into a box from which they’ll never emerge. Fear that I don’t know the people these schools employ and 90% of the time, the schools don’t either.
Platon wraps up her argument by stating that if the homeschooling trend continues that we will have adults who have learned to be out only for themselves and to be quitters. That is how she views homeschoolers, selfish quitters. I ask Ms. Platon, what would you have us do? When faced with something you find less than satisfactory, do you stick with it or do you find something that works better? Homeschool families simply found something that worked better for them. Does that make them quitters? That word does not define any homeschooler I know.
My kids have never been in the public school system. They didn’t quit. I did. I admit it. I quit the public school system. As someone who worked within the system, I’m telling you it cannot be changed. I can share my passion for education all day long and it won’t make a difference as far as the public school system is concerned. It is still an institution that squashes creativity and individuality. It rips the natural desire to learn right out of children. Children are told what to learn and when to learn it. Being a self-starter or thinking outside the box is highly discouraged. I’m sure volunteering in my local school is going to magically change all that. (I was so close)
The bigger picture, as I see it, is that Ms. Platon feels threatened by those of us who have turned our backs on public education. We are doing something she doesn’t quite understand and is afraid she isn’t capable of. Homeschooled children are thriving both academically and socially. Those who criticize it are finding they have nothing with which to make their points because we’ve disproven them all. The new argument appears to be we’re taking the “good” kids out of the school and making school worse than it already was. Is that what Platon is saying? Platon almost makes it sound like we’re obligated to send our children into the schools so that her child has a good influence.
Platon wraps up her argument by stating, “we (the future society) need you (the home-schoolers) to be checked-in with the rest of us. We need to grow together. We need to learn from each other.”
Checked-in with the rest of you? You mean mindlessly institutionalized. No thanks.
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