I read an article yesterday called Home-schooled and illiterate at Salon.com. The writer begins by describing a family she knew when she was younger that homeschooled poorly. They were conservative Christian and it seemed, from her looking in that the family did not value education for the girls most especially. The article goes on to state that other homeschooling moms usually from the quiverfull movement, bless their hearts, try, but get overwhelmed by just having and caring for the kids they have, never mind actually educating them, and so they get lost in the fray. It infers that even the most the most well meaning homeschool moms, fool themselves that they can handle homeschooling but they can't.
Of course the article throws in that there are some very diligent homeschooling parents who can and will do a stellar job. But they add that in order to make sure that kids get the best education while homeschooling, there should be severe oversight.
That's how I read it anyway. Let me know if you glean something different from it.
If I didn't find the article frustrating enough, the comments section sent me into a seizure. I'm twitching as I write this. The comments ran the full gamut from "homeschoolers abuse their kids", to "if we are going to have oversight, we might as well embrace communism". Yes, we like to overreact, don't we?
My problem is who are these people the article talks about, and why don't people ever look at the average homeschoolers? The ones who are kicking butt and taking names?!
I have about 10 years of blogging here. Look back. You will see that I am for the most part normal and very diligent about the education of my kids. Over the years, my personality and strong held convictions have softened, and happens with age, but you will see that we homeschooled because the schools left us no other option, and yes, I feel like my kids are better off for it.
And... there are millions of families like mine who started off in public or another form of school and then ran away screaming and waving their hands because their kids were being mistreated and/or swept under the rug. We homeschool diligently, with the goal being college, or post homeschool training of some sort. Our first goal is to make sure our children are educated well, and they are happy, and they are well adjusted.
And if you were to ask my kids, their list of things they would change is short... and that list is written in retrospect, a couple years after homeschooling. They have also given me a list of things they would do again if they had that choice... actually, see my last post. I don't just pull these blog posts out of my butt.
I guess my final response to the article, is back off. Don't look at the most fringe groups (I'm sure they will hate being called that) and make blanket decisions about all homeschoolers. Don't look at the abusers and blame it on homeschoolers, blame it on abusers. Finally, I really don't know about oversight. The oversight we used to have here in GA was annoying and basic. Take an attendance sheet and send it in. Take a standardized test every few years and hold on to it just in case. It was silly. But more strict oversight will surely be enforced unevenly and haphazardly, so how would that work. My biggest worry about oversight is that who is to say what is best for the child. The person who knows the kid or the person who drops in twice a year? And what would that do to the uneven education that often happens in homeschooling that is actually brilliantly successful. (What I mean by uneven education is that even if a kid is struggling in math and is a year behind, that should not stop them from being 4 grades ahead in language)... Traditional schools don't lend to well to this, but it works well. The kid will eventually catch up in math, but be literal geniuses in other areas. I'd hate to see that controlled.
That's all I have for now, I would love to open this up to comments. Please read the article and let me know what you think.