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Repost: Frustrating “points” on homeschooling

My wife and I homeschool, mostly because we have inquisitive kids who were told – and I quote – to “stop asking questions” in their public schools. That was the final straw for us, after noting that their behavior was far, far worse after going to school than not.

Here’re the points:

  • The education of our country’s children is too important to be left in the hands of their parents.
  • The idea that only the parent can teach the child and abandon the public education system is normally the sign of a deeply threatened, controlling personality.
  • There are more kids doing this homeschooling stuff than ever before. How can they ever compete in the modern world when they grow up with strict brainwashing and medieval attitudes?
  • All homeschooling will do is guarantee your kids are as stupid as you are.

Since I’m human, I can’t help but personalize all of these, and some of them were frustrating. I don’t think they were formal assertions, so I’m not going to argue too much about the wording – this was a biased paraphrase, after all.

The education of our country’s children is too important to be left in the hands of their parents.

Holy cow! I’m Jewish, so maybe there’s a cultural thing going on – but WHAT? In Judaism, a child learns first from his parents. He’s instructed to find a teacher (and also a friend, but that’s a secondary thing here) as well, but teaching comes first from the parents. The community education system is ancillary.

What’s more, I’d say that the education of our country’s children – any country, really – is too important to be left in the hands of hired hands! I’m fully in support of education, even public education (although I don’t think it’s right for my children), but the teacher’s unions and the public school structure are bad wrong for today’s world.

Schools teach kids how to follow regimented structures: they’re better armed to work on an assembly line when they come out of public school than they are anything else, based on what the school offers them. (Electives and students who enjoy learning can fix this… but a love of learning usually comes from the parents!)

I can tell you that I learned far more from my family than I ever learned from a formal schooling system, and I don’t think I would have suffered from avoiding public school at all, although I realize that sounds like I’m, um, lacking in humility. Let’s just say I can point back at every formal testing score I’ve ever had and compare extremely well to the average.

The idea that only the parent can teach the child and abandon the public education system is normally the sign of a deeply threatened, controlling personality.

With all due respect: The idea that the parent can not teach the child is a sign of a deeply threatened, controlling organizational mindset.

From what I can see, it’s more about money than anything else, planting kids in seats so that educational money flows to a given school. I understand that, really; schools have to survive, right?

But when my sons were in public school, they used to come home upset that their teacher had admonished them for not riding the bus, because my wife took them to school herself.

First off: my wife and I are the adults who make that choice; admonish my wife or me before berating my kids.

Second… what the heck? While I understand the economic reasons for wanting the students on the bus (the system gets money for each student who rides the bus, just like they get money for every student who attends for N days per year), it’s a good thing that parents are involved and want to be part of things.

I was deeply offended by the whole thing, and that also factored into our choice to homeschool.

There are more kids doing this homeschooling stuff than ever before. How can they ever compete in the modern world when they grow up with strict brainwashing and medieval attitudes?

Okay. It’s a good thing our kids aren’t brainwashed in public schools (“stop asking questions, and start riding the bus”) and they have medieval attitudes… I guess. What’s a medieval attitude here?

An alternative to “medieval attitude” and “competing in the modern world” goes back to socialization. The prevailing theory as expressed to me has been that my sons won’t know how to interact with other kids, and won’t learn unless they’re in public school.

Okay. Except that my second son, an extrovert, tends to be a popular kid in public settings. (Oh wait, we homeschool, there are no public settings, right? Wrong!)

My firstborn and my third son are more introverts; school isn’t going to change that (and shouldn’t), and honestly, given the crap that goes on in most public schools, I don’t want them to learn “how to deal” with malcontents who are taught that they can get away with anything.

School is not the real world. There’s a cliche about nerds who graduate and become very successful, and another one about the high school quarterback who ends up a failure; why do I want my sons to have to endure bullying and enforced stupid social mores when those things aren’t in the real world?

I’d rather they actually learn from the modern world, rather than learn from a secondary source about what the modern world was. It’s called observation and participation. It actually teaches you how to, like, compete in the modern world.

All homeschooling will do is guarantee your kids are as stupid as you are.

Oh man… naturally, I’m the smarterest person evar, so I wants them to be as inteligent as I am.

The statement is false. Most homeschooling parents that know of not only teach their students a curriculum with a syllabus and everything, but they also encourage students to learn on their own and from the real world, from the newspaper, news channels, those things made of paper with words on them (called “buks,” I think?) and the computenmachines – my kids live on How Stuff Works and wikipedia.

So far, in the subjects in which they’re really interested (and thus research) they’re doing really well – my oldest son was more advanced than I in robotics until just recently (he’s been more interested in civil engineering lately – at 14 – and I got a job building robots, so I leapfrogged him.)

Bleah.

Author’s Note: This is another repost, from about five years ago, since my son’s 19 now.

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